Depressed, anxious and stuck in a rut. What do I do?

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I am 21 years old and over the past month my depression and anxiety have developed to the point where I am no longer coping. Every morning I wake up and my heart pounds and my entire body burns at the thought of climbing the huge mountain that is the day ahead of me.

Before it got so bad I had to drop out of college and move home because of acute depression and I thought having nothing to do and being at home with my parents and girlfriend would make life easier and I would be happier. This kind of worked for a while but the novelty quickley wore off and I found myself completely bored everyday with no motivation or desire to do any of the things I used to love doing. As if I abused all the nice things in life to make myself happy and ended up over doing it. My girlfriend also recently moved away for good which effected everything. Thoughts such as the fact that I will never enjoy life again constantly roam around in my head leading to frequent panic attacks. This panic has made it impossible to even think about functioning like a normal human, such as getting a job and new hobbies and getting my life back seems so overwhelming and the depression makes me not want to anyway. I dont see the point and I cant see it making me any happier.

If im this anxious doing nothing at all what would I be like with responsibilities ? But at the same time without any responsibilites its like I invite my mental illness into my head to stay there from when I wake up to when I go to sleep. It is the scariest thing I have ever experienced because there is no cause for it as I am literally doing nothing, and without a cause I cant control it.

I have no life plan and no idea what lies ahead of me and I feel like im stuck in a rut, Im going crazy at home with nothing to do but being trapped in my own head all day and I dont enjoy any of the distractions I used to, but at the same time whenever I try to move out and start a new life, or even think about getting a job, I feel lonely, depressed and pressured. It feels like its not possible for me to get back on my own two feet because I cant even cope in the current position I'm in at home.

It feels like I have run out of options and nowhere left to turn, which has made the anxiety and depression impossible to cope with. Like I have no escape and the rest of my life will be empty.

I have been on 10mg of citalopram for about 5 weeks and I'm seeing a psychologist weekly.

Has anyone had any simular experiences? Any advice or help at all would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for reading- Luke.

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  • Posted

    If you can get a job with motivated people you can share the enthusiasm. You need to find what's out there and join in. And maybe your previous interests can be rekindled

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  • Posted

    It sounds to me as if you are putting an incredible amount of pressure on yourself, i do understand why, you are scared, you are despairing and you are desperate to find hope for a better future, believe me i know how that feels.

    But for now you do need to take a step back, it is entirely possible to get your life back but you must accept that this takes time, you are not well at the moment so worrying about the future will only bring more distress.

    It's hard but you need to only concern yourself with now, anxiety and depression are a battle and merely getting by day to day or even hour to hour are enormous tasks so asking yourself about getting a job and new hobbies may just be too overwhelming at the moment, it wont always be this way but accept that for now it can hardly be any other way.

    You are getting help which is vital, remember that it can take 6-8 weeks to feel the benefit of medication and most people need 20mg of citralopram, the 10mg is a starting dose to get your body used to it because in the early weeks it can sometimes increase symptoms but this should settle as it starts to work, if it doesn't you need to let your dotor know because sometimes it can take a while to find the right medication for you.

    I know it's a bit of a cliche but think of it like this, if you had a serious bout of flu you would seek relief from the symptoms but you would also accept it and rest, you would think 'okay I am unwell and when I feel better then I can worry about work,hobbies and coping with life again', anxiety and depression are similar, you do need relief but you also need rest, you need to recharge your batteries and accept that at this point in time some things are just too much for you to handle, when you are stronger then you can deal with them but not now.

    And don't think you need to neccesarily get your 'old life' back, too many times i have made the mistake of wanting my old self back, the truth is that we my never be who we once were but actually that doesn't need to be a bad thing, it's an opportunity to build a new life, a life that may even be better because in depression we learn a lot about ourselves and perhaps the old life you had wasn't that good for you after all.

    I am currently in a major relapse but i have had better times since all of this started and no i never got my old life back but truthfully i did find some new interests and things to enjoy and that was without even really trying, when the fog lifts a bit you just naturally become interested in things and the things that feel so hard now start to feel easier again.

    So as hard as it is try to stop worrying about how life will be in the future, it will get better but it takes time and patience, it's hard work, in fact getting through each day is the hardest job you will ever have to hold down in your life but take hope from that because if you can survive this-and you will-then you can survive and cope with anything.

    People like us feel like the weakest people in the world but the truth is that we are actually some of the strongest because battling with your head every day is no easy task x

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    • Posted

      Hello Bella , thank you for replying.

