I am having a bit of chicken and egg thing going on here. I feel like a first year philosophy major. Or someone having some drug-related "woah... look at my hand..." moment.
I wondered if eating disorders cause depression or if depressed people are more likely to become disordered. Same with drug abuse, alcoholism, compulsive gambling and other addictive behaviors.
Also, do I decide that everything is my fault because I am depressed or does thinking everything is my fault just worsen the depression?
Is perfectionism the cause or is it the symptom? Idealism? Pessimism? I think some parts of my personality naturally tend toward not-productive directions. But certainly not all of me needs to be "fixed."
And that gets me back to my dizzying question: what if the only parts of me that people like come from my Depressed brain. What if the only parts of me that I like are a result of my Depressed brain? I have a friend who is a recovering alcoholic. She had "friends" who told her she was so much more fun when she was drinking. Nice.
The medications that I take are not mood altering. But won't fixing my brain change how I think? What if the reason that I haven't continued with treatment on a consistent basis is fear of success? If I am not Depressed I won't have an excuse to not be perfect. To not get everything done.
This is, of course, ridiculous.
Why does it not work to know something is ridiculous? Why doesn't that just fix everything? I am a smart person. I want to be able to think my way out of this.
This is also ridiculous.
There was a poster at the doctor's office that said something like "Trying to snap yourself out of depression is like trying to talk yourself out of a heart attack." While searching for what exactly that saying was I came across a list of negative thinking that worsens Depression.
All-or-nothing thinking – Looking at things in black-or-white categories, with no middle ground
(“If I fall short of perfection, I’m a total failure.”)
Overgeneralization – Generalizing from a single negative experience, expecting it to hold true forever
(“I can’t do anything right.”)
The mental filter – Ignoring positive events and focusing on the negative.
Diminishing the positive – Coming up with reasons why positive events don’t count
(“She said she had a good time on our date, but I think she was just being nice.”)
Jumping to conclusions – Making negative interpretations without actual evidence. You act like a mind reader
(“He must think I’m pathetic”) or a fortune teller (“I’ll be stuck in this dead end job forever”)
Emotional reasoning – Believing that the way you feel reflects reality
(“I feel like such a loser. I really am no good!”)
‘Shoulds’ – Holding yourself to a strict list of what you should and shouldn’t do, and beating yourself up if you don’t measure up
Labeling – Labeling yourself based on mistakes and perceived shortcomings
(“I’m a failure; an idiot; a loser.”)
The self-help industry really turned me off the whole positive thinking bit. It seems like lying. I feel realistic, but the fact is I am a raging pessimist. That way when good things happen I can be pleasantly surprised, right?
So, now I am going to engage in some of the recommended activities: tackling a manageable task, do something I enjoy , spend some time in the sun and get a little light exercise.
Grateful Crap: people who call me out on my non-productive thought patterns
took meds (150mg sertraline, 300mg bupropion)
spent time in sun
got some exercise
worked to minimize stress (deep breathing, pacing myself)
Quaker, teacher, parent,