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u/Ontoforever · 1 pointr/mixednuts

Trigger warning: I tell a story about a friend who killed himself after the list. Nothing graphic, though.

Edit to add TL;DR and message to mods.

I support sushisection. I dealt with heavy depression last year. Eventually they called it "treatment resistant" and I went to various hospitals 6 different times. I got through it and here are some things that helped me. (Note, this is mostly copied from Facebook messages that I sent a friend of mine today when she said that she was suffering from depression and she asked me what I did that helped me get through it.) I will edit it for you and put a message just for you at the bottom.

I never liked being lonely, though I didn't mind being alone. Some things I started doing that have made a huge difference for me:

  1. I journal. I used to write everyday and I need to get back to it, though it is harder now because I've lost the momentum. I use my journal to "dump" my thoughts. I only have so much space in my head, and journaling helps me get things out of it. Also, the simple act of writing things down forces me to organize and even confront my thoughts. Sometimes thoughts race through my head and sitting down and taking time to write things out helps slow things down to a speed I can handle. Journaling also take a snapshot of what state my mind is in at the time. I can go back to entries from last year and they seem like they're written by a different person or from a different lifetime. I know that's not true, because it's my journal and I'm the only person who's written in it. It is good for me to have a record of where I was so that I know how far I've come.
  2. I work hard to maintain my support system. When I get depressed, I start to isolate and that only makes it worse. If it is not interrupted, it will be much harder to break out of that cycle. I talked about this a little bit in my comment on your post. To me, this is a daily maintenance task. Well, maybe not daily maintenance, but instead constant consideration. A friend told me a long time ago that you become like those you spend your time with. At Fort Drum, for a long time I had no Christian community. The people I spent my time with were other soldiers in the barracks, so guys who were younger than me, drank more than me, and were not Christians. I didn't have much in common with my peers, so I isolated myself. Isolation is a way to survive, but not a way to thrive. It was like a death by a million cuts. No one thing was unbearable, but I just felt so tired, and eventually I gave up. After I got out of the hospital, I got hooked up with a great Bible study filled with people I could actually be friends with and who would love me. This made all the difference. Now, I'm out of the Army and back in Pennsylvania. I am living with the a good friend's family and it is wonderful. I knew that it would be bad for me to be alone. I had plans to move in with another friend, but I realized that that might not be the best option. While I was home visiting, I came over to their house and heard them say that they could use a roommate. God was working that day. As a result of living in their house, I was introduced to a Christian men's breakfast that Joe attends weekly. These guys have been great and are a cornerstone of my new support system. Currently I am on a weekend retreat with several of them. I have so much to be thankful for.
  3. I had some great resources. When I was in a hospital in New Jersey for the second time, I was given printouts of a workbook called "Out of Control" by Melanie Gordon Sheets. Here's the link on Amazon:
    I am happy to get you a copy if you want.
    This book taught me so much and it has exercises that you can use as long as you need them, even for the rest of your life. This is where I learned why and how to protect my peace and stability. This book taught me about "The Cycle of Suffering" and then helped me identify why my life was worth living. I still have the printouts and I bought a blank copy of the workbook, so I can go back and look over my answers from then and use this book, make my own printouts, or give it away to someone else if they need it immediately. Hint: if you need it immediately, I could even place the order on Amazon this weekend if you want.
    This book was not the only thing that helped me. I learned that "you have to be in the right place to receive the message" and that "you are not your diagnosis." I learned about reframing and how powerful it is. I learned about my spheres of control and concern and what things are in which and how to not worry about it. I had time, I had love, and I had support. These things, combined and overshadowed by the grace of God, made all the difference.
  4. I learned to be thankful. When I pray, I try to always start out by being thankful. It improves my mood and puts me in a better place. It always shows me the good that God is doing in my life in a way that nothing else ever has.
  5. I learned (am learning) that I am under Grace, not the Law. My good friend and counselor Tim Bettger (who, with his wife Bobbi, runs the North Country Hospitality House near Fort Drum) recommended the book The Cure to me. The full title is "The Cure: What if God isn't who you think He is and neither are you." I promised that I would read it and I just started this week. This is a lesson that Tim (and God) have been trying to communicate to me for quite a while. Here's the link on Amazon:
    This book is also available as a Kindle version, and I am willing to send it to you as well, in whatever format you prefer. God does not condemn us. He loves us and I pretty sure that most of the time we are unaware of what that means, exactly. We do not have to earn God's love. There is nothing we can do to get Him to love us more or less. I cannot overstate how powerful and how freeing this is. I don't have to feel guilty about not praying enough or not reading my Bible or struggling with sin. Grace is so amazing!

