Dealing with mental health over age 40

I truly do value this forum, and feel like this is a safe space to ask about how you manage your mental health.

This year has been wild; injured my back quite badly in January meaning that i’ve spent the year in quite horrible discomfort and it’s done a number on me. Put my dog down in the middle of it all as well and I wasn’t bargaining on feeling that much grief. Ate my feelings as a result and put on 10kgs easily.

I’ve never been someone to be too down for too long, and generally just get on with it but really struggling to find motivation at the moment.

What have you done in the past when you’ve felt down? I speak to a therapist but I find it quite useless/frustrating as everything i say is right and if I wanted a yes man, i’d hire another one for my company.

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Can I just say that the fact that you find this a safe space and are able to share with people like that means we’ve done something really right between us all here. Here’s to some words that help coming soon…

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I truly feel that it is, I know if I’d have posted this on other forums i’d have been called some derogatory by now. I don’t have time for the You Twat crew that keyboard warriors their way through other forums. Plus the soundtrack to this one is far superior as well.

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I’m sorry you’re having a tough time.
I’ve mentioned on here previously that I had a bit of a wobble last summer. What I hadn’t mentioned is that I stopped drinking alcohol on that first day of July. It felt like a very easy decision so I count myself lucky.
I can honestly say that the difference in my mental health is enormous. Just the stability that not drinking alcohol (or any other substances) has brought has been life changing. My mood is stable, my relationships with my family have never been better. I’ve found out who my freinds are and I feel able to cope with anything in a measured and positive way.
I’ve found that simplifying my life in terms of what I do has been really important and learning to say no to things I’m not interested in being involved in has also helped.
I’ve adopted a lot of what the Zoe people suggest regards diet and have cut out eating junk.
I’ve honestly never felt more able to cope.
I began an online Mental health First aid course last month, ironically that’s caused a bit of stress and anxiety regarding deadlines :joy:
I hope that helps in some way.

oh, and cricket, endless cricket, listening or watching, men or women, any level, I find the commentary and the rhythm of the game like a soothing balm.

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As @Apiento said and you posting here shows it really is a good place…making things more simple as you can and thinking more of what is good for you is a great relief. Can be tough with back pain to get out and about so hopefully that will ease off… Feel free to Dm, my Mrs has been living with pain for years after an accident…

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Sounds basic but a long walk with your close friends. There’s something about the rhythm of the day, when you’ve set aside the time and just walk and talk for a few hours. For me it’s a time when we flit between silly stuff and some pretty big life topics. If there’s something on my mind that’s troubling me I know it’s a good time to bring it up, even if I’m not sure exactly what it is and it’s just a way I’m feeling. Friends you’ve known for 30+ years who have also been through ups and downs and aren’t just ‘yes men’ are better than any therapist session, for me anyway. More than any changes of diet, drug/alcohol consumption, or exercise, I think talking about how I am feeling with people who will really listen is the primary way of dealing with my mental health issues.

Edit: I also stopped some bad behaviour with things I’d been doing for 30years and cut out alcohol almost entirely. In some ways it’s been harder recently as stuff I’d buried in hangovers has hit me in a pretty raw way. But I guess seeing/feeling things for what they actually are is an important first step in dealing with them, however tempting it is to blot them out again.

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Really sorry to hear that. In my experience two things have been crucial in getting over a hump - (1) keeping a routine that takes you outside and (2) physical exercise. Even if it’s simply going for a 30-min walk in the morning, just do it. Set small goals and take the dopamine hit that comes with accomplishing them. Stay off social media (TP Forum excepted). You got this!

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Sorry to hear that you’re having a tough time of it and I hope things get better for you soon. I don’t have any wise words or suggestions for you but in the last few years I’ve found exercise such a help and have only realised that as like you, I’ve also just done my back quite badly.

I hope it helps knowing there’s plenty of support on TP. I’m not the most prolific poster but I value this community so much. I know it might sound a bit stupid but there have been so many occasions something posted on here has helped me through the day. Thanks to you all!

