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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
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    what a get blog, you have inspired me, to really start, baby steps at first. I am gonna join the public gym, who cares if my belly is jiggling, i'll work up a sweat and i know i will be trying and see results eventually, thanks emoticon
    1290 days ago
    Robert -- I believe your blog will help you --- and it's going to help lots and lots of people!

    I too suffer from depression or anxiety .... I fight myself regarding taking meds -- I don't them --- I'll try them --- I don't want the side effects --- I'll continue them --- that's what I deal with -- and maybe partly because I still don't really feel "well".

    Thanks for being honest --- thanks for putting it "out" there.

    I'm Randy and I suffer from depression!

    btw -- the 12 Steps of AA are amazing -- I've always said there should be a 12 Step program for everything that thinks they have no problem :)
    1290 days ago
    Hi Robert!

    You've hit the nail on the head - Depression is indeed a physical ailment. When I "came down with it," that's exactly what it felt like - my symptoms were very physical. Therapy, medication, and a good support system were the keys to getting through mine, but it wasn't a quick process. I was able to get off medication eventually, but that's not possible for everyone. I still need to be aware of what's going on in my head and body, as I can still tend toward the depression/anxiety if I'm not aware of what's going on with me. I also discovered that regular exercise really helped, especially in the earlier days.
    1290 days ago
    Another great blog Robert. Shift work is SO tough. I don't envy you that at all. I'm so glad to hear that therapy is helping. Your story is sure to help bring awareness and help others as well. I'm glad you've decided to share and be so open. Kudos to you!

    Wishing you continued success and healing!

    1290 days ago
    Depression is so difficult. Isn't it wonderful that you can freely express yourself and even find comfort among those that understand?

    Keeping you in my thoughts as I struggle as well. It's a day to day thing sometimes.
    1290 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1290 days ago
    Depression caused me to radically look at what I gave my body. Low fat diets was a big no no for me. I take St. John's wart and a supplement called l tryptophan. I was on 4 supplements before I finally calmed down. i didn't even know the anxiety I had had all my life wasn't just normal. I would have trouble breathing. Mine is also worse during my cycle. Something you don't have to deal with lol. But you are on a cycle with the night shift. I pray you seek out a naturalist who can look at not just your mind but your body. I am convinced the diet mostof us are trying to eat to lose weight is slowly harming our mind. God bless. And eat some good fat!
    1290 days ago
  • v GINA180847
    You say it all so well and I am touched every time I read one of your blogs. Shift work is horrible. I remember working night shift while studying nursing and it messed up my mind. I too see a lot of depression in my family of origin, even suicide. Life is such a struggle.
    1290 days ago
  • v KATHIC2
    You have amazing courage.
    1290 days ago
    A life saver for me when stopping this or quitting my job is not a option google Byron Katie, the work wish you the best of luck in dealing with what is
    1290 days ago
    I think you are wise to blog and be open about it. Keeping it secret makes the depression worse because you feel as though it's a no-no and you think you have to hide it. I have great admiration for people who do shift work because I think that's so much harder on your body and your psyche! Hang in are doing great things!
    1290 days ago
    sound away - we've got big hears and broad shoulders.
    1290 days ago
    I am glad that you posted again as I was wondering how you were doing. I really feel for you working that night shift. After reading about how you feel when working that shift it makes me wonder about some of the guys I worked with. Their actions were probably a result of depression. I wish you well.

    1290 days ago
    it's impressive that you have all this documented. I hope that working with a therapist is good for you.
    1290 days ago
    hang in there Robert. I wouldnt be able to do the job you do.. Your a strong person..
    1290 days ago
  • v MARUKI52
    You might find contacting this website ( helpful. People who practice this type of Kinesiology can show you techniques to reset your body clock. Shift workers can find these techniques, when applied correctly, helpful to keep the down adverse reactions they experience with their type of working patterns. It may help you so might be worth you trying. Just tell them that this is what you are looking for help with and see what they say. Just an idea that you might find helpful.

