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Relapse-guilt, acceptance and self esteem

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emloja
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:34 pm

Relapse-guilt, acceptance and self esteem

Postby emloja » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:00 am

Hi
I have posted in the past but am mainly a silent observer on here and really get a lot from this forum.
I wondered if anyone else can empathise with, or provide me with some wise words, or reassurance at all?
I had an up and down year - mental health wise (depression and anxiety).
I however am having a bit of a relapse and feel so much guilt as i don't have a reason for how I feel. I know it is about a chemical imbalance of some sort however as my upbringing and current life are okay I really feel that i 'shouldn't' be feeling as i am and have no right to (apologies for that word!).
I try to be grateful for the life i have. I know these are not helpful thoughts.
I also continue to struggle in accepting all of these difficulties (it was even hard for me to write the word 'depression' up there). I have tried really hard to 'be kind to myself' and accept how i am feeling- as i am aware that getting annoyed or upset that i am feeling bad again isn't helpful. I put a mask onto the world and am pretty good at pretending to everyone (including myself) that i am okay. I spent two years in therapy and am currently on ADs (only after i started to loose my appetite and got chronic insomnia- i realised i needed to get some help as i was starting to really struggle to function). No one in my life knows about any of this. I realised that i don't dislike myself i just hate my difficulties- if anyone has any advice on how i can move things forward in terms of the guilt or the acceptance of the MH issues- id appreciate it.
Thanks
E

amaya
Posts: 727
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:23 pm

Re: Relapse-guilt, acceptance and self esteem

Postby amaya » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:38 pm

Hiya :)
Sorry to hear that you have had a tough year. All the best people have them though.. I have to say it because it was also tough for me! haha

The guilt.. That is because you have an emotional self and a rational self. Not sure exactly how you define these thing officially so if I use unhelpful terms just try to get the idea behind it rather than listening too much to how I say it..

Your emotions are powerful and you worry about what effect it will have on your life to let out your real feelings. So the rational part of you pushes them back inside and tells you what you should be feeling or thinking. But the emotions need to come out to be themselves and grow stronger and more powerful from being locked up. Every now and again they can burst out, or make you feel something terrible inside that affects your ability to function. Then your rational mind feels that you are failing somehow because it has failed to keep control. Basically fear of being out of control, leads to trying to control what you feel, and because no one can do that, the feelings grow and overwhelm, but you put so much energy in trying to control, you feel low about yourself and guilty for not managing. You end up believing there is something fundamentally wrong about how you feel because you spend so much time and energy trying to be this or that. The thing you are trying to do is failing, and so you must not be a good person, or you are wrong, or a failure or whatever negative ideas develop about yourself because of this.

The answer is emotional honesty, as close to the moment of the emotion itself as possible. Emotions are powerful, but they are also a part of who you are.. so if you can feel them, let them out, explore what you are actually feeling, with curiousity and nonjudgement, then as powerful as your emotions are, they will just stay the way they are and not become the super strength emotions that can overwhelm you, just the natural ones that you had in the first place before your rational side decided they were unacceptable.

Of course it is hard to start, because there are already things that have been waiting a long time to come out and they will already be overwhelming, at least to start with. But it gets easier with practice.

I am curious to know if this helps or not. It is something I am working on myself and that is why I am sharing it with you. It is a process and not possible to change overnight.

As for the mask, take it off for yourself first. Then only for the people you can really trust, at least to start with, this process makes you vulnerable.

The goal is for both sides of you to make peace with each other and to accept that you are the way you are. Your feelings are your feelings, but it is not all you are. Your rationalistic side is also you, but it is not all, and certainly doesn't need to be the boss all the time. You can also indulge your emotions with what you are doing to do with your day, not just what your head things about what should or shouldn't be happening. You can listen to them both and then make choices. They don't have to be enemies anymore because fighting with yourself is exhausting.

