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Practical Advice Your problems are your most powerful solutions.

Dante

In the SF doghouse with Burt
SF Pro
SF Supporter
#1
Recap: I started getting depressed somewhere between 2006-2008 and hit rock bottom around 2010, with huge amounts of help I managed to claw my way back to semi normalcy and have been climbing and falling in and out of depression (mostly in) ever since.

Anyway, throughout all this I have spent huge amounts of time and effort developing tools to objectively gauge my current mental state, regulate my thoughts to keep myself from heading down a bad path, try to climb out of depression again when I fail and ultimately try to root out the underlying cause for my depression, and the very greatest of these tools have always been the very things I have had to battle in the first place. Every neurotic thought pattern, every unbreakable intrusive thought or damaging mental process has the potential to be your greatest strength. If you are entirely unable to break this negative thought pattern it means it is robust and powerful, and if you can turn it into something you can use, it will be an indomitable tool beyond anything you can make on your own.

A few examples:
1) My sister has chronic self doubt, she never believes she is good enough or will succeed, and she has turned this into a driving force to always try harder, always prepare more to the point where she flattens every challenge in her way, she is easily the best at her job, she far surpassed her classmates at university and even some of her lecturers, and though I am objectively a little smarter than her, my fucking goodness I simply cannot keep up with her drive and determination, fuelled by what originally was a disabling and destructive belief in her own inferiority. It still causes problems for her sometimes, her self doubt is an issue, but she has achieved so much because of it that even she has trouble sometimes dismissing what she can do.

2) I kept finding that whenever I was actually happy for a change I would suddenly become aware of this happiness and in an instant my mind would say "stop pretending" and it was like I has stepped out of the feeling and all the happiness was gone immediately to be replaced by the misery of its loss. I found the root cause of this and now not only have I stopped it happening, I found I can use it to "step out" of sad feelings instead. Its a little hit and miss and takes a moment, but it is just unreal when it happens, a feeling of weight and aching in my chest and I stop and picture it, call it out as fake and just step out of it and the weight and aching fades in seconds. It was doing this again today that prompted me to post this. I was feeling anxious and like I had lost the progress I made this last month and I stopped, and stepped out of it and am now literally laughing, I feel great :D

The above are some extreme examples, so lets start with an easy one: Procrastination.
If you cant bring yourself to do a task for whatever reason, you know you have to do it, and you know it wont take long, but for some reason you just cant make yourself do it, then do something else instead, procrastinate. For example, you don't want to do the washing up, fine, clean the kitchen instead, by focusing on the task of washing up, cleaning the kitchen feels like avoiding a task rather than doing anything, then you can slowly steer it towards the original task, throw away rubbish> hoover the floor> clean the counters> move the clutter and cutlery over to the sink> clean out the sink... and before you know it, you're doing the washing in a clean kitchen. As long as you feel like you're avoiding the task you can slowly sidle up to it until the next natural progression of what you are ALREADY DOING is the task you were avoiding and you seamlessly continue to do it.

I'm not saying its easy, but if you simply cant break a bad habit or a painful intrusive thought, then just maybe you can turn it to your advantage, because it is so effective when you can.
 

justrob

Keep on keeping on.
#2
2) I kept finding that whenever I was actually happy for a change I would suddenly become aware of this happiness and in an instant my mind would say "stop pretending" and it was like I has stepped out of the feeling and all the happiness was gone immediately to be replaced by the misery of its loss. I found the root cause of this and now not only have I stopped it happening, I found I can use it to "step out" of sad feelings instead. Its a little hit and miss and takes a moment, but it is just unreal when it happens, a feeling of weight and aching in my chest and I stop and picture it, call it out as fake and just step out of it and the weight and aching fades in seconds. It was doing this again today that prompted me to post this. I was feeling anxious and like I had lost the progress I made this last month and I stopped, and stepped out of it and am now literally laughing, I feel great :D
That is awesome you can do that. Keep up the practice.
 

