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Old 02-22-2011, 12:24 AM   #21
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So sorry to hear about what you are going through! It seems like it's been a tough period for lots of folks, myself included. I think it's particularly tough for someone smart and action oriented like you to feel like you have no control over the things going on with your loved ones - like illness or old age - you can't do much about it and that is so frustrating.

There is already really great, thoughtful advice already said, just sharing a few nuggets that have helped over the years:

*feel the sad parts - let yourself feel them - cry, get angry, mad etc. when it is happening if you can. At the very least acknowledge those feelings are there, that can be very powerful.

*have a friend, family member, partner you can share your feelings with.

*thich naht hanh taught me - there are 2 rivers in life one of joy one of sorrow - they are both always there - so even as you are going thru some crappy times - remember the joy can be there simultaneously - so try to find it when you can in the small things - a beautiful sunset, a lovely morning, try and notice them throughout the day...start that as a habit and you will build up your ability to pull out of a blue mood. Before I open my eyes in the morning I tell myself a few things I am grateful for (usually my kids, health etc) and it is a great way to start your day.

*like flyfish mentioned - do stuff - after a few days of feeling blue, go outside, do something, exercise and socialize are two key things.

A good book if you feel stuck is "when things fall apart" from pema chodron...she gives a good framework for life - ie things fall apart and come together - so instead of believing things "will get better after x or x event" you know that at some point things go to crap and you will have built up tools for dealing with them when they come to you.

Sending you hugs from afar...
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:26 AM   #22
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I'm pullin' for you Brewer. Not the first time I've told you this btw.
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:34 AM   #23
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When I was near a nervous breakdown some years ago because of a toxic work environment the thing that got me through was running. It just keep me sane. Later I added yoga. But something physical just kept me going. I also cut back on the booze and started hanging out with people that were good for me. No sudden change but it worked slowly over time.
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Old 02-22-2011, 02:41 AM   #24
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Many patients say they love Tai Chi :

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Good luck Brewer.

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Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
What else does one do? How do you make peace with things when life turns into one big sh!t sandwich?
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Old 02-22-2011, 06:57 AM   #25
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Sorry you are going through a rough time, Brewer. On the work front, this may only work for someone who loves Excel as much as I do, but when my old job melted down a few years ago there was one particular day when I could have walked out, but I decided for a bunch of reasons to stay. In order to keep myself going day to day while I wrapped up the things I wanted to take care of, I started an excel sheet where I obsessively tracked how much money I was earning every single day that I stayed on after that day. I had it color coded to show holidays and vacation days as "free money" days, etc. I spaced my PTO out VERY carefully over those final months and took several "mental health days" just to make sure I could unwind and relax from time to time (some of them I even recorded as PTO ) . For me, it was a way of focusing on the fact that from that fatal day when I decided not to walk, until the day I finally did head out the door, I was working for ME and me only. I was there to do what I needed to do, and get what I felt I had earned, and I wasn't going to get caught up in all the random drama that went on around the edges.

Eating good, healthy food and getting enough sleep and exercise were also very important -- I should have paid more attention to those, actually.

Good luck and hope things look brighter soon. YOu have a great ER future to look forward to, so keep your eyes on the prize. And quit if you need to! You are not the kind of person who is going to have trouble earning more money if/when you need it, so take care of yourself and your family during this difficult time.

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Old 02-22-2011, 07:35 AM   #26
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Thanks for all the helpful suggestions and support. I will have to see how much I can implement in my life as it stands.
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Old 02-22-2011, 08:11 AM   #27
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You are not alone, believe me.

Without going into specifics other than sharing a similar Roman Catholic upbringing, I had "hit the wall" in late 2001 in family, job, and personal problems.

For me, the answer did lie with my employer at the time, through their EAP:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Employee_assistance_programs

While only in therapy for a few sessions, it helped me to realize that the forces that surround me at the time (and still do) did not have to totally destroy my life. I learned a lot about myself and what I had gone through during the past five decades, which could only be "interpreted" by someone else who was outside my circle.

Religion and the bottle did not help me. A concerned, professional voice from "outside" did. It's been over 10 years since that crisis period and while I still face most of what almost drove me over the edge, I now understand that most of my personal challenges are outside my control. Some were, and changes were made over time to eliminate their impact upon my life. All and all, I'm better for what I went through, and the help I received.

