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kaelscion
kaelscion

Posted on • Updated on

The Depression and Anxiety Paradox

I posted this is as a comment to another discussion before realizing the thread was over a year old. But, seeing as I feel it could help folks, it's a post now. I really hope it can help some of you or at least open up discussion on the topic:

Anxiety and depression are old time friends to me. But the kind of friends that let themselves into your house at 3 in the morning, pissed drunk, to raid your fridge, then get mad when you almost shoot one of them because you think they're a thief.

I am High Functioning Autistic, suffer from Bipolar disorder, and have been in some accidents in life that have me dealing with chronic pain. Also, my childhood life was spent paying for my "defects" with um...not so nice treatment by one of my parents. It wasn't until I got married 8 years ago that I found out self punishment was not an appropriate way to express guilt!

Suffice to say, these issues make life extremely difficult. HOWEVER, this comment will not be a pity party for me. I will say though, that a huge key is understanding your illness. Which it is. Those who feel that chronic depression is just "being sad a lot" and you should just "think positively", is unfamiliar with the sensation of depression. Another point is to realize that, while anxiety is a feeling we all know, clinical Anxiety (notice the capital A) is an illness that needs treatment. An illness that is crippling, miserable, and will take you out at the knees some days even if you do absolutely everything right.

Nobody says that people with type 1 diabetes just need "a kick in the ass" to get going. Why? Because they have to jab themselves with needles all the time to not...you know...die. what causes diabetes? The pancreas does not produce enough insulin on its own. What causes Depression and Anxiety? The brain does not produce enough feel good chemicals, or produces too much adrenaline. So, both have medical causes and while they are technically in your head, they are actually in your brain. Big difference.

Being aware that you are not broken or lazy or stupid or whatever other demeaning thing people say you are is key.

I would say first though, before anything else can help you, you need to understand that there is nothing wrong with you. This world is built for people who are wired differently than you. Those folks are in the majority so they get consideration. But, just like if there was a race of people on this Planet that could only see in the UV light spectrum, we are a race unto ourselves that perceives the world in a fundamentally different way than most. The fact that they do not, and in many way can not, relate, is not your fault. Acknowledge that you are wired differently, then start learning how to approach a world designed for people that are not wired at all the same way you are.

Discussion (17)

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hydroweaver profile image
Karan

This is absolutely true, I think managing it overtime can help you, although I'm not trying to get into the "think less" cohort, but taking one day at a time is crucial, STOIC reading has helped me a bit actually!

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kaelscion profile image
kaelscion Author • Edited

Absolutely. Sometimes we have to break it down to one moment at a time, or one task. "All I need to do is get out of bed." Then from there, "all I have to do is make some coffee", etc. My biggest weakness with this is motivating with guilt or self-ridicule. My wife has been great for this by reminding me to motivate myself with kindness instead. Breaking things down to extremely small pieces helps for sure!

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kaelscion profile image
kaelscion Author • Edited

I agree with the fact that many are victims of a system designed for one thing: profit. There was a quote from Ocean's 11 where one of the characters says "I don't believe in weakness, it costs too much." That exact mentality permeates every aspect of the world.

Some places have gotten it closer to correct than most. Japan and Switzerland are two places that I found extremely respectful of the fact that you were a living, breathing being and deserved a share of respect simply for that.

Where I disagree slightly, is that the majority of people have an alternative wiring. While I absolutely agree that there are more of us than people think, it is my personal opinion that most are not. The difference seems to be that where "neurotypicals" can experience everyday hardship and stress, yet still function at a reasonable capacity, "alternates" (or Orchids as I call them when I talk to people in my area about this topic), those everyday stresses are received like a gut punch rather than a glancing blow. What is irritating or aggravating to neurotypicals is a knockout punch to Orchids.

The main issue is that, when the civilization we occupy was young, it advanced, innovated, and changed exceptionally quickly. By pure chance, the stresses caused by the Industrial Revolution favored the Thomas Edison's rather than the Nikola Tesla's and therefore, those that could not adapt were left behind.

Ultimately, this snowballed into a culture that was widely dismissive and belittling of those who had not adapted to this world they had created. It's getting better now, and is nobody's fault really. Two world wars and global communication gave the world bigger more dire problems. But the fact remains that Orchids were largely delegated to labs and basements due to their sensitivity and difficulty adapting. In those days, we made ourselves feel broken. This attitude, which originated in us, then permeated to others. I we feel were broken, how can anybody else feel otherwise? This post is simply meant to reassure those who maintain that feeling of defectiveness and push forward to use the unique strengths that your wiring allows you.

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ogfris profile image
Fris

I also made a post about something similar which is how i deal with it but from what I've seen, not everyone is seeing this as I do, so let me just give my opinion on it. First, I have Schizoaffective Disorder which includes bipolar mood, but nothing bothers me about it, to be honnest, the only thing that sometimes bother me is when I'm working or reading books and get hallucinations or maybe the speech disorder but, I have NEVER been bother by Depression nor Anxiety probably because I don't think about it, or maybe because I got that feeling that "I'm unique and can make big changes to the world" from the delusions which to be honnest, I really like. But after all I'm just guessing because I can't be sure from anything when it comes to the brain.

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kaelscion profile image
kaelscion Author • Edited

I get that. I've struggled with hallucinations too, mostly auditory though. Used to have the visual ones when I was very young, but mostly nowadays it just sounds like people talking in another room even when I'm in the car or totally by myself etc. You get used to them for the most part. Also, while I am verbal most of the time, I do have a non verbal state that happens during periods of intense anxiety or excitement. For instance, if I finish an bear of a project that I think is super cool, it passes all my tests and functions as intended, I lose my ability to speak. My brain will be going too fast to form words. I can sign to my wife though to tell her what I need.

