19 votes

Hi, how are you? Mental health support and discussion thread (December 2021)

This is a monthly thread for those who need it. Vent, share your experiences, ask for advice, talk about how you are doing. Let's make this a compassionate space for all who may need one.

24 comments

  1. [5]
    lou
    Link
    Hard to say, but I'll try! The indications that I might be on the autism spectrum (most likely aspergers) are getting more intense and uncomfortable each day. This is like a shadow looming over...

    Hard to say, but I'll try!

    The indications that I might be on the autism spectrum (most likely aspergers) are getting more intense and uncomfortable each day. This is like a shadow looming over me, getting closer and closer. I found a mental health professional in my area which seems qualified on autism in adults, but I'm frozen with fear. If he confirms my suspicions, I'll have this bombastic new information to process, leading me to reframe numerous life events and my very identity. If he does not confirm my suspicion, I'll be back to back to square one, with a bunch of scattered symptoms, a nameless mess of frustrations and inadequacies that prevent me from going forward in life.

    Right now I'm paralyzed, in many senses of the word.

    8 votes
    1. [2]
      FirstTiger
      Link Parent
      I hope by meeting with this mental health professional you do gain some clarity over your possible status on the spectrum. I can't entirely speak to your experience as an undiagnosed adult, but...

      I hope by meeting with this mental health professional you do gain some clarity over your possible status on the spectrum. I can't entirely speak to your experience as an undiagnosed adult, but when I was diagnosed with Asperger's I was well past the age when the diagnosis should have happened. I had previously been diagnosed with Tourettes syndrome, which looking back really didn't make sense. Getting the autism diagnosis brought about a paradigm shift to my life- it finally explained why I had drastic deficits in some areas and unexpected strengths in others, and I could have the relief to know I wasn't "just crazy" after all.

      As an adult, and having had time to integrate that knowledge about myself into my life, getting diagnosed has made things easier overall. I wouldn't say now it's a critical part of my personal identity (because no one should be boiled down to just their diagnoses), so if you were concerned that getting diagnosed would mean that's "who you ARE," know that in no way does it have to absolutely define you. What's important is if the knowledge brings you peace and the means to move forward in your life.

      If you do get an autism spectrum diagnosis, it may be a lot to process, but do know you're not the only one out there! There's a whole big group of people who can very easily relate to your struggles. If you don't, I hope this professional will be able to help you make sense of your symptoms & be able to guide you in a direction that edifies you.

      5 votes
      1. lou
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Thanks, Tiger! I'm not even sure why I'm anxious. I don't really care if I'll get a new stamp on my body, I just wanna know, you know? Thank you for sharing your experience with me. I think having...

        Thanks, Tiger!

        I'm not even sure why I'm anxious. I don't really care if I'll get a new stamp on my body, I just wanna know, you know?

        Thank you for sharing your experience with me. I think having a diagnosis can help understand one's identity in such a way that you're not a prisoner of your symptoms anymore, maybe? You're able to draw the line.

        3 votes
    2. [2]
      Magical_Stardust
      Link Parent
      Hey good luck with your assessment. Remember if one doctor says no you can always get a second opinion (if in the US). I was recently diagnosed with ADHD which has been profoundly helpful in...

      Hey good luck with your assessment. Remember if one doctor says no you can always get a second opinion (if in the US). I was recently diagnosed with ADHD which has been profoundly helpful in addressing areas I have struggled with in my life. My therapist thinks I may have some nuerodivergent stuff beyond ADHD but it's not severe enough to warrant an assessment. If your female it may be helpful to find a provider who understands the differences in expression of autism spectrum in females. Otherwise if you do find out it's not autism spectrum you can keep advocating until you find something that fits. Good luck

      4 votes
      1. lou
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Thank you for answering. I'm not female but I'm old. Most professionals don't seem to have any experience diagnosing adults. I don't really know which result I expect or want, but I found a...

        Thank you for answering.

        I'm not female but I'm old. Most professionals don't seem to have any experience diagnosing adults. I don't really know which result I expect or want, but I found a neuropsychologist that seems smart and qualified enough. I looked through his academics, read part of his master thesis and watched a recording of him presenting a seminar. Sent him an email this morning. Let's see if it works out.

        3 votes
  2. [9]
    Codo_Sapien
    Link
    I am mentally exhausted. I wake up, get the kids ready for school and drop them off, go to work (mostly virtually, rarely in-person), deal with family life until 8-9, then "unwind" (mostly Netflix...

    I am mentally exhausted.

    I wake up, get the kids ready for school and drop them off, go to work (mostly virtually, rarely in-person), deal with family life until 8-9, then "unwind" (mostly Netflix or gaming), and then go to bed anywhere between 10:30-1am.

