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  1. #1

    Personal Responsibility

    Am I responsible for my depression, PTSD and anxiety?

    I know I have choices about how I deal with my mental health issues (like, I could over eat, never go out, drink alcohol or I could also, go to therapy, take medications, work on personal issues), but am I also responsible for them?

    I learned a technique called "Self-Control" in my anxiety management group. It is very similar (or maybe even working upto) to the cognitive therapy thought replacement technique I learned years ago after my sister died. I'm confused about how responsible I am for my thoughts and feelings.

    When I first did CT I interpreted that I was in complete control over my thoughts and then, therefore my feelings. I say, "interpreted" because I remember coming to the conclusion that learning about thought replacements meant that I could become anything or anyone I wanted. I mean, after all, if our thoughts control our feelings which control our actions, then one should simply be able to "think" their way in or out of anything, right?

    The problem I ran into was that I could only sustain "thinking as a way of life" for so long. When my mind became more and more tired and confused I found myself -seemingly- spinning out of control. And in fact, I have felt "out of control" a lot over the past year.

    So, my questions are..
    -is my depression, anxiety and ptsd really my own doing?
    -do i have control over my life as much as i am interpreting this Self Control technique implies i do?
    -or am i just in denial about my own control (or lack thereof) over myself?

    Any feedback/discussion would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2

    Personal Responsibility

    So, my questions are..
    -is my depression, anxiety and ptsd really my own doing?
    -do i have control over my life as much as i am interpreting this Self Control technique implies i do?
    -or am i just in denial about my own control (or lack thereof) over myself?
    I don't think it's that simple.

    Substitute the words "diabetes, cancer, and hypertension" for "depression, anxiety, and ptsd" in the questions above.

    Did you cause those? Did you have control over whether or not you fell victim to those illnesses or conditions? No. Certainly not entirely.

    Did you do or not do things which may have contributed to those conditions? Possibly. Maybe even probably.

    Are there things you can do to better cope with, manage, and control those conditions? Absolutely. Yes.

  3. #3

    Personal Responsibility

    Did you cause those? Did you have control over whether or not you fell victim to those illnesses or conditions? No. Certainly not entirely.

    Did you do or not do things which may have contributed to those conditions? Possibly. Maybe even probably.

    Are there things you can do to better cope with, manage, and control those conditions? Absolutely. Yes.
    I agree. Maybe I took on an "all or nothing" perception about my level of responsibilities with my mental health.

    For example, I honestly felt like I was powerless over feeling suicidal last year. I didn't want to feel like that - but I did. I understand things differently now though...like, I have resources if I begin to feel like that again, I know getting drunk every weekend isn't a great choice, monitoring medications is a good choice etc.

    I don't know. I'm feeling some financial pressures right now and am not liking my life at the moment. I think I was feeling frustrated because I think I'm working my butt off, but am still not in a "great place". so, when I contemplated that I'm completely responsible for the way I am and my life is right now, I began to feel more overwhelmed and hopeless.

    Can I honestly say that I'm doing everything I can to "get better"? Yes. I see a therapist once a week, I go to group once a week, I am working out an alternative means of financial support, I'm actively looking for a part time job to start with, I continue taking all my meds.....etc.

    So, why do I still feel so crappy, overwhelmed and powerless? Help. What the heck's wrong with me?

  4. #4

    Personal Responsibility

    Can I honestly say that I'm doing everything I can to "get better"? Yes. I see a therapist once a week, I go to group once a week, I am working out an alternative means of financial support, I'm actively looking for a part time job to start with, I continue taking all my meds.....etc.

    So, why do I still feel so crappy, overwhelmed and powerless? Help. What the heck's wrong with me?
    (1) because you are still struggling with depression
    (2) because you have a lot of stressful things you are grappling with at the moment
    (3) because although you would like to push full speed ahead and grab all these problems by the horns and defeat them right away, many of them require that you wait and to some extent depend on other people - thus the feelings of helplessness and powerlessness

  5. #5

    Personal Responsibility

    I don't think you can ever really say that you're responsible for those things to the point that you just sat down one day and decided to become 'sick'. As much 'control' as you could have had over these things, there were also a lot of things that were not in your control about them and even more factors interacting with each other, and not just you being 'at fault' for them.

    Can I honestly say that I'm doing everything I can to "get better"? Yes
    I think that's important- that you are doing everything in your power to get better. It kind of answers the question of 'fault'- if you are trying everything and are still struggling then that shows you it's not just all your doing or 'fault', otherwise if it were that simple and just come down to us 'choosing' these things or being at fault, then everything should be 'fixed' by now, right? hang in there. you'll get there somehow, at some point, if you just keep on fighting... think of all the great accomplishments you have made and even though you're struggling, you're not at the same point anymore than you were a year ago or even a couple years ago, right?

  6. #6

    Personal Responsibility

    True - things are different than they were a year ago. But I have to say, I am reminded of how crummy I felt back then. I am feeling extremely overwhelmed and very sad.

    I think much of my contemplations about "fault" began when I realized that there would be about a 3 week - 4 week gap where I would have no income - thus affecting my ability to meet my basic needs for one month.

    This has always been a major stressor and challenge for obvious reasons, but also for not-so-obvious reasons. One of the less obvious reasons has to do with my perceptions about how alone I am. I feel very scared when I need help. I've had a long history of dealing with things solo and often during those solo times I've received letters or words of "validation" that the reason I'm in a particular predicament is because of something that I've done wrong or because I'm just trying to get money or some other completely ridiculous reason. Certainly no mention of support, encouragement or assistance. I realize this may sound like a pity party - but, there is much evidence to support my claim. One example is when I was hospitalized shortly after my sister's suicide. My stepmom faxed a letter (from another continent) telling me how I need to stop relying on the government to help me and when am I going to stop getting help from my son's parents (they took my son while I was in the hospital) and what I really need to do is get a job.

    I am dealing with this again now. In fact, I just got off the phone with my stepmom.

    They don't see me in the same light that the other people in my life see me. I know I'm not perfect, but I'm not what they perceive me to be. I've never understood it and I still don't understand it. I know I'm not being super clear, but I'm still feeling overwhelmed from the conversation.

    Maybe I'll take a break and write more later.

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