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Being better at accepting depression

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  • #391069
    noname
    Participant

    Thank you for the well wishes Anita! I also hope you are doing well

    I’ve been doing alright lately. One thing that has been on my mind is how i spend my time. I condensed my schedule to 2 long days/per week instead of working 3 days. This has allowed me to be more efficient with my time and minimize switching between different tasks on work days. This has been a welcome change for me as i have spent way too much of life in service to others at the expense of my own health. However, what i’ve discovered is that i don’t know what to do with myself. I have 3 free weekdays and the weekend also, which i struggled to fill with anything that felt meaningful to me.

    in the mornings on my non workdays, i am practicing day trading from about 8-11am. then im free to do whatever i want. My plan was to get into a craft that i could also make money from like restoring furniture, or making skateboards. However, i didn’t feel motivation to do those things. When i thought about how i could spend my time the recurring theme was a question of “is this activity the best use of my talents?” While some other people celebrate my talents and abilities it sometimes feels like a burden to me, because what if i choose the wrong thing and there was some other thing that could have been the thing i was supposed to excel at and devote my energy to. Then i end up feeling overwhelmed which leads me to addictive behaviors or depression and doing nothing at all, except feeling like a failure for not choosing a path.

    I realize this is a privileged problem i have, but having this much free time for the first time ever also made me realize how empty my life feels. I don’t feel a part of anything. I have friends but none i feel comfortable enough to be vulnerable with. I spent most of that free time in isolation (the recent covid spike didn’t help either). I guess i’m realizing without being a workaholic I don’t have much to celebrate in my life, i spend alot of time alone trying to figure out “what the hell is wrong with me now?” or when the weather is nicer i’m out skateboarding 3 hours a day so i don’t have to think about my lack of meaningful relationships, or activities. I’m looking for some guidance on how to find the path i was meant to follow, not the one that has been prescribed for me by family, and society.

     

    #391071
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    So good to read from you… I was afraid that I never will again! I want to re-read more attentively and reply to you later, after my first walk of this year, the one I was not able to make since Dec 25 because of heavy, heavy snow. Today, it’s almost all melted. Be back to you later today.

    anita

    #391086
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    “I’ve discovered is that I don’t know what to do with myself. I have 3 free weekdays and the weekend also, which I struggled to fill with anything that felt meaningful to me… My plan was to get into a craft… However, I didn’t feel motivation to do those things… Then I end up feeling overwhelmed which leads me to addictive behaviors or depression and doing nothing at all…how empty my life feels. ….I don’t feel a part of anything… I spent most of that free time in isolation (the recent covid spike didn’t help either)” –

    – this reminded me of a little online research I’ve done last month for another member on the topic of Chronic Emptiness (pub med. ncbi. nlm. nih. org, understanding chronic feelings of emptiness in borderline personality disorder), it reads in part: “Chronic feelings of emptiness were experienced as a feeling of disconnection from both self and others, and a sense of numbness and nothingness which was frequent and reduced functional capacity…chronic emptiness may be related to depressive experiences unique to people with BPD, and was associated with self-harm, suicidality, and lower social and vocational function… We conclude that understanding chronic feelings of emptiness is central to the experience of people with BPD and treatment focusing on connecting with self and others may help alleviate a sense of emptiness. Further research is required to provide a better understanding of the nature of chronic emptiness in BPD in order to develop ways to quantify the experience and target treatment”.

    Is there anything here that is news to you, anything that may help you in any way?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 3 days ago by anita.
    #391162
    noname
    Participant

    Thank you for your reply and i hope you enjoyed your walk! 🙂

    the part that sticks out to me is “treatment focusing on connecting with self and others” I look back fondly on my experiences being in group therapy for about 6 months when i was 24. That time period was the most transformative in my life by far. During that time i was more willing to take healthy risks. I had significantly reduced my cannabis use, was in great physical shape, decided to go graduate school, was racing my bicycle, reading & meditating everyday, started my own group, and began seeing myself as a person with value. Ever since then i feel like I’ve been chasing that high and have fallen short of having a stable sense of self.

    I will be attending a mens group this saturday with my old therapist, im hoping this can be an opportunity for a new start. I’m also thinking about trying to start a support group for therapist, as i’m realizing its hard to find help as a helper without being judged.