      I do feel sometimes that I have been putting myself under pressure to start doing something with my life because I have been doing so little , it is always on the back of my mind. But at the same time I dropped out of college about 8 months ago and have been doing nothing since. And I keep thinking doing so little for so long is the reason things have gotten so bad, so I pressure myself even harder to do something which at this stage seems next to impossible, I almost feel like I haven't been living, just existing , and If I do try get back to living I'll be so rusty at it I'll just break down and end up back in square one. Which is a scary thought. I guess it's like a vicious cycle, doing nothing is driving me crazy but at the same time I feel I can't do anything.

      I have a doctors appointment this week and Im going to enquire about a higher dosage of meds , I think I need them at this stage.

      I really appreciate such a lengthy and detailed reply , some of the things I read feel like I wrote them myself, and it has made me feel a lot better , so thank you for that x

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    • Posted

      You are very welcome Luke, i do think that a higher dose of the medication would be a good idea at this point, most people need to start low but then go up to get any true relief and going up to the 20mg should be fine now.

      I thrash away at life so hard sometimes because I fear that if i don't then i will never recover, the truth is we will recover even without adding that extra pressure but i understand how dificult it is to take that pressure off, like you doing nothing is often as difficult as trying harder for me.

      One thing i can assure you about is that you will not end up rusty, during my last bad spell i feared that i would never even be able to function again, i thought i simply would not be able to remember how to live in a normal way, i even feared that i would no be able to get back into the normal routine of doing the laundry and other simple tasks but i did get back to it and it fell into place much more easily than i thought it would.

      Now  am back in my bad spell again i take reassurance from the fact that when i get through this again things will be easier, i cannot promise you will never relapse, in fact i advise that you prepare for relapse but if you prepare the right way it need not be so painful.

      I made the misstake of thinking i was over the worst and my relapse came as a shock, the thing to do is keep a journal now, write down how you feel, anything you find helpful and how you cope with your feelings and darkest days, as you recover keep on writing, that way if you do relapse you have something to look back on and can see what helped you last time, a favourite author of mine wrote 'do not fear relapse, it's good to take the skeleton out of the closet,dust him down and have a look at him from time to time, that way he scares us less and less'.

      You only have to make a start at this point in time and that start must be something you are comfortable with, you don't need to do everything all at once, you couldn't if you tried, it really is baby steps, one small thing that you want to do is all you need at the moment, going back to college can wait until you are stronger, try to just find one small thing that interests you and engage in it, even for a few minutes at a time then build on it, your confidence will build with it.

      Also i see you have xanax, use them when you need to but only use them in utter,utter desperation, they are very addictive and besides they are a CNS depressant and can damage self motivation, like all benzodiazepine drugs they also stop working after a while especially with continued use, the best way to use them is on an 'as and when' basis, I have been on a benzo for years, they are hopelessly inneffective now and yet i am addicted so the thought of tapering off them scares me too much.

      Think of them as 'break in case of emergency'. it helps to prevent dependence and lowers the risk of you becoming so tolerant to them that they no longer work.

      Good luck with the doctor, hopefully the higher dose of citralopram will be helpful but remember you may have some side effects when you first increase the dose, ride it out and it should really help, take care x

       

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    • Posted

      Thanks for all the advice Bella, it really helps hearing it from someone who's personally experienced it.

      I do write a lot of what I'm thinking down and I was also advised to by my psychologist, but on bad days it seems like I cannot even concentrate enough on what I have written to even make sense of it , not a mind try use it to make me feel better. It's hard to explain I guess , it's like my bad emotions run rampant through my body even if I try my hardest to just empty my mind and think of nothing at all, it's the hardest thing in the world to control. If I am down, I cannot lift myself up using anything, I just have to wait it out.

      I do try my best not to take Xanax , but sometimes it is so hard , when it feels like the only release. Even now I am not having a good day and I can feel my chest tightening and I know something bad is going to come soon. It's a horrible feeling.

      I'm very sorry to hear about your relapse , it must be hard knowing how horrible it can be and knowing that it's back and you have to deal with it. But you've done it before and you'll do it again it will just take time. Just as a matter of interest how long was your relapse after your recovery?

      Thanks again for replying, it really does help to come on here and read replies off people when I am in a bad head space x

      Luke

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    • Posted

      I often find that the more i actively try to clear my mind the harder it is to do, the more you try to banish negative thoughts the more they come, i personally just accept them as best i can and just go with it, it's horrible but fighting them doesn't work.

      It's perfectly normal for concentration to suffer with anxiety and depression too, it's hard to focus and concentrate when our minds are either so focused on how awful we feel or just simply depleted of energy, a tired mind never does do well when it comes to concentration.

