Has this ever happened to anyone else?

Discussion in 'I Have a Question...' started by moxman, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. moxman

    moxman I am proud to call Rosie, my best friend =) Forum Pro

    I had the weirdest thing happen to me the other day. I have never been through anything like it before. Thought I would ask you guys and gals, and see if anyone has been through anything similar to it.

    I was on SF, wrote a PM. I felt fine.
    I got into the shower. I felt fine.
    I got out of the shower and got dressed and such. I felt fine.

    I lay down across my bed and BOOM, I don't feel fine anymore. I am flooded with all of these negative thoughts and I was blaming myself for everything wrong in my life. I went from fine to crying in under 60 seconds. I just felt so inadequate about everything in my life. I was trying my best not to cry, but no, that was not happening. I just overwhelmed with all of these emotions, I get on SF to try and PM a friend about what I was going through. It has always helped me before in the past, but not this time. I can't stop crying, I can't even tell you what I am crying about, it just overwhelmed me so much.

    After about an hour of this , non stop crying and just more and more emotions going through me. I took a handful of ACME tablets. Then I went and layed back down in my bed. I was pretending to be asleep, so no one would see the state I was in.

    This happened on Monday. I don't think it would have had anything to do with my recent hospitalization, that was a physical pain, not an emotional one. Now, I can't shake this depressed as hell feeling. I am going to call my counselor tomorrow and talk to him. I feel really overwhelmed to do any of my standard feeling better mechanisms.

    Has anyone ever been through something similar to that?

    Take Care
    Thauoy likes this.
  2. Frances M

    Frances M Mountain Woman

    I go through that often. I'm absolutely fine, been out in the woods, hugged my trees, feel gratitude for everything I have in my life, pride for everything I've conquered and accomplished despite my challenges...then like you said boom. But for me it's panic attacks. Just out of nowhere for no apparent reason. Then the sadness and depression hits me and I cry my eyes out. There seems to be a pattern. After a few hours of panic, then a day or so of depression, I start to feel okay, then the next day I'm fine again. I've just accepted it's part of my illness and I just try to ride it out now, knowing it'll take maybe 24-48 hours to pass.
    Piexes and Thauoy like this.
  3. JustCan'tQuit

    JustCan'tQuit Well-Known Member

    Hi Moxman,

    I bet it was triggered by something--most likely a train of thought. I know you're under a great deal of stress--the physical pain is only part of it--and it's not surprising that it broke through like this.

    I find these episodes have lingering after-effects. They're too powerful to be short-lived, so they set up a pervasive low mood.

    The risk is that you then act in accordance with that mood and instinctively do all the things that maintain it: withdraw from the world, stay up too late, sleep too late (or not at all), brood on your issues, belittle yourself, drink, whatever. I know what it is to feel so bad that none of your standard feel-better techniques seem to work.

    Often they don't work because we can't make ourselves do them, of course.

    The last time I was in a state this bad, I felt I couldn't do a thing about it. I bristled at the idea of self-care. Resented the internal expectation that I try.

    But I didn't want to stare at the ceiling brooding over my life, either. (That's really depressing.) I ended up searching out a couple of novels whose main characters had been traumatized. They were in such a bad way, I seemed to be doing better by comparison, LOL. I told myself that the mere fact that people were writing about these experiences meant they were common, part of the human condition.

    I suppose if the books had been well written, I might have worked myself into a state of high tragedy. Hamlet and all that.

    But lucky for me, both books turned out to be ridiculous. Both main characters made miraculous recoveries in record time. (One quick kiss from the nutcase next door, and our protagonist is over her dead husband and child in an instant.) I threw both books against the wall, which was the most exercise I'd had in a couple of days.

    I then looked up reviews. I was amazed to see that readers weren't pillorying them for their shallowness but for their depth! Readers were outraged to have had to focus on tragic circumstances, even for a chapter. Most were disgusted that these characters failed to get over their troubles faster.

    I damn near laughed out loud. The light bulb went on. No wonder people give me a wide berth on my bad days! They truly can't take it, poor dears. I suddenly realized that all those "normal" people I've so badly wanted to be like since kindergarten have as much depth as a helium balloon. Poor, naive, new-born things. I finally stopped wishing so hard to be normal! I'm sick of suffering, yes, but I don't want that level of naivete. It makes people uncomprehending and cruel. It makes them idiots. I'll keep my insight and compassion, thank you, despite the steep cost.

    My self-esteem went up a notch. I stopped seeing myself (while I could remember to) as broken or damaged or whatever else society has told me I am over the years. I discovered that my knowledge of suffering, in addition to the good things, makes me whole. Hurt, yes, but a whole human being.

