Unable to function

Posted by Brenda @bren1985, Nov 1, 2017

Hi everyone,
I’m having a lot of difficulty functioning. I sleep excessively (11-14 hours/night) and feel extremely tired throughout the day. Most of my days lately have been very empty – I haven’t been doing much, at all, except sleeping and eating (and feeling guilty to eat so much – it seems like a waste since I’m not doing anything; I get these terrible cravings for carbs). I don’t know if what I have is chronic fatigue syndrome, hypersomnia, or depression – or perhaps all three. I’m incredibly afraid that I have lost my ability to concentrate as I’m a graduate student (in Environmental Studies) under pressure to finish my research by April 2018; the way things are going, I don’t know if I will ever get better enough to complete the research…I used to love studying (it was like therapy for me – especially because I’m studying nature, which has been very healing in the past), but I can’t engage with it as I used to and that feels very painful.

I had my first episode of severe depression (which involved hospitalization) at 17 and had many more psych ward stays over the years; I’m now 32, and I really feel like my life is over in a way. The only person I have in my life, consistently, is my mother (whom I live with; she is 62). I am very grateful for her support.

I don’t know whether I should try antidepressants again (I have been on more than 10, over the years). I’m very wary of them (especially of side effects) and feel they won’t work anyway. Yet, I’m really not able to function and feel very stuck. I also deal with other chronic conditions (like migraine and IBS); I take a triptan for migraine, and there is a small risk of serotonin syndrome when using antidepressants with them. That’s one reason I’m wary. I’m open to seeing a psychotherapist again, but it can take a lot of time and energy to find an appropriate one. In the meantime, I’ve been reading some CBT and mindfulness books and tried doing a bit of very simple yoga – though I’m often too tired to do much of it.

Sorry for the long post, just wanted to reach out as I feel isolated in this and I’m losing hope – especially after struggling since a relatively early age. I worry that the future will be a repeat of the past, and it terrifies me. I would appreciate any advice/insights/words of support please. Thank you so much. I’m glad this community exists.

@bren1985 hey I’m lilgriz but you can call me Serina. Boy I could talk to you forever we seem to share a lot of the same feelings. I was diagnosed as Bipolar 1 in 1999 and have went thru hell trying to find a semi stable state in my life/head. I’ve lost all hope for a completely stable state of mind but semi seems to be working pretty good. I am usually manic more than depressed but I rapid cycle sometimes each day. I also have ms and my medicine for it causes depression. hahaha. Like I need any help?! But no that is not what always happens. I have the opposite reaction and get manic like really, really manic to were I may sleep 3 hours on a good night. And then this builds and builds and I crash into a huge depression which is where I am at now. I’ve been sleeping so much I got up the other day and ask my dad what he wanted for breakfast and he said he was fixing to go to bed that he had just ate a sandwich for supper. hahaha. Its left me really confused that is just one example. But most the time I am not this bad and I pray it will pass quickly. I don’t have a therapist, I think I ran them all off. hahaha. But I love my psychiatrist. She is a wonderful and caring woman. I have taken one antidepressant for years and it has worked well for me but it has help as I take a once a month injection also and between the 2 they seem to work pretty good. Before 3 years ago I had been in the psych ward at least 30 times but I haven’t been back in about 3 maybe 4 years. I understand this dark place you feel your in and for me it was very scary. I have no memory when I walk around in these confused states of mind. I probably should be in the hospital. The last couple of days I have been sleeping about 15-16 hours a day. Then get up wonder around the house lost. Half the time I don’t know what day it is. But I am not freaking out yet. the episodes don’t usually last that long before I shake them off. I believe your doing the right things to fight your depression and even though I don’t do it now because I just had 2 back surgeries this year is exercise. Ask your doc; exercise is the best pill you can swallow. As far as finding the right antidepressant goes you have to be patient and remember that psychiatry is a lot of trial and error. But you all will figure it out. I hope you get to feeling better quickly and getting to know you better Brenda. And don’t forget, we will be hear to talk to when you need someone.