      The Xanax is fine if used only when truly needed, i started valium with a doctor telling me to take one whenever i felt myself getting a bit worked up, terrible advice especially for someone who was constantly worked up! I was soon on 6mg daily then they stopped it and i went into withdrawal, they gave me two options, go back on it or go into a psycchiatric unit, back then with two very young children it was easier to go back on it, today i take 22mg per day with the ofer there of raissing it to 24mg per day, i am trying hard not to increase it again, it doen't help much anyway now.

      My mother in law is on it and only takes it when she is faced with a very panicky situation, it still works well for her and she is not addicted to it, she can have lengthy breaks with no issues, i think that is the best way to use benzo meds.

      Thank you, sadly my relapse was very soon after my recovery, in fact i was only about 70% recovered in March and began to relapse in June but please don't let that scare you, in the middle of June i started to feel a bit 'off' again but was coping fairly well, at the end of June my mother died and i believe that is why things got so out of control again, i simply could not engage my coping techniques effectively to prevent it from getting so bad.

      You are very welcome, i always find talking very helpful especially when it is to people who understand what you are going through x

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    • Posted

      That is almost word for word what I said to my therapist, the harder I try not to think of it the more I do. Like asking someone not to think of a pink elephant and it becomes the first thing they picture. Thats why these thoughts of not being able to leave home or move on with my life daunt me so much, because they are so hard to cope with and being at home is where I feel safest and most comfortable while I have to deal with these thoughts. Again like a cycle. Everyone else my age is going out and enjoying themselves, and I deeply envy that.

      I saw my doctor and increased my dose of citalopram to 20mg, which has given me some hope. As for the xanax I havent taken one in two nights, which I am going to try to stick with until I desperately need to. I look at them as a safety net and cannot afford to lose that sense, not for now anyway. So thank you, I'll take your advice on that.

      I am deeply sorry to hear about your mother, you are an extrememly strong person to be able to go through what you are going through and still be posotive and hopeful, and to even be helping others out on these forums, something I think I could not do, not at this stage in my life anyway. You've pulled through it before and I believe it wont be long until you do again, and I know you believe it too. 

      Thanks again

      Luke x

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    • Posted

      I know what you mean Luke, that is why some therapists use the reverse pyschology method of telling us to invite the negative thoughts in, even welcome them but it's so hard to do that.

      I write mine down a bit like this:

      'I had a huge panic attack today, it upset me'

      'okay but what can i do about that at the moment?'

      Now in that scenario there is nothing i can do, absolutely nothing, i worry i may never be well again but there is no way to prove to myself that i will be so i try to accept even this, i completely understand how hard it is to accept things we desperately want to change though.

      I also understand what you mean about envying others, i want to be the woman in the supermarket bored senseless wondering what to cook for dinner instead of the panicking wreck who knows her husband will yet again cook dinner because she's too ill but you deal with that by remembering that when you do recover you will do those things you envy and not only that but you will enjoy them more than ever and never take a single moment for granted, every little success will be so sweet and feel so good.

      I'm glad your doctor has increased the Citalopram, it's a much more suitable dose to get results from, I hope it starts to work for you soon but remember it will need a bit of time to build up, you are doing well with the Xanax and yes we do need that safety net there, even i keep an extra Valium with me, I have yet to take it despite feeling rotten but it's there if I need it which is some comfort in itself.

      Thank you for your condolences, I try so hard to stay strong it's not easy and I fall apart frequently but it's okay to fall apart as long as you pick yourself up and always give yourself another chance and honestly it is never too late to do that, you too will get better and have a much happier life, i hope it is soon for both of us xx

       

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  • Posted

    ive been were you are,10 mg is a very very low dose,think my doctor decsribed it as a kids dose,so go see the doc and say that its not doing any good,also ask for somthing for the anxierty,i take propanol i think there called just a low dose twicw a day which stops the effects of the anierty which also helps the depression as your not getting as anxious,you will be fine m8 i promiss u
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    • Posted

      I have a doctors appointment this week and I'm going to ask about a higher dose, I also have Xanax to take for anxiety but I try my best not to, I'm scared I might become somewhat reliant on them and then when they stop prescribing them I wouldn't know what to do. Thanks for replying !

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  • Posted

    Your so young, and you can make yourself worst by expecting

    Too much too soon, iv been there, too hard on yourself. You have

    To be kind to yourself. Great it as you did if you were physically

    I'll. Take baby steps. Set goals. Based on how you feel. For me at my

    Worst to force myself just to walk for 5 mins every day, read for 10

    Mins, do a ,5min chore. Those kind of things. To start with anything

    How ever little you should pay itself on the back. Do the same

    In any situation, be it visiting someone, spending g time with

    Anyone. Set your own goals, make notes,, and gradually increase

    The time. Even by a minute. Don't rush anything. If u feel it not

    Working, like you give up,, hub prob set to high goals. Don't be

    Discouraged, start again, I know it's so hard honey, were rooting

    For you. As for work or study, you could try to do a single class

    At college, an academic subject or other. Or through open

    Learning. Where you can do a subject at home or a combination of

    Home and college. When you feel ready/at that stage, not before.

