Re: Ask the Mineshaft: Clues for the Blues edition

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So I didn't come back for the next week's appointment.

If you'd had a datebook, you would have remembered the appointment.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:54 PM
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But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play your job?

If the prospect of giving up the toxic job with no certain alternative in sight is too daunting, look up your employer's sabbatical policy, and use the time off to look for another position. your employer need never be the wiser.

Better yet, if you have a plausible claim for FMLA eligibility, apply for that. Then you have the security of a guaranteed job waiting for you to go back to in case your efforts to find alternative employment aren't successful in the short term.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:57 PM
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But there are people here who know from therapy, right?

Antisemitic.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 8:59 PM
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I think it depends on what kinds of results you need. If it's an issue of how to manage your depression better wrt life issues like the job, that's more of a CBT thing. Drugs have also helped a lot of people I've known, but finding the right thing can be frustrating, especially after you've been sensitive to one. I like more analytical therapy, but then, my symptoms aren't indicative of depression.

The nice thing about therapy is that it can help you feel like you're doing something to be proactive about it, which is help in itself. But a good therapist will be able to talk to you about things you can do or think about that help you deal with the symptoms. Take a look on PsychologyToday.com and look through their therapist finder; you may find someone whose ad seems to strikes the right balance for you. Give them a call and see how you do on the phone together.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 9:02 PM
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The value of therapy depends on what you want to talk through, and what you think you can get by talking through it.

Some kinds of therapy are like asking for practical advice on every day problems. LB's datebook discussion sounds like this. This kind of therapy is very useful to some people, if they are making consistently impractical decisions.

Some kinds of therapy are more like "I've got a mental rut of deeply self destructive thoughts or a habit that should have already killed me can you help me figure out why I'm like this." This kind of therapy can make things worse rather than better. In fact, I'm tempted here to simply recommend CBT, or some other method that is focused on making things better, rather than self understanding.

Drugs have been great for me. Interestingly, the drugs I take used to test better than a placebo, but don't anymore, because of placebo drift. I guess it just goes to show you can't rely on the mind/body distinction.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 9:04 PM
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Yeah, AWB gets at what I was just trying to articulate: which do you want to focus on, the immediate effects of whatever it is you're dealing with, or the root causes? Personally, I found CBT to be ridiculously effective, far more so than traditional talk therapy, but then again I (for the most part) know where the root causes of my problems are, and I'm less interested in rehashing that at this point.

One possibility would be to look at the Anxiety and Phobia Workbook. That'll be an easy way to start to figure out what exactly it is you're dealing with, and give you a taste of CBT so you can make a more informed decision as to whether or not it's right for you.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 9:07 PM
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I ended up needing a year and half of therapy to get me to a place where I could take steps to start leaving my job.

Psychology Today's therapist finder website was quite helpful for finding a therapist, as I may have mentioned here before. You can search by all kinds of criteria, including location and insurance. I see the main divide as between CBT and depth approaches, of which there are zillions of sects. Most depth therapists these days are not particularly orthodox; if you go that route, just find someone you're comfortable with. Do a few phone interviews, have a few first appointments with various people before committing.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 9:09 PM
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I had my first weekly therapy sessions at age ten, I think, for about two years. I don't remember them, or remember why they thought they were necessary.

I saw a regular psychiatrist once as an adult. He was young, seemed bright. I stiffed his fee because of the books I had read.

Was on halperidol (Haldol?) and stelazine for a few years.

Most of the "therapy" I ever had (4-5 years, off & on) was just extreme compulsory behavior mod:bootcamp + group encounter sessions. As someone supposedly on the edge of psychosis, I still think focusing on what I do rather than what I think, feel, hear, or see probably works best. That is not to say I am good at impulse control or staying active, but most of the professionals assumed I would end up dead or incarcerated decades ago. (Most thought I would kill somebody.)


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 9:22 PM
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I think especially for people like us, who are always re-evaluating and deep-reading things, CBT can be really excellent, constantly illuminating you about yourself.

The trouble with antidepressants is that even when they work, it's very common to have to try out a few different ones before finding the right one. I doubt if the whole rigamarole is worth it for anything less than a full, unlivable disorder.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 9:31 PM
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I've had plenty of experience with both, but for me the best it seems to do is take from very severe depression to a milder but still problematic one. But one thing I can say is that if you're into avoidance, therapy can simply be away of teaching you how to manipulate conversations into non-threatening territory a bit better. Also with drugs remember that the side effects tend to fade over time, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're doing any good, and the latest stuff I've read indicates that they're a lot less likely to help with milder symptoms.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 9:36 PM
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Also with drugs, ask for a choice between two or three and a few days to decide- then read as much as you can about the options on the internet, including both sciencey medical stuff and also gen pop forums. There are a few drugs that get handed out like candy that are EXTREMELY difficult to stop taking, ever. IM (substantial) E doctors are very cagey about this aspect of a medicine's "side effects", but it can fuck you up a lot.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 10:24 PM
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All that said, drugs can be a lifesaver, both figuratively and literally. Life has been completely turned around for me since SSRIs. Ain't nobody gonna get between me and my Effexor


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 10:29 PM
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oh, I agree. I don't plan to stop taking mine either. Pharmaceuticals for everyone! But it's nice to make that decision before you start taking it.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 10:38 PM
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Hm. That ended up being phrased badly. I meant, it is good to have all the facts about likelihood of addiction/bad withdrawals at hand, before you start taking something. Rather than learning these facts as a surprise when you are trying to stop taking the something.

It would be just silly if you had to decide, before taking something, whether you would ever stop or not.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 10:41 PM
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I've heard (second hand and third hand) that Effexor is really a bitch to get off. But my psychiatrist said at one point that all you have to do is switch to Prozac for a couple of weeks and then stop.

I probably tried 8 different antidepressants before finding two that sort-of kind-of work for me. And I've probably tried 6 different therapists and all sucked. And currently I'm not living anywhere near any therapists. My advice is to fuck it all, but that's probably not what you're looking for.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 11:33 PM
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I found CBT really useful for me, as I was scared of the side effects of drugs. I'm still very much a proponent of CBT first, as it helped me figure out how I should approach problems and people and how to work on how I myself react to life--especially things I can't control very easily, like my organizational environment and family. I haven't tried psychoanalysis, though, so I can't speak to its pluses or minuses, but for me just learning how to cope with stress and anxiety and react better and make better choices was instrumental to help myself begin to recover from what was becoming crippling anxiety and depression. I haven't been in years though. I am thinking of going back to improve my productivity and avoidance-type behaviors with respect to work.

But if you need drugs, get drugs. I don't mean pop them like candy, but addressing the biochemical bases for depression should be an option you consider. I'm pretty sure my lack of productivity is due to burnout and laziness, rather than a legitimate attention deficit disorder, but I sometimes think about "oh, if I could just pop pills, my dissertation would be done"--either that, or I would be very, very focused as I surf the internet all day. But if you're depressed and drugs will help, by all means, take drugs. And if you need some neutral third party to proscribe you drugs and after taking them you STILL feel depressed and stressed about your job, then you have an answer to the question of whether that's a good choice for you to make. Also, if you can't mitigate the work situation by working on your coping mechanisms and interactions through CBT, then you have another answer that it's definitely time for you to leave a job that's making you miserable. Either way, you'll figure out if it's your ability to cope with your environment (which may or may not be "unreasonable," whatever that means, therapy may help you figure out what's "reasonable") or the environment that's making you depressed.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 03-15-10 11:56 PM
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addressing the biochemical bases for depression

More like shouting at them across a club. If the brain were a mechanical pocketwatch, antidepressants would be a sledgehammer. Please don't propagate idiot pharma marketing-speak.

