Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Advice for Moira

I continue to be amazed and delighted by the support offered by readers to those who post their problems on the message boards of Beyond Blue.
The other day at breakfast, Eric said to me, “I feel bad for Moira.”
“Moira from Beyond Blue?”
“Yeah, that Moira. She doesn’t have health insurance. When I read some of the stories on the comment boards of Beyond Blue, I realize how lucky we are.”
This is coming from a man who (in the past) only read the words I forced in front of his eyes with the directive “read.” I had no idea he was reading everyone’s stories on Beyond Blue. And the fact that he carried their problems to our breakfast table made me realize how special a community we have.
A few days ago Moira wrote the following on the message board of “Nine Tips for Managing Anxiety“:


For the first time in several years I am trying to “live” without antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs. I have no insurance now and these drugs are cost prohibitive. Working from home, I have no one to talk to. I cannot drive due to diabetes (newly diagnosed) and not driving is a first for me so I no longer turn to books for comfort. I read very quickly and I have no way to buy books now.
I realize that I am privileged. I live in the USA. My only child is healthy, happy, a wife and mother. With the college degree and job skills to fall back on some day. She had a good career before she traded it for a great career as a stay-at-home mom.
So, I have so much to be thankful for. Why do I still want to die but am so afraid that I will? I don’t know how to reach out. I don’t even know if I can continue working as a medical transcriptionist/medical editor. I have had this career for 34 years. I am failing at it now. I get so anxious when I start to sign on to begin work that I either throw up or worse. I have not been paid by my employer recently. I sent e-mails and get no reply. At one time I would have taken the bull by the horns and called and demanded payment. Now I am afraid to call because I am afraid I’ll lose my job and never get paid. I do not like how I sound. I sound sorry for myself and a victim and I never thought of myself in that way.
What in the world do I do to stop this cycle? How do I get on with my life? Why have I been such a loner and now that I am so very alone, I want to scream and cry and beg someone to talk to me…just listen…go to lunch…tell me what they need and how they feel. Get my mind off me. I pray. I pray all the time. Please, Dear Lord, lead me.


So many wise, insightful, and loving comments followed hers. Among them:

I am a psychiatric nurse who happens to have a long history of Major Depressive Disorder. I know the dark place where you are all too well. It sounds like you need to be working with a doctor or nurse practitioner to manage your depression with medication, like I do. Depression is just as real an illness as your diabetes or your neighbor’s heart disease. And, like those illnesses, it needs to be managed for you to have quality of life. The medicine will regulate chemicals in your brain so you can think clearly and, eventually, start to take back control of your life! Managing depression is not a matter of having the willpower or mental resolve to “go it alone” without medicine. You have found the strength to reach out to others on this web site. Please find the energy to reach out and get help with your medicines. Please call this number:
Affordable Rx. Meds.: 1-877-MEDS 4 ME, or 1-877-633-7463. Leave a message-they WILL return your call.
This is a program based on a US government mandate that helps people who cannot afford their medications. They take some information once, then apply to different funding sources for you. A social worker from the US Department of Health and Human Services may also be of some help–you may be eligible for Medicaid or Medicare. Is there public transportation in your area? It never hurts to ask!
Please look in your phone book for a crisis hotline. If you feel overwhelmed or like hurting yourself, call! I believe that asking for help is a sign of strength. You are NOT helpless-You are a SURVIVOR! Hang on –Katie
All the areas in your life that need attention can seem overwhelming. But even one small step in the right direction is progress. It may seem impossible, but actually you can do it. I know — I’ve been in a similar situation and as crumby as it seems, you have to take the first step to help yourself. The others will follow. I hope take the nurse’s advice and first get your medication. You need a clear head to make decisions and your health comes first.
Even though you can’t drive, maybe you could get a job that gets you out of the house. I think being home alone and working is very difficult. Are you a church member? Perhaps your church has a way for you to reach out, both to be listened to, and to volunteer.
My inclination when I am feeling bad is to retreat into myself, but I know that it is not healthy. I will pray for you. If you write back here, I will reply. –Babs
You now have a “network” of people caring for you and being concerned about your well-being. I know, it is not the same as having someone to talk to in person but now you can look forward to seeing if “you’ve got mail”.
I know you are depressed and anxious but please contact the number that Katie gave your re affordable drugs and also contact your doctor’s office and ask for any available sample sizes of your anti-depressants that the doctor might have on hand. They might tide you over until you get set up with the affordable meds.
Moira, is there an organization in your town that provides rides to doctor’s appointments or necessary shopping? They might be able to help you and you would meet new people and possibly make new friends. You can always ask someone in for coffee as a way of thanking them. And regarding books, sells books at a discount although they do charge delivery. Would you be able to get to a post office to pick them up or arrange for your regular mail person to deliver them to you? What about a traveling library?
Is it possible that once you get the diabetes under control that you will be able to drive again? I don’t know what size community you live in but most hospitals offer some information sessions for people newly diagnosed with diabetes. Your doctor’s office could provide you with that information.
I know, I’ve raised a lot of questions that you probably are not up to answering at the moment but maybe making one little step at a time will help with the anxiety.
I’m thinking of you Moira. Hang in there, kid, you’ll get through this. –Linda
I was in the legal field many years as a legal secretary and got burned out, especially when I reached menopause years. Perhaps you need a change, even a small one. When my kids were small I also worked at home for about a year, typing and transcribing for a court reporter, and for me it was so isolating and I could not go back to it. Change can take time, sometimes what seems like a very long time, but it does happen, so hang in there. –Peg
Please don’t downplay what you are going through, or shoo it aside because you “have so much to be thankful for.” Your anxiety is REAL, it is a disease. Like someone else said, this is like your diabetes- it needs treatment. I hope that you are able to find some way to get help for this. –Jennifer

