Mental Health Support
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My own worst enemy?

hi everyone. some months ago my doctor told me i was my 'own worst enemy' - this was only a few minutes after he'd said he thought i was extremely depressed. well, despite the fact that - surely - no doctor should make this kind of blunder, in fact he was right on both counts. but how do i pull myself out of what seems to me to be an impossible situation? i'm almost 70 years old, live extremely rurally with no transport, and i'm nowhere near any of the friends i used to have when i lived in a city. added to that, i seem no longer to be able to work creatively: i just feel 'what's the point?' my whole life was built around my identity as an artist, but now that's gone, and my friends have gone, and my mobility is severely limited (no rural buses and i don't drive) i seem to have wound up in the middle of nowhere. i feel that i can just about get through the days, keep the house more or less together (but not clean) and keep my little cat healthy and well looked after, and i enjoy the birds and animals in the garden, but beyond that i can't find the energy or the will to do anything. i keep in touch with friends on social media, but it's not the same as face to face. i have no 'significant other' - nor even an insignificant one. there's nowhere close enough for me to walk to (physical mobility is compromised, too) so i can't attend group activities, even if i wanted to - which i don't! i can't sell up and move away, for complicated reasons. i'm slowly getting less and less active and more and more depressed. i guess this is a cry for help - though what kind of help anyone could give me, i don't know?

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Hi no one is an island and we all need company as we are social being. I don't know of any way to bring people to your rural position unless you rent a room out or something or start a business there.

The only way out has to be you moving closer to where other people and your friends are. If you don't you will become increasing isolated and more housebound which won't help you at all. You need to be somewhere where there is local transport and near to facilities.

Maybe your creative block will go if you are happier?

Would a mobility scooter help at all? x

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as i said - i can't move home, for complicated reasons. yes, perhaps my creative block would dissolve if i were happier - but how to be happier? i'm happier when i'm working, but i can't work... it's circular... but thank you for replying.

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Well you will just have to be content then with neighbours for company. There doesn't seem any other answer. x

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Was this supposed to encourage? Just trying to clarify what you meant by your reply. Thanks.

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Nothing to encourage. If you can't move and no one can come to you then I just don't see any way you can get company. Neighbours and online friends will have to do instead I guess.

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thanks!

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Read Thomas Merton’s journals. Trappist monk with reverence for solitude and a fierce beauty in being so self-contained. You are on a journey. Read John Muir. You can find a whole sanctuary in the nature just beyond your porch. Listen to the birds. It’s enough. You would benefit from BHRT. Your hormones are depleted but you can replace them with plant-derived, easily recognized by the body, natural hormone replacement. You need to change your standards or change your behavior if you want to find your strength. What is your empowerment now in your elder ship? Share your wisdom with us!

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thank you. someone else recommended reading Thomas Merton - so i will. i've tried phyto-hormones in the past, didn't work (properly prescribed by a good herbalist). a glass of red wine in the evening does work, and i drink in moderation and with enjoyment. perhaps all i need is to be given permission to be shipwrecked? as for my power now - maybe the only thing i can identify is a kind of stubborn endurance. if it weren't for my cat...

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Oh my, I really feel for you. Life is such a struggle and being honest (and selfishly talking about myself) I am approaching 60 and worry immensely about the kind of scenario you are describing as I "age".

It really is a tricky one.

We are here and some of us particularly the older members do tend to PM and in my case sometimes even travel to see people from time to time if we've "chatted" on here. I know you said your mobility is limited but at the moment mine isn't and I'm willing to travel to meet people to ease their loneliness and mine after a reasonable "chat" period. However I know that this isn't really suitable or what you are asking for as you have other online friends.

Doctors can be really stupid and trite sometimes. I don't think the phrase "You're your own worst enemy " is helpful in the slightest and it's something that people tend to "churn out" and a phrase which I find very annoying.

Could you get any company by affording to pay a gardener (if you have a garden) or a house cleaner? My dad is 95 and lives on his own and his two main social contacts are the above. His gardener has also become his friend and helps him out with "handyman" type of stuff around the house.

Have you tried any meds for your depression? They can help some people.

A revolutionary idea and one which I personally wouldn't recommend is that if you don't have a "significant other" is this something you would want and could try dating say through the Saga website and see if you can find a companion? I say I wouldn't recommend it for me as I am too anxious and also have led a completely dysfunctional lifestyle and don't even know if i'd want a man or a woman and pretty sure they wouldn't want me anyway!

Have you thought of joining a pet forum? My friend loves cats and other animals and I know there are pet forums where they post up pictures of their pets and have mini competitions for such like things. You may make some more friends that way.

It's terrible isn't it when the thing that normally motivates you doesn't motivate you any more? I love French but feel completely unable to get into it due to my low mood.

