View Full Version : How do you stop yourself from sinking?


Fuzzy12
01-28-13, 07:17 AM
The mood swings are so bad. One moment I feel as if an episode of hypomania is coming on and the next moment, I just crash. Sometimes the mood swings are triggered by tiny, little, miniscule, microscopic, nanoscopic events or thoughts and sometimes there doesn't seem to be a reason at all.

I feel as if I'm teetering on the edge of severe depression all the time and I don't want to fall off but I'm helpless against the onslaught of negative emotions. It seems even worse when 5 mins ago, I was feeling just fine, excited at times even.

Is there anything to stop it or slow it down? Have you found any methods, strategies, thoughts to pick yourself up when you can feel that you are sinking? I try to generate happy thoughts but they just don't seem to make a difference to my moods.

It was ok when I was continuously depressed but now it seems like I can't even deal anymore with the slightest hint of depression. I hate being depressed. I can't deal with it anymore.

Any inputs? I'm desperate.

EDITL: Forgot to add. I've made an appointment with my GP in two weeks to get the whole process of getting lamotrigine, started. I hope it will deal with the daily mood swings too. They are driving me absolutely crazy.

mrs. dobbs
01-28-13, 10:58 AM
Starting meds tonight might stop you from sinking. Can you (and maybe your mom too) get an urgent appointment or short term rx of something? Just for some relief? I'm not sure if lamotrigine starts working right away. Also to avoid headaches I had to start at 12.5 and do a very slow every two week titration.

GeordieDave
01-28-13, 11:06 AM
How do you stop yourself from sinking?

I will give you a piggy back :D

Nah in all seriousness. I'm crossing my fingers that these new meds work for you!

sarahsweets
01-28-13, 12:20 PM
Meds. ASAP.

Special-Ks
01-28-13, 07:03 PM
Meds, and by reminding myself of the illusory element of mood swings. I try to tell myself that when I was happy, I didn't believe in any of those negative thoughts, so why should I suddenly believe in them now?

Sometimes this can help.... if I remember it quickly. Hope you feel better.

Edit: I also wanted to add that sleep is of the utmost importance. Are you able to sleep? I notice that when I miss a night of sleep, I always pay for it later.

keliza
01-29-13, 12:45 AM
Meds are only part of the equation. Self-care is a huge chunk of it. I really strongly encourage you to make sure you're doing all of the following things. They may seem small, inconsequential, or unable to make an impact on your moods. But I promise they are important. The past 11 years with bipolar disorder has taught me just how important these seemingly "small" things can be.

1. Sleep. You have to sleep. Take ZzzQuil, meditate, hot baths, look up all the sleep hygiene tips you can, and use them all. Sleep is so precious to the bipolar brain. It's one of the easiest ways to destabilize yourself, and also an easy thing you can do to help buffer against mood episodes.

2. Exercise. Every day, no excuses. Shoot for 30+ minutes of aerobic exercise, something that gets your heart pumping, but do SOMETHING, even the smallest thing. Know that I say this in the most loving and understanding way possible: I do not care how tired, sad, or busy you think you are. You must take some time every day to do something physically active. Even if all you do is walk down to the end of the street and back, you're doing something, and it's getting you somewhere. Exercise is a time and time again proven antidepressant, it releases dopamine in the brain, it triggers a whole cascade of feel-good responses. Plus it helps with sleep, improves digestion, strengthens your body, etc. People underestimate just how important physical activity is.

3. Eat a proper diet. Snacking on high-carb, high-sugar foods all day is what a depressed brain wants because those foods provide a short burst of serotonin to the brain, which it is craving desperately. But it's not helping you in the long run. Take a multivitamin if you aren't already, to ensure that you are getting all of your required vitamins and minerals. Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day. Drink enough water. Make something you really enjoy eating, even if it's just a delicious, feel-good snack, and eat it every day. Make food a part of your joy. Your body needs good fuel to perform at its peak, and while I would never say that nutrition makes or breaks depression, it is a contributor to your overall mental and physical well-being.

4. Focus on your joy. Intentional activities account for almost HALF of our general happiness. That means the things you intentionally do in your life to cultivate joy are a huge aspect of your overall mental wellness. You didn't choose bipolar disorder, but you DO choose how you intentionally act in your life to grow a garden of happy little flowers in your brain. No matter how much it storms, those happy flowers can still grow there, with enough effort and gentle care.