@jimhd

Welcome to Connect, @bren1985

I seem to go through phases of sleep binges. I have sleep apnea, and see the sleep doctor every 6 months. He usually tells me that I need to sleep less, the idea being that I’d have more energy during the day, and have better sleep. I try to stay below ten hours, but I know that I’m more alert with 9. I set my alarm, but I usually turn it off and sleep another hour. Some people set alarms and put them in a place where they have to get out of bed to turn it off. I need to do that, myself. Sometimes I will sleep for 12 hours. I just don’t wake up except to go to the bathroom.

I know that excessive sleep can contribute to depression, and conversely, depression can keep a person in bed. Medications that I take at bedtime are sedating, so that probably makes me sleep longer. But the things I take, I take for a reason.

Have you had any ideas how to limit your sleep? Maybe ideas I might use? My wife only sleeps for 8 hours or less, but she won’t wake me up, even if it’s been 12 hours. I can get up after 7 or 8 hours to go to a doctor appointment. It’s hard to figure out. Let me know if you have any ideas that work for you to cut back on the number of hours you sleep.

If depression is affecting your life, it’s best to get help. Talk with your doctor about it. Maybe he’ll have some suggestions.

Jim

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@bren1985

Hi, Brenda. I actually woke up 5 minutes before the alarm went off this morning at 9:30! I was pleased. I used a CPAP machine for 15+ years, and recently switched to a BIPAP. I never sleep without it, even for naps.

Thursday is my therapy day. I look forward to it all week. Sometimes, it feels like 20 days between Thursdays. Until March of this year, I hadn’t been able to see a therapist for 18 months, and by the end of 2016, I was in bad shape, very depressed and having suicidal thoughts.

The forecast here is for snow this weekend. I need to finish up some outside jobs before we get significant snow or temps in the teens. I washed the car yesterday, but it took so long to wash it that I didn’t have time to wax. Next week, I hear that it’s supposed to warm up a bit, so maybe I’ll give it another quick wash, and wax it before winter.

I have days when I can make myself get out of the recliner and do a few things. I feel better about myself when I do that. On the other days, I feel worthless, and get even more depressed, so I know that I really want and need to get moving.

I have idiopathic peripheral neuropathy, so walking or standing very much causes a fair amount of pain in my feet. The only way to stop the pain is to lie down on my back on the bed. Having my feet up in the recliner doesn’t help. I’m tall, so I have an ottoman in front of the recliner, so my feet don’t just hang off the end. It helps a little, but bed is best. The danger of being on the bed is that I might doze off for a couple of hours. So much for getting up with the alarm.

Time to turn off the screen and do all my bedtime routine. Maybe I’ll be able to get up again tomorrow morning, if not before the alarm rings, when it does, without pushing snooze. Maybe you’ll be able to start a new habit of rising earlier, too. I’ll let you know how I do.

Jim

@hopeful33250

Hello @bren1985

I would like to join Lisa in welcoming you to Mayo Connect. You have joined a very strong, encouraging community of people who, like you, have posted about some of the difficulties we all face from time to time. Depression is a difficult road to travel, isn’t it? The very things that you know that you must do in order to get better are the most difficult things to do because it involves movement and talking with others – the very things that don’t feel very comfortable right now.

Like Lisa said, I would encourage you to talk with a doctor about how you are feeling. There are always new medicines and therapies that can assist you and it looks like you are doing some good work on your own. You are also very articulate in expressing your feelings – a most important trait in the healing process.

Have you started keeping a journal of your feelings? That is often a good first step. When you read about CBT, write down thoughts as to how you can put these ideas into practice.

Will you keep in touch with us and let us know how you are progressing in your journey?

Teresa

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Hi Brenda, @bren1985

Regarding CBT, have you read David Burns book, “Feeling Good Handbook”? He has lots of examples of how to deal with thoughts that are not helpful and then there is a place where you can write your own new thoughts. You seem to be very articulate and I think it might be helpful for you.

You mentioned that often you cannot come up with alternative/balanced thoughts to replace the ones that come up “automatically.” This is where meds and therapy would be good.

We would love to hear from you after your appointment on Monday. Will you post us again?

Teresa

@lisalucier

Hi, @bren1985. Glad you’ve come to Mayo Clinic Connect, and that you’ve had the courage and taken the time to share with us about what is going on. Very sorry you are feeling so isolated and that you are losing hope.

