Homework, HW 1

I’ve procrastinated this a long time. 9 days. Just because it’s homework.

I need to write down the examples of my GI (guilt-induced) depression manifestations. Or something. I’ll do a list and brainstorm a few days more (day 9, 11):

  • When I (e.g.) write blog posts and neglect the care for my family (or rather when the circumstances are against me – when I don’t have time for both and pick the wrong choice). Why guilt? Because I should have my family as a priority, not my pursuits. But if I don’t follow pursuits, I might never do anything but taking care of my children. My husband has been always a second fiddle, which is a whole new chapter to tackle. The guilt of being selfish. Stealing time from others.
  • When I eat ice cream or other sweets. When I give them to my children. I know sugar is harmful, a drug. I know I feel bad when I indulge. I know I’m hurting my children with it. I know my daughter shouldn’t eat sugar at least for another year. We’ve decided upon no-sugar policy at home. And I undermine my husband’s efforts. He tries not to eat sweets. But I somehow ignore all this. And after I eat or give sweets, I feel guilty.
  • When I (not) do something that can have harmful consequences in the long run. E.g. not check my boy for ticks when he was through the bushes (ticks in our part of the world are high percent infected). Or not lowering my baby’s mattress when she could fall over the guardrail. Procrastinating those tasks for some days and feeling more and more guilty. At least until I drop the guilt and become resigned at myself.
  • When boasting of something and not finishing on time, then remembering it occasionally and feeling mild guilt. E.g. not organising the hall closet and having the stuff that was supposed to go in it all over the apartment. I don’t feel as guilty because everyone already knows I don’t finish tasks and if I didn’t do it isn’t life threatening.
  • When promising something (like buying sth. in a grocery or sending an important email) and then forgetting. It has to do with high standards, which I hold up to, or just being a perfectionist. I sort of diminished this type of guilt by not promising anyone anything. Not really a heroic solution, but hey, whatever helps.
  • I feel a bit guilty of not being a mother/wife/daughter-in-law/employee as I should. I probably should look into this self-conscious perfectionistic type of guilt. It’s just a feeling. What I should be vs. who I am. Because I probably don’t know who I am. I guess, my adolescence wasn’t as successful as it should (here we go again).

 

I think I covered the most of it – to recap:

  • me vs. others (the limits of one’s freedom, by both parties consensus);
  • doing harmful stuff, mostly indulging in sweets (could be some other addiction);
  • risking the health/lives of others (s.o. is dependent on me);
  • not following through my own plans;
  • promising but not delivering (not being the person I once was / want to be / think I am);
  • me vs. others (who I am vs. what I should be according to others, which I might not agree with).

I’m pleased with my homework. I should now take each item on the list and expand (analyse) it into its own post/therapy session.
Am I on the right track? I don’t know but must stick with the system I imagined.

Chaos and entropy – the enemies?

Entropy is the term describing the lack of order or predictability, a gradual decline into disorder.

An hour ago I was reading the newest post from James Clear which is all about entropy and “why life always seems to get more complicated”. Clear always writes concisely (and clear:)) so I won’t do a recap, you better read it yourselves. I’ll tell you how it relates to me, though. Continue reading Chaos and entropy – the enemies?

The flavours of my depression

Three days ago I posted my first therapy session, ‘The reasons why I get depressed‘. I wasn’t entirely satisfied with it, I couldn’t express properly. I was missing a proper word (oh, my dysnomia). I started writing that post in April, so I was missing the words for more than a month. It bothered me all this time.
But, looking on the bright side, I posted the article nonetheless, yippee! for me.

Today I remembered the word(s). Type, sort, form instead of reasons. I’m so relieved.

Also, I remembered another two forms, manifestations of my depression. This is why I’m doing another post rather than just editing the existing one. No, I’m covering the true cause. I’m doing it because the previous post has two likes on it, and it means I cannot touch it, at least not severely. (Where’s Jack to remind me I’ve yielded to vanity?!)

But I’ll be brief(er). Continue reading The flavours of my depression

Taking Aucee for a walk

Who’s Aucee? Read my Player’s introduction first.

Just noting an instance of my OCD.*

The ‘Inhalt’**, content:
I am on a bike, probably without the brakes, speeding down the hill toward an abyss. Add a child. No, why not adding two, for the situation to be even more complicated.
How to stop? Turn over to crash on the slope rather than in the pit? And my little ones get all scratched? How about getting them both in my hands first and then jumping off? Why would it be thus easy? At least one child is fastened to the bike.
Err. Time’s up, game over, you are over the precipice.

