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Rounded Apathy

Rounded Apathy

Longing to return to stardust
Aug 8, 2022
695
I'm hoping someone has some tips or advice on this - strategies to avoid, stop, dispel, diffuse, deal with, overcome...anything. If you have nothing to offer but would like to throw your lot in for interest that's fine, but please don't bother with any "nothing helps me ever" type posts. I've put this in recovery and not the main suicide forums for a reason.

Atypically for me, I know relatively little about the phenomenon, but I feel like I have at least two "types" - one tied to my physical symptoms that generally persist as long as I can physically feel whatever the thing is, and another linked to a more fixed-time past trauma event, which definitely feels more malignant (read up on my profile page if you want more but still scant details). Despite a couple of extended periods of time long past where the latter was absent from my psyche, it seems to have just slowly festered and gotten worse to the point it's a main reasons I'm here. Triggers seem to compound; at this point, I feel like a new one can be established if I'm just engaging with or thinking about one thing very clearly while I happen to have a flashback or am already in the mental spiral cycle.

They also seem to hit me a looot worse than they used to. Even a year ago I might feel kind of out of sorts for a while at worst and the loop would usually break with time or by doing something demanding, but these days I seem to fall into a pit and am unable to free my mind. As in writing this post, I've been able to paradoxically feel less mental distress, but as I come to a close I can feel myself falling back in and even a sense of dread at trying to engage with something helpful in fear it may fail or create a new negative association to ruin whatever thing I try. Ugh.

Voices of experience with this sort of thing would be greatly appreciated. If the conventional therapeutic or psychiatric techniques on this kind of stuff work for some that'd be great to know (personally I feel the strategies I know only help me somewhat while performing them and not after, if at all). Advance appreciation to any who can share, or even have taken the time to read this. 🙇‍♂️
 
T

timf

Elementalist
Mar 26, 2020
862
Diversion can help distract from intrusive thoughts.

Confrontation can help. For example, some thought pops into your mind and you tackle it straight on as an intruder and false.

Diminished can help. General Schwartzkaf recalled a incident when he was running the first Gulf War. Some special ops people came to him eager with plans to do something wild. He told them no because they would only get themselves in trouble and he would have to divert troops to rescue them. In a similar way an intrusive thought can be analyzed and marginalize to the periphery.

Resource utilization can help. If an intrusive thought makes use of imagination to grow in magnitutde, one can take back the imagination and use it to consider an invention, a plot for a story, or other creative endeavour that would be more profitable for you.
 
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Nirrend

Nirrend

The important is not how long you live ...
Mar 12, 2022
391
Hi sweet @Rounded Apathy

The subject you write about raises some fundamental questions and I will try to answer them. It would take me hours to talk about all this so I will try to be exhaustive and not forget anything but I know that if you have any doubts, some of your questions will remain unanswered and I am sorry in advance

To begin with, let us define thoughts:

Concepts and Notions

In the context of mood or personality disorders, or simply human reasoning, we can distinguish 3 types of thoughts

A) Types of Thoughts

-Intrusive thoughts (IT)
-Automatic thoughts (AT)
-Obsessive thoughts (OT)

1) IT
: everyone has them, they are common, they are daily and permanent. They deal with all possible subjects (e.g. "Well, it's a nice day", "Damn, my jacket is stained", "I think my shoes are not so nice", "The weather is really bad today")

2) AT: it's the added value (negative or positive but very often negative) to an intrusive thought (IT), they are born from the thought patterns (I'll talk about it below) and they are repetitive and always turn around a central theme. For example, if I take one of the sentences above "Damn, my jacket is stained, I'm really a wreck who doesn't take care of him".

So here: "Damn, my jacket is stained" = IT
"I'm really a wreck who doesn't take care of himself" = AT

Another example: "I think my shoes don't look that good, I'm such a shit for not noticing that before"

So here: "I don't think my shoes are that nice" = IT
"I'm such a shit for not noticing that before" = AT

The value added by AT is absolutely useless when it is negative and it generates emotions that keep us in a harmful cycle

3) OT: These are initially intrusive thoughts but have a particular intensity, frequency and tension on the person. These thoughts are more likely to be found in addictions, in states of madness, in panic attacks, etc...