    A lack of close intimate relationships is probably the thing that hurts the most in my life, It makes me cry just typing that out because out of all the work i do on myself close relationships have been the hardest to manifest. It makes me feel worthless. Nothing new there.

    Trying to fix this problem is killing me. I’ll spend an entire day alone trying to figure out “what can i do to find people to connect with?” and not get any closer to a real answer other than dating apps, which is futile, a partner is not going to fill the need for a community. When i have my weekly emotional breakdown, i’ll scroll through my phone looking for someone to talk to and don’t feel comfortable calling anyone, so i don’t. I suffer alone, every time. It has to stop because it’s starting to get scary for me in those moments as i spiral into hopeless self destruction

     

     

    #391164
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    You are welcome. The walk was good, thank you, it is nice to have the snow almost gone, for now.

    The group therapy experience that you had for six months at 24 was a rare, one-time experience in your life, an experience of “connecting with self and others“. It transformed you at the time: you got into great physical shape, raced your bicycle, read and meditated every day, significantly reduced your cannabis use; you started your own group, decided to go to graduate school, and you saw yourself as “a person with value“… all because you connected with self and others.

    Because we are born to be highly social animals, connecting with self and with others are two sides of the same coin, can’t do one without the other. This is making me think of the Chronic Emptiness I mentioned in my previous post as A chronic lack of connecting.

    Emotionally and practically, Connecting is thriving; a chronic Lack of connecting is stagnating, withering and dying.

    Close relationships have been the hardest to manifest. It makes me feel worthless… When I have my weekly emotional breakdown, I’ll scroll through my phone looking for someone to talk to and don’t feel comfortable calling anyone, so I don’t. I suffer alone, every time. It has to stop because it’s starting to get scary for me in those moments as I spiral into hopeless self-destruction” –

    -isn’t it amazing, that we are that highly social by nature, that without connection with others we feel worthless and so very empty, that our natural tendency then, is to break down and self-destruct?

    When you scroll down your phone, and you don’t feel like calling anyone- I think that it’s because you can’t imagine connecting with anyone on your list, on that one day, evening or night, because in the past, you called this or that person, and failed to feel connected. This is the thing when it comes to chronic emptiness: one no longer anticipates connecting.

    I will be attending a men’s group this Saturday with my old therapist, I’m hoping this can be an opportunity for a new start. I’m also thinking about trying to start a support group for therapist” – these read like great ideas. Give these two experiences all that you have because… well, because your life depends on connecting, really.

    anita

     

    #391166
    noname
    Participant

    I definitely do not anticipate connection anymore. In fact i actively anticipate that i wont feel connected at all regardless of the situation, which i’m sure doesn’t help either. Any time i do anything social with my roommate now i’ve noticed i remind myself going into the interaction “don’t forget no one actually cares about you or is going to care about you, don’t expect anyone to give you attention, you are here because they are being nice, so be grateful they are even willing to be around someone as sad and boring as you” The worst part is these thoughts are not outside of my awareness, i am very much awake, aware, and consciously feeding them, which i see as a huge red flag for how hopeless i feel about my life and future right now.

    I keep coming back here, and specifically talking with you Anita to feel some kind of empathetic connection with a human being, even if it largely one-sided and we won’t ever meet in person. It is still helpful to write here soley for the encouragement to keep trying. I have worked hard to create connections in my in person life to varying degrees of success.

    I will keep trying, however i need to be courageous enough to risk my safety in the false-self image i have created and be vulnerable. I have these ridiculous expectations that I should’nt need other people ever, that i have to have a partner my friends and family would approve of, and that i have to be extremely successful and recognized as a leader in my career. It’s so silly and exhausting.

    #391167
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    Having communicated with you for so long, since March 15, 2017 (shortly after the 6-months rare connecting experience we mentioned today), I believe that the strongest cause for your low connectivity with others and the resulting chronic loneliness and emptiness is anger. It is anger that is mixed with low self-esteem, intense frustration, low motivation, depression.

    But anger is predominantly what is keeping you alone, I figure, because there are plenty of people out there, as you know, who suffer from low self-esteem and who are depressed, but have longer, uninterrupted relationships than you had. It’s the anger that cuts your relationships in their very beginning, like a pair of scissors.

