The real reason behind Anxiety and Depression

Back in January I read the extract in The Guardian from Johann Hari’s Lost Connections Book (link below). In this extract, Hari describes his experience with depression and being given SSRI’s to combat the apparent chemical imbalance in his brain. He explains why the medical professions belief that is the sole reason for depression and the faults in that way of thinking. For one thing, are you saying that everyone who has depression all have a lack of Serotonin in their brain? What about people who have experienced the loss of a loved one? They have the same symptoms as someone who is depressed but you wouldn’t label that a mental illness. That is just normal grief.

Hari discusses the other reasons for depression. He explains that as well as having basic physical needs, humans also have basic psychological needs. These are that ,’we need to feel we belong. We need to feel valued. We need to feel we’re good at something, We need to feel we have a secure future.’ He also points out that, ‘there is growing evidence that our culture isn’t meeting those psychological needs for many – perhaps most – people.’ He believes we have, ‘become disconnected from things we really need, and this deep disconnection is driving this epidemic of depression and anxiety all around us.’

This really resonated with me. It does scare me sometimes that I take all these medications. They can’t be good for me can they. But then a recent study said they do work and I totally believe that Serotonin has a major impact to play when it comes to anxiety, depression and PMT (all things I suffer with). I know that standing out in the sun and getting more Serotonin will make me feel better. I know that eating a bar of chocolate when I am due on provides endorphins which increase the Serotonin in your brain. I also know that taking my Citalopram lifted the fog so I could work on my anxiety myself. True, I still feel down and anxious a lot of the time so they can’t be fully working. But then why do they work in the first place? Shouldn’t it be a case of either they work or they don’t? Why is it that people often have to increase their dose the longer they are on them? I was on 10mg when I first started and 10 years later, I am on 30mg. Yet I have had panic attacks recently and right now want to scream and shout due to my pmt!

To find out the answers to my questions, I am going to do some research. To start with, I am going to get Hari’s book and read that. I’ll try and post on here what I find out. The Gardian online, 7th January 2018.


Why do I put so much on myself?

That’s what my husband asked me whilst on holiday and it got me thinking. I want everything to be perfect and don’t like it when it’s not. I’m on holiday and I got really bad stomach ache. Quite like I did when I was sick back at Christmas. It caused a panic attack which hasn’t happened in a while. I realised it’s because I’m on holiday and want it to be perfect. Everything is about being perfect.

I started writing this when I was on holiday but never finished. I am back at work now but yesterday I wasn’t well. On Saturday I ate far too much and my stomach rejected it. I spent Saturday evening and Sunday morning on the loo! I then spent the rest of the day in bed. So today it is Monday and it is my fist time being at my new job whilst not feeling that well. Of course I wanted to stay in bed this morning and not come to work. I wanted to run away from the uncomfortable feeling of the tight stomach, headache, feeling weak and hot and cold. But I didn’t! I know I am lethargic from being in bed all day and I am not going to let it get the better of me. For a minute I started to obsess. I typed into Google ‘lethargy symptoms’ but stopped myself before I began reading it. I don’t need to look it up to make myself feel better. I don’t need to try to work out why I feel ill, I know why. So I stopped that obsessing in it’s tracks and got on with things!

I have to realise that I am putting far too much on myself expecting everything to be perfect and to feel perfect. It just doesn’t work like that. No one is perfect (apart from my cat!).

The social anxiety of starting a new job

I feel really low at the moment and I don’t know why I am letting things get to me. Each day I am challenging myself by coming into a new place and trying to make a place for myself at this job but in the mornings I have no desire to get out of bed and do it. These aren’t good thoughts to be having but I am acknowledging them as just thoughts and then getting on with things. My desire to stay at home in bed is my desire for control as I still feel uncomfortable at work and so I desire to stay somewhere where I feel safe and secure. This is similar to what happened when I started at Monotype except in that case, I was also coming off my medication, and just going back on the bcp. I also didn’t know about Thrive then and didn’t understand how my brain works. I just remember feeling uncomfortable at work (as I hadn’t forged my place yet) and feeling sick because of it. Now I understand that my stomach hurts due to my feelings and I am feeling low because I am feeling uncomfortable which I don’t like.

I know I can make friends as I am a nice person but I really struggle with the Locus of Control question ‘I believe I can make any body be my friend’. I don’t believe that. There are just going to be some people who find me annoying (like my habit of joining in every conversation) just like there are some people that I simply don’t like. So I am putting thoughts into other people’s heads that they find me annoying because I find some of my habits annoying. I am taking every little remarks as something bad, or taking to heart the jokes that one of my colleagues makes that seem quite mean (though she makes them towards everyone). It is my self-esteem being knocked as I am putting myself down which I should not be doing. But I know how to handle this. I know that I just have to start writing down my positives again to boost my self-esteem and my social anxiety will disappear with it.