For example, "What's happening to me?" Which will run through the person's head several times

B) Patterns

Patterns are rules of life, stored in memory, acquired through life experiences, which ensure a lasting perception of events

Patterns are the equivalent of wearing glasses with a coloured filter. This filter, depending on its colour (metaphor for emotional tint) will generate beliefs about reality and consequently automatic thoughts (which will always revolve around the theme of your filter/schema). And as a result, these ATs will always be added to the IT in the same way

For example, if your pattern is guilt, the ATs generated will always be of the order of thoughts like "it's my fault", "if I hadn't done that we wouldn't be here", "I only make mistakes", "maybe I shouldn't have", "I'm causing unhappiness to people"...

C) Bias

Five thinking biases have been identified as the main and most recurrent ones. These thinking biases are ATs, but the biases do not concern the theme of the scheme, but the error imputed to the reasoning when an event is interpreted

1) Overgeneralization: Taking an isolated fact as an absolute reality
--> "I missed my appointment, I have always been an irresponsible person".

2) Selective abstraction: omitting the whole event and focusing on a detail without its context
--> "She looked at me wrong when I talked to her, she doesn't like me".
Yet the woman you are talking to has just hung up on you with someone who insulted her on the phone. So her anger is not directed at you

3) Minimise/Maximise: exaggerating or minimising the real impact of something
--> "I got my degree, yes maybe, but that was lucky" (Minimise)
--> "I forgot to send an email at work, I'm going to get fired" (Maximise)

4) Personification: essentializing oneself as responsible for what one suffers
--> "They had a fight, it's because I was hanging around, it's my fault".

5) Arbitrary inference: drawing conclusions without evidence
--> "They laughed, they are laughing at me".
When, since you didn't hear what they were saying, they might have been telling jokes to each other

D) Conclusion

So to recap, this is how humans work:

Life experience --> Schema (one or more with one or more themes) --> Beliefs about the world --> Systematic generation of AT related to the schema, and bias

As you will have understood, we need to shake up this schema, make it more flexible, work on it so that it no longer functions alone and in a predominant way

E) Example of a Spiral

Finally, here is what the spiral called "cognitive-behavioural" looks like, I give an example with the fact of missing something:

Missing a job interview -> AT -> Negative emotion -> AT reinforcement -> Lowered self-esteem, Isolation, Reduced motivation and actions -> Anxiety -> Missing another job interview -> AT ...

And so on, leading to depression, suicide, loneliness...

How do we counter this?

I'll be honest, even if medical support gives the best results, the road is long, the risk of relapse is permanent and by the way, relapse does not mean failure but progress. Because relapse allows the body to test the maintenance of a change, but the problem is that relapse is demoralizing. In short, it's long, hard, difficult but doable with willpower and above all with tolerance towards oneself. You have to be able to be proud of everything, even the smallest things you do when you embark on such trials.

I preferred to be realistic because magic does not exist, but change does.

The work is in fact multifaceted and if you are supervised by professionals specialised in cognitive behavioural therapies, you will be in the most optimal environment

A) Cognitive Work

1) Keep an eye on the AT (on a sheet of paper, in a notebook), as often as possible, every day, over several weeks, months. You have to write them down somewhere and keep all these notes.

2) Understand their common theme by grouping them together and looking at them globally, by sorting them...(Rejection, Loneliness, Guilt, Perfectionism, Anger, Injustice, Incompetence, Imposture...)

3) Submit to each AT a Socratic questioning (to ATs written in the notebook or suddenly popping into your head)

*Socratic questioning : Mode of thought where for the individual, nothing is taken for granted, everything is subject to questioning and to caution when interpreting things

For example, if your AT is "I didn't lock the door, I'm a shit".

Ask yourself "Am I really a shit?", "What makes me say that?", "Are there really facts that prove I am a shit? Which ones and why?" "Do other people really think I am a shit or is this just my own opinion?"

