Mental illness and running

I wanted a place where we could get advice and support.

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02/04/2012 at 18:04

I used to have a cupboard in my head where I crammed all the shite of my life. I was too scared to open the cupboard because I knew that everything would fall out in a big heap and I wouldn't be able to controll it.

I had a friend and we were talking she said to me that I was so lucky being able to deal with uncertainty and insecurity. I hadn't thought of it like that. I thought that I was struggling to survive. She opened my eyes, comming at it from a different angle. So I opened the cupboard and let everything out. Maybe I am lucky being able to deal with the chaos or maybe I need it?

I think that I can understand how you feel SOLB when you talk about the tangled mess.

02/04/2012 at 18:19
That's what I was afraid of mouse - that I wouldn't be able to control the brain flow when it all started.
If I ate something I thought wasn't good for ne I had to make up for it, either by exercising or 'giving up' those calories.
I'm in such a different place now. I don't punish myself for breaking my rules, I can sleep at night and even managed to look at pictures of my son when he was in special care. The best bit was telling my therapist that I was scared I was going to die. I've never admitted to being scared about it before. I know I will still find things tough but I've managed to cope with some pretty horrible stuff and i now know people really do care about me.
02/04/2012 at 20:47

I've just read back on the last two pages, as a friend of SOLB's in the mundane and kitchen threads on clubhouse, and have met the lovely woman in real life in a big clod of mud called Sodbury.

TBH I'm a bit lost for words, I had no idea of the scale of what you've been going through SOLB, and am (selfishly) more than a little scared by how much struck a chord.  Can I just ask, having had a total change of life foisted on me by circumstances outside my control - dual redundancy for me and hubby - is it a fair-enough reaction to think "If I do this totally unrealted thing it will be okay vs. it's all gone wrong since I did this unrelated thing"?.  Logically and having studied psychology at university in 1982 (far too long ago to remember anything useful) I think I'm just trying to make sense where none exists, and trying to control things that are outside my control but....

Superstition, first stage OCD or just an understandable reaction to someone who's used to being in control not being able to control big stuff that's happening in life?

Edited: 02/04/2012 at 20:57
02/04/2012 at 21:38

SOLB, sounds like things went well for you. Awesome!

I just wrote quite a long post, then realised it was all rubbish so deleted it. I think it sounds like quite a few of us are very good at judging ourselves rather than just accepting. I've no idea how you accept stuff, I prefer just to swear at myself instead!

Edited: 02/04/2012 at 21:39
02/04/2012 at 22:09
It was talking to folks on these threads last year that helped me recognise my own (well hidden, or so I thought) depression and seek help. Like lots of people who've been through this, I know it's not gone away, it lurks, waiting to pounce, and it feeds on every wobble in my self esteem and all the other stuff that knocks you down in each day.
Though my degree wasn't in psychology, I've studied psychology both and undergraduate and postgraduate level as part of other courses, and yet my own problems slipped under the radar.
And as mouse said, I think we all need that 'other' perspective, whether that comes from talking to other lay people (virtually or in real life) or professionals.
But there will always be differences of opinion within those interactions; from differing professional diagnoses to friends telling you that you are indeed borderline OCD, Hash, to those who'l tell you it's just human nature to interpret and assert control in the situations you've found yourself in.

FWIW I think you are all amazing individuals (I've been lurking on this thread for a while ) - keep talking
02/04/2012 at 22:17
Hi all, new here, but not new to mental health problems; my variety is alcoholism - it's my family illness - and has killed most of my paternal family. Me? I'm quite a few years sober now and don't need to drink anymore and my mental health has never been better.

I've done the tablets, GPs and councillors - but none of that worked for me long term - what did work was finding a spiritual approach to life. Now, without writing a tome, that would be difficult for me to describe what that actually means, but it does not mean I've found 'God' or believe in anything 'woo woo' (though if that's an outcome, go for it).

I think exercise is a piece of the jigsaw of good mental health, along with a regular daily meditation practise and some other stuff.

A really good book to read would be Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn Phd,

He's a psychiatrist that teaches some aspects of Buddhism (Buddhism doesn't just have to be a religion, but is also a psychiatry and/or philosophy) and many psychiatrists take a big interest in it.

