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Being better at accepting depression

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This topic contains 47 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  anita 10 hours, 23 minutes ago.

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  • #213799

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Rich:

    You know about the riddle: if a tree falls in the forest and there is no one to hear it fall, did it really fall? When you cry as a child as hard as a child does, feeling sadness as intensely as a child does, and there is  no one hearing the child crying (“wishing someone could hear me but of course there was no one there)-

    When there is no one there, no one hearing a child crying, did the child really cry-

    this is the nature of disassociation, you doubt your own sadness, or you doubt it is justified because there was no one there to see it.

    anita

    #213801

    anita
    Participant

    * didn't reflect under Topics

    #213833

    noname
    Participant

    thanks again for your reply. I think im hopeless though. I cant be helped im wasting time you could spend helping someone who can actually be helped.

    Thanks

    Rich

    #213903

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Rich:

    You feel hopeless, at  least you felt it when you posted the above. Maybe on a regular basis you believe that you are hopeless. Then you hope that there is hope after all, the hope then dissolves and you are back to feeling hopeless.

    But reality is the same regardless of how you feel and what you believe, in most cases, it is. And reality is that there is hope for you, it only doesn't feel this way.

    anita

    #213989

    noname
    Participant

    Anita

    Thanks again for your replies, i did indeed feel hopeless when i posted. I never thought much of the distinction of believing im hopeless and feeling hopeless. I guess i don't always feel hopeless, but the belief that i am hopeless is part of this persistent pain im talking about. If I believe there is no hope then i don't have much motivation to try. Life feels meaningless i have lost my drive, which is not surprising because i have always been shame driven.  How to convince myself there is hope for me when i cant think of anything to look forward to?

    It's ironic that you have been encouraging me to empathize with myself as a child. My mom found a journal of mine from 4th grade. As a 10 year old i wrote “Today's valentines day, and me being who i am i didn't do well at anything. So far its 11:40am and i've been having a bad day. I got half a sandwhich for breakfast, messed up a whole bunch in band class, and the more i think about it ill never be like everyone else”

    I read that today and almost cried. After reading that and some other passages I think I realized my 10 year old self was already very damaged and im wondering how no one saw the signs. Either way when i read that quote i'm still conflicted trying to empathize with myself. It feels like i'm complaining and being ungrateful. However if a kid that i worked with wrote something like i did above i would be concerned and would want to help.

    I feel so pathetic, and as if ill never be fully accepted by another person

    #213993

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Rich:

    When a child is alone with his pain, as you have been (and as I have been), time seems endless. It feels like it will never end, the pain. It still does: “as if I'll never be fully accepted..”

    Ten year old Rich, Valentine Day. I wish it started as usual, your mother gently waking you up, whispering your name and tapping on your shoulder. You open your eyes and see her smile, her eyes smiling at you, looking at you with affection. Be it the first thing you see. Then breakfast, and her wishing you a good day. At lunch, a whole sandwich and a heart shaped cookie, special to Valentine Day. Maybe it has your initial on it, in small candy. I wish at band you did well part of the time and the parts you messed up, that was just the way you get better at band. Everyone messes up and so do you.

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 6 days ago by  anita.
    #214051

    noname
    Participant

    Anita

    I'm not sure where to go from here. Today I'm very depressed and really don't want to be at work but I dont have much choice because other people are depending on me to be there for them. I'm having the hardest time empathizing with myself. My thinking is since empathy for myself is so foreign to my way of thinking and feeling that I'm very resistant to it.

    When I'm depressed all I can think of is “get it together” or “try harder”. So much of my identity is tied to my work ethic, that I cant relax out of fear there's something I've forgotten or I'm doing wrong that I need to be working to fix.

    Above all I think I need to share how I'm feeling with somebody. Posting here is helping but I feel as if I'm rejecting all the help you're offering because I feel like you're going to abandon me eventually, the same dynamic plays out in my physical life as well. It's a way for me to keep myself safe because I feel like I'm all I have.

    Thank you so much for holding out hope for me, and helping when I can't reach anyone else.

