Archive for the Anxiety Category

Depression 1001 : Work 0

Posted in Anxiety, Burnout, Coping Mechanisms, Depression, Family, Mental Health, Personal Thoughts, Reasoning, Self Doubt, The World, Work on April 28, 2017 by Neal

The last 2 months have been very strained for myself personally. Complications with work, family and myself have seen my attention to details and life in general slip. I didn’t think things were affecting me as much as they apparently were, guess that’s the old depression mind trick for you.

I’ve been trying to transfer stores so that I can be closer to home and also get a change of pace. The store I currently work in has its challenges but they tend to be the same things over and over each week. Plus being here for 2 years has started to make me a little shop blind to some obvious issues. But it would seem that my depression has finally started impacting my work. 

My first unsuccessful request was turned down due to a lack of self confidence in managing staff issues. I’m probably a bit too soft at times when it comes to staff problems. Being more assertive and knowledgable in company procedures would likely improve that aspect of myself. On top of making sure my self confidence was on the up I can see myself improving in that area for sure.

The big eye opener I had recently came in the form of a site visit by both area and state manager. The feedback I got was a real slap in the face. Several months ago the things they pulled me up on never existed. Yet despite all the effort I put into maintaining the store I had totally overlooked or dismissed the importance of some things. I could have come up with a wide range of excuses but that would have been passing the buck and not taking ownership of my own mistakes. I spent that evening mulling things over a lot as I came to realise my standards in the store had slipped, more that I had considered possible for myself.

Suffice to say this did not sit well when I tried another transfer request. I knew after the visit the chances of transfer were very slim. After all the past doesn’t count when looking at current standards. Top it off with a rather bad business audit a few months earlier and I totally get their concerns. 

So now I’ve laid out a new battle map on the table. Depression and anxiety may have me cornered but that isn’t going to stop me from fighting. I’m slowly taking back the Self-doubt pass and the Family plains are being reclaimed a bit each day. The daunting task of assaulting Mount Work has begun. I’ll break down the fortifications and reclaim my ability to work without distraction. 

This is one of the many fights ahead that I plan on winning. 


Musings of my Mind

Posted in Anxiety, Burnout, Coping Mechanisms, Depression, Family, Mental Health, Personal Thoughts, Reasoning, Self Doubt, The World on April 24, 2017 by Neal

Warning — will be discussing some personal things that some may find concerning. Despite what I write about I have never nor will I ever intend harm to myself or others. 

Asking someone about their depression is like asking how long is a piece of string. It’s all subjective and theoretical unless you can actually measure it. But how do you measure an intangible level based on random chemicals and emotions? Then you get people who don’t understand things and assume you can just brush off depression like dirt on your clothes. That would be nice to do but it’s not that simple. 

The tricky part, is that depression isn’t usually caused by just one thing. If it was then tackling it on a social scale would be so much easier. “Everyone with depression, look at this cute baby video and be healed for 30days.”  That would be so much easier than having these internal battle campaigns that resemble World War 2 at times. For me, my depression is always tagging along with several common factors. Family finances, family interactions,  work issues, personal feelings of self worth, sexual adequacy, life conflicts, social media idiocy of the world at large. Some of these pair up with self worth issues so I get bogged down in a cycle of self loathing and anxiety. 

Then there is trying to explain things when I’m worried about sounding pathetic to others. My mind and mouth don’t operate on the same wave length, so while I say one thing a moment later it’s been processed and I counter the comment rendering it all pointless. Now the flip side of that is if I take time to think things over it quickly devolves into a case of “my fault” with a “what’s the point” chaser. This sounds confusing doesn’t it? Well that’s just the tip of the iceberg. 

There is an aspect of my mind that some people might find concerning but it isn’t related to my depression. In fact it’s been a part of me for as long as I can remember but I never speak of it because of the response people will give. It’s a fatalistic curiosity with the real world. “How much damage would I get in the car if it hit a tree? Would people miss me is I was no longer around? Would your hand melt in a fire like in the movies? Can I dive from a building into a waiting hay cart and just roll out as in the games?” Sounds silly and you are probably wondering if I need an intervention.  I promise I have no intentions of enacting on my curious musings. The logical part knows that no good will happen while the illogical ask why not. It’s just random stuff that roams the maze of my mind. I also don’t have the money or resources to test my questions out so will leave it to the likes of the Mythbusters.