Not to disparage the rest of your comment.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:22 AM
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Is it possible to disparage the entire premise of a comment without disparaging the rest of it?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:35 AM
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I have no quarrel with your punctuation, good sir.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:57 AM
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18: Certainly not. That's not what I did.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 2:13 AM
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You know, on a post like this, the old Sifu would have recommended popping pills like candy. The new Sifu will probably start talking about brain scans and shit.

The evidence seems to be that CBT really is the most effective therapy.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:29 AM
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There are a wide range of anti-depressant and similar drugs and the fact the one has bad side effects with you doesn't necessarily mean they all will. If you go the drugs route you need to be sure that the doctore prescribing them 1/ believes what you tell them and 2/ understands the available options and is capable of explaining them to you. In my experience and that of friends you can't take either of those for granted, but it is important as some psycho active drugs make a small number of people really really sick in the head.

However, if you have a good and trusting relationship with the prescribing doctor, this is probably the way to get the quickest results if what you really want to do is concentrate on your work situation.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:46 AM
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EARTHQUAKE


Posted by: OPINIONATED TECTONIC PLATE | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 5:07 AM
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I'm posting on Did You Feel It? and then I'm going back to bed. Doesn't seem to be registered yet.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 5:09 AM
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ah, there we go. 4.4, Mr. Richter.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 5:11 AM
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In a similar situation, my GP prescribed drugs, yoga, and getting a new job. I also went to a CBT style therapist who told me to get out of my relationship. New job, new relationship, never better. Still not going off the drugs, though, and never bothered with the yoga. IME bupropion is easier to tolerate than SSRIs, if only due to the side effect profiles.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 6:40 AM
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CBT + antidepressants was most effective for me. I have had lifelong intermittent mild depression with occasional dips into worse depression, and I think pills are helpful in creating a higher baseline. I found my particular CBT-oriented therapist way more helpful than other random talk therapies had been, but also found the distinctions were blurrier than I expected. The main difference was that it seemed more directed: I spent the time figuring out what kind of person I actually am, rather than how I got that way, and making a Plan based on that, rather than trying to become a different kind of person. It was nice to run into a shrink who didn't seem to think I ought to be more nurturing and affiliative.


Posted by: Hard Hearted Woman | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 6:54 AM
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I almost offered an Ask the Mineshaft along the lines of "how bad of an idea would it be to up and quit a job without a new one lined up and only a few months worth of savings to draw on?"

I did, and it turned out great. I took the first job offer I happened to get, which took about two months, and probably could have been quicker if I had been looking harder. The job is boring and less fulfilling than my previous one, but it's also easier and pays a lot better, so call it a wash at worst. And meanwhile I'm living in a different city, which was the whole point of it anyway.

For what it's worth though, I was on antidepressants and had been in therapy for years before the move, so it probably helped that I had that stuff straightened out in advance.

What kind of antidepressants and therapy? Fluoxetine, bupropion, and talking about my stuff like my feelings and whatever was going on in my life. My attempts to have a dating life, encounters with my ex, how Tuesday's passive-aggressive spat with my mother reminded me of something in my childhood, etc. CBT was recommended to me and I guess there was some of that in our weekly sessions, but I don't think that was the main thing.

Did it help? Probably. I mean, I was definitely more confident and more rarely depressed and stuff when I stopped seeing my therapist than when I started. But of course it's impossible to tell how much of that is the result of therapy and how much of it is the result of any sort of extended, ongoing nonjudgemental conversation about my problems and how much is just time or other completely unrelated stuff that was going on in my life.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 7:05 AM
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At the risk of earnestness, shouldn't we have a recommendation for exercise, now that comments are in the mid-20s and no one has mentioned it? There are at least some clinical studies that point this way. In my experience, anything more energetic than walking will likely help, and it doesn't have to be every day. As far as I can see, exercise should complement just about all of the other ways of lifting depression that get talked about. The only serious downside I can think of is the time demand. As far as motivation goes, I found it helped to follow a rule. If I didn't feel like exercising, I wouldn't. But if I couldn't decide this right away, this committed me to exercising. I still try to follow this rule, although boredom is now a factor.

Toxic work environments are horrible, so my sympathies there. And bad working culture contributes to business failure. This last week I saw that one of my previous employers had gone into administration. I wasn't there long; it was indeed a shitty place to be, and I am not surprised to see them come to grief. The chill of thinking that I even went there in the first place pretty much annihilates the schadenfreude. Like having walked along a cliff edge in the fog, or something.

And all of which kind of thing tends to give strong justification to social security in the view of sensible people. Nothing new to the Unfogged community there.


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 7:15 AM
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Yoga! Try yoga. It's my own form of therapy. I count myself happier and healthier in every measurable way since I started doing it regularly about eight months ago.


Posted by: catherine | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 7:27 AM
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21: why can't I do both?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 7:36 AM
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It is important to understand that you have to work with your doctor and pharmacist to get the correct medicine and dose. The first stab at it might not be correct, either for the medicine or the dosage.

I also agree with the exercise recommendation. It really works.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 7:40 AM
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I recommend finding a psychiatrist who has also trained as a psychologist. Because of the way the disciplines are set up, you could be meeting your MD dude every once in a while to monitor your drugs and then meeting your LCSW or PhD every week to monitor your emotions. If you can find one person to do both, so much the merrier! Also, the cross-certification means that the person takes seriously the possibility of multiple approaches and flexibility.

There aren't a ton of them out there, I've heard, and it's quite possible that I just like this one dude. Your milage, as always, may vary.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 7:42 AM
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Seriously, though, ecstasy is only a temporary cure for depression, and can make things worse.

Ketamine should do ya, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 7:44 AM
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Special K with soy milk is a great way to start a morning.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 7:48 AM
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Some duplicative, some original:
(1) Yoga. It helps improve your physical condition and teaches breath control that has a surprisingly powerful effect on your mood.
(2) Get out of that job. It's obviously a major contributor to your mental state. You probably shouldn't just drop it and hope something turns up, but you can certainly start looking aggressively, asking friends about possible openings, reading classifieds, all the usual stuff. Just putting in the effort helps refocus your mind from on the possibilities of the future instead of the miseries of the present.
(3) See a shrink at least a couple of times. If nothing else it gives you a sense you are actually doing something, and that in itself is helpful.
(4) Avoid drugs if you can - they are good for the really serious chronic types of depression, and they'll help with situational depression, but they really do fuck with your biochemistry in complicated ways. I found that they clamp the lows at a certain level but they also clamp the highs - I wouldn't go all the way off the edge on the potpourri of chemicals I was taking, but I also simply couldn't feel really happy even when it ought to come naturally. They take a while to start working and they have withdrawal symptoms, not to mention side effects that can be distressing. I found Crazy Meds helpful in understanding what was going on and informing my decision to quit taking anything.
(5) People who care about you are your most important resource. That includes imaginary internet friends. Meat friends are better, but every little bit helps. Don't be afraid to reach out, expose vulnerabilities, ask for help and comfort.

Good luck, solidarity, keep fucking that chicken, etc...


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 7:56 AM
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Yeah, exercise! If you don't like solo exercise, find a team or someone to do a game like tennis or racquetball with. I'm jogging now on top of it, but figuring out that I really, really like racquetball has helped my mood immeasurably, and turned me into far less of a slug.