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A few things, motto’s and such that help(ed) me on the way to reaching 60 in a sane way (I hope :wink::crossed_fingers:):

  • take your time : we overestimate what can be achieved in one month but underestimate what can be done in two months, take what’s digestable for the day and see from there, babysteps , give yourself the permission for recovery, journaling can be helpful for this.
  • there is no mental health, there’s just health as mind and body are unseparatable, so if you’re good for your body the mind will follow.
  • when we clean our house remember that in the middle of the cleansing the house might get dirtier than it used to before, trust the process :wink: and get rid of all stuff that doesn’t serve you well.
  • also, from experience I went through a time of not being able to stand music with too many hedonistic connotations, because of an overload of deejaying/residency for more than 10 years in a local club here in town. I went through a period of listening to music with a kind of balming quality for the soul for a few months exclusively (floating beatless ambient, classic stuff, newage and such - e.g. Iasos (RIP) with his Angelic Music was a huge, big help in my case).
  • you’re not alone, these are very strange times for everyone everywhere in the world (it seems), good to reach out here, it also gave me a good reason to reply, thank you (and thank you TP Forum).

Hang in there, good luck with your recovery,
once you start it never ends,
these times are forcing us to reinvent ourselves every time,
again and again…
:vulcan_salute:

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Maybe try a new therapist or new type of therapy? As they say the number 1 rule is to have a good relationship with your therapist and it sounds like maybe you don’t? Talking doesn’t always help but learning certain ‘tools’ can really help… I found this with CBT over counselling.

Also the daily classics which I get loads of benefits from:

  • Exercise
  • Eat / drink healthy
  • Limit tech and social media use
  • Journalling - will help you get better connected to your emotions and gives you a chance to release negative energy
  • Read
  • Listen to music (I like the advert / device free kind - so records or CDs and tapes if you have them)
  • See friends (at least once a week) and reach out / re connect with old friends (this is meant to help in ways you might not even notice - taken from Stutz Life Force model)

Also learn a new skill - with no pressure of anything coming from it.
If you like art go to a free gallery / museum. Not sure where you are based but the Camden Arts Centre in London is one of my favourite spaces… really calm and the garden is beautiful.

Hope something connects with you and know this time shall pass :slight_smile:

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Echoing everyone else. Hope things pick up soon @Casual

I dealt with redundancy and the dark clouds last year by immersing myself in music & writing loads of blogs and also putting a pin in a map and visiting parts of town i’d never been to.

Cutting out negative news/friends has helped too, but stressful sleeping still a big issue

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Some great advice and shared experiences here.

I’ve suffered depression on and off since I was 19, sometimes really debilitating and lasting months. The things that have worked for me, depending on how bad it’s been:

  • anti depressants. Twice they got me through really dark spells. I didn’t much like them but they undoubtedly stabilised dark thoughts.
  • therapy. Mixed results but I have at least always found it a safe place to just speak to someone who doesn’t judge you about things you may not be able to share with anyone else.
  • exercise. It really helps though in very bad times I’ve found it very hard to motivate myself.
  • diet. Makes a big difference to eat well, not skipping meals or just eating junk.
  • friends. Don’t isolate yourself. Tell people you’re going through a bad patch. Share with partner and family. Everyone will be kind.
  • work. See above. Generally work has been supportive and it just takes some pressure off yourself.
  • booze / drugs. Avoid if you can.
  • give yourself a break and try to spend time doing things that make you happy. Go to the movies, go record shopping, go out with kids, whatever it is that allows you to switch off for a bit and brings some enjoyment and fun.

:heart::heart:

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Really great thread. Thank you for sharing, might seem cliché, but that really is the first step to addressing an issue like mental health. Whatever you’re dealing with, doing your best to share and articulate your experience has absolutely zero downside. It helps you and helps others who might be feeling similarly, but just didn’t have the words. Sorry if you experienced negativity about it elsewhere, those people need help in their own way.

To answer you, I am not over 40, so I can’t speak to that specifically. However, I am someone who has struggled a lot mentally. I’ve been open, here and elsewhere, about my sobriety. Even with all that work put in for that and considering myself “healthy”, mentally and physically, I would still say I struggle at times mentally and likely will to some extent for the rest of my life.

Many of my experiences, I’d say they’ve done a degree of permanent damage that I’ve ostensibly had to recover from. In truth, I think issues like anxiety and mood imbalance were always present, they were just exasperated and brought to the fore by what I did to myself. I think I say all this, to point out that it’s not something that can be 100% “fixed” at any given time in a lot of cases, mental health (in my experience) is something that is continuous and that you have to work at and regularly make changes to accommodate.