Anyway, it's just a suggestion.


02/04/2012 at 22:51

Hash, to ask questions, to want answers, to learn is normal. It only becomes an issue if it becomes morbid, consumes you, exists outside of usual boundaries.

Redundancy and more to the point dual redundancy is a fairly major issue. Some people welcome it, for others it's a shock. There is little that you can do. Companies are not allowed to cherry pick the best to keep. It is usually based on what job you are doing and how long have you been in that job. The bottom line is often - how expensive it is to get rid of you.

Cause and effect is primitive and deeply ingrained in us all. It's the rote of very many religious systems.

You will move on but it will be slow.

02/04/2012 at 23:03
Wow it’s never been so busy here, hello lurkers

I’m glad the tangled mess doesn’t frighten you any more little mouse, I have sent D back with a huge hug for you. (I literally gave him one to pass on for you)

By ‘eck I’ve heard that a lot in various guises; we’re scared to cry cos we might never stop or to think in case it won’t quieten. I suppose it’s natural because it’s all so overwhelming but perhaps the effort involved in holding up the dam is greater than the effort required to pick ourselves up after the ‘stuff’ is released and at least then we don’t have to fight to keep it back anymore. It sounds logical like that, but I’m still not rushing to test the theory!

Hey Hash, I’m kind of pleased you didn’t know the scale of the disaster bits. I’ve been trying to stay positive and lighter elsewhere and to keep the volume down if I can’t resist moaning. People are truly generous and kind but I fear irritating them with a constant stream of my rubbish. After being so worried about not being in control on the other threads I’ve decided I’ll post it all here – that way if people want to read it then they can but if they don’t want to have to listen to the moaning then they don’t have to.

I’ve been pretending to be OK all evening, have just burst into some rather spectacular tears but it’s time for a cuppa and the remaining half of the easter egg is probably feeling pretty lonely.

I agree with what Frodo said re different people having different opinions on whether what you describe is likely to be problematic or not. Of course if you’re worried then having a chat with your doc would make sense. FWIW I think you’ve been under an awful lot of pressure for a really long time and that you must have felt out of control and helpless especially where your lovely hubby is concerned. I think that it’s fairly natural to hang on to anything, no matter how silly, that might help … how many people actually touch wood when they say it, or start looking a bit anxious if they can’t find any? My little sister taps the top of a coke can before opening it in the belief that it’ll stop it fizzing everywhere. I know lots of people that press the lock button twice on the car remote as they walk away etc etc. I think it becomes problematic when it consumes other areas of your life. If it makes you feel better to perform a silly ritual in the belief that it might be good luck then it’s not really a bad thing (plenty of professional sports people do it) it’s just when you don’t have time for other areas of your life or feel so afraid that failure to complete the tasks in the right way will cause a disaster. I’m rambling a bit there’s some info here from a better authority than me

Whatever happens, we love you and we’re all cross about the hand that life has dealt the two of you lately. It’s hard but you are both wonderful people and it will get better.

Edited: 02/04/2012 at 23:05
02/04/2012 at 23:03
Ben-o I often delete my rubbish posts. I was tempted to delete the OCD rambling above and just leave the link in but I’ve decided that it was full of love rambling so it should stay even if it should probably be administered with a pinch of salt.

You are right acceptance would be so much easier but it’s impossible not to berate yourself – swearing is nawty though – I will put you on the naughty step then give you a hug, I don’t like the Ben-o that has been perched on my friend Ben-o’s shoulder swearing at him so he's staying on the nawty step too.

Hey Frodo, I wondered whether the black dog was prowling around you while you were feeling so overwhelmed with work, marathon training and stuff. I think the ‘other’ perspective is sometimes just someone patient and non-judgemental who can listen to us without the bullying and without repeating the same negative, self critical and catastrophic thought over and over again. The best piece of advice I was ever forced to listen to was; judge/treat yourself as you would a friend in the same situation as you are in now. It’s true we really do judge ourselves so harshly, expect so much and judge so much. I would never ever be as unkind to other people as I am to myself.

