Sorry in advance, but this is going to be a fairly pessimistic post.
I've hit that point that I have named 'the wall of despair'. I've only recently had a diagnosis, so in the past, when I hit this point, I end up circling down a dark hole that is very difficult to climb out of.
My 'ways' as they are often termed, have cost me so much over the years and it has taken a massive toll on my health and well-being at times. My life has been spent working endlessly to fit in and navigate obstacle after obstacle. I work hard so that I can have a successful career that helps take away the stresses of paying bills and having a roof over my head, but it all comes at a cost. I become exhausted, overwhelmed, as well as being physically and mentally burnt out.
Recently I have had to cope with a number of changes and knee jerks at work and I don't know if it is directly related, but all aspects of life just seem totally overwhelming to me. Every task that needs completing, bill that needs paying, food that needs prepping is one more thing pushing me closer to snapping. The result is that I am constantly miserable, snappy, over sensitive and constantly fatigued. My partner, bless him, tolerates it well, but it's not fair on either of us.
Today I reached that point which I try to avoid at all costs. I am not an emotional person at all and rarely express emotion, however, today the flood gates opened where you go from nothing to feeling everything in full volume pure high definition. This means my anxiety levels soar, my heart rate rises, I get pains in my chest and am on the verge of tears and the only way I know how to deal with it to stop me having a complete emotional breakdown, is to run away from whatever situation I am in. As a result, I have walked out of the office today as I couldn't cope with it.
I've reached that point in my life where I am tired of constantly having to go round and round in this pattern. I am good at my job, but me reacting in this way and making myself ill has cost me one career and I am starting to think I am hanging on to my current one by a thread. Maybe I am not in-tune with what my body and mind is doing, but I always seem to lose when it comes to preventing hitting this stage. When I get this bad, I become very emotional over everything, my anxiety levels go crazy and I become depressed. I have been told countless times that life is tough, but you just have to get on with it, but when you are fighting against something that leaves you broken, how damaged do you have to become before you can fight no more?
The situation I now find myself in is feeling hopeless and vulnerable and I hate not having the answer that will solve it.
Have you had to have similar fights and what do you do to help you put the boxing gloves back on and go back into the ring?
Yes..I have been in similar fights..I am always relied on as the capable one,...but this coping is an outward pretence as like you I feel a tines there are far too many balls to juggle and people don't realise that although you might outwardly look like you are coping, you are not.
is there any think your partner can do to help? Can you give him some of your responsibilities to help lessen the load before you implode like a human buckroo?
thoughts out to you.....was off work for three months a couple of years ago when my mental and emotional elastic snapped. Try not to panic, try not to beat yourself up..,,your mind and body are telling you clearly to take it easy.
what gives you pleasure and a sense of release...can you squeeze these things into your life a little bit more just to help rebalance you.
big love to you.....and life can be like a boxing ring...try and give your self a chance to recover before the next round. You can't do everything and hi one is indestructible and we are all human, after all!
Hey there, ended up with a bad bout of depression and anxiety back at the tail end of 2015. Overall my medication change wasn't THAT much but we had to split the dose of my antidepressant and I'm on the Pill to deal with the perimenopausal mood swings.
Getting over the acute stuff was hell. Quite literally using my OCD traits to my advantage by doing the activities of daily living in very precise and predetermined ways. Accepting that I had to run with the somatic symptoms and sleep several hours in the middle of the day because of the muscle fatigue.
My GPs biggest worry other than my sudden catestropic drop in mood was my rapid weight loss, 12 kg in 3 months.
I'm fortunate my family understand mental illness and I was wrapped up in their loving support. My partner kind of intellectually knew that was how things work in my family but he got to see it in full force and with him as a vital part of the network. At one point I was not that competent at decision making and my Mum made it clear he was best placed to know my likely choices.
The thing I learned, you got to accept help. And us neurodiverse people get scared because we've been let down so often. We also struggle to know what help we need. I find Maslow's Hierarchy a good starting point. When ill I need the bottom end stuff.
I'm not likely to ever fully recover. My strength and resilience has been compromised. That's been tough. But I have also made a commitment to regular exercise and that's been therapeutic...and cheaper than therapy
I can empathise with that sudden anxiety nightmare! When I was younger I would go into 'hermit' mode and hide away. These days that's not so possible, and I find loud music and playing guitar whilst shouting or attempting to sing (Which is basically shouting anyway) to help. Once a month I go to a music night in my village. There are only 5 of us, so I don't get 'crowd anxiety' but it is so therapeutic to have a completely different focal point (Playing along and trying not to play the wrong thing) compared to my everyday life of work and children. At the moment I am debating upping it to every 2 weeks as once a month is not quite enough now.
Hang in there!
I read this earlier and it made me sad as you sound so distressed, but I had no idea how to help but I've been thinking. Perhaps you could read this link;
It might make you feel a little more sure of your position as you seem to be rapidly losing self confidence. I'm sure when you first posted you said that you had worked hard to get where you are and are good at your job, with a supportive manager? I think the ignorant and wrong Occupational Health person that you were subjected to has done a lot of harm to your confidence and optimism about changes to help you keep working to your strengths whilst decreasing anxiety. I was looking to see if there are private OH services and there are, but mainly for kids I think, also I don't see why you should have to go private but you need an advocate.
