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Sun Jun 25, 2017, 11:18 PM

Possibly a radical view of depression and the origin of more severe mental problems.

I've heard depression described as anger turned inward. So, in that view, if you are depressed you are actually mad at yourself in some way. I'm not sure if that definition works for most people, but it's been an insightful way to look at mental illness from my point of view and my personal experience.

I've been diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. At the onset of my illness when I was 20 years old, my first symptom was a deep, profound, and debilitating depression. That wasn't the issue that caused me to suffer unnecessarily for the next ten years, though. The problem was that I couldn't admit to myself that I had terribly low self esteem and I hated myself in a lot of ways. That was the cause of my depression. If I could have been honest with myself at the time, I could have possibly nipped the whole thing in the bud and begun the healing process.

But I couldn't see what was really going on inside of me. All I knew was that I felt terrible and couldn't function well. That initial delusion had basically defined my whole life to that point. I had bought into that lie to the point that I had actually been pretty good at pulling off the opposite impression from the outside perspective. People thought I was just this nice, happy-go-lucky, easy going kind of guy. I thought I was that guy, too. I had fooled everyone, including myself.

Since I couldn't admit that I didn't really like myself, I had to make up more lies to try to explain the way I felt. That spiraled completely out of control and resulted in a much more severe problem that it probably would have been if I could have seen reality initially. It led to a completely delusional state of mind and hallucinations. Psychosis, in a word.

In a way, it's all my fault. I can point to all of the crap that happened to me when I was a kid and blame it on that. But it was my reaction to all of that that caused the problem. I felt like I had to lie about my reality. It was a matter of honesty. I could not be true to myself.

I'm feeling a lot better about things now days. For the last seven years I've been surrounded by people who truly care about me. That love has been very healing. I think that's the best thing that a person who is having problems can have. That's the best thing you can do for them. For those of you who are suffering, do you have a caring, empathetic relationship with anyone in your life? Especially if you can find those qualities in a therapist- that's golden. I've been seeing a psychiatrist for 14 years; the same guy, and I feel like he doesn't really know me. I see him for 10 minutes every three months and he writes me a scrip and that's all there is to our interaction. Those drugs got me through some rough times, but I don't think they should have been the main focus of my therapy. I've seen several psychologists over that period of time and none of them helped me significantly. I look back on it and what was missing was real compassion. I'd see them for a little while, but never really improve. I guess maybe to them I was just a hundred dollar bill sitting across from them.

I'll close with a little song that's been running through my head, lately.

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Reply Possibly a radical view of depression and the origin of more severe mental problems. (Original post)
Tobin S. Jun 2017 OP
elleng Jun 2017 #1
Tobin S. Jun 2017 #2
elleng Jun 2017 #3
get the red out Jun 2017 #4
Tobin S. Jun 2017 #6
williesgirl Jun 2017 #5

Response to Tobin S. (Original post)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 11:31 PM

1. I'm glad you feel you're getting somewhere with your self-analysis, Tobin.

However, I do not think your depression/depression+ was/is all your fault. We may be disagreeing with 'words,' but you reacted to what you had met in one/many 'rational' ways. I'm glad you're here.

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Response to elleng (Reply #1)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 11:39 PM

2. I've been trying to take responsibility for my mental state lately.

That's where I was coming from when I said that. I've been trying to get out of the victim mentality. Yeah, maybe I was a victim in some regards. I just don't want it to define who I am.

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Response to Tobin S. (Reply #2)

Sun Jun 25, 2017, 11:48 PM

3. There's no doubt you were a victim, Tobin, and the only shame is upon the others who caused it.

What defines you is how you've conquered it, risen above far higher than most would have done.

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Response to Tobin S. (Original post)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 06:00 AM

4. I knew I hated myself

And then I hated myself worse because when I asked my parents to get me help at 17, they went nuts with shame that they had a kid like me. They got me help, but our relationship was never the same. I was in deep with depression for many years before I found effective help.

Is it playing the victim to see my mental health journey in detached detail? I hope not. Anxiety and depression run in my family.

I still have a hard time with hating myself. I hate myself for my life not being as good as it could have been if I could have only pulled myself out of the depression and made better decisions. My therapist keeps working with me to try to see myself as a survivor rather than a piece of shit, that is really hard for me.

It is hard to be sick in ways that people can't immediately see, and that have such a stigma. I don't know where I am going with this, I just know that this shit is hard, and I haven't known many people who wanted to hear about my depression, so much for empathy.

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Response to get the red out (Reply #4)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 11:33 AM

6. I hear you, gtro.

The response to the circumstances that led to your depression initially may well have been a survival mechanism. Whatever happened to you back then might have put your psyche in survival mode, cutting off access to certain areas in your mind in an attempt at self preservation. It could have happened early enough in your childhood development that it became a sense of identity for you as it did me. It worked. We are here now. We have survived. It has served its purpose. We just don't seem to be able to set that old tool aside.

But people do get better. There is hope for that. It has taken me a long time, 14 years since I started taking meds, and there have been some really challenging times, but the trend for me for that period of time has been for improvement.

Regarding self-loathing: The next time you feel that hatred getting the best of you try this. Whatever you were doing before you were overcome with that feeling come back to it. Give it your full attention. Become totally present in the current moment. You might find that those old feelings of hatred dissolve or at least start to lose their grip on you and begin to be less painful.

But, yeah, that self hatred is a conditioned response and it's hard to overcome. But you can. I know it.

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Response to Tobin S. (Original post)

Mon Jun 26, 2017, 06:33 AM

5. You just described my daughter. Thanks for the insight.

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