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Being better at accepting depression

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  • #381990
    noname
    Participant

    An update to where i’m at with this process…I’m still stuck in the cycle of functioning for a few days and crashing into self-hatred, self-harm binges, existential crisis, and hopelessness. What’s different this time around, is that i’m trying to put some distance between the intensity of the belief i’m unlovable and my “self”. It still hurts to be alone, without affection, without support, but as we’ve talked about i’m trying to just leave it as a painful experience and not allow it to control the meaning of who i am which would be someone who is “unloveable” instead looking at it as someone who sometimes feels unlovable, which would allow space for me to look at myself as someone who can also feel lovable.

    When I was meditating yesterday i was trying to sit with the unlovable part of myself and watch it without becoming it. I had images of my child self pop up many times, and i called on the lovable part of myself to comfort him. I was in tears when i opened my eyes but i felt at least a little bit better.

    Part of me felt silly because it’s like i’ve always had the answer to my depression all along i just didn’t fully understand how to call on the part of me that can help. When reflecting on periods of my life when my health has been it’s best they were times when i was living in a belief of “good enough” problem was I wasn’t supporting the belief internally. The external validation of athletics, and attention from women supported the belief of being good enough but those are flimsy measurements of my worth which I don’t have total control over, and when those areas of my life were doing poorly so was I.

    My therapist has pointed out to me many times that i need to be in relationship with the “i’m not good enough” part of me through the part that feels good enough. Instead of getting in relationship with it my desire is to cast it aside, which i’m understanding is not helping my depressive symptoms. Both the unlovable and lovable parts of me, are both me, so it would do me good to stop trying to push it away and care for it.

    It’s kind of frustrating it has taken me this long to understand the non-duality of those parts of me. When i see them through duality it’s like i can only identify with one or the other, totally good enough or totally not good enough. The realization i’m having on more than an intellectual level for a change is that i can feel both but neither are me so need to over identify with either. My hope is that when i’m feeling not good enough i can remind myself the good enough part of myself is still there.

    #381992
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    Welcome back to your thread, good to read from you again!

    “I’m trying to put some distance between the intensity of the belief I’m unlovable and my ‘self'”- seeing that there is a part of you that is capable of believing otherwise.

    “someone who sometimes feels unlovable..  someone who can also feel lovable.. watch (the unlovable part) without becoming it” – no longer being one (no space) with the unlovable belief, no longer overly identifying with it. There is a part of you that does not have to submit to that belief forevermore.

    “I just didn’t fully understand how to call on the part of me that can help”- when a part of you can help, you are no longer helpless.

    “My therapist has pointed out to me many times that I need to be in relationship with the ‘I’m not good enough’ part of me.. instead of.. to cast it aside…  it has taken me this long to understand the non-duality of those parts of me… need to (not) over identify with either. My hope is that when I’m feeling not good enough, I can remind myself the good enough part of myself is still there”-

    To break the hold that all-or-nothing/ duality thinking has on you, it will be difficult to practice feeling lovable when you feel unlovable, so better practice this first: when you feel confident for whatever reason- remind yourself of the part that does not feel confident. When you feel powerful, remind yourself of the part that feels weak and helpless. Start practice duality this way, is what I suggest.

    And please do post again anytime.

    anita

    #382170
    sky
    Participant

    Most depression has its roots in buried trauma. Instead of dealing with this trauma, which can take a lifetime, in many cases,  did you ever think about just overwriting it? That is the shortest shortcut to mental-emotional health and well-being in the world. Effortless, too.

    #382472
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    What if I take two sentence from every month you posted quite randomly, and see what I get?

    “I’m going to be 25 yo next month, I’m attending grad school for counseling and plan on being a therapist.. I have made a decision to stop pursuing women for the rest of 2017 or at least until I feel as if I’m deserving of love” (March 2017),

    “I am very lonely, despite having a few good friends. I did not realize how much I was suppressing my loneliness with work, school, and exercise until now” (April 2017),

    “I can say with confidence that since I’ve embarked on this journey of falling in love with myself that I am probably happier than I’ve ever been in my 25 years on this planet, I’m excelling in my graduate program, athletically, and have made some good friends in the past year, a complete turn around from having been suicidal for the majority of my life… Attempting to get close to a woman is seriously the scariest thing in my life, it brings up feelings of worthlessness, and quickly makes me feel hopeless with any amount of rejection” (June 2017),

    ” I oscillate between contentment, apathy, and full blown depression on a monthly basis. So I had recently tried dating again and met an awesome woman” (July 2017),