Repetition no. 2. I’m too late for one child (the fastened one). Err. Time’s up, game over.

I stopped then. I started to think of something else. Aucee and me, back home from the sunny day.

The circumstances:
My son has fallen off a bike 2 days ago. Got a nice little hole in his forehead (otherwise ok).
I got the obsession after a tiresome (but otherwise usual) episode of an afternoon putting children to bed.
(You know – starting with being friends, looking good – not looking good, urging – “I need to go to the bathroom” – “ok, hurry” – “I want to be with you” – “I’ll come to you when your sister falls to sleep” – “I don’t want to sleep” – “I know but you need to” – losing my temper – “If you don’t go to sleep in five minutes, and I’ll come to check, you’ll have to sleep the whole day!” – finally, somehow, not of my power, they fell asleep.)

 

*I might go into OCD analysis like I do dream analysis. It occurred to me they’re similar. This is why I disclose circumstances. Let’s see if there’s a pattern.

**I don’t know why I retrieve some words in German, rather than in English, which is my first foreign language. German is my second, although I wasn’t too good at it. The content, der Inhalt is one of these words. Just an oddity, another note.

 

An edit. Rather an add-on:
Later in the day, I was preparing baby pap (a bought veggie pap plus some baby pasta) and I was thinking of what else can I get in the pot. My baby daughter doesn’t like much besides my milk, so it’s a stressful event to think of new things she might try.
A thought intruded into my contemplation; I could put some tomato sauce that was way over its expiration date. What!! No!
This thought was brief but impactful. I detected resentment toward my children that take so much of my time (I’m selfish and want to have a lot of ‘myself time’). Also, I thought it might be because I feel incompetent as a mother.

Analysis due some other day.

Make my day quote

Did you again find your shoes the centre of your unfocused attention? You don’t think much is worth looking at? Too indifferent to even nod to me?

Lift your head. Well, you probably won’t.

Just will your head to stay down. You must not lift it. Whatever you do, do not lift your head. Better still, do not move your hands. Fix your eyes on your shoes. Don’t move.

Fidgety yet?

TS 1: The reasons why I get depressed

I’m yet again in a bout of depression. Depression is such a broad term. It represents chaos, melancholy, feelings of hopelessness, and inability to change.

A first session with a therapist usually consists of niceties, getting to know each other, questions about sessions, about the methods a therapist uses, rules of conduct, etc.
I’ll skip it. Use your imagination.

Mos is the name of myself as a therapist. A ‘she’. You can read about the players in this game here.
My lines are in plain, non-italicised letters, Mos’ lines are italicised.

Hello Mos,
my life is chaos. I feel like drowning in everything I should be, should do, and, trying to do everything, I end up doing nothing properly.

I cannot focus, I feel overwhelmed by everything, by what I should do, all at once, I cannot prioritise. Everybody else is better off. I hate myself. At least when I’m depressed, I really deeply hate myself. When I’m not too low, I don’t hate myself, but I’m just low. I feel it’s hormonal – in my “normal” state I have my cognitive processes fully running, but feel chemicals do their (wrong) job so I feel unhappy. Or indifferent at best.

I don’t know whether I need a psychoanalysis, or CBT, or NLP, or just going out more. I just oscillate between ‘can’t-stand-it’ and ‘let’s-survive-another-day’.

Hi Anney,
we’ll sort it out. Let’s find a thread with which to start untangling these feelings.
You may just need to talk about it. To say it out loud. To give your thoughts structure, cohesion.

I don’t know where to start. I wish to have a beginning and a clear goal. Then I could tell you what’s wrong with me.  

That’s why we are here. We wouldn’t be here if you knew everything.
You are also at the beginning, so why put yourself under pressure for later problems?

I know myself quite well. I know everything how I should act, what to do to be better, but I don’t do it. I know my depression types and all.
I don’t do feelings. They’re complicated, so I just ignore them. I know I should tackle them now and then, but …
I came here to tackle them, but I don’t want to.

It’s only natural to feel the fear of unknown. If you’ve never dealt with feelings, you don’t know them. So you fear them. We’ll start small, and grow from there. All right?

I suppose.

Tell me of the things you feel sure about.

Uhm …

You feel depressed, you said you know your types. Do you mean major depressive disorder as opposed to dysthymia? *

Yes —. No. The types of depression are so confusing. I just say I have depression. It probably means major depressive disorder (MDD), or dysthymia, or melancholic depression. I would settle for minor depression, too. I can’t judge how severe my form is. And it doesn’t matter. If someone said I had major, or minor, would it change my feelings? No, I suffer as I suffer.
What I meant was, I know my symptoms, and I know what causes my depression.