    On weekends, I just kind of... exist until Monday.

    I guess you could say I'm feeling burnt out?

    8 votes
    1. [5]
      vegai
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I was about to write something almost exactly like your text but figured that it's too gen X to be interesting. Although I kinda feel that the "just existing" part ranges from monday to friday and...

      I was about to write something almost exactly like your text but figured that it's too gen X to be interesting. Although I kinda feel that the "just existing" part ranges from monday to friday and in the weekend I get to be a human person for a while.

      At times I notice that I just cannot be present during the evening. If I'm with the kids, I prefer to put on headphones rather than deal with whatever's happening. I used to say that every day contains at least one instance of screaming, most usually from the youngest kids. Now I think it's every hour. I have older kids too, so I know all that goes away at some point. But it's there now. I really dislike the screaming. If I ever hear anyone lament that this period of life went too fast, I feel like screaming.

      I'm an introvert and in IT so all these corona lockdown stuff didn't matter to me much. But I think it's finally starting to.

      And then there's the darkness and cold. Sun rises at 9:15, goes down at 14:55. Most usually it's behind cloud cover.

      6 votes
      1. [3]
        Codo_Sapien
        Link Parent
        Oh yeah, the screaming is the worst. I have a 5 and 6 year old, and it's so much screaming. And I feel like I can do nothing about it but wait them out. It makes me feel like such a crappy parent...

        Oh yeah, the screaming is the worst. I have a 5 and 6 year old, and it's so much screaming. And I feel like I can do nothing about it but wait them out. It makes me feel like such a crappy parent that I just don't have the energy to come up with a better solution.

        To me, the weekend "kind of just happens", where I'm trying to referee the kids while trying to get caught up on whatever cleaning I dropped during the week (most of it). I can also attest the weather changes don't really help.

        I'm a software engineer, not IT, but we both like our quiet, ha.

        6 votes
        1. [2]
          lou
          Link Parent
          I'm not a parent. I'd like to thank you and @vegai for being candid and realistic about a negative aspect of parenting. It's sometimes overwhelming how everything on the subject is polarized, as...

          I'm not a parent. I'd like to thank you and @vegai for being candid and realistic about a negative aspect of parenting. It's sometimes overwhelming how everything on the subject is polarized, as if having kids was either eternal bliss or raising the Antichrist. No middle ground.

          9 votes
          1. Codo_Sapien
            Link Parent
            Absolutely! I'm always willing to provide my experience as a counter to the hyperbole of parenting. I love my boys, even if they add to my tinnitus every day!

            Absolutely! I'm always willing to provide my experience as a counter to the hyperbole of parenting.

            I love my boys, even if they add to my tinnitus every day!

            6 votes
      2. Codo_Sapien
        Link Parent
        Lol, I totally missed this part - I'm a mid-vintage millennial. I just got married early and had the first kid at 25. I blame the Evangelical Midwestern upbringing for making me sound, think, and...

        I was about to write something almost exactly like your text but figured that it's too gen X to be interesting.

        Lol, I totally missed this part - I'm a mid-vintage millennial. I just got married early and had the first kid at 25.

        I blame the Evangelical Midwestern upbringing for making me sound, think, and feel older than I actually am - I'm 32, but I don't feel it when I consider the kids/marriage/career modifiers!

        5 votes
    2. [3]
      nobody
      Link Parent
      Probably I'm not the best person to give advice on the matter, but have you considered planning something different for the weekend? I don't know, something to look forward to. Perhaps it's...

      Probably I'm not the best person to give advice on the matter, but have you considered planning something different for the weekend? I don't know, something to look forward to. Perhaps it's obvious, but "existing" by itself doesn't seem fun at all.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        Codo_Sapien
        Link Parent
        We do things on the weekend from time to time, but our default is to try to get caught up on housework and sleep. I have thought about this comment for a few days, and I realize I make it to the...

        We do things on the weekend from time to time, but our default is to try to get caught up on housework and sleep.

        I have thought about this comment for a few days, and I realize I make it to the weekends without any energy to plan something fun. Maybe I'll try to plan something during next week.

        5 votes
        1. beanie
          Link Parent
          Yeah, @codo_sapien and @vegai, y'all sound really burnt out. I'm sorry. If I can add, it makes me feel bad that you think you're "too gen X" to post anything. I think the idea of being "too gen x"...

          Yeah, @codo_sapien and @vegai, y'all sound really burnt out. I'm sorry.