    “I just want to feel as if I’m cared for, but I realize I can’t just ask someone to do this. But the need is immediate, and overwhelming” (August 2017),

    “My depression is worsening mostly due to life circumstances largely out of my control, and I cannot access my therapist because my car’s engine just blew last weekend, and utilizing alternate transportation is unrealistic due to my work and school schedule. I have random crying episodes that sneak up on me and I’m afraid it might happen at school or work” (September 2017),

    “I hate coming on here with seemingly the same issue time after time, but I just cannot feel whole, or satisfied with myself. I see myself as someone who is scarred and damaged beyond repair” (October 2017),

    “I’ve reached a point with myself where no matter how much work I put in, no matter how mindful I am, no matter how motivated I am, I still get chronically depressed.. I get depressed because I’m straight up lonely, especially at night” (June 2018),

    “I’m glad to report I had a good week last week, I was able to see my therapist, which lead to very productive sessions with my own clients later in the same day… The ups and downs frustrate me and I struggle to accept that anytime I am having a good feeling that it will pass, because as we’ve talked about the pain feels like it will never end every time” (July 2018),

    “I’m very uncomfortable with the idea of being in need of love or another person and I’m not sure why. But I feel the need right now for a connection and don’t know what to do about it” (August 2018),

    “Without any particular reason or event, I find myself slipping back into depression. I don’t really have an exact reason why, but I have been feeling disconnected from people again, and as if I’m not getting what I need from the relationships I do have with friends” (September 2018),

    “A month or two ago I went through a 2-3 week period of feeling really good about myself, feeling, believing, and acting as if I was a good person. Somehow that feeling faded when I tried to start be more outgoing and dating again, and the belief that I’m bad tries to take over when I’m vulnerable with people” (October 2018),

    “I go through these cycles it seems of feeling extroverted and confident wanting to invite everyone I meet to my house to hangout or for a meal. Then like clockwork I get depressed and cut myself off and wont leave my house” (November 2018),

    “This feeling of worthlessness is so heavy, I’m beginning to feel more and more hopeless everyday…I think above all else I feel worthless because I feel unimportant and disconnected” (December 2018),

    “This judgment of myself as needy, worthless, and unlovable is why I’m still posting here, & still going to group therapy…I’m so lost right now, I want some relief but cant find it anywhere” (January 2019),

    “I have been feeling more balanced, grateful, worthy, confident, and self loving for the past couple months. My depression has gotten so much more manageable” (February 2019),

    “I have been doing mostly well since my last post with the exception of a recent depression that lasted about 2 weeks and seemed entirely out of my control. I have graduated and will be starting a new job hopefully by the end of the month once I get my license certification” (May 2019),

    “The reason I have avoided SSRI’s is mainly because I saw firsthand the effects that they had on my mother growing up, and the few times I have tried them the side effects were too much for me, lastly I’m not doing everything I possibly can to fight depression” (June 2019),

    “Since I last posted I have been doing in general a lot better than the past couple years… To your point of people living out their childhood experience as an adult, I see this all the time in my work as a therapist and my own experience with it is what makes me a good therapist myself, I have received countless compliments from people how they feel understood for the first time and like things are starting to make sense” (November 2019),

    “I’m overwhelmed by hopelessness and loneliness. This feeling of hopelessness leads to a lot of thoughts of death” (December 2019),

    “My goal for this year is to work on my mental/emotional health and learn peace…I can’t believe how far I’ve come already and I can only imagine how great life can be if I keep working at healing and take care of those wounded parts of myself” (January 2020),

    “I have been somewhat apathetic towards life and unmotivated. I’m still sticking to my routine of meditation, journaling, and exercise regardless” (February 2020),

    “I have been up and down this past week… My sister text me last weekend pleading to unblock my mom and talk with her” (March 2020),

    “Because of my non-communication my mom began going to therapy and is still in it… Since March I have reached an acceptance on an emotional level I haven’t before that for the rest of my life my parents will never be what I need them to be (December 2020),

    “In the past, I was a able to see or feel some glimmer of hope for my future, whether it was being in school, a friendship, or romance. However, right now I see nothing but isolation and it feels terrible to think that is my future, and is keeping me from getting out of bed in the mornings right now” (January 2021),

    “I haven’t been great since I last posted…  was seeing a woman last month and it only lasted a couple dates because at one point when she asked if I was doing okay I unexpectedly broke down in tears” (April 2021),

    “My mind oscillates between feeling cocky, and more frequently feeling worthless…This inner criticism vs. inner flattery is really an interesting dichotomy that I’m trying to solve within myself” (May 2021),

    “I’m still stuck in the cycle of functioning for a few days and crashing into self-hatred, self-harm binges, existential crisis, and hopelessness… My therapist has pointed out to me many times that I need to be in relationship with the ‘I’m not good enough” part of me through the part that feels good enough” (June 2021)

    My thoughts today, July 5, 2021:

    1) You did not post only when you were feeling depressed, but also when you were feeling better. You often expressed gratitude to me, always gracious to me. I appreciate all this.