Oh, and a cautionary statement about drugs, despite my full-throated endorsement thereof--go to a psychiatrist or other person specifically trained in psychiatric medications--I used my GP for my first few trial medications, and after switching around a bit, settled on Celexa. Which was great for about a year, when my brain acclimated and I suddenly was hugely depressed again. Went to see the doc, he switched me to Welbutrin *without tapering me off Celexa*. This was BAD. Hugely BAD. Suicidal, near-violent blind rages (nearly quit my job on the spot when I thought my boss was double-dealing on me).

So, yeah, what Belle Lettre said about educating yourself. And see a psychiatrist not a GP.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:01 AM
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34: It certainly makes the exercising more, um, interesting.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:11 AM
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but they also clamp the highs
Depression often does this, too, in which case you're strictly better off with the drugs.

I can't really speak to the wisdom of leaving the job without something else to go to, but getting out of an unpleasant or toxic job situation is A+++++ Would Buy From Again.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:26 AM
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I'm another vote for 'get out of the toxic job'. My current job isn't perfect, and certainly has annoying aspects, but it is immensely less soul-destroying than my old job, and I'm a lot saner and more functional.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:28 AM
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"It's okay, you can show me your datebook, you don't have to be embarrassed," and wouldn't believe I didn't have one.

That is truly bizarre.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:33 AM
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I'm a lot saner and more functional.

Yes. Your reduced blogging and commenting output has been noticed.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:36 AM
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41: I was kind of mystified myself. I wonder if the disconnect was that I'd told her that I didn't actually miss deadlines or forget important dates, I just worried about it, and she couldn't believe that my utter lack of a system was working even that well. Or she may simply have been an idiot.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:40 AM
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Nobody has mentioned the depression vs unhappiness question. I think of depression as at least two of
- unusual sleep or digestive problems
- days when getting out of bed is just too much
- instrumental thoughts of suicide (that is, place+method).

If you are in a miserable situation and don't see any joy in life, but are getting dressed daily, eating and sleeping as well as you do normally, and are not struggling with strong self-destructive urges, that sounds like unhappiness, not depression. Depression indicates meds, but not unhappiness IMO.

For unhappiness, therapy if that sounds good, exercise (I know many people who love yoga, mostly women), and circulating a resume/CV THIS WEEK to improve your situation sound right to me.

I liked Stephen Fry's depression letter:
http://www.lettersofnote.com/2009/10/it-will-be-sunny-one-day.html

Good luck.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:53 AM
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The trouble with antidepressants is that even when they work, it's very common to have to try out a few different ones before finding the right one.

Implied but not explicit in several comments above: Often it's not about find the right drug, but the right cocktail [low-hanging fruit about whiskey sours]. Another reason that you want to go to a psychiatrist rather than a GP.

But I'd definitely try exercise and therapy before drugs, even if only for a month -- don't torture yourself by thinking you have to try everything else before drugs.

Another way to tide yourself over until you can find a new job could be getting involved in a volunteer project or something else that gives you a real and enjoyable focus outside of work. I don't mean just joining a knitting group (though that could be great, too) but something where you have a regular shift and people are glad to see you and value your work.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:54 AM
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43: Or she may simply have been an idiot.

Or.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:54 AM
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28:But of course it's impossible to tell how much of that is the result of therapy and how much of it is the result of any sort of extended, ongoing nonjudgemental conversation about my problems and how much is just time or other completely unrelated stuff that was going on in my life.

Yeah, but the thing is you don't get to really have those kind of converstations with anyone but a good therapist. With everyone else in your life the relationship is at least partly about them (as it should be) and you feel bad/self-conscious if you burden them with too much of your stuff. My experience has been a mix of CBT and general talk therapy which I've found incredibly useful in helping to walk me through some difficult places and self-sabotaging practices. It's not a cure all, but it helps, and I wish that I had started it earlier.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:04 AM
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Nobody has mentioned the depression vs unhappiness question.

Sleep problems? Check.
Difficulty functioning? Check.
Crying on a daily or near daily basis? Check.

I do feel reasonably confident in my self-diagnosis, but have the good sense not to try to self-treat.

I really appreciate everyone's insights. Sounds like the consensus leans toward CBT, psychiatrist rather than GP on meds, get back to exercising, and get a new job? I have, at least, updated my resume/CV and took one final (woefully ineffective) stab at addressing the workplace issues which solidified the feelings of hopelessness.


Posted by: Mary T. Lincoln | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:41 AM
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That sounds really tough, Mary T. Best of luck for things getting better for you. Let us know how it's going from time to time.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:46 AM
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Sounds like the consensus leans toward CBT, psychiatrist rather than GP on meds, get back to exercising, and get a new job?

Exactly. Remember that you don't have to do it all at once. Pick one thing, do that, take pride in the fact that you took control of your situation, then pick the next thing. Iterate.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:49 AM
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Yeah, small steps are hard when you're miserable-- keep going! Updating your resume/CV is a really big step, hard to take even for cheerful people.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 10:02 AM
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And brag about getting them done. Here, as Mrs. Lincoln, or under a real name someplace, but there's nothing like a good "I am so great! How great am I? I rewrote my resume, and next week I'm going to start running again!" to keep you moving from one step to the next, IME.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 10:21 AM
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52: It's a good strategy if you want to keep up a biking-to-work habit too, so I'm told.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 10:33 AM
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Oh, you betcha.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 10:35 AM
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And brag about getting them done. Here, as Mrs. Lincoln, or under a real name someplace, but there's nothing like a good "I am so great! How great am I? I rewrote my resume, and next week I'm going to start running again!" to keep you moving from one step to the next, IME.

I agree wholeheartedly.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 10:37 AM
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53, 54: Or for being a plucky lady cop in Minnesota.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 10:38 AM
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LB: how is that little but steep hill? Can you go up it yet?


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 10:54 AM
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I won't know until tomorrow evening -- going to work I go down it, returning I go up. It's in two parts separated by a couple of hundred yards. Last fall I could get up the first, easier part, but was nowhere near making it up the second part. I'm sure I won't make it up the harder half tomorrow, after four months off the bike -- there's a good chance I'll wimp out on the easier half as well.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 10:58 AM
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Charlie bit me.


Posted by: Adorable Child | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:02 AM
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That is great, LB.

Ive been trying to take the stairs every day to my third floor office. Also, when I get the urge to go eat chips or other junk food, I walk down the stairs and then back up.

It seems to have helped.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:08 AM
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Job hunting is also great on the step-by-step approach. There are a ton of discrete steps, even in researching other job possibilities, and each one can give you a little shot of energy and hope. (Read: surfing the want ads at work helps you put up with the crap). Of course, career changes -- where you really don't know what kind of job you want to move to -- are tougher and more anxiety provoking and more likely to lead to procrastination.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:17 AM
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Also, when I get the urge to go eat chips or other junk food, I walk down the stairs and then back up.

So the snack machine's in the lobby?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:22 AM
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Just rejoining this thread now. Of course I don't want to parrot big pharma! But I meant that if your hormones are out of whack, and that's why you're feeling miserable, go ahead and treat that. There are instances where this is genuinely the case, like post-partum depression (I'm aware that MTL didn't mention that). Otherwise I am all for CBT. But if MTL needs meds, I'm not going to put my hands on my hips and tell her that all drugs are evil and she should just suck it up and turn her frown upside down.

MTL, that sounds difficult, and I wish you the best of luck. Everyone here is offering really good advice. I have been much better since I started exercising regularly, sleeping 7-8 hours per night, eating healthfully and getting out of an unsatisfactory relationship. Also important was giving up needing my awful, abusive father's approval and resigning myself that there will come a day in the foreseeable future when we completely break ties. Taking care of myself and taking out stressors and bummers was first in the line of defense.