     

    #214055

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Rich:

    I believe that I will respond to you every time you post, for as long as this website exists and for as long as I exist, of course, and have access to this website.

    It is okay for you to tell yourself “try harder” and “get  it together”- but say it with kindness to yourself, gently. And this is the key to you practicing empathy for yourself: you can't feel it yet, so  act empathetically toward yourself without feeling it.

    When you talk to yourself in your mind, see to it that you talk to yourself kindly and respectfully. When you choose anything you choose to do today, have your well-being in mind. If you had a child and you didn't care for the child, didn't feel affectionate for him, you  would probably behave as if you cared, wouldn't you? Or if you had a client you didn't like, will you not talk to him and act as if you did, or at least, you wouldn't talk and  otherwise act rudely to him, correct?

    anita

     

     

    #214329

    noname
    Participant

    Anita

    Thank you again i meant to post this morning but i didnt have time before work. Unfortunately i didn't have a very good day. I have been practicing empathy with myself such as you mentioned above and it helped to pull me out of the roughest part of my depression. I went for a much needed run and talked to myself kindly and with encouragement which is required when running if i want to push through the pain (metaphor for life maybe?). After having read my journal from 10 years old it is evident to me my mentality has been what it is since even before that age, and that 6 or 7 year old child is running my life right now and has been for a while. Essentially im trying to undo and relearn a lifetime of unhealthy thinking and feeling patterns which doesen't sound easy by any means, therefore i need to be easy on myself about mistakes in the process because the workload is enormous. When im talking back to that voice im envisioning myself as a child in some of my more vulnerable moments.

    While yesterday and the first half of today were good. things went wrong this afternoon and i had a meltdown at work. Throughout this most recent episode of depression i have talked to no one about it except here and the woman i was most recently with for only a couple weeks, in which time she told me she loved me but she had to move for a job and would like to stay friends. I thought that would be good and finally allow me to end a relationship on a good note for the first time ever. Everything was okay for the most part we would occasionally reach out to eachother for mutual support in depression. She sent me very mixed messages sometimes indicating that she still wished we could be together. Me needing love i was hooked. So this morning i sent her a thank you message for helping me through this most recent episode. I thought i had ended the conversation but she felt the need to keep it going rationalizing to me why she would have made a bad girlfriend, but that im not burdening her by reaching out and i told her the same and that i'd like to stay friends and even talk about good things when they happen too. She responded by telling me she moved away to live with her boyfriend and that she's polyamorous. From there the conversation turned nasty from my end saying things like “i fucking hate you” “lying b**tch” “how do you live with yourself” etc. not my best moment by any means, i even left a voicemail apoligizing and then called her a b**tch again. pathetic.

    After the text messages im in my office pacing having a full blown panic attack. I shut the door and sit down on the couch for a while until i caught my breath, then fell on the floor crying with my shirt in my mouth so no one would hear. I know myself and didnt want to alert any of my coworkers so i quickly gathered my things but had to return an item to the front desk before i left. Im sure it was obvious to my coworkers i wasnt doing well i dropped off the item and quickly left head down for the exit while holding back sobs. I call an old man who i take groceries to sometimes to ask if i can come over and talk. I knew if i went home in this state i probably would still be in that state. I thought to myself i cant be alone with my pain any longer. he gave me a hug and talked to me for an hour which calmed me down alot. he says alot of similar things that you do in a different way of course. Ultimately he wanted me to leave his house knowing that all the pain im carrying does not need to be carried alone, and its okay to be upset with my parents. We didn't spend much time even talking about this girl who lied to me other than to forgive myself for wanting to love someone and be loved. from there i went over my friends house and just asked if i could talk to him because he had met the woman im talking about. I told him about my struggles in life and with suicide. I decided to tell him because he had opened up to me in the past after a rough night out, and he's always happy to see me. Im glad i reached out to a friend and had the courage to be honest.

