The mental health thread


#162

What are the titles of your books? I’ll try to check them out.


#163

CBD oil is legal in Australia. I think…


#164

Thanks Klawdy


#165

I walked past my daughter that I haven’t seen in 8 years today at a agriculture event held in country wa today. She walked straight past me, me and her step dad made eye contact and we knew exactly who each other were. I froze, panicked, walked straight to my car and drove 200km home

Me and my ex split up 8 years ago, she made up a whole heap of lies about me and it’s made access since then really difficult. I was no angel through the relationship, but she turned a molehill into a mountain after we broke up and used my daughter against me. I fought through the family court for 2 years before the process got the better of me and my mental health and I broke down completely. I haven’t tried since. I’m not a bum, I pay child support every pay for 8 years.

I don’t know why I’m posting this. Even before this post I have been posting in the hangar like normal because this site and Essendon is a escape. Footy is my saviour. But away from here, I’m not even sure how I feel right now. I feel like I should feel sad and really upset right now, but I feel absolutely nothing. Like I’m numb. Like it didn’t happen

I don’t know if anyone has been through anything remotely similar or understands, but if you have or do, please let me know


#166

Holy ■■■■ I feel for you man, that’s a crappy situation.
I understand what you mean by the numbness, I often found with my depression that it wasn’t so much sadness but the absence of an ability to feel anything, sadness would at least be feeling something.
Whilst I can’t imagine to know how your position feels I do know how it feels to feel lonely and lost even when you’re surrounded by people who care for you.
Excercise, get some support wherever you can and definitely understand that you not alone in the way you are feeling. There is absolutely nothing wrong with struggling mentally at times and you are never ever alone there’s so many more people going through this than you can imagine.


#167

Everyone makes mistakes. No one is perfect. Supporting your daughter shows the type of person you are.

I don’t know if you want or need advice, but perhaps try writing to her. It might pave the way for a future relationship.

I’ve been on the flip side and although my ex neither wanted to spend time with his sons or contribute to their upbringing, I’ve always felt sad, both for them and for him.


#168

I know that one. Oh god do I know that one.

My situation is not like yours, but for me, that feeling always happened when normality/reality/whatever intruded on the unendurable present that I had, though circumstances, been forced to become accustomed to and convince myself was normal. It’s like the weird chill when you knock a scab off and blow cold air on the open wound.

For me, the numbness (and the running away, cos tbh it kinda sounds like that’s what you did, and I mean no criticism by that) was a survival instinct, because if i felt like i wanted to feel, like i was entitled to feel, then i would have broken. The mind has amazing ways of rationalising pain so that you can do what’s necessary in the short term to keep your job, to put food on the table, etc etc.

I’ve got no useful advice since I’ve never been in your exact position. Just … be conscious of your own wounds. Know that they are there. And maybe give some thought to how best they could be stitched up and healed in the long run.


#169

For what it’s worth, you seem like a top guy still caring about your child WOB, and still paying child support after all that.

Darli- you sound like a very very caring mum. Your kids are lucky


#170

Without being able to relate fully to what WOB has experienced here (though I did split up with my wife when my son was 2), what I would say is, continue to evolve and be the best version of yourself that you can be, because there is a good chance that one day your daughter will want to have some sort of relationship with you.

When that time comes, you’ll be ready for it with more life experience behind you, even if it seems unlikely right now.
I hope the above makes sense.


#171

I hope so

From the bottom of my heart I appreciate those of you who took the time to PM me or reply to this

I’ll be OK. There is no other alternative


#172

I don’t have much in the way of professional opinion or expertise but based off what’s been said I do have a couple of pieces of advice to offer

  1. Keep this forum and footy as an outlet. Let yourself experience the highs and lows of having to barrack for 2 sides (Essendon and Essington). Like you, there were times when I felt like I lost the ability to feel emotion at either end of the scale. It took a bit of courage and persuasion but in the end allowing myself to experience and accept the lows reminded me of what it was like to feel and ultimately enable me to reach the positive end of the spectrum again
  2. carrying on from #1, any recover (whether mentally or physically from injury) will have its ups and downs. What you are really looking for is gradual improvement over time. “Better than yesterday” is a nice target bit it’s not always attainable. Life happens. ■■■■ happens. You’re going to encounter things that will set you back. The trick is to accept this and be able to move on from them. You should be able to look back over time and plot a graph that looks like toblerone but has an overall undeniable up trend.

Hope this helps.
There are plenty of resources out there to help people when they are ready.


