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  1. When I was really working on my social anxiety, my therapist and I would roleplay these "what if" situations and discuss what I could say and do. It helped me feel more comfortable knowing several ways I could respond to questions others might ask me. We would also review interactions from the past week and go over what I did or didn't say/do and what I could do differently in the future. It helped me realize that there is not necessarily one "right" answer in any social situation and that even if what you end up doing isn't what you might wish you had done, you can usually resolve the situation or accept that you might not feel good about how something happened and work to avoid it in the future.
  2. Also, I know you say that you and the kid's mom are not ignoring the kid's complaints, but I think if a 12-year-old is saying they are depressed this needs to be addressed head-on.You can't always tell from the outside what anyone - teenager or not - is feeling on the inside. I was depressed and suicidal as a teenager but hid it very well because I was raised in a family where emotions were treated as shameful and I was made to feel guilty if I was anything except happy and successful. Her mom should ask her what is going on that she feels that "depression" describes her situation and make sure the girl knows she can talk about her feelings with her mom or with another trusted adult if she's not comfortable talking to mom. If it is normal teenage stuff, it's still better to have an adult who can support her and let her safely explore her feelings, and if it is something more, it's important that she doesn't feel like she has to hide her feelings and that appropriate support is available.
  3. Linguistically, saying that you are "depressed" does not necessarily imply that you are saying you have Major Depressive Disorder. If you actually look at the language in the DSM, the first criteria is, "depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day for a 2 week period." So one can have a depressed mood (be depressed) and not have Major Depression if this mood state doesn't last 2 weeks, isn't every day, or has other mitigating factors like grief, but with the way the language is, describing ones mood as "depressed" in this case is not actually wrong. Which is super annoying for distinguishing between normal emotions and clinical conditions, but the English language sucks like that sometimes. As for "Anne" identifying with labels like pansexual/agender, I don't really see a problem with this, and 12 seems about the age I remember first really considering my sexuality. Honestly, I don't see how teens experimenting with identities within the LGBTQ umbrella minimizes the concerns of this community. In fact, I would say that major signs, as well as results of true acceptance, will be when it becomes perfectly okay for people to consider openly that they might be LGBTQ even if they ultimately do not end up identifying that way. Being LGBTQ should not be something that is seen as so shameful that one must rule out all other options before embracing one or more of those identities. As to "how to immediately recognize those traits [pansexuality/agender] in a person" - you recognize them by someone telling you that is how they identify. They are labels describing internal experiences, so you won't externally recognize them.
  4. That would really be a question for your pdoc. If you feel like your pdoc is ignoring symptoms like your irritability and mental agitation, I would make sure he understands how distressing these symptoms are so that you can find a treatment that lessens them. I see that you are currently on Lamictal, which is usually the go-to for BP2 as well as often used for depression when standard antidepressants haven't worked. 100 mg is usually considered the lowest therapeutic dose, so you might need a higher dose.
  5. When hypomanic, I sleep less, exercise more, have racing thoughts, make new goals and grand plans, take up new hobbies, and generally feel fantastic. When I'm mixed (which has also been dysphoric mania), I am angry and irritable, I lack impulse control, I feel internally restless and agitated but may or may not have the physical energy to exercise more, I feel the need to tell everyone and anyone that they are wrong about everything and anything, I have a hard time winding down and falling asleep but do not feel especially energized in the morning. While I do have increased anxiety during mixed states, but I also have an anxiety disorder. Without other symptoms, especially the irritability and impulse control, increased anxiety alone would only be an indication that my general anxiety is not currently well controlled since that can fluctuate without necessarily being tied to a mood episode.
  6. In my case, the depression and suicidal thoughts start first. The more depressed I get, the less capable I become of engaging in recreational and social activities. Eventually, it became bad enough that I wasn't able to function work-wise, but the suicidal thoughts definitely started while I was still working. So for me, it's not like boredom/idleness trigger the depression, its that the depression and suicidal thoughts push out everything else.
  7. I just moved, so I'm facing having to start over with a new therapist. It sucks. I keep putting off actually calling around to find someone new because I'm super not excited about having to start again and get to know and build up trust with someone new. I've had to do this a couple times before when I graduated from college and had to find someone outside the school counseling center, when I moved before, and when I ditched my crappy therapist after realizing I wasn't getting anywhere with him. One thing to remember is that you don't have to fully trust the new therapist right away. It's okay to take some time to ease into things and develop some comfort with the new person. Just because she has notes on you doesn't mean you have to dive in right where you left off. If she brings up something that she's read in the notes that you're not ready to talk to her about it's okay to tell her you'd rather not talk about that right now or that you need more time to get to know her first. But mostly, the whole process sucks. The good thing is at least you have someone you do trust (your old therapist) who has vouched for the new therapist so you have some assurance that the new person will be okay. And since she has her notes, you won't have to go through every single detail of the, "here's my life story, what my issues are, what has worked for me, what hasn't, etc." although most likely you will end up reiterating a fair bit of that. At least I think I would. I've never had a new therapist have notes or information from the old.
