Hi, i'm a 50 year old female who has had a history of depression for my whole life, but only admitted it about 47 years ago. I saw a therapist three years ago and also "saw'' a psychiatirst that I never really saw. He just prescribed medication. I've always been a sad person, even when I was a child. I didn't know what to call it. Depression wasn't a popular topic back then. It got gradually worse as I got older, especially in high school and college, when I started cutting myself. It just really calmed me down when nothing else would, and I found the whole thing mezmerizing. I drank for a while to try to self medicate my problems, but that only left my life in ruins. I don't drink any more, and take an anti depressant. My psychiatrist and therapist no longer accept my insurance, so i get no help on that front. I have public medicaid and can't get any help.

I have a bachelor's degree in communications, but 3 years after graduating had to quit my job because of unfixable carpal tunnel syndrome. i've had other jobs over the years, but now, at my age, everyting hurts, my knees from 10 years of warehouse work; my ankle and shoulder because of injuries that were not on the job, and i can't work at a keyboard. i have job at a grocery store, and recently started school for phlebotomy with a large medical group in my area. I am smart, and need something more than checkout at a grocery store. i completed 2 of the 15 weeks of schooling (we are only allowed 3 days off, and then we are expelled), so i'm at 2 days off and probably tomorowwoe will be my 3rd. sometimes i just can't. if you know what i mean. it's not that i did't enjoy the school or do well at it, i get so down that i can't do things. and then I have a really hard time getting normal tasks done, like filing taxes, or looking for a new therapist. there just seems to be a block there that i can't overcome. as for jobs, i can work for a while, then the depression and anxiety hit again, and i don't even want to leave my house. i'm also an increadible insomniac. One day without sleep is nothing. two can be manageable. i just can't sleep and don't know why. a lot of the time it's not that i'm worried or anxious, i'm just not tired. i don't know what's wrong with me or what kind of job i could get. any suggestions are helpful

16 Replies

  • Hi mak4525 nice to meet you and welcome to the site. I am sure you will get some replies soon but while you are waiting could I ask you to familiarise yourself with the Community Guidelines. You will find these on the right under the pinned posts. Thank you. x

  • sure. i'm looking forward to getting some replies. i know my post was kind of long and run on, but i was just trying to introduce and explain myself and life to everyone all at once.

  • Hi I wasn't querying your post at all. We remind all new members to read the Community Guidelines as a matter of course. x

  • Hello mak4525. You've probably realised this is primarily a UK site but you are very welcome even if our unfamiliarity with US medical practice and employment opportunities may limit useful replies.

    I'm assuming from the wording of your post you are N.American (apologies if I'm wrong ) which gives you a big advantage in that I believe acceptance ,attitudes to and treatment to mental health issues are ahead of us in the UK. However if you don't have wealth and /or insurance it is certainly more difficult but my advice would be first to use any means available to research what is available on a free or charitable basis. N.Americans I've always found very generous and there must be some charitable help and support available.

    Also you have a lot of strength and courage in going through many years of depression to reach 50. You are smart which is also good and should therefore know that the ability to continue to perform satisfactorarily with little sleep is fairly typical of some forms of depression most notably Bipolar 2.

    You have my sympathy and I hope that you come through this spell as no doubt you have come through many others . I can only suggest that you try and seek a similar forum in N.America which can give better advice on help and employment possibilities but until finding one by all means use this forum and hopefully someone will be able to come up with something that is of more practical help than I'm able to give.

    Until then a big hug, and all possible luck.


  • thanks for replying. i didn't know this was a UK site. I just found it on a google search and it seemed very helpful. What are attitudes towards depression/anxiety like in the UK? I know you have a national health system there, so I thought it would be easier to get help there. What's it like, for real?

  • Hi I know this question wasn't aimed at me but just saw it. Here as you know we have the NHS. The trouble is it is grossly underfunded and has become unmanageable of late. This Govt. is privatising parts of it now and many of us think it will go the way of the USA health service.

