Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 908121

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She says it's chemical

Posted by Tabitha on July 23, 2009, at 3:11:08

I'm in a "life is crap" phase now. It's work stress, plus sleep stress, plus more work stress. Coworker stuff, boss stuff, underling stuff, customer stuff, and just too much to do.

And it feels like a dose of existential crisis or midlife crisis or something. Reality just doesn't meet my expectations. Never has, and I'm tired of hoping for change and fighting it. It seems like accepting this, really once and for all accepting it, would bring some kind of peace. It's something zen teachers talk about, right? "Life as it is, the only teacher". So it's some kind of growth to really get this.

I'll never get the social life of my dreams, the job of my dreams, the love life of my dreams. I'll probably always struggle with the same issues I have now. I'll never be "fixed" once and for all. And so many things will inevitably get worse as I age, and my loved ones age & die.

So in a way it feels I'm near to some hard-won truth. But this is how it usually is when I get sucked into negative thinking. There's a seductive phase where it seems like I'm seeing some new harsh truth, and I don't want to lose this. Because truth, even a harsh truth, does feel better than uncertainty, doesn't it?

Anyway, I promised to take more pills. She also claims I was doing better when I was exercising & meditating, but I can't recall that I did those things consistently enough to make a difference.

 

Re: She says it's chemical

Posted by Sigismund on July 23, 2009, at 3:51:22

In reply to She says it's chemical, posted by Tabitha on July 23, 2009, at 3:11:08

>I'll never get the social life of my dreams, the job of my dreams, the love life of my dreams. I'll probably always struggle with the same issues I have now. I'll never be "fixed" once and for all. And so many things will inevitably get worse as I age, and my loved ones age & die.

>So in a way it feels I'm near to some hard-won truth. But this is how it usually is when I get sucked into negative thinking. There's a seductive phase where it seems like I'm seeing some new harsh truth, and I don't want to lose this. Because truth, even a harsh truth, does feel better than uncertainty, doesn't it?

I'm very impressed.

>There's a seductive phase where it seems like I'm seeing some new harsh truth

This is the question.

 

Re: She says it's chemical Tabitha

Posted by SLS on July 23, 2009, at 5:35:54

In reply to She says it's chemical, posted by Tabitha on July 23, 2009, at 3:11:08

> Because truth, even a harsh truth, does feel better than uncertainty, doesn't it?

We are all so similar and so different at the same time. I am very comfortable with uncertainty. I have survived because of uncertainty. If I were certain that things would never get better, I doubt I would have allowed myself to live so long. For me, hope has lied in uncertainty, and logically so. At every point in time, I could think of a treatment that I had not tried yet. I also knew that there were new drugs on the way. I took an oath of sorts when I first diagnosed as having a biological illness. I vowed to be as positive and constructive. With few exceptions, my optimism has been a constant in my life, even when I could not get off the couch and stop staring at a wall for all of my waking hours. I was in this state for almost 25 years. Still, I always tried to use all of what little God gave me to work with. I think the same thing applies to psychotherapy. You never know when, through hard work, you will gain important insights that will change the way you view yourself and the world. It is the lack of certainty that allows for dedication to a possibility, no matter how improbable it may seem in the moment. Of course optimism waxes and wanes. However, bad times usually have a way of passing given time.

> Anyway, I promised to take more pills. She also claims I was doing better when I was exercising & meditating, but I can't recall that I did those things consistently enough to make a difference.

Is it possible that you exercised and meditated precisely because you had been feeling better in the first place?

At those times when I felt somewhat better, expecially when drug therapy had a positive effect, I was able to do some things that I could not usually do. Of course, there were people around me, including professional health care workers, that tried to convince me that I felt better because I was trying harder to function and was succeeding. They were 180 wrong. Thankfully, I was able to understand myself and my illness better than they did. To be told that you can do things that you really can't is sabotage. You will always fail and become convinced that you yourself are a failure. Regardless of how many times you try and fail at accomplishing a goal, you have succeeded in trying. The trick is to know which goals to choose that will allow for success.

