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Being better at accepting depression

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  • #372310
    noname
    Participant

    Anita,

    I never ceased to be amazed at how much digging you are capable of doing! It is also hard to believe how long this thread has been alive. Not sure what to think of that.

    Thank you for pointing out a pattern in my moods I may have not completely recognized otherwise. It has me wondering how much of my mood has been triggered by contact with them. I did reluctantly spend time with both of them this past Christmas. I had so many things wrong with my car and went to my Dad’s garage to work on them, and my mom still lives with my sister of course. I only spent a few days there this time, but i’d like to think my attitude towards them has changed some, in the sense that while it does still hurt very much that I won’t ever get the type of love i deserve from them, i no longer have any expectation of them changing either, therefore have detached myself from their judgement of me.

    I guess the difference is with the way i see my relationship with them which is  = completely hopeless. Therefore i have zero expectation or desire there any more to cause me suffering (i think)

    I do however have a desire to be loved by others, maybe this is why i suffer?

    My hope for the relationship with myself is that I am able to cultivate hope. Right now I see my future as hopeless. Sure I’ll be able to survive, but it just seems so pointless. The past week I’ve been oversleeping and not doing alot of the paperwork for my job, because i don’t see the point in getting out of bed if there is no hope of me getting my emotional needs met that day. Even worse with the pandemic i can’t really work towards getting my emotional needs met either through socializing which was already difficult for me, now theres no point in even trying. Which brings me back to a need for a reason. I don’t expect my needs to ever be met at this point so i just looking for a reason to suffer through life like this. Granted of course there will be good times too where i feel belonging and loved they are just so rare, but i can count on loneliness to be there for sure.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 5 days ago by noname.
    #372325
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    “my mom still lives with my sister.. I only spent a few days there this time, but I’d like to think my attitude towards them has changed some.. I no longer have any expectations of them changing.. have detached myself from their judgment of me”-

    – but the boy that you were, he too said to himself many times, something like: they will never change! I don’t care! I don’t care! The boy that you were detached himself best he could long ago. But he kept caring, he kept hurting. Fast forward, when you visit your mother, father and sister, you are that  boy saying to yourself: they will never change. I don’t care. But you still care, and you still hurt.

    “I have zero expectation or desire there any more to cause me suffering (I think)”- I think that you can’t help but have Emotional expectations from them, right underneath the Rational no-expectations.

    “I do however have a desire to be loved by others, maybe this is why I suffer?”- yes, because you desire love and your desire is unsatisfied.

    “I don’t expect my needs to ever be met at this point so I just looking for a reason to suffer through life like this”- your reason so far was to keep living so that your family (mother, father, sister.. who else?) will not suffer losing you. What is the status on this reason?

    anita

    #372362
    noname
    Participant

    My reason for living has pretty much remained unchanged, it always involves others well-being. Whether it be my family, friends, or my clients. I think i’m at a point however where living for other people isn’t doing it for me anymore. I know people will be okay without me. I’d much rather have a more selfish reason for living as odd as that may sound.

    I think it must be said too that my lifestyle is more sedentary and isolated than ever. I spend more time on a computer than i ever have in my life because of Covid, and i haven’t had the motivation to exercise. I was once of the fastest people in my city on a bicycle and i’ve ridden my bike maybe 3-4 times in 2020. I also struggle with finances since covid. I was on track to make a good living before covid. My income last year was probably only 2/3rds of what it would’ve been. I simply cant do as much therapy with people over the computer as i could in person. I’ve been learning day trading for the past 7 or so months in hopes to supplement my income, which hasn’t taken off for me yet.

    I’ve also been on the fence about continuing to be a therapist at all. I just don’t fit in philosophically with the career (i generally disagree with diagnostic criteria, and refuse to pathologize peoples adaptive behaviors as some sort of “disorder”) it feels dangerous and anxiety provoking to be authentic and stand out in a career field like this where I don’t agree with colleagues about the medical model of mental health treatment, which tends to be a huge relief to my clients who have had other therapist in the past who pathologized every behavior as some kind of “disease” rather than an adaptive behavior.

    I see my career potentially going a few different directions once i get fully licensed at the end of 2021.

    1. I can practice therapy solo and rent office space and make alot more money for the same amount work im doing now.

    2. I can work towards opening a community center focused on mental health and mostly abandon doing individual therapy and focus on leading seminars, and doing group work.

    3. I can ditch mental health altogether focus on Day trading, probably make a lot more money and not have to worry about anyone else but myself.

