I'm in a really dark place right now, I think I need help.

post by efim · 2014-11-30T23:34:49.229Z · LW · GW · Legacy · 15 comments

For a while now I've been having troubles with my life.

Today it got worse, likely I will feel better in a week, but problems related to a person I love and searching for the purpose of my life will not be solved, just ignored as I did for a couple of years now.

First thing to do would be to talk it out with friends or therapist (and I am now willing to spend money on it).

But the biggest problem is that they will probably not understand it, I tried to discuss it with a friend and got sympathetic and emotionally helpful advices that nonetheless don't contribute to solution at all.

I know that I will never let me kill myself (at least for anything less that amount of money that I can make in a lifetime), so I am lingering on with my life. Still I need help.

Conversations like this should not be held in comments, and I don't really know what kind of help am I expecting to get.

Sometime ago I saw an ad of therapist from lw that can council via Skype - please give me a link if you know anyone like that.

[edited: 1.12.14; 6:42] I thank everyone who send me link to Shannon at http://anxietygoaway.com/; i signed up for a free consultation, hope that something goog will come out of it.


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comment by Gondolinian · 2014-12-01T00:42:42.101Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

First thing to do would be to talk it out with friends or therapist (and I am now willing to spend money on it).

Kate Donovan's guide to getting therapy has been recommended by Scott Alexander, if you haven't already seen it.

I hope things start looking better for you. Good luck in whatever path you choose.

comment by Princess_Stargirl · 2014-12-01T00:02:37.152Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Posting to say I wish you the best.

comment by fubarobfusco · 2014-12-01T05:14:59.086Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Please read Scott's post about things that (sometimes) help when you're depressed.

In fact, go ahead and use it as a checklist.

Regarding your sympathetic friend: Having a sympathetic friend is a huge good thing. It means you are in a lot better of a position than people who don't have a friend in the world! But a sympathetic friend — someone who cares about you and wants you to feel better — is not thereby in possession of solutions. Psychiatrists, on the other hand, actually do know some stuff that works a lot of the time.

Regarding non-medical counselors: They can be plenty helpful, but they are not allowed to prescribe drugs; and drugs often make a huge difference.

Replies from: byerley, ChristianKl
comment by byerley · 2014-12-02T01:07:32.163Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Firstly I must pass on my best wishes to Efim. I am assuming you may have some form of depression and as a long term sufferer I can assure you that things do get better in time! Often the first episode is worse than the following relapses, you will learn to deal with this and it will make you stronger. With proper treatment you may look at this disorder as something which has actually enhanced your life. Depression has taught me a lot about humility and to cherish the good things in life; it has taught me to take care of my body and mind, ultimately making me a happier person overall.

In response to Fubarobfusco- "Regarding non-medical counselors: They can be plenty helpful, but they are not allowed to prescribe drugs; and drugs often make a huge difference."

I must agree with ChristianKI's comments. The evidence suggests that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is more effective than antidepressants for the treatment of many mental disorders but particularly for depression... (Yes I am educated in this area, I do proclaim to know what I am talking about here). Antidepressants may offer some temporary relief (arguably through the Placebo effect) or may inhibit the sufferers energy to a point where they cant even think for themselves and may not make any rash decisions such as taking their life; that doesn't mean a prescription to AD's/Valium is going to help them in the long run.

Think of it like this- you are aiming to decrease students stress for an upcoming mathematics exam. The two treatments are 1- mathematics practice and 2- general confidence training. Both treatments may decrease stress for the upcoming exam but only mathematics practice will provide long term benefit.

What helped me the most was viewing this disorder as something which was INTERFERING with my normal cognition. Depression distorts your reality, what you are going through right now is not normal, it is not necessarily who you are as a person. Do not try to attribute too much of what you are experiencing now to your identity. Once you start to see depression as 'that annoying friend who comes to visit every now and again' instead of a part of you, it becomes easier to deal with. The depression will come and go but you and your values, beliefs and attitudes will remain. Everybody reacts to different sentiments however, hence why you should see a Psychologist and let them talk it through for you. I do not recommend treating this with drugs, the academic literature simply does not support this as a first course of treatment, after you have seen a Psychologist you may need to start looking at medication but even then more CBT might just be necessary.

Best wishes Efim, you can and will get through this :)

Ps- exercise can work wonders, so can smiling, even if you don't feel like it. When other people see you smile they are more inclined to give you one back...

comment by ChristianKl · 2014-12-01T13:09:22.304Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Regarding non-medical counselors: They can be plenty helpful, but they are not allowed to prescribe drugs; and drugs often make a huge difference.

I don't think that there any good evidence that on average drug interventions do better than non-drug interventions.