    I think that's all I've got for now. If anything else comes to mind, I'll write more later. I hope that this helps you. If you have any questions or comments, please send me a message. I'd love to hear anything you have to say. Please don't feel that you need to respond. You don't. My only hope is that what I've said will help others, including you.
    I was on the way to the Hospitality House when I got a call from my Dad telling me that Thomas, a guy I had met and gone through 3 hospitals with, had killed himself. I was in shock for about 20 minutes. I called a few people, and then when I was talking to one friend I started crying. I finally got off the phone and walked inside and even though I was surrounded by people, by strong Christian friends, I felt completely alone. I didn't know where God was. I didn't know why this had happened. All I knew was that my friend was gone and I didn't like it. Later, someone asked me if I was ok. I said no and told him what had happened. He gave me a hug, I cried, and he prayed with me. That helped. It still took a while for me to...I don't know. Learn to cope with it, I guess. I don't know why I'm telling you this. I still think about Thomas sometimes. I don't want to ever forget about him. So many people in his life didn't care about him. That is a tragedy.
    Sorry to end this on a down note. There are so many people I know who went through this with me and came through it. I know that living like this is not God's plan for our lives. He wants us to truly be joyful, though He is not dissapointed when we struggle. The two greatest commands are all about love! Love for God and love for others. I can truthfully say that I understand what you're feeling. I know what it's like to want to give up. And I know that God loves you and I do too. I'm sure that I'm not the only one saying that.
    I guess I didn't end this on a down note after all.

    Ok, OP, here's my part just for you. Obviously, I am a Christian and it means a great deal to me. That being said, if you are suicidal or have tried to hurt or kill yourself, please go to an emergency room, not a church. Even if you haven't, find a good therapist if you don't have one. When I was at my lowest point, I started with therapy first. Religion is not some amazing force that makes everything better. Many parts of Christianity can actually make things worse. Some people will blame you for not "having enough faith," or they will say "God is punishing you." These are lies. If anyone ever says that to you, tell them to shove it. Some people (including Christians) don't believe in mental health. When I got started with this, I don't think my parents did. Things have changed. If our bodies can be broken and sick, then why can't our minds? Please don't beat yourself up. I don't think that will do anything to help you. The good thing is that you can always start over and get a second chance. Even if you don't agree with my Christian beliefs, I think there is still a lot of stuff in here that could help you. I'm not saying it will, because we are all different, but it might. And if you want the books, just PM me and I can send them to you. You have my support. I know that you can make it through this. I hope this helps.

u/CaptainHoek · 3 pointsr/mixednuts

Anecdotal, yes.

A friend & colleague of mine struggled with SAD for years. He, by his own testimony, tried everything, including various kinds of light therapy, before it had been more widely talked about. His self-experimentation started with different wavelengths, at different intensities, even exposing different areas of the body, at different times of day, from different angles, for different lengths of time. The guy's a scientist, who takes the function of his mind pretty seriously, so while his experimentation was definitely abnormal, I appreciated his scientific rigor. Ultimately, he found that blue light (I forget the specific wavelength he uses), especially in the upper-half of his vision (ie: shining from above center), for as little as 15 minutes, works spectacularly for bringing him back from the SADness.

Personally, I had never really felt afflicted by SAD, but I figured, what the hell, with all this light equipment around, and given the remarkable success my friend had had with it, why not see what kind of effect it would have on me? I'm prone to getting gloomy, stir-crazy, irritable on gloomy days, so when the next opportunity presented itself, I switched on one of these bad boys for 30 minutes (note: didn't use the ionizer; wasn't sure what it did; only used the light) and proceeded to feel my mood lift substantially. Maybe placebo, but at that point, and on the numerous instances of mood-lifting success, I did not argue with the results.