Hi Easy.Does.It. kudos indeed for the sobriety that’s an awesome achievement and I can’t imagine the battles you’ve been through to get here today. I’ve come across Jon Kabat-Zinn before with his Mindfulness approach. It’s a phenomenal concept. Sadly I can’t be mindful because my present is too wretched and it leads me to more pain than I can endure in that moment but I adore the philosophy – the idea that we should try to be in that one present moment not tortured by the past or anxious about the future but right there in that moment feeling whatever we are feeling and just living is incredible. If anyone is interested I’ve got a book about it (and a CD) that I could send them – I was advised to stop using it cos I don’t tolerate it very well but I know everyone else that did the course with me felt relaxed and more at peace. It’s very much recommended by the mental health professional in psychological therapies. I’ll check out your book too Easy. (I mean it about the book I have, PM me if it'd be useful)

I’m tired out and feeling a bit blue so I think I’d better beetle off to bed – it’s really nice to see this place so chatty. Much love to you all – we’ll get there, somehow
03/04/2012 at 00:19
Solb posted:

"Sadly I can’t be mindful because my present is too wretched and it leads me to more pain than I can endure in that moment but I adore the philosophy – the idea that we should try to be in that one present moment not tortured by the past or anxious about the future but right there in that moment feeling whatever we are feeling and just living is incredible."

Thanks for the reply, but the book will bang on about mindfullness and meditation; so don't buy it if it's not your cup-of-tea. But this guy ran the first Mindfullness Based Stress Reduction classes, and it's now mainstream psychotherapy; I've got a friend whose had mindfullness lessons via the NHS because she's suffering with MS.

However, I'm taught - and it is my experience - that we can always handle the present moment. Fear/anxiety is normally future based. One teaching I remember hearing is that even if a bear were to attack us and bite us, we can always handle that 'current bite', it's the fear of where the bear will bite us next, or what's it going to be like dying that is the real problem.

I bet when you typed that post about being wretched, you were warm, not hungry and physically comfortable; the only problem (I'm guessing) is based in the 'thinking'.

Thinking is a real bugger; I used to do a lot of 'drinking thinking'; thinking kills (the wrong sort).

I mean as soon as we wake up in the morning, we're almost driven out of bed by our thinking; we're taking out the rubbish but we're thinking about something else. We think of all the possible outcomes of a situation and it causes anxiety. Negative feelings create intentions (such as an intention to drink if you're an alkie), which lead to actions - stuff we do to distract ourselves; shopping, ebay, chocolate; you name it.

And you will have been mindfull, but not realised it. During sex, or listening closely to some music; when you're engrossed in an activity and you're with it 100% - this is mindfulness. Doing one thing, being with that one thing, to the exclusion of our future thinking worries. Normally, we bring our attention into our bodies and just experience how we're feeling without the thinking that goes with it. I even do this at red traffic lights; I use them as 'bells of mindfulness' (reminders); transforming something negative (red traffic lights) into something quite positive; or neutral at least.

This doesn't mean we shouldn't plan for the future; it just means we're smarter with our 'thinking'. We take a rest from it.

One thing I've found with mindfulness and meditation is that it takes some practise; it's not been a 'quick fix' for me like drinking was. And there's a heck of a lot of science involved with meditation and mindfullness these days. Neuroscience has found meditation can really alter the physical structure of our brains in a positive way. Google for science and meditation; there's a lot of study because of improvements with MRI scans.

Anyway, I'm doing my 'foaming at the mouth' meditation spiel here; apologies.

If you've any questions about meditation or mindfulness, I could try to help. But it's not 'woo woo' and there's a wealth of scientific evidence that shows it really works.
03/04/2012 at 04:03
SOLB wrote (see)
Ben-o I often delete my rubbish posts. I was tempted to delete the OCD rambling above and just leave the link in but I’ve decided that it was full of love rambling so it should stay

I'm very glad you didn't delete it, it's given me a lot of food for thought.  Frodo and Mouse too, thanks you lovely lot xx

03/04/2012 at 07:18

There's so much I'd like to say but cant and lots of time i've written on here and had to delete it. I've been depressed and suicidal before. As Mouse said - and was correct for me - it's all about getting another perspective that made me realise some very basic things - i didnt want to die, i had something more to live for. I went into counselling for a while and they taught me some 'tricks' to see the beauty in every day but I still struggle.