On the plus side, I still feel like I am getting over my emet. A couple of times I have felt worried about going into my new work place with a stomach ache but I haven’t panicked about it and I don’t think I have been anymore worried than the next person. When I first started here I was good at not antibac’ing my hands all the time but slowly I have started doing it more. I don’t want them all to know that I have an issue with germs as I am ashamed of it (I know I shouldn’t be). Plus I  want to stop those safety seeking behaviours as it is what is making me hold onto the emet but I guess there is another small part of my that believes if I don’t do those things, I will feel uncomfortable and will get sick. Yes I proved to myself that I might not necessarily get sick by touching the door handles etc. at work but 1. the warehouse is all dusty so I feel like that means I have to wash my hands when I touch the door, and 2. it just makes me feel so uncomfortable.

I know I need to make myself feel uncomfortable to make myself get better, but I struggle to do that as I hate it so much. That is why I am still not 100% thriving!

Day 5 and they still don’t know I’m pretending….

that my stomach isn’t in knots and I feel perfectly fine!

Here I am on day 5 of my new job and so far things are going really well. I feel like I am settling in well and everyone seems really nice. But my stomach has been in a knot the whole time and I have had an upset stomach twice. Part of me feels like I am failing at thriving because of it but first of all, I shouldn’t be telling myself off, and 2, I am thriving because carrying on like nothing is wrong and “pretending” is part of the process of learning to thrive. Calling it “pretending” is not the best term. It is more about mind over matter and getting on with things despite felling rubbish.

I also mustn’t worry that I have gone backwards because I have felt a bit of panic from my tummy being in knots or that I have worried about being sick a few times. I’m not even sure it was a blip completely. The other night I woke up because my stomach hurt so much and I got a bit panicky. I did manage to stop a panic attack and actually fell back asleep. But the panic wasn’t that I was going to be sick because I was scared, it was that I was going to be sick and would then have to be off sick on my first week at work. I think that is quite a normal thought really.

I have felt a bit worried about my stomach being bad at work (will they be able to tell and make fun of the smell if I go to the loo), or will I be sick? So that is a bit of a blip but I am handling it and just feeling the fear and doing it anyway. I even just managed to use the bathroom for a ‘cough-cough number 2’ despite being worried what people will say.

I am challenging myself by changing jobs and I am processing it in an internal way. It is a good thing that I have exposed myself to this. I can tolerate it. The more I do, the quicker the churning stomach will go away!

So I just have to accept feeling like hell…..

It really bothers me that my stomach burns whenever I eat anything but I can’t go to the GP about it as they will just tell me to keep taking my pills. Surely I can’t do that for the rest of my life, especially if I want a baby. Do I have to suffer having an acidic stomach for the rest of my life where I burp uncontrollably and have burning in my stomach no matter what I eat or take? It annoys me that they won’t do anything about it and I am just to suffer. Surely it is damaging my oesophagus? If you broke your leg, they wouldn’t just throw pills at you, they would fix it.

So they diagnosed me with IBS but I just have to accept feeling rubbish everyday? I just have to come to terms with the fact that I will likely feel sick most days and that my stomach will feel unsettled and I will feel sick most days? Even someone without Emetophobia would struggle with that.

Is the burning feeling a get before burping or even when it comes out the other end, really acid reflux or is it just how I feel wind? Previously I have told myself it is just how I feel wind but surely it wouldn’t burn?

The doctors say that I have IBS and acid reflux because I have Emetophobia but that is not the case. It can’t be otherwise why would Dad, Laura and Steph have it as well? Ok so it gets worse when I am nervous but it is also there every single day. I thought that cutting out what I am intolerant to would help but it hasn’t so far. My stomach has felt off for over a week now and I am just to accept that I will feel sick every single day? I am just to accept that my stomach feels unsettled all the time, that it feels like a washing machine churning away and not have any way to stop it? I am just to continue to take the antacid pills because they can’t find anything else to stop the churning even though it still happens on the pills. I am just to accept this because I have Emetophobia and it is just my phobia causing it?

I am just supposed to put up with this uncomfortable hungry/sick feeling all the time? Where my stomach doesn’t know whether it is coming or going? Where I can’t relax as I have to keep busy to stop myself thinking about how crap I feel? I just have to accept that my stomach always feels off like I won’t be able to stomach what I have eaten?

I just have to accept that my digestive system doesn’t work and that I am going to feel like this for the rest of my life? How am I ever going to get over my Emetophobia when one of my limiting beliefs is that when I get ill (both being sick and with acid reflux) is that it will last forever when I am being told I have to accept that my IBS will last all my life and there is nothing I can do about it but put pills down my throat that don’t even work but that I am now dependent on?

I have been told this is my desire for control which is very high but surely anyone with IBS will want to do everything they can not to feel like this every single day? I would give anything right now for my stomach to feel normal and not turn upside-down all the time. I don’t think it is my desire for control necessarily as I think anyone would want to stop feeling this way. But no, the doctors say I just have to learn to live with it. I was given the diagnoses of IBS and acid reflux, thrown some pills and just told to live with it. Well I can’t live this way all my life, I just can’t. Even if I wasn’t afraid of being sick I wouldn’t be able to live like this every day.