    Right now option 3 sounds most attractive. The feeling of living an inauthentic life as a therapist just wont work for me. I fantasize about not having to respond to people, not having to answer to any governing body, and having my time freedom back to focus on things i want to do. It feels unnatural to be attending to peoples human needs through therapy.

    This career dilemma also contributes to the hopelessness. Summed up i see my career  two ways 1. survive and be inauthentic. or 2. be authentic and risk not having my basic needs met.  I hate that capitalism forces me to use my talents to generate profits for survival or else.

    I really feel like i just need a break, like a 6month-1yr break where i just live. I’ve held a taxpaying job since i was 14 years old i’m 28 years old now, and have bread crumbs to show for it. I just wake up most days tired of this rat race. It also angers me knowing i could have went into some profit seeking type career and wouldn’t be worried about survival right now.

    My therapist points out to me alot that it is impressive what i’ve been able to accomplish with no resources and hardly any help, but that it is unsustainable for me to be a loner forever, and i totally agree. I feel like i’m playing a team game as a 1 man show and have no room for error. Which is exhausting and even more so when I see no reward(reason) for doing so.

     

     

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 4 days ago by noname.
    #372376
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    I’ve been working on a reply for you and am not ready yet. I don’t intend it to be a long reply, but I need to invest more time in it. I will be back to you by tomorrow. I hope you have a better rest of the day.

    anita

    #372383
    noname
    Participant

    Thank you, i really appreciate your  thoughtful feedback. It has been very helpful

    #372446
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    I had too many windows open on my computer, and accidently deleted one where I was preparing a post for you following many hours and two days worth of work, a post that included a detailed response to your Jan 7 post, and the compiling and retyping of quotes from all your threads all the way to Dec 8, 2019. Although I wrote to you yesterday that I didn’t intend it to be a long post, it was going to be a long post.

    But now, that I have lost it all (except for the last quote I copied, lost, and recopied- below), it is going to be a shorter post after all. It will be based on what I read, retyped and lost, and it will be written in a more casual, straight forward style. I think that it will be difficult for you to read, especially because of what you shared in your post yesterday: “I generally disagree with diagnostic criteria, and refuse to pathologize people’s adaptive behaviors as some sort of ‘disorder'”, but if you read to the end, it may be of benefit to you:

    This is the one quote that I was able to recopy, Dec 8, 2019: “I read over journal entries from the past year, and 95% of my entries say the same damn thing, that I’m hopeless, tired and lonely. Looking back over the past 10 years it’s all really been the same story”.

    I noticed this as well, you really do sound the same month after month, year after year, March 15, 2017- January 7, 2021: same thoughts, same expressed emotional experiences, same behaviors. All this fits with what personality disorders are about, as MedilinePlus. gov puts it: “Personality disorders are a group of mental illnesses. They involve long-term patterns of thoughts and behaviors that are unhealthy and inflexible. The behaviors cause serious problems with relationships and work. People with personality disorders have trouble dealing with everyday stresses and problems. They often have stormy relationships with other people”.

    The mayo clinic. org reads: “A personality disorder is a type of mental disorder in which you have a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking, functioning and behaving. A person with a personality disorder has trouble perceiving and relating to situations and people. This causes significant problems and limitations in relationships, social activities, work and school”.

    The website then lists the symptoms of one of the Cluster B Personality disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD): “Impulsive and risky behavior.., Unstable or fragile self-image, Unstable and intense relationships, Up and down moods…, Suicidal behavior or threats of self-injury, Intense fear of being alone or abandoned, Ongoing feelings of emptiness, Frequent, intense displays of anger, Stress-related paranoia that comes and goes”.

    I understand that mental disorders, and particularly personality disorders, are artificial classification of symptoms into groups. No one is born with a personality disorder- a person comes to fit a personality disorder usually in early adulthood after suffering years of emotional injuries in childhood.

    I am not a professional. My understanding about personality disorders comes from having been diagnosed with one myself. I attended quality psychotherapy for the first time in my life in 2011. There I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Based on this diagnosis, my therapist at the time came up with a treatment plan (he gave me the printout of the original treatment plan and later, printouts of edited/ adjusted plans). This is where these diagnoses do come handy: they make it possible for the therapist to put together a treatment plan that will address the most challenging issues to the client at the very beginning of therapy and onward. In the case of a person diagnosed with BPD, the most challenging issue is emotional dysregulation, and therefore my therapist focused on emotional regulation skills from the very beginning, in every session and in between sessions (homework).

