Been feeling better, here's what's been helping

Hey guys,

I have been feeling pretty close to my normal self again and have been very ecstatic about this. I am not sure I can attribute this to one singular thing, but here are the things that I have been doing that I think have worked in combination to pull me through this.

  1. Meditation. Just 10~20 minutes a day. I have been doing this for about 2 months now. I am hoping in the long run this increases my overall mindfulness and self awareness.
  2. Exercise. When I hit my lowest point, my exercise regime went to the gutter and I was not working out for weeks. I am back to 4-5 days a week at the gym again.
  3. Medication. Zoloft, 50mg. I haven’t had to crank it up. I have been on it for 2 months now.
  4. TED talks on depression, anxiety, and inspirational talks. These have really helped me question my life goals and figure out where I want to go in life and how I want to live.
  5. Friends and Family. I got closer to a number of friends and some family members with similar problems by talking with them about my issues and listening to theirs and sharing thoughts and tips. Knowing I was not alone helped.
  6. Choice. Knowing I always have the choice to get up and leave at any point in my life (work, home, whatever) makes me feel powerful. Even when I feel my weakest and darkest, I know I am not truly powerless and this helps to keep my anxiety from getting worse.
  7. Pursuing other interests. Programming is my career and also my hobby, but there are other hobbies I was too scared to pursue before because I thought I would take away time from learning how to program. But lately I have decided I cannot let programming be my end all be all, and have started pursuing my other hobbies and have found this to be very enjoyable.
  8. Sleep meds. With my anxiety at its peak, sleep was non existent. My psychiatrist prescribed sleep meds to help me get some decent sleep. Eventually this was no longer necessary when my mood and attitude started to feel normal again and my anxiety levels shrunk and I am no longer on them. I was on them for about as month.
  9. Psychiatrist and Therapist. These were crucial in informing me about what was going on with my mind and body, and getting me the proper tools, information and medication to move forward.

As you can see, there was not one easy fix for me (as these things always are) but a small continued effort in different areas has culminated into a large change in my anxiety and depression. This in turn has helped me be less stressed at work and feel more productive.

It’s good to hear you’re doing better. In my own experience, I found the same things to be helpful as well (minus the meds). I’ve personally found exercise and meditation to the best in the day-to-day, and remembering that I have a choice in how to live my life to be helpful in the day-to-day.

To me, depression was characterized by a loss of agency and a general feeling of helplessness, coupled with a complete lack of willingness to do anything about it. Reminding myself that I can actually make a difference in my life, and then making those changes come true, was one of the big factors in pulling myself out of my depression.

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Yeah I think the reasons my anxiety and depression kicked in were similar to yours. Once I realized I always have a choice in life it kinda kick started the healing process. That sense of helplessness started to go away once I realized choice was powerful.

The only ‘major’ problem I am still dealing with is finding the strength to get out of bed every morning. And remembering to take my medication. I actually forgot today and need to run home on my lunch break haha.

I don’t have any suggestions for remembering your medicine (other than using a todo list or checklist everyday). As for getting up in the morning that’s something I struggled with for a long time too, and was probably the last depression symptom to kick (though for me it was more “get out of the apartment” than get out of bed). I found it helpful to have something specific to do at a specific time during the day, usually involving other people, and reminding myself of that right before I went to sleep.

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Fifty6: I’m so delighted for you and that you’re on a path to finding out components of things that assist you in feeling back to being YOU. Such a different equation for everyone but it looks like you’ve really hit upon a variety of things to tap into in differing situations.

I would be interested in knowing if there are any particular TED talks you’d like to recommend.

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Here is the link that got me started. All of these are pretty good.

After this, I started watching more TED talks and it just blew up from there. I have been partial to tony robbins lately.

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Just popping in here to say it’s awesome you’ve done this for yourself. Gives others hope! Thanks for documenting your experience!

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Wanted to say congrats on the progress you’ve made so far. And thanks for sharing what works for you. I’m going to check out those TED talks now. :slight_smile:

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No problem! I know when I was at my worst, reading success stories helped a whole lot.