          If I can add, it makes me feel bad that you think you're "too gen X" to post anything. I think the idea of being "too gen x" and feeling "burnt out" from parenting might be related. I think it has to do with the idea of feeling irrelevant/ unimportant, hence you focus on the youth or your children instead of your own needs. (The idea of feeling "too old" or "unimportant" stems from marketing campaigns targeting youth, but that's a whole other story).

          I'm no parent, although, I was parentified as a child. I didn't have the stress of work (only school) or the full financial responsibility of taking care of a child, so please feel free to take what I'm saying with a grain of salt. I have no idea what you guys are going through.

          Something I'd like to suggest: if you take care of yourself, your children might start seeing you as a separate human being from them and not as their personal ______ [insert service role; examples include, but are not limited to: chauffeur, chef, maid, etc.]. And then they might start respecting your time, energy, and personal space. Depending on the age of your children, why not have a family meeting/ heart-to-heart. Tell them what (mommy/ daddy/ guardian) are feeling right now. How you love them, would do anything for them, and need a little "me" or "quiet" time from XX:XX - YY:YY to continue being your best version of mommy/ daddy/ guardian. Or, while they are screaming, ask them to respect the quiet/ inside area, that the space doesn't only belong to them. One gets frustrated from time to time, are there any better ways to express your anger/ frustration, little Billy? Maybe we can draw how we feel, or journal, how does that sound? (hence guiding them through emotional regulation). Ask if they can handle the situation on their own or if you need to get involved before getting involved. "Are you able to handle this one on your own or would you like some assistance/ extra help?".

          Additionally, showing them that you have boundaries might help them recognize their own and can help them in their future relationships. Children mimic the relationships they grew up in. You can set them up for success and less of that "burned out" feeling (which can seem inevitable when you're a parent - it's a lot of responsibility).

          And, maybe ask yourself, if I was a kid, if I was my own child, what would I want to do for myself. Then, do it. Maybe that way it won't feel so hard to plan things for yourself. You can start off with something passive, like baths, face masks, saunas, candle lighting, star gazing, meditation, ordering food for yourself (and only yourself - the good stuff), or just plain ol' Netflix/Hulu/what-have-you. Then, when that burned out feeling gets a little less, you can reach for some more active activities, like hiking, biking, gardening, whatever. Make it the thing you want. And active hobbies are not any more valuable than passive ones. A good bubble bath can go a long way.

          Anyway, please, again, take what I said with a grain of salt. If none of what I said works, I apologize for wasting your time.

          Wishing you rest.

          5 votes
  3. soks_n_sandals
    Link
    It's been a rough weekend. My wife's mother was in the hospital the last few weeks, and her health began to rapidly decline on Wednesday. On Thursday, my wife flew home, and I drove 20 straight...

    It's been a rough weekend. My wife's mother was in the hospital the last few weeks, and her health began to rapidly decline on Wednesday. On Thursday, my wife flew home, and I drove 20 straight hours alone to rush and meet her at home. We got a call from the hospital at 4am Friday, just a few hours after I arrived, and they urged us to come immediately since she took a quick downturn. She died a few hours after we arrived at the hospital. My wife and her siblings did everything the could to bring some humanity back to their mother for her passing. It was beautiful, but in the beauty is unfathomable pain.

    My wife and I just got married. It hasn't even been two months. The doctors were confident that her mother would get better. But she just kept declining with one thing after the next. We're only 25. She was just 69. It feels awful and sudden and unfair and so raw. We were so excited for Christmas and to celebrate as a recently united family, and now we are fighting back waves of grief and leaning heavily on each other. We are doing our best to support their father through this, since he is having a very tough time.

    My wife and I are deeply grateful we arrived when we did. The entire experience felt very spiritual.

    However, The drive was miserable. My wife called during the drive to tell me they were discussing end of life plans, and it was an incredible amount to process while in solitude. I felt so isolated. Adding to the hard emotions, my best friend had promised to be available by phone if I needed anything, but blew me off because her boyfriend was having a weird mood. Just a text to say she couldn't talk would've been nice. But it really hurt me that in the one time I really, really needed her she wasn't there. I'm not sure when or how I'll address it, since I'm sure she knows she did me dirty, but I don't want to scold her, you know?

    Anyway, it's been a hell of a few days.

    8 votes
  4. 0d_billie
    Link
    Coming and going. My partner and I split up a couple of weeks ago. It was definitely the right decision, because we were making each other miserable, and couldn't ever find a way to communicate...