So what are things that make you happy when you're NOT depressed? Listening to music? Sports? Funny TV shows? Hanging out with friends/family? Hobbies? Making art? You know what those things are. Even if they don't make you happy NOW, do them anyway. Part of depression is that things that once made you happy don't generally bring you much joy anymore. Do them anyway. The more you engage in intentional, positive activities, the sooner you will make it through a depressive episode, and the more resilient you will be to future episodes. It's been proven. This isn't just some junk psychology "tip", it's real science, it's a behavioral modification technique practiced by cognitive behavioral therapists and it WORKS. Try to plan at least one positive activity a day, no matter how big or small it may be.

5. Express your feelings. Don't keep them bottled up inside of you, that kind of repression only builds up the metaphorical pressure in your brain and makes your episodes worse and more frequent. Whether it's through writing, music, dance, 2D or 3D arts, venting to your therapist, whatever it is, you need to find an outlet and engage in that outlet on a daily basis. Start keeping a journal and dump all of your feelings there at the end of the day before you go to bed. Get a sketchbook and draw something every day, no matter how bad it is, if that helps you express your pain. The more you put those feelings out into the world as self-expression, the less they are bottled up inside of you, and the better you can process and deal with them.

Like I said, those things all seem really basic, common even. You may be thinking, "Well duh, I know I need to do those things, everyone knows that." But are you doing them? Depression is hard f&$#ing work, and it's a thousand times harder because you're depressed when you have to DO all of that work to get OUT of your depressive episode. I know. I get that. I understand from lots and lots of painful first-hand experience. Which is why I can tell you this.

If it came from someone who didn't understand those feelings first-hand, it would be absolute garbage. But I understand, first-hand, and I can tell you from first-hand experience that these things WILL help you. It may not help in a huge, overnight kind of way, but if you sustain these daily activities over time, you will see a difference. And you will become more resilient against future mood episodes, too.

BellaVita
01-29-13, 03:19 AM
Wow, amazing post keliza!

Deep...beautiful...profound and practical!

Thank you!

Zaashy
01-29-13, 03:25 AM
I'm on risperdal and the first week was shaky but now I feel as if I woken up. Racing thoughts stopped and no sign of mania in days.

Fuzzy12
01-29-13, 06:57 AM
Thanks Keliza, that's brilliant. I know I MUST do these things but still actually doing them is a problem. Exercise helps me tons with depression but somehow that isn't enough motivation to actually exercise.

Today, I'm so annoyed. I'm restless too in an agitated, angry way. I feel like hitting something. I went absolutely crazy today morning first trying to find a phone number on my bank's website and then navigating my way through the million of options in the automated system. "$%!!!! :mad: :mad: :mad: Then I got stuck in a traffic jam and was so tempted to just crash my car into the one in front of me. Even people walking slowly in front of me are frustrating me. Uggh... :mad:

I'm smoking less. I wonder if I'm just having withdrawal symptoms. :scratch:

Fuzzy12
01-29-13, 11:50 AM
Sinking, sinking, sinking and I can't seem to stop it. Even my usual sources of stimulation (getting social) aren't helping. On the contrary, they seem to be depressing me more and are making me feel more hopeless. I've done some stretching exercises. I know, I need to get some proper cardiovascular workout but I don't have time. I should probably run up the stairs to my office at least or something like that. I'm just so tired of feeling like this.

mrs. dobbs
01-29-13, 12:16 PM
This is crazy sounding but do sensory shocks help you? Like a hot then cold shower, screaming really hard, listening to very powerful music so loud that it almost hurts your ears? Smelling something really strong, hysterical laughter for no reason (I think it is a form of pain). Or bolting up the stairs like you said? If I were there I would spar with you, it really helps. Or would that stuff trigger mania?

GeordieDave
01-29-13, 12:38 PM
How about you and a friend have a spa day and relax? Sink in a nice hot jacuzzi and get a massage? I walked past some chinese massage parlour whioch offered accupuncture or something? That might help? They apparently do it for all kind of things.

mrs. dobbs
01-29-13, 12:48 PM
Ooh yes massage. Also I got accupuncture for depression. The kind that hurt. They told me it was the Real kind lol. It worked well. I felt good after.

dvdnvwls
01-29-13, 02:05 PM
Exercise helps me tons with depression but somehow that isn't enough motivation to actually exercise.
I don't know about everyone else, but for myself, motivation to exercise is limited to just one thing: I did it yesterday, and the day before. If I didn't do it yesterday, then I have to use "force" - getting out there without any motivation, feeling stupid and uncomfortable and failuristic (invented a new word cause I couldn't remember the right one), and doing something anyway.

