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About strawberryfool

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  1. Thank you for the information, Catnapper! That is all useful to know. I think I understand what you're saying about meds; it's a complicated question for me, but my friend Jean used to say pretty much the same things you do about how much her meds did for her. On the other hand, my siblings' experience isn't especially encouraging, and neither is my own experience, long ago and brief though it was. For a fact I'm scraping by and certainly underperforming in ways that hurt me. Still, I'm afraid that I'd stop even scraping by if I tried a med and reacted badly to (even if it just made me sick to my stomach; I can't tell you how many days I've been laid low by antibiotics or birth control pills), or if I tried one that didn't help after I put some effort and money into finding it. It wouldn't surprise me if someday I do wind up trying that route, but I'm not quite there yet. Thank you so much!
  2. Catnapper, thank you. I am in the US, but I’m not sure I could afford even my copay more often than every two or three months. The copay is $120 for specialists, which I’m guessing includes pdocs. I assume that they mainly prescribe meds and don’t do talk therapy? Psychwardjesus, thank you for sharing your thoughts. That’s a good point about how it might have looked like I was testing the friendship. I hadn’t thought of that, but I can see how it might have looked that way to him. I wish he’d told me, if that’s what it was. Maybe he thought he couldn't tell me because I was depressed, although I'm pretty sure I've said in other situations that I'd always rather know if someone's upset with me. FWIW, my friend already knew that I was depressed and suicidal, so that wasn’t the first he’d heard of it. He likes to offer advice, and I’ve tried several times to tell him that I’m not asking for advice and would rather have more frequent contact (not necessarily to talk about the depression, just someone to talk with). He’s hard to reach, and we hadn’t actually talked in a while, just had bits of email. In that context, I think it was pretty clear that I was saying I’d appreciate more real-time contact, which he basically controls because he’s so busy. Thanks again to everyone for all your feedback.
  3. Thank you so much for your concern! It's been a very rough summer. Maybe things are easing off a bit now though. I'm not being treated, but my primary care physician gave me some xanax (0.25 mg) in May for use as a last resort when the anxiety gets really bad. I don't take it all that often, out of concerns about addiction, and also it just doesn't work well if I take more than one maybe every week or so. My doctor also offered me a Lexapro prescription, but I'm leery of SSRIs because I suspect I may be bipolar, and I've heard that SSRIs are contraindicated in that case. (Two of my siblings have been diagnosed as BP II.) Money is tight, but I'm not eligible for Medicaid. My health insurance plan has a huge deductible. I've looked at some of the sliding-fee-scale counseling options in my city but haven't bit the bullet and contacted anyone yet. On the plus side, I'm walking more, which I think helps. (Was walking about six miles a day for a good while, but that fell by the wayside this summer. I'm slowly getting back in stride.) I'm keeping in touch with various friends and family members. I'm working with a couple of books that I think might help me to, as a friend put it, self-therapize. I realize I may be overestimating the extent to which I'm boxed in financially and underestimating how much counseling or meds might help me. Maybe that's part of what frustrated my friend. I get the impression that maybe he sees everything I said above as just excuses for not helping myself. The thing is, I've been just barely able to keep functioning even through the worst of this, and I'm afraid of doing something that would waste money or make me feel worse, threaten my ability to work, etc. Anyway, I'm sorry, that's probably way more than you wanted to know. Maybe this week I'll try contacting some of the sliding-scale places and see how far down their scales slide. Thank you again for your kind words. I hope you have a good week.
  4. Complicated toad, catnapper, and sugarsugar, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences. You gave me a lot to think about. I wish I could talk about this with my friend, at least a little bit, as it sounds like you did with yours, Complicated toad. I think I’d be OK with avoiding the topic or agreeing to disagree, as long as I knew that he felt sympathetic and was willing to keep in touch. (I agree, sugarsugar, about friends being hard to come by, and I really don't want to lose a friendship.) But he has seemed impatient or offended when I tried to talk about it, and that bothers me more than what he said. One of the worst things about depression for me is a feeling of being pushed back inside myself because I feel like I don’t fit anywhere and I’m worried about upsetting or irritating other people. I wonder if my friend and I misunderstood each other, but I feel shut down because we can’t talk about it. Which also feeds into my feelings of shame and not wanting to be seen. I feel like I must have been a terrible nuisance and burden to him. I wish he would just tell me that (if that's the case) and we could work something out. He’s a problem-solver by nature, and I’ve told him that I’m not asking him to save me or fix me but just to please keep in touch (that non-judgmental support you mentioned, Catnapper). In fact he’s been in touch less often since I asked that. I’m really confused, but part of it seems to be that if I’m not doing all that he thinks I can do to help myself, and specifically I’m not doing the things he recommended, he’s done talking to me about it. He's always helping people with things, and I'm starting to think he's most interested in providing practical/physical support rather than emotional support. And maybe he's done talking to me, period. I haven’t heard from him in about two weeks. We don't always talk all that often anyway, and he doesn't always see or respond to email or Facebook messages, but the silence is starting to feel more like he's avoiding me than that he's busy. I think I’ve been stuck obsessing over what I did wrong and what I should do, but maybe there's just not much I can do about this and I should try to stop my mind spinning over and over about it. Worrying about it isn't helping me. I really appreciate all your feedback, thank you! And I didn’t know that about pdocs, Complicated toad; thank you! That might be useful. Also I really like that Kurt Vonnegut quote in your .sig, Catnapper!
