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The quarantine needs to end. No, I am not a COVID-19 denier; I'm saying all of this, including the virus, needs to end. I've got sever cabin fever. As a natural introvert, I never thought I'd be craving mass human interaction, but I am. It used to be such an internal struggle within me whether I wanted to go out of Friday night or not, not being a socialite; I never imagined that such a privilege would disappear, or that I would miss it so much.

The governor of Pennsylvania has had each county undergo a three-phase reintegration, from red to yellow to green (green still having severe restrictions), and now he's closing bars and restaurants again, mandating that stores can only accommodate 25% occupancy, and other such things. Even if I could theoretically go out, nothing says "good time" quite like a sea of masks! Some people I know go to Ohio because the bars are open there, but that seems like an awful long distance to travel just to drink, especially if driving is involved, and an Uber would be impossibly expensive to travel that distance.

You have no idea what level of anxiety and depression I'm dealing with because of this. I've begun looking for a new job, but everything else has screeched to a halt. I can't go to the gym, and my home workouts have dwindled down to nothing because I hate the lack of space, so all that progress I've made over the last year is quickly becoming undone. I want to go back to school for an education in IT, but I can't even begin to fathom how I'm going to tackle it so I'm just not moving on it. It's hard to be motivated to do anything because of this God-accursed virus!

I mentioned in other threads that I'm seeing a psychologist. She's a psychologist, not a psychiatrist, meaning she can offer solutions but cannot diagnose or prescribe medication. I've been talking to her over the phone instead of in person since this COVID crap began (another missing human interaction that has me on edge), and the last time we spoke this past Monday, she said she was very concerned about me and wanted me to make an appointment with the psychiatrist before our next meetings, to see if perhaps antidepressants might do me some good, or to consider any other solution beyond her capabilities. That means I'll be seeing two therapists in the near future--twice as many as a normal person--so that's fun.

Some other crap is that I haven't seen more than half my church's congregation in forever, haven't seen my godson or his parents in forever, and some bishops are doing things in the Church in regard to the distribution of Holy Communion (in response to COVID) which I absolutely despise and think is blasphemy against the Eucharist, betraying the fact that many of them are just "playing church," enjoying the pomp and ritual rather than actually believing what they preach. But that's neither here nor there.

So yeah, I'm very much feeling like a caged animal here. I feel restricted and I feel like the whole damned world is going insane. This. Has. To. End.

Soon.

I'm posting this thread because I couldn't get through to the office to make an appointment with the doctor today, and I feel like punching a whole in the wall even as I type this.


Just for the heck of it, here's a photo of me taking my freedom for granted. Before the dark times. Before the virus.

 

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It's ridiculous how stigmatized mental health issues and how demonized therapy is.

There's a sex club here that is now open, but limited capacity. Only 4 men and 4 women at a time. Everyone else has to wait in line for a slot to open.... SEE WHAT I DID THERE

Yeah, man, let's end the stigma. My daughter is currently seeing a psychologist for anxiety, my son has a psychiatrist appointment next week, and we just started 13 weeks of parent-child interaction t

The only thing I'm gonna comment on is the two therapist thing, "twice as many as a normal person."

 

fuck that. See as many as you need. See one, see two, see fourteen thousand. There's no such thing as a normal person or a normal amount of therapy. Get that concept out of your head.

 

Or tell your therapists about it lol. Seriously though therapy is therapy and there is no right or wrong amount.

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Yeah, man, let's end the stigma. My daughter is currently seeing a psychologist for anxiety, my son has a psychiatrist appointment next week, and we just started 13 weeks of parent-child interaction therapy because my son's behavior is so out of control that we need a crash course on how to become a behavioral expert because normal parenting rules don't apply and he's too young for individual therapy. I do what I have to do to help them and I give zero shits if anyone has an issue with that. Investing now means not waiting until my daughter has a nervous breakdown or my son ends up in jail. I'm probably going to need my own damn therapy after all of this.

 

Quarantine is driving everyone nuts. That's not to downplay your issues, it's to tell you that we hear you and dont expect you to apologize or feel wrong/weird/abnormal. We are social creatures (even you introverts) and this is greatly upsetting to routines. Access to normal services are interrupted and life is generally more difficult. I'm so glad your psychologist is looking out for you and that you have access to her.

