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Re: Depression, Anxiety, or other Mental Health Conditions

Posted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:27 pm
by Green Gecko
kerr9000 wrote:A bit full of excess tension today, got threatened by an absolute dick yesterday who then went on to threaten workers in the shop I was in, it really got my flight or flight responses going and in honesty part of my brain was just screaming knock him out. I managed to stay calm and I just stayed there till he left as there was no way I was going to let him assault the people working there , luckily all he did was mouth off, they called the police and he left. Its left me with a sort of anxiety energy and anger though. I thought I'd share this partly to get it off my chest and also as I'm sure I'm not the only one who deals with sort of angry anxiety at times.

Sorry to hear that. I had a similar experience in store except it was a member of staff threatening me! I had to go to a nearby play field and broken down to cry with my partner :/

Some people just shouldn't be allowed out in public nevermind put in a position of customer care!

Re: Depression, Anxiety, or other Mental Health Conditions

Posted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:00 pm
by Tafdolphin
Big old brain dump below:

I'm back at my parents for a few weeks. It was something both me and my wife thought might be good for both of us as we're constantly under each other's feet at home and I needed some breathing space. Got home late last night and, tired and responding to queries, ended up just unloading all my current worries on my mum and dad, thoroughly freaking them out in the process. It was half cathartic and half depressing as I realised just how lost I am.

My life in France isn't working. There are zero salaried roles available to people with my level of French and due to self-confidence issues far more serious than I previously thought I am unable to effectively pursue freelance writing roles. Every positive step I've made I downplay and handwave as luck or pity and every failure is like a gut punch that lingers. I'v been generally unable to accept the changes that come with French culture and combined with my paranoia about not yet knowing the language this has led to me feeling incredibly isolated. This then cycles back to my self confidence issues and it makes everything worse and worse.

If I would I'd come back here, get a job doing...strawberry floating something and go from there but because of Brexit I can't as I have no idea if my wife could ever join me. But at the same time I can't stay in France with things like they are. I am utterly lost and have no strawberry floating idea what to do or what my future will look like. I'm 35, have no solid career behind me, have never been less financially viable and genuinely can't see any way forward.


So yeah. Not feeling so hot.

Re: Depression, Anxiety, or other Mental Health Conditions

Posted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:11 pm
by Victor Mildew
As you're freelance, can you not just get UK based jobs but working out of France?

Re: Depression, Anxiety, or other Mental Health Conditions

Posted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:14 pm
by Tafdolphin
I don't think I worded that bit particularly well: it's my own lack of self confidence, and equally debilitating fear of rejection that's keeping me from even applying to such jobs. We're trying to see if the state will provide a psychiatrist course (as it did for my wife) because at the moment I've no strawberry floating idea how to get past any of these feelings.

Re: Depression, Anxiety, or other Mental Health Conditions

Posted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:20 pm
by Victor Mildew
Ah I see. Is there someone who could help you find the work? I was always gooseberry fool at getting things myself, or rather looking outside of the circles I knew I'd find freelance work in. My Mrs was great at just finding somewhere I'd not thought of and then I'd have an approach.

You may also find a way in to work by pitching yourself as a France based writer to the US market. They love that French gooseberry fool, just bill yourself as 'Paris based writer' or something and I bet thsst would help.

Confidence is a front anyway. Nobody is really confident, they're just great at making people think they are.

Re: Depression, Anxiety, or other Mental Health Conditions

Posted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:11 pm
by Rocsteady
Sorry to hear you're feeling like that taf.

It probably won't help in the slightest but I got massively lucky with a remote working job after being repeatedly rejected by other companies, just to show it can happen. I was blagging like strawberry float with totally false confidence as well, more so after every rejection. Hope something comes up that helps.

Re: Depression, Anxiety, or other Mental Health Conditions

Posted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:13 pm
by Tafdolphin
Rocsteady wrote:Sorry to hear you're feeling like that taf.

It probably won't help in the slightest but I got massively lucky with a remote working job after being repeatedly rejected by other companies, just to show it can happen. I was blagging like strawberry float with totally false confidence as well, more so after every rejection. Hope something comes up that helps.


Yeah, you mentioned remote jobs a while back and I have been looking. Do you mind me asking where you found yours? On a job site or directly from the company advertising the position?

Re: Depression, Anxiety, or other Mental Health Conditions

Posted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:20 pm
by Rocsteady
Tafdolphin wrote:
Rocsteady wrote:Sorry to hear you're feeling like that taf.

It probably won't help in the slightest but I got massively lucky with a remote working job after being repeatedly rejected by other companies, just to show it can happen. I was blagging like strawberry float with totally false confidence as well, more so after every rejection. Hope something comes up that helps.


