I am hesitating to start this thread. But I have gotten so much support and friendship and love from so many over the years, which I want to acknowledge as being more important than any of you who offered it could know. This isn't a plea for sympathy or attention but instead I need some serious mental health advice.
The bottom line is I have struggled with mental health issues as far as I can remember. It runs in my family. I fight with severe depression and anxiety. It was at its worst when I was a teenager. It has gotten better as I moved towards turning 30. But that is after years of intensive therapy and many medications. I have gotten my panic attacks under control. For the past few years those haven't been a problem. I still struggle with general anxiety but have learned coping strategies that have been somewhat successful.
The killer for me though is depression. Extreme depression. I haven't been formally diagnosed as bipolar but I sometimes think I am. I have tried many anti-depressants. They do help. There was a time in my life where I did not function at all in any way. School, work, socially I couldn't handle anything it seemed. I failed many classes, couldn't hold a job. Burned very important friendships and hurt my family. When I was younger I used to cut as a way to deal with it. Then alcohol became the tool when I started university. Now I tend to just cut myself off from everything and everyone. I shut down and just avoid dealing with the world.
It's not like this all the time but I slip into periods where everything seems unbearable and bleak. I get so I can't even cope with small things, nevermind something that causes the least bit of stress. This is a recipe for disaster because once you start avoiding things because they are stressful they often turn bigger problems. At some point even small things start to feel so overwhelming that I just start to shut down. But then it feeds itself because by shutting down I cut myself off from others and it is when I am entirely alone that the darkness seems to completely surround me. I know this sounds like I am crazy but I don't know any other way to describe it.
I have tried very hard for the past 10 years to break out of this constant cycle. Like I said meds help and therapy helps. But I have come to realize that those two things can only go so far when the problem is essentially something deep inside yourself. It's like I have a self-hatred for myself. So when I fall into these dark moods, I almost feel like I deserve to feel this way. Like I deserve to be feeling so much emotional pain. And I know that is not true, nobody deserves to be stuck in a pit of depression. But that is what it is.
I keep trying to re-invent myself. When I am not at the bottom of a depression cycle I tell myself "this is what I will do to move forward." And I have moved forward. I have done much better in school over the past few years. I don't sabotage myself grade-wise as much as I used to. I have become better at dealing with my friends and family. In the past in periods of stress I would push them away so hard that sometimes they just wouldn't bother with me anymore. It still happens that I push too hard sometimes. But I am better at trying to address issues before they get to the point where I can't handle them. I have had some success with working and volunteering. None of it has been easy and I still have many setbacks. But the point is I have moved forward so I know it is possible.
But even though I have managed to get some stability in my life for what feels like the first time, I still have times when I slip. And right now I feel like I am on the verge of another big downfall into darkness. It has been building for months. I have tried to pull myself back from it. But not always in the best ways I should. It's like I only feel safe if I can isolate myself but part of me fears that isolation. So I reach out in ways that are not really good for me or other people. I feel suicidal but I really don't think I really want to die. I want to be left alone but I feel miserable when I realize how lonely I am. I don't want to cope with anything but realize that I have to or things only get worse.
Now that I sound completely crazy. This is the advice I am hoping to find. What can I do to stop this slide? How do you let go of the past? How do you keep moving forward when you just feel like you can't?
I know lots of people here don't like me. Fair enough. Please don't use this post as ammo against me. I can't handle that right now. And I am honestly writing this from a place that is very close to absolute desperation. I realize that clinical depression is a illness that requires treatment. I am just trying to find things I can do help when the medication doesn't seem to be working as well as it needs to. I don't want to continue to exist like this. It's hard to feel like it sometimes but I do have good things in my life. My physical health has been good, if not my emotional health. My last go round at school opened up a new friendships. My family is all good and I am spending more quality time with them. I was finally starting to accept myself as being worthy of good things happening, rather than destoying them through my own behaviour. I don't want to throw all that away.