    2) It may be a good idea for you to get a current professional diagnosis of your mood disorder: it may be depression alone or a bi-polar condition: “I oscillate between contentment, apathy, and full blown depression on a monthly basis… The ups and downs frustrate me… I go through these cycles it seems of feeling extroverted and confident.. Then like clockwork I get depressed.. I’m still stuck in the cycle of functioning for a few days and crashing into self-hatred”).

    3) Following getting a correct, current diagnosis, I think that it’s a good idea for you to re-consider SSRIs or other psychiatric medications because of the following reasons: (a) The therapy you received, your education and experience as a therapist, and all other work that you have done so far- did not lead to experience less depression on an ongoing basis: “No matter how much work I put in, no matter how mindful I am, no matter how motivated I am, I still get chronically depressed”,

    (b) When you feel emotional pain, you feel it too acutely, too intensely (“the pain feels like it will never end every time”), and that intensity overwhelms you (“I’m overwhelmed by hopelessness and loneliness”). I think that every time you feel overwhelmed by acute emotional pain, the progress and healing done before getting overwhelmed- is lost.

    If you took psychiatric medications that will tune down the acuteness of your emotional pain, that is, balance your mood- you will be able to hold on to the healing and progress that you make, and continue the healing process. Instead of the Go! (hopeful, confident, cocky) and Stop! (hopeless, depressed) dynamic of your go-and-stop experience.

    Such medications will probably take away from you the emotional ups that you rarely enjoy (“feeling extroverted and confident.. cocky”), but those ups never led you to ongoing healing, only to sprints of healing followed by stops/ standstills/ reversals.

    anita

     

    #382733
    noname
    Participant

    Anita,

    Thank you for compiling all of those random quotes, it really helps to highlight the cyclical nature of my moods.

    I have considered medication a few times. The side effects from SSRI’s for me have greatly outweighed the benefits for which i experienced which was none. Medication for mood disorders is not something I have seen work to help people “heal” from their trauma, rather it helps them function in a disconnected world, and may help them “function” enough to do work in therapy. For me this is not the answer for a few reasons.

    1) exercise is consistently shown to be as effective if not more effective than anti-depressant medications. I exercise frequently, i get the feel good neurotransmitters on a daily basis, SSRI’s have never had an effect greater than exercise for me personally.

    2) Side effects (decreased libido, increased risk of suicide, serotonin syndrome, etc)

    3) I’m already self-medicating with cannabis. We could go back and forth for months comparing research studies between cannabis and anti-depressants, i don’t want to.

    4.) I’m committed to my philosophy of human connection and ready to accept the suffering. What this means is I have commitment to never killing myself. I have chosen an alternate path to treat my depression that will never involve pharmaceuticals. I want to discover what relief is possible through connection both internal and external, to give hope to the millions of people like me who haven’t found what they are looking for through pharmaceuticals, and hopefully create a model that can be easily taught and duplicatable in communities to help heal the world without so much need of “professionals”. It is obvious to me the societal disconnection or collective trauma we experience has sustained my depression, i want to help engage in healing this disconnection, not put a band-aid over it.

    5.) I don’t want to mute my awareness. This is contrary to #3 because i am dampening my awareness through cannabis and sometimes alcohol, but the hope is that one day I can feel every inkling of a feeling until completion without a need to escape be it cannabis, alcohol, or SSRI’s. When I’m depressed i don’t feel, which is part of the problem, I’m not trying to run from my moods anymore, and SSRI’s would just be one more thing muting my awareness. This might be the most important reason for me, is that I want to be aware of my “symptoms” and create a life that is aligned with my needs using my “symptoms” as an indication of a need, not as some nemesis that needs to be defeated.

