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Trapped. Saturday July 16, 2016

Last night I had a dream. I was in therapy. It wasn't a great dream because I had to explain to the therapist what my anxiety and depression felt like. How I described it was quite deep and I'd like to share it with you.

To me, it's like being trapped within myself. It's like I have some sort of armour or suit on and my actual self is trapped inside, and I can't escape.

The actual me is someone who is happy and wants to try new things, wants to meet new people, and I'm confident in myself in many ways.

But the armour is so suffocating and there's no way to get it off. It weighs me down, it's heavy and wearing this armour every single day is exhausting.

In my dream, my therapist then asked me "Can you ask someone to help you take it off?"

It was quite an eyeopening dream for me.

Can you describe how you feel?

Jade
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.


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Comments

the room above the garage Sat, Jul 16th 2016 @ 12:41am

Great question Jade! I'm looking forward to hearing everyone's descriptions...I'm really intrigued to see if we feel similar feelings... My own is very similar to you. At best, I feel I wear a big, thick coat, a number of sizes too big and going about daily life cooking, driving, doing yoga or weight training, showering, helping my kids, rushing, resting...is all horribly inhibited. At worst, it's a cloak made of iron and makes even breathing hard. Life must be carefully planned to allow for it and the time everything takes. But I know inside the coat, under the cloak...I am there. Thank you for a super blog, love ratg X.

Hopeful One Sat, Jul 16th 2016 @ 7:17am

Hi Jade - a perplexing blog. You say " The actual me is someone who is happy and wants to try new things, wants to meet new people and I am confident in myself in many ways" So one could ask what is stopping this generally confident person to break through that suffocating armour? One answer is in the dream itself - find a suitable therapist if one can . The other , and in my opinion better way , is to be one's own therapist. One would start with a list of new things one wants to try ,. Make the list to maintain focus. Start with the simplest and easily accomplished and for each achievement congratulate oneself and write it down to placate that Inner Critic who will be s reaming with disbelief. Do the same with meeting people. One will have created a chink in that armour the start of the "Great Escape" .

My feeling was of utter and profound loneliness and living in a glass bell jar looking out but unable to touch anyone or Them to touch me. I wrote down the things that were depressing me acceptedand accepted that was the case .That was the first sign of a tiny crack in my bell jar fo or me to plan my "Great Escape"". The Joke Squadron likes melodrama so the escape was accompanied by the tune of "The Bridge on the River Kwai"

And don't forget to laugh while you are going about it!

A teacher asked one of the boys in her class, "Can people predict the future with cards?" His response is, "My mother can." The teacher replies in disbelief, "Really?" The young boy iss quick to explain, "Yes, she takes one look at my report card and tells me what will happen when my father gets home."

LillyPet Sat, Jul 16th 2016 @ 7:37am

Hi Jade,
There are a few familiar feelings that have surfaced from time to time for me.

One has been the feeling of being a hamster in an excercise wheel that Is going at top speed. It's exhausting and I want to get off but I can't. Sometimes the same feeling is like I can feel the world spinning really fast and I'm inwardly yelling "I want to get off!". I think the technical term for that is workingsingleparent!

Another is that other has been as if I have no reflection of my own when I'm around other people.
They have become mirrors and their image of me is what I see and become.

The third is at times I have felt like a raw nerve or wound that is going around exposed to harsh elements.

My first experience of a depressive episode was like a dark cloud came over me and just wouldnt shift.
I can remember these feelings and am glad that they have passed.

As it happens, my favourite sky is when its like. A dark grey backdrop, stunningly contrasting with brilliant sunlight bringing out the most vivid rich colours of trees and buildings.

Maybe darkness is beautiful when it's contrasted and balanced by brilliance light and colour.
A brilliant blog Jade! Thank you. LPxx

Tutti Frutti Sat, Jul 16th 2016 @ 9:58am

I definitely recognise LilyPet's "Stop the world I want to get off" moments. I just wish I could sometimes have life sorted before the next upset arises. I bet there are loads of situations that can give rise to those sort of feelings although I can see that working single parent would definitely be one of them.