Do you ever sit down and think of reasons for your low mood? Would a service such as "silverline" where people phone you up for a chat be helpful for you? Is there a local "help the aged" who offer any outreach services or anything like that?

Do you have any long lost relatives you could reintroduce yourself too or friends you could rekindle? Sometimes just a phone call out of the blue does the trick.

Don't know if any of this is helpful but i've tried !

Gemma xx

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hi, Gemma - thank you so much for all your suggestions. there are several things there which i've tried - Silverline, for instance. i follow various social media groups - mostly wildlife, gardening etc. the cat ones i tend to steer clear of, in case someone posts distressing pictures, which i just can't handle. i quite like the idea of the Saga dating forum, and will check that out. i do have a 'handyman' who comes to help with mowing the lawn, and doing repairs; but i can't afford him to come here regularly, and anyway - though friendly, i wouldn't count him as a friend, as such. meds for depression i steer well clear of , since i tend to over-react: probably something to do with Fibromyalgia. i concentrate on eating healthily (vegetarian) and i take good supplements. as for lost relatives - just last year i discovered a cousin i'd never met before; which was great, but he lives on the other side of the country! reasons for low mood? partly to do with not being able to work, and partly to do with fear of becoming increasingly more decrepit! for some reason, ageing seems to be a taboo in this society, which is so seduced by youthfulness. despite the various organisations like Saga and Silverline, actually talking in public about how it feels to age, and how frightening it is, is something we seem to avoid. anyway - thank you again, Gemma, and if you'd like to PM, that would be great - though i'm not sure how to do it on this forum?

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Some GPS have no real knowing or understanding of human suffering - despite being trained and educated to care for a variety of people in their professional care. A formal complaint by letter to your general practice headquarters is necessary - will not get anyone sacked, yet will definitely raise important awareness to the board of GP governing bodies in your local area, that much needs to be done to address the manner in which certain doctors are insensitive and (lacking in essential human skills), to recognise or acknowledge vulnerable patients, esp those with complex mental-health conditions.

Leaving it alone and not doing anything because you feel afraid or guilty of raising the matter with your local medical authority, will mean that you will not be getting the rightful support and care you need, or any vital evidence of your medical mental-health condition to present to those who require it. I am lucky and live in supported housing and have a support care worker who can push GPS for evidence of my complex mental-health needs, yet those who don't have that support need to be courageous in their very own right and get what is entitled to them - even if you go to a citizens advice bureau and make the complaint with them - they will be on your side completely and your name remain anonymous to the local medical governance authority in your area.

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YES!!!! So many helpful and practical suggestions. Sometimes we cannot "do it all ourselves" but need some practical support and help in even knowing what may be available. KUDOS!

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It's no fun being female!. I just wish that we all had the accuracy of medical facts at our finger tips all the time, yet because we are dependant and vulnerable to what cognitive medicines we are prescribed, only a matter of trial and error as to what works for us, if at all, they do so in the long run. I am now taking Duloxetine (120mg) a day since 2012, yet still feel no better nor worse for taking them.

I really feel for you and wish that I could remove the distress you must feel one day to the next. If you are isolated or have little proper support around you, will make it far worse, and why talking to the GP is very important as well as finding out what local support-groups in your area might exist and provide some positive practical support - not just emotional support.

You are very brave and amazing to write about your experiences - no matter how bad you are feeling, something about you is reaching out to tell someone else about how it feels to be you!. I have a lot of admiration and respect for that and never feel guilty at all for asking for help, in whatever form it arrives - feeling part of the community and having a genuine network of friends, makes a huge difference to not feeling alone - I am still looking for those connections myself, yet just wanting to let you know that you can email me anytime you want sincere and non-judgemental support.

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i think, in opening up on here, i just needed to know that others might be going through similar experiences... somehow it helps! local support groups are a problem, because i have no transport. online groups are a godsend, and thank goodness for them. thank you for your supportive replies. :-)

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actually, my doctor has been very supportive in the past - going out of his way to help me, and he's a good friend. this was a single instance of insensitivity, and i think he was actually just frustrated that he couldn't help me - because i refused to take medication. i wouldn't dream of reporting him. but i appreciate your response, thank you.

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Uzername

It can be hard, we live seven miles to the nearest town and four to the nearest public house, Like you I am getting on, I will be sixty eight in August and Disabled. I suppose I am lucky been married with a Collie to keep us company.

We have a large garden with a thirty tree orchard, we also grow grapes and figs, not forgetting Nectarines, Apricots and Peaches, my problem like you is I am getting slower and rely upon my Wife to act as my Carer.