A lot of people will automatically assume a person with depression is on the high end of the self harm or suicide spectrum. Unfortunately this is true in many cases but it’s not the norm for some. The media tends to portray depression in a negative light often which does influence views. The idea that depression should be kept a secret is being slowly replaced by acceptance and understanding. People are finding strength in sharing their issues rather than withdrawing from the world. 

Remember if you have concerns for someone talk to them. If you have concerns for yourself please talk to someone. No one can know for sure what’s happening in the mind of another person.

In Australia Beyond Blue

Why So Negative?

Posted in Anxiety, Burnout, Coping Mechanisms, Depression, Family, Mental Health, Personal Thoughts, Reasoning, Self Doubt, The World on April 19, 2017 by Neal

My mind isn’t working properly these days. “Well no kidding you have depression. Of course your mind isn’t how it should be” some will say. Others will simply say “It’s only in your mind. You can get over it” or they’ll say “It’s all with the choices you make so make positive ones and think positive all the time”.  Sounds logical and easy doesn’t it? Perhaps it is, after all depression is a state of mind right? The mind is the most misunderstood organ in the human body and we know very little about it in the grand scheme of things. I can just think happy thoughts and before you know it I’ll be flying around like Peter Pan…oh wait I need fairy dust as well. Damn there goes my easy commute to work.

The real problem for me I suppose is the crossed wires I have in my coping processes. For most of my life I have tended to look at the negative side of a situation. If there’s a problem or situation I put up the negative aspects first instead of finding a solution that has a positive outcome. It’s just how I’ve always thought of things. List the possible faults and then diagnose a process that fixes things. Odd I know and trying to explain that to people can be very difficult. For the last couple of years I have worked hard on giving positive responses to situations, despite my natural trends. It’s not very easy for me but to help improve my interactions with family and friends I’ve been giving it 99%. But the stupid thing is I keep falling back into old habits and I end up at the bottom of the hill again and have to start climbing again. Not a simple thing when the depression keeps throwing boulders to stop your ascent.

Yet I know my wires are crossed. At work I put on this fake happiness in front of customers. Sure I still talk about the negative stuff to them but I laugh it off and smile the whole time. The quote I give when asked how I keep going is a stupid one because it only applies to work. “I can either laugh about it or cry in a corner, which doesn’t get a thing done” So while at work the introvert puts on all the pomp and ceremony of an extrovert just so the day goes by without complications (some I can’t control but such is life). However when I get home that facade is lost and I find myself ready to curl up in a corner and ignore the world. It’s not gone straight away. Sometimes I can keep things on the brighter side for a few days but eventually the stress of home life sheds way too much light in my imperfections. Don’t get me wrong, my life isn’t close to how bad some people have it. I have family, a house, clothes, food, a job…things we all tend take for granted. Each of my self criticisms has a tiny voice in my head, gnawing away at the foundation of normality that I put in place to function. Over time they get louder as things are added to each voice. “Not enough money to pay certain bills, that’s cause you are a shit financial planner. You spend way too much time dealing with work stuff at home. Why can’t you have nice conversations with the kids? Not a lot of food in the house because you can’t manage the money properly.” Little comments like “can we have hot chips for dinner or do you have to work on your day off” suddenly get amplified out of proportion by my mind and depression.

Self-doubt seems to be the biggest voice in my head these days. I want to talk about things but the internal dialogue with anxiety and depression really ruins things in a hurry. Though if I simply blurt out things before I have time to think it usually doesn’t make sense and then I have to think on it to explain things and we’re back at square one again. Silly right? Said my mind was a mess. It’s like doing these blog posts. If I just write on a whim and let my fingers do their own thing, I can generate stuff that is of interest yet may not make sense. When I start to reread what I write and focus on giving an articulated view with deep thought I get stuck in that self-doubt circle that catches me when I think too much. The part that troubles me the most is making things sound like a cry for attention and pity. A sort of “Oh look my life is so bad and I feel so helpless….” feeling I can’t stand when I see some of the posts on my Facebook feeds. I’m not looking for attention so much as trying to reveal how my mind works. Depression and anxiety isn’t just the same thing for everyone. We all have it affect and impact us differently and at differing levels. Sure some people will see this as attention seeking while others might see it as a constructive way to defuse the mental time bombs to limit the damage when things finally come crashing down.