    As for the photo your friend sent you, I know this to be true from my own experiences when I "lost" 5 friends and family in the space of a year.
    1290 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/10/2013 5:34:49 AM
    I wish you luck in getting better and feeling better.
    1290 days ago
    1290 days ago
    I'm glad you are finding help and realizing what are contributing factors. Therapy can be so helpful
    1291 days ago
    Truly inspirational, emoticon
    1291 days ago
  • v 123ELAINE456
    You should be so Proud of Yourself being able to admit that have Problems and getting the needed help you need. It takes a very strong person to be able to do that. You have s many People here on SparkPeople that Loves You, Backs You and Supports You on this Journey. You are an Inspiration to all of us. We Are Here for You and Your Family. I have the same problems with depression, axiety and in my apartment 24/7 because of great fear etc. Have tried to get help. Have never been able to afford the kind of help I need. You will been a much happier Person too. God Bless You and Family. Have a Wonderful Week and a Super Great Day. Take Care. Hugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    1291 days ago

    What perfect timing for me. Thank you. I just totally came clean to my husband that I have an eating disorder and am Bulimic.

    I am so with you and KNOW how hard this is for you.

    Let's CONQUER these together. I wrote that this is HARDER than conquering the Iron-Man Triathlon. This is such a deeper HURT and struggle than just physical pain. YOU ARE an Iron-Man if you can learn to deal with and conquer your depression. That's more impressive to me than any of your races.

    You've already impressed me... I am going to call you my Iron-Man hero for being MAN enough to get out there and *LIVE*

    BIG BIG HUGS!!!!!


    1291 days ago
    Yes!!! I am glad to see someone as strong as you post publicly about this. Bringing attention to it will normalize it. I am glad you are seeing a therapist. That is what helped me manage my depression and generalized anxiety the most. (More than medicine.) I am pretty sure that what I learned there - all the coping mechanisms and working things out in my head how I think - is what made me strong enough to have a baby without getting postpartum depression afterwards.
    1291 days ago
  • v JANE4041
    I know how midnight shifts will really mess you up... get a SAD therapy lamp for those days... it DOES help... they run a couple hundred bucks but the investment is SOOOO worth it as you will feel better using it... put it in front of your face for about 30 minutes at a time once or twice a day and it will help to bring you out of your funk... I know from experience...SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder for when you don't get enough sunlight.... lots of people use them
    1291 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/9/2013 11:07:04 PM
    So say we all.

    I've had people try that garbage on me. You know, "Just smile, and you'll feel better." We all get angry sometimes. I think it's appropriate to release some of that anger in the direction of fatheads who try that kind of dime store psychology on us.

    You the man.
    1291 days ago
    This is great! Thank you.
    1291 days ago
    This is great! Thank you.
    1291 days ago
    I am praying for you and believe you are going to have many, many blessings this year!

    I know you are going to feel and be much better!

    You should be extremely proud of yourself! I believe something really good is going to happen for you! Believe it!!!

    emoticon emoticon
    1291 days ago
    Robert - you have a lot of courage and determination within or else you would not have made it this far. Things will work out! Stay encouraged! emoticon

    A little sunshine for you! emoticon
    1291 days ago
  • v DALID414
    My mother is going through a bout. It's definitely not something you can 'just get over'.
    1291 days ago
    You will get better!
    1291 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    1291 days ago
  • v JUNEAU2010
    Robert, I don't know what to say, either. I understand depression - I know that well. I know about weird schedules, but I have no advice for darkness except platitudes - "get as much daylight as you can" kind of stuff.

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    R O B E R T

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    C A N D O

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    T H I S
    1291 days ago
    Thank you for your honesty. Because of your determination, you ARE going to get through this. Hang in there!! I'm praying for you.
    1291 days ago
    Robert you are an inspiration!!!

    It's really great that you are working through things and I want you to know that you have a lot of emoticon behind you.

    emoticon and emoticon
    1291 days ago
    Not sympathy or attention, just acknowledgement of a very real issue. I know. My son works in the mental health field, and he has a tough audience: the military! The tendency for strong men to think they can go it alone or "just deal" is huge.

