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Monday, February 22, 2010 Hope, Community Member, asks

Q: Depression cycles How to get motivated when you are down

Hi I have been on a down cycle for the past three weeks and it now seems like i have bottemed out and see a small glimmer of hope.Three weeks ago marked my one year anniversary of being laid off.I am still out of work as of now. The morning is the worst. I was used to getting up early for work my work was my life. I would work 60hrs per week to i think avoid dealing with issues.Now that time filler is gone.I feel overwhelmed by the thought i have been out of work for a year. A tidal wave of anxiety comes over me.I feel like a loser,lazy,out of control.I avoid some people because i know they will ask how work is going.I am ashamed that i am out of work.I do take klonopin but must be careful with it i once found myself taking more than perscribed.It tamps down the anxiety but it is still there waiting to erupt.Afew positive things have happened in the last few months. I have gone to some group meetings NAMI. I have been thinking of opening my own business. And today at age 46 i got the courage to go to a gym the first time ever.If anybody has any feed back on how to deal with the tidal wave of anxiety that comes along in the morning let me know.I know that being out of work is stressful for anybody sometimes i just do not know what to do.Keep searching for work is one thing.But does not cover all my time.The job market seems to be still dismal where i live.A person on the news made a interesting comment.When your neighbor is out of work it is a recession.When you are out of work it is a depression. Any advice or comments would be helpful.THANKYOU FOR ALL YOUR HELP

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Answers (1)
John Folk-Williams, Health Guide
2/23/10 2:33am

Hi, there -

 

I'm really sorry to hear about the effect unemployment is having on you. Medication can help, but there can be problems, as you've found with klonopin. That drug is one of the benzodiazepam group that have a depressant or calming effect on the central nervous system. Xanax, ativan, valium are others in this category, and one thing often mentioned about them is that they can be addictive and have severe withdrawal symptoms, if that process is not managed carefully. Since it is an important anti-anxiety medication I would talk to your doctor - hopefully a psychiatrist who should have a better understanding of the side effects and dosages for each of these drugs - about your tendency to take too much. That would suggest that it does make you feel better - but perhaps something else could be prescribed that would be safer for you to take.

 

Anxiety can also go with depression, and one symptom of that is the loss of self-esteem and the constant internal battering you may give yourself over how you hopeless you are. The key for me has been to talk back to that inner attack voice - I'm sure you've heard plenty from that source, and it has only one answer for everything - you're worthless. It's not easy, but I've been able to shut that down. We'd all like to think we can feel great about ourselves as people in spite of what happens at work, but that's not true. For better or worse, work does get tied into our sense of self-worth. Another tactic I use to counteract the impact on my self esteem from any kind of failure related to work is to get as realistic and focused as possible about what actually happened. If recession has put you out of a job, that's not your fault - if you were fired for a performance issue, what exactly was that and how can that be worked on. It's always a sign of distorted thinking if thoughts are all or never, absolute statements, heading in one direction. You're useless, don't even bother trying.

 

Breaking down all the problems into separate issues also helps me avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed, when intense anxiety makes it impossible to put any two thoughts together. Medication in the smallest possible dose can help me quiet the anxiety just enough so that I can start to think again. I can build on that by meditating to further calm my mind. That's a very effective technique which is used widely now by people in high stress situations - including professional athletes and soldiers - it's even in marine training now as a form of mental discipline.

 

Those are a few ideas. I really hope you can make more progress. Everything you're doing now shows that you've already reached a turning point in activating yourself to change the situation and help yourself feel better.

 

That suggests you'll be able to come out of this without resorting to any more than minimal medication for the most extreme periods.

 

Best of luck to you.

 

John

 

 

 

 

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By Hope, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/26/10, First Published: 02/22/10