That's just my story. Good luck to you.
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Old 02-22-2011, 08:28 AM   #28
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Brewer, life doesn't turn into a big **** sandwich. At times the bad parts bunch together, get you down, and make you think they are a turning point in your life.

They are not. Its just that the good and bad are not evenly spread through life. You don't overcome the bad times so much, you need to believe they will pass by, and continue to believe in yourself. Your skills have not changed and your abilities have not diminished - in fact, both are probably getting better as you age and learn. Bad times at work together with distressing times in your personal life are a lousy coincidence. It's important to remember that you are the rudder in your life and others, they still need you, your abilities and support you.

You are never as good as everyone says you are when you are at the top of your game, and you are never as bad as you think you are when you are at the bottom.
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Old 02-22-2011, 08:51 AM   #29
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Boy howdy Brewer I can relate.

Right now my shizz sandwich is late stage Alzheimer's (my momma) and cancer (DH). If one is not on my mind, the other is...even when I wake up in the middle of the night.

There are two pieces of advice I have received that have helped me. I've been told...

"When you know you've done the best you can, that is when you can sleep well at night. Some things can not be fixed....they are out of your hands."

"In an abnormal situation it is normal to feel sad and down." Somehow knowing the way I feel now is normal helps me. It seems to take some pressure off.

One more thing...I've learned it's ok to cry and not feel weak, and it's ok to laugh and not feel guilty.

My best to you Brewer...
I was going to say what bbbamI said. Maybe men don't cry as much as women, but maybe they should a little. You should actually feel what you are feeling, without any anti-depressants, alcohol or drugs of any kind, and then a good cry sometimes just helps relieve the built up feelings that you really can't describe...feelings that you only can feel.
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:29 AM   #30
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I suppose that I am not a fundamentally happy person, given life and choices to date. However, lately there has been a collection of bad outcomes (major illness for DW's and my dads, work turning very toxic in a short time, one dog dying another on a short timeline, etc.) and I would greatly appreciate hearing how others deal with tough times in their lives. I am not a terribly religious personfor all that I went to a Catholic high school and was confirmed, and seeking solace in liquid form is not a long term solution. I am also not real interested in counseling. What else does one do? How do you make peace with things when life turns into one big sh!t sandwich?
I understand completely, I had some major bad things happen to my family in 2006. I did not feel like myself for as couple years. I am not that religious, despite being raised strict Catholic. I have found a local non-denominational church that is full of positive people. It was like a breath of fresh air. I started reading the Bible, seemed to settle me down......
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:30 AM   #31
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I was going to say what bbbamI said. Maybe men don't cry as much as women, but maybe they should a little. You should actually feel what you are feeling, without any anti-depressants, alcohol or drugs of any kind, and then a good cry sometimes just helps relieve the built up feelings that you really can't describe...feelings that you only can feel.
Crying is a human emotion that knows no gender.........
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:44 AM   #32
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Lots of great advice - I find that shifting my viewpoint to that of gratitude for what I do have and realizing I am a small speck in the overall scheme of things helps calm me down - after I've had the emotion drain me for awhile. Exercise is amazing, too. A run or vigorous hike or bike-ride - outside. It helps to shift your mind to something else or helps you clarify what's important.

You are correct in that everyone has their temperamental set point. The fact that you realize yours is a bit lower than that you've seen in others is good information. You know that you might tend to look at things more critically - that is important in some situations and destructive in others. If you can find someone who has a more positive set point and interact with them, you might be able to 'absorb' some of that energy to negate some of yours.

Other people swear by helping others who are less fortunate than them - again, you end up comparing and realizing how fortunate you are. Can help to move the line regarding what to be happy or thankful about.

In any case, as everything, this too shall pass. And hopefully you will have wisdom based on the experience. My heart goes out to you and your family during this stressful time.
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:45 AM   #33
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I feel your pain. I try to remember the good things (I tend to focus on negatives too much) and remember that the tough times will pass.

I just stick to my routine and my stubborness carries me forward, no mattar what I face.

I sure hope the future will be better.
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Old 02-22-2011, 11:02 AM   #34
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Sorry to hear you are going through a rough patch Brewer. I don't feel qualified to give you any advice as we all deal with sh!t sandwiches in our own way.

I wish you all the best.
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Old 02-22-2011, 11:18 AM   #35
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Brewer.... lot of great advice... but for me, meditation and yoga did not get my mind off of negative things...