Could you go to your GP and explain what has happened with this incompetent OH person and see if they can refer to an autism specialist for help? I wondered if you could print any of that article and show it to your manager and HR? Could you show them what you've written above, more or less, have you been able to explain to any one at work the extent of your distress? Have you tried the NAS helpline?
Objectively it doesn't sound like reasonable adaptations are being made on the strength of an unfit for purpose OH worker and if you don't get a break you are going to end up being off sick which is to no one's benefit?
Could your partner do some of the food prep and chores to lighten the load for a while? Hope you can feel a bit better.
This is what you need but it's really expensive :(
Thank you all for your kind comments. I needed a bit of space yesterday just to get my head around things. Last night I convinced myself I would see my GP today, but now I am in two minds about it. It's like you said QuirkyFriend, it is very hard to ask for help (this is an ongoing problem for me) and when you do ask for help, you don't really know what help you need. I hate getting that dreaded question from a health professional - "So what do you want me to do for you then?" Surely if I knew the magic answer to prevent getting in this situation, I would have tackled that myself?
My biggest problem is I struggle to communicate things verbally, in that I can't talk about my emotions, thoughts etc as I just go mute. There has only been one time I have managed to open up a bit and that was with a psychotherapist I built trust with over a prolonged period. When I have multiple episodes, then my speech can disappear completely for a few days or weeks, although I haven't been that bad for a long time now. I guess I will have to portray what is going on in writing as it's my best way of communicating, but there is the fear of being judged or not believed. Hopefully, now I have a diagnosis, it will help to alleviate this problem.
Thank you for suggesting the Maslow's Hierachy as well. I am building a planner (new special interest) that focuses on self-care as I am not very good at it generally. I am going to include this as part of my planner as a reference. I have also been advised to make an emergency box. Has anyone else created one of these? It's a box to put soothing relaxing items in that are personal to you, where you refer to it in a crisis.
Thank you for finding the information that will be useful for HR as well. I can suggest it to see what they say, but I think they are waiting to see how the next 4 weeks play out for me. The biggest problem is I am good at masking and pretending I am ok, unless I hit the point I did yesterday or the fatigue creeps up on me, which it has been doing. I haven't tried the NAS helpline, but may consider it in future. I have to use helplines or call someone before I get to severe as the muted speech issue becomes too much to overcome.
My partner is helpful in as much as he can be. He does help with chores and food prep, but he also feels helpless in some ways and I don't help by not being able to communicate how I feel or what is really going on. I just brush over things or appear to be sulking.
Starbuck, with your GP, would they be amenable to you giving them something written?
The reason I'm asking is we are dealing with SD16 unmedicated for significant anxiety alongside her ASD (long story about why, not relevant to this). Anyhow, we've moved a significant amount of the conversation to Skype Messenger because it gives her processing time and helps her articulate the issues. Might even help you communicate with your partner too.
In practical terms, the most important thing my doctor ever gives me is enforced sick leave. In 2013 I also had a bad bout and my GP signed me off two weeks. Then I had to see him again and I said I could go back, so he signed me off a further two weeks. When I objected he told me that I was only going back out of guilt so it was too early.
All ND people have to make a judgement call on medication. We are not like NT folk, we can get odd reactions. It took 7 different meds before we worked out my "least bad" option. That kind of GP care is rare to find.
If you do decide to go the meds route its worth starting on half the usual starting dose. My SIL is ND and a doctor and often treats ND kids. She's found through practice ND people are sensitive to meds and get benefits if there are any on low doses.
I like Maslow's Hierarchy too. My current mind workout is trying to get SD16 doing basic self care. I think I might also use Maslow's Hierarchy as a starting point.
good to hear that you are fighting hard and trying lots of different strategies.....I just worry that it might make you every more worn out. You are such a fighter!
have you braved making an appointment? I imagine you have a fairly good idea of the structure of the appointment and the questions asked. Are you able to write down the questions and answers and have them to hand just it same you shut down? I take it a phone appointment won't help lesson the stress?
thinking of you
Well what a day.
I managed to pluck up the courage to visit the GP and took everyone's advice to print off what I had written here. It was a new doctor who I hadn't met before, but I manage to explain myself as best as I could without needing written aids. That's a big improvement for me, so I am pleased with that if nothing else.
I'm starting to think finally having a diagnosis is paying off as for once I felt like someone was listening to me and I didn't get the usual approach of having medication thrown at me. I am very hypersensitive to medication so have to be very careful what I take. The GP didn't think medication was the right approach due to these sensitivities, but instead talking therapies, such as counselling, will help me get over this initial blip so that I can put my strategies back in place and pick myself up again.
For me that feels like the right choice for the time being and it felt reassuring to have a GP and medical support backing me rather than fighting against me. My experience with GP's in the past has been awful and traumatising to be honest.
At the end of the day we are all human and we just want to live our lives as best as we can, it's just that we need a helping hand along the way from time to time when we stumble and fall down.
The GP kindly offered to put my diagnosis in writing as well so that it can be logged officially in my HR files at work, due to this being questioned by OH.
Working from home today has helped, if only to have the quiet and lack of constant distractions that are rare in a busy open plan office.
I just need to keep my positive head on now so I can continue battling on. Thank you everyone for you help and advice.
Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Well done for being so brave..it sounds like a good outcome...