I'm still not productive enough at work, but that's another issue, and first I had to take out the things in my life that were actively making me unhappy. And it has freed me to finally address career decisions and feel better about my future--giving myself the "freedom to fail," and re-frame giving up on academia and just trying to find a job in my field as an active choice for good, not as "failing." Being supported by my friends, the rest of my family, and my new awesome boyfriend has helped me greatly. Take care of yourself and rely on people who will help take care of you (in the emotionally supportive sense) and that will help you make healthy choices, or at least reframe your responses.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:44 AM
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So, wrt this feat, any chance of - you know - a video?


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:46 AM
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64: I wouldn't call you biting my finger a feat, but if you search for "Charlie bit me" on youtube, you'll find the video.


Posted by: Adorable Child | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:53 AM
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||

Not to derail, but I have finally come around to admitting that my father is an abusive asshole. I missed my brother's wedding because they didn't want to drag me into the fight and redirect my father's wrath and disapproval to me. My brother knew I would have been at his wedding, and wanted to come. But my father disapproved of his wife because she's 1) white, and 2) divorced, and 3) with two kids from her previous marriage. My father has said point blank "I will never accept those kids or her into this family" when told that he should not punish her kids because they are innocents. So since he has been blowing up in anger left and right at everyone, rather than subject me to being yelled at (whether on the phone or if I came down for the wedding), because me going to the wedding would have meant "pulling me out of school" which Dad would have been INCENSED at, my siblings didn't tell me when the wedding was happening, and so I missed the wedding. My brother called me the next day though. At least my other siblings were in attendance, and according to my brother's new wife, they made her feel very welcome. I know that they meant to be loving and wanted to spare me the drama and the pain and the yelling, but such is further evidence of my family's dysfunction and paternalism to their youngest sister. I get it though. I am just sad and angry that my dad is the chief reason why I wasn't there. Well, my brother and his new family are driving up in a couple of weeks to go camping, and I'm going to train down with the boyfriend to see them, so that's good. I've never even met his wife! And I now get to meet my new nephews. And my brother gets to meet my boyfriend. We're for the first time being really honest with each other, all of us. My siblings know that I don't intend to move back, and certainly not to live in my parent's house, and won't be marrying anyone my dad approves of. When I get married, I'll invoke "World War III" as my brother says, but until then, he wanted to spare me the drama and says that he knew I was at his wedding in spirit, and that all the siblings have talked about it and they'll never let my dad cut me off completely from the family. He can disown me, but he'll never cut me off from my brothers and sisters.

Ok, end personal story. So anyway, I had to let go of the idea of keeping family peace and pleasing my dad, and I'm much happier for it. This is the stuff I learned through CBT.

|>


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:53 AM
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66: Sounds like the wrong person got excluded from the wedding.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:00 PM
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Friends of mine have had good luck with the 'date a completely unacceptable person first, marry someone who's less unacceptable second' strategy. Maybe you should bring home your exotically tattooed diferent-ethnicity girlfriend. You can marry any man you want after that.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:00 PM
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67: oh, my dad boycotted it, taking my mom with him. If I had gone, he would have taken out his anger at the whole situation on me though.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:03 PM
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And, I didn't mean to sound flippant in 67. That sounds really tough to deal with, but glad to hear that you are.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:04 PM
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68: according to my brother, he broke the path for me since I can never do worse than him according to dad. So sad. My brother's wife seems lovely.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:04 PM
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67: Seriously. Even aside from the unfairness to you, why the hell would your brother and sister-in-law allow your father at their wedding. And what's his excuse for attending a wedding that he entirely disapproves of?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:05 PM
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Pwned, obviously.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:06 PM
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since I can never do worse than him

Am I the only one who reads that as a challenge?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:10 PM
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73: Technically, getting your question answered before you post it isn't pwnage.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:10 PM
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I had to let go of the idea of keeping family peace and pleasing my dad, and I'm much happier for it.

Congratulations on this. My dad isn't nearly as bad as your dad sounds, but figuring out how to detach from him and his control issues has made my life much better and has even allowed me to have a reasonable relationship with him.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:12 PM
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74: So you're going to start wooing Belle? Awesome!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:13 PM
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75: I'll need the reference to the Unfogged policy & procedures manual, please.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:13 PM
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78: Here ya go.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:17 PM
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I just find that people don't really use their imaginations enough when it comes to provoking showdown fights.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:18 PM
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I think there are vast untouched fields of provocation, and claiming some of that ground may make everything you do next look relatively reasonable.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:20 PM
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78 to 77.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:22 PM
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Now that we've established that Belle's dad wasn't at the wedding, I'm not sure why she couldn't have attended the wedding and not told him. And I need to know that, because my life is so perfect that I have nothing else to worry about.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:29 PM
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I think there are vast untouched fields of provocation

At this moment I am glad that Megan is conflict-averse.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:32 PM
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I think there are vast untouched fields of provocation

You know what sucks? Water, that's what.

Also California.

And weightlifting.

And fun.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:34 PM
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It is true that my first instinct is to make myself scarce.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:36 PM
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@83: Apparently, he might have found out if I had gone to the wedding, and then he would have gone ballistic on me and made my life miserable, even from a distance. So my siblings just didn't tell me that there was a wedding. I just found out via phone and pictures! Thanks a lot, bro. Such is their paternalistic way of protecting their baby sister from my dad's wrath. It's always been this way though. They would intervene if he was ramping up the abuse. He never actually hit me after a young age. My brothers would intervene and calm him down, so all he did was yell.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:37 PM
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I'm tempted here to simply recommend CBT
Personally, I found CBT to be ridiculously effective
CBT can be really excellent,
I'm still very much a proponent of CBT first,
I also went to a CBT style therapist who told me to get out of my relationship.
CBT was recommended to me and I guess there was some of that in our weekly sessions,
Sounds like the consensus leans toward CBT,
Otherwise I am all for CBT.

All this and we can't even have one joke about finding a therapist who's GGG, for instance?

What's happened to this blog?!?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:37 PM
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I miss read.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:37 PM
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Not that I'm still physically afraid of my 73 year old dad, mind. It's just that family dynamics get locked in and are hard to change. My sibs will always think of themselves as protecting me, and they're still invested in preserving family peace, which to them means "let's not make Dad disown Belle too, just because she defied him by attending my wedding."


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:38 PM
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88: You're part of this blog too, freeloader.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:45 PM
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I miss spoke.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:50 PM
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90: No, it's normal to be scared of your dad, no matter how old he is. You've probably read, "The Judgment" by Franz Kafka. Kafka was obviously, the epitome of psychological health, and even he appears to have had some issues with fearing his father.

I'm actually scared of my father, and he's been dead for well over 30 years. And he was a nice guy.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:51 PM
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I miss lead.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:53 PM
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I miss termister.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:55 PM
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All this and we can't even have one joke about finding a therapist who's GGG, for instance.

I've tried, Lord knows I've tried.


Posted by: General Winfield Scott | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 12:57 PM
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96: if your partner is GGG, you're much less likely to need a therapist.


Posted by: cassanthropy | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 2:19 PM
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if your partner is GGG, you're much less likely to need a "therapist".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 2:33 PM
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I took an antidepressant once, years ago, but couldn't handle the side-effects... how bad of an idea would it be to...?