How do you define success?


- Scott

 

Re: She says it's chemical Tabitha

Posted by Dinah on July 23, 2009, at 9:11:20

In reply to She says it's chemical, posted by Tabitha on July 23, 2009, at 3:11:08

I think that when you are at the hard won truth phase, it doesn't feel particularly negative. Acceptance is not resignation.

I've actually been there at times. It may involve grieving for what you don't have. The parents or childhood you wanted, the career path not chosen, etc. It may involve acknowledging that you'll never be "fixed". But there is no despair or hopelessness or negativity about it. For example, "I might never be fixed. I wish I could be, but it's not going to happen. However with meds and therapy and being careful about my sleep habits, I can work around that. It's a chronic condition but not a hopeless one."

I was about to post to you to see if you were ok, because you really haven't sounded like yourself lately. It didn't sound like acceptance or even grief to me. It sounded more like hopelessness.

Lack of sleep alone can cause profound changes in my mood. Lack of sleep coupled with stress can do me in. It does cause the biochemical stuff in the brain to get out of balance. If meds work, then definitely take them. When you're out of stress, and sleeping better, and feeling better, you'll have a better ability to see what hard truths there may be, and reach acceptance.

Not that I think what you're describing is truth at all. Well, it might be true that you won't get the xxx of your dreams. Dreams are dreams. We always dream high, and that's good. But I don't think it's ever too late to get a good enough social life, an enjoyable and satisfactory love life, and even a reasonably pleasant job. (Though I have no personal evidence of the job experience.)

This is the time to make it through. When things are better it will be a good time to decide if this is really a reasonably pleasant job. If this is what you want of life. And how might it be possible to achieve a life you enjoy, even if it isn't the one of your dreams.

 

Re: She says it's chemical Tabitha

Posted by antigua3 on July 23, 2009, at 12:18:18

In reply to She says it's chemical, posted by Tabitha on July 23, 2009, at 3:11:08

I've been where you are many times. Is this as good as it gets? was always my question. Should I just accept it and get on with my life? has hit me time and time again.

But, I couldn't let myself believe that. It's partly what Scott said, but for me it was just having faith--perhaps that faith has been misguided at times, but I just had to have faith that things would get better. Because if this was as good as it got, I couldn't live this way.

Today, 19 years later--yes, a huge portion of my life--I am at a place where I believe this is good enough, because it is good. I think I may have found my way to the other side and while I regret it took so long, I can say that it was worth it.

But I hear you. For me, I just had to have something to hold onto. I guess it was a belief that it would get better if I kept trying.

Please take care. The down times can be so rough, and I'm sorry you're having such a hard time right now.
antigua

 

Re: She says it's chemical

Posted by Phillipa on July 23, 2009, at 13:07:48

In reply to Re: She says it's chemical Tabitha, posted by antigua3 on July 23, 2009, at 12:18:18

I'm sorry also but completely understand as always told I can do thinks I can't and feel like a failure and accepting that a good portion of my life is over is something I can't accept I try do it for a day and poof it's gone. Love Phillipa

 

Re: She says it's chemical

Posted by SLS on July 23, 2009, at 14:08:10

In reply to Re: She says it's chemical Tabitha, posted by antigua3 on July 23, 2009, at 12:18:18

> I've been where you are many times. Is this as good as it gets? was always my question. Should I just accept it and get on with my life? has hit me time and time again.

It is a difficult balance to maintain. I think one can accept the moment for what it is and live it to its fullest while acknowledging that he wishes for things to get better. I have spent a great deal of time not trying because I wanted to wait until I was well enough for things to become easier. I wouldn't accept the moment for what it was, so I really wasn't living. I was waiting.

> But, I couldn't let myself believe that. It's partly what Scott said, but for me it was just having faith

Yes. There have been quite a few times when I saw no way out. I was convinced that my brain was too far gone for treatment to work. I had nothing else to hold onto but faith.