  • ?

    Thank you all for living! Thank you also to Linda.
    A connection to others is what keeps us hanging on…and hanging on is what it is all about when we are isolated and trying to protect others from our personal “drama”. I do go to read these letters. Usually I don’t even know what I am looking for. But I did cry when Linda wrote to me with advice..It is awful to hide this THING alone. It is easy for me to see how others could end up shut in, without people contact.
    Getting help…I have some concerns because my experiences have made me a bit reticent. My first major step for help was 18 years ago. I went to a psychiatrist in another, larger city. He said I was clinically depressed and suffered from “burn out.” The youngest of our 9 children were 8,6,4,3, and 1. He prescribed some medicine (don’t remember what). After 7 days he switched it to something else. After 4 weeks he had touched my hair and asked me out to lunch with him alone and showed me a dress in a magizine that he thought I would look great in. He informed me that I did not look at all like he thought a mother of 9 chiildren would look like. I discontinued seeing him. I called a hot line and got the name of another psychiatrist (after about 6 months). I met with the psychiatrist and he informed me that I was clinically depressed. He was sort of illusive. He simply sent me home. I mentioned to my husband that something did not seem right. A week later I read in the paper that he committed suicide in his car. About 3 summers ago I finally went to my family doctor and he prescibed prozac. I only took prozac for 5 days. No one in my family knew that I went to the doctor’s or was taking prozac. The problem became that several receptionists as well as the doctor have children that I taught. Ours is a small town. In the reception room, about 2 weeks after I quit the prozac, I went for something else. When I filled out the medical history again…in the spot for “medicines taking”, I put none….which was true. The receptionist called from the front desk, across the waiting room, “You’re not taking any medicines?” Yikes, I thought…what if I was. When I told her no, she replied…”Oh”…but I felt like she didn’t believe me…plus there were people in the waiting room. Right now I am not confident about finding a doctor for help. But I did take Linda’s advice and do a bit of internet hunting for a doctor. I am confused about it all right now.
    Also I have not seen anyone here who has this next part of the depression-isolation problem….I carbohydrate eat and fuel my tears literally with eating. I am really isolated. My anxiety about going out centers on the inability to even find something to wear because of my weight… So I think if I can loose weight I could meet my daughter today at the swimming pool to watch my grandson take swimming lessons. It would be fun. I love my daughter’s company..but I am sitting here in sweats and can not bring myself to go out and see other people. It actually is too hgot for sweats when I leave the air conditioning. Also I have taught some of the children of the people at the pool. Ironically I received the Distinguished Educator of the Year Award in a rather large school district. How do I go back to school each fall and teach?….This is how…I have major anxiety attacks. I hardly sleep. I wake up in full waves of panic. I spend hours on the weekend trying to find something to wear for the next week. I hate it when it is hot because I can not cover myself. I wear sweatshirts to church and drip sweat. I almost laughed when I saw people in short sleeve shirts wiping their brows. In the church was one other person in a sweatshirt and I couldn’t help but wonder what was going on with them.
    I isolate myself because of the weight but the weight is a symtom of something else.(!?)
    How can I loose weight? (I know what I should do about the weight…am I a complete deadbeat?) Yet the circle seems to be that the physical look of my body is so fueling my isolation which is fueling my depression which is fueling my eating which is fueling my isolation etc.? I know it is not this simple but sometimes my physical self-image seems to have a huge impact on my mental state. I noticed that all these medicines seem to “help” a person gain weight. What price am I willing to pay to lose this pain?….Well, I find it hard to believe that more weight will make me well. Also when I look around the internet for various medicines and the latest info on depression….I do see different schools of thought. There was one about the placebo effect of medicine. I am having real trouble validating the medicine…I am confused about whether the HOPE of wellness and the time with someone to talk to are what ease the pain. It disturbs me that I am such a recluse that I have to pay someone to be my “friend”. I start to get everything in a jumble in my head.
    Right now I can write…other times it takes too much energy and causes me too much pain. I sure do seem to wallow. What a negative thinker I am !!!! Sorry to spread this about…what is the REAL deal about medicine? Does anyone have weight issues that seem to cloud the healing process?