This questioning shakes up beliefs, ATs and schemas. It needs to be repeated regularly for it to become an almost new way of functioning for you. Obviously, if you see that with time your thoughts no longer hurt you, there is no need to stress or feel guilty for not acting socratically. Even if doubting is a wisdom in my eyes, this technique just helps to break the impact of ATs

4) Once the doubt is installed on the ATs, submit them to possible alternatives and always consider them as an explanation of an event


E.g. : "I didn't lock the door, I'm a shit" (AT)
--> "Am I really a shit because I didn't lock up? Can I really be defined as that by this simple event?"
--> "I know I didn't sleep well last night, I'm aware of being absent-minded and stressed about my appointment, I think I would have been more alert if I wasn't going through all this" (Emission of alternatives to consider)

5) Identify and relax Schemas

This echoes the work where you identify the themes of the thoughts, the subject, the theme common to all these thoughts, is the schema. You have to identify it, question it, understand it and counter it with all the things I have listed before so as not to let it dictate your perception of things

6) (If possible) Apply or test the thoughts in daily situations to maintain the change, reinforce it

To take the example of forgetting to close the door, one day, or it's a weekend and there's nothing planned, you can go out and at the moment you go out, close the door and say to yourself "Today I didn't forget, that proves to me that I'm not a shit but sometimes, preoccupied with several things like everyone else".

B) Behavioural work

The cognitive-behavioural work is twofold, to remedy the thoughts is good, but the behaviour does not follow (if for example I fail in wanting to do something), it will generate emotions which will once again generate thoughts and the spiral is started again.

Behaviour generate Thoughts and Emotion and Thoughts and Emotion modulate Behaviour.

So the behavioural work will really depend on the disorder the person has (because from one disorder to another the patterns are not the same and neither is the behaviour)

From what I've read about you, I have several hypotheses but I don't have enough information to orient myself towards one more than the other

I hesitate between
- Panic disorder (recurrent anxiety attacks leading to hyperventilation, accompanied by strong anxieties, fear of losing control and sensations of imminent disaster)
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Reliving scenes of death, through flashes, dreams, shocking, powerful and haunting images. An inordinate fear of dying or being threatened, a feeling of dehumanisation of the event, avoidance but also feelings of not being oneself or in reality)
-Generalized Anxiety Disorder (characterized by the emission of recurrent, frequent and irrational anxious thoughts about either current (e.g., if you have an exam tomorrow) or possible future (fear of not having enough money when at the moment it is fine). The anxiety is constant and can be reinforced over time. The biggest problem for these people is considered to be that they cannot tolerate uncertainty, not knowing. They think that worrying usually allows them to prepare for the worst, to find solutions and also to protect themselves and or their loved ones)

I'm not going to go into too much detail in this section because it needs to be framed and I don't want to lead you astray when no one can see how you're doing things.

But to make it simple, among the classic methods, professionals often use:

1) Exposure: this means confronting (in real life, with a virtual reality headset, by imagining...) what we fear so that the body reacts less and less emotionally to what affects us. This exposure must last long enough to reduce anxiety, must be repeated so as not to have a traumatic effect, must be done in steps of traumatic intensity and the person must not avoid what he or she is exposed to.

If, for example, you are tired of worrying about things that may or may not be happening (in the context of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, I mean) you can either, depending the type of thoughts you have:

Current: Expose yourself to the situation, during several times (if the situation = job interview) and over several days

For example, here is the way somebody could fight his fear with exposure
--> Monday: for 15 minutes you only imagine the place where you'll have your appointment and you stop once anxiety totaly vanished
--> Tuesday: for 15 minutes you imagine getting out of your house, walking to your appointment (then stop when the anxiety subsides)
--> Wednesday: for 15 minutes you imagine yourself getting out of your house, walking to the address and entering the business to say you are coming for an appointment
--> Thursday: same thing, for 15 minutes, leave your house until you get to the reception desk, but this time you also imagine yourself meeting the person you're gonna spend time with for the interview and sitting across from them in the room
--> Friday: same for 15 minutes except this time you dare to imagine the part where you start the interview and do it

Staggering is interesting, you have to do this and always make sure you go all the way and don't give in to anxiety. Never stop exposure till the anxiety is not overcamed, vanished. You have to overcome it but you also have to be tolerant with yourself and not imagine the worst directly, especially if you don't feel capable of it.

Possible: In rare cases such as this, it is better to take a worrying thought (e.g. "I am afraid I will not have enough money to live on") and expose yourself to the scenario, as if you had no money left, imagining the worst, the catastrophe right away.

Obviously, you have to let the anxiety get to you, resist it and finally, when you are calm, move on because that's when you win. What you have to do during this disaster exposure is to use Socratic questioning and to ask yourself about all the disaster scenarios that exist in relation to your initial thought.