> perhaps that faith has been misguided at times,

Yes. But what better choice is there?

> but I just had to have faith that things would get better. Because if this was as good as it got, I couldn't live this way.

I know. Thankfully, I have vivid memories of times when I emerged from depression as the result of treatment. These periods of improvement have been very brief, but they have also been very dramatic to experience. Because of this, I knew how good it gets, and I was sure that depression was not it.

I don't know how I would deal with one more drug failure. I consider lithium to be my last chance. So far, I have been responding well, but I have a history of improvements lasting a few days to a few weeks. If lithium does not provide the answer that I so badly need, then I will have to rely on faith in order to maintain hope. In the meantime, I would have to learn how to live with what I have instead of remaining stuck waiting indefinitely for things to change. The only truth I know is what exists in the moment. As far as the Truth is concerned, I don't believe I can know it. That's for God to know. Therein lies the uncertainty. Up until now, that has been enough for me.

So much easier said than done.


- Scott

 

Re: She says it's chemical SLS

Posted by Tabitha on July 24, 2009, at 1:23:02

In reply to Re: She says it's chemical Tabitha, posted by SLS on July 23, 2009, at 5:35:54

Hi Scott,
Lots of good stuff here, but I just wanted to respond to a couple things

> For me, hope has lied in uncertainty, and logically so.

Hope to me is thinking it's going to get better in a specific way, then that specific way doesn't happen, then I crash back into, "oh, I'm not going to get that. why did I expect it again?" Maybe I need to learn some kind of less specific hope.


>The trick is to know which goals to choose that will allow for success.

That's the trouble. I can't seem to come up with goals that are simultaneously
- good enough for me to feel good about
- achievable
- something I'll actually follow through and do.


 

Re: She says it's chemical Sigismund

Posted by Tabitha on July 24, 2009, at 1:26:27

In reply to Re: She says it's chemical, posted by Sigismund on July 23, 2009, at 3:51:22


>
> I'm very impressed.

Thanks, but, impressed by what? Excuse me if it seems like I'm fishing for compliments, I'm really befuddled.


>
> This is the question.

You mean, is it truth? Or distortion? Yup, that is the question.

 

Re: She says it's chemical Dinah

Posted by Tabitha on July 24, 2009, at 1:35:10

In reply to Re: She says it's chemical Tabitha, posted by Dinah on July 23, 2009, at 9:11:20

> I think that when you are at the hard won truth phase, it doesn't feel particularly negative.

Thank you for this. This is a great test for me to apply when I get into these places. It does feel negative. My brain is saying, but oh, if only I could really really accept it, it would be a relief and stop hurting. But it still actually feels negative.

>
> I was about to post to you to see if you were ok, because you really haven't sounded like yourself lately. It didn't sound like acceptance or even grief to me. It sounded more like hopelessness.

This is really valuable feedback for me. I think you've nailed it. It does feel like hopelessness. There was a bunch of martyrdom earlier, then it morphed a little into just a feeling of being... whipped or something. Like I'll keep on trying, but I know it's not going to work. I'll just keep on until I wear out. Gah, what's happened to me?

 

Re: She says it's chemical antigua3

Posted by Tabitha on July 24, 2009, at 1:39:42

In reply to Re: She says it's chemical Tabitha, posted by antigua3 on July 23, 2009, at 12:18:18

> Because if this was as good as it got, I couldn't live this way.

Exactly.

>
> Today, 19 years later--yes, a huge portion of my life--I am at a place where I believe this is good enough, because it is good. I think I may have found my way to the other side and while I regret it took so long, I can say that it was worth it.

Thanks for the inspiration. The rational part of my brain can take this in as evidence it's possible. Critical parent still says 'well so what it won't happen to you'. Aaack!