I’m supposed to comes to terms with a chronic illness that means I will never be able to eat properly or enjoyably again without any support? I am just supposed to accept it?

Ramblings – 23rd January 2015

Today I am back with the chronic fatigue symptoms. My whole body hurts and my eyes feel like they are hitting the floor. I felt like that on Wednesday as well. I am being looked at for Chronic Fatigue but I also know that anxiety can cause fatigue.

On Tuesday I was fairly anxious because I was being seen by the local mental health service. I don’t really remember being particularly anxious but I guess I was. I do remember having throat nausea on the way home from work. I had only done one full day at work and felt a bit strange going home at lunchtime when I should have been challenging my phobia. That is probably why I was so tired on Wednesday (as well as normal tiredness of having to do a full week at work). The tiredness made me a little anxious on Wednesday and I remember having to fight the nausea off a little in the afternoon. This made me extremely anxious about going to work on the Thursday and I woke up in a full blown panic attack (that was fun!). So yesterday I spent the whole day in heightened anxiety. My head hurt by the end of the day as well as my neck. I felt very sick in the afternoon (writing that has made me panic about this afternoon – stop it, it’s a negative thought – you will be able to cope) and just felt rubbish. I guess that was because I was tired from the morning of anxiety and the panic attack. I assume that can make you tired (though I often get tired in the afternoon). (Again that has set me off worrying about this afternoon – you will be able to cope, you will keep busy and forget how tired you are and then make it to the end of the day – you can cope – you won’t be sick).

I did my exercise last night but did it half-heartedly. I then tried to read some Thrive (my consultant recommended that I start from the beginning again especially as I was so depressed before that I probably didn’t do it correctly) but I couldn’t really concentrate on it. I then started moving things in our spare room ready for Sparky but again I was doing it on autopilot. I went to bed at 9.30 as I was so tired and actually went out like a light! It has been taking me over half an hour to fall asleep recently but I don’t remember laying there for very long last night. So I must have been tired. I remember waking up at 4.30 and then suddenly it was 6. I wonder if that combined with the anxiety from yesterday meant that I didn’t get the restorative sleep that I needed and so will struggle today? I feel like I have the flu, like I have a fever and my stomach is full of gas. It’s horrible.

It seems to happen after a period of stress. Like my body just can’t cope and gives up.

My stomach feels so full of air and I keep burping. I keep feeling my stomach kind of lurch but I think that is the air in it. But of course my brain tells me that it is because I am going to be sick. Now think brain, you have had this symptom many times before and it hasn’t made you sick. You are gassy because you are tired, at the end of your period and have just been for a long walk. You will be fine and will not be sick at all so stop it. Even if you were sick you would be able to handle it. No one would think bad of you and you could cope. But the feeling you are getting in your throat is wind trying to push its way up not sick. Otherwise you would feel a lot worse than you do right now.

Every time I think about nausea it scares me, much more than the thought of being sick (which is stupid as the reason nausea scares me is because I think it will make me sick). But nausea is something that happens quite regularly and being sick isn’t. Need to stop feeling panicky about something that may or may not happen (though it is likely when I am tired) and realise that even if it happens I can cope and it is unlikely to make me sick. So stop brooding Jen!

My stomach is churning away. I get this feeling of being really hungry then it will do the lurch thing, gurgle, I can feel everything moving and then the hunger feeling goes away. It makes me panic that I will be sick. But this is the feeling I have been getting the whole time. You know it won’t make you sick at all. It hasn’t the last four months so why would it this time? This is what being bloated feels like, you know it won’t make you sick now stop it!

Right now, at 15.20, despite my stomach feeling off, full of gas and churning, I actually feel quite calm. Remember this, you felt calm and actually quite comfortable. The sun is out, the fan is blowing on your with fresh air and you feel calm! CALM!!

I also want to know why I get starving hungry when I am nervous or exited? It is weird. What is it that is happening in my stomach that causes this?

How it takes hold

It eats at you from the inside.
The knot in your stomach.
It gets tighter and tighter until you can’t take anymore.
You snap. You give up. You hide in the bed.
Hide from the world that causes this pain.

Is it because I’m bored? I ask.
My brain isn’t being used.
I just sit and stare at my screen waiting for work to appear.
All the while the bubble inside gets bigger and bigger.
Still eating away at me.
Am I hungry or sick? I just don’t know

My stomach is the first to tell me how I am.
To tell me that depression and anxiety have taken hold.
My stomach lurches as the butterflies flutter.
The world spins as my head struggles to cope.
I’m lightheaded and faint. My heart starts to race.
I need to get out. I need to hide away safe in my bed.

But I must fight. I will make the change.
Sort out my job and my head.
Find something to keep my mind active.
Not worry about worry, but work instead.