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Thread: Coming to terms

  1. #1

    Coming to terms

    How do you come to terms with things around you when you don't have what everyone else has? I can't do it! I've had severe mood disorder for 25 years (I'm 40), I've always been lagging behind everyone and my life has been a disaster, I can't work anymore. I've never had any deep relationships because of my depression/agitation/anxiety/racing thoughts, etc. I have responded very poorly to all medications and I am left here to waste away.
    It tears me apart to see everyone else living their lives and I can't take part. I will not settle for anything less than living out my life. I can not come to terms with sex. Many people have awesome sex whenever they want and I am left here night after night dreaming about it.
    I may sound like an adolescent but all of this is my very existence. It is breaking me apart.
    Therapists really don't want to get into these things. They just say you have to live within your limitations when confronted with a disorder, etc. I refuse to do that. You can only get a fraction out of life when you're a fraction of a person.

  2. #2

    Coming to terms

    Hi rjc;
    Are there any support groups for persons with mood disorder near you that you could attend? I think that would be a good place to get in touch with people and work on building friendships...or whatever else may come.

    What would happen if instead of saying : "I will not settle for anything less than living out my life" we said "I will live my life" and then simply did that? Sometimes, changing the language, how we phrase things, can bring about desirable change in life. It's awkward at first, uncomfortable, and even scary at times...but with practice, it gets easier and becomes second nature.

    I don't believe that you're a "fraction of a person", not for a moment. However, it would help if you could believe that you're a whole person, entitled to a full life, that fits you perfectly in every way. Disorders are a part of many of our lives. We can lean on them like crutches, or we can incorporate them into our lives and tend to them appropriately.

  3. #3

    Coming to terms

    My two cents...On public TV in the US (PBS) there are two major figures--Joseph Campbell and Barbara Sher--that promote the idea of pursuing a particular interest with as much energy as possible as a way of finding happiness in life. Joseph Campbell called this "following your bliss" and Barbara Sher referred to it as "wishcraft".

    [Following your bliss] is a matter of identifying that pursuit which you are truly passionate about and attempting to give yourself absolutely to it. In so doing, you will find your fullest potential and serve your community to the greatest possible extent.
    "Bliss," The Joseph Campbell Foundation
    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  4. #4

    Coming to terms

    When you can't hold a conversation because your mind is scattered and bouncing from one thing to the next at the speed of light 18 hrs. a day, inability to organize thoughts in your head and not being able to process things like other people limits you from having any sort of satisfying relationship-that's not a whole person in my opinion. Not knowing when you're going to feel agitated or anxious damages your social activity and work. Going to the grocery store or talking on the phone is such a big deal because my mood is so unpredictable, I don't know if I'm going to be able to string words together because I don't know if my minds going to get stuck or get cluttered with a handful of thoughts. That's the way it's been and I can never figure it out. No one understands except maybe my present Doc who is resigned. My functioning has been far below average and there's nothing I can do about it, I've tried: college degree, at least 10 jobs over the last 15 years, full course of shock treatment, every medicine available, etc. And I'm left holding the ball and expected to deal with things around me. It's not fair. I've been to group therapy, I don't have answers for anyone else and I'm completely embarrassed about the person I am and always was. I've even had Dr.s and mental health professionals treat me poorly (but lots of people have had that). I guess when you can't come to terms with things you have to accept that you're damaged goods and you're never going to achieve simple things that others around you achieve. But that will never fly with me. I see young people that have more satisfaction than I've ever had and it breaks me in two. I've tried to be positive but all it is is an act and a lie: you're lying to yourself and to others. I'm considering shock treatment again and I look forward to it. It will be more of my day that I will not remember and that sounds good to me. Call me self-absorbed but I don't like being a ruined person and I can't tolerate those around me thinking of me as something less. Thank you for reply.

  5. #5

    Coming to terms

    I have responded very poorly to all medications and I am left here to waste away.
    I haven't received any major improvement from meds, either, though other family members have. I benefited most from behavioral therapy.

    I've tried to be positive but all it is is an act and a lie: you're lying to yourself and to others.
    There are many subtle ways to be positive even if one is, for example, a depressed pessimist dying of cancer. Have you tried writing a list of everything even remotely positive in your life, like the ability to appreciate music, etc.? This is what my therapist had me do many years ago.