Yeah, you mentioned remote jobs a while back and I have been looking. Do you mind me asking where you found yours? On a job site or directly from the company advertising the position?

The struggle is just keeping up the motivation to keep applying which is much easier said than done as I know you're aware - particularly when companies can't even be bothered responding.

I'll try and check, been in my role a couple of years now though so not sure I'll find the site. It was definitely just from some random job site though, kinda s1jobs or Reed style. Just having searched for 'remote'. We're not hiring in Europe just now but we also hire through LinkedIn. Although strawberry float LinkedIn.

Thinking about it, we're a fairly small company but in a growth phase- I'm definitely not promising anything but we might expand again as soon as next spring/summer. I work in marketing but it's kinda all communication based so would be fine for a writer. If you shoot me over your cv, if anything comes up I can put you forward.

Obviously if you promise to never mention this place cos I'd get fired instantly if some of my posts on here came out.

Re: Depression, Anxiety, or other Mental Health Conditions

Posted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:42 pm
by Tafdolphin
Without any expectations on my part that's still super helpful. I'll send you something over at somepoint in the next few days.

Thanks man.

Re: Depression, Anxiety, or other Mental Health Conditions

Posted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 2:09 am
by Green Gecko
Taf, have you thought about starting a newsletter that talks honesty about your struggles but also helps you highlight your strengths? Even if you decide not to send/publish some of it? Might help as a diary but also connecting to other people in industry.

Also try signing up to Brenna Dunn's Double Your Freelancing course, it works around a bunch of structured questions you just click links on your emails, even if you learn just something from it might help give you some structure and feel better about trying: https://doubleyourfreelancing.com/

Do you have a website or anything? It's possible to target copywriting jobs overseas, not speaking French needn't really be a problem you can't work around professionally even if it requires some remote stuff like more skype and correspondence, meetings etc. You can pick up small works on platforms like UpWork etc. but try to take those clients off there and through your own invoicing etc. You could even do some mini Fiverr gigs like, "Name my product/project" or "Summarise 10k words into 100w" as a lead generation exercise. I'm not very good at this as I don't know how to promote copywriting work but, I did try that and actually got a few jobs that made me feel good about getting anything out of it.

You could also think about selling some kind of digital product like an eBook for a few euros so you can get some small revenue and potential leads without having any overhead on that or really having to do anything except write and target the content.

If you need to make a website I'd start with something like Squarespace, Wordpress or webflow.com these days but I'm not sure how you are pitching yourself besides chasing after work on jobs boards etc? I haven't done that in years and by the sounds of it that isn't really working for you anyway. Most of my work comes from Google, networking and referrals and sometimes social media posts people like. Maybe taking a break from that process to start building up a personal brand will feel more rewarding?

Do you have any previous clients you can get recommendations or testimonials from? Start building up some online reputation from reviews etc?

What about LinkedIn and Twitter etc, do you have good profiles and a content strategy for showcasing your work, ideas, methods, discipline etc? What do you care about? What do you want to talk about; what matters to you?

Some of this isolation you are experiencing as a freelancer is very normal; you're deprived of basic day to day interactions with people not especially close to you that you can soundboard off (watercooler talk etc) and it's made a lot harder by living in a remote location in France, but, it's not totally impossible to overcome. However unfortunately it does mean connecting with others in whatever way you can. Where are you in France, roughly? Do you know any other expats or local places you can go and do some work without too much distraction? Maybe even just joining some other forums or IRC chat, Slack or Discord channels or something like that could help?

What about getting involved with a podcast? You could probably start one next week about your struggles living in France and trying to make it as a writer in the digital age. I'm sure at least a few people would listen to you talk about writing for a game or something like that. It might give you an outlet and the chance to actually speak as well; how often do you speak aloud about these things, besides with your partner (which seems to be boiling over a bit; I'm always talking too much about work and being told don't want to talk about making/painting/DIY etc).

Maybe I will think about it... writer & artist/maker isn't a terrible idea but 3 would be better.

Re: Depression, Anxiety, or other Mental Health Conditions

Posted: Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:28 am
by Tafdolphin
Thanks for that Gecko, all of that is super, super helpful and really helped me look at my situation in a more generous light, shall we say.

I have a website, linkedIn, twitter and all that but I don't think I'm utilising any of them as well as I could be. My problem at the moment is that having to write for the sake of writing has stripped the joy out of it and I'm struggling to creating anything I find interesting or, you know, good. Of course this isn't unusual for people in my situation so I just need to get a handle on it all really. That course you linked looked excellent so I'll definitely be investigating that further.