At this time we would not wish to return to town living, we like you I suppose see a great deal of wildlife, we get Stoat, badger and foxes here and the bird life is wonderful. We never get tired of our views, they change every few mins. Even at night the darkness is dark and the stars are wonderfully bright. We have no street lighting and week look out of the windows and ask why we would want to go out at night anyway.

We are lucky we have a bus that runs four times a day, although the times can be problematic so if we use the bus and need to shop the wait for the return bus is restricted mainly for the schools.

There are various activities in town where people can pick up people on their way in and that seems to work for many

If we need to go to hospital they put on a car to take us in and bring us back after treatment.

Our prescriptions are delivered by a chemists van and the poste keeps His eye on the oldies.

If we need any treatments or similar they come out and see us out in the sticks so life is not that bad especially if we need to bum a lift into town on the rare occasions.

I have a Chronic Short term memory disorder and my Wife has been getting books on the travels we did when younger, that helps me as well, as it can help me relate to the activities I used to do.

If ill we get our groceries delivered and, anything big is delivered by Google.

In a way we are lucky here we are a couple, are you still married ??

We try and live in our means in the countryside in our case we seem to be lucky here

BOB

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hi Bob - like you i have quite a few services that come to me: the doctor, for instance, and of course online grocery deliveries (without which i couldn't survive). i love the wildlife here, and the peacefulness; there's so much to be thankful for. but you're very lucky to have a bus service: the bus which used to pick me up, nearby (only two buses a week, but at least that was something!) has been axed, and now the only bus pickup (again, only two buses a week) is twenty minutes walk away, and i can't manage that. neighbours round here tend to keep themselves to themselves, and i guess i'm no different.

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Uzername

We live between a County town and a Market town, also we have several large to moderate size villages. Our village is split in two and our half has five houses and a farm in the cente, the other side of the village is larger with about twenty houses that are well set back from the road and fifteen properties cannot be seen from the road. The road a C road passes our home although we are about 50 feet from the road, traffic is a rare commodity.

We live overlooking the Cheviot and we can see the full range from our Patio Window. We look into both Scotland and England, and we have stone circles not far from where we live.

Our area has some lovely castles we can visit, very close to home.

I had my first morning out today, I can have problems with my disability and it takes a time to loosen up so I have to be very careful.

Our garden has several nesting game birds nesting below the hedges and shrubs, so we are looking forward to see the chicks. i would never leave now, my home is fully adapted for my disability so why would we ever want to return to town living now.

BOB

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Hello username , I am an artist, a writer, a maker of things, a teacher. If I go for any length of time with out doing something creative I get very low . I also run into blocks. So I will start doing or making anything. No plan, just pushing around medium until I get to that place where you go when you're in contact with the process. I have no expectation and it is very freeing. Now to your other issue... Have you thought about a room mate , or maybe helping someone out on a temporary basis. I was thinking of women in abusive situations . You could be someone's sanctuary . Pam

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Some of the exact same as I was thinking. The no expectations is a word of wisdom

To take that thought and add to it; Begin to create and express the whole realm of this inner world of lonliness/isolation/appreciation of nature's beauty, with any medium that works in the moment. I was a professional "helper" for over 20 years, so I have whole conversations out loud(one side the therapist in me/the other side the depressed, hopeless, negative side).

It works for me to process that way. As long as you are not harming yourself or another, I say whatever works..JUST explore/find whatever eases the soul.

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Reading your beautiful post, there is a very well-reasoned yet incredibly spiritual side to your wholeness, that I can share 100%. I often believe that no ones except myself, can ever understand or translate the complex, intangible yet very determined nature of my being - why I want to close myself down to anyone who either gets to close to this or too distant. You have that very same right and need to protect you own uniqueness - what works for you is precious to who you are.

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yes, i know those inner dialogues! and i did a lot of Gestalt work, back in the 1980s, so i'm familiar with that process. it worked for me then, not so much now. my negative, self-defeating side bores me to tears. i'm working towards more of a zen approach: mental discipline, and entering the silence.

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you're so right: i, too, find that going without making things for any length of time makes me feel very low. it's partly a loss of identity, partly just the boredom of not being engaged, fully, with my creative self. i've been through long dry stretches before, but usually there's been something else going on (i was a carer for a long time) which has caused the arid period. this is different... i have all the time in the world (or whatever's left) to get painting, but i somehow can't seem to care enough to get going. this too could change... perhaps...

a room-mate? no. wouldn't work for me. i spent too much of my life sharing living spaces. my cat is the only one i want to share my home with! ;-)

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I had in mind something temporary . To help others can be a great way to build your own self confidence . Have you thought of teaching. It's very popular right now to have a wine and painting class once a week. Adult students bring their own wine and you have an example, everyone paints the same thing. Charge is 25 dollars for a couple of hours. It is fun. Whatever you do try to work your art into it.