When I am depressed I tend to feel like there's a weight in my stomach and I can't get what I want to say or any genuine reactions past it. Sometimes I also feel a kind of clamping round the stomach as if I can't move.

It's a real effort but I agree with Hopeful One about written exercises to get you out. I think a therapist/a book recommended by a therapist can be really helpful in flagging where to start.

Love TF x

Leah Sat, Jul 16th 2016 @ 10:00am

Jade what a great blog that makes me think. I have so many omages and thoughts about this but will just list one.
When I was first depressed I really hoped and wished it was a dream so I kept pinching myself to see if I could wake up. The thought that this was my reality was almost too much to bear. So I kept on hoping I was dreaming.Everything seemed blurred like it it had a dark cheesecloth over the lens.
Thanks again Jade.

Leah Sat, Jul 16th 2016 @ 10:07am

omages- images but I think it is a nice word!! bear-bare.

Angela Sat, Jul 16th 2016 @ 11:29am

I am so sick & tired of depression, ocd and anxiety. It drains me of energy, interest and hope. B'ham healthy minds haven't got resources to treat you as an individual so it'll probably be " here are some leaflets; we'll put you down as booking yourself into counselling" end of. It's all pointless.

Tim Sat, Jul 16th 2016 @ 12:29pm

I do recognise how you're feeling, Angela. But don't lose heart. Many in my group therapy sessions feel the same about resourcing and response (I.e. lack of) from the mental health service, if not individuals within it. Groups CAN help, even if not led by a professional. People around you is vital, be they strangers or friends (each type helps in a different way), though we sure don't feel like socialising! Have you yet tried counselling, or paying for an hour or two private therapy? For nothing, listen to "In therapy" (BBC radio 4): and excellent dramatisation of a young woman's quest for a more settled attitude to herself, i.e. no more inner conflict (the cause of depression). I wish you well.

Tim Sat, Jul 16th 2016 @ 12:18pm

Jade, what en excellent blog! Frank, clear, succinct, open ... short. And so helpful that it's brought out others' imagery, all of which I can identify with to greater or lesser extents. Aspects of my own depression felt like looking at the bed of a clear shallow stream, only to have someone annoyingly ripple the water with their fingers. Or a record playing, that would jump as the needle was knocked repeatedly off course. Some of this was indeed physical: I can sense my eyes not focusing at the same point, which causes lots of blinking and squinting, and a delay in interpreting what I'm actually seeing (with the commensurate delay in being able to comment, and thus hold a conversation without a "transatlantic-type" one-second delay). But a great allusion, Jade, and one you can build upon in working with the metaphor toward becoming freer (seeking help to take the armour off; finding the proverbial "chink in the armour"; adjusting the pace of life to move within the suit).

Fiona Sat, Jul 16th 2016 @ 2:43pm

I'm there just now. I've been having a bad week, spending the last few days in bed. Yesterday I managed to get to the shop but found it really hard. Anxiety and depression are a bad mix - I feel like I don't want to be here any longer, that I'm so tired physically and mentally, like something is weighing me down, the gravity dial has been turned way beyond normal. I don't have the inner strength to go out or let people in, I just want to sleep through it, which is what I do. But then there are the times when my head feels really wrong, chemically imbalanced, and I can't get away from it. I wake up for no reason totally wired, like someone's pulled my nerves from the top like a draw cord and tightened the toggle to prevent them releasing. Just now I'm just sitting -or sleeping- it out until I start to feel like the days become lighter.

Otir Sat, Jul 16th 2016 @ 2:49pm

This is exactly how I have always felt in my own with anxiety and depression, Jade. Your description fits my feelings perfectly.