Then you have a good starting point. There’s something you already know.

Yes. There are three types of my depression, I categorise them by possible causes. The first is the guilt induced. I feel guilty of something all the time.
The second is triggered by my low self-esteem, which mostly stems from my inability to do tasks which others do easily. Or by anything others can do which I can’t. Or by what I should / shouldn’t do. Here I might also put my constant underachievement. I don’t finish a task or a project, be it on a daily or long-term basis, and then I’m depressed.
And the third type is my fear of responsibility. I’m not afraid of admitting I’ve done something wrong. I’m afraid deciding, for fear the consequences of a decision might be devastating. 

These are your triggers? Usually, the triggers for depression episodes are a loss of a loved one, job, or a divorce, big changes. What you are saying is, your depression is triggered by daily events. How do you experience your episodes? How long they last?

Guilt for the past, low self-esteem for the present and fear of responsibility for the future. I’ve covered them all. [I can smile :)]
I don’t believe in episodes. I don’t know of a state without depression. Even if 
I am well, without depression, it’s usually of a short duration – a day or two. 

No, wait,– I know of an instance, a period without depression.
It was when I was pregnant with my first child. I felt ok. Not happy per se, but I said to myself, “Oh, so this is how it’s like to be without depression!”
This is how I know my depression is mostly hormonal. If I was in a different hormonal state then, then it’s the normal (depression-ist) state also hormonal. I must just figure out how to balance these hormones.
But I’m talking about the triggers, yes. Those that can’t be avoided. 

Triggers cannot be avoided, no, but we can develop mechanisms to be less sensitive to them. Maybe we can even become immune to some (or all) triggers after the process. 

Well, I doubt I can do this. I fail at all the things. And I’m not able to meet deadlines. And I’m always late. We’ll have many problems before I can start dealing with depression. And I procrastinate. And I don’t want to do it myself because I’m lazy. I want someone to do it for me–

Please calm down. We have all the time in the world to tackle what’s stressing you. We’ll pick one and work on it. And after that, we’ll pick another. And so on.
I must point out it’s harmful to talk or think in absolutes like you did just now. Always do this, never do that … Because your self-image is then distorted. Because sometimes things are different. You can change. I’ll talk about this another time.
It’s been enough for one session.

I have a homework for you. We’ll go specific.
Take notice, make a list of all the triggers for your guilt-induced depression occurrences. You can do it in real time this week or remember past examples. Describe the fashion in which feelings of guilt lead to depression. We’ll probably see a common denominator and tackle that manifestation of depression there, at the root.

Uhm … I have homework?

Yes. You need to work on your issues every day. By homework, you do it, you don’t just mull over. 
Good luck. See you next week.

See you. [Disconcerted by the early end. Don’t all sessions end too soon?]

*We don’t do a diagnosis, we just assume there’s one.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depression_(differential_diagnoses)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mood_disorder#Depressive_disorders
https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/depressive-disorders
http://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/depression-pictures/avoiding-common-depression-triggers 
https://psychcentral.com/lib/top-relapse-triggers-for-depression-how-to-prevent-them/
http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/major-depression#1 
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/communication-central/201006/glee-club-results-oriented-vs-process-oriented-approaches
http://www.clinical-depression.co.uk/dlp/depression-information/causes-of-depression/ 

P.S. It’s hard to write of being depressed in a state when you aren’t. But then, this is what writers do. They write regardless of the mood. Some writers, at least.

P.P.S. This post is updated in a new post, ‘The flavours of my depression‘.

Dream analysis 1*

Today I’m not too creative, thus the descriptive, boring, uncharacteristic title.

A quick recap.
I dreamt about being in a lecture, something like the evening university class, while my children were gone sleeping for the night at home with my husband. The lecture ended (I don’t think its content was important) and we were trying to open some windows, for which I gave advice. Then I got a phone call that my baby daughter is bleeding and my husband is taking her to a hospital. He said not to worry, he got this, I asked what’s wrong with her, I learned she didn’t have a cornea, and how was this possible, she was ok at birth … (I know I invented the problem on the spot. It was like in a lucid dream, because it wasn’t initially disclosed. Only after I insisted the dream gives me an answer, I got an answer.)

