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Thread: Not being Okay

  1. #1

    Not being Okay

    I've been thinking about writing something for a while. With Christmas upon us I thought it was probably a good time to say something in the hope that it might be helpful.

    I've had a rough few years in a certain sense. Without going into details, work has been filled with a thousand petty indignities and left me feeling pretty worthless. At the same time there have been traumas at home. My usual reaction is to look after people as best I can, and I take a lot of things on myself. I try to take a positive approach to problems - in work for example I persuaded them to let me do a Masters (my second) and I excelled at that.

    It wasn't until I submitted the thesis in the summer that I suddenly felt like I'd been hit by a train, emotionally. I had several panic attacks, as I now understand them, and was having real trouble sleeping and functioning. I also had to deal with irrational fears (silly things - that I am losing my hair, being a recurring one) that were gripping me and just driving me mad with worry. I suppose I had always thought that taking the 'right' (sensible, mature, positive) approach to problems meant that I was dealing with them.

    I went to my GP - something I haven't done very often, and she recommended a counsellor. Being typically male I find it very difficult to talk about "my feelings" and all of that BS, but I had to accept that something wasn't right.

    It's helped. Slowly, but certainly. I'm very fortunate to have great friends and family who are very supportive, but they didn't know how to help; and I didn't know how to let them help either.

    The most striking thing to me is that the hardest part was saying to anyone, even my closest family that "I'm not OK". Getting that thought out was incredibly difficult. I'm certainly one for 'managing' or 'dealing with it' - just putting the thoughts to one side and getting on with meeting my obligations. In fact I kept doing this until I had no option but to do something, as I just wasn't functioning anymore.

    I have no particular desire to share 'my problems' - rather I can say that not given them space to be felt means that they can eventually get on top of you. I wouldn't pretend that things are perfectly fine now either, but I am functioning a bit better at least.

    So, you know, look after yourself.
    "All the finesse of a badger." (cdiv)

  2. #2
    Thanks for posting that sj, I've been thinking for a while that we should have a 'let's talk about mental health for men' thread, something like the 'let's all laugh at people with depression' thread on boards which I have found helpful in the past where folks just check in, share their thoughts and keep an eye out for each other.
    Smokey, silverbullitt, cibo and a few others have already spoken on the forum in various threads about some of their troubles so we have the beginnings of a 'club'.

    I guess the difference here is that it's not so anonymous with lots of folks knowing each other off forum, but who knows that may even make it more meaningful.

    I'll work on sharing my experiences at some stage, but happy to say a combo of meds, counseling on CBT allowed me to dig myself out but had a rough 6 months or so and conscious that I'm not out of the woods for good.

    Excellent piece on the score today which really highlights the random, inexplicable nature of this stuff.

    ‘No matter how blue the water or high the palm tree’: Even paradise is no escape from mental illness
    http://jrnl.ie/1841886

  3. #3
    Good to hear you are on the road back to feeling ok again SJ. While outwardly I seem to be coping with retirement well and am enjoying all the free time I know my subconscious is not coping that well with it.
    My sleep time is a constant series of vivid dreams about work and being back again. I then reflect on these dreams while awake and no day passes without spending at least an hour reflecting about my career. I just assume this is normal but you would imagine a year into retirement things would have settled down a bit.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Alfaguy View Post
    you would imagine a year into retirement things would have settled down a bit.
    I think retirement is often very traumatic.

    I wouldn't presume to advise you, but I do know that talking to a professional has helped me.
    "All the finesse of a badger." (cdiv)

  5. #5
    Everyone has problems. Some deal with them alone and, sometimes, succeed. Others put them to one side, carry on and eventually crack under the strain. John Donne expressed it well as "No man is an island" etc. We all need mutual support and help from time to time. The difficulty is that men, in general, deny their emotional side and keep up a brave front.
    The hardest part is to admit one has a problem and to ask for help. The odd thing is that accepting one is in difficulty and asking for help is the first step on the road to well-being. It's such a relief to share a burden and discover that one has support.
    Don't spend time in a river in Egypt (de nile). You'll only drown. Get someone to throw you a line!!!
    Good on you SJ. Stay positive and be well.

  6. #6
    Administrator cianha's Avatar
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    I sometimes think of Huggie's poor neighbour, Dermie.

    I remind myself that no matter what else happens I'm still here, and there are people who love me and would miss me terribly if I wasn't.

    It's OK to not be OK. It's even better to talk to someone. Glad to hear you're doing something about it. I know I'm very lucky to have the support of some great friends and my family.

    FWIW, retirement kicked the crap out of my Dad, mentally. He was completely unprepared for it. It wasn't that he loved his job, but the transition was quite abrupt .

    "You must go on, I can't go on, I'll go on,"
    If they think you're crude, go technical; if they think you're technical, go crude. I'm a very technical boy.

  7. #7
    On the retirment issue, i think the trick is to not retire...just keep going till you drop. My dad is 82, farming still.....in good spirits because he does what he has always done....

    I think i'll keep going like him.....

  8. #8
    Great thread and thankfully most seem to be on the upward curve. I too have been thru a rough spot. For me its valuing myself by my work. When work goes wrong I go south. I dig in deeper and deeper working longer and longer hours gradually digging a hole till I'm well and truly fked and I mean properly fked even if the work issues are totally outside my control. I needed help, I got help and it does work. For me those chats were the first time id allowed my brain to slow for months. That alone is such a help. Exercising late in the evening helped to sleep as well which again for me was something that had drifted into a rotten space of sleeping 3-4 hours a night. New years resolution is to make a real effort to not define myself by my work.

  9. #9
    Pressure and stress is a funny thing. Sometimes you don't realise it's there until it's gone, if you know what I mean. Remember the safety briefing before takeoff - always fit your own mask before helping others. The armchair philosopher in me cracks a wry smile at that one.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by hoggy View Post
    Great thread and thankfully most seem to be on the upward curve. I too have been thru a rough spot. For me its valuing myself by my work. When work goes wrong I go south. I dig in deeper and deeper working longer and longer hours gradually digging a hole till I'm well and truly fked and I mean properly fked even if the work issues are totally outside my control. I needed help, I got help and it does work. For me those chats were the first time id allowed my brain to slow for months. That alone is such a help. Exercising late in the evening helped to sleep as well which again for me was something that had drifted into a rotten space of sleeping 3-4 hours a night. New years resolution is to make a real effort to not define myself by my work.
    I went through something very similar myself Hoggy a few years ago. I let my job define me, even though I didn't enjoy it. I worked harder and harder and any errors I made really got to me and it started to really bring me down. I got up one morning, after yet another crap night of sleep where all I had thought about was work, and burst out crying as I sat on the bed. My girlfriend had been worried for ages previously as I became more introverted. This breakdown had been coming. I got professional counselling do help deal with a lot of sh!t I had buried from my childhood. I took a step back and I will now graduate as a secondary school teacher of Business and Accounting in a few months. This was something I had wanted to do for a while, but had refused to do as I would be, in my mind, letting everybody else down by giving up what others saw a good career in Hedge Fund Administration. By giving up the job and selling my Golf GTI to pay for college, I now am miles behind where I though I would be in terms of buying a house and being the "provider" for my future family.

    But I have never been happier, my girlfriend is now my fiancée, we are getting married in Ibiza in 2016 and I have never felt better in myself. Regardless of the fact that I haven't got a pot to pee in and drive an 800 euro Volvo s40! It's all about perspective.

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