One thing I know for sure is I need to get rid of the negativity while I’m at home. I need to bring the work facade home with me so that when I get out of the car and walk inside I’m not a miserable old man. I have a good life and won’t allow depression to direct how I interact with my family and friends. Going to take some time to rewire the pathways for that to happen but I will make that change. Stay tuned to see how things go 🙂

Interviews – Food for Anxiety

Posted in Anxiety, Coping Mechanisms, Mental Health, Personal Thoughts, Reasoning, Self Doubt on February 23, 2017 by Neal

I’m sitting in the foyer of my company head office waiting for an interview. I’ve applied for a transfer to a new store that will be opening in the next couple of months as the manager. The funny thing is I’m nervous as hell which is odd considering I’ve worked for the area manager doing the interview. 

The anxiety in me is having a field day picking on all the little things I’ve done wrong at work these last few months. It keeps adding fuel to its own fire by expanding more on the mistakes. I counter every comment with a rational response so it digs deeper. At this rate I’ll have destroyed half a city in its views. 

However it’s not the interview that has me on edge. I can do interviews rather well. Answering questions and giving examples is something I can do blind folded (have yet to actually try that). It’s more the fact that I’m dealing with someone of authority higher than me. I’ve had this particular type of anxiety for as long as I can remember. No rational reason but that’s the joys of anxiety, rationality need not apply.

Anxiety 1000 : Me 1

Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Family, Mental Health, Religion, Self Doubt on February 3, 2017 by Neal

Last Sunday I took a leap out of my comfort zone and did something out of the ordinary for myself. I’m on the board of the church we attend as a family and the pastor was going to be away for 2 weeks holiday. In November we discussed who might do a sermon on the days he was away and in a spur of the moment spark of insanity I said I’d do one of the days.

Yeah I know I must be crazy, after all someone with anxiety doing public speaking is probably not the wisest of ideas. However the die was cast and I had to roll with it. I felt the topic I had chosen would be meaningful to everyone and I was trying to put my thoughts into words when things started to get a bit shakey. 

First there came the over analysing. Did I have enough content? What if I put this here and then that there but wait it could go this way… What images can I use? Do these bible verses match what I’m talking about?  While all of this was going on, up crept the doubt cat and pounced on all my thoughts. It’s not good enough. Totally disjointed and will make no sense unless people can see inside my head.  I’m going to stutter and stammer through this aren’t I?

While the mental war in my head raged on I did spend the 5 days before the Sunday moving house with the family. Note to self – plan better packing and moving routine next time. So combine exhaustion, both physical and mental, with all the joys anxiety and depression like to bring to a party and I should have been a bit of a mess. So one quick finish off of my slides for the display and scribbling of notes the evening before and I was all ready…I hoped.

Reasonable length sermon short, the feed back I got from my talk was positive. People appreciated my views and perspective, which also sparked some conversations of positive debate amongst some of the other parishioners. I had kept to the point, some of my jokes were a little out of the ordinary due to generational knowledge, I spoke with confidence and knowledge. I was a little stunned by this but perhaps the biggest bit of feedback was the most noticeable and obvious as I recognised it while I was speaking.

“Never apologise or bring attention to any mistakes you make during a speech” During my sermon I apologised several times for my disjointed and perhaps convoluted way of explaining things. My mind has a habit of getting side tracked as it latches onto new thoughts that shoot through the memory exchange of thoughts. By bringing attention to these inconsequential things, I shifted the focus away from what I was talking about for no reason. It’s like telling people about a stain on your shirt that they never noticed because it wasn’t obvious, it soon becomes all they can focus on. 

I’ve been considering putting it into a more coherent form to post on here but at the moment it’s on the back burner while I focus on getting life at our new home tidy. However I have learned a new skill and realise that I can tame the anxiety beast more than I figured I could. So at the moment we have a win in the positive column against anxiety which is by far the best outcome I could have hoped for.

An Effective Contraceptive

Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Mental Health, Personal Thoughts, Self Doubt on January 17, 2017 by Neal

Depression results in a lack of energy to do things, which can be murder on a relationship. Libido gets buried 6ft under. Initiative and interest are smothered in their sleep. Intimacy is locked in the cupboard and frustration stalks the woods in a hockey mask. Going to set something straight here. Most people will probably assume that as a guy when I’m talking about relationship I mean sex, after all that’s all guys think about right? Partially yes but that’s only a portion of what makes a relationship work and depression gets it’s slimy little tentacles into every aspect of your life.