  • Margaret

    Actually, i’ve been advised that obesity and depression are often “sister diseases” and many of us who suffer from one aso battle the other. The myth about fat people being jolly is just that–mYTH One wise therapist once told me that it wasn’t what I was eating, it was what was eating me! How right she was! My worst depressions are also fueled by bunge eating, and you’re absolutely right, it’s a viscious circle with one issue feeding off the other. Don’t know if this wil help you, but one thing I have managed to learn is that sloppy or loose clothes actually draw attention to my weight rather than camoflauging it. If there’s a specialty store in your area which caters to us larger women, call and find out if they have fashion counselors on staff. some of them do, and they usually have the same size problems we do but know how to dress themselves in ways that downplay it. It took me years, but I’ve finally gotten it through my head that an oversize sweatshirt or tunic doesn’t protect me from a thing and that tailored, well-fitting clothes made for women my size can actually be flattering. Is there anyone you could get to accompany you on a modest “shopping spree” at one of the specialty stores I referred to? I know you mentioned that money was an issue; since I now live on a fixed disability income, I can relate to that too! (Are we sisters under the skin, or what?) Another pieceof advice that helped me was accepting that as I am a child of God, I cannot ever be truy unattractive even though I may never be a size 8.If I can (somehow)learn to love myself and allow His light to shine through me, it will be the best beauty aid I could buy! That old saw my mother used to reinforce about beauty being only skin deep is actually true! When we’re able to reach outside ourselves, the inner beauty of God’s love and acceptance illuminates us! Hope these suggestions don’t sound too much like platitudes to you as I absolutely HATE it when I’m feeling needy and someone throws cliches at me. but as someone once wrote recently, cliches are cliches for a reason and are usually oft repeated BECAUSE there’s an underlying truth that has survived the retelling.It needn’t cost you a lot of money, but you deserve an occasional treat (nonedible ones, of course. Knowing you’re dressed appropriately for the weather and the occasion ca be a lift by itself. Try it, sit back and accept the compliments you’re sure o receive. Just as you wondered about that other woman in church. others look at you and wonder or see the unhappiness you’re attempting to disguise. And since you seem so like me, one word of caution: Teach yourself to accept an honest compliment without denigrating yourself. No one bothers to lie to an acquaintance about something as mundane as them looking nice; we aren’t that important to them. So instead of playing their kind words off, look them straight in the eye and say something like “Thank you, that’s nice to hear.” You won’t be lying, because kind words ARE alwas nice to hear. Then store those words on the hrd drive of your brain where all those negative thoughts about yourself consume so much of your available memory bytes. If it’s necessary, erase some of those negative files to make room for the kind words We really need to learn to monitor the input we allow into our psyches. After all, the only output a computer or brain can produce is the data with which its been programmed. If you’re unable to tell yourself “I look nice in this outfit, rephrase it so that you’re saying “So and so said I look nice in these clothes.”
    Don’t give up, above all. eventually repeating those words to yourself may even become as gratifying as a super-sized order of greasy french fries oe a Ding Dong! It just takes time and some conscientious reprogramming. And remember that you aren’t alone! I for one, will be praying for relief from the desolation you’re experiencing.

