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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
    Sure wish there was some way you could get other employment.. but life being what it is with responsibilities and all can get in the way lol. I left a high paying job after 36 years and now wish I had done it much earlier. The change in lifestyle has definitely been worth it. Glad you have made the move to talk about your issues with a professional. Yay you!

    1292 days ago
    Glad you are doing some better!! I'm here and willing to listen anytime!
    1292 days ago
    So glad you are doing what's right for you. We all support you and care for your well being.
    1292 days ago
  • v COOKIE_AT_51
    Been worried about you ... glad you posted!

    Here's to continued healing, health, and happiness emoticon
    1292 days ago
    emoticon Robert, it's great that you are seeking the help you need, and even greater that you are strong enough to share your struggles with others. Men, especially, have difficulty admitting that they need help, so I imagine your speaking out is helping countless others too!! Stay strong:)
    1292 days ago
    emoticon Robert, you are awesome! Kudos to you for confronting your depression & finding solutions & coping mechanisms outside of binging. That is great!!!

    And I'll stand with you: I'm Alayna & I struggle with depression & anxiety. So say we all! the Battlestar reference, btw!
    1292 days ago
  • v CARROT143
    Awesome post Superman. You don't really have to be Superman - you're just super and admitting that you struggle with depression makes you more super than ever!

    1292 days ago
  • v LINDAK25
    Okay, you don't have to read this, it's just what I've learned from my own experience. I'm glad you're learning more about your depression. Seeking treatment is a huge step. Bringing up all the issues and dealing with them is hard work. For a while you're going to feel very vulnerable. In fact, you may feel worse because you're dealing with issues that stir up all these emotions. I promise it gets better, just not right away. You'll learn some new coping skills along the way to help you cope. Remember you just have to take it one step at a time and I try to find joy in every day. I know the joy thing sounds hokey, but when you're depressed it's hard to be positive. Negative thoughts can just seem to cascade out of control and finding joy helps me.

    Normally, I erase all the stuff I just typed and say something supportive like, you can do it, or something like that. I'll let you erase it instead. Oh and you can do it!
    1292 days ago
    I think it's great you have taken the steps you have. It's so scary sometimes, but there are times we all need some help and that help comes in many ways and forms. You are such an amazing and inspirational person and the Spark community loves and supports you! emoticon
    1292 days ago
  • v FITFOODIE806
    emoticon I hope you find some comfort in how much you are loved in the Spark community. You mean a lot to me.
    1292 days ago
  • v LINDAKAY228
    Aa number of years ago I worked night shift in a job I had then for 2 years. It was realy hard on me mentally and physically. By the end of my days of working, before starting my days off, I would have a scratchy throat and other physical symptoms from not getting the right kind of sleep. However, I have 2 sons who have always been night people and do very well with night shifts. My other 3 kids are not that way. I'm glad that you are seeing the therapist and things are going better. For me, certain seasons trigger the depression in me. The whole holiday season does for one thing. I'm feeling much better now that Christmas is behind us. Also in the summer when it gets really hot I struggle more too. We can often look at our lives and see what triggers it. Each of us is unique, and so often have different triggers.
    Keep working at what you are doing! And I'm so glad you are able to go "public" with this and share because I am sure that your story helps others.
    1292 days ago
    emoticon Keep moving forward,great blog. emoticon
    1292 days ago
    When I finally acknowledged my anxiety/panic disorder and depression, then started treatment for it, my health journey finally began. Trying to lose weight or get healthier before that always ended in disaster and failure. I'm a much happier person now that I have admitted it to myself and outloud to others that I have a medical condition.

    So glad you finally reached that point and are getting help! Good for you.
    1292 days ago
  • v ANGIEN9
    I have struggled with bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, and was agoraphobic for the last 30 years. I too, have it in my family. Along with alcoholism in the family, although I do not have that issue myself.

    I am not ashamed of my illness and I treat like it is...a brain disorder. It is real and I applaud you for seeking help. Shift work is really hard when u have depression!!

    Thanks for blogging about it!! I can totally empathize with you. Keep up the good work with the therapist. It will help immensely!!

    1292 days ago
  • v LYNSEY723
    I'm so happy you are dealing with your struggles with a professional. I believe that sometimes in life people just need someone to talk to who isn't directly involved in any aspect of your life.

    I have faith you will come out of this with a new understanding of yourself!

    1292 days ago
  • v DEBJAE
    When people deny & try to hide away thier 'issues', that's just asking for trouble. You, my friend, are acknowledging it and taking steps to alleviate it...kudos to you!!

    You're on the right track and you are an inspiration to others struggling with the same thing.

    emoticon emoticon
    1292 days ago
    Great work Robert, my name is Portia and i struggle with depression also. My depression shows up as aggression and just plain hatefulness. I could not stand myself or others. All it took was a word to set me off. I thought depression was just crying, whining, or just not being able to get out of bed. I am a nurse and should have known better but when it happens to you it is a whole nother thing. I hope that others can learn from hearing this. If your personality changes drastically in any way it might help to see a MD for evaluation.
    1292 days ago
  • v CM_GARDNER78
    I think that depression and anxiety are some of the most under treated things because of the shame and "get over it" factor involved. What? You're sad? Get over it! What? You have anxiety? Get over it!

    Uh-huh. Not quite just "get over it" possible. It's good when you have a platform that people can listen to, to talk about this. It doesn't just help you - it helps the thousands or even millions of people that suffer with this too!!

    1292 days ago
    Hi Robert! I don't think it sounds like you're whining at all. I always find your blogs insightful and informative, and this one is no different! Keep doing what you're doing and you will get through this!
    1292 days ago
    So true what you said, and good for you!

    Anxiety and depression, in my thoughts, are not signs of weakness but signs of strong people who are trying to cope and improve and are running out of resources and energy.

    I have read that shift work can play havoc with a person's system...hope there are ways to cope with it.
    1292 days ago
  • v TERRRI
    Glad to see you are actually getting counselling. So often Drs will just put people on meds, as if that is a solution instead of a last resort.
    1292 days ago
  • v NUMD97
    I think you should get a discount from your therapist, Robert, because you are one of the most insightful men on SP. You know yourself better than most, and know what your triggers are. You almost have a road map for the therapist to work from. I won't say this will be a "walk in the park", but it's an outstanding beginning.

    I am trying to convince someone I know, who is pretty close to me, that seeking out help is not a weakness, but a strength. She's far too stubborn to realize that, and from my perch, I think it's flat out detrimental. But I have my work cut out for me there. And a lifetime of bad habits, both emotional and otherwise, are not conquered in one day's time.

    As for you, young man, it's heartening to read this blog. You just know you're going to come out of this experience a much stronger man. I know it, and I hope that you do, too.

    All the best, Robert, as you stay the course,

    1292 days ago
    I am on your side. Continue to do the things to make your life a better for you and your family.

    You Rock!
    1292 days ago
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