This might be a cry for help but it can't be a serious question. Are the side effects of antidepressants really worse than "living on the street"? Or is the truth that what you really need is to GGGet out of your apartment and start living, instead of obsessing about whether there's some cure or magic answer to the way that you feel?

Btw, does anyone know a good blog devoted to the topic of internet addiction?


Posted by: cassanthropy | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 2:40 PM
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99: Fuck off. I'm not looking for a magic bullet. I'm acknowledging that I need help and asking for it.

To everyone else -- made an appointment with the GP and emailed a psychiatrist friend. Research continues on finding a therapist and a better job.


Posted by: MTL | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 2:45 PM
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99: I'm hoping you don't mean to sound like a complete tool, but "You're not depressed! You're just imagining it! Snap out of it and start living!" is a pretty shitty way to treat someone with depression, both in terms of effectiveness and basic human decency.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 2:48 PM
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yeah, taking drugs is more of a form of getting high than 'fixing biochemical imbalance'. still useful, but its totally different to taking an antibiotic. better to think of treating certain symptoms, like poor attention, lack of sleep, etc. drug labels ('antidepressant') are just marketing hype. and effexor is definatly the worst to withdraw from. and if your doc has fliers from or suggests an antipsychotic, find a new one asap.

i haven't found therapy of any kind at all useful, other than it was social contact which is good when you are isolating. it seems likely to be helpful if you aren't too aware of your internal life and how it works, or can see hte therapist as a guru of sorts, and that doesn't seem to be the sort of person who is here.

various activities seem helpful, though i think the combination of team sports and midfulness meditation seem to cover the spectrum best. theres lots of other stuff that has some evidence of helping depression, including the above of more social activity, competitive activity, physical activity, attention practices, better sleep hygine, nutrition (omega3 fats, magnesium/zinc, certain b vitamins), light (bright light in the morning, vitamin D), probably some other stuff

and the idea of quitting your job, and also getting psychotherapy from a psychiatrist seems like someone that would be suggested in the NYT lifestyle section.

i also am baffled by someone not having a calendar of some kind


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 2:49 PM
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100: Great!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 2:49 PM
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and the idea of quitting your job, and also getting psychotherapy from a psychiatrist seems like someone that would be suggested in the NYT lifestyle section.

Because only the coastal elite ever change jobs or seek professional help?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 2:54 PM
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104: I think Yoyo is intimating that quitting your job and paying for a therapist at the same time would be out of the question for substantial numbers of Americans.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 2:59 PM
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and the idea of quitting your job, and also getting psychotherapy from a psychiatrist seems like someone that would be suggested in the NYT lifestyle section.

Huh?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:00 PM
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104: I think Yoyo is intimating that quitting your job and paying for a therapist at the same time would be out of the question for substantial numbers of Americans.

Ohhh.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:01 PM
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Further:

Ook?
Pfft!
Blort.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:01 PM
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105: Ah. That makes more sense (and I had that same thought myself). I hereby designate you the official Unfogged yoyoish translator.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:02 PM
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rfts and I are performing a complicated pas de deux for everyone's reading pleasure.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:04 PM
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105: Then I guess yoyo should learn how to read. I am contemplating therapy as an *alternative* to quitting my job.


Posted by: MTL | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:04 PM
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111: I think maybe yoyo was commenting on the suggestions of the Mineshaft, not necessarily your specific plans. I'm awaiting official word from DS, however.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:08 PM
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i also am baffled by someone not having a calendar of some kind

I don't have a calendar, if you don't count cal(1).


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:08 PM
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How about just a different job?


Posted by: cassanthropy | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:09 PM
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114: How much are you paying?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:09 PM
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i also am baffled by someone not having a calendar of some kind

As you should be. Notably, though, you don't offer your services as a therapist to people who are troubled by their lack of organizational skills/functioning. If you were, I'd think getting over the bafflement would be good.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:11 PM
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Basically, my work environment has become unbearably toxic.

We've all been there right? It's like a bad relationship... DTMFA. Is the problem depression, or is the problem the job? Or is the post even the topic? I'm pretty blind to subtexts, especially the shiny imperial ones.


Posted by: cassanthropy | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:19 PM
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I don't have a calendar. I just keep reminding myself of all the things I have to do and all the looming deadlines until I feel a crushing despair.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:19 PM
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No, silly, the feat I want to see - nay, we all want to see - is that of LB mounting a smallish hump on a folding bike. Is what YouTube is for. LB?


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:24 PM
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119: But that really hurt, and it's still hurting, Charlie.


Posted by: Adorable Child | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:28 PM
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117: Dumbass, I'd happily DTMFA. The problem is this stupid addiction I have to food and shelter and the tiny problem of jobs not growing on trees.


Posted by: MTL | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:30 PM
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117: I hereby withdraw 101.1. It's pretty clear you do mean to sound like a total tool. And it's working!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:32 PM
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Cassanthropy, please pretend for a moment that you have some normal human empathy with a person struggling with serious difficulties, or else take the glib handwaving to a another forum.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:35 PM
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ecstasy is only a temporary cure for depression, and can make things worse.

I've known people to get good results from amphetamines though. No joke, the post is very similar to some people I've seen firsthand do better on Adderall than with standard anti depressants. Some history with depression, trouble with side effects with SSRI's, very unhappy with work, trouble functioning, but not to the point of not holding down a job, etc. Low dosage amphetamines worked great. Better focus, better ability to get to the gym and get additional benefits from exercise, and was able to put a bunch of energy into successfully getting another job.

Very easy to try, and cheap to boot. Just look up the symptoms for adult ADD, talk to your GP, and specifically ask for Adderall.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:36 PM
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100: Good for you.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:36 PM
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LB mounting a smallish hump

I'm not sure exactly what this is intended to imply, but I'm not that kind of bicyclist.

And I join in the chorus asking Cassowary (a) what his/her deal is and (b) where's the cake?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:38 PM
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124: I was remarkably disappointed by mooching a couple of a friend's Ritalin. I figured that if it produced a noticeably increase in focus, I'd go to a doctor and ask for a scrip. No useful effect, the only perceptible effect was maybe some nervousness.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:40 PM
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99-101:Well..."Snap out of it and start living!"

See 8.

In a entirely more humble formulation, is at least one of the components of AA. As in not "Change your life" but "change this minute, and then worry about the next minute"

Dory Previn came up this week over at Thoma's, who after multiple institutionalisations(?) and a decade of drugs and talk, found a way to function. "Doing it all alone, doing it all alone, I'm screaming in my car in the 20 mile zone"

You're not depressed! You're just imagining it! Snap out of it and start living!"

Well, I was psychotic, it didn't matter if the voices, threatening expressions & the conspiracies were real or not, and I wasn't having much of a life zoned out on the dopamine inhibitors. I was fucking sick & tired of worrying the crazy like a sore tooth. So part of it was going "What, me worry?" and saying "Why not?" instead of "Why?" I guess I switched from "Why not go to the beach and put a needle in my arm" to "why not go to work?" or "Why not wash the dishes" or "why not take a shower" I achieved a functional nihilism.

Sounds like some high-tech speed analogues are quite popular right now. Speed was prescribed in the 50s to improve mood and increase productivity. Whatever. Also chat and babble. People seem to like that a lot, I think chat is an socially accepted outlet for rage and aggression in most cases. Okay.

At my advanced age and checkered past, about the only drug I strongly disapprove is alcohol, although I try to stay quiet about it. And maybe sex, sex seems to be more trouble than it's worth. Governors, Senators, fricking Presidents fuck up their lives...never mind, we can't outlaw sex.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:44 PM
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I was remarkably disappointed by mooching a couple of a friend's Ritalin.