    I feel like when people suggest medication to me it is because they want to help and don’t know how, even though just being heard is all i need from them. It suggests a discomfort with pain. Please don’t recommend medication to me. I don’t have bipolar disorder either, while my moods are cyclical they don’t fit criteria for bipolar, i don’t have the mania or hypomanic episodes, it’s more like a relief from the belief of “not good enough” which is boost for my motivation sure, but no where close to mania.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by noname.
    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by noname.
    #382734
    noname
    Participant

    Anita,

    I’ve always appreciated your attention although I really didn’t want to explain my stance on anti-depressants today. I wanted to share my progress, and get some support to keep progressing which has been so valuable to me.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by noname.
    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by noname.
    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by noname.
    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by noname.
    #382741
    noname
    Participant

    I have felt intense pain this week and was able to work through it and distance my trauma from my identity, and now have hope that my internal relationship can be improved and continue to get better, which can help me build the external relationships I need without sabotaging them. This week was tough but i’m happy how i treated myself.

    #382743
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    “I feel like when people suggest medication to me it is because they want to help and don’t know how, even though just being heard is all I need from them. It suggests a discomfort with pain. Please don’t recommend medication to me. I don’t have bipolar disorder either…. it’s more like a relief from the belief of ‘not good enough'”- I accept: (1) I will not recommend again that you re-consider psychiatric medications, (2) I will do my best to remember that all you need from me is to hear you, while I respect my need to develop the thoughts you present in my replies to you, so to increase my understanding of you.. and of me.

    Regarding suggesting medications indicating “a discomfort with pain” on the part of the person making the suggestion: I am not aware of the possibility of experiencing comfort with pain (?)

    “I have chosen an alternate path to treat my depression that will never involve pharmaceuticals. I want to discover what relief is possible through connection both internal and external, to give hope to the millions of people like me who haven’t found what they are looking for through pharmaceuticals, and hopefully create a model that can be easily taught and duplicatable in communities to help heal the world… It is obvious to me the societal disconnection or collective trauma we experience has sustained my depression, I want to help engage in healing this disconnection, not put a band-aid over it”-

    – (1) Reads like you are hoping to individually create a new model of healing that will work for you,  and then teach that model to millions of people, and in so doing- heal the world, (2) I very much agree with you that we, as individuals, are all affected by the reality of societal disconnection and collective trauma. Global warming as a consequence of human misbehavior comes to mind as a current and growing collective trauma of global proportions.

    “I’ve always appreciated your attention although I really didn’t want to explain my stance on anti-depressants today. I wanted to share my progress, and get some support to keep progressing which has been so valuable to me”- I promise: I will never again bring up to you the topics of anti-depressants, other psychiatric medications, and mental diagnoses.

    “I have felt intense pain this week and was able to work through it and distance my trauma from my identity, and now have hope that my internal relationship can be improved and continue to get better, which can help me build the external relationships I need without sabotaging them. This week was tough but I’m happy how I treated myself”-

    – I am glad to read that you are happy with how you treated yourself. I  never read these wordings before: distancing one’s trauma from one’s identity, and improving one’s internal relationship.

    anita

    #382744
    noname
    Participant

    Anita,

    Thank you for understanding. There are a lot of perspectives on medications and I understand your suggestion is because you care. In the past people’s suggestion of medication felt more like “I don’t really care enough to listen to you, go take a pill and shut up”. To me this attitude of fixing every uncomfortable human experience through medicating is part of the collective suppression of pain that needs attention. I see value in pain, not that intentionally seek out emotional pain, but when it is present I want to understand it, and see what it is trying to communicate to me, just like a mother would attend to a crying child.

    The more research I do on mental health and psychology, the more it comes back to the conception of connection for me. I was listening to an interview with an artist who visited one of the last hunter-gatherer tribes in Africa, and when he told them he was from America they jokingly responded “oh the place where people jump off buildings” as if the concept of suicide was so foreign to them. I was so jealous of that kind of response which to me is an indication of how we live, disconnected from nature, other people, and ourselves is one of the main ingredients for our suffering. I’m just trying to help restore a vital part of our humanity that has been lost through industrialization.

    What i mean by distancing my trauma from my identity, is that I am trying to no longer identify with it. Basically when i’m triggered which happens almost everyday, i’m interrupting the process of :

    Trauma triggered>Negative beliefs about self activated>because”I’m not good enough”=depression

    instead it’s starting to look like this

    Trauma triggered>Negative beliefs about self activated>because “I have been through painful experiences I did not have the wisdom, knowledge, or support to understand at the time what was happening and had to make sense of it in a way to help me survive and function in my environment”= relief from believing “I’m not good enough” as an absolute truth which is part of my identity.