    The NHS budget for mental health is just 13% of the whole which is woefully inadequate, even though the Govt. is putting in some more money soon. Everyone is allowed to use the mental health services of course, but the reality is the waiting lists can be up to a year for counselling. Because of cutbacks only certain types of counselling are often allowed ie CBT because it is cheap and the idea is it is measurable.

    However in many areas now because of lack of money, even though you can self refer, counselling is being rationed. I asked for it fairly recently and was turned down because I only have 'moderate depression'. I was diagnosed with this via a young counsellor having a quick chat with a psychiatrist (whom I never even saw).

    So if I want counselling I would have to pay for it which I can't. x

  • same situation here. no one cares about mental health care until someone shoots up a school or a mall.

  • Yes I think we are all shocked to hear of the mass shootings over there. In most cases you hear the parents saying they have tried to get mental health care for the offspring but their concerns were dismissed.

    Apart from the odd case we rarely get it here, and I think one of the major factors is that we don't have a gun culture like the USA and it is much harder to get them here thank goodness. x

  • yeah, but like most americans, i'm a big fan of the gun culture. it's just that such obvious cases of mental illness and threats made and are just ignored by the medical community. i think it helps give guns a bad rep here, aside from the self-radicalized isis follower.

  • Well unfortunately in that case thousands will still keep getting killed by guns. I hope it's worth it!

  • I think the reality of life is that not many people actually land their "dream job",and a lot of us(some people) just have to settle for any old thing,and just take it as it is. The lack of motivation,is something a lot of people can relate to,there is month's where you just cant find the motivation to cook your self a proper meal(so in my case resort to just eating crap or something that takes less then 5 mins to cook) or find the motivation to do anything.

    My personal experience is even when i do not have the motivation to go to work,i still go to work,i don't want to,i feel like a zombie,but over the years,i have just learned to throw this "mask" on and show a false smile,and everybody around you just think's everything is all hunky dory.

    After all these year's of doing it,i feel like an actor,because no one around me has a clue about what goes on behind the curtain's,unless i open them up and let them see a "preview" which i don't do,only one person know's and that's it.

    I have good months, and bad month's,it's crap,somtimes a good few months can be 3/4/5 followed by 6/7/8/9 month's of self loathing,self hating,self harm,isolation,just hate being around period. However despite all of that,i just keep going.

    The worst part of it all,is the constant thinking,your brain is on a loop,thing's just keep going around and around and around and around and around and around and around,and it sucks,especially when trying to sleep.

    At 50 year's of age,what type of job would you like to do,is not a question i would even think to ask someone of your age group.

    I think despite the lack of motivation,you just have to keep going,and going and going,and going,for me even when the tank is empty,just keep going and going and going,until you get "a refuel".

    The ache's and pain's must suck,but as we all get older,it's probably something a lot of us have to look forward to,ontop of any mental thing's that are also going on behind the lid's.

    Don't give up on going to your classes,despite not having the motivation to go i would say just go,put one foot in front of the other,and walk through those door's,just live in the moment not the past,not(think about) the future,just this very point in time.

    Personally i find life more painfull then any ache's and pain's my body can feel at any given moment,physical pain seems less of a problem compared to the mental pain that goes on in ones head.

    So yeah,just push your self,you just got to dig deep,and go for it,maybe it will give you that pick me up,you won't know unless you try.

  • thanks for that reply. Like you, I feel like I am just "acting'' like a person. No one really knows me or what's going on with me. You're lucky you have someone.

    I've never been one of those people who know what they want to do at a young age. A lot of things seem interesting to me, and i've had jobs working as a clerk at a newspaper, a news photographer, a warehouse/retail worker.

