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What do I say?

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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

A friend sent this photo to me to show support for what has been happening lately. I guess the big question after a blog like the last one is, what do I say? I am seeing a therapist finally and we have made some good gains. While this is not the only reason why things are happening the way they are but I felt to put this out there in case if anyone else is having the same problem.

My shift work schedule has played a big role in my depression. It is predictable. I might be going along ok then my swing to night shift happens and pow, almost with Swiss watch dependability, I start having problems.

#1) I spend 7 days straight in total darkness either resting in a blacked out room or on the job.

#2) In an attempt to not mess up my sleep time because the times I CAN rest are so unpredictable, I dont interact very much with others, family etc...

#3) The disruption in my body's natural cycle throws everything out of sync.

If there is a time I am going to have an episode, its nights. If I am going to binge, Its nights or the weekend off after my nights where I am so happy to get off of it that everything gets tossed to the wind and I pick up the pieces come the start of afternoon shift. That is NO way to live much less try to live a healthy lifestyle. While there are other issues and forces at work, there are some very REAL physical problems that can be addressed that will help keep the depressive triggers to a manageable level.

After 5 years of shift rotation, I am finally running out of gas and need help coping. Quitting my job is not an option.

I have had a few sessions now and the therapist is pretty impressed with how organized I am and how well I have things documented so that we can get to the root causes quicker.

The one thing I have learned so far is that depression and anxiety is very REAL and I would take issue with anyone who would tell someone to just "get over it". I used to be one of those "get over it" types and would work through my own issues but some of this is very much a physical problem.

I have a hereditary history with others in my family who have it so the inclination is there to start with then add in the physical triggers caused by night shift and there is a potent mix that I can no longer "just deal with it". I can no longer "just deal with it" any more than someone can just deal with any other physical problem that requires an intervention.

I have gotten much better and have leveled off since getting off of nights. I am back to a regular routine of fitness again although it has been slow in coming. This last episode really knocked me to the ground but it is what it is.

I am not whining, just acknowledging the issue. Blogging about it helps me cope. I am not looking for sympathy or attention, just a sounding board and solidarity.

Far too many people try to play cool and act as if there isn't a problem. Why is it that in AA they stand up and introduce themselves by name then publically declare that THEY have a problem? I am not too cool to do that.

My name is Robert and I struggle with depression. I will come out of this strong, healthy and ready to tackle my issues head on and come out the other side a better man.

So say we all.

Link To My Public Blog... mailboxes2miles.blogspot

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
FITMOMINNJ 1/11/2013 8:38AM

    So very true..

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FITMOMINNJ 1/11/2013 8:37AM


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ASHPATCH11 1/11/2013 8:22AM


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ELEPHANTGIRL75 1/11/2013 8:05AM

    Thank you for your post. I have a family history of SAD which means the winter months are very hard for me. I am currently able to cope well with it--using light boxes and of course eating healthy and exercise seem to help A LOT. I also am lucky to have family and friends who understand my depression during these times. They don't freak out if I cry for seemingly no reason, lol! They also encourage me to get out and do things which really helps a lot. Without them, I might hibernate every day. I applaud you for getting the help you need and hope that if that time ever comes for me that I will be able to do the same.

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GINA180847 1/11/2013 8:03AM

    Depression is definitely a factor in most lives. It keeps us real but cannot be let get away on us. Working nights is like a tipping point and is very hard on people.

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BECCAZEN7 1/11/2013 8:01AM

    emoticon I am a night shift worker and I struggle with depression but I do take medicine that helps. I am lucky in the fact that I don't have to work other shifts and even on my nights off I keep my sleep/wake cycle the exact same as a worknight. I hope you can find some balance but it sounds like it may be difficult if your job keeps you switching back and forth - you are RIGHT - our bodies and minds are not made for that kind of abuse. Is there anyway to get a "set" shift? Any of your coworkers have the same problems with the shift work? Maybe if enough of you present a united front you can ask for set shifts? Just a thought.
Be good kind to your body - it is really trying to cope with the messy schedule thrown at it. emoticon

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LOVEMYBODY2012 1/11/2013 7:58AM

    Depression is very real and not something we can automatically "snap out of" or positive think our way out of. Sometimes help is needed so good for you for finding a therapist to help. I wish you well!

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LBEILMAN 1/11/2013 7:56AM

    Touching blog Robert. Depression is so hard. I think we all suffer through it sometime in our lives. I pray you overcome yours.

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MSKRIS7 1/11/2013 7:43AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CAM2438 1/11/2013 7:08AM


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AJB121299 1/11/2013 6:49AM

    Best of luck. We are hear to listen and help motivate you

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FITMARTI 1/11/2013 6:44AM


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YMWONG22 1/11/2013 6:27AM

  Yes, everyone's life struggle is very REAL. Depression is a medical condition that can be very serious if not attended.
Your progress is pretty amazing. Hope with the help of your therapist, you will recover fully.
Be strong and take good care of yourself.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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EMSEMAIL 1/11/2013 6:23AM

    I resisted taking medication for years as I did think I could...should just get over it. Although I hate the idea of being on medication it was either that or I knew I would eventually lose my job. S a few years later I am still on the meds which do help. But I do think once I get my weight and exercise where it, where I want it to be and my therapist helps me to be my own best friend I will get off the meds.

