If you yourself deal with dysthymic disorder, or know someone who has dysthymia, you know how frustrating it can be at times.

My own dealings with it are somewhat maddening. I am certainly more of an introvert so I tend to isolate myself. I have always been this way. I am okay with alone time and solitude. But at the same time I find myself wanting some type of interaction with others. Bit of a contradiction isn’t it?

I was given the opportunity on Friday to go out and sit with some friends at a local pub but I turned it down. Why? I was just in one of those moods where I wanted to wallow. Not cool I know.

Those of you who have dysthymia know what I mean I am sure.

Yesterday I barely moved. It was a rainy and cool day so I read a bit and watched a bit of football. But the thing is there is nothing that is really exciting me these days. Nothing.

Here is the other thing. This is a bit hard to admit on a public blog. I do not feel like a man at all. What I mean by that is I really have no interest in sex whatsoever. There I said it. Now maybe it is the medication I take for the dysthymia, I do not know. I am 43 and would like to think that I will have a healthy interest in sex again at some point.

The ONLY interaction I have with other people these days is at work. Other than that I am by myself. I work 12 hour shifts and it is shift work so I am working or sleeping. Yes I have stretches of days where I am off but I do nothing.

Now I know what some of you are thinking. You will suggest that I need to get out and meet people or join a group or something. I live in a small town of about 8000 people. It seems to be mostly seniors. Even on the weekends the town shuts down by 9 or 10 PM. Plus with the shift work I am not sure it will work. Excuses? Maybe. And again the dysthymia makes me think that I am constantly being judged by others.

Anyway I needed to get some of this out. On a more positive note, after 7 years I finally got my divorce petition papers. Thank goodness! So at least that chapter of my life can finally be closed.

I would love to hear from those of you who have some dythymic disorder stories to share.

Thanks for reading.

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18 thoughts on “The View From Here

  1. I must have this… and it’s been this way for my whole life. As a kid I was bullied for a period of eight years, the whole of my elementary school career, and it was from this time that I believe that I closed in on myself just to detract attention from myself. I closed myself up in the basement, where I slept, and refused to go outside for whole seasons, spending the time mostly reading and drawing or painting. Like you, I love my alone time. Though I revel in it, I am a highly social creature and I really don’t know where this comes from, but if you believe in the zodiac, maybe it’s because I’m the quintessential gemini, born right in the middle of the sign. Anyway, When I was single and tried to socialize, I found myself instinctually needing to get away from the crowd. It was like a panic attack that grew out from the inside. I found though, that if I limited that away time from a crowd, and made myself go back, I could handle it. It was odd, but the second I found myself without anyone’s company at a party, I felt the most like everyone’s attention was on me and I had to get away… that was really weird. Now, I am married and don’t have the pressure of the single life. Now, in my 50’s, I love to go out and socialize, but I go through stretches that I simply refuse to go out, even though I love the people and had planned on going out the whole day. Once the time comes, however, to actually leave, I can’t move towards the door. I’m happy just being at home. The catch is that I really do miss being around my friends sometimes. Once I get myself outside for an errand, I try to stay out just to enjoy the day. My husband is pretty much a non-social creature and so must of the time this works out. He tries to push me out, I’m assuming to get his own alone time, but I stay in and we just settle into our own separate little worlds until bedtime. I’ve always thought I was not right in the head and knew deep down that I tended towards depression. People don’t understand that you just can’t pick yourself up and “socialize”, like that is going to be a panacea. Unless someone goes through it, I’m sure people will never truly understand the physical and emotional pain it takes to just will your body out the door. Just want you to know that I’m fine and pretty content with the way things are for me right now. I never thought I could get to this point, but I credit the love of my husband and son who is eight years old. I focus on growing him.

    1. Great comment. Yes it sounds like maybe some sort of social anxiety disorder perhaps which may be ties to dysthymia. I love what you say about others not understanding. going out and being round people exasperates the problem!
      Glad you are doing well. Keep calm and carry on. Thanks so much for the wonderful account of what you have gone through. Others will benefit from it greatly.

      1. Thank you. I’ve written about it somewhat on my own blog so I don’t have a problem making it public. When I was a teen, I did think a lot about ending it all, but my Catholic upbringing told me that if I did that, I’d go to hell… which is ironic because now I’m not even sure that hell exists or what form it takes, if any. When I was younger, I could just sit for hours just staring into space, with a blank in my mind. If left alone, there was a sort of peacefulness there, for that time, and I was loath to come out of it and reenter the world. I could easily release myself to that now, but I just don’t have the luxury of that kind of time any more, which, I suppose is a good thing. I have my faith now, too, stronger than when I was a teen. That has helped. I often look at my faith as being a survival mechanism. Good luck to you. I love reading your blog and I hope to one day live more of a minimalistic life, myself.