  • Tracy

    Hi. Hormones play a big part in how we feel. Get a physical. If they tell you to loose weight – even if you feel like telling them off – find support for enrolling in an exercise and healthy eating program. Think of food as a ‘tool for building your healthy body’, not as a comforter or as entertainment. Find non-edible rewards for yourself. We reach for junky food because it’s easy and cheap! Throw it out! You are not a human garbage disposal – You are worth the best! Have a salad with chicken instead of pizza! Get a new lipstick or body lotion. Take yourself out to a play. Get a facial. A massage (I am a massage therapist :) – we don’t judge!)
    Take a walk! Any walk. Take one day at a time. Breathe deeply. Each inhale is a gift received, and each exhale a giving back. And you are worth every breath.
    Take a class in movement.
    Let us know how it goes…

  • Katie Saylor

    Hi Moira,
    What kinds of books do you read? I am an avid reader and would love to mail you some to read if you are interested. I am 30 years old and live in St. Pete, FL. I suffer from depression and anxiety and take medicines for both. Maybe we could set something up about borrowing books from each other. My personal email is
    Hang in there and know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Tamara

    Hi Moira, our local library has a delivery service once a week for people who can’t get there due to illness. It may be worth a call to your local library to see if it offers a similar service. Sending you all best wishes.

  • Terri Maria

    Hi Moira,
    I just wanted to note that like everything else you have to be careful of info gathered online. I don’t know where you read about the placebo effect of medicine for depression but I’m guessing it was not written by a doctor with experience in the field.
    I do know that I have been suffering from depression since i was a teenager or longer, and I only recently began receiving treatment (at age 41). I noticed a huge difference in how I felt about everything. I started the South Beach diet before starting the meds, and it caused me to do something I never did before…i STAYED on the diet! Or at least the maintenence plan. I have lost 20 lbs and have not gained it back. Working out is fun! I always hated working out.
    Good Doctors aren’t always easy to find. If you don’t feel comfortable with one, go find another. Ask for recommendations from people you know. Also…feel safe in the knowlege that the people at the doctor’s office cannot disclose anything about what you are taking or not taking or going through medically…so don’t fear that. If you were teaching my kids and on prozac I would be more comfortable knowing you were taking it than teaching them with untreated depression! That may be why the receptionist was worried when you stated you weren’t on anything when she knew you should’ve been…and don’t let those doctors bully you…you won’t get in trouble if you complain about their service…don’t forget you are a CUSTOMER as well as a patient.
    God are in my prayers.

  • Debbie

    I will put you in my prayers. We all know what it’s like to be where you are. I don’t have any health insurance either because I’m self-employed and the cost is phenomenal for insurance. My doctor gives me samples and I have a written prescription for when I can afford it. Please take the advice of everyone who sent you resources for your medication. In the meantime we will keep praying for your strength through the Lord to get over this dark time. You are talented, brilliant and beautiful. You have kept the same career for 34 years which shows great stability. You had the insight to express your feelings on Beyond Blue which shows you want out of this place. We are all with you holding your hand. If you close your eyes you can feel our arms around you knowing that the beautiful person, Moira, is in there. I too have a story, we all do. I too was taken from an assertive happy place and sunk into fear. I stopped my dream and threw my purpose in life out the window. (actually into bed watching Court T.V.) But I’m coming back now thanks to the Lord. Believe me, it will happen. Keep talking to us, talking to Therese, and keep in prayer.
    Love, Debbie

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