Having talked with the efim myself yesterday for 40 minutes I don't think the main issue for writing this post is solved with drugs.

Replies from: somervta
comment by somervta · 2014-12-03T17:59:18.668Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Perhaps not, but there is good evidence for drugs+therapy doing better than either alone.

Replies from: ChristianKl
comment by ChristianKl · 2014-12-03T18:17:31.929Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm not aware of it. Drugs can sometimes help but they can also destablise brains. They have Goodhart's law problems.

comment by John_Maxwell (John_Maxwell_IV) · 2014-11-30T23:59:38.072Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sent you a personal message :)

Replies from: John_Maxwell_IV
comment by John_Maxwell (John_Maxwell_IV) · 2014-12-01T12:45:18.495Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Guess I might as well share publicly. Here are the links I passed along: LWer therapist, depression 1, depression 2. Also maybe should have linked to this. Personally I found self-administered TDCS very helpful for my depressed feelings. I can provide more details if people are interested, and lend a device to folks who live in the Bay Area.

(If you're depressed, feel free to process these links at the rate of one per day. Sorry, I'm an information packrat.)

comment by buybuydandavis · 2014-12-01T04:49:30.799Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I was in a bad spot myself a few years ago, which I sought therapy for.

Much of my problem, and my subsequent unhappiness about it, came from not facing facts squarely. Impending losses, the anticipation of loss, often hurt much much worse than the actual loss.

We have hopes and dreams about what will make us happier. But when those hopes and dreams fail, or we fail them, that doesn't mean we can't be happy anymore. When the bad thing happened, the world kept turning. There were still movies to see, songs to hear, food to eat, people to help.

What I found helped, even prior to the bad thing happening, was just laying out what I would do if all the hopes were dashed, and all the fears realized. What's the worst case, and what would I do then? And the next worst case? And the next?

And you know, the worst case wasn't so bad, and was actually better than the unhappiness I was experiencing at the time. Some people live in miserable hell holes of violence and terror. What their world is makes them miserable. I don't live in that world. I presume you don't either. You are likely, like I was, being made miserable by what isn't, the hope and dream that won't be. Somehow the dream that was supposed to make us happier if it came true, makes us miserable when it doesn't. But that's rather wacky, isn't it? Now probably affords plenty of happiness if you'd take them, and plenty of opportunities for more happiness.

I just had a lengthier version of this talk with a friend recently. I think it really does help to talk with others to get some perspective on your issues, and your current approach to them. Looking back, my problems were largely of my own making, made worse by my own delusions and distortions. My friend's problems were largely of his own imagination about what might happen, where his perception of events were severely distorted by his fears of "the bad thing". It helps to get perspective on your issues from others. People are most deluded about their own situations, as their perceptions are altered by the sweep of emotions they have. Someone not in your shoes can likely give you a more objective picture of events.

You said your friend didn't have solutions. Sometimes, there aren't solutions. Sometimes you lose. On the other hand, sometimes we're so wound up by our fears of losing that we can't see the easy win.

Basic decision theory. Lay out the contingencies, lay out your options for dealing with them. Probably the most important thing is to start turning the contingencies into facts. Which branch is the real one? Find out. If something horrible may be, find out ASAP. Whatever unhappiness you may suffer from the truth, won't be avoided in the end, but you can shrink the misery of the anticipation of it. Find out.

comment by hyporational · 2014-12-03T01:56:54.923Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Big problems easily cause us to neglect minor seeming maintenance like sleep, nutrition, exercise and personal hygiene. It's extra important to remain in top condition whenever you face struggle in life.

Sleep is really a decisive factor for me. Being well rested can easily make a hopeless situation into a manageable one.

comment by buybuydandavis · 2014-12-02T06:41:14.600Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think I need help.

Asking for help when you feel you need it is a very positive step.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-12-01T13:09:10.422Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You could look at Dealing with a Major Personal Crisis.

That was not about a persistent depressive situation (at least not for me) but a very immediate and crushing situation.

You may send me a personal message.

comment by macrojams · 2014-12-04T18:27:18.791Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If you get on irc, you could check out #lw-support, which promises trained, anonymous listeners. I don't know much about it other than it exists. In any case, I wish you the best :/

comment by LizzardWizzard · 2014-12-01T10:23:38.498Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Probably your current reality map should be updated, try taking some other views on the situation, and don't forget that yourself being the center of the universe is nothing but an unavoidable illusion. Watching some films about cosmos often reminds me how miserable my own problems are) Also the best psychotherapist I can offer is Mr. Weedman - he can give you valuable insights about your own cognition and thinking and it won't cost very much.

Oh, and after dark there always comes light, you might be skeptical about this at the moment, but when you'll see it for yourself I hope you smile