    Personality disorders indicate a long-term pattern of rigid ways of thinking and behaving that cause a lot of distress, misery, and dysfunctional lives. A person correctly diagnosed with a personality disorder has to take his/ her mental health very seriously because the issues will not resolve by themselves. Sharing/ venting here, on your thread, and analyzing (which both of us have done)- is great, but healing needs to start in a professional setting, with a therapist that will put together a treatment plan specific to you, following evaluating and diagnosing you.

    Again, as you know, I am not a professional of any kind, and I can not and am not diagnosing you. I am suggesting that you see a professional for a possible diagnosis of a personality disorder, for the purpose of receiving an effective treatment, specific to your most demanding challenges.

    Almost 10 years after my diagnosis with BPD- I no longer fit it, I no longer fit a personality disorder diagnosis. That’s a relief!

    anita

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 3 days ago by anita.
    #372461
    noname
    Participant

    Anita,

    I really appreciate the effort you put in on this site. If no one else has said it I can tell you our communication has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on my life. I think it is such a great thing that this site exists. With that being said after thinking about the last post I made I feel our dialogue has run it’s course, and it does give me anxiety to share so much on this public forum so I think this will probably be it.

    I think we’re on the same page about diagnoses. It’s helpful to give a name to a set of common symptoms, unfortunately i see other therapists identifying people by their diagnosis instead of as an individual with a unique experience. I get alot of feedback from people telling me it’s refreshing to have a therapist who doesn’t treat them like a research study…but that’s neither here nor there.

    I was diagnosed with BPD as well. I fit the diagnosis very well. I have been questioning myself alot this week, wondering if anything is actually wrong, or if i’m just being irrational/symptomatic. It has been so difficult to abandon some of my more problematic personality traits, because they have literally kept me alive. I’m grateful for my anxiety sometimes, because it has defiantly been on the money a few times that saved my life. I’m sure you understand it can be hard to give something up that has served you so well for so long, despite the byproduct of suffering. I feel like such a fraud most days, I am far from a mentally healthy individual trying to help other mentally unhealthy people. I’m going to figure out another career and get out of therapy as soon as I can, it’s just been too hard on me.

    Thank you so much for support over years Anita. I wish you the best, and words cant express my gratitude towards you and this forum. I’m sure i’ll figure things out eventually and be just fine!

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 2 days ago by noname.
    #372463
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    I read your most recent post, and I understand that it may have been your last post. I want to reply further tomorrow morning because I am not focused enough right now. I feel sad about you no longer posting. I will miss you. Be back in about 10 hours from now for a final reply, if indeed you no longer post.

    anita

    #372471
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    When I figured yesterday, that your emotional challenges are greater than I thought, being these challenges are so pervasive and persistent over the years of our communication, fitting a personality disorder,  I felt very discouraged, as in:  what’s the point of keeping the communication going when I am and have been of no help at all. I will not at all be surprised if you have perceived my sentiment.

    This morning I feel differently. In the context of this site, I was always here for you, always replied to you in a timely manner, spent many hours reading and re-reading and putting together posts for you. And I will continue to do so, I will continue to be here for you for as long as this site exists, and for as long as I have access to the internet and am able to think, feel and type.

    Of course, I understand your right to no longer post here and I respect it. What I am saying is that on my part, I am here for you, and I want to be here for you. There is more to learn, for me and for you. In regard to future learning about you, I have the advantage over many people in your life because I invested so much time and effort for so long in getting to know you.

    I want to quote from your recent post and address each item:

    “it does give me anxiety to share so much on this public forum so I think this will probably be it…I’m grateful for my anxiety sometimes.. it can be hard to give something up that has served you so well for so long”- I see no real-life danger for you posting here, and therefore, I don’t see your anxiety serving you well in this context.  In this second year of a global pandemic, only a few days since the attempted coup in Washington DC.. when millions of people fear an unstable, dangerous president, who is going to figure that you are some kind of danger that requires all the work and money that it will take to locate you in real-life? You are safe here.

    “I’m grateful for my anxiety sometimes.. it can be hard to give something up that has served you so well for so long, despite the byproduct of suffering”- so far, you haven’t had a choice regarding your anxiety, it is not staying with you because you are grateful for it, and it will not go away if you are no longer thankful for it.

    Anxiety = Suffering.  Anxiety is not a byproduct of suffering.

    “I was diagnosed with BPD as well. I fit the diagnosis very well”, “It’s helpful to give a name to a set of common symptoms, unfortunately I see other therapists identifying people by their diagnosis instead of as an individual with a unique experience”- no two individuals diagnosed with BPD are identical, each is unique. An example of our many differences is crying: I remember that whenever I felt intense emotional pain and then sensed tears in my eyes, I automatically dissociated and the crying stopped before it started. On the other hand, you often cry for as long as hours. The difference between you and I in regard to crying is extreme.