Ritalin not as pharmadelicious as Adderall. Amphetamines, accept no substitutes.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:44 PM
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100: Awesome. If you're willing, anonymity-wise, maybe LB can put you in touch with Unfogged folks in your area for some off-blog[!!1] therapist recommendations.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:45 PM
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Huh. Maybe I'll talk to a doctor one of these years. I figure if I ever got focused, I'd be frighteningly productive.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:46 PM
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The key with ritalin is to snort it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:49 PM
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Don't try that with adderall.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:53 PM
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Overall, I found amphetamines to have the same diminishing returns and overall effectiveness as caffeine (though I'm very sensitive to that: a cup of coffee with preclude sleep for at least 12 hours).


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:55 PM
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Bob, 128 is a fantastic comment. I loved your reasoning, and your assessment of the results.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:56 PM
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Conversation Monday:

Husband:What kind of dogs are those? They're gorgeous

Bob:They're 'X" Thank you.

Wife:I don't mind them peeing (on my 10 sw feet of lawn) but I don't want them shitting here.

(Bob thinks:female dog pee destroys grass like sulfuric acid, you fool)

Bob reaches in pocket and shows little plastic baggie
Got it covered

Wife, with big smile:Do you live in Twin Oaks? (apt complex) (this is private property, bum)

Bob, with big smile:No, over across the street close to the school. The dogs like to explore.

(Bob imagines throwing her to the ground and smashing her face until it's strawberry mousse.)

Bob, bigger smile:Gotta run. See ya

This is everyday chat.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:57 PM
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Psychoanalysis looks sort of interesting to me, but you need to go about 4 times per week--which is both a lot of time and a lot of money.

And I'd be very careful when looking for a true psychoanalyst, because psychoanalytic institutes are notorious for being incredibly dysfunctional and toxic places. The few people who can actually make all of their living doing psychoanalysis don't have to work with organizations much.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 3:58 PM
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Consider DBT. It teaches you how to tolerate the distress that is involved as you go about making change.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:01 PM
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LB, I've never seen anyone with better focus than you, if focus is extracting a coherent core from a mess of facts and opinions and chatter. Maybe you mean something slightly different? Or want to apply it to boring things for longer lengths of time (like a workday or something)?

Maybe you're so good at that part that all the followthrough is self-evident and boring clean-up work.

How come they don't pay to you be Faith Popcorn or something, and you could watch ten screens flicker images at you while you're reading two reports and also blog surfing. And then you dictate your synthesis to handsome young assistants and go home for the day. That sounds like a good job for you.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:02 PM
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135:Sorry for 136

Still a little crazy after all these years, although I take refuge in the internets.

But I kept smiling and polite. Thirty years ago I might have ended in jail.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:02 PM
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Progress!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:05 PM
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How come they don't pay to you be Faith Popcorn or something,

I've always thought of my ideal job as Mycroft Holmes, but I suppose Faith Popcorn would do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:09 PM
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139: And thanks for the flattery -- I like picking stuff apart, certainly, but as you say it doesn't translate well into doing dullish work.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:19 PM
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I just went to see if Faith Popcorn is hiring (isn't she in NY?), but her site plays music, so we all know that everything she's ever done or thought is bullshit.

You don't just pick stuff apart. You extract, draw conclusions and present them with freakish clarity.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:22 PM
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I always wanted Donald Hogan's job in Stand on Zanzibar, at least before he gets "activated" and has to fight muckers.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:24 PM
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I agree with Megan, 128 is great.

I would also agree that is the opposite of "focused" is "scattered" LB is obviously to the extreme "focused" end of the spectrum.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:29 PM
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146.2: Of the extremely truncated unfogged spectrum, possibly.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:34 PM
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Of the extremely truncated unfogged spectrum, possibly.

We're quibbling over definitions here. What does it take to be "Extreme"? Is LB 4 standard deviations more focused than the norm? Probably not. Is she more than 2 SD away from average? I would think so.

But, you know, I'm just making up numbers here.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:36 PM
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I'm sure I've heard of "2" and "4" before. I don't think you made them up.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:39 PM
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Actually, being serious for a moment, when I look at myself I sometimes think, "given my abilities you'd think I could achieve more than I have" and at other times think, "given my quirks and limitations I'm happy that I'm just functional; it wasn't always obvious that would be the case."

I get the impression that split is a common characteristic among the unfoggedetariat.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:39 PM
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150 is true for me, except that the last part should perhaps be in the present or future tense.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 4:44 PM
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Someone once called me an overachieving underachiever; that feels pretty accurate.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 5:09 PM
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I don't think I have enough awareness of the space of possible worlds to know if I'm over- or under-achieving.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 5:30 PM
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Have you ever once relaxed or taken a break? Are you constantly productive, doing high quality work? When you think of something to do, do you always apply yourself immediately, in a clear and organized fashion? Your answers will tell you whether you are under-achieving.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 5:33 PM
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Really, Megan, there's no need to brag.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 5:53 PM
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I'm not the one pretending that I made up new numbers.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 5:56 PM
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153: that probably means you're just regular-achieving.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 5:59 PM
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A real overachiever would have mapped out all the possible worlds by now.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 6:03 PM
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Consider DBT

Until I looked it up just now, this only meant Drive-By Truckers to me. Whose new album is excellent, by the way.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 6:30 PM
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and also getting psychotherapy from a psychiatrist seems like someone that would be suggested in the NYT lifestyle section.

I get therapy from a psychiatrist, and it's great, but it's a real luxury. Residents have to learn how to do it, and that's how I hooked up with mine, but most people can't see a psychiatrist for therapy, becasue most PDocs just prescribe meds and farm out therapy to psychologists and social workers.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 6:35 PM
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Until I finally figured it out through context, DTMFA meant only Do The Math, Fucking Asshole to me. Or maybe Due To My Filial Affliction. Or Dial Two, Mister, For Acknowledgment.


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 6:35 PM
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So that's what that weird acronym she scrawled on the top of all of my tests means.


Posted by: Opinionated Heebie's Student | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 6:37 PM
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My point was really that finding a psychiatrist who does therapy is very much a UMC, New York, Boston and San Francisco thing, i.e. NYT Lifestyle stuff.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 6:40 PM
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More seriously to the OP, therapy for me has felt much like yoyo's description of just another social contact which counteracts my natural tendency towards isolation. But I wasn't familiar with the specifics of CBT and will keep that in mind. I'm keeping medication in mind as well, but for the moment am just trying to act less neurotic and introverted in general, keeping in mind that this is reported to be much of the effect of the medication anyway (Step One: de-lurk). But I definitely don't mean that in the "people can just change their attitudes and shouldn't need medication" douchebag parlance.


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 6:49 PM
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So much good stuff in this thread. I hope that MTL pops back on, and gives us periodic updates. We're rooting for you, Mary!

Also, I laughed out loud at "Do the math, fucking asshole!" So what I needed when I was staring at this table on failure rates for automobile manufacturers in Europe.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 7:07 PM
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As I did in the last thread, I'm going to recommend folk or social dancing. It keeps my primate self much saner than grad school wants. Exercise; meeting people; rhythm; manageable challenges; pleasant touch; a group goal that all cooperate in, with some individual showing away. Very nerdy, I admit.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 7:57 PM
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As I did in the last thread, I'm going to recommend folk or social dancing.

It's a classic solution. My sense is that for my parent's generation and social circles that was one of the ways to meet people when moving to a new town -- find the local square dance group.