    Coming and going. My partner and I split up a couple of weeks ago. It was definitely the right decision, because we were making each other miserable, and couldn't ever find a way to communicate effectively. But knowing that it's for the best doesn't soften the crushing sense of loneliness that I'm feeling right now. I can feel myself slipping back into depressive habits, and I'm struggling to summon the willpower to avoid them. I'm seeking solitude rather than the company of friends, eating poorly, staying up far too late (as evidenced by my typing this at nearly 4am), not looking after the house, ignoring my studies, spending far too much money, and so on and so forth. I need to find a way to get a grip, but for the life of me I can't figure out how.

    7 votes
  5. [3]
    Magical_Stardust
    Link
    For some reason I'm feeling very alone and isolated the past couple weeks. The holidays are hard because of trauma memory stuff, minor health issues and I'm feeling pretty sad and more anxious...

    For some reason I'm feeling very alone and isolated the past couple weeks. The holidays are hard because of trauma memory stuff, minor health issues and I'm feeling pretty sad and more anxious tbh. My first semester of advanced education is almost finished which I'm super proud of but yeah I'm struggling in myriad of ways, but I'll get through it.

    6 votes
    1. [2]
      lou
      Link Parent
      For many people, Holidays are a time of introspection and pain. I hope you know that you're not entirely alone, I am here listening to you. Hope you're well!

      For many people, Holidays are a time of introspection and pain. I hope you know that you're not entirely alone, I am here listening to you. Hope you're well!

      5 votes
  6. meatrocket
    Link
    It's been a long few months getting treatment and a long few years dealing with my symptoms, but after jumping through all hypothyroidism and sleep apnea hoops, I have an appointment with a...

    It's been a long few months getting treatment and a long few years dealing with my symptoms, but after jumping through all hypothyroidism and sleep apnea hoops, I have an appointment with a psychiatrist next week to discuss medication options and get me a antidepressant/anti-anxiety prescription. My therapist even works in the same office, and she's let the psych know some of my background and symptoms ahead of time to streamline that process for me somewhat.

    In addition, applying some of the things my therapist has recommended has been helpful. I'm immensely hard on myself constantly over even the tiniest things. She's helped me to recognize when those thoughts are intruding and to give them a "name" so I can mentally distance myself from them while acknowledging that they're part of who I am and I just have to work with that.

    Another big weight off my shoulders has been securing a full-time job after graduation. I'll be doing software development with an international company, and the office is in the city I'm already going to university in. The salary isn't huge but it's enough for the area and for me living alone. I've been looking at some nice apartments within walking distance of the office that even give rent discounts for people working with that company. The people seem nice, and even if it sucks, it's my first real job after undergrad, and I can only go up from there.

    5 votes
  7. [3]
    Basil
    Link
    Not doing the best. I had a panic attack for the first time in basically 2 years, which has caused an incredibly unpleasant night for me. details, discussing getting pretty sick, kind of NSFL...

    Not doing the best. I had a panic attack for the first time in basically 2 years, which has caused an incredibly unpleasant night for me.

    details, discussing getting pretty sick, kind of NSFL stuff

    I think I definitely have some kind of phobia to getting sick and vomiting.

    warning you again, quite disgusting stuff ahead I was going to bed this night, feeling a bit queasy, but thinking that it was mostly just some stuck gas or something. After lying in bed for some time, I started getting very anxious for some reason, even though I have just been passing some gas really, nothing serious. Some time later, already trembling like stupid, I got up to go to the bathroom, and had some partly diarrhea like poop. Still, this mostly calmed me down, because everything was kind of over. I was sad that I had a panic attack again after such a long time, so I messaged a friend and told him to somehow force me to go to therapy, because this is not normal.

    But everything wasn't over. I was still having a panic attack, that just kept getting worse for a long time. The first time I had a panic attack a few years ago, my parents called an ambulance for me. That was probably understandable, as I was vomiting, crying, trembling inhumanly, breathing stupidly. Everything basically out of nowhere and they never saw anything like this, and nor did I. I legitimately thought I was going to die. This time, I already knew what was happening, and I knew I won't die, but was just unable to calm down at all despite all my efforts. And everything was repeating again. Following, I had diarrhea, vomited, somehow cleaned up, went back to bed, still panicking very hard, and after some time repeated everything again. At one time, I was even vomiting and having diarrhea at literally the same time. After what felt like at least a few hours I was feeling utterly powerless, without any energy, pleading the universe to let this be over already. The cycle happened so many times, that at the end there was basically nothing more to get out. I didn't understand how it could be possibly going on for such a long time, I thought that my body had to have tired itself out much much earlier from freaking out so much.

    The next day was spent mostly trying to sleep, drink a lot and eat some very diet food. I was mostly ok by the next night. I have no idea what was actually wrong with me. Was it started by food poisoning? By some very short lived illness? Was it all caused by the panic attack? I have no idea, really. I just hope it will be at least a few years before I have to experience anything even remotely close to this again.