You sound like a very bright and self-aware person. It also seems like you are working on some self-care with the yoga and books you are reading, which is great.

Also glad to hear that you have your mother for support in your life.

I’d like to introduce you to @jimhd, @hopeful33250, @lilgrizz, @parus, @overwhelmed, @tomgrinley, @comtesse, @amberpep, @contentandwell, @mrmaid11, @johnbishop and @danybegood1, as I believe they may have some insights for you. Hope you can all meet up here on this thread.

Have you gotten to talk to your doctor about how you are feeling?

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@bren1985 hi Brenda, @lisalucier mentioned me as someone who might have some insights for you but I unfortunately do not. I’m sure it must be debilitating to be going through all you are dealing with but any periods of similar expeeiences for me have been brief and have definitely had a source. Right now I am going through a period of craving sleep but it is due to being in considerable pain from a recent knee replacement – when I sleep I am without pain. Other than that it’s been from temporary situational depression. I wish I could offer you some suggestions but for me I know the only thing that seems to help is forcing myself to be active. That’s not easy but it does help.
I hope you are able to get some answers and some help when you see the doctor on Monday, and I am sorry I could not help.
JK

Hi there friend ….. first, I want to encourage you to find a really good therapist ….. a PsyD …. a Psychologist. Then start to tell him or her what is going on. He may or may not send to to an MD for medication, but even if he does, would you rather feel lousy and not take anything? or would you rather feel better and be taking a med.? That’s a question only you can answer.
You are not alone in feeling useless, life is over, and the sense that “why am I still here?” I’m 72, have an apartment fairly close to my 2 girls (I moved down here from a condo and town I absolutely loved to be closer to them), and while I enjoy the times I am with them, they have their own lives, and I can’t expect them to cater to me. But, here I am, alone in my apartment with my 2 cats (and hopefully soon a dog), it’s a low-income apartment, so a lot of the people aren’t around at all during the day so for me that = no friends. I still have 2 close friends in MD, but only 1 here, and she works all the time. I feel totally useless. I know if I found a church to go to, and got involved in something there, it would help, but so far I’ve not had any success at that either.
So, you see, there are a lot of us out here. At your age, you’ve got a whole lot of life ahead of you. Take the time to do some of the things you’ve always wanted to do ….. I wish I would have when I was your age. I wanted so badly to hang glide, hike on the Appalachian Trail and camp in the woods overnight, go back to school, open a little business. I do like to whitewater raft, but I have not done that for awhile either. So I say, GO FOR IT, see a really good PsyD, and when you’re feeling better, get out there and just DO IT! (I’m talking to myself too).
Keep in touch … there are some wonderful and very wise people on this site, and I’m sure you’ll get lots more suggestions besides mine.
abby

@amberpep

Hi there friend ….. first, I want to encourage you to find a really good therapist ….. a PsyD …. a Psychologist. Then start to tell him or her what is going on. He may or may not send to to an MD for medication, but even if he does, would you rather feel lousy and not take anything? or would you rather feel better and be taking a med.? That’s a question only you can answer.
You are not alone in feeling useless, life is over, and the sense that “why am I still here?” I’m 72, have an apartment fairly close to my 2 girls (I moved down here from a condo and town I absolutely loved to be closer to them), and while I enjoy the times I am with them, they have their own lives, and I can’t expect them to cater to me. But, here I am, alone in my apartment with my 2 cats (and hopefully soon a dog), it’s a low-income apartment, so a lot of the people aren’t around at all during the day so for me that = no friends. I still have 2 close friends in MD, but only 1 here, and she works all the time. I feel totally useless. I know if I found a church to go to, and got involved in something there, it would help, but so far I’ve not had any success at that either.
So, you see, there are a lot of us out here. At your age, you’ve got a whole lot of life ahead of you. Take the time to do some of the things you’ve always wanted to do ….. I wish I would have when I was your age. I wanted so badly to hang glide, hike on the Appalachian Trail and camp in the woods overnight, go back to school, open a little business. I do like to whitewater raft, but I have not done that for awhile either. So I say, GO FOR IT, see a really good PsyD, and when you’re feeling better, get out there and just DO IT! (I’m talking to myself too).
Keep in touch … there are some wonderful and very wise people on this site, and I’m sure you’ll get lots more suggestions besides mine.
abby