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I wonder if many people have had bad experiences. Honestly, I have, multiple times. When I was a kid, my parents put me in group counseling for kids who had trouble making friends. What that really meant is those kids were bullies and I became the target. Like who the hell failed to figure that one out? My daughter's first therapist for anxiety was terrible and was so bothered by her hyperactive behavior. Her new therapist is amazing and it was hard to convince my daughter that she was ready to move to every other week because she loves her therapist so much. My son's first therapist was also terrible and basically ineffective. And I will admit that I think our PCIT expert is an arrogant douche but we really need to check this box and hope to pick up these skills, but likely we will need to find another therapist after we are done, and I'm just prepared for that. I've learned that there's really effective doctors and therapists and really mediocre ones, just like every profession. This is one area where I now refuse to settle for mediocre.

 

Also wanted to add that my son's psychiatrist is amazing, both for being knowledgeable and accessible. I hope yours is the same.

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Here's how my life has been going since 2018. "Wait, that's long before the virus!" you might say.

 

At the very end of 2017 I had a very severe Fibromyalgia flare. It lasted for nine months, and left both my sciatic nerves permanently damaged, and you have no idea how much your sciatic nerve does until it doesn't work anymore. And I'm not just talking about pain. People are very sympathetic and forgiving for about two weeks. After that, I used up all my PTO at work (and no one offered me any kind of FMLA assistance), so I had four vacation days the entire year, the rest I was expected at my desk no matter how much it hurt. I used my four days to keep up with my personal commitments, which at the time included a social justice group that kept working me to the bone despite my obviously being in a health crisis and having a full-time job that was also working me to death. I had a nervous breakdown in June of that year, no one noticed, even though it prompted me to quit Facebook and Twitter. I quit the social justice group in September, and lost the job due to downsizing the next February. This lost me all but my very best friends (including one I thought was in the very best category, that hurt a lot) and the entirety of my IRL social network.

 

I had five blissful months of unemployment before starting the worst job ever last July. By last August, I was severely depressed. Between the depression and the existing Fibromyalgia and anxiety disorder, all I could do was crawl into work, suffer for nine hours, and crawl back into bed. This means that until Mrslukeskywalker popped over quickly to pick something up a couple of weeks ago, I hadn't seen a friend in person since October 2019. I've been in full isolation twice as long as the rest of the world.

 

I only worked that terrible job for nine months, and in that time I had two Fibromyalgia flares, three nervous breakdowns, and developed a food allergy. And not a single person I worked with saw anything wrong with any of that. Covid was the straw that broke the camel's back, not only am I high risk, but I live with my grandma and it would be a death sentence for her. So, my employment ceased a half-day before the initial shutdown.

 

And there's a whole thread in the Lyceum about how that has been going.

 

tl;dr from the Lyceum thread, be thankful you have access to a psychologist. I've needed mental health care now for a while. Last year, I focused any remaining energy I had to looking for a new job (which obviously didn't pan out), I didn't have the energy to look for a job and a doctor both, and getting out of the bad situation and then working on the damage seemed like the healthiest option. Now that I have ample time and energy to find a therapist and start the work, I can't afford to do so. You can be thankful that your psychologist just wants you to see someone with access to meds, too. My doctor made sure I had the address and phone number of the local mental health urgent care center the last time we spoke. Also, I have multiple medical specialists treating my Fibromyalgia, why can't someone have multiple specialists to treat their anxiety and depression? Also also, I've been on Cymbalta for years now, and you can pry my medication from my cold, dead hands, thank you. Psych meds are awesome if you have a good doctor who gets it right. My doc wants to add Abilify once I can afford it. I'm all for it.