This article has a two-fold meaning. One is personal, to pretty much let this community know 'Yeah, I'm 25-30 degrees off center from what you would consider normal. Just letting you know now that I'm not ashamed and if that bothers you, my content may not be your cup of tea so move along.'

The second is to try and demonstrate to others in this community who suffer that they do not need to try and blend in and "be normal". If your neurochemistry and physiology are wildly different than most, there or plenty of us who are absolutely cool with that. Whether you were born with that alternative wiring, gained it via incidents of abuse, or acquired it after some messed up stuff you saw in uniform, we don't care and your welcome. People have been hating others for stuppider reasons since the beginning of civilization (religion, tribe, skin color, national or regional origin, etc). This kind of hate is infinitely dumb because you can't even see why we're different, you just observe our methods and form a Lynch mob of one form or another (social, career, economical, etc). I am very happy that you are okay with, and even proud of your differences and that you see them as making you special instead of the defective way most feel. This article, I hope, will convince others to feel the same way about themselves. Your comment is just another example of somebody with alternative wiring who is a boss and they know it. Thank you so much for it!

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ogfris profile image
Fris

You're very welcome <3 !

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cecilelebleu profile image
Cécile Lebleu

Please read some writings by Leo Babauta over at zenhabits.net. He writes a lot about compassion for oneself and other people. I’ve been reading his writing longer than I can remember and I think I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for it. Peace :)

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kaelscion profile image
kaelscion Author

Well, I'm always glad to hear about somebody who "wouldn't be here if it wasn't for..." Because that means there are resources out there which have helped those with invisible/mental illness push through those dark times. Such success stories give the community and their support systems hope so thank you SO MUCH for sharing! I will gladly give that site a look 😁😁

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arethamorce profile image
arethamorce

Hello, I was just looking around and went across this thread. I was diagnosed to have severe depression 4 years ago and tried almost everything out there that "could" help. The only medication that worked best for me is medical cannabis. I perfectly understand that it's not legal everywhere. At first, I was doubtful so I started doing my own research and read articles about marijuana. I found out that each marijuana strain has different uses for different diseases. Like this strain blimburnseeds.com/grandaddy-purple... This one is very effective when it comes to stress and anxiety. Just sharing, have a nice day to all.

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kaelscion profile image
kaelscion Author

Thanks for sharing that article and your opinion! Medical cannabis is something that does help a lot of people and I feel that a lot of folks, even if it is legal, are afraid of being thought of as "the stoner who can finally justify weed". I myself, don't use it. But there are a lot of folks close to me who use it for anxiety, chronic pain, and depression, and also who work in the industry (it's legal for recreational and medicinal use where I live). Mental and invisible illness is extremely tough on its sufferers and honestly, use whatever works and helps you get through. We all need some sort of medication in this world. If you can grow it at home, that's a plus! 😁

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triptych profile image
Andrew Wooldridge

Thank you for sharing that. I know as someone who also suffers from both Diabetes and Anxiety/Depress that it's hard to talk about especially in a forum where you are always evaluated against others who are perceived as "normal". My son is high functioning autistic as well and I see the challenges for him every day. Thanks for being open and I hope you find many opportunities to be "at peace" with yourself and that you grow in confidence.

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tommygebru profile image
tommy

Does this play a role in the imposter syndrome as well?

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kaelscion profile image
kaelscion Author

TLDR: Yes, imposter syndrome definitely is a type of anxious delusion that falls wholly into this discussion. Stay strong!

Full Response:
Yes it most certainly does! Imposter syndrome is a form of Anxiety (capital A 😉) that can lead to severe Depression. I've struggled mightily with Imposter Syndrome because I'm self-taught and have received a ton of flak from the "Yah, I've never met a self-taught dev that is any good." crowd. But, when you think about it, imposter syndrome is to our successes, what body dysmorphia is to our health routine. We get so obsessed with the pursuit of perfection that we cannot stop driving for it for fear of being a failure. This drive gets so strong that we don't realize two cardinal truths:

1) Total, 100% perfection at any pursuit is impossible

and

2) We don't even realize when we have gotten closer to that impossible goal than pretty much everyone who came before us

This kind of thinking is a textbook delusion. It is a belief in the achievability and merit of a goal that is lofty beyond health or has little value outside of what we personally assign to it.

Where imposter syndrome is different is that our employers and customers usually love it for the simple reason that it is a powerful negotiating weapon. They know that all they need to do is pretend to be dissatisfied with our work to get us to dump as many hours as they want into the "fixes", for $0 extra pay. "Because it was your mistake after all. I don't see why I should have to pay more for your incompetence".

Stay strong and realize this: the system we live in is driven mostly by greed. While this is a bad thing, it also means that our employers and/or clients do not want to spend money for nothing. If they have hired you, and are paying you, they have seen enough from you that they are convinced you are a good investment worth peeling their iron fingers from their money for. The world we live in never, ever, EVER does that out of pity because it's too expensive. If you're on the payroll or on a team at a nonprofit or OSS team, you belong there. And, at the very least, the hiring decision-makers believe that.

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tommygebru profile image
tommy

I have been combating this for a many years, im passionate about web development but cant find an entry to this barrier, so I switched to support engineering to at least be close to the field. However for many years now, I have not been hired in either for a full-time position, despite positive phone screens and follow-ups, I just get ghosted and stone-walled.

This only furthers my mentality and eats at my energy and mood. I want to be succesful in either position but I cant seem to get hired locally in SF for entry-level positions

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lvrbrtsn profile image
Levi ᕙ(⇀‸↼‶)ᕗ

Great post! Depression & Anxiety have always been a thing for me as-well. It's rough out here dog lol.

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kaelscion profile image
kaelscion Author

For sure it is!!!