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  • Mental Health – Discussion thread
  • There appears to be a massive amount of press coverage around mental health at the moment.

    I do not think this is a bad thing as people should be able to talk about it in the same way they do about other things such as athletes foot, thrush or cold sores.

    I wonder if there is too much emphasis on it though which might encourage people to over self diagnose.

    I have done a few quick google searches for tests and I am already dispraxic (possible), on the autistic scale (everyone is), suffering from depression (also possible), narcissistic (defiantly) ….

    Basically if they tell you about a mental health issue and you est yourself it seems to come out positive.

    Do we think that over emphasising the mental health issues will lead to too many false positives#?

    Premier Icon CountZero
    Subscriber

    Possibly because most people, at some time or other, can have periods of depression, self-doubt or whatever. My g/f definitely has issues in this area, she has a bit of a drink problem, but she gets very depressed, and then drinks, which makes it worse, even talks about suicide sometimes. At the moment with lockdown she’s more down than usual because of the issues dealing with customers when she’s on the till at work, with only a small screen, plus her mum and daughters are in Salisbury and she’s missing them terribly, she doesn’t drive, but she could hop on a train and go down to see them, but that’s been denied her.
    Trouble is, there’s little help to be had, there was an organisation called Turning Point she was working with in Salisbury who were helping, but when she moved here to be with me, the Chippenham branch were pretty useless, and eventually closed and moved to Trowbridge without even notifying her!
    I’m considering contacting Mind to see if they have any suggestions, she could go to Trowbridge, but it’s fitting meetings in with her erratic work shifts that’s a problem.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    It’s easy to google yourself into hypochondria or any manner of other things such as telling your local mechanic that you know better than they do why your car won’t start so I get where you’re coming from.

    But in terms of mental health I’d rather over-diagnose and then compensate rather than under-diagnose and then compensate, given that it’s been under-diagnosed for centuries.

    Premier Icon funkmasterp
    Subscriber

    I agree wholeheartedly with what Cougar has said above. I’ve never tried to self diagnose, but I imagine with Google it’s similar to when you search for any physical ailment. There’s a chance your symptoms will have cancer as a diagnosis somewhere.

    I’ve suffered with depression rather badly since my early teens. It has a huge impact on my life. This is the only place I discuss it. Things are changing for the better, but there is still, in my opinion, a lot of ‘just cheer up’ and ‘it’s not serious’ or you’re labelled as weird etc.

    The more focus on mental health the better. I’d love to get to a stage where I can talk about it openly with no repercussions. That’s still a long way off in my opinion.

    ferrals
    Member

    Completely agree with @funkmasterp

    I have had in the past poor mental health. I have never discussed it in the real world. When I was at my worst, a massive part of my problem was extra anxiety that people would find out and judge me.

    If that aspect could be removed, and it seems to be going that way, suffering could be reduced.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    Another +1 with Cougar.

    I get what WCA is saying, and to an extent I sort of agree. But I think 1/ MH is not black and white, it’s very much a scale and while some can be suffering with low level MH issues and never really need diagnosis or treatment, to recognise that they are there but you can just get by is not a bad thing. I don’t go to the docs with every muscle strain I get, but I recognise I have one and if it gets worse / doesn’t improve with self treatment then I would.

    And 2/ it is far more prevalent than people think but still suffers from generations of stiff upper lip and pull yourself together attitudes. For all the advances we have made I do think life now is more stressful – I think life in ‘the olden days’ was physically harder, but my Dad for example swears that he only ever had two or three things that ever really worried him as a young man – would there be another war, and did he get married too young. But when suicide is the biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK and each and every one of them is a mental health issue pretty much by definition, then yes it definitely needs attention.

    (FWIW – No, not yet at least and he’s too old for call up now anyway. And No – married 59 years and counting. Having said that, he does still claim that while divorce is no longer an option, they still haven’t ruled out murdering each other from time to time)

    mooman
    Member

    I take it you mean the MH issues such as anxiety or depression – not schizophrenia/bipolar (ASD is a developmental disorder).

    I personally feel that there are a lot more personality disordered people than those with clinical depression or anxiety.

    My current role places me around individuals with anxiety and depression that most here, even the STW MH regulars who so often identify themselves as having anxiety/depression, would be shocked at how pervasive and disabling it is.

    The vast majority of people will see themselves as depressed because of a bad situation .. which is a normal way to feel; and medication is not the answer because the underlying issue is not resolved. So people keep taking meds at higher doses to zonk it out .. then say they have chronic depression!

    Lots of the MH related threads I read on STW fit this, and a lot more fit my original opinion that the vast majority have personality disorders and crave attention and struggle to manage their emotions if they do not get it.