Example of Money and disaster scenarios
"Bailiffs come to seize property"
"Homelessness"
"Debts"

Then ask yourself "OK, maybe I could end up on the street, but how would I bounce back?", "This seems far too catastrophic for my situation, can this really happen?", "Am I really destined to become one?", "What could I do to prevent this from happening to me?"

And so on for each theme

C) Others Behavioural Work

Then there are other approaches like but I won't detail them

1) Relaxation

2) Situational awareness
(pretend that the thing you want to work on is happening right in front of you, and so you have to learn to react to it, to work on it

This can be very good
-Assertiveness training
-Training in solving actual problems
-Role play
-Emotional identification workshops...


3) Thymic self-evaluation

Note 3 times a day your mood (morning, noon and evening) from 0 (emptiness, absolute suffering) to 10 (absolute happiness). It helps to realise that moods fluctuate and that the brain only focuses on the bad times and forgets the good times.

4) Self-assessment of pleasure

For each activity performed, give a score from 0 (no pleasure) to 10 (absolute pleasure). It helps to realise that we still have passions and that the brain sometimes makes us believe that there is nothing left.

All of this depends on the topics that the person wants to discuss with the accompanying carer

Even the smallest things are good for healing :happy:

To finish with all this, my message was very long to write, sorry for not having done it earlier, I really hope it will help !
if I'm not replying today, I'm sorry, I'm a little tired

The work is long, but since you seem motivated, you'll be able to do it without worrying :heart:

Good luck :happy:

Love :heart:
 
N

never mind me

Member
Nov 7, 2022
34
When I was younger I used to have recurring intrusions of some of the bad situations I had lived through when I was a teenager. These intrusions referred to situations where I was either phsysically attacked by my father and felt in danger or situations where I had been horribly humilated. I also had a lot of negative thoughts about what I had or had not done, blaming myself for not doing enough to prevent the abuse I suffered from happening.
What helped me was talking about it with friends who had also survived abuse in their childhood. This was especially important, because they questioned my excessive self-blaming for everything that had happened to me. At some point I also started writing in detail about some of the situations that had happened to me and I tried to also find reasons why this couldn't happen like this any more in my adult life or to what extend I would have more options to take action compared to when I was still a minor. So it basically came down to confrontation. I did some of the talking with friends and some of the writing while under the influence of drugs, mostly MDMA and some reseach chemicals similar to MDMA or LSD, because it helped me to actually have the courage to write/ talk about what had happend to me.
There were also several mushrooms and LSD trips that helped me to process what had happend to me in my childhood. I find it hard to explain what happend during these trips, but I can say that they helped me to form a positive connection with the child/teenager I had been (as opposed to the usual self-hatred for the weak person I had been, that had lacked the strengh to stop the abuse from happening). Plus the mushrooms and LSD trips also made me feel connected to nature and the universe and helped me to understand on an emotional level that people abusing others may often do so, because they don't know how to deal with the pain within themselves and thus direct it towards others in some cases. Although this sounds probably weird and might not add up for people who have no experience with these kind of drugs, these insights and the connection with nature (and this includes humans as well!) I often felt on mushrooms and LSD helped me to regain trust in the world.
However, if you don't have experience with drugs you should be very careful experimenting with them. While taking LSD or mushrooms might help some people to deal with stuff that has heppend to them, it might make it worse for others. Certainly stay away from drugs, if you are prone to psychosis.
And I should add that it took time. All in all it took several years for the intrusions to completely go away, although there was only about one year when the intrusions where intense enough to severely affect my quality of life. (Possibly the years before I had been so busy indulging in my self-hatred that I hadn't been able to really suffer from the intrusions, as I was convinced that I got what I deserved anyway.)
 
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Arrow

Arrow

9
May 1, 2020
746
i'll give my two cents on this. feel free to disregard this advice if you don't like it, what works for me might not work for someone else.

basically, my perspective became this: viewing the thought as 'intrusive' in the first place was counterproductive. in reality there is no 'intrusive' thought, there are just thoughts. all thoughts are the same, you just don't like the ones you're having right now. fundamentally it's no different from thinking about the sun all day or whatever. if you have an intrusive thought, well, that's just you thinking, and trying to think about not thinking of something naturally won't do anything.

you can let yourself think about whatever you might happen to be thinking of. there's no 'diffusing' or 'stopping' or 'dispelling'--if i said 'never think of elephants on the moon', you're probably gonna think of elephants on the moon a hundred times more than you did before, and knowing that you're not supposed to think about elephants on the moon will make you.......think of elephants on the moon more. fighting it would just be fueling it more.

if you have a weird unpleasant thought, have the thought. that's really it. it's not like there are any rules about what you can or can't think. have it, because odds are you will think of something else soon, and then something else, etc.
 