    Now I am pretty much fully ok, I don't even think I lost too much weight. The sad thing is that during that whole ordeal, I was somehow thinking that after this is done, I would somehow finally work towards change, fix everything bothering me, prevent this from happening again, or at least get well prepared. Like some phoenix, reborn from diarrhea and vomit. Of course, that didn't happen.

    When I looked at my messages, two days after sending the message to my friend, I saw that he wrote me some nice messages, and sent me some links to therapists that a friend of his recommended. Very nice, but I am already ignoring everything he wrote a few days later. As always. I will just pretend nothing has happened. I kind of wish he literally booked an appointment with a therapist for me and dragged me there, but that is also very unreasonable. Why should he need to do that, when a normal person can just book an appointment by themselves. He is also dealing with a lot of stressful stuff, so why should he have to make his life worse by having to deal with me.

    I am sorry if you read this.

    After all that, everything is basically back to business as usual for me.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      imperialismus
      Link Parent
      Aww, that's awful. My sister has a phobia against vomiting... I remember as a child she would be reduced to a trembling, weeping mess even by minor nauesa. I don't understand the particular phobia...

      Aww, that's awful. My sister has a phobia against vomiting... I remember as a child she would be reduced to a trembling, weeping mess even by minor nauesa. I don't understand the particular phobia - to me, nausea and vomiting is deeply unpleasant but doesn't generate panic - but I can appreciate the sentiment. I've experienced panic attacks for other reasons.

      I guess my question to you is, what is the reason why you don't seek help? You say you wish your friend had booked you an appointment, and recognize you need help, but you don't want to do it yourself. What is preventing you from seeking help?

      6 votes
      1. Basil
        Link Parent
        I am just very stuck. I wanted to try therapy for years already, and many times looked up therapists nearby, but I always find some minor thing. For example, I don't do it because I don't want to...

        I am just very stuck. I wanted to try therapy for years already, and many times looked up therapists nearby, but I always find some minor thing. For example, I don't do it because I don't want to make a phone call, get scared that I would actually have to pay for it, just random stupid minor stuff. Some time ago I looked at therapists available through my university and saw that it was very hassle free, just choose a time slot online and that is basically it. The only problem is that the first available time slot was in 3 months, so I again instead just decided that I don't want to bother with it.

        I feel stuck in a loop -- again and again I realize that I am unhappy with things in my life, think about trying to change things, maybe send some desperate messages asking for help into the internet void, or even actually send them to my friends. But after some time I realize that it would take too much effort and that I am actually kind of happy with the status quo, just doing everything I need to do, keeping on top of all responsibilities. After all, if I just do everything I need to, focus on my studies, get a good job, I'll have a good life ahead of me. I have realized this a few years ago and considering that I still haven't done anything real to change things, it just seems I won't ever change anything.

        I guess if I am already writing I'll vent a bit about the fact that I had another panic attack a week ago. I woke up at night incredibly sweaty, feeling nauseous and started panicking immediately. I got really worried that it will become a regular thing now and that I am actually sick somehow. But somehow, after sitting next to the toilet for quite a long time I managed not to vomit and I just calmed down and after a bit just went back to sleep. I am really glad it ended so ok.

        Thank you for responding to me, I really appreciate it.

        3 votes
  8. CALICO
    Link
    In a very short time I've gone from: more than three decades on this Earth thinking I was a bit odd, but mostly "normal"; to finding out not only do I have ADHD pretty hardcore, but I score pretty...

    In a very short time I've gone from: more than three decades on this Earth thinking I was a bit odd, but mostly "normal"; to finding out not only do I have ADHD pretty hardcore, but I score pretty high on the RAADS-R. Not "the" high score, but a high score (this is a WIP with my doc). Probable Asperger's.
    Six months ago, I'd never even suspected.

    I'm having a lot of emotions about it. None of them are despair or anything, and a lot of myself suddenly makes a lot of sense. Doing a lot of reading right now.
    But I'm very frustrated I'm only finding out now. Just having this language and context has given me so many new tools to modify how I interact with the world.

    I could have avoided hurting some people I love very deeply if I had these tools years ago.

    Communication is hard; hearts are fragile.


    It's just weird nobody in my life noticed before. Apparently I've got an aptitude for masks (learned that term just the other day). Like, outside of an Adderall script, what do I do with this information? I've managed to forge myself into a useful person already, so I guess it's more about personal understanding and interpersonal interactions.

    Curious road ahead 🚶

    4 votes