emloja
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:34 pm

Re: Relapse-guilt, acceptance and self esteem

Postby emloja » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:42 pm

Thank you so much for reading my post and responding so thoughtfully and perceptively. Today is not a good day. I thoroughly agree with you though, it is being out of control that is so hard (i must confess to being a former perfectionist and control freak). I think i am finding it more difficult atm as i did have a really great time over the summer when for the first time in ages i felt 'like me' and this 'me' i liked- so this other 'me' returning has been greeted like an unwelcome guest- and overwhelmed me. I have been trying to make peace with these negative emotions through mindfulness but often find when i struggle i find it harder to do what i need. So i am along the right lines then trying to just be with the negative emotions and accept them-remember thoughts are just words and not get too trapped by the secondary emotions? I had the luxury of time this afternoon and so just lay on my bed listening to music crying- i just embraced how i was feeling-i think i feel a bit better for it now. I have been in denial about my mental health for most of my life and so accepting it all is going to take time- especially when to the outside world i am perceived as a happy, bubbly person. I saw a really good counsellor for two years and every visit i still felt that i was wasting her time and i was a fraud and shouldn't be there. I also think the AD have an impact on my perceived level of control-i cannot complain as they have been a godsend (although i refused to take any medication for a long while) however when i last had a low my doctor increased my meds and it helped- i think there is only one more increase and although i think it would be helpful i am concerned about feeling worse and having no where to go and also reducing them in the future.
You are also spot on with the vulnerability- i can't be vulnerable- never have been-i know this is a huge barrier especially with regards to my recovery and personal relationships- vulnerability to me is being weak and that is something i cannot be. I am aware of this and have tried.
You say you have been working on this process- how is it going? Any strategies that you have found most helpful?
Thanks again for you help today- it has been much appreciated- Happy New Year- here's to a better 2018 (with realistic expectations).

teamn
Posts: 297
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:10 pm

Re: Relapse-guilt, acceptance and self esteem

Postby teamn » Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:56 am

Hi,

I feel basically you have to first remove from your thoughts, the stigma associated with mental health , the perception of society and made us feel low self-esteem. imagine it in this way if you had a broken leg you would take time for yourself feel better or would you feel guilty that you leg is broken? Or would you look after yourself and ensure that your leg heals? Possibly asking fir help, getting some support, going doctors etc and basically , to change your lifestyle to accommodate your leg! This is what we need to do with mental health and what you need to do accept your current feelings. and need to be treated and managed in the same sympathetic way taking it easy with yourself changing your lifestyle slowing down and allowing your mental health to recover, this may be one ways that you can remove guilt And just accept that right now just as if you had a broken limb or any other physical illness , right now you have a mental illness of depression that means you have to slow down.

All the best hope it helps somewhat ,

emloja
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:34 pm

Re: Relapse-guilt, acceptance and self esteem

Postby emloja » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:05 am

Hi teamn and thanks for your reply. You are spot on - i have so many times wished i had some physical health issue that a tablet would fix and not depression and anxiety (I should at least be open and honest on here). It is society but it is also me- When reading your post i realised that although i have been trying to be kind to myself i have still been resisting my difficulties. I guess i am not as far along on this journey than i thought-but i do feel these conversations have helped me to be more honest with myself. The brief period where i felt good led me to believe that the depression was gone and intensified the feelings when it did return. I need to somehow transfer my feelings of like for the well me, onto the other me- and be open to the fact that depression may always be there with me- however much i don't want this.
So in a nutshell I am going to be random and honest to the internet and anyone who is reading- I had my first big depressive episode when i was 17 after a relative killed themselves due to mental health issues. I have since had a number of these episodes in which i retreated into myself. I have experienced anxiety since i was at school and had accepted a high level of anxiety as being normal for me. No one in my life knows about my anxiety and depression apart from a counsellor and my doctor. Despite these issues i function, although i am very single and have been for years (so dreams of having a family are rapidly diminishing). I work and have even lied after having to take time off by saying i have migraines (why is this so much more acceptable than saying i had insomnia and depression and couldn't face the day??). I first sought help 4 years ago and paid for a private counsellor (for fear of anything being on my records) and then a year ago finally approached my doctor when my depression and anxiety affected my eating and sleep- i was still at the time in denial that it was depression and anxiety and after a few visits finally decided to try medication. I currently take antidepressants and i have been lucky as they have really helped. I have completed a number of mindfulness courses, meditation courses and recently completed an online CBT course which was really helpful. So this year i will be working on becoming friends with my depression- thinking less and taking things slowly! Apologies for the randomness of this post- but it is important to me!

Isap
Posts: 1418
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:13 pm

Re: Relapse-guilt, acceptance and self esteem

Postby Isap » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:07 pm

Hi emloja

Thats a good pos

I undetstzand exactly where youre coming from and offer you my support

Isap

emloja
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:34 pm

Re: Relapse-guilt, acceptance and self esteem

Postby emloja » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:23 pm

Thanks Isap- I appreciate it.