Jul Sat, Jul 16th 2016 @ 3:57pm

Hello Otir. How are you? It's good to see you! Julxxx

Jul Sat, Jul 16th 2016 @ 3:56pm

Hello Jade. I liked your blog. I always feel tired and unable to connect in a real way with everyone else. I do connect and others may not notice how I feel but for me, I am continually making an effort to talk socially, to laugh (difficult to force and seem genuine that)and to do stuff. I suppose it's all going on in my head. I can think rationally about politics and serious issues but unable to think rationally about myself. I come across as fine alot of the time but I hear others laughing and joking and wonder why I can't do the same. I suffered from depression when I worked for a number of years and the reason I failed in my work or rather the reason I was seen as a failure by my work colleagues (not all of them) was my lack of joie de vivre and ability to laugh things off. I did my job well, better than many there who liked a good laugh. Of course when I feel Ok, I like a good laugh too. My anxiety at work was like a burst rubbish sack with everything spilling out of it. I also thought of myself as ink on blotting paper which just spread uncontrollably. I think I have a coat of armour now which doesn't allow true feelings to escape. I am pretty controlled nowadays! But the effort goes on; I'm not giving up on myself. Julxx

The Gardener Sat, Jul 16th 2016 @ 4:09pm

I've never felt 'trapped'. Long time since I suffered from depression, but I remember the hopelessness so well. 2 dirty cups on the draining board would throw me - 'normal' you'd get some more out, rinse them under the tap or leave them till tomorrow. But that silly decision was impossible. Out of depression, I'd think back 'how could anybody be so daft' but, at the time, it's so real, and so destructive.I can still look at a cluttered draining board with horror, but that's because I'm exhausted, not depressed, it's 'an effort too far'.

Jul Sat, Jul 16th 2016 @ 4:38pm

Yes I know what you mean about the two cups n the draining board Gardener. Do you think you are less depressed since Mr G's mental state has declined because now you have something tangible to feel low about? Also something that others can see and sympathise with you about? I know you wouldn't want this situation for the world but just wondered. As for me, everything (well mostly) in the garden is rosy on the face of it so no-one can see why I feel low. Few people know about how I feel probably for that very reason. Too difficult to explain and nothing to show for it. I hope your day has not been too difficult and you can soon have your apero.Mrs G. Julxx

Michael Sat, Jul 16th 2016 @ 5:09pm

Feels like I am in quicksand. Hence all my attention is on my predicament, so cannot be there for other people, even loved ones. The more I struggle the quicker I sink.
In quicksand, there is no planning for the future or even doing "nice" things as a distraction...
And the strange thing, the really strange thing, is that one's loved ones, cannot see how perilous your situation is...the quicksand is "invisible" to them. Hence comments such as "you've become distant", "where has the intimacy gone", "you've made no effort to be a friend".....things that one (hopefully) would not even dream of saying if you were really in quicksand!

The Gardener Sat, Jul 16th 2016 @ 6:10pm

Dear Jul - nobody ever thought I was depressed 'but you're always so bright!' Mr G pretty awful - I said I was going to church - he's petrified of being alone = so 'I can get to church' a painful progress, but we did it, in the lovely sun. Michael, your 'quicksand' simile really resonates - and, Jul 'Cheers',

Ruth Sat, Jul 16th 2016 @ 8:03pm

Really made me stop and think Jade. I'm at the bottom of the pond in the mud right now. Anytime I'm really depressed I find myself trapped in sticky mud at the bottom of the pond. I can see lovely plants and a bit of sun above me but the mud won't let me go. In the end someone comes along with a fishing net. They stir the mud and just when I think I'll die I find myself on the bank in the sun. Ruth x

Eva Sat, Jul 16th 2016 @ 11:42pm

Hi, when I first had depression and anxiety I remember feeling as though I were in a damp cold dark place and that the words I spoke weren't understood by those around me as if I were speaking another language. I have dipped deep into that place since during my bereavements, but only for short times, and I mean really short, half an hour or so. I believe firmly in change of state and use distraction to change it. Distractions being, a book, the radio, a comedy show... Although my Moodscope score is usually sub 40 currently I do actually feel OK with regard to mood and anxiety. I think this is partially because I am focusing on convalescence, but also I think over the years I have learned about myself and have good diet and exercise and now a more healthy work and sleep routine, and of course Moodscopes blogs are great to remind you how to find and keep a balance, and good when you falter or succeed. I guess I'm still working on it :) thanks so much jade.