This is nothing in comparison to all of you... I feel humbled to read all of your messages - you are truly an amazing bunch of strong people.

03/04/2012 at 09:00

I like that you think of us as friends SOLB, that's lovely. Thank you.

EDI, you clearly love your mindfulness. When I've tried I have found it really hard to do, but I think reading (for me at least) about the 7 pillars and just focusing on stuff has helped. I suppose I've been lucky in that I've never taken many of my thoughts seriously (I mean, I think about killing someone at least everyday, it does mean I'm ever going to harm anyone though). 

I really like the compassion stuff as well, though again I find that hard to do. I follow the Dalai Lama on twitter and tell myself this is much the same as being mindful and compassionate but I don't think it is!

Emmy_bug, I think it's interesting that you compare yourself to everyone else and say we're denigrate your experiences. I think all of us do that, comparisons are really unhelpful. None of us can truly know what anyone else has experienced and lived through, so the Dalai Lama would say something about accepting everyone and ourselves and bein compassionate towards others (though he'd say it a lot better than I would).

Have a good day guys!

03/04/2012 at 12:09
I love the idea of everyone always being able to handle the present moment and it’s true to a point, no one spontaneously combusts but some people do need different coping strategies (including distraction etc) to endure that moment. I’ll remain a little sceptical about the bear's bite – it’s arguable that at the point the pain of the bears bite peaks the only way to handle that present moment is to come out of the present moment and trust it will pass.

I think you need to be a little careful about statements like this one

“I bet when you typed that post about being wretched, you were warm, not hungry and physically comfortable; the only problem (I'm guessing) is based in the 'thinking'.”

I'd be wary of undermining someone else’s experience (with good intentions), wretched is still wretched regardless of the cause. Mindfulness is a wonderful concept but it doesn’t cure everything. You can be warm, not hungry and comfortable and still be subject to enormous emotional pain – lying on the grass on a summer’s day while someone submits you to verbal abuse is possible. It’s not the past or the future that’s the problem there it’s the emotional pain caused in that moment – in that scenario tuning in to the present moment may be helpful but equally it may not be helpful. I sound a bit defensive, I don’t really mean to. There’s no malice behind what I’m saying, I agree with Mindfulness and actually I’ve recommended it to plenty of people but I’m wary of thinking any one solution fits all scenarios – there aren’t any magic wands.

I have been mindful both intentionally and unintentionally, in all honesty I’ve done the course your friend did (and took part in a group once a week for 12 months). I embraced the concept and I still use it in limited circumstances but it has a tendency to increase my distress for lots of reasons and therefore the team from Psychological Therapies and I felt that we had to improve the present moment before we focussed on it.

I like that you’re so passionate about it, and I really do agree to a point. I know that it’s been found to be so powerful that it’s increasingly being incorporated into other therapeutic approaches from chronic pain right the way through to treatment resistant depression. It’s absolutely wonderful and always worth a shot.

That’s good Hash, talk about it darling. If you’re worried we’ll listen, we might not always know the answer but we can at least offer a supportive, loving space for you to organise your own thoughts. It’s so silly that with all things mental and emotional we feel it needs to reach crisis point before it’s OK to discuss it even though we’d quite happily talk about niggly knees etc with anyone that’ll stand still long enough to listen. You don't have to do it all by yourself, you have people that truly care how you are feeling.
03/04/2012 at 12:10

Hey Emmy, sorry you didn’t write when you’d wanted to. Glad the counselling helped with the ‘tricks’ for getting by. I really believe that struggling doesn’t mean we’re failing it shows how hard we’re fighting. There is no comparison between us all, you’re part of the bunch of strong people too - I think that all our experiences are valid and that the pain is relative to how hurt we feel. There isn’t an external mark that means X persons suffering is greater than Y’s when it comes to mental illness. In my experience my most painful, difficult experiences are focussed around trying to survive depression. I hurt more when I am depressed than when I’m psychotic. It always makes me sad when people say they’ve ‘just been depressed’ as though it’s not as valid somehow. Suffering is suffering and bravery is always bravery whether you have been battling against something other people can see or against something other people can’t.