Dante

In the SF doghouse with Burt
SF Pro
SF Supporter
#3
That is awesome you can do that. Keep up the practice.
It was a total accident first time i did this, like "i always negate it when im feeling happy, but now I feel terrible, why cant I do it now... wait... why cant it?... oh... I can.."
 
#5
Using lemons to make lemonade?

Good idea!

I find that some of all that energy put into making mountains out of molehills can be diverted
by fidgeting or just bouncing your knee continuously. (to deal with any angst, at least)
 

Dante

In the SF doghouse with Burt
SF Pro
SF Supporter
#6
Ok, think about it, your problems cause dysfunctional thought patterns and behaviours which reinforce over time until they are too ingrained and powerful for you to overcome, these patterns or behaviours seem to run under their own energy, it takes your energy just to try to stop them, so if you can find a way to USE them, its like having a tow truck, they can provide the power and motivation you are lacking to overcome other, lesser issues.

So
Step 1: Identify a potentially useful vice or destructive mental process
Step 2: Try to figure out ways to twist it in such a way that it can become useful
Step 3: Experiment

Laziness>Cant be bothered to stand up> Idea: DO whatever you need to without getting up (this invariably takes more energy than if you has just stood up)
Procrastination>I dont wanna do XXXX> Idea: Do something else useful to avoid doing XXXX, suddenly that other thing is very easy because it feels like NOT doing something rather than doing something.

After that it gets more specific to you.
Inferiority Complex> Think you will fail?>Put in EXTRA effort to at least make a passing result>end up ruling because you were wrong to doubt yourself in the first place.
Invalidate your own feelings?>Figure out WHY you do that, why your feelings feel fake, what constitutes fake feelings > realise if your feelings are fake, then so are sadness and misery> Invalidate sadness and misery YAY
NEED others to think well of you?>Find ways to MAKE them think well of you> use this as motivation to improve yourself, train up a new skill, etc
Legendarily stubborn?>Refuse to give up on important tasks, dare yourself to succeed.
Cant bring yourself to do anything?>Take this as an opportunity to relax, embrace it and accept that everyone needs an off day and use it as a catapult to tomorrow.

Its sort of a trial and error process, but I have always found my vices to be stronger than my virtues, so it was only a matter of time until I arrived at this or shut down.
 
#7
Ok, think about it, your problems cause dysfunctional thought patterns and behaviours which reinforce over time until they are too ingrained and powerful for you to overcome, these patterns or behaviours seem to run under their own energy, it takes your energy just to try to stop them, so if you can find a way to USE them, its like having a tow truck, they can provide the power and motivation you are lacking to overcome other, lesser issues.

So
Step 1: Identify a potentially useful vice or destructive mental process
Step 2: Try to figure out ways to twist it in such a way that it can become useful
Step 3: Experiment

Laziness>Cant be bothered to stand up> Idea: DO whatever you need to without getting up (this invariably takes more energy than if you has just stood up)
Procrastination>I dont wanna do XXXX> Idea: Do something else useful to avoid doing XXXX, suddenly that other thing is very easy because it feels like NOT doing something rather than doing something.

After that it gets more specific to you.
Inferiority Complex> Think you will fail?>Put in EXTRA effort to at least make a passing result>end up ruling because you were wrong to doubt yourself in the first place.
Invalidate your own feelings?>Figure out WHY you do that, why your feelings feel fake, what constitutes fake feelings > realise if your feelings are fake, then so are sadness and misery> Invalidate sadness and misery YAY
NEED others to think well of you?>Find ways to MAKE them think well of you> use this as motivation to improve yourself, train up a new skill, etc
Legendarily stubborn?>Refuse to give up on important tasks, dare yourself to succeed.
Cant bring yourself to do anything?>Take this as an opportunity to relax, embrace it and accept that everyone needs an off day and use it as a catapult to tomorrow.

Its sort of a trial and error process, but I have always found my vices to be stronger than my virtues, so it was only a matter of time until I arrived at this or shut down.
Thank you.
 

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