    I congratulate you on your courage and strength. Because truly strong men *do* get help!
    1291 days ago
  • v BABYNURSE2000
    I have no idea what to say. You put your thoughts, emotions, and heart out there for us to connect to. Wish I could some way support you as you face your struggles head on. Hugs across the internet. My name is Cindy, and I struggle with depression.
    1291 days ago
  • v DEE797
    Wishing you all the best as you work through this. emoticon
    1291 days ago
    Robert, I am so sorry to hear you're going through this battle. But it's a battle I know you WILL WIN, and I have soooo much respect for you for putting it out there and being honest about it. And I'm happy to hear you are getting the assistance you need to deal with it.
    My husband is a miner who works shift, but he is able to come home each day and spend a few hours in daylight even on a night rotation. Still, it messes with his system sometimes and I can't imagine him not being able to come to surface and experience that. It is not an easy shift, for sure.
    Take care, Robert. I know you will conquer this!
    1291 days ago
    I hear you. It takes a lot of courage to admit that one can not do it alone. I commend you for sounding off and getting the help you need. Keep doing what you have to my friend, you are worth it. emoticon
    1291 days ago
    Robert, it's good to see you back and participating. Shift work is tough. I've never worked the night shift, though I got along well with swing shift . . . when I was single and had no family life. It helped that I'm an introvert, and at the time I had no social commitments or family life that was terribly important to me. So I just lived my life 5 hours later than everyone else to work 1 PM to 10 PM.

    I know, that's not helpful for your situation. But it sounds like you've got a handle on what's going on, and you're doing what you can to address the issues. Good for you!
    1291 days ago
  • v TIFFANYB23
    I'm sorry for your struggle. ((hugs))

    I hope you can continue working with your therapist and find a solution that works for you. Good luck!
    1291 days ago
    I hope things turn around for you soon. Always know that I am here if you need a friend. emoticon
    1291 days ago
    I'm not an expert, but I've thought a lot about this topic throughout my life. Personally, I see many factors that can contribute to depression. 1. External events/traumas, etc. 2. Biology/hormonal fluctuations. 3. Genetic/heretary origins. 4. Nutritional. (sugar/caffeine/carbs) 5. Situational (smaller than traumas, but daily trigger happenings that can spike into depression.) I can honestly say that I've had all of these factors simultaneously. It's no picnic. Lately, not so much, more of cognitive dissonance from major losses that have changed me a great deal. I can tell you what helps me - 1. stay away from sugar/caffeine as much as possible. 2. exercise is my therapy (the more I don't want to do it, the more I force myself as that indicates I need to). 3. Talk to people you can trust to vent. 4. Music, colors, scents.
    5. Realize that I may just have to be a one-legged skater for awhile; that is, live life as best as possible, taking steps toward feeling better. 5. Meds (for others, not myself) I know they help many people. Best wishes in 2013.
    1291 days ago
  • v DR8561
    My husband worked swing shift for 30 years. I saw how hard it was for him - there was a definite difference in how he felt, depending on which shift he was on. I wish you the best as you work through this. emoticon
    1291 days ago
    1291 days ago
  • v LYNAND62
    I'm glad that you are blogging about your journey. A lot of people suffer but so few say anything that we sort of feel like we're suffering alone. Blogs like yours help to remind us all that, despite our differences, we're more alike than we realize and we're all walking along the same road. emoticon
    1291 days ago
    Well done Robert, you are a trail blazer. I know you standing up and 'confessing' you have a problem and now are doing something about it will encourage others to do the same. You have been an inspiration to so many people. Good luck in your endevour to find your balance. Best wishes to you and your family. Maureen
    1291 days ago
    I enjoyed your blog. You're absolutely correct. Telling a depressed person to 'snap out of it' & other remarks do no good at all. In fact, it's frustrating. I am bi-polar & I know about depression.

    Keep on going. Don't quit.

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    1291 days ago
  • v QUAIL75
    Fantastic blog and thanks for sharing. You will come out of this stronger and healthier - emotionally and physically. emoticon emoticon
    1291 days ago
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