    But when suicide is the biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK and each and every one of them is a mental health issue pretty much by definition,

    What that overlooks is that up until 45 we are generally healthy; and every suicide is labelled a MH consequence anyways, without recognising that often suicide will unfortunately be a rational informed decision for some. It’s not that easy to place suicidal ideation in with another MH problem such as depression: we treat alcoholism as a separate issue from other MH problems – and it’s been argued we should treat suicidal ideation differently too.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
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    I’ve had my own issues with anxiety and depression, which finally came to a head 3-4 years ago. Now off the meds and stable again.

    It led me to the conclusion that there are hardly any people who are “normal”. We all have our worries and concerns, and sometimes they overwhelm us, and cause us to act out of character. It’s made me a kinder and more sensitive person I think.

    But self diagnosis is potentially dangerous, and there is a minority of people who seem to use it as a self fulfilling prophecy or a crutch to excuse how they choose to live. My wife and I have dealt with a few professionally, some of them as colleagues – we both correctly guessed which of our colleagues would be the first to self isolate with suspected Covid 😄🤣

    vickypea
    Member

    There’s been a bit of a revolution in openness and discussion about mental ill-health in recent years which I think is great. I get episodes of anxiety and depression from time to time but long periods of being fine too. It’s definitely good to talk and I’ve had some very helpful messages from STW’ers.
    I also think that there should be a bit more emphasis on how to manage and improve mental health. I’ve been on a few courses on this subject and it’s been very helpful.
    I know it’s not for everyone, but I’m a fan of counselling and that’s about more than just talking about how you feel but gaining insight on how to improve things for yourself.

    Premier Icon funkmasterp
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    Depression isn’t always a short term thing linked to certain life events. I think some tend to view it that way. It can be a chemical imbalance in the brain (and is in my case) or hereditary. It’s debilitating and difficult to contend with at times. I’ve become very good at hiding it over the years. Struggling at the moment as I can’t exercise and that’s normally how I cope.

    Suicidal ideation is a terrible thing. I’ve had stages where thoughts of suicide are extremely powerful and come completely unbidden. It is scary when this happens.

    I’m so glad attitudes are changing and improving. One thing that does need highlighting more in my opinion is help and advice for people living with somebody who has mental health issues. My wife puts up with a lot from me and I worry about the impact on my kids.

    shooterman
    Member

    @mooman Very well put.

    Alfred Adler pretty much hit the nail on the head for me.

    However, talking openly about your mental state when things aren’t good is essential. It’s a good thing in my view that the media are getting the message out that it’s ok for your mental health to have taken a wallop at the moment.

    I am pleasantly surprised that this has stayed a sensible thread so I will risk opening up a bit more. It is a risk as many on here know exactly who I am so this is not an anonymous post.

    I have always been happy, outgoing and someone who does things rather than sitting back and relaxing. As a kid on the beach I was the one building the damn in the river, when relaxing in a secluded cottage in France I would be building a miniature windmill from the pebbles in the garden etc. 7 years back I snapped my foot off and was stuck in bed for 6 months while they decided to amputate or not. Lots of time to think. At the same time I was taking a cocktail of Tramadol, Naproxine, Tamazapan and Dihydrocodene every few hours. Eventually I got out of bed but was on the pain pills for most of the next four years as I went through a number of corrective surgeries.

    MrsWCA was amazingly supportive throughout this but said she found my personalty had changed to a mentally cruel and vicious view of life. The Dr said this might be the drugs so I stopped all pain medication. Cold turkey and pain wasn’t fun but over a year or so I returned to something like my old self.

    Now though I am left with a real inability to do nothing and relax. The weekends, especially at the moment, just seem long empty spaces I have to fill. Without other people around, due to lock down, I am struggling and making lists just to keep calm. Today is finish carving the second seahorse requested for someones birthday, if the bits arrive finish building a bike I don’t need, sand back and polish the back of the car I have resprayed, paint another picture in the style MrsWCA has asked and go for a ride. What do I do tomorrow God only knows.

    Reading up on it, this is either some kind of mental health issue but I do not fancy getting that on my medical records for anyone with access (future employers) to read or the fact my Dr just seems to through pills at any issue.

    Is this the kind of anxiety that being open about mental health is meant to address?

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    I definitely get what you’re saying. Hard to explain, but there’s part of me that thinks, if everyone has mental health issues, then it’s normal to have mental health issues… if it’s normal, then how is it such a major problem? But then again, if it’s normal, then it’s easier to talk about and get help for. This is becoming the case lately and it really is a good thing!
    My personal issue, was down to mounting problems, including redundancy and eventually came to a head when my heart issues were diagnosed and this brought on so much self doubt that it began to manifest itself in problems at work. Came to a point where I had to get help and went through the self diagnosis online, was called by a consultant who I spent an hour crying down the phone to! So I got some sessions of counseling/therapy sessions, which is something I never thought I’d do! Weird thing was, I had these sessions during work time and LIED about where I was going! Told them it was to check my heart (so, even last year, physical illness is fine, mental? Don’t talk about that!) So, (where was I going with this??) yeah! so if it’s “normal”, that’s got to be better if you can talk to the people you need to talk to about it.
    The therapy sessions were amazing, brought so much out of me that had been festering since childhood. Few months back something else happened at work and I admitted to my boss that I’d lied. That was another eye-opening conversation, as he related to a lot of the problems I’d had and I think went away considering booking himself in for some therapy!
    (Hope you can get some sense out of that stream of consciousness!)