 

And, yeah, I am looking for a new job, as well as applying for disability (which, so far, has been HOURS and HOURS of paperwork). There are supposed to be incentives and protections in place so that employers won't dismiss disabled people out of hand, but I have yet to get a job offer if I disclose my disability during the application or interview process. And considering what happened with my last two jobs, keeping that a secret until I'm hired does nobody any good. And then there's my treatment. I don't take opioids. The only pain medication I take is cannabis (and I clearly can't use it while I'm working, which puts me at yet another disadvantage). Which is legal in my state, but illegal federally, so businesses can still refuse or terminate employment for people with THC in their system, regardless of why it's there. Which means I'm locked out of the biggest employer in the area, and many smaller ones.

 

I have been working out regularly though all of this - I have to, it's a big part of how you treat Fibromyalgia. Yeah, I've been bored with my routine and don't want to do it, but if I don't the pain gets worse, so I do it whether I want to or not. I didn't work out before this, you need a specialist to teach you how when you're like me, and I didn't get the referral until 2017. Before this I thought of myself as a big spider sitting on a web of information about what's going on in my area. I was a staple in a few circles, and always the go-to when people wanted to make plans because I knew of all the parties and events and cool places to go. Nowadays, I'm a reclusive old Jedi Master who is purposefully out of the loop and takes a lot of long walks. I was excited for this summer since last summer was such a bust, and all the stuff I've been looking forward to is actually open - camping, hiking, kayaking, body surfing - stuff I can finally do more of now that my body has some actual muscle. But I seem to have also developed a sensitivity to heat, as every time the temperature has spiked so far this year, I get a migraine. Whomp, whomp.

 

I'm not saying any of this to diminish what you're going through. But I do have a pretty good idea of the kind of anxiety and depression this is causing you. Don't think you're alone in all of this. Honestly, the rest of the world finally being in the same boat as me has been cathartic. I've gone two years with no one understanding my situation, now the whole world understands it. And, I haven't heard you ever mention anything about having kids. I am also childfree, and despite all my hardships, I'm focusing on how thank GOD I don't have a kid or three to take care of on top of everything else right now. I'm sure there's plenty of people with kids reading this post saying "thank GOD I have an income and my health!" as they're trying to balance a full-time job remotely while also trying to homeschool their kids. We'll all get through this.

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Its hard to deal with mental health issues, and if a therapist says shes concerned, Im glad youre taking it seriously even if you dont feel like you need it. Sometimes we dont feel bad until its too late, with both physical and mental health. Quarantine/ lockdown/ social avoidance is hard on everyone to some degree. I love it, mostly, but I actually crave time to myself because Im stuck with my wife and kids all the time. I cant even poop without somebody knocking on the door, and we have two bathrooms!

 

My biggest real problem mentally is that I had developed a bit of an obsession with my past, especially with friends and loved ones that I no longer have in my life. Mostly two people: my former best friend, and best man at my wedding, who ghosted me, and The Ex.

 

Ive dated quite a few girls / women in my life (I think 13 that had at least 3 dates, prior to my wife. Some went significantly longer), but like Sherlock Holmes had The Woman, I have The Ex, the only one to hurt me. I always broke up with them when I saw things going badly, or getting too serious. But this one the I was gonna marry, and things were going really well until she had sex with another guy and then dumped me. On Valentines Day, when I was in an auto accident on the same day. It took me a long time to get over her, and right when I finally did, she tried to get back together and I almost did, but instead I shut her down. And continued to do so for years, up to her wedding day with her now ex-husband.

 

The point of that is, theres no good to come from thinking about her, or the urge I had to contact her. Itd probably cause her pain, and definitely cause problems in my marriage, but isolation does weird stuff to your brain. Fortunately that period passed without reaching out to anyone or trying to find them.

 

I also see a psychiatrist, and used to see a psychologist, but my main problem is medical, so I was able to work through the psychological stuff, but Im going back in a minute if I need to. No shame, its just like any other health issue. If you need to see an orthopedic doctor and a cardiologist at the same time, nobody thinks poorly of it. And nobody who is worth your time is going to care if youre seeking help from two professionals.

 

Stay strong. Get help. Reach out to friends. And on behalf of Ohio, stay where you are. Our cases are growing and bars are a big reason. I dont want to die because people feel the need to go to a bar. Drink alone and be bitter like me.