  5. FWIW, I tried melantonin several times in the past and thought it gave me worse nightmares, so I stopped trying. However, I can take tryptophan, which I think is a precursor to melantonin, and it doesn't have that effect. Tryptophan doesn't necessarily help all that much with sleep, but I think it may relax me, and it doesn't have any bad side effects.
  6. Thank you so much for responding. That's a really good point that a lot of people don't understand mental illness. Maybe it's more about him not knowing what it's like than it is about me (I take things too personally sometimes). Thanks again; take care.
  7. Hi, all, I've had problems with depression for about 40 years (I'm almost 60), and I've been having a very rough time this summer. I'm fairly isolated anyway, more so with the virus. A friend recently did/said a couple of things that really bothered me, but I wonder if I'm over-reacting. I don't tell many people how bad things are, and this friend is one of the very few that I thought I could talk to about the depression, and he seemed helpful and willing to listen. I can't think of a way to give any more context without sounding like I'm justifying myself or complaining about him. Late in July I was in very bad shape and emailed him to say that I was afraid I was going to kill myself and to ask him to please keep in touch. (I'd been googling methods early one morning after being up all night, although I didn't tell him that.) He wrote back the next day and completely ignored that part of my email. He stonewalled me when I said I was upset that he hadn't responded to it. To me it felt like he hurt me and then wouldn't talk about it, and it was never resolved. Then last month, he told me that there must be something comfortable for me about being depressed, or I'd have gotten better by now. His reasons were that I wouldn't see a counsellor (I can't afford one and have had mediocre experiences in the past), I don't remember what else but basically because I'm not doing things the way he would (he has never been clinically depressed), he thought I must not be trying hard enough. Again, I found this painful, and he was unwilling to talk much about it. He's been out of touch a lot lately, although it's hard telling what that means because he's kind of erratic in his contact anyway. Part of me thinks I shouldn't respond if he does get in touch, because those things really, really hurt at a time when I was already vulnerable, and he won't try to resolve them with me. But he seems to think I've been very unreasonable, and he's always seemed generous and giving. His avoidance and silence seem punitive to me, but maybe I'm being overly sensitive. If you've read this far, thank you. Do you have any thoughts? Would you ever be OK with saying or doing those things to someone who was depressed, or being on the receiving end of them? M
  8. Thanks for the information, San; one of the things that worried me about the gabapentin was the need to taper down. (Although, @melissaw72, I have to heed your experience too, because I often have worse reactions to things than doctors expect.) I talked to my doctor some more, and she says if I can handle the discomfort now, there's no need to start on gabapentin (i.e., it's not something that has to be started early in order to work). I'm in some pain, but because of existing muscle pains in the area, it's really hard for me to figure out how much to attribute to the shingles, and the pain itself does not seem to be making me more depressed so far. Plus it's early times, so maybe the pain really will go away after another few weeks. So for now I'm hanging tight and taking it day by day. Thanks again to everyone for the information!
  9. Hi, all. I've just been diagnosed with shingles. Not really painful so far (one week into the rash), although it's hard telling because i have chronic muscle/soft tissue pain, and I hurt a lot anyway. I have more or less lifelong problems with depression and anxiety (I'm 55), and I struggle fairly often against suicidal thoughts, but I'm not taking any meds for depression or anxiety. I thought the last thing on earth I needed was post-herpetic neuralgia, a painful condition that can follow shingles and last for months or years with no cure. My doctor suggested I start gabapentin now for pain, but when I read some of the side effects, I thought that maybe the last thing I need is to risk having my depression or anxiety worsened or to have anything pushing me more toward suicidal ideation. I'm also very leery of anything that might be hard to get off of. My apologies if I'm breaking protocol or otherwise being annoying. Any insights appreciated.
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