Work and life are too much

I was diagnosed with depression a few years ago during my final year at university. Long story short, after months of trying to power through my emotions on my own and failing, not being able to even sleep at night because of the crying I broke down and admitted to myself and family that I was suicidal.

I had to suspend my studies for a year, started seeing a psychiatrist who prescribed me with Citalopram which I took for just over a year. I would say that the drug worked insofar that it reduced the suicidal thoughts, but I feel like it destroyed my brain’s ability to think, even after being off it for 3 years. I went back to school and graduated. Was foolish enough to think that I am OK enough to start a PhD programme but dropped out after a year and started working as a developer in a finance company.

The first year was OK, I felt like I was slowly getting to where I used to be. But after that it just feels like I am sliding back down. Work feels soul crushing, relationship wise I am growing detached, and it always feels like I am physically sick, but doctors can never find anything wrong. It seems like objectively I made so much progress in my life: Fixed my diet and get my exercise, started my career, settled in my relationships, but nothing gives satisfaction. The scary thing is that I don’t even feel like what I have is worth the effort to salvage, if somehow I could just undo my entire existence I would but there is no way for me to do that without hurting others.

Since my first episodes and the SSRI treatment my thinking has become much more laboured, much less creative, much less fun, but at the same time thinking and knowledge are my only real skills in life. I feel broken and crippled and just wish to be put out of my misery.

Trying to reach out to see if someone has been in a similar place as me, I need to find some evidence that it can get better.

thats dificult situation sounds like. Have you tried some hobies? For example I like poker, maybe its not the best, cause its again lot of time near computer. But the poker community is so good, like programmer community on the internet. I mean those who take poker to the level as winners, not loosers/gamblers. Then you got so much into it that you forgot all your problems and want to improve, reach new level (beat new limit), and show to some people that you can win money where 90% of people loose. You feel so cool.

I guess its not about the hobby itself, but about the thoughts - when you are into something very much, you forget negative thoughts, and when there is not negative thoughts - you feel better.

You could try this guy videos:

I have not solved all my life problems, but some parts I guess help me a bit, but just need to not forget. Rewatch videos, make key points, I have paper of key points on my wall and on fridge to see more often.
Maybe I should even have small paper in my purse, so when I am in bad situation - to remember what to do.

But as I said, I had not solved my life problems, so do not think my advice is good, but you can try it and see if you like.
Btw I still do not like some parts of his videos, because it does not make sense for me. BUt other parts do make.

Jester, your post resonates with me. Especially what you wrote about feeling physical sick, suicidal thoughts, breakdowns, crying and having a brain that acts like 8086 without coprocessor.

I’ve been there, and yes, I came back. It can and will get better and you can and will recover. Will it be as before? No, but hey, why should it be? Will it stop? Yea, somehow. Will you be in that dark place again? Maybe, but it won’t be as scary as it used to be. My depressive episodes went down from a couple of weeks or very dark days without end to an hour or two a month where I ruminate, doubt myself and feel sad - I regard this as acceptable. Have you ever had the chance to read Matthew Johnstones’ “Living with a Black Dog”? I love that book, it showed me that I’m not alone, which helps to overcome this mess…

What helped me to be creative again was to do monotonous manual stuff like woodworking, esp. sanding. Woodworking had some zen like effect, calmed my mind but also restored energy for my dev work.

Cheers and good luck!

Hi Jester,

That’s a good ironic username, I like it.

I have certainly been there and also have plenty of days when I still struggle. You have done fantastically well in sorting out your diet and getting exercise. Regarding the difficulty in thinking then I would suggest that you try a different anti-depressant. I used to be on Amitryptelyne and found that it gave me such a thick head that I couldn’t think at all. I was switched to Trazadone and now don’t have that problem at all. I still have plenty of bad days but it isn’t down to the Trazadone making me feel that I am wading through treacle.

You may also want to try looking into your diet more if you haven’t already. Eating healthy food is great but it is possible that you are reacting to certain foods. I am using a salicylate free diet at the moment and I have a feeling that it is doing me some good. If you are cooking your own food already (rather than pre-prepared meals) then it shouldn’t be much more work to try MSG free, gluten free, salicylate free etc. It is a chore to research but take a long term view. Buy a book on each diet type (one at a time of course) and see if it works for you.

It can certainly be hellish but if the doctors can’t find anything wrong with you then unfortunately you may need to look elsewhere for the solution. You may want to read this which is about a person for whom diet made an enormous difference. It can apparently be natural chemical compunds in food that are the root cause of these issues.

Good luck.