For me, it took years of healthy living and “white-knuckling it” as it were. I can’t stress enough how much diet and paying attention to stomach health will aid you, not just physically, but mentally. People with really, really poor gut health, they’ve been shown to exhibit symptoms found in schizophrenia, manic depression, etc. It’s come to be known as a second brain in recent years and I think I agree with that wholly. If the gears and clockwork are turning properly in your body, particularly the stomach, your brain functions differently and I have no problem believing that. It may be hippie-like of me, but we are an interconnected organism; one thing going wrong/right can kick off a chain reaction, etc.

Aside from that, as others have said. Simply interacting with people, friends, loved ones, talking about it or simply talking at all about anything, it helps. Contrary to what anyone thinks, we aren’t intended to be solitary, isolated people. Believe me, I considered myself pretty anti-social for a lot of my life, so it would be easier if that were the case. It’s simply not how humans are wired. No matter your disposition, you must have connection, love, contact. Without it, like I said, things begin to go wrong. As others have said too; limiting online “connectedness”, social media, news, “doom-scrolling”, etc. That helps immensely. To tie back into what I just said about interaction, I firmly believe we aren’t intended to be staring into screens constantly, get outside and do something, or even just do earthing. Something as simple as feeling your feet against grass, something that isn’t man made, has an impact.

All I can really say other than that, is do not give up. No one said it to me when I struggled, but I will say it to you, it will get better. I promise.

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Some amazing advice here. I had a nervous breakdown at around forty- a good ten years ago. Panic attacks, depersonalisation, suicidality. Worst time of my life

Things that got me through ( trying not to repeat some of the invaluable advice given already)

  1. If you aren’t up to acting on overcoming your feelings at least write down your options- as to how you can help yourself- eg contacting gp, medication options, as suggested elsewhere in the thread.
    An action plan can be empowering in of itself, helps you unscramble your thoughts in addition to a journal mentioned earlier

2.A grounding / anchoring behaviour for every day. It can be something as simple as a box set you haven’t seen before to watch at night. At my worst this kept me going, wanting to know what would happen next.

  1. Deliberately acting counter- intuitively to how you feel ‘ forcing yourself out of the door’ as mentioned by others here. This is really essential because in a mental health crisis doing the opposite of what your brain is telling you can sometimes be the best self help around.

  2. What made you happy as a kid? Going back to basics like that can really help, it can also steer you in a positive direction away from behaviours that might make your mental health worse.

  3. Taking time out from work/ getting a sick note can be helpful, but that structure of work might benefit you too, down the line. Too much time to yourself might be detrimental so think about what will work for you. Going back to work with amended duties can actually help when you start to see some improvement.

6 Meditation helped me massively, but only with a mantra. As this is a music site the mantra from Anambra by Ozo is actually perfect for this as it happens. This guide can help you learn the basics of TM ( Vedic) without the price tag:

Cynical? I was… but it works- with practice. And you don’t need to be a buddhist to get something out of it.

Hope this helps you out

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It’s funny what you say about cricket - I’m the same. Test Match Special is one of the joys of life and I find it incredibly soothing and uplifting!

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X 2 - was going to post something similar. Get outdoors into nature and exercise if you can. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

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love this thread. i am in no position to give advice on mental health (in fact, i’m taking notes on a lot of other people’s suggestions here as i absolutely go through stretches of time where i can’t believe i’m doing what i’m doing/saying what i’m saying) but…

one thing that helps me keep things in perspective is the act of documenting my day. i work with microsoft excel a fair amount and use it just to itemize the day’s events - not in great detail, usually - but just as a method of tracking what i did, where i went, what i ate, who i talked to, and maybe a little how i felt about it. a usual entry is like “slept longer than intended - went into the office, ate sushi for lunch, left early to pick up the kid from school, watched basketball and ate tacos for dinner. i need to order new glasses and call mom & dad”.

doing so helps me keep my shit sort of visible to myself. i can see patterns, help to set aside a moment or two before bigger events like holidays, and to help remember the good stuff, even if it’s an impressive rainstorm or a nice walk with the dog.

one of those suggestions that won’t necessarily change your life, but helps you keep an eye on it (and now i don’t forget birthdays as often).

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I love the babble of TMS in the summer. Also the sound of the football on 5 live during the winter months

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Great post @faintwaves stomach health as you mentioned is something my Mrs got really into a few years ago and was a game changer. I never heard much of it before but it helped so much. Eat for your gut and mind I think was a book she was reading.

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A random one that might or might not work for you - take a big leap and do some volunteering. It can be a simple thing, but sometimes taking yourself out of your comfort zone (if you’re ready for it) and doing something completely different that helps others can be very therapeutic. Often the connections made can be huge boon too.

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