    The physical problems, though, present me with a huge problem. i graduated with a degree in communictations and started working at the newspaper after college. Three years later, i had carpal tunnel in both wrists, which was not able to be corrected by surgery that I had. That problem later turned into neuropathy in both elbows, which is one of the most painful things that I've been experienced. No painkiller offered would work on the pain. I found myself drinking, which was the only thing that eased the pain, and at least let me pass out and get some releif. i realized that this was not a good path, and that i could not continue at that job, so I had to resign and accept the fact that I could not ever work at a job where i had to work at a computer all day. After just 3 years from graduating my degree was mostly useless and I had a large student loan to pay off. i tried news photograaphy and was actually very good at it. I had done a 3 month internship at the newspaper I worked at, but everyone else I knew had a 4 year degree and I just felt like a fake. There were a lot of things I didn't know, and just pretended to. So there was the mask. i never pretended to have a 4 year degree, but i did let people assume I knew what i was doing, which i did to some degree. this was back in the day of film, and then digital came along, and i could not afford to make to transition. I ended up working in a retail warehouse. I liked the physical aspect of the job. Yes, i really did enjoy carrying boxes up and down a ladder. I always loved running to, but after 30 years of this, my knees couldn't take any more and i had to resign.

    So my physical problems do present a huge problem to me getting a job. I currently work as a cashier at a busy grocery store, and yes, it hurts my wrists badly. I have to take a narcotic painkiller for that and the pain in my knees. They offered to train me to night grocery replenishment (not knowing about my wrist or knee problems) and i had to turn them down. I always appreciate learnng a new skill, though this was one that i was already familiar with. but i knew my knees could not take all the up and down. also add a broken shoulder with very limited movement from a previous trail running injury.

    So i've had to deal with all of this during my depression. in the past, when i was frustrated or depressed, i would always go for a run, and that would make me feel better. but now i can't do that. all it produces is more pain.

    and yes, i've not been able to just put one foot in front of the other and keep on going. It's almost like there is a barrier that i cannot overcome. and job wise, once i consider what i can physically do, then what i am trained to do or have experience with, it's slim. i guess it's because i've retrained myself so many times, only to have it have to end for some reason, i just don't see the reason why.

    i have no burning desire to do anything in particular, though i would love to work as a vet tech. but i cannot afford the schooling for it and cannot, at this age, justifly spendng that much money on student loans. i'll probably die owing loans.

    there are a lot of things i find interesting, but financing the training is difficult, and unlike you, i have this disability where i sometimes just cannot come to work. it's not like i lie in bed all day. I did that just put one foot in front of the other and go to work every day, until one day I just couldn't do it anymore. i don't know what causes it. and it seems to get worse as i get older. any help you can offer is appreciated.

  • I currently work in retail,in the stock room,dealing with the delivery's that come into the store,stocking up the stock room,etc,etc,and i too also like the physical aspect.

    The benefit i have always liked about this job is that it does not require me to be around people all the time because i would rather work solo,because it leaves me to me and my brain.

    In regard's to offering advice,you have more life experience then i,so i doubt there is much advice that i could offer,the reason why i am in the position i am in is due to me being as stubborn as a mule.

    I refuse to let my "down" day's get the best of me,and just keep going,and biting people's heads off in the process sometimes,as well as the cutting,and binge eating.

    But in hindsight i still keep going, because i am just down right stubborn,it work's for me,but it also work's against me. I am turning 29 this year,and i always thought i would die by the time i would reach 18,but i am still here,just crawling along.

    And the only thing i can say is just keep trying.

  • well, i think it's great that you refuse to let your down days get the best of you. Mine always get the best of me and it hurts my work. i work in a place like you do, and i also like the absence of people most of the time. I'd love to know how you overcome your down days. Mine just seem to be an obstacle that won't let me leave the house or do what i want. i also use cutting to releive anxiety, even though i have meds for it. it just seems that cutting works immediately and best for me. I also find it to be mesmerizing and was wondering if anyone else felt that way.

  • Honestly on my down day's even though i feel like complete and utter crap,i just keep going,i go to work,come back have an hour or two sleep,wake up and basically hide away in my room until the next day.

    And just rinse and repeat,it depends on how down i am really,i deffinetly become less sociable.

    In regard's to the cutting,i just find it addicting,it give's me one thing to concentrate on,rather then have a 1000 thing's going through my head at once.

    Even after going almost 3 month's without cutting the urge was always there.

  • yes, i can testify that after 50 years, the urge is still there. it will probably always be.