Thanks for posting Robert. I liked what your friend posted. MIT made me feel better about depression!

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    Thanks so much for sharing

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BLUEKITTYJAN 1/11/2013 5:12AM

    emoticon Hi my name is Jan and I am Bipolar. I tell anyone who will listen. It helps me cope. It has only backfired once. I use to volunteer at my local library. When the administrators heard me tell one of the employees that I was bipolar, I received a notice that my help was no longer needed. So much for the library staff reading about it and understanding that it is controlled with my medications and support. I still tell anyone who will listen. I am an advocate of teaching the world about mental health issues.

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TASHATRIX 1/11/2013 4:06AM

  I have been there and done that both with anxiety and depression.i am trying very hard not to go back down either road. We cannot always handle everything alone. We all need help once in a while. And i can relate to blogging as a way to cope or vent with things. I took up writing many years ago , for my own sanity, as my way to vent. I have stacks and stacks of my hand written blog, if you may. It works. Good luck with shift rotation.

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THEIS58 1/11/2013 3:58AM

    Depression is such a serious illness. Glad you are taking it so seriously.

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55SERENDIPITY 1/11/2013 3:20AM

  Hi Robert! My name is Karen and I struggle with depression, too. Thank you for baring your soul and being so genuine. I am happy to hear that you are seeing a counselor. Abundant blessings to you and your family.

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DRB13_1 1/11/2013 2:41AM

    you've always amazed me with all you've been able to accomplish (it's your strong will power) even with the crazy work schedule and balancing other aspects of your life. I'm sure you will come through this stronger than ever.
continuing to wish you the best...

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SATCHMO99 1/11/2013 2:32AM

    Great that you've found a therapist to work on your depression, and great that you are able to bring the topic to us.

My husband has struggled with depression since chlldhood (violent father, serious childhood illness, poor childhood nutrition and more). He had a good 2012 in terms of mental health but is struggling with job issues atm. He is waiting for an appt with a CBT therapist (cognitive behaviour therapy), as he feels CBT is the most fitting therapy for him. He has probably read every self help/therapy book written.

I encourage him in every way I can, but a bad episode can bring me low, too. A lovely friend will regularly ask, out of the blue, how things are, and it's good for me to be able to articulate the current status. I'd urge your wife to feel she can talk to a trusted friend, in the same way you've found the courage to talk about your depression. If she can do that, she won't feel alone in supporting you.

Hugs xx

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RAINA413 1/11/2013 2:03AM

    emoticon You are amazing! emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/11/2013 2:04:22 AM

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BLUEJEAN99 1/11/2013 1:54AM

    emoticon emoticon

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AMANDACOETZER 1/11/2013 12:11AM


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BDH1970 1/10/2013 10:28PM

    I've been on anxiety meds for 13 years now, on and off. I find that exercise really helps - I know that's what everyone says, but it's worked for me. I realize it's difficult with your job, but I'm sure you'll be okay - you're on the right path. Keep up the good work. I enjoyed your blog :) emoticon

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JAMER123 1/10/2013 10:04PM

    I understand what you are telling us as I was a night shift worker for mega yrs. before retirement (about 35 yrs.) and I am still having sleep difficulties. Sleep deprivation is part of the depression. You need to get all the sleep you can. I am so glad you said you were getting help and that you are blogging about it. Keep up the encouraging progress.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ROCKYCPA 1/10/2013 9:45PM

    You are amazing!

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GOOSIEMOON 1/10/2013 8:41PM


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1MYSTERY_LADY 1/10/2013 8:31PM


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MARYJEANSL 1/10/2013 8:18PM

  Best wishes to you! I too have had depression, though not currently. I also have done shift work, and I am right there with you. It is TOUGH!! I am glad you are getting help, and I hope your improvement is ongoing.

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SHOAPIE 1/10/2013 6:50PM


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ILIKETOZUMBA 1/10/2013 6:33PM

    So sorry to hear about your struggles. But thank you for sharing them and making the point that struggling and asking for help isn't weakness! Hang in there.

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PATRICIAANN46 1/10/2013 6:12PM

  Hi Robert............My name is Patricia, and I also suffer from depression, so believe me, I know that it is something that you cannot "just get over." I can't imagine working at a job that requires you to work for several days on first shift, then switch to second shift, then switch to third shift. We aren't meant to do this physically or mentally without repercussions. My son tried to work at a place where this was a requirement. The pay was great as were the benefits but he just could NOT adjust to the 3 different shifts.
I wish you the emoticon and hope that therapy helps.