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@amberpep it must be very difficult to feel displaced and not have a group of friends where you are now. Church can be a great place to meet similarly minded people but senior centers can be also. My sister and her husband have lived in the same town for many years and she has many friends there, plus her daughter is in the same town and one of her sons is not far. Even so, she has started going to the senior center a couple of days a week, and thoroughly enjoys it. She has made new friends and gone on some outings that have been run by the center. I use my health club for that and am pretty faithful to the water aerobics classes. They also have social activities for seniors which I have not tried. My goal has been to get physically stronger, and it was to lose weight but I don’t want to lose anymore now. I had a TKR three weeks ago and was afraid that inactivity and snacking would be my undoing but oddly enough I have lost weight!
JK

@amberpep

Hi there friend ….. first, I want to encourage you to find a really good therapist ….. a PsyD …. a Psychologist. Then start to tell him or her what is going on. He may or may not send to to an MD for medication, but even if he does, would you rather feel lousy and not take anything? or would you rather feel better and be taking a med.? That’s a question only you can answer.
You are not alone in feeling useless, life is over, and the sense that “why am I still here?” I’m 72, have an apartment fairly close to my 2 girls (I moved down here from a condo and town I absolutely loved to be closer to them), and while I enjoy the times I am with them, they have their own lives, and I can’t expect them to cater to me. But, here I am, alone in my apartment with my 2 cats (and hopefully soon a dog), it’s a low-income apartment, so a lot of the people aren’t around at all during the day so for me that = no friends. I still have 2 close friends in MD, but only 1 here, and she works all the time. I feel totally useless. I know if I found a church to go to, and got involved in something there, it would help, but so far I’ve not had any success at that either.
So, you see, there are a lot of us out here. At your age, you’ve got a whole lot of life ahead of you. Take the time to do some of the things you’ve always wanted to do ….. I wish I would have when I was your age. I wanted so badly to hang glide, hike on the Appalachian Trail and camp in the woods overnight, go back to school, open a little business. I do like to whitewater raft, but I have not done that for awhile either. So I say, GO FOR IT, see a really good PsyD, and when you’re feeling better, get out there and just DO IT! (I’m talking to myself too).
Keep in touch … there are some wonderful and very wise people on this site, and I’m sure you’ll get lots more suggestions besides mine.
abby

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Hi there content …. A senior center was mentioned to me before, but, and I hate to say this, but I picture a group of old people sitting around drawing pictures, playing games. In my head I know that’s not true, but somehow that’s the impression I’ve got.
abby

I did not grow up in the area where I live and gave up trying to find a place. I went to a water Tai Chi class as I always enjoyed doing Tai Chi. I was disappointed in what I found there. The instructor was awesome-all of the seniors were there only to gossip. I left before the class was over and did not return. They were rude and disrespectful. I took none of it personally. Found the same in any senior center. They have them and in some areas they may be helpful. I am not into gossip. It ruins things for others. The loud and obnoxious take over. I understand their need for a social life, but when I try to mingle I get nowhere. I am well rounded and have many interests. I stay with going to the store early in the morning when we oldies and goodies are shopping. I have met many interesting folks this way. There are many interesting people around. We know each other by face where we shop and this seems to work better for this senior. I am not one to sit and veg in front of a TV. I have many topics I can discuss-still, gossip takes over.
Church was mentioned. Again, even folks in church cannot get along even at church. I had thought about it and remembered past experiences.
So, now I come here and this helps. I can come here and be “me”.
I have days that getting out of bed may be my best for that day and this is okay. Chronic pain and depression are a constant uphill climb. I have done many things in my life and now it is time to take care of myself.

