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Piano
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(04-18-2015, 11:20 PM)
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Originally Posted by grap3fruitman

Not necessarily "adults" but look at your example: those family members developed depression. They had a normal, happy life and it changed. Everything about depression and therapy is about people who have changed for the worse. What if nothing ever changed? I've always been like this. There don't appear to be any resources for people like me who have always had this.

No, in the case of one of them it was the default state from the moment she gained sufficient cognition to have any idea or recollection of what emotions were and what "normal" could've been. Issues began in elementary school, from what I remember, which is about as early as panic / anxiety / depression issues can begin.

If that doesn't fit the bill for "always" like that I don't know what would. She spent some years on medication and today stopped all medication (with consent of her doctors) and is functioning quite well in her late 20s.

I disagree with your definition of a black and white normal, however. My life isn't normal. I cry almost every night because of how hurtful and uncaring the world can seem. But I've learned to understand those feelings, integrate them into my personality and care for others and function quite well around them. I'm very glad I didn't take my own life at the several junctures it seemed very tempting.

Originally Posted by grap3fruitman

I am seeking treatment but I keep running into these dead-ends.

What is the dead end you've run into? From what you said before it sounded as if you saw a so-so GP who took the purely physiological stance and gave you a blood test, probably for thyroid function. I (and several other posters) strongly recommended you seek out dedicated mental health practitioners, who are much more capable of treating your suffering as you describe it.

Have you been able to look into mental health treatment in your area? There are quite a few resources out there dedicated to connecting the in-need with doctors.

Originally Posted by grap3fruitman

How did it help you?

In the context of my break-up? Well, to answer that fully I'd have to go on and on about the way I relate to women, my feelings about this particular girl (she was my first love) and what exactly transpired but I'll try to give the short version.

Therapy helped me with understanding, insight and treatment.

Understanding: finally, I had someone who was taking the time to listen to every single aspect of how I felt about what was going on, someone who was removed from my life and therefore not judging me for the things I had done right or wrong, and someone who was trying to be so comprehensive in their understanding that they asked me questions and got me to expand in places I had unintentionally glossed over. I can't tell you how great it feels to have someone just listen, I mean that's their job, and listen to an extent that no friend or family member ever can. Actually, sometimes it would leave me feeling worse for a few hours, not better, because I ended up going into stuff I'd been ignoring or suppressing with other folks I talked to about the whole situation. But it was necessary to traipse through the difficult stuff in order to feel better.

Insight: Once my therapist had a good working understanding of me and the situation (which takes some time and commitment) she was able to start reframing things I had said, reflecting some of my own words back to me so I could expand on them, review them, try to understand what was going on below the surface. I learned that I had unfairly expected my ex-girlfriend to be an ever-present mother figure, caring for me infinitely even when I treated her less-than-well. I learned that I was fixated on an idealized version of my ex-girlfriend and that part of my pain was realizing that she couldn't be on the pedestal any more now that she had hurt me so much. I learned that I was relying on my ex-girlfriend to make my life meaningful and that I had neglected to find any sources of meaning independent of what women could offer me, leaving me feeling empty and crushed. NONE of these are things my therapist outright told me, rather, they're things we discovered together as she helped guide me through my thoughts and feelings. That's how a good therapeutic relationship works. But ALL of these things are wonderful lessons that I've been able to carry into my later relationships and friendships to keep them stronger and healthier.

Treatment: My therapist offered lots of practical CBT advice on how to deal with my difficult emotions in the interim. What to do when I wanted to die. How to engage with my sadness. Those sorts of things. I don't remember all of the advice because this was six years ago and it was all very specific to the situation, but whatever it was it kept me holding on! Once I had repackaged things in such a way that more of the deep-down stuff was becoming clear she was also able to offer me more medium and long-term advice. I couldn't necessarily change my break-up situation but I could perhaps change how I related to it.

Worth noting: I was seeing my therapist twice a week during the toughest part of this struggle because I really needed it, she had the time and somehow my insurance still covered it. Even then, it took a few months of dedication to make progress.

Also worth noting: I don't even consider the therapist I saw during that time to be great. She helped me with the breakup but it didn't seem like she could offer me much about the rest of my life. That doesn't mean she wasn't right for some people, just not for me, at that time - and even then she was more than good enough to get me through crisis. The point is that every patient-therapist relationship is different and it may take a few tries to find one that works well for you. But most therapists should be able to help you learn something.

Also also worth noting: I did end up getting back together with that girlfriend briefly. It didn't work, and I broke up with her the second time. It only made us fight more and I got even more hurt and ended up emotionally closing off for over a year. Until I became nonfunctional again and started seeing a therapist again.

So it's not easy. Of course not. But it's more than possible.

I've gone through two more major break-ups since then and they both went much more smoothly.

Hope this was helpful. Let me know if you have any questions.