  2. My husband battles with schizophrenia. He has long cycles of depression. What you are describing is what he goes through. My heart goes out to you, because I witness and live with someone who has dealt with this for a very long time. One thing I wanted to let you know though. There is a blood test that is given to asesss MTHFR DNA. There are 4 markers that are tested. One of them is for chronic depression. If that gene is missing, then the next step is another blood test to make sure your PSA levels are normal. If they are, then methylfolate (yes, one of the vitamins) is taken in conjunction with medications that you need for mood disorders. This mutated gene means your body is having problems with folate levels. My husband just started last week with this treatment supplementing the other medications he takes. Your doctor would order such a test. If you doctor doesn’t know about it, and they are not willing to look into it, I would go to someone who does. I know just starting to consider this process of looking into this will be very hard when you are in the depths of the cycle you are in. I do wish you the best and hope that you are able to get some relief with what you battle with. It can be hard to even put one foot in front of the other. Anyway who tells you to “pull your boot straps up” and get on with it or that you need to get out and be with others doesn’t understand.

  3. This post describes my partner. I never heard of this disorder until today. I went directly to the Mayo Clinic site and read all about it. He needs medical help. I gave up on our relationship, but now I understand what’s going on with him, even if he doesn’t. Thanks for sharing your situation.

    1. If it is indeed dysthymic disorder there are cognitive tests that can be done to determine this for sure. It is a low level depression that is seemingly always present. Your mood never goes above a 5 or 6 on a scale of 10.
      Glad you read about it more. Good luck to you are your partner.

  4. I was diagnosed with dysthymia many years ago but never read up on it, past the part where I would always be depressed. Just recently I felt that it was something I needed to investigate because, at 39, I am trying to finally get my life in order. I have a good-paying job (12 hour night shift work also) that lets me support my son. (Side note: I don’t think 12 hour shifts are good for dysthymics as we cannot stand to be around people, much less ourselves [maybe only I feel that I’m always in my head?] for that long.) I can’t stand most people yet everyone considers me social. I think this has more to do with family training than my need for people. Only now am I starting to weed out people I care about from those that suck the life out of me. It’s’s very hard as some of these people are family members. Being an adult now, I can differentiate most of the time between what is really going on vs. my own special way of seeing things. Being able to share on your blog is helpful in that I feel as if at least someone else understands. I’m sorry that you don’t feel manly in the sex department. It happens to me at times too (not womanly) and I love sex. I think being the way we are, you actually have to feel something for the person you are having sex with because there are very few things we do that get us out of ourselves. I’m so glad you had the courage to talk about this because it helps me too.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your dysthymic disorder stories. I actually do not mind being around my work mates too much. It is really the only interaction with others that I have.
      What is interesting is that I too do not care much for people. I feel that most people are full of crap. Not fair I know. I am also wondering if there are any other dysthymics out there who are wanderers. I want to just wander the earth and explore. Is this part of the dysthymic disorder or something else?
      If anyone has any thoughts on this I would love to hear more.

      Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. Self-awareness is a bitch. I think most people out there are in a 5-6/10 mood most of the time, only they don’t realize this.

    I think everything depends on what you wish for right now. A neuropsychologist I know told me a while back that psycho-therapy is a dying profession as more and more maladies are attributed to chemical/genetic/biological factors and are being treated accordingly. You’re obviously not seeking isolation or you wouldn’t write. Hell, you write on your blog much more than I do on mine! You don’t want to be with people in the let’s-go-to-the-pub sense, but your presence here and your interactions with your audience tell that you don’t want to be all by yourself; otherwise, you’d write all this in a notebook and put it on a drawer.

    The problem with always saying no to invitations is that the few people you will need when the time comes that you feel like not being by yourself, eventually will stop seeking your company. I’m not going to say to get dressed and start going out, but do accept at least half of these invitations and go, even if it is for half-hour, without thinking.

    Try to do manual work of any kind. Pick a project and get with it, even if it is something as crazy as carving a wooden chain. Manual labor has helped me whenever I’ve felt overwhelmed.

    5 or 6 you say? Fine, at least you know. Aim for a 6. See what it would take to get you there. One way is to learn from children’s affinity with pleasure – a child will not willingly eat anything unless s/he finds it delightful, or do something unless he really enjoys it. As adults we loose that ability. Most kids would walk out of a movie if they don’t love it the first 20 minutes; how many adults would? Think of one or two things that you’d love to do that you could possibly do between work shifts or on a weekend, and then stop thinking and get started. Granted, it will not take care of the dysthymia, but it will certainly get your mind off it. Please believe that I’m not trying to trivialize your problem, but the best analogy I can think of is that just as you write a lot about the minimalist approach you take towards your material life, you could probably look for a way to minimalize your thought processes.

    Alex

    1. Fantastic insight and thoughts here. I appreciate it as I am sure will others. You are so right in saying that eventually others may stop even inviting me to things. I certainly think of this as well.
      and yes I know in my heart that I need something that will occupy my brain in a constructive way. Right now I cannot find it. I have lost my passion for anything that once may have been there.
      Keep on keeping on I guess. One foot in front of the other.
      Thanks so much for taking the time to write such a wonderful comment. greatly appreciated.

    1. Gosh I have so many thought sin my head.
      Childhood
      friends
      simple living
      life
      being a single guy in his 40’s trying to raise a teenage son on his own
      dysthymia
      minimalist living-but this has been done to death

      1. Ok, good start. So get a notebook or journal and write down each one. I think you could write a memoir that ties all of these things together. Take each subject and write a paragraph about each. Do one subject a day on your days off. Eight days.

        I need to study for an exam for an advanced license. I will get my materials together in the next few days ( I’m working 3 nights in a row) and then I will begin studying Thursday (Halloween).

        Deal?

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