I do indeed think of you as friends Ben-o, you guys accept me for who I truly am even though you see my worst bits. You make me laugh and we support each other. Sounds like friendship to me. The Dalai Lama didn’t offer me any advice about accepting everyone inc ourselves and being compassionate but luckily my friend Ben-o managed to express it himself

I’m waiting for the Crisis Team to come and not help me very much – I wonder whether they’ll wave their magic wands and make everything better if I offer them a biscuit? (I do feel a bit better today to be fair)

I really must stop writing such long rambling posts - my internal filters aren't as firmly in place as the normally would be so I can't promise any of what I've said makes sense or is even remotely relevant - it's more a stream of consciousness than a reasoned debate
seren nos    pirate
03/04/2012 at 12:32
Just popped in to see how things were going.....hope all goes well with the crisis team.....

my thoughts are with you all....I am lucky that I have had a good few years now..aware that that state can change at any time.......but i would never have believed 10 years ago that I could be this good and free from it all......

take care all
03/04/2012 at 12:37
Aww you really are a little ray of sunshine seren - thanks for the hope
gingerfurball    pirate
03/04/2012 at 13:04
I've just read the last couple of pages and I feel far too inarticulate to express my real thoughts...(I've just deleted the next sentence 4 times...see! inarticulate!!) but just want to come in and pass on love and hugs to SOLB and the others who are in pain.

I come from a family with mental health problems....both my parents have been sectioned at various times in their lives. I've felt the misery and insecurity of not knowing if they were going to get better...both did thank God...I believe it contributed to the massive insecurity and low self esteem I've struggled with all my life.

I was always quite blasé about my own mental health...until 4 years ago when I fell apart in a spectacular way...with massive anxiety issues and overwhelming loss of security. I fought my way back from that (without medical help - I think my experiences with my parents put me off that) but still anxiety raises it's ugly head every so often and I have to work really hard again.

I used to have no sympathy for people who said they had "panic attacks" I used to think they should just catch themselves on - till it happened to me and at the time I honestly thought I was going to die. Suffice it to say I have every sympathy now!!

Lots of love
03/04/2012 at 13:10

wish i had lots of love

i'm just a poor boy, no body cares

03/04/2012 at 13:40
Thanks for the love and hugs
Having your parents sectioned must have been awful darling, I know when I was on the ward for a while my mother found visiting me traumatic (she threw up when she left) can’t imagine how much worse the whole process must have been when it’s the other way around – especially as the level of difficulties they faced and therefore unintentionally foisted on you must have been so acute. (((GFB))) Not surprised you didn’t feel particularly keen to get medical help given your history, though for any worried lurkers GPs etc actually don’t tend to overreact to anxiety, depression etc and are extremely unlikely to section anyone even if they are suicidal or having full blown panic attacks etc.
Panic attacks sound horrendous GFB, I’ve heard that before about feeling you were going to die – is it literal? I’d always thought it was figurative but it’s just occurred to me it might actually be a literal fear of dying. Either way it must be horrendously frightening even without worrying about whether you're going mad on top of it.
The most supportive, sympathetic and wonderful people I’ve ever met are people that have also suffered on some level too.
Errr how poor is poor Mick? I’ll sell you some love …. Errrr …. No hang on I’d better re-phrase that …. Can’t even offer to share the love now!!
I’m feeling weird. Feeling a bit less inclined to jumping off bridges has made me feel a bit shocked about how many seconds were between me and not me. I’m starting to wonder if part of me is so cross about the shoddy treatment of the police cos I was so cross at them for being there at all. Not sure whether I should be pursuing a complaint now if it’s just me being angry about something I have no right to be angry about even if I can justify it with the genuinely bad treatment.
I need to stop thinking and get out for a bimble or something - have got the start of a cold so probably not the best time to try to get back to running but I think it would probably be very useful.
Lots of love micknphil! x
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