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber

    I’ve suffered with depression rather badly since my early teens. It has a huge impact on my life. This is the only place I discuss it. Things are changing for the better, but there is still, in my opinion, a lot of ‘just cheer up’ and ‘it’s not serious’ or you’re labelled as weird etc type attitudes in the workplace.

    Just be open about it. I have and I don’t think I’ve been judged on account of it.

    makkag
    Member

    Echoing above I think everyone has mental health issues they just manifest and are managed differently .
    Not to try and take over the thread but I have always had down days and just shut down for a while and don’t speak with anyone . These last few weeks have been particularly difficult , business is 50% down on income people I’ve furloughed likely I will make redundant .
    My operations director is going on mat leave and we can’t replace under these conditions and there is looming matter of a massive rebuild that falls squarely on me.
    Personally I live alone and have worked at my kitchen table for 70+ days and am becoming unproductive. I still have my son 3x a week and travel 40 mile round trip to collect but that’s the only interaction I get.
    His mum also has a new bloke and couldn’t care less about lockdown rules. All this whilst stewing alone has left my head in not a great place. I’m usually pretty good with routine gym work good food but struggling badly atm .
    Drinking way to much , not getting enough workouts in eating unhealthy and now recreational drugs are back on the scene all of which I know make the situation worse as I feel worse .
    Post is half writing it down to express how I feel and half to make me take action and change things I’m 41 not 14

    Typed on phone please excuse punctuation and spacing

    Interesting comment about counselling. I have considered this but never acted on it. One of the other ‘side effects’ is that I cry really easily. Not when people are nasty or I hurt myself but when something emotional happens. It doesn’t have to be very emotional or even sincere, as MrsWCA says, I start welling up watching the bloody Andrex puppy. I have often found myself watching TV but not concentrating and then suddenly realising there are tears streaming down my cheeks completely unrelated to anything on TV.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber

    WCA – I sometimes experience a wave of sadness/teariness like this for no actual reason. I’m not even aware of what I was thinking about when it starts.

    In my case, I can’t think of any time this happened between my childhood and the death of my parents around 9 years ago (they both died within 12 months). I can’t say that was a trigger, as it may have just been coincidental.

    Premier Icon twistedpencil
    Subscriber

    @makkag first, well done for opening up, hardest step is now taken, secondly the world is in an odd place right now and things will get better. Take advantage of the easing of lockdown and get out and do something positive to unwind, for me this is riding a bike.

    Sounds like work is stressful at the moment and you need to separate work from home, maybe ‘commute’ after finishing work for the day to unwind

    Take care of yourself.

    Steve

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    if it’s normal, then how is it such a major problem? But then again, if it’s normal, then it’s easier to talk about and get help for. This is becoming the case lately and it really is a good thing!

    That’s a bit like another ‘taboo but commonplace’ issue – overweight / obese. Just because as a nation we’re getting fatter, doesn’t make it ‘normal’ to be fat, and the associated health issues that come with that.

    Things can be commonplace without them being normal. MH issues are surprisingly commonplace but we can’t say that because of that we should just learn to live with them, particularly when opening up and just talking openly about them is already a great help in treating low level examples.

    trumpton
    Member

    I think the new mental health awareness is great.i suffered bi polar for years when I was younger and explained my symptoms to various gps none of which did anything.wasnt till the condition led to depression did the gps help. hadn’t even heard of the condition.wasnt till my thirties I got meds for it.i dare not tell anyone about my condition as nobody understood it including me.i also self diagnosed my asperger which gave me the confidence to reach out for a professional diagnosis which was positive.to be honest I read quite abit about it on the nas website.i also found out I have adhd which has been sorted by meds too.wasnt until I went private in my mid thirties did I get the right solution.no problems anymore.i still doubt the NHS could have helped me though to get me in the great condition I am now in. I would have had to see a number of professionals ideally though the NHS which I still think is hard to do where privately i saw one professional who was an expert in every area.i mean how do you know you have a condition like adhd so that would have been missed still.i just got used to struggling for years.when I asked my gp about getting a referral for asperger he did not even log it on my notes which I later found out.this was 10 years ago.i think awareness is great but it still needs to be backed up.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
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    I was really worried about being open and honest with friends and colleagues about it.