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S

Shadow Life

Member
Sep 4, 2022
46
I suffer from negative thoughts and beliefs, too. Buddhist psychology and precepts have helped me tremendously. It's taught me a different way of understanding myself, the world, and almost everything else, actually. This is about learning Mindfulness not only to cope with my life but to navigate Life as a whole. This meditation practice has re-wired my brain; it's given me a better perspective. It put my depression & anxiety disorders in remission.

https://www.tarabrach.com/beliefs/ (Tara Brach, Buddhist Psychologist phd., and author)

(Thich Nhat Hahn - Plum Village Monastery)
(Plum Village - excellent instruction with humour!)

Nirrend's fantastic post (above) is explained and backed up, in a 'spiritual' kind of way, by the three links I've posted.

It's wonderful & brave of you to ask for help. And, YES, give yourself a literal pat on your back (or a hug) for having such courage to be open and vulnerable. You are headed in the right direction. Please take care of yourself :heart::hug:
 
Rounded Apathy

Rounded Apathy

Longing to return to stardust
Aug 8, 2022
695
Thanks to all for the replies and kind words. I've been meaning to look at and reply to them more thoroughly for a few days but kept spacing out, and now it's bedtime but am just writing this to remind myself later. Tbh I'm not sure how much is "intrusive thought" and how much is "trauma" or what the true distinction is, but anyway there will at least be some food for thought. Pleasant dreams to y'all
 
Rounded Apathy

Rounded Apathy

Longing to return to stardust
Aug 8, 2022
695
Well a whole week's gone by and on top of sleep deprivation I'm still having to force myself to answer this (avoidance perhaps?). As I've written in the post just before this one, I'm wondering if I was actually using the wrong term to describe what's going on - this is in part after reading a bit about definitions and examples of intrusive thought. Honestly I have so many different traumatic experience histories entangled together, I don't know for sure if there's a "definition" for what's going on, or if there is, what it is. Maybe it's all just clusterfucked into complex-ptsd at this point...

I absolutely know that beyond other factors, the fact that this is the point in my life where I am both feeling/doing the worst I ever have on top of the fact that I have been basically doing nothing 90% of the time for the last three months have allowed things to accelerate the way they have. Just yesterday during some times of peace I was able to actively invite the content of the "thought" into my mind without much distress at all, but it's when it comes up unexpectedly, and seems to persist forever is when I feel like there's something in my mind that's going to fucking make my head explode. aaaahuifdhj it looks/feels like the following!:

1669588581394

Hi sweet @Rounded Apathy

The subject you write about raises some fundamental questions and I will try to answer them. It would take me hours to talk about all this so I will try to be exhaustive and not forget anything but I know that if you have any doubts, some of your questions will remain unanswered and I am sorry in advance

To begin with, let us define thoughts:

Concepts and Notions

In the context of mood or personality disorders, or simply human reasoning, we can distinguish 3 types of thoughts

A) Types of Thoughts

-Intrusive thoughts (IT)
-Automatic thoughts (AT)
-Obsessive thoughts (OT)

1) IT
: everyone has them, they are common, they are daily and permanent. They deal with all possible subjects (e.g. "Well, it's a nice day", "Damn, my jacket is stained", "I think my shoes are not so nice", "The weather is really bad today")

2) AT: it's the added value (negative or positive but very often negative) to an intrusive thought (IT), they are born from the thought patterns (I'll talk about it below) and they are repetitive and always turn around a central theme. For example, if I take one of the sentences above "Damn, my jacket is stained, I'm really a wreck who doesn't take care of him".

So here: "Damn, my jacket is stained" = IT
"I'm really a wreck who doesn't take care of himself" = AT

Another example: "I think my shoes don't look that good, I'm such a shit for not noticing that before"

So here: "I don't think my shoes are that nice" = IT
"I'm such a shit for not noticing that before" = AT

The value added by AT is absolutely useless when it is negative and it generates emotions that keep us in a harmful cycle

3) OT: These are initially intrusive thoughts but have a particular intensity, frequency and tension on the person. These thoughts are more likely to be found in addictions, in states of madness, in panic attacks, etc...