I have recurring dreams about lectures. Sometimes I’m late to them, sometimes I just dream of my college building. In today’s case, I think it was about me being back to learning. In real life, or day life, I’m again enthusiastic about learning new things, gaining confidence in acquiring knowledge. For years I’ve neglected the learning process, being in a sort of hibernating state, feeling stupid, and stupefied. I lost all the knowledge (I remember very little of everything) and felt that I’ve lost even the intellect. If not gone, it was at least dulled. Now I’m happy again to employ my little grey cells.
And, relevantly, I’m doing it apart from my family, stealing moments from every member, thinking of nothing but my projects, and in a way neglecting my family. Duh! Henceforth, my dream, where I was on a lecture away from my family.

What was that with the windows, I do not know. I guess it said something about me not minding my own business, but giving advice for petty stuff, losing focus and time. It was dark outside, the windows were big, stretching over the whole wall, with old, light grey blinds. There were a few students, hustling with the windows, while I was commandeering from afar. I don’t know what should this mean. That I’m bossy?

To be continued …

… continued; I’m reluctant to analyse the last part of my dream. Probably there hides the biggest problem. So, I confess, the relationship with my husband is tense lately. He’s under great stress at work, I sleep in the children’s room (well, I have a week will when my son says “Come to our room”, and my husband says “It’s ok”). We are both very tired, and snappy. He often reminds me of my mistakes (being always late would be most relevant here), and I presume he silently judges my hobby (writing, which I take more seriously).
In the light of this strained relationship, “I got this” is in my mind a judgmental statement, really meaning, “Where are you when your daughter needs you – doing trivial things …” Or so it is in my guilty subconscious.
Like now when she is waking up from her morning nap and I try to squeeze a few words in before she wakes completely. What will she have for breakfast? I don’t know, I’ll think of something later. What I should and what I shouldn’t do, regarding motherhood and a mother’s leave? I’m torn between my wants and my family’s needs. Blech. I’m rushing through this confession like through a room of mirrors where I don’t like what I see.

Well, this is quite hard to read, but it’s mostly for myself, so don’t worry if you want to quit.
— [Jack says] — You’re changing the subject and employing your “forgetting” defence mechanism. —
— [Don stares his stern look at him] — Way to go, distracting her to keep from resolving the dream. —
— [Mos waits patiently, non-judgingly] — Go on … **

Can I continue some other time?

Sure, but you know you want to finish this story otherwise it’ll hunt you. How about a break? 

Okay. I’ll be right back. Maybe I’ll go throw some things away.***

The ‘right back’ turned out to be 8 days. Just to wrap up. The trail of thoughts is already cold. What you don’t do right away …
Our daughter had to go to the hospital, a day after she was born. She got a transfusion and all of her blood was replaced. It got to do something with my antibodies attacking her blood cells. Incompatible blood types. Do I think I am guilty? I may feel I reject her like my body (antibodies) rejected hers. Like I don’t love her. I think this feeling will stick with me forever. It doesn’t feel anguishing like some other type of guilt but it is insidious – I might be reserved towards her later in life. I might already have fear of hurting her again. And I might run away from such possibilities / run away from her.
I don’t feel much of this. Is it so deep or is it just speculation?
It is a possibility if it turned out in a dream. As for the invented “problem” – the missing cornea, I might have read about eyes or something, or it was a part of an eye that I think of first. It’s not important (in dreams everything has significance, but I am sure this particular notion is unimportant).

The hint of what is important was the blood, she was bleeding in the dream, and from her eye.
The blood means life, and if she bled (fast), she was dying (fast). And I was not there. I already analysed this. But there is also another feeling I get when remembering this part of the dream. I wanted to be there. I wanted to comfort and cuddle her. To be hers. To be completely devoted, no matter what. (Conflict of interests?)

And there are the eyes. A cornea might be dream-insignificant, but the eye! It’s one of the oldest symbols there is. There is even a hieroglyph of an eye (the Eye of Horus).
Eyes see, eyes take notice, eyes oversee, eyes are all-seeing. There are idioms, eye for an eye, an apple of her eye, etc. The eye is as strong and old a symbol as an apple, if not older and stronger.
Alright, what does this mean in my dream? If my daughter bled from eyes, does it mean she turned a blind eye? Blindness wasn’t mentioned. Crying blood? Bloody tears? Tears weren’t mentioned. She didn’t see me, and she bled? There it is again, not being there for her. But what with the eyes? Closing the eyes means dying. I don’t know, the answer eludes me. I’m sure there will be more opportunities to digest this issue if it is important, so I call it quits for now.

A comment. My daughter is extremely patient – in real life, as well as she was in the dream.

* How to analyse your dreams, a short post here (coming soon).

** You can learn about Jack, Don and Mos here.

*** I am a bit of a hoarder. It’s awful. So I’m now one week into a new habit of throwing away two things a day. Going well. I’ll tell a whole story some other day.