For me, it is just trying to look at the various items and try and decide if there is anything I can do about it... if there is not (like the health of father and FIL), I just put it in perspective and try and see the brighter side of things....

As for work, I had what I considered a toxic workplace for a couple of years... I just did what I needed to do at work and left... I viewed it as a paycheck and nothing else.. I did start to look for something else and found a good job that led to another that lead to another... so in the end it was a good result...

But, your DNA can be very different... I know my sisters are... I will give an example... a few decades ago there was a major earthquake in Mexico City... my mother an sister were vacationing there... we did not hear from them for about 5 days... my sisters were frantic and worried... I was concerned, but there was nothing I could do (my mom was big on winging it when she traveled).... one of my sisters asked me about why I was not as worried... I said 'they are either dead or alive, if they are dead, there is nothing I can do. If they are alive, they will show up sometime'... they showed up...

My point is that our attitude toward life's ups and downs can be changed if we just view things a bit different...

Good luck in changing yours in whatever way you do.....
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Old 02-22-2011, 11:29 AM   #36
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I want to send you a big hug.

I've struggled with mild depression most of my adult life. I find that eating healthy and getting myself outside really helps. Even going in the back yard and walking around will improve my mood. I find that I start weeding or looking at the birds...walking the dogs too.

Spending a little time doing something that you enjoy helps too. Whether it is reading something interesting, looking through your brewing books and planning your next brews (though it sounds in another post as if you have already done that) or looking at your financial numbers.

Only you can judge the level of depression you might be experiencing....medication can help on a temporary basis if you think you should go to your doctor to discuss.
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:04 PM   #37
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Sorry to hear about your rough patch, I know I'm better for having read many of your posts over the years.

I've never gotten much from religion myself, but spirituality is extremely important for me to live my life, good and bad. Many people think they are one in the same, they aren't at all IMO. Spirituality is too small a part of religion, especially in the western world, in my experience (believe me I tried the religion route).

And from spiritual reading, learning to live in the present makes all the difference too, stay out of the past and future as much as possible. You can't change the past, just learn and move on. And you need to plan for the future, but the more time your head is in the future, the more you miss in the present. Probably too brief to make sense, but understanding this (and ego) has made a huge difference in my life.

And finally, keeping yourself occupied always helps too. Even being at work is better than dwelling on problems from my experience.

All the best...
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:08 PM   #38
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Brewer,
I don't have any great wisdom to impart. I've had rough patches like most folks (am in one now), but I suppose I'm not introspective enough to figure out how I got through them.

Some minor ideas. All will sound trite and hokey:
- Get enough sleep. If you can't, then at least realize that the lack of sleep is likely an important contributing factor to feeling blue. Depressed people sometimes sleep a lot, but often I got wound up in trying to "solve" the problems at hand, get too little sleep, and ended up in a negative feedback loop.
- Look forward: It's a good way to concentrate on the good things to come and how you can get there. Maybe this is weak (avoiding addressing the current situation and the causes of the depression), but, to me, ignoring the problem to look ahead isn't maladaptive, it is a way of coping and not devoting mental energy to things I can't fix and concentrating on making things better. This won't work for everyone.

- Put yourself ahead 5 years and look back. What will have been really important in retrospect? It's a way of gaining perspective that sometimes is hard to get when the problems are crushing.

Best of luck. Keep communicating.

samclem
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:25 PM   #39
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Religion is very important to me. As a Reverend in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster...

Things that have worked for me in getting past rough patches:

Distraction: beers with your posse, movie night with the little woman, a concert, whatever...

Getting laid...

Exercise!

All trite, I know. But sometimes, as others have said, you just have to knuckle down, and get through it...

And...

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Old 02-22-2011, 12:32 PM   #40
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It sounds like a lot of us have had similar patches -- it was about 16 years ago for me. I second the recommendations for exercise and activities with people. I think windsurfing helped pull me through some of the worst times - it was something I could look forward to. I also like Rich's suggestion of meditation. There is a good book from about 30 years ago called the Relaxation Response that culled out the essential process without the religious and philosophical trappings. Most of the book describes the medical underpinnings for why and how meditation works and debunks things like the need for a personal (and expensive) mantra but the technique itself is simplicity. Here is a website with a simple step by step guide.
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