    I still dont feel awesome today though. Now im wrestling with wondering if there was any love between me and this woman at all. Im also really nervous about how i left the office, i sent an email to the people that saw me leave stating i got some bad news and everything is okay. Do you think that was inappropriate? And I feel awful about calling a woman a bitch for the second time this year, granted they were both lying to me but still gender specific slurs are the worst. I feel like a horrible person for not always expressing my anger compassionately .

    im sure i have much pain awaiting me

    #214357

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Rich/noname:

    Unless it is news  to her, she should have told you right at the beginning that she is polyamorous. And then she didn't tell you that she had a boyfriend and she told you that she was moving for a job (not so to live with a boyfriend). So I understand your distress when hearing it when you did.

    I think it is okay to cry when sad, when distressed and that it is okay that people in the office were able to see that you cried and was otherwise distressed. It is okay as long as you control some of the expressions of that distress when seen/ heard by  people in a professional setting/ work place. It is okay to have red eyes from having cried, for example, but not wise to sob in front of co workers. So, no need to apologize, I am thinking.

    Regarding “I feel like a horrible person for not always expressing my anger compassionately”- well, anger in its nature is not a compassionate emotion. It motivates animals to fight, to injure or kill another animal. Nothing compassionate about that.

    Key is to limit the expressions of your anger. You can plan to not use the b word next time you get angry, and you can plan what words to use instead. You can practice what to say, next time and then, when next time happens, use the words you approve of.

    It is excellent that you reached out to two friends.

    You wrote: “that 6 or 7 year old child is ruining my life right now and has been for a while”- there is anger at this child, right here in this sentence. How can you feel empathy to him when you are angry at him, believing he ruined your life.

    It is not true: it is not that young boy who has ruined your life, it is his parents that did. Don't blame the child for what he is not guilty of.

    You wrote “i'm trying to undo and relearn a lifetime of unhealthy thinking and feeling patterns”- notice this: there was nothing wrong with the thinking and feeling patterns of the young boy that you were. There was something wrong with his environment, with his parents, with his home. His thinking then fit the reality he lived in.

    Key is to make sure your current environment is not unhealthy (not living with or interacting with abusive people, for one) and then slowly, gradually with ongoing intention and attention, fit your thinking and feeling patterns to your current healthy, non abusive environment.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 4 days ago by  anita.
    #214391

    noname
    Participant

    Anita

    I meant to say “running my life” no ruining. However what you write still applies there is still much anger towards myself for not being perfect. I will work through that.

    She never mentioned polyamory usually i avoid people who are not because i think its immoral its just not my thing, i understand it works for some people but not for me. I feel used she slept over my house, ate my food, etc. under the pretense that i thought she was genuinely single. At one point she told me she had thought about being in an open relationship not that she already was. I even explicitly asked her about if she had ever had a BF. She went from being a source of hope for me to the point now where im disgusted with her. I think i called her names yesterday because she acted like i should be okay with this because  in her words “i told you who i am” sure she told me she has issues, but she left out a huge part.

    Today im struggling with heavy shame. I dont want to get out of bed because i feel horrible for calling her a bitch even though theres a part of me that wants her to suffer like i am, even though i believe she already is. It was the same situation with the girl before her stating “i told you i wanted to see other people” even though we explicitly set the boundary of not talking to other people who are pursuing or we were pursuing about a month in and she said these words verbatim “rich i wont betray you” and then betrays me. Im sitting here trying to rationalize my lashing out, but neither one of these women deserved that. But i felt like if i dont let people know how hurt/angry i am they wont feel bad at all for looking me dead in my eyes and lying to me.

    I feel like i should hate myself right now.

    It was had for me to control my expression yesterday, but i did my best to hold it together for the 15 sec i was in sight of coworkers. Im really afraid im not going to make it through this year of internship. my supervisors keep telling me im a natural at counseling when reviewing my tapes, but i wonder how long i can keep acting for people. I had a horrible day monday and had some really productive sessions because i put my face on and act like everything is okay. I dont know how long i can keep it together, and if i cant make it the next 10 months to graduation there goes tens of thousands of dollars down the drain

    From all the bullshit that has happened in the last year, having to quit my full time job for school, my parents getting divorced and my dad beating my mom and going to jail, being lied to twice, having to build my own housing to live in during the coldest winter months, greatly reduced social life thanks to school, and not being able to see my therapist when i need to, My head is spinning right now and i see no relief from this madness in sight right now.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 4 days ago by  noname.
    #214395

    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    You did type “running”, I misread.