  8. I work full time, so with my commute and a lunch break that's 9 or 10 hours. Afterward, I'll work out or run 3-4 days per week. I cook dinner about every other day (I'll eat leftovers the other days). I'll watch some netflix, read, browse random internet stuff for a bit. When it's light late enough in the evening, I may go out and take some photos, otherwise, I sometimes will edit some photos from the weekend. Weekends I'll catch up on household chores, I often go hiking if the weather is nice, I sometimes socialize with friends, I'll watch some netflix, do some reading, and cook some slightly more involved meals. I spent about 2 months not working last year when I was really not doing well mentally. Honestly, I have no idea how I spent all my time every day. I know I slept a lot, watched tons of netflix, mostly letting it autoplay through episodes without really being engaged, I spent time reading through posts here and elsewhere online but didn't really post myself. I also spent a fair bit of time doing some not-so-healthy things (research/planning suicide methods and details). But really, when I started to feel better and then started working again, I remember wondering to myself what I had actually done all day, every day during that time that I was off work.
  9. Thanks, guys. He did tell me that I could call if I need some support until I get set up with a new therapist. Strangely, the pain of missing him seems less now that I'm in my new city. I think in some ways it actually makes it easier to do as Geek said and internalize what he would say instead of just thinking about all the things I wanted to say to him. I still am not excited about finding someone new, and I still miss him, but its less of a painful, desperate, feeling.
  10. Sorry things aren't going well with the move. Finding a place when you're not local always sucks. When I've moved out of state places have been willing to take a job offer letter instead of proof of income. Is that an option for you and your gf? Hope something works out.
  11. Not quite an answer, but I've also struggled with the frustration, anger, and anxiety caused by the news in the US. I also value being informed so as to be able to protect myself and fight against legislation that would be harmful to me and members of my community. Besides, it's so pervasive in today's society, so avoiding the news isn't really possible for me. What my therapist suggested a while ago - sometime after the election and inauguration, was to set boundaries on my news consumption and to take short news holidays. At various points what I've done in limit myself to only listening to NPR while driving home from work, or only watch one segment of news - for me, this meant alternating between Rachel Maddow and Laurence O'Donnell, or saying that I wouldn't check the news at all on Sundays. Basically setting boundaries and saying, "this is how much news I'll consume today" so as to avoid becoming overwhelmed by it. I would occasionally break these rules if there was something I really wanted to follow up on, but it still helped.
  12. How's your move going @Alien Navel Cord? I've been alternating between excited and super anxious with mine, but no major mood issues yet. I move into my new place this weekend, and time will tell how things go once I'm there. When do you actually move?
  13. Disclaimer: I do not have ADD and have never taken Adderall. However, I am noticeably more panicky in the morning if I have not had coffee yet. Maybe it's somewhat similar? I've had several pdocs in the past who have encouraged me to cut out the caffeine to help with the anxiety, but it never goes well, and my current pdoc doesn't care.
  14. What's your lamotrigine dose? It's possible that a higher dose could help without the mania risks that come with antidepressants. Generally, 100-200mg is considered the therapeutic dose, but myself, many other members of this board, and many psychiatrists will attest that for some, higher doses can be beneficial. When I went to my pdoc at the appointment where she raised it to 300mg, I thought that maybe we would carefully increase my sertraline, since I really needed the antidepressant boost. Instead, she increased the lamotrigine because she was wary of increasing my antidepressant, and the higher lamotrigine dose seems to work well.
  15. For the most part, I've worked full-time since finishing school. I used to work in an environmental science field, first as a field technician and then worked my way up to being a field supervisor/researcher. I had brief layoffs throughout this time adding up to maybe a month over any given year. I loved the work but knew that the odd hours, considerable time in remote areas, and frequent travel really wasn't helping me. For several years I managed to power through at work and melt down on my own time. BUt last year, I had a really bad depressive episode combined with a toxic work situation that led me to leave my job, after which I was unemployed for a couple months. I now work in education, in a position where the work itself is arguably more stressful, but being able to come home to my own bed each night, being able to schedule with my therapist on a regular basis, and being able to have some consistent social life because I'm not out of contact for random two-week stretches ever month or two is definitely beneficial.