    There is also the issue of some of the women you got involved with, one who comes to mind was polyamorous, which is not everyone’s cup of tea.

    anita

     

    #391490
    noname
    Participant

    Im not sure i know what you’re talking about when it comes to anger. In general people describe me as being easy going and mellow. It has been some years since i remember expressing anger towards a woman, of the 3 times i recall all three involved me being lied to. I do have anger outbursts when i’m alone, i’ll scream most of the time sometimes hit something, never would i ever hurt anyone else though.</p>
    What I find most disruptive to finding close relationships now is my lack of self-worth. I don’t see myself as someone who people would want to be friends with, i don’t understand what value i could bring to any relationship other than being a provider. I’m not fun to be around anymore, i’ve lost most of my playfulness about life. Everything has felt so heavy and serious for so long, i’m losing hope for the future. I continue to live out of obligation to prevent spreading pain to others. I feel tired, pathetic, worthless, unlovable, you name it. Therefore, I don’t reach out to people, and recently over the past few weeks have grown generally unresponsive and avoidant of other people.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 4 days ago by noname.
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 4 days ago by noname.
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 4 days ago by noname.
    #391497
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    I am sorry to read how tired, worthless, unlovable and heavy and serious you feel, I really do, I wish you felt much better. You’ve been suffering from depression for a long time. As I understand it, depression is a result of neural excitation (anxiety, anger) that lasts for too long, resulting in the brain/ body collapsing into depression. How is the weather where you are, heavy snow etc.?

    anita

    #391498
    noname
    Participant

    It is cold here in the 30’s but i’m still getting outside and running. No snow where im at.

    After journaling some today and feeling frustrated again with my lack of progress in feeling good about myself, i realized I don’t exactly know how to feel good about myself without stroking my ego. Thinking about how attached i am to achievements, and concrete numbers for feeling good about myself. Being a therapist is the first job i’ve had where comparison to others, or having a concrete measure of achievement is non-existent and pointless anyway. I often leave work feeling confused as to whether I did anything worthwhile that day. Every other job i’ve had involved some kind of measurable outcome that i relied on to feel as if I did something productive that day.

    For me to feel good about being a therapist I have to feel good about myself. My clients might leave the session feeling worse than they came in after looking at themselves for an hour. When i’m feeling good about myself and life i can recognize this as a necessary part of the process of growth and awareness, when i’m not feeling great i just think i did a shit job and suck at everything.

    I have a problem of co-dependence. Either i am dependent on the approval of others, or i’m dependent on comparison to others. I really hate that I have this problem and believe it as the root of my anxiety, because i’m not getting approval from others and don’t want to compare myself to other people anymore, i feel I have no way to generate something that feels like love and validation for myself.

    The result is i increase all of my addictions to feel “good” which have been pretty bad lately. If only i could change my beliefs about myself to be more loving where i didn’t have to exclusively rely on outside validation, i think i’d live such a more fulfilling life.

    Thank you for your time and attention Anita, i Realize i write alot when i post here and i really appreciate you.

    #391499
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    You are welcome, it’s kind of you to express appreciation. I wish I was able to somehow make you feel better about who you are because I sincerely appreciate you, not only for your accomplishments, but for who you are inside, underneath the depression, underneath the delusion of worthlessness. Delusion, I say because it is not true, this part of what you believe about yourself.

    I wrote the above paragraph before I read this part: “I realized I don’t exactly know how to feel good about myself without stroking my ego. Thinking about how attached I am to achievements, and concrete numbers for feeling good about myself” – so, if you were able to feel good about yourself not because of concrete numbers, but because of the abstract value of being a good human being, that would do…?

    Being a therapist is the first job I’ve had where… a concrete measure of achievement is non-existent and pointless anyway. I often leave work feeling confused as to whether I did anything worthwhile that day” – if you helped another good person out there on any one day, to learn something that is true, and suffer less because of it, that’s worthwhile.

    Either I am dependent on the approval of others, or I’m dependent on comparison to others. I really hate that I have this problem and believe it as the root of my anxiety…  feel I have no way to generate something that feels like love and validation for myself” -how about doing what I do: I focus on learning what is true, every day; it sustains me emotionally.