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JUSGETTENBY42 1/10/2013 6:12PM


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JPONCIN 1/10/2013 5:49PM

  I think you are doing a great job attacking the problems the way you are, and with proven methods. Keep going! :)

It's unfortunate that the night shift situation is affecting you so deeply, because it sounds to me like it's pretty much required and you can't get out of it; yet it is at the root of a lot of the issues you're having! Hang in there.

I'm glad you are speaking up about those who say to "suck it up" or "get over it". Those would be the other 2 out of 3 who simply don't understand how debilitating this condition can be.

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    As someone who has done shift work, I can sympathize. It's a breeding ground for all sorts of physical ailments and emotional disconnects. The human body is meant to be active in the daytime, which is why it's so easy to get back into a daytime rhythm and so hard to adjust to an overnight shift. I'm glad your therapy is helping. Lean on us when you need to.

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DIANNEMT 1/10/2013 4:21PM

    Depression IS VERY real. Good for you to get help. Good for you to go public. Good for you to keep working on it! We need people to work those night shifts--how can we help people deal with the problems they cause??

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ALIDOSHA 1/10/2013 4:07PM

    I was deeply impressed. I hope you'll win in your fight and wish you all the strength you'll need. emoticon

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NEWTINK 1/10/2013 3:38PM

    I think you are better just for having said that you have a problem . Most obese or heavy dont say they are depressed because the world sees us as jolly fat people .. and truly believe that we just eat our problems away when in fact if they would just listen to us then the food wouldnt be an issue after all .. hang tough and find that peace that you so richly deserve emoticon

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NEWCHINELO 1/10/2013 2:54PM

    You will succeed.

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MOMMY445 1/10/2013 1:26PM

    that is wonderful news,Robert. take care! have a wonderful day!

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NCSUE0514 1/10/2013 12:24PM

    You can get through this.Keep pushing.

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HEARTS116 1/10/2013 11:45AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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REDGALE 1/10/2013 11:28AM

    Depression is such a lonely place! Thank you for opening the window into this stale room full of suffering people. I'm Kathie and I struggle with depression.

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JOANNHUNT 1/10/2013 10:51AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon Yes we all struggle with something. I am a chocoholic. When I get stressed I crave chocolate and I pick. If I have a bite, zit or anything I pick it. I don't even know I am doing it sometimes. My face is a real mess when I am stressed as I also break out in hives and scratch my face until I am raw. I am slowly dealing with that last one. It isn't easy but we can do it. Christmas was very stressful this year for me and I ate at least 8 boxes of chocolates. Not good. In the last 2 months I have put back on 17 lbs of the 28 lbs I had lost. I am very not happy with myself or my family as they helped contribute to this. My daughters are fighting over 2 of my grand children right now which is in the courts for the one. My oldest has custody of my youngest daughters two middle children (a boy 7 and a girl 6) My youngest wants her boy back for all the wrong reasons. I am in the middle. I have her oldest daughter which just turned 10 on New Years day and she has her youngest child. A boy 19 months old. Because of an accident and drug abuse she won't get him back, but she doesn't get it. Her bad choices and now the kids pay the price. Sorry for rambling on. WE CAN CONCUR OUR PHOBIAS AND MOVE ON TO SUCCESS. YES WE CAN.

Comment edited on: 1/10/2013 10:54:54 AM

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GARDENCHRIS 1/10/2013 10:38AM

    Glad you are learning to take care of "ALL" of you. emoticon

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MJKRESS 1/10/2013 8:41AM

    Rotating shift / night shift - it's like living in a parallel universe!

It violates circadian rhythms; it violates family rhythms; for the most part, it violates societal rhythms. And yet, society demands / requires attention 24/7 and "somebody has to do it"!

"Acknowledging the issue" is essential in finding a plan that will work best for YOU, so good for you in taking that first step.

I worked for close to 15 years in those types of environments. I needed to acknowledge that Mj-normal was NOT - and would NEVER be - the same as the normal of other family members. I stopped apologizing for it. I stopped trying to fit into "my DSisIL's mold". Those who care about me may not have understood exactly, but they tried. Those who don't care or won't attempt to understand... well, that's a whole 'nother issue besides sleep / eating / exercise schedules not matching.

Good luck to you as you continue integrating improved self-care (because that's what it really comes down to, IMHO) into your life.

Comment edited on: 1/10/2013 8:46:01 AM

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WALLINMW 1/10/2013 8:39AM

  Way to go Robert!

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DDOORN 1/10/2013 8:38AM

    Wonderful share Robert! You are dealing with your depression head on with no-holds-barred...something far too many people...MEN ESPECIALLY...don't do.

Time to toss out the shackles of stigma and put Depression out there just like any other ailment which is a condition that can affect many and warrants effective, above-board treatment.

I don't know if I would be here today if it wasn't for the ongoing support and expertise of my therapist!

Two thumbs WAY UP!!


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DJSHIP46 1/10/2013 8:36AM

    Thanks for sharing :)

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