#173

What an awful situation. I hope you keep using your support networks to keep your spirits up.

When I was very sick, I had a lot of moments of dissociation. I often wondered if I were alive because I wasn’t feeling anything other than an overwhelming sense of emptiness. I used to cut the top of my legs as a way to feel something - even pain was preferable to nothingness.

Thankfully i found some more positive ways to ground myself and feel. I count a lot and name things around me in times of high anxiety or depression. It helps me focus on the now and calm my breathing. It also helps to remind me i’m a living being by acknowledging what is around me.

Probably doesn’t make a lot of sense, but in my mind it does!

There may be ways to communicate with your daughter - like what Darli mentioned. Maybe writing letters, even if you can’t send them yet, may help to assist with future communications. It may also help to articulate the struggles you were experiencing during this time.

Let me know if you want to talk - perhaps we should have a drink prior to Anzac day game :slight_smile:


#174

A drink is given. Sydney all over again?

Thank you all once again. Blitz is a great place


#175

As others as have said It is such a day to day thing.
Confidence is such a strange beast as there are days in my life where I have skydived and attempted standup(admittedly terribly) and then there are days when I can’t even make a phone call or post on a forum.
But you keep on keeping on because like you said what else can you do. You just keep chipping away and each day you become a little bit more equipped to handle the next bad day.
That’s my theory anyway and it seems to be working most of the time.
But ■■■■ days like the one you just had are ■■■■ days no matter your mindset and sometimes there going to happen, it’s the way you bounce back that should make yourself and oneday your daughter proud.


#176

I feel trapped.

I love my family but I still feel trapped.

I feel a weight of expectation.

That breeds resentment.

That is what I’m dealing with at the moment.


#177

This is exactly the situation that led to the end of my marriage. I never had the balls at the time to deal with it, i just isolated myself and stuck my head in the sand until by the time I was ready to get some help it was to late the magic was gone.
You need to talk to your partner, admit you are struggling with expectation and probably go together to have a chat to someone in the know. She and your family love you. They want you to be happy over anything else over what you think you need to provide.
There is no shame in needing some help, it will happen to everyone at some stage in fact understanding how hard it is to do and me doing it is one of my proudest moments as it has made me a much better father even if I am doing by myself, a happy dad is the greatest gift I have ever given them.
I am absolutely sure you do love your family, that’s why you put so much pressure on yourself but you are no good to them or yourself if you can’t get your self happy.
Good luck on your journey and I and am sure many others will always be keeping an eye on this thread.
Congrats to everyone whom is involved in this and keep up the good work as it should never e underestimated how important kind words from a stranger can be. It can and you can save lives. Trust me.
You are never alone.


#178

Have you thought about speaking to a psychologist?


#179

Go and get help. Don’t be in denial like I did. Take care.


#180

Timely thread for me. Forgive my lengthy indulgence but I am currently going through a pretty hard time and need to unload some things. It might not be pretty.

My first episode of depression occurred around the age of 20. It cost me my employment, my relationship, my car and my self esteem. I was basically a nocturnal hermit for about four months.

At the time I’d never even really heard of depression, it just wasn’t a thing that was discussed that much in the nineties. I didn’t seek or want any help, I just wallowed. I was living with my father at the time, he was a catholic child of the fifties and really wasn’t supportive or helpful (not that I ever asked him to be).

After four months it just kind of stopped. I got a job, met the woman who was to become my wife (and later ex wife), moved to melbourne, all within about a year of the end of the first depressive episode.

Things ticked along nicely for about 7 years. 5 of them spent in Melbourne before moving back to Adelaide to buy a home, be close to family and start one of our own.

My son was born in 2006 and was (still is) such a beautiful joy of a child. If I’m brutally honest he has been the only thing standing between me and suicide on more than one occasion.

The first six months of his life was so incredible. I had never felt happier or more full of purpose my entire life. I was scared shitless, but everything just worked, his development, his sleeping, all the things that terrify first time parents just seemed so easy. We had a good group of friends who were at similar stages of growing their families, I had my own business that I could work around family time.

When he was six months old my wife returned to work part time. We had decided that with the flexibility of my work that I would become primary carer. I stopped the travel aspect of my business and over the next six months my wife gradually returned to full time work.

I loved being a “stay at home dad”. I got to spend each of his waking moments with my boy while still bringing in money, paying the mortgage and having a fulfilling social life with friends.