    I also found some benefit in reading of how others struggled with their debilitating conditions, such as the late Christopher Reeve's book Still Me. Similarly, my first psychiatrist used to tell some of his patients his stories of growing up in Haiti, including his father being assassinated. I believe this is called "reality therapy."

    Anyway, lots of the happy young people you allude to won't be so happy when they have kids, mortgage payments, credit card debt, and poor job satisfaction. Many people are in a day-to-day struggle just to pay the bills and would be less stressed if they worked/functioned/achieved less and consumed less. In other words, less can be more.

    My point is simply that perspective is everything:

    "You don't have any problems; you only think you do." --Dr. Wayne Dyer

    "Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile, or the light won't come in." -- Alan Alda

    I can't tolerate those around me thinking of me as something less.
    Yes, society, as its most basic level, is about survival, not fairness, virtue, or even friendship. Because of this, society will always be "backward" in some way. Athens executed Socrates, primitive cultures killed juvenile delinquents, many people continue to care more about their looks than their character, many people continue to see mental illness as a character flaw, etc.

    It tears me apart to see everyone else living their lives and I can't take part.
    On the positive side, Internet forums such as this one do have a social component to them that I find helpful.

    They just say you have to live within your limitations when confronted with a disorder, etc. I refuse to do that.
    "We are all, as Byron put it, differently organized. We each move within the restraints of our temperament and live up only partially to its possibilities." --from An Unquiet Mind by Kay Jamison
    Last edited by Daniel; December 2nd, 2008 at 11:54 PM.
    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  6. #6

    Coming to terms

    Society is backwards. i.e. We openly talk about comforting physically disabled people but when you run into one on the street it's really uneasy and you're instinct is to back away. We categorize and judge each other because at work we have to so the most adept rise to the top. If I'm in a group I am passed by because I am weak and don't have the same characteristics as others (I really don't have any). The best characteristic one can have is to be likable and I've never had that and I can't come to terms with it. I was likable before I became sick then it all changed. I don't want to be an unenjoyable person forever but I've had no control over it. Sure I can do things by myself, I can enjoy myself somewhat but that's not living. I've done things by myself for years and I am tired of it, I want to experience something else and I can't right now. I feel like my time is never going to come. I have no idea why some find it easy to do things and be with others and others don't.

  7. #7

    Coming to terms

    Have you recently considered trying to gain new interests? For example, my interest in astronomy was rather lax before I discovered a local astonomy club with a local e-mail mailing list, meetings, lectures, and social events.

    Ideally, the Internet promotes both local and non-local social networking. AOL's member profile search feature is still a popular example of this. Also, there are many new and upcoming sites that promote social networking:
    http://www.friendster.com/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_networking

    I have no idea why some find it easy to do things and be with others and others don't.
    Have you read How to Win Friends and Influence People?
    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  8. #8

    Coming to terms

    The more active I am the more agitated, anxious and racing I experience and confusion hangs around as I try to hold myself up and my functioning becomes nonexistent. There is no way around it. I've had interests over the last 25 years but they've never made me function any better. I responded to medicine in '97 and my concentration got better and I started working full time and then decided to go for an engineering position in '98. I took one with USAF in NM and I suppose I wasn't functioning as well as I thought and I struggled like mad with racing/agitation for 3 yrs and finally I coudn't function anymore (along with all of the personal attacks I was getting at work) so I called it quits, filed bankruptcy and I haven't worked since. Everyone looked down on me but they never thought I had a problem, they just thought I was some idiot who couldn't socialize and was doing a pathetic job. I've learned I'll never do and I can't do something professional like that again. Talk about judging others. The military is primo for doing that, that's one of their main jobs because no one is suppose to act like role models more than a soldier is.

  9. #9

    Coming to terms

    I noted that you have not responded to medications. Can you tell us what medications, and other treatments, you have tried? New things are coming out all the time. Perhaps there's something out there for you that you have not tried because you are not aware of it.

  10. #10

    Coming to terms

    Yes, some of the new drugs in the last few years for depression and anxiety represent relatively new classes of drugs. Some of the newer drugs that may have their own chemical class may include Wellbutrin, Remeron, Lamictal, etc.

    Of course, one can also sample new therapists.
    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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