 

Re: She says it's chemical Phillipa

Posted by Tabitha on July 24, 2009, at 1:41:11

In reply to Re: She says it's chemical, posted by Phillipa on July 23, 2009, at 13:07:48

> I'm sorry also but completely understand as always told I can do thinks I can't and feel like a failure and accepting that a good portion of my life is over is something I can't accept I try do it for a day and poof it's gone. Love Phillipa


(((Phillipa))) here's wishing us both increased peace & joy

 

Re: She says it's chemical SLS

Posted by Tabitha on July 24, 2009, at 1:46:46

In reply to Re: She says it's chemical, posted by SLS on July 23, 2009, at 14:08:10


> I know. Thankfully, I have vivid memories of times when I emerged from depression as the result of treatment. These periods of improvement have been very brief, but they have also been very dramatic to experience. Because of this, I knew how good it gets, and I was sure that depression was not it.

I've had this too. But it set me up to expect to be able to function consistently at that "freshly emerged" level. And I haven't been able to do that. It's still fits and starts, and a bit unpredictable. The unpredictability is so frustrating. And those things that trigger a new emergence are getting harder to find.


>
> I don't know how I would deal with one more drug failure. I consider lithium to be my last chance. So far, I have been responding well, but I have a history of improvements lasting a few days to a few weeks.

I hope this continues to work for you.

 

Re: She says it's chemical Tabitha

Posted by SLS on July 24, 2009, at 6:55:44

In reply to Re: She says it's chemical SLS, posted by Tabitha on July 24, 2009, at 1:23:02

> > For me, hope has lied in uncertainty, and logically so.

> Hope to me is thinking it's going to get better in a specific way,

My first impression of antidepressant drugs was that they work on 85% of people who go on to feel 100% better within 3 weeks. That just ain't so for the majority of people who come to visit Psycho-Babble. It can take months for the right treatment to bring someone to the point of remission. So far, I have had only one 6-month period of remission, and that was 20 years ago. It did work 100%, but it took 2 months to see dramatic results.

If you are convinced that a successful biological treatment would produce an improvement in depression/dysthymia, would it be helpful to have a series of alternatives laid out for you? I usually had 2-3 plans in place at any one time so that I would have the type of sighted hope that comes from logic.

> then that specific way doesn't happen, then I crash back into, "oh, I'm not going to get that. why did I expect it again?"

I still ride an emotional rollercoaster when something begins to work and than poops out. My curse (or gift) is that I have usually been an optimist. Each time one of these brief antidepressant responses occur, I assume that I have found the right treatment and I begin planning a new life. Then a few days later, I am bitterly disappointed and often become despondent.

> Maybe I need to learn some kind of less specific hope.

Sometimes, it just comes down to "blind hope". I do not have blind faith. For some reason, the term "blind faith" means to me that things are guaranteed to get better. Blind hope allows for uncertainty. I don't know how things might get better, but I just have hope that my life circumstances will improve, even if it is an improvement in my ability to function and enjoy the life that I have been granted in the moment.

I think the more one learns about mood disorders, the more hope that develops. There is so much research going on, it is hard to fathom that a set of treatments will not be found to treat them effectively.

I know all of this is much easier said than done. It really depends on the severity of one's mood illness. I see myself as having thresholds. At any given severity, there is a threshold of function beyond which very little can be accomplished. My threshold of function is higher now than it was 10 years ago because of drug treatment. Psychotherapy has helped me to actualize more of what my threshold will allow. I guess it comes down to focussing more on what can be done rather than what can't be done. I probably used this line already, but I try to use all of what little God has given me to work with. In order for that to happen, though, there needs to be the acceptance of my condition as it exists now.

My blind hope yields a belief in possibilities. To get to where I would like to be, I can't anticipate the exact path that will take me there. Perhaps this sort of approach will allow you to retain hope without defining a specific path on how to get there.

- Scott

 

Re: She says it's chemical

Posted by Sigismund on July 25, 2009, at 1:01:53

In reply to Re: She says it's chemical, posted by Sigismund on July 23, 2009, at 3:51:22

You expressed some of my dilemmas lucidly.