I have no idea to this day what the trigger for my depression returning was. My psychologist was later to speculate a form of post-natal depression among other possibilities. Maybe there wasn’t one. . Looking back I think it was just a huge jolt of disconnection from what my life used to be to what it had become that I never processed properly.

The kicker is that this time it was accompanied by mild anxiety episodes. I had no idea why I was suddenly so afraid of life. It was the worst feeling I had ever experienced to that point but as I said, unfortunately I now know that it was mild.

I started to become withdrawn from my wife. I started to take less joy in my son. While I was still able to function and make sure his needs were met, I just didn’t enjoy it any more. I lost connection with him and just started going through the motions. It pains me to type that even now but that was my state at the time.

I started finding reasons to leave the house almost as soon as my wife got home from work, even for short periods, all the while pretending that everything was ok when she asked. It was so not ok that I thought giving it voice and admitting it would bring everything crashing down. I think in part the anxiety was triggered by not wanting to fall back in to the black hole that cost me nearly six months of my life in the previous episode.

After a few months of this there was an inevitable strain on the relationship. We started arguing frequently, about stupid things, about nothing. My wife was also feeling the strain of working full time with a baby at home and to this day I regret not having the capacity to properly listen to her because I was too wrapped up in my own battles to support her. That regret gets way worse though. This isn’t a happy story.

I’m hesitant to type this on blitz, I have people on here I count as friends who will already know some of this, but I guess, in for a penny in for a pound…

I began an affair with a high school friend. I’m not going to make excuses, it was a ■■■■ act. She was married, had kids of her own and in her own way had similar problems going on, as well as a history of depression and anxiety. Without naming it as such we would talk about the affect on your life, and the similarity of our situations, there was a common ground. One that turned out to be dangerously powerful for me. She was the first person I had ever spoken to about my mental health and that connection of shared experience was an escape that I stupidly jumped in to.

Of course, trying to “manage” an affair is not going to make mental health issues better. I deteriorated rapidly from it, even before it became a physical thing. I withdrew further from friends, family and my wife and child. Stupidly, the only relief from now almost constant anxiety was being with this person and I sought that whenever I could. I became a liar, a cheat, and it just compounded everything I was feeling.

I have no sympathy for myself in this regard, and all I can say to anyone reading this is just don’t do it. Even if only for yourself, do not do it. It can destroy you. I don’t want to write much more about that.

One of the lowest moments of my life came about a week before my marriage ended. I was bottle feeding my boy and he wasn’t being co-operative, refusing the bottle and crying. I was experiencing anxiety at the time and this wasn’t helping. In frustration I growled something like “ just drink it for ■■■■ sake”. My wife was resting in the next room and heard this. She rushed out and yelled at me not to talk to him like that. She was right to do so, but I snapped. I handed him to her and yelled “you ■■■■■■■ do it then”. When she yelled back at me I cracked. I put my fist through a plasterboard wall not 2 metres from where she stood.

I will never forget the look on her face when I pulled my fist out of that wall, cut wide open and bloodied. She was terrified. Like she had no idea who I was. In truth, neither did I. I felt disassociated and shocked.

I left and drove five minutes from our house and sat trembling in my car. I’m pretty sure sitting there in a train station car park was the first time I ever experienced a panic attack.

If you’ve never had one, then I hope you never do. They can range (for me) from so very mild, like “butterflies in the stomach” gone bad, through to screaming, crying, choking, burning up, vomiting, heaving for breath and thinking without any shadow of a doubt that you are certain to die. Sometimes wanting to, just so it ends. When it finally passes you are left numb, drained and without fight left in you. It’s not something that anyone who hasn’t experienced can understand, and not something that anyone who has would wish on their fiercest enemy.

Not long after that incident I admitted the affair (which had recently, though temporarily ended) to my wife. I no longer felt fit to be a husband and was terrified that I was unfit to be a father. I had reached a point where the complete tearing down of everything I had in my life seemed a viable alternative to how I felt each day. It sounds dramatic but one of the worst aspects of the anxiety-depression combo is that you get anxious about being depressed and depressed about being anxious and then anxious about being depressed, deeper and deeper, darker and darker, until finally everything disappearing seems a better option. Abandoning everything you have because you don’t want it, feel you don’t deserve it or even come to resent it and thus want it all to go away. This is how these diseases take lives. “Despair” is not an adequate description of where it leaves you. In truth, I don’t think there is a word that can do the feeling justice.