@parus

I did not grow up in the area where I live and gave up trying to find a place. I went to a water Tai Chi class as I always enjoyed doing Tai Chi. I was disappointed in what I found there. The instructor was awesome-all of the seniors were there only to gossip. I left before the class was over and did not return. They were rude and disrespectful. I took none of it personally. Found the same in any senior center. They have them and in some areas they may be helpful. I am not into gossip. It ruins things for others. The loud and obnoxious take over. I understand their need for a social life, but when I try to mingle I get nowhere. I am well rounded and have many interests. I stay with going to the store early in the morning when we oldies and goodies are shopping. I have met many interesting folks this way. There are many interesting people around. We know each other by face where we shop and this seems to work better for this senior. I am not one to sit and veg in front of a TV. I have many topics I can discuss-still, gossip takes over.
Church was mentioned. Again, even folks in church cannot get along even at church. I had thought about it and remembered past experiences.
So, now I come here and this helps. I can come here and be “me”.
I have days that getting out of bed may be my best for that day and this is okay. Chronic pain and depression are a constant uphill climb. I have done many things in my life and now it is time to take care of myself.

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Yes, taking good care of ourselves is tops on my list. One of the ways I made lots of friends when I lived in MD and walked my dog 2x a day, was just that ….. walking the dog. I ran into so many people walking their dogs, and we always stopped and talked. Funny, a lot of the people I may not have known their names, but I did know their dog’s name!!! But, in that way I always met people, and I loved it. Unfortunately I had to put my dog down shortly after I moved to VA and I really miss her. I’m looking right now for another dog, both for companionship and to walk, hoping to meet people. It may not be as easy here though …. I live in a low-income apartment and a lot of the folks work during the day and no one is home. But, it’s worth a try anyhow.
abby

@parus

I did not grow up in the area where I live and gave up trying to find a place. I went to a water Tai Chi class as I always enjoyed doing Tai Chi. I was disappointed in what I found there. The instructor was awesome-all of the seniors were there only to gossip. I left before the class was over and did not return. They were rude and disrespectful. I took none of it personally. Found the same in any senior center. They have them and in some areas they may be helpful. I am not into gossip. It ruins things for others. The loud and obnoxious take over. I understand their need for a social life, but when I try to mingle I get nowhere. I am well rounded and have many interests. I stay with going to the store early in the morning when we oldies and goodies are shopping. I have met many interesting folks this way. There are many interesting people around. We know each other by face where we shop and this seems to work better for this senior. I am not one to sit and veg in front of a TV. I have many topics I can discuss-still, gossip takes over.
Church was mentioned. Again, even folks in church cannot get along even at church. I had thought about it and remembered past experiences.
So, now I come here and this helps. I can come here and be “me”.
I have days that getting out of bed may be my best for that day and this is okay. Chronic pain and depression are a constant uphill climb. I have done many things in my life and now it is time to take care of myself.

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@parus – I agree that people are people, wherever they gather.

Jim

@bren1985

Hi all,
Thank you so much for all of your thoughtful replies to my posting. It was nice to feel so welcomed here.

Sorry if I didn’t “properly” reply to everyone (not sure if I had to use “@”)…still figuring out how this works.

I’ll see my doctor next Monday, and will wait for a psychiatrist and therapist. In the meantime, I’m setting small goals: like just getting outside and walking our dog around the block, and perhaps going to the library for more CBT/mindfulness books. I don’t feel ready to tackle harder tasks, like getting back to research, just yet…it feels too overwhelming and I feel too scatterbrained 🙁

Thank you again for your kind support, and I am also thinking of everyone here.

-Brenda

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Hi, @bren1985 — when you would like to address several members in a discussion individually, you can use their username (@____) where you’d usually use a name, like you were thinking. You can also write one post where you @mention several members, if you want — like a sentence or paragraph to each all in the same post.

Wanted to check in and see how things are going for you and how your doctor appointment went?

Yes, one of those dysfunctional, nonfunctional-a funk day. It happens. I expect too much for the most part.

@parus

Yes, one of those dysfunctional, nonfunctional-a funk day. It happens. I expect too much for the most part.

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Same here. Terrible weather. Got up at 2pm. Sitting watching tv all evening. Now watch tv & sit up till about 4am. So so bored with nothing to do. Mental health.

@parus

Yes, one of those dysfunctional, nonfunctional-a funk day. It happens. I expect too much for the most part.

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@parus

🙁

@parus

Yes, one of those dysfunctional, nonfunctional-a funk day. It happens. I expect too much for the most part.

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@derryman

🙁

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