teamn
Posts: 297
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:10 pm

Re: Relapse-guilt, acceptance and self esteem

Postby teamn » Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:42 am

emloja wrote:Hi teamn and thanks for your reply. You are spot on - i have so many times wished i had some physical health issue that a tablet would fix and not depression and anxiety (I should at least be open and honest on here). It is society but it is also me- When reading your post i realised that although i have been trying to be kind to myself i have still been resisting my difficulties. I guess i am not as far along on this journey than i thought-but i do feel these conversations have helped me to be more honest with myself. The brief period where i felt good led me to believe that the depression was gone and intensified the feelings when it did return. I need to somehow transfer my feelings of like for the well me, onto the other me- and be open to the fact that depression may always be there with me- however much i don't want this.
So in a nutshell I am going to be random and honest to the internet and anyone who is reading- I had my first big depressive episode when i was 17 after a relative killed themselves due to mental health issues. I have since had a number of these episodes in which i retreated into myself. I have experienced anxiety since i was at school and had accepted a high level of anxiety as being normal for me. No one in my life knows about my anxiety and depression apart from a counsellor and my doctor. Despite these issues i function, although i am very single and have been for years (so dreams of having a family are rapidly diminishing). I work and have even lied after having to take time off by saying i have migraines (why is this so much more acceptable than saying i had insomnia and depression and couldn't face the day??). I first sought help 4 years ago and paid for a private counsellor (for fear of anything being on my records) and then a year ago finally approached my doctor when my depression and anxiety affected my eating and sleep- i was still at the time in denial that it was depression and anxiety and after a few visits finally decided to try medication. I currently take antidepressants and i have been lucky as they have really helped. I have completed a number of mindfulness courses, meditation courses and recently completed an online CBT course which was really helpful. So this year i will be working on becoming friends with my depression- thinking less and taking things slowly! Apologies for the randomness of this post- but it is important to me!

teamn
Posts: 297
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:10 pm

Re: Relapse-guilt, acceptance and self esteem

Postby teamn » Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:43 am

hi sorry for my delayed response, have needed a few days to balance myself, so that I don't sink back into uncontrollable emotional responses in regards to my own situation,

\I'm very pleased that my comment was useful, its hard sometimes online, to get the precision of answer and direct accurate support, as I'm aware that we often summarise our feelings , but as I said I'm glad I helped in some way. I don't think, in any way shape or form that your post are RANDOM, its clear and important to yu to get out, so write away. Sounds like you've tried some things to begin to stabilise and work on recovery of the depression and anxiety, and glad that yiu still going to continue in 2018. was you glad that you wen to the doctor instead of private counsellor, or are yu still seeing private councellor, the reason behind your mental health is very sever and definitely a great impact, grief and traumatic sudden death can be difficult and take years to get a hold of, notice I don't say get over, as I don't think you ever get over it, regardless of when a loved one died, if yiu have a connection with someone and then they die, then yiur connection is lost, regardless, its just about managing to live with how you feel now, ( I talk from experience). I also understand why you didn't tell your work, I guess it depends on manager, on what work yiu do, on the support systems in place t work, on the stability of your role and many other factors, sometimes keepin your private life private is better, and if you still manage to get time off for saying you have migraines then that's all that matters. Only you know how your bosses will react. Hows work now, and how are you today?

emloja
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:34 pm

Re: Relapse-guilt, acceptance and self esteem

Postby emloja » Sun Jan 07, 2018 5:53 pm

Hi Teamn
I hope you are okay? yes balance is good- i aim for balance in my life!!
I think i saw your response just when i needed it. I am feeling rather low and tearful atm. A number of strong negative thoughts have returned which i haven't had for a long time (me being pathetic, my life being rubbish, etc etc) and most of them come back to me being forever single and not having a family of my own. Now when i was feeling better i did not have these thoughts for a good number of months- and now they are almost as strong as they were and i have the added irritation and confusion that they have returned.
In response to am i glad i went to the Doctor? well yes and no- i had a massive fear of this all going on my records however i needed something to change- the AD i am on had been really good for me (i was lucky in not having side effects) and i got over the insomnia and currently my anxiety is the best it has ever been. I had got used to living with such a high level of anxiety- i used to worry i would die early from a bad heart due to all of the strain i put on it. I however worry the doctor doesn't really listen and just wants to medicate me- every time i go we look at the AD and then she says i should do counselling and CBT- she doesn't actually listen to what i have tried. I worry now what will happen if this medication doesn't continue to help me (as i have just gone up to the highest level) and i also worry that any improvements are just due to the medication and what will happen when i come off. I feel like professionals should work together and think it is weird that the counsellor knew so much more about me and has no input in helping the doctor in knowing what i need best. I am glad as well though as i think i had gone as far as i could with the counselling- my anxiety was so high i wasn't really accessing the sessions fully- so i do advocate a combo of meds and therapy.
Work isn't great, i haven't had to take any time off for a while. I get to work at home lots and so this has been a godsend- i can then have a nap and work later in the evening- i don't think i would have been able to have got away with this act if i had a normal 9-5 office day- people would have noted- so this is both good and bad.


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