Depression, self-destructive thoughts parading as solutions, and my insecurity about my future

I so bloody dislike myself.

Whatever I think about, I find a way to read something into it so it demonstrates how pathetic I am. I´m not even sure it makes sense to rationally figure out if I am pathetic or not. Not that I don´t read something into this, too.

I know this is depression. And the horrible thing about depression is that it perpetuates itself and sabotages all attempts at rescue. To begin with, if you need rescue, if someone else knows better what´s good for you than you yourself, you have failed. If anyone can describe your thought processes and behaviors, you are ridiculous. If anyone calls them dysfunctional, and even more so when he explains to you in a humorous tone why they are, you are completely stupid and embarrassing and you should probably die.

Whether there is rescue or not seems to depend mostly on how much of this pain you can take and still stand up again to try anew. Another sentence that is definitely not made to improve the self-respect of those suffering from this illness.

What I mean is that I´ve realized very simple things can alleviate the feeling of depression at least temporarily. Going for a walk, doing the dishes, taking a shower or brushing your hair. And yet all those things hurt physically when you´re depressed. This thing you carry around with you, this body, this self, it disgusts you to feel it in any way! This hatred you feel for it! You wouldn´t mind someone to slash through it with a butcher knife! Just destroy it! Make it go away!

And here is the catch: If you want it to go away or get less for a while, you need to get up and move. Which makes it hurt more for a while.  Hence the question: How much of the pain can you stand? Though this is really not a matter of personal strength. It´s a matter of how strong the depression is. Since there is no objective measure for depression, this is the only way round it makes sense. You cannot say: Person A is stronger than Person B because despite having the same level of depression she still functions better. The level of depression is determined, if anything, by how badly it impairs your functioning. So this is the truly bad news: The worse a depression, the harder it seems to cure it, because in order to be cured you need a tiny little shred of health to begin with.

It is said that depression can be the result of having a dysfunctional personality with dysfunctional beliefs. It seems to be what Dr. Stoneface thought about me. The way I see it, though, is all we know is that there´s a correlation between certain thought patterns and depression. How do we know those thought patterns are the cause of depression, and not an expression of it? Take narcissism and the sensitivity to criticism: In the manner of someone like Dr. Stoneface I could argue that because I cannot deal with criticism, each time something doesn´t go my way or I don´t get enough praise I get depressed. And at the same time a heightened sensitivity towards criticism is characteristic for depressed people. Not just in how they react to criticism, but also in what they perceive as criticism. Now go tell a depressed person he´s a narcissist. There´s a reason for diagnostic hierarchies.

Maybe my own attempts at finding my way out of my depression aren´t entirely non-sensical. Reason and even defensiveness at times help me to make psychotherapy´s answers to my problem seem less personal. Ten years ago I´d have yelled at anyone who´d have told me to do more sports or go out for a walk. Now I´m starting to understand on which level that might help. Part of understanding that, though, was understanding that depression is really something serious, not me just being stupid, and curing it is not a case of “just do…”. There´s no “just” in curing depression. There´s only leading you to a point at which you can almost, almost “just” get out of bed, and then encouraging you to force yourself a couple of times even though it hurts.

I think there´s too much inhumanity in treatment. Blaming the patient´s personality for his suffering. Way to get his self-esteem back on track. Way to make him feel like he´ll get back to full functioning. Way to make him feel like it´s even worth trying. Like he´s even worth trying. There´s other kinds of inhumanity, too. Impatience, for example. Commands that contain the word “just”.

Inhumanity is not just found in therapists. It is also found in patients. They wish someone would force them to function. Slap them if they fail. Slap them for being who they are. Tell them what failures they are. I have such wishes, plenty of them. I can read a lot into this. The interpretations are cruel as ever. “Apparently you just need structure. You have failed at being free.” Could that be the lesson? That I need other human beings? Maybe not punishment, but praise and incentives and support? Maybe I only fantasize about punishment, rejection and condemnation because whatever you do you can always be sure of those? Maybe it isn´t safe for me to dream of other things because I´m sure I wouldn´t get them? Maybe I´m scared of rejection because it would hurt my pride and therefore I only dare dream of human contact in the form of rejection? So my ego remains intact? So I´m incapable of love and satisfying human relationships because of pride and ego, and my depression is mercilessly showing me this? And I´m only fighting my depression so bravely because I don´t want to hear this truth and I hope to somehow get around it if only I achieve enough external happiness in life?