    I’m glad I was though. No one has been negative to my face, and I’ve not heard of it behind my back. Several colleagues have opened up about their struggles and we’ve ended up comparing meds and counseling and GPs. A riding acquaintance who I had a bit of a strained relationship at times with took me out for a ride and opened up about a year he’d been off work with depression in the past. I would never have guessed he’d been affected.

    And it’s all the “we had no idea” comments that made me realise how long I’d hidden it all behind the always busy, always joking facade. How much worse did it become because I was hiding it and not seeking support? (Bad enough that I was viewing the multi storey car park we used for work in a very different light!)

    I no longer care what people think or say. Work have been great – civil service – I’ve gone part time to help me fit in the outside work responsibilities, all my reviews with my boss, who is open her own experience of post natal depression, include a “how’s your head?” discussion.

    Maybe it’s been quietly used against me when I’ve applied for other roles, I don’t know. But I don’t care because my health and well being is no longer tied to a job or money.

    And I seem to have coped a lot better with lockdown than a lot of friends and colleagues who haven’t apparently had issues in the past. Maybe I’m more self aware, more used to taking time with myself and my thoughts, but I think it’s helped me deal with the world as it’s become

    makkag
    Member

    Thanks Steve !

    Premier Icon cynic-al
    Subscriber

    I’d been thinking about asking how folks’ MH was in the lockdown, good to see it’s being talked about…the recent years’ increase in openness about it is a good thing IMO and has a long way to go.

    dyna-ti
    Member

    Do we think that over emphasising the mental health issues will lead to too many false positives

    False positives would happen if a member of the public looks at an online test for autism, or anything else and scores it themselves.
    Actual diagnosis of autism is a very long book of questions and answers and includes your entire medical history, along with speaking to the parents, school reports etc etc,even parental memories of problems faced in the early years.

    A twinge in your back and you check the internet = You have the worst kind of spinal cancer, or your bollocks are going to fall off for sure.

    I’m a gardener and work for a lot of elderly people, most of whom are finding it tough at the moment. But I think the current situation and increased awareness is encouraging them to talk about it and how their mental health changes in general. A lot of the elderly were essentially self isolating before this anyway, especially in the winter months. Most have told me how glad they are that I’ve continued working and how much they appreciate a blether when I’m in the garden.

    mooman
    Member

    Reading up on it, this is either some kind of mental health issue

    or .. its just who you are; there is nothing wrong with being the person who is always on the go – some people worry because they are not the type of person who is always on the go … appreciate who you are; we are all unique and different, and its ok to be like that.

    i suffered bi polar for years when I was younger and explained my symptoms to various gps none of which did anything.wasnt till the condition led to depression did the gps help.

    Bit confused that you describe having bipolar for years .. before developing depression. I do not mean to be rude; but that simply does not make sense at all.

    i also self diagnosed my asperger which gave me the confidence to reach out for a professional diagnosis which was positive.

    I would confidently state that everybody who wants an ASD diagnosis will self diagnose themselves as having it – and paying privately for a diagnosis often results in the diagnosis you want too. As written above – its a complex diagnosis that looks at how the traits affect you as much as what you and your family describe .. and of course; we all have the traits to some degree anyways.

    I’d been thinking about asking how folks’ MH was in the lockdown,

    It was very quiet up until about two weeks ago; when the referrals started coming in. And now the GPs etc are referring in because people are socially isolated … I know GPs are often said to be GPs because they were not clever enough to work in hospitals – but surely they will know that most of the country are socially isolated at moment!!

    Just sat here reading the general STW shit and drifted away for a bit to find tears pooling on the desk. Part of me thinks why did I drift off and start crying The rest thinks I had better no **** the new keyboard

    If you are inn a long term relationship (25+ years) can you still get meaningful counselling as and individual or do you need to take your partner?

    Premier Icon thegreatape
    Subscriber

    Dunno but hope you’re ok

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Subscriber

    Of course individual counselling can still be effective in a long term relationship although her insights might also be useful. I am a big fan of counselling. the critical thing with counselling is the relationship between the counselor and the counselee. Techniques are secondary to this tho my preferred technique is the person centered stuff – guiding and questioning rather than prescriptive or mechanical like CBT

    Different techniques also suit some people better than others

    I think the lockdown has made MH difficulties become more apparent ie easier to see and feel rather than increased them. Less going on to hide them / distract from them. I certainly have felt pretty fragile at times.

    Depression and anxiety are endemic in our society. Again for me the key is to be content with who and what you are rather than follwing the need to strive to be something else.

    Find beauty in small things. don’t compare yourself to others. I am lucky in that my work gives me fulfillment without chasing “success” I think its that chasing of “success” that leads to a lot of issues.

    vickypea
    Member

    tjagain- I agree with everything you put there 😊

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