Alternatively, find a bridge group. It doesn't offer exercise, but it does have "meeting people; ... manageable challenges; ... a group goal that all cooperate in, with some individual showing away"


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 8:28 PM
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I should add that I don't dance and I haven't played bridge in years. But it sounds like a great idea.

When I was playing bridge it was really fun.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:09 PM
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Personally, I would rather live a life of depression that have to engage in fucking square dancing.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:10 PM
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169: That's how I feel about bridge.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:27 PM
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Sure, Halford, because square dancing is for squares. You want swing dancing. For swingers.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:27 PM
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He's probably against contra dancing as well.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:29 PM
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Fucking square dancing is likely more fun than the regular kind. Or at least one would think.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:29 PM
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I tend to find the caller distracting.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:35 PM
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square dancing is for squares. You want swing dancing. For swingers.

For our demographic I recommend ceilidh dancing.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:37 PM
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174: What's distracting about "Swing your partner 'round and wait. Now it's time to fornicate"? Those are helpful instructions.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 9:40 PM
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176: Well, it would be nice if he'd put on some damn clothes.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:06 PM
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contra dancing

I tend to find the death squads distracting.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:13 PM
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Took the kid nephews to kid square dancing. Not much happened in the way of organized dancing, but it was a fantastic afternoon. A very nice way to relate to the littles, who understand all about sashaying and swinging your partner 'round right away.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:14 PM
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178: Those guys fucking hate DDR.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:15 PM
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If I were quicker on the ball, 180 would have read "Those guys fucking love playing Dance, Dance, Status Quo."

Sigh.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-16-10 11:20 PM
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176: Some actual square dance calls requiring no further modification:

"Both hands around"
"Dive for the oyster, dig for the clam"
"Let the little bird out and put the old cock in"


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 5:18 AM
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Alternatively, find a bridge group. It doesn't offer exercise, but it does have "meeting people; ... manageable challenges; ... a group goal that all cooperate in, with some individual showing away"

Yep, it has all of those in spades.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 5:57 AM
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Racist.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 6:30 AM
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Isn't it gratifying when the razor-sharp hivemind hones in on such good answers.com?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 6:30 AM
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185: Indeed, it is. Renew some faith in humanity? Check!


Posted by: Mary Todd Lincoln | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 8:21 AM
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186: Don't mention it, MTL. I'll be there to delight you with vaguely naughty-sounding tidbits from Red State culture any time you need me, ya' hear?


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 12:22 PM
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One thing I feel really conflicted about whether it's body or mind in terms of medical care is finding a practicioner that I'll accept. I wonder whether I'm just really picky, but I need someone (whether GP, dentist, therapist, etc.) who:
a) seems to have some sense of who I am and what I do, what my social and personal and professional world is like
b) seems to be someone I'd talk to voluntarily if I met them at a social gathering
c) treats me like a social equal

When I get into any medical or therapeutic situation and I don't feel that all three of these hold, I really retreat and avoid seeing that person again, and maybe shirk finding someone else. But it's so hard to find people that I think satisfy these criteria. Is this really retentive of me? It seems especially important for any therapist dealing with mental health, though.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 03-17-10 2:09 PM
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I suppose this is the appropriate thread in which to announce that I just called the counseling center and scheduled an appointment to start to deal with the issues that I'm realizing have become bigger problems in my life than I had previously been willing to admit. It's a remarkably big relief just to have done something.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 2:20 PM
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Assume that I was able to come up with something cleverer to say than "Go, Teo!" And, of course, that I had said it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 2:23 PM
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So assumed. And thanks.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 2:26 PM
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Yay, Teo! I saw the doc today about getting medicated and utterly broke down upon being asked "What brings you in today?" It is sort of a huge fucking deal to take that first step out of "everything'sokayI'mfineit'sreallynothing" denial. It does feel like rather a major relief to have Done Something. You have my most sincere and best wishes for personal growth and enrichment and feeling generally better.


Posted by: Mary Todd Lincoln | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 2:29 PM
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Good for you two. The feeling of relief that washes over you when you first admit that you need help is truly wonderful.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 2:32 PM
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Thanks, MTL, and likewise. I actually went through that initial distress a while back, after a rather unpleasant incident that began with me falling off a stepladder while painting the trim on my parents' house and ended with a huge fight with my mom culminating in tears on my part and the eventual reluctant admission that I probably did need help. Having done it once makes me confident that I can do it again, but boy was I ever dreading and avoiding having to face up to actually doing it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 2:35 PM
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Congrats to Teo and Mary Todd for taking positive steps towards a better life!

Put one foot in front of the other


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 2:35 PM
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Now if only this fucking computer would arrive so I can stop waiting for it and get on with my life.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 2:41 PM
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Not to impugn your orientation to reality, but surely there's a computer of some kind fairly close to you at the moment, right?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 2:44 PM
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197: Yes, but it's obviously of the non-fucking variety.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 2:46 PM
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Wow, went to Apple.com to gaze longingly at new computers, only to find an obituary. Really pretty fucking great, after the initial shock, to see a corporation devote its front page to recognizing the loss of a valued employee.


Posted by: Mary Todd Lincoln | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 2:46 PM
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Yes, but I just bought a new one (for rather a lot of money, by my standards) and it's allegedly going to arrive today, and I have to be here to sign for it. The time frame they gave me was something like 8am to 7pm. Nothing yet. I've been waiting all day for it, and I really need to go grocery shopping, but I don't want to miss it and have to wait around all tomorrow or whatever.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 2:47 PM
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Honestly, this Spring Break has just been going from bad to worse (although here's hoping it'll start getting better soon). No major catastrophes, just a bunch of persistent annoyances, amplified by my increasing slide back into depression. (Running out of pills was one of the first annoyances.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 2:50 PM
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199: Not to be too fighty, but I'd be more impressed if it had actually been a line employee, rather than a member of the board of directors.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 2:53 PM
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There's no such thing as "too fighty" when it comes to Apple.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 2:57 PM
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202: Why must you crush my fragile hope for humanity and decency with your (albeit, accurate) quibbling?


Posted by: Mary Todd Lincoln | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 2:58 PM
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Sorry, lady, this is unfogged. Crushing fragile hopes is what we do.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 3:08 PM
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Hey Teo and MTL, congrats to you both. I'm glad to hear you're each in progress towards feeling better.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 3:14 PM
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206: This calls for a cake!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 3:19 PM
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207: il gato chocolati!!!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 3:21 PM
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IL GATO CHOCOLATI IZ CHOCOLATI.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 3:22 PM
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207: I really should bring dessert the next time we all get together. Now that I know what a big fan you are of cake.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 3:22 PM
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Computer's here!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-18-10 4:32 PM
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210: Not to mention how trollish you are in general. Yes, I think cake is definitely owed.

211: Hooray! It's all uphill from here!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 5:54 AM
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Teo, if you're free, come have a drink with our visitor from Narnia tomorrow night. If the company doesn't cheer you up, the alcohol will.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 6:51 AM
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And you can show off your shiny new computer.com.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 7:49 AM
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You had hope? What was it like?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 7:51 AM
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I would bring you and Sir Kraab a cake, but it would be very important to me that you eat and savor a whole slice of my choosing. That's my favorite part of hospitality.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 7:51 AM
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I would bring you and Sir Kraab a cake, but it would be very important to me that you eat and savor a whole slice of my choosing. That's my favorite part of hospitality murder.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 7:54 AM
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I don't want to murder them. I want them to unwittingly consume 11 months worth of Hawaiian Punch's toenails.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 8:02 AM
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218: Neck cheese, toe jam, little HP is quite a food producer!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 8:21 AM
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One more voice in the chorus of praise for Mary and Teo. Bravo!