What will it be like if I break sometime? If I dare let this happen? Won´t I feel terrified and helpless? Won´t I feel like I depend on other people and like I cannot treat them like shit anymore? Won´t I have to earn their approval and try to work on my undesirable character traits so someone likes me? Tolerates me? Gives me a second chance because I blew the first merely by existing? Yes, I will certainly live on parole for the rest of my life! Yes, it´s difficult living with a personality disorder, and I´m very strong and mature for finally realizing that! I can always see my therapist, though, so I have someone who knows about me and helps me accept that somehow I was struck with this, sometime in early childhood, and I bet he´ll even help me forgive my parents that they did something wrong in, what, the oral, anal or genital phase? If I get to angry he´ll remind me that there are unknown biological factors, too, and that my parents did what they could! We´re all just human, apart from me. I´m sub-human and I have less than equal rights. I must always make the extra effort, otherwise I can expect no understanding.

And there it ends because the end of this tale is my complete psychological annihilation. And obscene as this scenario sounds to me I´m glad I wrote it down because those are the sick ideas going through my head. They go in circles, they always return. It´s a sophisticated but nonetheless clearly depressive line of thought. It´s like a computer virus that uses the computer´s firewall to disable the user to download a program that removes the virus. I take whatever psychotherapeutic theories there are and turn them against myself. So probably everything I wrote on my blog about this is rubbish and a complete misinterpretation and distortion of mine, except that it isn´t. At least I´ll just boldly say so.

It´s a question I´ve been asking myself lately too many times. Am I distorting everything? Will I one day wonder how I could ever be so adamant about those concepts and cures? Think of this time as a period of sickness? Craziness? Those concepts say “yes” to all of this, but why would I trust them on this? Still, that makes the thought of me being misguided and deluded even more painful.

A lot seems to depend on this. Such as a career choice I´ve been toying with lately. Shouldn´t I go and try to change those things? Make sure patients get more rights, are treated with greater transparency and less inhumane, anachronistic and unscientific concepts? But what if my motivation will run dry once I myself am over what happened to me? Have I been changed and deformed so thoroughly that this will always be important to me? Can I only cure myself by gaining official authority on those subjects so I am heard? Different question: Could I stand that and wouldn´t it corrupt me? Is there some different kind of happiness for me far away from the fights and the exhaustion that would result? Am I missing out on it?

Bloody insecurity. And I´ll get out of bed and go outside now.

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8 Responses to “Depression, self-destructive thoughts parading as solutions, and my insecurity about my future”

  1. You ask whether depression is the result of thoughts or whether the thoughts are an expression of depression. It’s both. Our thoughts, behaviors, and emotions interact. Negative thoughts create negative emotions, which often lead to actions that we then have more negative thoughts about. (We feel worthless, so we don’t accomplish anything. Then we berate ourselves for getting nothing done, for example.) A depressed mood distorts our thinking so that our thoughts are more likely to be negative. Just like being a good mood makes us see the world as slightly more hopeful than it is, being in a depressed mood makes everything seem more hopeless.

    You can intervene at any of the three points: thoughts, emotions, or behavior. You can change your thoughts, take medication to improve your emotions, or change your behavior so that you have more positive experiences. You can do all three. But if you don’t change any of them, you stay depressed. I’ve been there. It’s not a good place to be.

    • Thanks for your comment! You´ve put it very well. Depression leads into a vicious circle. It can be broken at several points, but in order to do so it takes some ressources or, if depression as eaten them up completely, medication.

  2. writingthebody Says:

    I know that if you break, you still have to put it back together, and put up with people trying to help….that can make it even harder. Sorry you are in this space….and you know the temporary things to do…I think depression gradually lifts, but you cannot drive it off….only the temporary things keep it at bay while hopefully the system rebalances….

    • You know, I´m starting to believe those self-destructive ideas about breaking are some kind of compulsive thinking. I hate them, they feel obscene to me, but I can´t stop thinking them. Maybe I´ll write about that some time. I´m glad you seem to think they´re unreasonable, too!

      As always, thanks for commenting!

      • writingthebody Says:

        You are always interesting, and if I have not intersected with you in a while, I feel the need to go looking!….

  3. writingthebody Says:

    Ok – how are you? Where are you? Are you ok now? You worry me sometimes….take care of yourself….I hope your absence from here is just a sign that life is doing something good for you, but somehow I suspect that is not the case….take care my friend, you helped me earlier on, and I do hope things are ok for you …

    • Hi, I´m mostly okay. I´ve been wanting to write but somehow it didn´t materialize. Sorry I´ve left you hanging after a post like this, and I´m really touched that you asked!

      • writingthebody Says:

        So long as you are ok…that is all that matters…look forward to the post when it comes…

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