    The result is I increase all of my addictions to feel “good” which have been pretty bad lately” – if you are talking about smoking pot, do it a bit less, and enjoy it when you do. You deserve to feel good!

    anita

    #391610
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    I wonder if you attended the men’s group you intended to attend this past Saturday, and if there is any progress in regard to your idea of creating a support group for therapists? I hope you are feeling better!

    anita

    #391753
    noname
    Participant

    Anita,

    Thanks for checking on me. Unfortunately i did not attend the group, or anything else i was invited to last weekend. My feeling of “I don’t belong” got in the way and led to me declining to hangout with friends on 2 occasions and attend the group. My roommate was out of town so it was just me and the dog. I did alot of reflecting on my relationship with fear and shame.

    I find it interesting that this relationship to fear and shame has progressed and regressed at different points in my life. I think alot of it has to do with a lack of commitment to sit with and care for my own uncomfortable emotions, Which is made much worse by addictions(weed, porn, alcohol) fueling the shame creating a cycle of avoidance of self-love/care.

    I even find it hard to reply here in a timely manner because of this avoidance/neglect of my emotional states. I really appreciate that you are responsive and attentive to me, as i need those role-models in my life to understand how to internalize that same responsiveness to myself.

    I have made some progress this week with it. I try my best to just let go of making mistakes. This internal battle as i see it is one of imagination. It is hard for me to imagine being lovable, despite sometimes being awkward and misspeaking. It is hard for me to imagine anyone wanting to be there for me when i’m struggling. It is hard for me to imagine being able to improve myself without shame. However, i must begin to open my imagination to the possibility i can be loved by myself and others. My life depends on it.

    I ran into a friend of mine at the bar this weekend, whom this summer i convinced to start therapy after I listened to them tell me their life story in detail. This friend’s older brother committed suicide about 10 years ago, and i learned this weekend that their younger brother two weeks ago also committed suicide. It broke my heart to hear this, and reinforced the idea that i must take care of this problem i have now. I’ve promised myself to never go as far as suicide because of the wake of pain it leaves for the living, but in other ways i engage in a slow process of destroying the vibrant inner life within me for the sake of some false sense of safety. There is a wealth of love, creativity, and joy within me that i don’t to tap into often enough, and need to start living in. I dont want to leave behind a legacy of sorrow and misery.

    #391780
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    You are welcome and thank you for being here!

    I must begin to open my imagination to the possibility I can be loved by myself and others. My life depends on it” – your life and your quality of life depends on it. This possibility that you will be loved is a real possibility. I can definitely imagine it!

    I ran into a friend of mine at the bar this weekend, whom this summer I convinced to start therapy… This friend’s older brother committed suicide about 10 years ago… their younger brother two weeks ago also committed suicide. It broke my heart to hear this… I’ve promised myself to never go as far as suicide because of the wake of pain it leaves for the living, but in other ways I engage in a slow process of destroying the vibrant inner life within me…  I don’t tap into (it) often enough… I don’t want to leave behind a legacy of sorrow and misery” –

    – Throughout your life, waking up every morning, did you not expect your day to be this way or that way, some mornings expecting good things to happen (being optimistic about the day to come), many mornings expecting bad things to happen (being pessimistic)?

    Recently, while communicating on the forums, it occurred to me that animals in the wild wake up each morning, not with an expectation for the day to come, but with a desire for the day to come, a desire I refer to as the call of the wild.

    What if you wake up every morning with no expectations for the day to come, and instead, with the call of the wild: the innate animalistic desire to explore and experience this moment, and the next?

    My personal call of the wild is learning about people, ultimately, learning about myself: who am I, what am I about? What is life about. When engaged in learning, it makes me want to live.

    The two brothers you mentioned, I imagine that they woke up too many mornings expecting a better day, and disappointed too many times, they finally gave up. If they woke up with no expectations, they would not have gotten disappointed every time. If they woke up with the call of the wild, they would have wanted to live.

    What is your call-of-the-wild, noname?

    anita

    #391797
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    I feel silly asking you about the identity of your personal call of the wild, being that you’ve been depressed for so long, looking- not for the call of the wild– but for a way of “Being better at accepting depression” (the title of your thread). Plus, when you followed some calls-of-the-wild, it led you to great frustration and shame. Right?

    I feel that this topic is tricky, but I still want to develop it with you(?)

    anita

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