Great, I hope they are as helpful as they were for me!

9 month follow up!

I got off the zoloft around…August I think? Weened off of it for a few weeks but I had some residual side effects for a while (dizziness and lightheaded-ness primarily). I didn’t have any significant flare up in my anxiety, although I was a little nervous about being off of it after being on for so long. However, it seems I was correct that I did not need it anymore and have been able to manage my anxiety much better. It was definitely crucial in getting better though and I am glad I was on it.

Meditation fell off hard…but I started to pick it up again recently. Still as hard as ever lol.I went after a lot of things I was too anxious or lazy to do before, which included traveling to a few countries and starting a brand unrelated to my current job (clothing lol). I have been studying problems on leetcode for the past few weeks and I am going to attempt my next goal that I was too scared to try before and that is applying to new positions at some of the larger, more prominent software companies.

Overall, I am doing a lot better over a year later since this all flared up for me. I hope reading this helps others in the same position I was. It definitely gets better, but it takes the time it’s gonna take.

Glad to hear that you’re improving. If you’d like to get better with your meditation practice, I would suggest you pick a fixed time and place everyday to do it. I got much better at meditating when I did it right after eating breakfast morning, rather than telling myself I would fit it in at some time. Often that “some time” turned into “no time” because I got busy or distracted with other things.

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Thanks man! I definitely agree that setting some dedicated time aside to do things like meditation is what I need, 100% of the time “some time” turns to “gaming time” and I don’t end up meditating. I have a bit of the same problem with my studying as well.

So another update; we had a roll out for a project that I was involved in (3 of us total) occurring at work earlier this month and the roll out went disastrous; due to some very weak testing on the customer’s part, when new users were brought into the system a plethora of issues arose and they were receiving too many support tickets to count. Our project manager was away that week of the roll out and so it was left to me and the other dev to manage the situation with the customer and fix the issues we found, but ultimately the roll out had to be delayed. That same week one of our coworkers (not involved in this project) was let go for under-performance, which kinda came out of the blue. All that mixed up and I definitely relapsed that same week and was very,very stressed and anxious. This was the first time this whole year I felt like this again.

So what happened was I noticed my old symptoms coming back (lack of sleep, stomach problems, recurring thoughts of getting fired, inadequate feelings, etc) and talked through some of them with my wife and a friend. I held it together as best I could and because I knew this time what was happening to me (anxiety), it was much more manageable than before, even if it didnt necessarily feel like it in the middle of the anxious thoughts. I revisited my therapist that weekend but this time I felt it wasn’t as helpful, because none of the information I received was new. Which isn’t a bad thing, rather I need to remind myself of the things I have learned in therapy and apply them better on my day to day.

The next week wasnt as bad since the roll out had been pushed back and our project manager was back to help keep everything moving forward. We have been continously working on issues since, but every now and then I feel anxious again because we keep getting new issues to work on, and it feels like there is just so much that I myself missed or could’ve done a better job with, and I keep getting this nagging feeling in my head that something big was missed on one of my portions of the project that might come back to bite us in the ass. But I know these thoughts are not productive and I should wait to deal with such a scenario when it happens (if it ever does), and I just need to remind myself of this.

It’s good to see that you’re getting better at managing and stress and anxiety on your own. That’s definitely a step on the path to a better life. I would just want to point out a few things. First, not all stress is bad. It’s much easier to get yourself to do things (and feel better about it) when you tell yourself that you “get to” to do, rather than that you “have to”. For example, you could can either think that you’re having a lot of responsibilities thrust onto and that is stressful and unpleasant, or you can think of it as a chance to accomplish a lot on your own and show your bosses that you are a strong performer and a strong asset to the company.

At the same time, I think the key thing is to remember that the goal shouldn’t be to eliminate all stressful feelings, but simply to not get carried away by them. It’s ok to feel anxious and afraid, just as long as you catch yourself having those thoughts (which you seem to be doing), acknowledge and accept them, and keep yourself from falling into vicious circles.