    Another thing is voluntary work. Start with only a couple of hours

    A week, again only wen your ready. Think carefully about it,

    Great if u find something you enjoy. But don't expect too much

    Too soon. Just being able to go and do anything is a challenge

    In itself. Try to find something not too stressful,but not too isolating

    If it doesn't work out, try something else, and repeat this. Maybe even

    Make a list of different voluntary jobs, so u always have the next

    Back up. As you get better, add another voluntary job, different to

    Keep it interesting. Building experience and qualifications as you

    Go. Then in time you can aim for a paid job. Just always go

    At an achievable pace. Does any of this help. Mandy

    L

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    • Posted

      Thanks for replying Mandy, I agree I need to fill my time with things to do but sometimes I find it extremely difficult to focus. I recall attempting to do the washing up the other night in an anxious state and being so discombobulated it was like I could barely remember how, which was a scary feeling.

      I am taking it week by week and writing down my goals and aims for that week and taking baby steps to achieve them.

      I hope to do an online course when I feel a little better, and maybe after that look at the possibility of a job.

      Your advice does help, its always nice to hear from someone new, especially someone whos been through simular experiences so thank you.

      Luke.

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  • Posted

    Hello Luke

    10mg of your medication may need to be increased and you now need to discuss with your GP further treatment options.

    One thing that may help you is to understand why you feel the way you do. You need to accept your concerns and address the problems that are causing so much unhappiness.

    In my case I made extensive changes in my every day lifestyle, even though my Chronic health is not very good.

    I again suggest you talk to your GP and ask to see a CPN who will enable you use coping exersises that can help your mood

    BOB

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    • Posted

      Hello Bob,

      I'm seeing a psychologist weekly and we do go through coping excercises and technics, but I can't help having a slightly pessimistic attitude towards them, as if they are somewhat inferior to my problems. I wish I did not have this attitude and I do practice them, but sometimes I find it hard.

      I guess I just need to be patient and see what works for me.

      Thanks for replying - Luke.

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    • Posted

      Hello luke, life with depression and anxiety is a real bind sometimes and we feel thes professionals do not hit the mark with their coping tehniques.

      In my case I try and look at different divertions for my concerns and look upon these as a possible way forward. In my case I was involved with many NHS Task Groups until my Wife Hazel pushed me to stop attending to meetings etc.

      Also I am members of the National Trust, English Heritage and HHA, this helps me divert my worries anxiety and Reactive Depression This also reduces my medications including my Pain medications as I try and control my mood. I still have a great deal of problems and I also have to use Relaxation Techniques to control the consequences of Chronic Pain

      If you have interests or consider some ativities that may help your concerns this can help you fight the medical problems you do have.

      Also I have a dog called Pax a Irish Collie who can read my mood and is always around to play with me, or even just be there when I am really bad.

      Mental illnesses seem to need us try any diversions we may have, the worse I am the more I will research different activities. If some things become impractical I look towards something else and then begin to worry that activity to its negative or positive end.

      Please do not get me wrong my activities do seem to have to follow the restrictions of my disability and I accept that.

      I loved reading books and since my new diagnosis of Short Term Memory problems I now look at picture books and have moved my book collection around to those sort of publications.

      At this time I am away on holiday and soon will return home. I am visiting Scottish castles and gardens and that seems to build up my mood.

      Sad to say I will need to take all my medications until I die, that does not stop me pushing the envelope as much as I can.

      I know it is very hard to choose an interest that has positive vibes for you, Most of the looking is as exiting as doing something new

      BOB

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    • Posted

      I'm very sorry to hear about your medical problems Bob.

      When I am in my low moods I am uncontrollably stubborn to try new things, its almost like my brain tells me it wont work before I even try it, and I have no motivation to do so anyway. But now I know I need to be patient and try everything until I find whats right for me, and to practice when I am in a slightly more positive state of mind, and that there are no quick fixes.

      I also have a dog and I always find it relaxing even to just pet her or take her for a walk, dogs are like therapy in that sense I find.

      I also love reading and appreciate it more now that I find, if I am in the mood for it , it helps me to completely escape, I could be reading for hours and not even notice the time go by. It is more effective than television or other distractions in that sense.

      Enjoy Scotland it is a beautiful country. I hope things are looking up for you.

      Take care,

      Luke.

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