Eva Sat, Jul 16th 2016 @ 11:42pm

Hi, when I first had depression and anxiety I remember feeling as though I were in a damp cold dark place and that the words I spoke weren't understood by those around me as if I were speaking another language. I have dipped deep into that place since during my bereavements, but only for short times, and I mean really short, half an hour or so. I believe firmly in change of state and use distraction to change it. Distractions being, a book, the radio, a comedy show... Although my Moodscope score is usually sub 40 currently I do actually feel OK with regard to mood and anxiety. I think this is partially because I am focusing on convalescence, but also I think over the years I have learned about myself and have good diet and exercise and now a more healthy work and sleep routine, and of course Moodscopes blogs are great to remind you how to find and keep a balance, and good when you falter or succeed. I guess I'm still working on it :) thanks so much jade.

Angela Sun, Jul 17th 2016 @ 9:31am

Thank you to everyone on the blog, for your descriptions help me describe how rubbish I feel on a daily basis. So many times I wish I was no longer here but that would hurt my daughters, Mom, sister, friends. This place really is a lifeline!

Nicco Wed, Aug 3rd 2016 @ 1:58am

Just came across this one - am behind with my moodscopes. I was 14 when I had my first depressive episode, on my way to school in my mother's car. I didn't have a clue what was going on and knew I needed to see a doctor. My mother was very angry with me because I insisted I couldn't go to school. I'd never heard of the word 'depression' before so I found it hard to describe to the doctor what I was feeling - all I could think of to say was that it felt like someone had died and I was grieving, but no-one had died - at least, no one close. It was then that I was told I had depression. My mother didn't know what to do and thought she could either knock it out of me or pull me out of it by humiliating me. I felt like I was doing everything as if by remote control, or on auto pilot. I remember watching the weather forecast on tv and hearing the weatherman say, "A deep depression is coming..." and I'd think, "yeah, if only they knew". It's not until one looks back that one sees and realises - no wonder I was depressed. I just thought what I was going through at the time was normal and I was abnormal because I couldn't cope with it. Later on in life, having contracted M.E., probably as a result of trying to smother it by becoming a workaholic, it felt like I was wading through treacle, just trying to get through each day. I'd make my way through the treacle to a place where I could look out, break out, only to find I was behind a plate glass window - I could see everything going on but wasn't part of it, and people the other side of it either didn't see me at all, or couldn't hear what I was yelling. Many years later, having worked through most of it and got to a more peaceful place, I still get anxious and have panic attacks, frightening myself that it may one day all come back - it's like I'm walking a tightrope, one false move and I'll fall headlong back into that place of non-recognition where nobody sees me or hears me and, if they do, they are at a loss as to how to help me so I am completely and utterly alone in my desolate hell with no way out with not one single soul. Desperate for a crumb or flicker, I'd hold on by fingernails and skin of teeth. Now... I still get frightened, even though I think I've accepted most of what has happened and moved on into a sunnier place. It's just that every now and then the weight and enormity of it all, all that has happened to me, becomes unbearable, especially when going through a bad time with the M.E., and I'm back in the treacle with a huge heavy box on my back, the box I thought I'd emptied years ago. I don't want to go back there, can't go back there because this time for sure I'd drown in the treacle. I guess I'm now trying to accept that what happened, happened through no fault of my own, and that I may never have the answers or justice, and that I can never change people - they did what they did because... who knows why? Leaving them to it and standing on my side of the line, the sunny side, is hard because I want to understand, want them to understand the effects of what they did, but I know that can never happen. So, here I am, living my daily life as best as ever I possibly can. And when I laugh, I laugh loud and long, I make it a really good belly laugh, because, now in my late 50s, I've spent too much time in dark places not to enjoy the funny side of things, and it feels so good to embrace joy when I can. Sorry this is so long. I don't often post on the blog but, when I do, it seems to be a long rendition! It's been good to express and I am thankful to be able to do so in a safe place where others will understand. Thank you.

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