    This recent woman deserves some response from you for what she did (“looking me dead in my eyes and lying to me”. She did something wrong to you and so, she deserves the consequences for her lying. Maybe the b word is not the right consequence. Maybe: you lied to  me, how dare you lie to me? Maybe something like that, said in an angry voice.

    One of the law of physics, Newton's Laws states something like: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. She lied to you, it hurt you, you react. It is the law, that you react and that  you express your anger in that reaction.

    I think that your head was spinning a little while ago (is it still..) because you panicked, thinking about spending the next ten months with the current distress- but it will not be ten months of this distress. You will feel better and calmer soon enough. We panic when we imagine we will always feel the same. We forget that we do feel better (and then worse, and then better again).

    When distressed think of just this one day in front of you, just this one hour, one moment. Don't try to figure out the next ten months. No long term planning when distressed, no head spinning.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 4 days ago by  anita.
    #214405

    noname
    Participant

    Thank y0u Anita,

    I will try my best to do better next time. I didn't use to be so mean to people that hurt me. This is definitely a recent phenomenon within the past year. My tolerance for liars has fell to zero. I'm stuck in place where i trust very few people. I'm looking for  my wholeness in other people knowing its not there. But i know i need other people to some extent or else ill just keep staying depressed

    #214409

    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    You are welcome. Of course you need people who are good for you, who do not lie to you. In other words you selectively need people.

    A “tolerance for liars” doesn't go well with mental health. A bad idea. Learn who a person is over some time, trust a person only if over time you learn the person is worthy of your trust. Then get invested.

    anita

    #214743

    noname
    Participant

    Anita

    Thank you for your ongoing support and responsiveness you have definitely helped me through the roughest of this most recent episode of chronic depression.

    At this point when I begin to feel marginally better is usually when I'll restart my downward spiral. I'm hoping to maybe not sink so low this time to the point of suicidal thoughts again. The first step was moving my therapist appointment to next tuesday and I'll probably start going at least twice a month regardless of how well I'm feeling, at least until my life seems to be on track again. The other step has been being more proactive about being open with friends in particular about how I'm really doing. I'm also going to try to find some kind of group or community to help. I'm working with a friend to help develop a training plan for the upcoming bike racing season which will give me something to look forward to and I'll have the accountability of my friend coaching me so I can make sure to stay active. I'm also going to start meditating again for at least 5 min a day. Basically I'm trying to get my life back I had before starting graduate school, which has been a unpleasant couple of years for me at this point.

    What I'm struggling with now that I'm feeling marginally better is how can I reach a feeling of peace and potentially joy instead of just being “not depressed”? I don't feel great right now, within the past weeks I've deleted all social media & dating apps. I went on one last date yesterday with someone i met through an app and I've reached the conclusion that I'll probably never find a woman who is actually interested in ME via online means, they all want one thing from me, and sex is not really what I need right now. I need care, and I want to care for someone also. I suppose I need guidance towards living a more fulfilling life. Honestly I'm getting very little out of doing therapy with people right now expect an increase in anxiety worried I'll do or say the wrong thing. My supervisors are saying I'm doing a good job and are often surprised given this is my first couple months, but the fact that my life is such a mess makes me feel unqualified to help anyone else. I look at my friends and feel like an exception, they all have relationships, and report being satisfied with life while I'm constantly miserable for whatever reason. I feel like part of what keeps me depressed Is anxiety. I don't want to leave the house most days out of fear something might happen I can't afford, I might get Injured without health insurance, i could harrased by the police again for no reason etc. Now that I'm not completely depressed I'm just apathetic and I want to smile so badly.

     

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