Funny you should mention the podcast, the wife told me the same thing the other day. My issue with that is that I don't feel I have much to contribute to wider discussions. But I'd be willing to try (or could at least force myself to be!)

I'm in Lyon, by the by. I've tried a few expat things but they sort of fizzled. I need to look into new ones for sure but the general background malaise had sort of pushed that to the back of my mind recently.

Re: Depression, Anxiety, or other Mental Health Conditions

Posted: Sun Sep 22, 2019 9:06 pm
by Tafdolphin
Seems to be just me in here at the moment!

I'm at my parents for a few weeks ostensibly to help them move but also to get some distance on my situation. Although the first few days were nice, a departure and a different set of surroundings, I'm regressing into something possibly worse than before.

On the positive side I'm starting to get a grip on just how bad I've gotten. I'm not well at all and I don't think I can get myself out of the hole I've found myself in without help. So at least that recognition is good.

On the negative side, I'm still down here and sinking deeper. I'm in some real trouble I think. I'm not motivated to do anything, I stay in bed all day mindlessly browsing the internet in an attempt to distract myself and I don't really feel anything anymore. I feel sad sometimes and worried sometimes but apart from that its all a sort of meaningless fug. Forget issues about work I can't motivate myself to do anything. Even reading a novel or picking up my Switch to play a game takes real effort and it's this that scares me the most. Everything just seems like so much work (apparently moaning about it on here doesn't count).

Going to make an effort to go out tomorrow even if it's just catching a tram and walking around town for the afternoon. Might stoke some sort of feeling.

Re: Depression, Anxiety, or other Mental Health Conditions

Posted: Sun Sep 22, 2019 9:47 pm
by Gemini73
Are you currently speaking to a professional, Taf?

Re: Depression, Anxiety, or other Mental Health Conditions

Posted: Sun Sep 22, 2019 10:17 pm
by Tafdolphin
Not currently. It's difficult to find a psychiatrist/therapist in France who both speaks English and would be covered under their social health schemes. I simply can't afford the £60 a week charge it would otherwise cost.

Re: Depression, Anxiety, or other Mental Health Conditions

Posted: Sun Sep 22, 2019 11:30 pm
by Gemini73
Tafdolphin wrote:Not currently. It's difficult to find a psychiatrist/therapist in France who both speaks English and would be covered under their social health schemes. I simply can't afford the £60 a week charge it would otherwise cost.


Ah yes of course that would prove both difficult and costly. Sorry, wasn't thinking.

Re: Depression, Anxiety, or other Mental Health Conditions

Posted: Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:25 pm
by Curls
Has anyone tried cutting down or stopping drinking to improve anxiety? I am starting to think this may have to be my next step. I’m still having issues and meditation is good but the bad days always seem to be around booze!

Re: Depression, Anxiety, or other Mental Health Conditions

Posted: Mon Sep 23, 2019 3:25 pm
by SandyCoin
I very rarely post in here, but I've been having really strawberry floating annoying tension in my head and back of my neck and head recently. Like...24 hours a day for a couple of weeks.

I've been pretty stressed out recently, as I'm leaving my job for 6 months, and all the planning etc and other gooseberry fool to sort out before leaving has been piling up. Which is obviously a shame as I should be looking forward to it. My gf's mum also found out she might have cancer, and is having tests around the time we are supposed to be leaving, so there's the stress of that, and possibly also cutting the trip short.

I initially went to my Dr a couple of weeks ago with dull neck and shoulder pain which I assumed stemmed from posture (though I have decent enough posture and really spend time looking down at phones etc). She gave me some anti inflammatory tablets as the tension is all up the upper part of my back also. I then started getting immense anxiety that it was a herniated disc in my neck. I have one in my lower back that happened 8 yrs ago and it still gives me a lot of problems, so the thought of it being in 2 places just made me panic and want to cry. I went back after a week and she sent me to a Osteopath who gave me an xray. During the xray I started feeling really weird. I went all tingly and sound muffled and I had to lay down. I'm guessing a somewhat minor anxiety attack.

He didn't see too much wrong with discs (slight degeneration), but xrays aren't really that good. I carried on with heat packs and tablets but the tension in my head stayed as well as the neck and back tension, and felt like I could barely hold my head up with my neck. I went back and he referred me for an MRI scan, but I'm leaving in a week, and so far haven't been able to find anywhere that can see me within that time frame. So now I'm stressing even more about that, and my head feels like it's going to explode. Especially the health system here in Germany is really strawberry floating confusing.

I think I just needed to rant, because it's doing my bloody head in, especially as I don't know whether it's anxiety tightening my muscles and pinching a nerve, or possibly something more serious. I'm heading back to England on Monday for 2 weeks, before flying out for our trip, so hopefully that might help reduce stress.

