Anxiety and Depression are fluctuating conditions. Sometimes there may be obvious Triggers that cause bouts of either and at other times there may be no obvious reason.
I have recently experienced extended periods of both issues. The Triggers are not always the main issue of course, that is something that many people mistake.
The point of this article is that when having bouts of Anxiety and Depression many make snap decisions, some life changing. These decisions can be catastrophic and cause more problems. I almost made one such snap decision recently.
This article does focus a lot on me. My Condition, Symptoms and Triggers. Different people have different conditions, Symptoms and Triggers. I mention them in this article simply to be open about the issue. There is no need to have the same ones, no need to compare. The issue of making decisions while in crisis is similar for all regardless of Condition, Symptoms or Triggers.
This article is longer than I intended
It is important for me to say that I have not had any Suicidal Thoughts since 1998. This was an isolated incident and I rang the Samaritans. I spoke to a man with a Southern Irish accent who very easily turned my thoughts. He pointed out how I worried about others and how my death might affect them. He told me I’d never take that step and remembering his words I feel that is true.
There are of course other decisions that someone can make during periods of crisis. I will come to those shortly.
Next I need to mention my Condition and the Symptoms and Triggers involved.
I have Anxiety and Depression. Among my symptoms are Insomnia, Panic Attacks, Mood Swings, Forgetfulness and ‘Dithering’. I also have Anxiety induced Dyslexia, more about that below.
Dithering is a daily symptom of my Depression and is worst when I wake up. I may have trouble realising I need to do things, including get out of bed. This is not a conscious decision to stay in bed, it isn’t laziness – it is the inability to realise I need to do something. It also manifests in getting dressed in the wrong order – I once was fully dressed, including winter coat, ready to leave the house when my son pointed out I wasn’t wearing a shirt. You would imagine the smooth lining of a winter coat next to my skin would be obvious, but no.
Dithering is combated by impetus. I cope better with Dithering on workdays. This is because I HAVE to go to work. I can lose half a day to Dithering very easily when not working.
Triggers include phone-calls from ‘Unknown’ numbers whether withheld or not. I never answer them and have to Google them to ease my Anxiety. Letters addressed to me, even expected ones, unless the address is handwritten.
Even if I expect a letter the stress of receiving it can induce Dyslexia, I won’t understand the letter on first reading and may not be able to read it at all. Sometimes the words will seem to shift on the page; either writhing or spiraling. I sometimes need to ask someone to read the letter to me, I can then understand the words.
For someone who has dealt with forms, letters and a myriad of forms of communication all that is frustrating for me and a surprise to people when I tell them about it.
One of the main problems I face at the moment is a less challenging Day Job than I used to have. I didn’t change duties by choice, nor did my Employer target me for change. It was circumstances alone, my whole office switched duties due to external requirements in the organisation I work for.
My current duties fill my day but are not as complex as any previous job in the past 20+ years. Work used to be somewhere that I saw as a ‘Safe Place’. The reason for this is that the complexity of my job meant that I was so mentally preoccupied I couldn’t dwell on issues that made me Anxious. I could get to work in a distressed state but within an hour have such a busy mind the troubled feelings would recede.
I can still use the Coping Mechanisms at work that I have learnt over the years. These include concentrating on my breathing and moving away from my desk if I have a sudden Mood Swing. Mood Swings need no Trigger, they happen with negative and positive moods. My positive Mood Swings can be very disruptive because I become hyper and VERY talkative. Those Mood Swings need dealing with just as much as the negative ones.
However it is harder, due to the lack of complexity.
Added to this I’ve had problems with my main Coping Mechanism outside work, my Writing. I wrote about this in July. I had difficulty reading Comics, Books and the Internet. I also had severe difficulty Writing. My Anxiety induced Dyslexia was a huge problem, as was maintaining concentration among other problems.
August saw an improvement in this and September was good. However his became a severe problem for me again in November following a decline in October.
On the 29th of November I sent my Son a message on Facebook saying “feel like closing my blog up n stopping writing.” he quickly responded that I’d regret it if I did.
I was at a very low ebb. Being unable to write was unbearable. I write for my own fun. My writing being read and enjoyed by people is obviously very satisfying but I used to just write for myself. This all started in 1977/1978… the two major factors that started me putting my thoughts on paper that year were 2000AD which was launched in February and Star Wars which I saw in December.
It is coincidence that my ability to write returned in mid December I think. Though I was looking forward to The Force Awakens so perhaps in part this was the case.
On the 12th/13th we had our annual family get together for Christmas. My Daughter’s birthday is 8th December and my Mum’s is 16th December so our gathering is always on the weekend in between.
Christmas is a difficult time for many people. Even though I have a lot to be thankful for – two great children, one married with two children and the other engaged – I get very lonely after that get together. Loneliness doesn’t always mean you are alone, it is a feeling. Of course there are many alone at this time of year.
Making decisions when at a low ebb is sometimes required but it is important to try to identify the decisions that need to be made and the best one to make. If a decision really can wait try not to make it when vulnerable.
These periods of vulnerability can lead to choices that someone wouldn’t make at other times. Relationships can be ended rashly. Items thrown away or broken that are cherished. Suicide. Some of these, not least suicide, can sometimes not be taken back.
I got past my rut and I am writing again. I know it will happen again but I hope the fact I wrote this will help me when I go through this low again. To be fair if I had closed my Blog I could have reopened it but not without a little awkwardness.
In vocalising this problem, or in this case putting it in writing for others to read, I hope to excise the issue. I can look back at this and the article in July and think ‘I got through that’. In that way I hope to help myself accept the problem and know that it will end.
If only one person reads this and is able to take some grain from it that helps that is great.
Try not to make any rushed decisions. Being open helps so if you feel able to do so try being open with someone, anyone.