    Don’t get me wrong I still am extremely sensitive to getting triggered and there is still pain, but there is hope and relief because I feel I have a choice in how I interpret that pain. I’m choosing to interpret the pain more objectively and leaving room for other beliefs i can identify with like “i’m lovable” which dramatically changes my behaviors.When i feel “lovable” or “good enough” i’m more motivated, more willing to take positive social risks which will eventually turn into those external supports i need.

     

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by noname.
    #382746
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    I will be back to your thread in a couple of hours or so.

    anita

    #382766
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    I was away longer than I expected. I will reply to your most recent post in about 13 hours from now.

    anita

    #382783
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    You are welcome. You mentioned “the collective suppression of pain”- as I read this, I came up with another term, the collective infliction of pain: individuals within our human society inflicting pain on each other, in so many ways, within families and everywhere else. It makes sense to first attend to preventing future infliction of pain, and second- to the expressing pain already inflicted.

    “how we live, disconnected from nature, other people, and ourselves is one of the main ingredients for our suffering”:  Disconnection => Sickness.      Connection=> Healing.

    Recently, while communicating with another member, I came across a Wikipedia entry on “Social Isolation”, here are parts of it that fit very well (in my mind) with what you expressed over time about your personal experience: “True social isolation over years and decades can be a chronic condition affecting all aspects of a person’s existence. Social isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness, fear of others, or negative self-esteem. Lack of consistent human contact can also cause conflict with the (peripheral) friends… Social isolation can begin early in life… Substance abuse can also be an element in isolation, whether a cause or a result…lonely children are more susceptible to depressive symptoms in youth… Socially isolated children..  are more likely to be psychologically distressed in adulthood”.

    As I understand it your explanation in your recent post, you are saying that your belief that you are not good enough/ not lovable is the source of your depression. Solution: change this belief to I-am-good-enough/ I-am-lovable and you will feel “more motivated, more willing to take positive social risks which will eventually turn into those external supports I need”.

    My closing thoughts for this post: the simple solution to disconnection/ social isolation/ lack of external, social support seems to be: to connect with people. But what happens when the person so needy of connection is also angry at people he seeks connection with? He connects some (selectively or not), then gets angry, breaks the connection, and so on. Anger makes a seeming easy solution- an impossibility.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by anita.
    #382925
    noname
    Participant

    Anita,

    You are correct about the anger. I have been on a dating app for 2 weeks. My pattern is to get on it maybe go on a date if i’m lucky and dont get upset before deleting it and giving up, then trying again a couple months later. I didn’t recognize the anger festering under the surface until on tuesday this week i was skating and getting frustrated with not committing to a trick because i was afraid. I got angry, cursed, and tried to break my board.

    I realized the anger wasn’t about me not committing to the trick, it was the frustration i feel with failed attempts to date, being afraid to commit to the trick was just another failure that triggered that. The frustration in my mind typically manifests itself in the thought of “what am i doing wrong that i can’t be loved?” then i get resentful because I think of all the things i do that “should” make me lovable. Obviously we are only entitled to our actions and not the outcomes of our actions. Meaning i can control my efforts to date, i can’t control whether anyone will want to date me, or love me.

    I’ve been making an effort to be more mindful of my thoughts, body, and emotions. After that outbursts i went and sat in a secluded part of the park and just cried for 10-15min realizing i was sad, tired, and disappointed about the lack of love and support, and all the trauma that made me adopt these behaviors.  I feel heavy right now even just typing this out.

    The anger is a secondary emotion, to the emotional fatigue and hopelessness i’m trying to bury in order to keep making an effort dating. I still haven’t deleted the dating app, and i’m telling myself i have to stay with it and make an effort in order to keep developing the part of me that can take care of my trauma responses/inner child

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by noname.
    #382930
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    It was the frustration I feel with failed attempts to date.. The frustration in my mind typically manifests itself in the thought of ‘what am I doing wrong that I can’t be loved?’“-

    – maybe there is another question to ask before asking the one you asked above, and that is: what is it about being loved that scares you so much, what is the danger?

    Something about what you desire most (to be loved) feels dangerous, so you approach it.. then withdraw, approach.. withdraw, and so on. In totality, you stay away from it.

    anita

     

    #382934
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    It occurred to me that we talked about the topic in the question I brought up to you in my recent post- many times over, but there is still a point in asking a question already discussed, if one tries to answer it with what is called a beginning mind: instead of trying to recall what we answered before, we think of the question as if we heard it for the first time, and see what comes up.

    anita

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