I moved out of our home. My wife, obviously and justifiably, was incensed and hurt. I was a mess. I was a thirty-one year old adulterer living with my mother who essentially was looking after me. I hated myself, I hated what I was going through, I hated what I had done and what I had become.

It was the first time in my life that I started questioning the point of being alive. “Suicidal ideation” is the clinical term.

I’m lucky that this was a prompt for me to take action. For too many, it isn’t. Far too many. Having been there it strikes me as such a tragedy that so many people are lost to what are horrible, yet ultimately manageable and treatable conditions.

Side note here: A family member once commented that suicide is the “easy way out”. I hate this view. Hate it. There is nothing -absolutely NOTHING easy about being at such a point that taking your own life becomes viable, or preferable to the mental and emotional pain you feel. The fact that people who make those kind of comments can’t understand that is proof of how foreign a concept it is to a healthy mind. I have nothing but sympathy and empathy for those who have ended their own lives or contemplated it. It is a pure tragedy.

Back to it.

I saw a GP, oddly enough the same GP that first confirmed my wife’s pregnancy. The best description for him was “kind”. Probably only ten years older than me, he sat patiently while I described what I was going through, while I broke down in his office.

He took me through the diagnostic tests for a mental health plan. Unsurprisingly I scored off the charts, displaying every single marker for depression and anxiety. He took me through the results and explained what they indicated.

He simply said “We’ll get you some help, this can be treated”.

He then told me that he had been where I was right now, described his take on some of the feelings I was experiencing, told me that with time and good treatment he had come through it. It surprised me because doctors can be stand-offish at times. It wasn’t a fix but it was the first speck of light at the end of a tunnel I’d been trapped in for months and I am grateful for his generosity in sharing.

He referred me to a psychologist who I was lucky enough to see within a week, and outlined options for medication. Without pressure or suggestion, he explained all of the possible pros and cons. I decided to go ahead with anti-depressants. While I respect any individual’s opinions and decisions on their own treatment, my personal experience with medication was overwhelmingly positive, though I feel because it was in conjunction with good psychological treatment.

My psychologist was amazing. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that she saved my life at that point. I saw her once a fortnight for six months (predominantly the costs were covered under my mental health plan) and after the first two visits my symptoms had eased considerably. I was still experiencing very bad days and bouts of anxiety, but any thoughts of suicide had disappeared altogether, replaced with an inkling of belief that I would come out of this.

She introduced me to mindfulness practice, which a few people have already mentioned. I found it immediately helpful and still use it to this day, particularly lately. What I take most from it is an acceptance that it is ok to feel the way you are feeling, even if you feel like absolute ■■■■. That you are still ok and that there is nothing “wrong” with you for feeling it. It’s the opposite of the depression-anxiety-depression spiral that I described earlier.

She also treated me with EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing. It was explained to me as a similar process to what the brain does when dreaming, or a “defrag for your mind”. I won’t try to explain it here but I found it incredibly cathartic.

Fast forward a few years. I had learned to identify and moderate anxiety to a reasonable level of success. Depression could still come and go but mostly I was just “down” for a few days if it did reappear, never at points as low as the past. I had taken anti-depressants for 12 months before weening myself slowly off them. I was settled, had good access to my son, had recovered my business reasonably well and was doing ok. I had even come through a breakup relatively unscathed. The “other woman”, after the affair ended then left her husband, we restarted the relationship which ended when she left for another guy. (karma, huh?)

All was going well and only got better when I met someone who I thought at the time was the most wonderful creature on god’s green earth. Beautiful, free spirited, intelligent, artistic. We immediately hit it off. I fell madly in love. A good old fashioned “whirlwind romance”, it all seemed too good to be true.

And you know what they say about things that seem too good to be true.

I can’t go in to detail here because it would push this over the million word mark and frankly I still have to protect my mental health when I talk of it.

In summary, she suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder and as I was to later find out, alcoholism, in addition to what I expect were long term effects resulting from heavy drug use earlier in her life.

I was with her for two years, three months of which were bliss. The remainder was a toxic nightmare of manipulation, abuse and mental torture that I was lucky to survive and carry deep scars from to this day.

I’ll have to finish this another time. This stuff is hard to write and is probably the first time I’ve ever traced my issues back to the start.

I’ll finish for now on this though: Talk. Write. Get it out, share. Get help. Try never to believe that things are hopeless and if you feel things going south, act before your ability and will to do so is compromised.

This is a great thread, thanks for reading all of this and I’m here if anyone needs to chat.


#181

Wow.

Thanks.