    “I feel like such a fraud most days, I am far from a mentally healthy individual trying to help other mentally unhealthy people. I’m going to figure out another career and get out of therapy as soon as I can, it’s just too hard on me”- I wish you continued the psychotherapist route,  you worked so hard and for so long, riding your bike, enduring the financial challenges of going to school.. so,  no, please don’t abandon this route, adapt to it instead.

    Your last sentence in what may be your last post here is: “I’m sure I’ll figure things out eventually and be just fine!”- maybe this sentence is a gift for me. If it is, thank you! But this sentence shows optimism that is not congruent with the noname that I know, the one who so often feels hopeless and pessimistic.

    There is much more to you, noname, than a BPD diagnosis, or any other diagnosis. At your core, at this time- and for so many years- you are a boy/ a man who needs to be held in someone’s arms, close to someone’s chest, comforted by someone else’s heart- the steady beating of someone else’s heart calming that anxiety inside you, making it possible for you to breathe as if for the first time, to breathe without fear.

    anita

    #372764
    Emily
    Participant

    Do you have hobbies ?

    Things you enjoy doing for fun ?

    #373427
    noname
    Participant

    Anita,

    There has always been something helpful about posting here for me. I know you don’t have all the answers for my life. For me I come here for support when I need it. It’s as close to someone witnessing my pain as I’m going to get at the moment. I still need that.

    #373429
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    So good to read from you again, glad you are here!

    I think that I understand your pain more than I understood it before. I see it now as a ball made of a core and four layers (some of the colors below are taken from Wikipedia’s List of colors):

    Core= fear of separation/ of abandonment, intense, blinding yellow. First layer= anger at those who did or will abandon you, turbulent red.  Second layer= shame, hate of self for believed-to-be worthy of abandonment, acid green. Third layer= repeated disappointment with self, frustration over not being in control of emotions, behaviors, and of life-situations, burnt orange. Fourth layer= depression, dim gray.

    Please do not hesitate to post any time you want to, I am here for you.

    anita

    #373430
    noname
    Participant

    I’d say that describes the turmoil I feel pretty well. Loneliness, shame, anger, and frustration with my self is the soundtrack to my life on repeat it feels like. Right now the hardest part is the loneliness. Anytime I’m alone for more than an hour or two with no way to distract myself the despair sets in.

    I spent most of yesterday crying. The loneliness hurts so much. I’m not shaming myself (as much) this time around, because I know if the world wasn’t on pause I would be making some kind of efforts to build community for myself. At the same time as I cried alone last night I thought about calling someone, but I just didn’t feel comfortable reaching out to anyone. I guess I am still ashamed, thinking I should be able to figure out a cure to my loneliness on my own which makes no sense at all, it has to involve others.

    I got on a dating app this week. I texted someone back and forth for a few days, then just deleted it yesterday. Even if I did connect with someone over electronic communication, I won’t get to meet them because of covid and the cold weather. The hopelessness is setting in and I see no relief on the way. It doesn’t feel like I can just think my way out of feeling lonely. I’m still searching for good reasons to keep suffering through life. I haven’t had a hug in over a month and I don’t know when the next one is coming. I need hope.

    • This reply was modified 1 day, 8 hours ago by noname.
    #373434
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    The Loneliness is in the Core and in all the layers. In the core it is feared and you run away from it any which way (the Flight reaction to fear), in the first and second layers you turn against others and against yourself (the Fight reaction to fear), and in the fourth layer, you don’t run away and you don’t fight. Staying put, you are stuck in loneliness, and you suffer without distraction or relief.

    I understand that you can’t think yourself out of feeling lonely and that  you need hope. After reading the the rest of this post, please do the following:

    Close your eyes, take a few deeper, slower breaths, paying attention to the air flowing in and out of you, then repeat my words articulated to you, for you: I see you, (your name). You are not alone. I am here with you.

    Cross your arms around your shoulders, and hear me say this to you: I (anita) just crossed my arms around my shoulders, slowly inhaling and exhaling, thinking of you: this is my hug for you.

    anita

    #373438
    noname
    Participant

    Thank you it really does help knowing I can come here. All I can really add is that I’m extra tired of my life. It’s becoming more difficult to convince myself there is some brighter future for me. I really want to do something about this, but I don’t know how. I leave the house to go to the grocery store once a week otherwise I’m at home, I don’t know what to do other than sit here, cry, and wait.

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