Re: Depression, Anxiety, or other Mental Health Conditions

Posted: Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:24 pm
by Green Gecko
It does come with a minor increased risk of stroke when performed on the neck, but it could be worth seeing if a contemporary mixed practice (non bullshit) chiropractor could help for more immediate (if temporary) relief? There is evidence even acknowledged by the NHS that it does help with lower and middle back pain.

The evidence base is washy and ignore all the gooseberry fool about subluxation (total BS), but studied chiropractors sometimes know as such if not more than an osteopath (or practise both disciplines) as well as being experts in massage. Think about it as a massage for your bones. By cracking the joints you momentarily stretch the ligaments holding you together and "snap" back into place, repositioning to a "default". Say for example some vertebrae are out of alignment (an osteopath suggested some of my ribs were displaced from my spine), most doctors will dismiss this as inconsequential because people just have wobbly spines. There's gooseberry fool going on there that just can't be seen on anything but a detailed MRI and then treating that with something other than just meds, which only provide temporary relief, is another thing entirely.

Later on, and I'M NOT A DOCTOR, I saw my X-rays after fracturing my T5 vertebrate and was like, holy strawberry float my spine between my shoulders is twisted and angular like crazy. Whether I grew up sleeping gooseberry fool or had bad pillows or whatever, it just looked wrong. It's like lego blocks just not fitting together. I get a lot of pain in that area so I have to stretch and contort myself almost all the time, eventually I've been able to "crack" my own spine in that area to get some relief but I still get dull pain there.

If you do go, just decide if it was worth the fee (I paid £25 each time) and then walk away when you're not seeing any other benefit to prevent it turning into money black hole versus health covered treatment. In my experience I would have to say, yes it was.

I had problems with my lower back and neck, and some vigorous massage compared with cracking my neck and lower back gave me immense relief. It actually made me feel slightly dizzy and weirdly giddy with laughter but what I was actually experiencing was the relief from crazy amounts of built up pain tolerance. I was holding my head in my hands crying I was in so much pain, but this also an anxiety > stress > tension > muscular pain loop so it was all one thing mixed up. I would recommend mindfulness as well. What's your work life work? Weren't you an illustrator moving into gaming sort of fields, whether that's freelance or studio-based I know it can be pretty hectic?

How much time do you spend working at a computer? And on smart devices? You could try working at a standing desk, taking time out to sketch while leaning on a breakfast bar or jotting down notes, walking and taking notes about ideas? So you're still working but not desk-based 100% of the time. That really causes problems for me, so I moved into small scale manufacture more with about 50% computer-dependent stuff at most.

Also what's your seating, desk and monitor arrangement like? Is it worth investing there are adjusting your habits?

Re: Depression, Anxiety, or other Mental Health Conditions

Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2019 8:02 am
by SandyCoin
Well I went to see when my earliest MRI could be...and it's late January :| So that's a no go unfortunately as I will hopefully be in Asia enjoying myself (wishful thinking).

I've booked a neck, shoulder and head massage this weekend just to see if it gives me a bit of relief. Not a proper chiropractor yet though. I'll look for one of those in London when I'm back next week (and sadly pay London prices). I've learnt to deal with my slipped disc in my lower back, but in my neck is just a huge downer. Especially just before this trip.

I work at a desk all day, but sadly not doing design anymore. That's only very infrequently. One of the reasons for my sabbatical was to do more design work again, hence the long trip duration, and get creative again as doing artwork certainly helps with my depression and anxiety. I even spent a fortune recently on an iPad with the Apple pencil, which I got to use for about 3 weeks before this neck thing occurred. Now I can barely look down for 5 mins, so that's a bit of a gut punch. My desk is decent enough, I'm at eye level etc and the chair has a cushion for support etc. Not amazing, but work didn't want to shell out for a proper set up for me for obvious reasons. I am very rarely on my phone, so not looking down a huge amount except for some occasions.

I'm having trouble sleeping now. I'm sleeping separately to my gf at the moment as our bed is uncomfortable and I'm moving around too much, so don't want to disturb her. I get all anxious at night and start kinda spiraling into that horrible pit of thinking the worst and feeling my heart rate go up, thinking I'm gonna have a stroke or something. I have to put a TV show on really quietly in the background as I can't sleep at all when there is just silence. My thoughts just end up taking over, which are 99% of the time negative.

Re: Depression, Anxiety, or other Mental Health Conditions

Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2019 10:27 am
by Jezo
So I've been thinking about therapy recently to see if that'll help, but one of the things that depresses me is not having the time to do the things I want to do. So it's like is it worth sacrificing the time? I can't see how it would even help in my case. Also sorry if I just dropped in and interrupted something kek