There are two sides to depression impacting on relationships. The first comes in the form of the person with depression. They can see that there’s a problem but can’t muster the brain power to do anything about it. The simple task of spending time around their significant other sounds like too much of a challenge. Without realizing it they start to hide from their partner, doing things that distract them from the outside world but allow a minimal amount of effort. Reading books all the time, watching or listening to music and movies, being at work or out in general, sleeping a lot. Anything that allows distance between themselves and their partner. The idea of sex and intimacy doesn’t even register and becomes sporadic or stops all together. It’s not done deliberately and they probably don’t notice it as the process is gradual until it’s almost a routine. 

The flip side is the effect on the partner. The lack of general interest can be dismissed for a while as the other being tired or worn out from their daily routines.  Over time a feeling of resentment can build as their partner would rather spend time doing other things than being with them. This leads to working late, going out every night, withdrawing into other activities away from home. Being the initiator of sex or any form of intimacy begins to take its toll as they feel ignored. The depression is no longer affecting one person but now trying to get its hooks into another.

It’s not always the case but this sort of situation can lead to people having affairs. The desire to be wanted or needed by another can over ride all logic at times. If depression hasn’t been diagnosed, it seems to others as a case of falling out of love. This can also lead to divorce as both try to lay blame on each other for something they had no control over. 

What’s the point of all this you may ask? I’m going to tell you about another aspect that plays havoc on a relationship and it’s from my own personal experiences. Both my wife and I suffer from depression and this has taken its toll over the years as we bounce back and forth between highs and lows. However recently I realised that I have another unwanted mental aspect that affects us. I’m sure others probably have the same issue but it all boils down to that little mess of stress, anxiety.

Anxiety makes you question everything you are about to do, no matter how routine. The annoying part is it can all run through your mind in a matter of seconds. So while you think “I’m going to give my partner a kiss”, anxiety has run through all the permutations and you stop as you realise a kiss is what causes the next ice age and the fall of human kind. Sounds stupid right? Well it can be. Initiating foreplay could almost be described as living through World War One as you make assumptions about your partner’s reactions to what you want, even more so if they suffer from depression as well. You find control of your relationship falling into the passenger seat as anxiety speeds down the mental highway.

Now it may seem funny that a lack of sex or any intimacy due to a corporeal entity is a bit far fetched, but I’m sure if you talked to a lot of people who suffer from depression and anxiety that a familiar trend will appear. I’m not saying that all relationships affected by depression are loveless and deserve to end. It just means it will take a little more work and understanding from both parties to find a balance that works. 

The traditional marriage vow could be considered as a way to live a relationship regardless of genders, religions, spousal status or nationalities. “For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health” Don’t allow a lack of intimacy in your relationship be the defining point of it. 

What an Epiphany  

Posted in Anxiety, Coping Mechanisms, Depression, Personal Thoughts, Reasoning, Self Doubt on January 13, 2017 by Neal

I work as the site manager of a petrol station. Yeah I already know how funny some might see it that an introvert like myself works retail. Apparently I’m good at dealing with people on a work based relationship, terrible any other time. The trick I found is staying mentally motivated to get through the day, a little tricky when some treat you worse than muck on their shoes. What do I do you wonder. I make puns and jokes with my staff and customers. Most of these are word play or dad jokes but they tend to make customers smile and laugh which helps the day go just that little bit faster. 

Example 1. Older lady came in to the store and asked if we had ice? My response was “I’ve got some methamphetamine….oh you mean the water kind”. It took her a moment to register what I said then her face went from shock to laughter when she realised the connection.

Example 2. Customer comes in and says their pump number as “I’m 8” and I’ll respond with something like “Wow you don’t look a day over 7”. 

Yeah bad jokes I know but while I was pondering things this morning during a quiet spell I realised I have always used humour as a way to handle social situations. In high school I was always making bad puns and comments, sometimes quickly followed by an apology for not thinking before I spoke. I’m a big kid at heart. I enjoy computer games, toys, cartoons, being a fool at times and in the right situations I talk like there’s no tomorrow. I tell bad jokes and puns with the kids, much to their regret. 

The more I think it over the more I over analyse and then it dawned on me. This is one of my subconscious coping mechanisms. A kind of ‘fake it till you make it’ response to things. It also acts as a bit of a depression level reading for myself as well. When I feel down I don’t joke around and the level of mirth I muster can be obviously a lot lower than usual. 

Keep in my this is all in my head so it could be true if I just have way too many thoughts rolling around in here making a jumble of things. But for now I’ll do my shepherd impersonation and get the flock out of here. Later 🙂