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Yeah I think everyone is going through this same sort of mental health crisis right now. You're definitely not alone. I was at that depressive point about 6 weeks ago. I'm also an extreme introvert. THANKFULLY, I don't work full-time (I do have 4 part-time jobs, but they're all on hiatus right now), I already homeschool my kids, and all of my volunteer "jobs" are also severely limited right now. But I'm still having a rough time dealing with this stupid virus and all the shit that comes with it.

Why don't you join us for the next Nightly happy hour?

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Zoom Clubs are a thing, too. It definitely sounds like Not Your Scene At All, but Club Quarantine has been kicking it with the cool queer kids on Zoom for months now. Room codes go out via instagram when the party starts, DJ's spin (some famous), even Lady Gaga stopped by to dance a few weeks ago. It's not the same, but it's it's own kind of fun. I'm sure you could find something similar for the straights.

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See as many therapists as you need. If you had cancer you wouldn't say "Im seeing 2 oncologists which is double most people". Its no different. Depression is an illness, treat it and get better.

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Funny/sad story: Earlier, I got some ketchup on my shirt at dinner, so I went to wash it off with some cold water and body wash (I don't have any shampoo because, well, look at my picture) and the scent instantly reminded me of all the various scents you smell when you're at the bar or club with all the fragrances people wear. I was instantly triggered. :(

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I'm feeling a similar caged-animal thing and did not expect this. I love being alone and doing things alone I joked with my therapist about how I went from scary loner to responsible citizen without doing anything when we got stay at home orders. Now, I'm wigging and I'm harder on myself for wigging because I don't think I should be. I think it's tougher on those of us who didn't expect to feel this way.

 

First-cut yourself a break or three! "Twice as much as normal" PFFT! There is no normal. Just about everyone should see a therapist, especially now, but you can't get in because they're all booked up. Next, seeing a psychiatrist for meds is not like having to add to your psychotherapy-it's just a requirement-like if your optometrist finds something in your eyeball-you get sent to a opthalmologist. Every part of medicine these days is specialized. You're not seeing another doctor because you failed or you're *that* crazy. And finally, STOP with the negative self talk! (easier said than done, I know) Don't let any thought cross your mind you wouldn't say to your best friend.

 

Know what you're feeling is legitimate. This is a new experiment in psychology-we've never done this before! I also think it doesn't help that this is something we can't see. This should be difficult. If it weren't-we weren't doing anything with our lives to begin with. But remind yourself that this isn't forever. I don't know how we'll get a handle on it with so many people not in compliance-but this will end. We don't have to do this for the rest of our lives.

 

I read a few things on Teddy Roosevelt that explained so much. He had demons and decided to just drive his life like a race car to overshadow them. Medication wasn't available as it is today and talk about stigma-he didn't want to be seen that way so he just drove himself to DO and ACT and GO rather than give himself a moment to think about it all. I think he was on to something. The more time I have to myself-to think-the more I despair. Now I try to have one thing to accomplish every day. I have movies, books and puzzles ready to go and fill in the extra moments with tik tok.

 

Try filling your days with stuff. <3

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So I have decided to make my New Years resolution for 2021 now. Copied from Facebook:

I once heard about a guy who went one year without turning down a single invitation to anything, no matter how big or small, and ended up having the best year of his life. In the wake of my experience with the quarantine this year, being taken aback by just how much losing the freedom to go anywhere I want has caused anxiety and depression, even for an introvert like myself, I have decided that I will follow this example next year (provided this madness is over by then, or even in the final quarter of this year if it ends up abating before expected). With the exception of Lent, as well as all of the major feast days, I will go out of my way to honor any and all invitations, no matter what they are or how uncomfortable or inconvenient I may think at first.

I realized that I turned down too many people last year, and I hope to make up for it as soon as I am able. Here's hoping for an amazing year in 2021, the anti-2020.

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I tried this when the former Mrs. Tank and I split up. That's how I got herpes.

 

I kid.

 

but I did try this, when it was reasonable to say yes. It lead to some fun things and great experiences-- but it also confirmed a lot of boundaries. It was a good thing, because some of those boundaries were ones I would shame myself over, so having pushed passed them and confirming I didn't need whatever it was in my life was good information to have.

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