>I'll never get the social life of my dreams, the job of my dreams, the love life of my dreams. I'll probably always struggle with the same issues I have now. I'll never be "fixed" once and for all. And so many things will inevitably get worse as I age, and my loved ones age & die.

Quite right. No argument. Not with me.

Although I might interrupt myself to say that it is only when I stop all that that I feel better. Tabitha, if I remember correctly you are around my age. You may remember your dreams from when you were 20, all the things you wanted. Back then it was the farm of the Jefferson Airplane sort, not a real farm where you had to work, but a fun farm with animals and a girl with flowing hair in a hippy dress, and you'd be popular and have all your friends round and be smoking dope and etc etc and like all dreams it has melted like frost in the sun.

>So in a way it feels I'm near to some hard-won truth. But this is how it usually is when I get sucked into negative thinking. There's a seductive phase where it seems like I'm seeing some new harsh truth, and I don't want to lose this. Because truth, even a harsh truth, does feel better than uncertainty, doesn't it

Now this is the interesting bit, (although I don't think that was a *particularly* harsh truth). I've never been impressed with this 'that is depression talking' thing, but I have experienced what it is like to talk to a few people who were chemically affected, as you put it, and not at all just with drugs.

It is just a very interesting subject. Glad you brought it up.

 

Re: She says it's chemical

Posted by SLS on July 25, 2009, at 7:38:31

In reply to Re: She says it's chemical, posted by Sigismund on July 25, 2009, at 1:01:53

> I've never been impressed with this 'that is depression talking' thing,

With me, depression is a liar. My perceptions of situations is altered and become negative. Most of the negative talk produced when I am depressed is self-talk. Perhaps the content of this negative talk is dependent upon an individual's issues. Regardless, there is usually a negative way to project outlook. This is the depression talking in my case. Everyone is different, of course.


- Scott

 

Re: She says it's chemical Sigismund

Posted by Tabitha on July 25, 2009, at 11:51:58

In reply to Re: She says it's chemical, posted by Sigismund on July 25, 2009, at 1:01:53


>
> Although I might interrupt myself to say that it is only when I stop all that that I feel better. Tabitha, if I remember correctly you are around my age. You may remember your dreams from when you were 20, all the things you wanted. Back then it was the farm of the Jefferson Airplane sort, not a real farm where you had to work, but a fun farm with animals and a girl with flowing hair in a hippy dress, and you'd be popular and have all your friends round and be smoking dope and etc etc and like all dreams it has melted like frost in the sun.
>

Right. I'd be surrounded by charming, attractive, intelligent, witty friends who'd all treasure me and my incredible talents. Our conversation would sparkle with wit, and yet also be incredibly deep and meaningful. And there would be romantic intrigue of some sort, for sure. Loads of that.

It would be like a cross between a wine commercial and the Algonquin round table.

 

Re: She says it's chemical SLS

Posted by Sigismund on July 25, 2009, at 17:11:52

In reply to Re: She says it's chemical, posted by SLS on July 25, 2009, at 7:38:31

When my mother was depressed I spent a lot of time with her.
It would have been patronising to have ever said to her anything along the lines of 'This is your depression talking'.

As it turned out it was extremely painful.

 

Re: She says it's chemical Tabitha

Posted by Sigismund on July 25, 2009, at 17:14:47

In reply to Re: She says it's chemical Sigismund, posted by Tabitha on July 25, 2009, at 11:51:58

>It would be like a cross between a wine commercial and the Algonquin round table.

They come and they go,don't they?

(You must know some Dorothy Parker. Always fun.)

It was while writing that that I remembered how many of them there had been for me.

 

Re: She says it's chemical

Posted by Sigismund on July 25, 2009, at 17:34:00

In reply to Re: She says it's chemical Tabitha, posted by Sigismund on July 25, 2009, at 17:14:47

Which brings to mind the saying
'When the gods wish to punish us they answer our prayers'.

I thought it was from the ancient Greeks, but I see it's Oscar Wilde.


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