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i've spent more than half a century painting on my own - and i can't bear to be in the same room, even, as anyone else if i'm working. there's a difference between artwork as therapy, and art as ones vocation and lifelong identity. my work isn't comfortable, but - when i can do it - it is truthful. it isn't realistic, it's real. and there's no way i'm able to control the output. it arrives... it leaves...

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Well, lets scrap that idea. I guess I'll have to have a think. Art classes, when you're in college is almost a social thing. There are many people and the Professor. You are expected to explain yourself at some point. The pace is fast, very little inward exploration. Then when you are a senior you have your own studio space and it's just you and the paint. That is when you face yourself. That was my experience anyway..

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mine too. except that after i left art college, i didn't paint for years...

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We would not want to take anyone in here, it would distract us from the countryside around us. One thing we do find is if someone wishes too visit the distances involved puts them of. Our situation here is nice because we only see people we want to see.

People always think living in a village is full of people doing things together or visiting others for coffee breaks, here we respect each others space so it is nice and peaceful.

I suppose as we get older we start looking more to the future, it is nice to know you can hear your thoughts, in towns and cities I find it to busy

BOB

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Hi uzername

I'm wondering if you are from Wales? (the daffodils)

Suzie x

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no. :-)

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Hi "uzername",I don't know where you live, but in most areas around the world, there are optimistic folks (all ages) who visit others in their homes. Their purpose is to share encouraging things from the bible. It has proved to be refreshing to many. It can be a brief visit or as long as YOU would enjoy. I can assure you, personally, there is no pressure or obligation of any kind. We are Jehovah's Witnesses, known earthwide and consider it a privilege to help our "neighbors" no matter where they are. Such visits have been of great benefit to millions. If you would like to know more, say the words. Certainly all of us need companionship, and meaningful friendships. And despite the challenges, there is much we can do to make loyal friends.

Loneliness is a healthy "hunger", a natural thirst when we are lacking companionship. Just as hunger moves us to take in nourishing food, feelings of loneliness should move us to reach out. Some have simply prayed about a problem and GOD has sent help. We often hear these experiences. Perhaps you're not familiar with this helpful service, but it's readily available. If you have any questions. let me know. Agape.

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thanks for your reply, but i have no religious beliefs. i like what you say about loneliness being a 'healthy hunger'.

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Perhaps, as an artist, it may be helpful to use that gift as a way to think outside the confining box. Christianity is not a religion, but an intimate relationship with Jesus; who, by the way despised religiousity! This Jesus has a reckless love for you! He wants you to get to know Him, and Not about religion. If you ask Him, He will begin to introduce Himself to you. Now that is a worthy pursuit!

Joy in the journey, c-l-g

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Thanks for your candid response. Many feel as you do because "religion" has failed to serve the needs of people. We all have a hunger for filling that need. Even if not fully consious of our spiritual side, the desire for comfort and good friends is valid. That's something we can culivate.

Hope you're feeling better and enjoy the friendship offered here. Agape.

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the friendly support offered so far has been very heartwarming.

i'd be all for having a religious belief if i could find it in myself to believe in a deity. it's not something you can induce, any more than you can induce being in love. however, i do have a spiritual side (though i'm wary of that word) and i firmly believe in goodness.

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One must begin a relationship, get to know another, before trust and love come. Just as Him to reveal Himself to you with an open heart. One step atta time, one day atta time.

kept by His grace, Connie

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Photo reveals a very pretty young woman. Welcome !

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In life we meet good people who believe in only what they can see. Is that how you feel? Fact is, with can see the "originator of love" with the eyes of understanding. Creation itself ...Our Earth. Is it not beautiful in spite of the mismanagement by man.

Also, most "fall in love" when they seek love with a purpose. Marriage or companionship. True we cannot force love, but we can find it along with the purpose of life. When we get satisfying answers, we're better able to cope and endure all the pain and injustice we may experience. A question people often ask is, ''Why does GOD allow suffering?" I'd be happy to discuss that anytime. I promise it won't be the same answer most religions teach : )

Honestly, it's been my pleasure to "visit" with you. Please let us know how you're doing. Bye til then (Carol)

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beautiful, genuine response...thanks!

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I notice that majestic things are very impressive and fill us with awe, but we should not fail to notice the miracle of the small things like a wispy dandelion or even a humble sunflower. I do believe my friends are somewhere between a mighty star and a rosebud. Just keep that balance. You are loved and appreciated.

We are created in GOD'S image. That makes us pretty special.

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Very well said, newbie 1956! I loved the visual image of a mighty star & a rosebud...

priceless!

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I am an artist, too. I understand how your work is so much a part of you. Are you affiliated with a church? I ask because churches have so many good people who could help you get out and be with others. They have social gatherings and you would not feel so isolated.

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