    I don't always remember this. It's too new an idea. And when I forget, the self-recrimination comes back, the despair. I believe my life should be something other than it is, and the fact that it doesn't look "successful" means I've failed. I hate myself for the illness I've suffered, the failures I've had, the abuse I've somehow failed to fight off. I hate myself for what might have been that isn't, and for the feel I fear over trying to bring a better life into being.

    And yet, when I read this last paragraph, I know that I'm simply human. And being.

    I may not be having the ideal human experience, but it has given me (all of us?) the gift of being able to hear others and of being able to understand. The gift of being able to help. Or, at least, the desire to try.

    I'm rambling here, Moxman, and maybe this isn't helping at all.

    I'm mainly trying to say that your experience isn't unknown. You had a train of thought (or a level of fatigue) that triggered suffering. And then you made it worse by heaping judgments on yourself--the usual heartless insults that society instills in us early.

    Maybe those judgments don't need to be made.

    Thauoy likes this.
  4. moxman

    moxman I am proud to call Rosie, my best friend =) Forum Pro

    It was my first time feeling anything like that. I had no idea, of what it was, or how to make it stop? It did advance my suicidal plan. All of this, is just a big distraction to stop the suicidal thoughts. But when I stop the distraction, the thoughts pick right back up. I feel like, I am not really getting better. It is more like a slight descent downwards. Eventually, the meds will stop being as effective, so then what? another trip to the va psych ward? is this all my life is anymore? i really don't want to keep this up, but I couldn't hurt the girl. I feel very trapped.
    Thauoy likes this.
  5. JustCan'tQuit

    JustCan'tQuit Well-Known Member

    I think that many emotional crises are driven not just by hurt but by what we tell ourselves it means. In your case, predicting that the meds won't be as effective (you don't know that) or that you'll just keep winding up in the psych ward (you don't know that) or that your life won't consist of anything else (you don't know that) greatly increases your fear and pain.

    First, we know you'll be sticking around, because of your daughter. From everything you've expressed, that's a certainty. So one thing you can stop worrying about is that your suicidal feelings will result in suicidal actions.

    That greatly reduces the likelihood of endless repeat trips to the psych ward.

    Now, there are plenty of meds and plenty of combinations, so you're not likely to run out of options anytime soon. You may also consider that at some point you may not need psych meds at all. So, put that one aside for a while, too.

    The real question is, what you said above: how to make it stop? This one has concerned me for years, because my PTSD used to leave me in a near-constant state of breakdown, with no hope for anything approaching a normal life. I wasn't hospitalized but I wasn't optimally functional either. And, worse, these episodes would be so traumatic in themselves that afterwards I'd forget that they'd happened, which meant that I could never get used to the pain I was in and get any better.

    Not long ago I came across a site of trauma responses and on calming the mind. It said that, when the amygdala gets all worked up, it becomes impossible to think in a neutral, balanced way, which is what generates the sense of crisis. The site looked at how the brain functions and made three suggestions:

    (1) Mindfulness: Learn to observe your suicidal thoughts and say, "I'm only having a thought. Thoughts come, thoughts go." Try to observe with detachment, so you don't take them so seriously. Accept that they're there, but don't be in a hurry to believe them.
    (2) Neutral distractions to turn on the forebrain (which inhibits the amygdala): Word games, in particular, will turn on parts that are turned off in trauma. Math will work, too. Make all the words you can out of "refrigerator" or count by 7s.
    (3) Physical actions: Deliberately slow your breathing and make the out-breaths longer. That turns on the parasympathetic nervous system after a while, which will oppose the fight or flight response. Also, eating something to trigger saliva will help. Saliva isn't produced during panic, and if you can make it happen, you send a signal to your brain that the sabre-toothed tiger has gone away.

    No, this doesn't solve everything. But just allow yourself to do these for five minutes, or even three. (The longer, the better.) Once you start feeling calmer, NOTICE IT. It will show you you do have some control over your emotional state. When calmer, your forebrain will be back online, and you can think, briefly, about ways to handle whatever situation or fears have s sent you into crisis. Thinking may edge you back towards crisis, of course, so stop and repeat. Gradually, you'll realize that, while there may be no simple solutions to your issues, you can, at least, get a handle on the worst of the panic--which is the thing that drives the suicidal crises. And consider that people don't often feel they can't survive the present instant (they are surviving it, after all). It's the fear of the future that does them in. So reduce that focus and increase your sense of coping in the present.

    I wouldn't be recommending this if I couldn't say it hasn't been helping me lately. Far fewer episodes of "forgetting" because I'm not getting to the same level of crisis. I came up with other ideas as I went along, too. One (which I found years ago) involved not looking into the future too far. I used to be consumed by this image (since I don't drive) of being in a driverless car, hurtling towards a brick wall. It was terrifying. Eventually, it occurred to me to look out the passenger window -- and what did I see there but fields and wildflowers and ponds and geese under the sun. It came to me that even if my future is terrible, the present moment doesn't have to be.