If you live in a place where it is safe to simply go out your front door and start walking or running, that takes the least motivation of all.

OK, I just remembered a "cheater's motivation" that I used for a week or so one time - I got dressed, out the door, and jogged a quarter of a mile to a coffee shop. :) Ordered an espresso, knocked it back, then jogged back home. I'm such a smart boy. :yes:


Here's the thing: When I'm in bed, I believe that nothing could be better. And under normal-people circumstances, I would be correct. But when it's ME in that lying-in-bed situation, I am not going to be peaceful and restful; I'm going to be lying there getting more and more anxious over the fact that I'm broken. Forcing myself out for exercise actually cracks the anxiety a little bit.

keliza
01-29-13, 03:28 PM
Thanks Keliza, that's brilliant. I know I MUST do these things but still actually doing them is a problem. Exercise helps me tons with depression but somehow that isn't enough motivation to actually exercise.

You've got to find a way to motivate yourself to do it. I definitely understand the feeling, but you HAVE to find some way to make yourself do it. I hate to sound like a "just do it" kind of person because I know that advice never works, but this is one of those moments where for your own health, for your own livelihood, you have to find some way to kick yourself in the a** and make it happen.

Imagine if you heard a cancer patient say, "I know the chemo helps with my cancer, but somehow that's just not enough motivation to go to my chemo treatments." You'd probably say, "What's wrong with you?! GO GET YOUR FREAKING CHEMO TREATMENTS OR YOU'LL DIE!!" You need to start thinking about taking care of your depression as seriously as a cancer patient taking their cancer treatment seriously. Depression is like a cancer, and it can take over your life like one, too. But the kicker is that people take depression less seriously than cancer, even the people who have it.

This is your life we're talking about. Your ability to live it fully, to have happiness, to even live at all. Take it that seriously.

Sinking, sinking, sinking and I can't seem to stop it. Even my usual sources of stimulation (getting social) aren't helping. On the contrary, they seem to be depressing me more and are making me feel more hopeless. I've done some stretching exercises. I know, I need to get some proper cardiovascular workout but I don't have time. I should probably run up the stairs to my office at least or something like that. I'm just so tired of feeling like this.

You have time! You have time! YOU HAVE TIME. I'm not yelling, I'm joyfully shouting it to the heavens. You have time! What are you doing right now? You have ten minutes to run around your house like a madwoman. You have five minutes - just five minutes - to run down to the mailbox and back a few times. You have time to run up and down the stairs at your office. You have time to do jumping jacks during TV commercials. You. have. time. Imagine if you did five minutes of jumping jacks or wind sprints, five times a day. That would suddenly turn into 25 minutes of cardio a day, snuck into the cracks in your schedule! You have time. Repeat after me: You have time.

I don't know about everyone else, but for myself, motivation to exercise is limited to just one thing: I did it yesterday, and the day before. If I didn't do it yesterday, then I have to use "force" - getting out there without any motivation, feeling stupid and uncomfortable and failuristic (invented a new word cause I couldn't remember the right one), and doing something anyway.

^ That, exactly.

This is a link to my friend's website, where she has PDFs called "Don't Break the Chain" worksheets that you can download and print for free: http://xdistracteddisciplex.wordpress.com/2012/12/24/dont-break-the-chain-pdfs-2013/

(She also has useful bill organizing worksheets that you can also download as PFDs. She has ADHD as well, and is very good at making these kinds of things.)

The idea behind "Don't Break the Chain" is simple. You print this out and put it up on your wall. You cross through every day that you do something, whatever that particular activity is that you're using that calendar for - like exercise, for example. Every day when you do it, you cross it off. As time goes by, you have a visual representation of your achievement - a chain of days crossed off during which you completed your goal.

This serves as a visual reminder to, as Fleetwood Mac said, "Never break the chain." Don't break it!! Even if your ONLY motivation for the day is to be able to cross off another day and not break your chain, that's enough. Like dvdn said, the motivation doesn't even have to be because you want to do it, or because you know it's good for you, etc. The motivation can simply be, "I don't want to break the chain." The visual is a good reminder.

PQLICE
02-04-13, 01:32 AM
Watch comedy tv shows.