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 9:46 AM
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213: I believe I will, thanks.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 1:06 PM
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So I talked to a counselor over the phone this morning (they do a 15-minute phone intake thing to determine what to do next). She made me an appointment with a psychiatrist in a couple of weeks, but seemed really shocked that I had just stopped taking my pills when my refills ran out. She insisted that I needed to call my doctor in Albuquerque to get a refill to tide me over until I saw the psychiatrist. I get that it's a really bad idea to go cold turkey from this stuff, but her tone was really off-putting. It was like she couldn't even understand why I wouldn't have made getting more pills my number one priority immediately. Mostly it just reminded me how much I hate dealing with the whole medical establishment in general.

Nevertheless, I did get the appointment, and I called my doctor's office and left a message explaining the situation and asking them to call me back. (I think they were closed for lunch when I called.) So I've at least got that on track.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 1:11 PM
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Congrats to MTL and Teo!

but boy was I ever dreading and avoiding having to face up to actually doing it.

Also, and I hope this comparison doesn't seem trivializing, but I've been meaning to thank unfogged myself. A couple of the comment threads here helped get me to stop stalling and see a dentist for the first time in a while (it turned out to have been 5 years since my last visit which was a surprise to me. I thought it was about 3.5 years).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 1:14 PM
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Nick, I'm really shocked. I can't even understand why you wouldn't have made getting to the dentist your number one priority immediately.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 1:17 PM
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222: Teo, that's great. And much better than getting drugs first. I got my drugs and can now rationalize that the next step of finding a counselor isn't *that* urgent.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-19-10 8:49 PM
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225: Yeah, I guess this is the best way to go about it, although it's not like I have much choice in the matter. This is just the way they do things.

Thinking it over more, while I'm sure things are going to work out fine, I'm still kind of bothered by how talking to the counselor made me feel. I guess the main thing is that I just didn't feel like she was very nice to me, or that she made any particular effort to make me comfortable or set me at ease. She was so obviously just going through an intake checklist, and some of the questions just didn't apply to me at all. I mean, I realize that they get all sorts of different people with different problems and need to have a system for deciding how to handle them, so it's not the scripted nature of the interaction itself that bothers me. It's more just that she didn't even seem to pretend to care. I'm obviously extremely sensitive to, well, pretty much everything, so maybe this is just my own perceptual issues coming out and most people aren't bothered by this sort of thing, but still, if there's any context in which people should be aware of the possibility of that sort of sensitivity, isn't it this one? I can't even imagine what it would have been like to do that call if I had had much more serious problems to talk about. Or much less serious problems, for that matter.

And on top of that, the way she only got obviously concerned when I said I hadn't been taking the medicine since I'd run out was really disconcerting. She made a big deal about how just stopping was very counterindicated (she actually used the word "counterindicated") and insisted that I call my doctor right away and get some more. She even said that I should call her back if I had any trouble doing that. No way was I going to do that, of course. (I did call the doctor's office and haven't heard back.) It just seems so weird to me that someone who regularly deals with people with psychological problems would seem so disconcerted upon hearing that one such person had suddenly stopped taking the pills. Surely that happens a lot, doesn't it? Especially with depression, where lack of motivation and inability to deal with simple challenges is a pretty common symptom.

Overall I guess it just reconfirmed my frustration with the way mental health care works in this country. It's like, if you guys want to be doctors, act like doctors. If you want to be counselors, act like counselors. Quit doing this in-between pseudo-medicalized thing.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-20-10 12:47 AM
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Maybe I'd be better off just going to a medicine man. But then again, that's probably not covered by my insurance.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-20-10 12:49 AM
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It just seems so weird to me that someone who regularly deals with people with psychological problems would seem so disconcerted upon hearing that one such person had suddenly stopped taking the pills. Surely that happens a lot, doesn't it?

Yeah, and a lot of the time the people who stop taking their pills have really horrible things happen to them. I don't know what you were taking, but read this thread to see what happens to a lot of people who don't taper off Effexor.

E.g.:

I experienced the "brain zaps", the splitting headaches, weakness down one side of my body, small seizures. I was reversing words in sentences and couldn't process auditory information very well. My heart rate was all over the place. My body craved carbs to soothe itself and help induce sleep.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-20-10 1:04 AM
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And it sucks that the counselor wasn't gentler. Still, good for you for making the call.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-20-10 1:06 AM
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(she actually used the word "counterindicated")

Not contraindicted?

In any case, talking to mental health professionals who are inexperienced, unpleasant, clearly working of a checklist, and unable to deal with you as a person is remarkably unpleasant. Maybe see if there's somebody less toolish you can talk to.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-20-10 7:18 AM
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how much I hate dealing with the whole medical establishment in general

I hear ya, teo. Me too.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-20-10 7:37 AM
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I lost a family friend to suicide after he stopped taking his meds suddenly back in the 1990s when the effects of doing so were still just emerging from the land of annecdotes. So, yeah, it may not be an issue for you, but stay on top of your reactions right now and get yourself to a hospital if you need to.

When I was first looking for a therapist this time last year, a friend pointed out that at the time when you are least able to navigate stupid health care bureaucracies, you're forced to deal with the worst of it and make all sorts of decisions. And then often you still have to wait a few weeks for an appointment. Blach.

But, good on ya, teo and MTL.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 03-20-10 8:54 AM
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I lost a family friend to suicide after he stopped taking his meds suddenly back in the 1990s when the effects of doing so were still just emerging from the land of annecdotes. So, yeah, it may not be an issue for you, but stay on top of your reactions right now and get yourself to a hospital if you need to.

When I was first looking for a therapist this time last year, a friend pointed out that at the time when you are least able to navigate stupid health care bureaucracies, you're forced to deal with the worst of it and make all sorts of decisions. And then often you still have to wait a few weeks for an appointment. Blach.

But, good on ya, teo and MTL.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 03-20-10 8:54 AM
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Huh, not sure how that happened.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 03-20-10 9:05 AM
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For the record, since I don't seem to have explained this very clearly, the person I talked to yesterday isn't the person I'm going to continue to see. It's just the way the school counseling center works that when you call in initially they schedule one of these 15-minute phone sessions, then during that session you explain what's going on and they decide what sort of follow-up care to arrange (immediate counseling, referral to a psychiatrist, etc.). In this case she made me an appointment with a psychiatrist in a couple of weeks, and I'm hoping that'll be more productive in terms of getting more pills and maybe deciding to try continued therapy. So while it was a little annoying to me that she was clearly filling out a checklist, she didn't actually have any other choice. Filling out that checklist was the whole point of the call.

As for the things about the pills specifically, I've been taking Wellbutrin, which I've heard isn't as bad as a lot of others in terms of side effects etc. There have been a few times in the past when, for various reasons, I've missed taking the pills for a few days, and while that has sucked for a while, I've always just gone right back to them afterward and been fine. So that's probably coloring my reaction to this.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-20-10 11:41 AM
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Not contraindicted?

It might have been "contraindicated"; I don't remember exactly. It was definitely one or the other.

When I was first looking for a therapist this time last year, a friend pointed out that at the time when you are least able to navigate stupid health care bureaucracies, you're forced to deal with the worst of it and make all sorts of decisions. And then often you still have to wait a few weeks for an appointment. Blach.

Word.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-20-10 11:42 AM
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