For example, "What's happening to me?" Which will run through the person's head several times

B) Patterns

Patterns are rules of life, stored in memory, acquired through life experiences, which ensure a lasting perception of events

Patterns are the equivalent of wearing glasses with a coloured filter. This filter, depending on its colour (metaphor for emotional tint) will generate beliefs about reality and consequently automatic thoughts (which will always revolve around the theme of your filter/schema). And as a result, these ATs will always be added to the IT in the same way

For example, if your pattern is guilt, the ATs generated will always be of the order of thoughts like "it's my fault", "if I hadn't done that we wouldn't be here", "I only make mistakes", "maybe I shouldn't have", "I'm causing unhappiness to people"...

C) Bias

Five thinking biases have been identified as the main and most recurrent ones. These thinking biases are ATs, but the biases do not concern the theme of the scheme, but the error imputed to the reasoning when an event is interpreted

1) Overgeneralization: Taking an isolated fact as an absolute reality
--> "I missed my appointment, I have always been an irresponsible person".

2) Selective abstraction: omitting the whole event and focusing on a detail without its context
--> "She looked at me wrong when I talked to her, she doesn't like me".
Yet the woman you are talking to has just hung up on you with someone who insulted her on the phone. So her anger is not directed at you

3) Minimise/Maximise: exaggerating or minimising the real impact of something
--> "I got my degree, yes maybe, but that was lucky" (Minimise)
--> "I forgot to send an email at work, I'm going to get fired" (Maximise)

4) Personification: essentializing oneself as responsible for what one suffers
--> "They had a fight, it's because I was hanging around, it's my fault".

5) Arbitrary inference: drawing conclusions without evidence
--> "They laughed, they are laughing at me".
When, since you didn't hear what they were saying, they might have been telling jokes to each other

D) Conclusion

So to recap, this is how humans work:

Life experience --> Schema (one or more with one or more themes) --> Beliefs about the world --> Systematic generation of AT related to the schema, and bias

As you will have understood, we need to shake up this schema, make it more flexible, work on it so that it no longer functions alone and in a predominant way

E) Example of a Spiral

Finally, here is what the spiral called "cognitive-behavioural" looks like, I give an example with the fact of missing something:

Missing a job interview -> AT -> Negative emotion -> AT reinforcement -> Lowered self-esteem, Isolation, Reduced motivation and actions -> Anxiety -> Missing another job interview -> AT ...

And so on, leading to depression, suicide, loneliness...

How do we counter this?

I'll be honest, even if medical support gives the best results, the road is long, the risk of relapse is permanent and by the way, relapse does not mean failure but progress. Because relapse allows the body to test the maintenance of a change, but the problem is that relapse is demoralizing. In short, it's long, hard, difficult but doable with willpower and above all with tolerance towards oneself. You have to be able to be proud of everything, even the smallest things you do when you embark on such trials.

I preferred to be realistic because magic does not exist, but change does.

The work is in fact multifaceted and if you are supervised by professionals specialised in cognitive behavioural therapies, you will be in the most optimal environment

A) Cognitive Work

1) Keep an eye on the AT (on a sheet of paper, in a notebook), as often as possible, every day, over several weeks, months. You have to write them down somewhere and keep all these notes.

2) Understand their common theme by grouping them together and looking at them globally, by sorting them...(Rejection, Loneliness, Guilt, Perfectionism, Anger, Injustice, Incompetence, Imposture...)

3) Submit to each AT a Socratic questioning (to ATs written in the notebook or suddenly popping into your head)

*Socratic questioning : Mode of thought where for the individual, nothing is taken for granted, everything is subject to questioning and to caution when interpreting things

For example, if your AT is "I didn't lock the door, I'm a shit".

Ask yourself "Am I really a shit?", "What makes me say that?", "Are there really facts that prove I am a shit? Which ones and why?" "Do other people really think I am a shit or is this just my own opinion?"

This questioning shakes up beliefs, ATs and schemas. It needs to be repeated regularly for it to become an almost new way of functioning for you. Obviously, if you see that with time your thoughts no longer hurt you, there is no need to stress or feel guilty for not acting socratically. Even if doubting is a wisdom in my eyes, this technique just helps to break the impact of ATs

4) Once the doubt is installed on the ATs, submit them to possible alternatives and always consider them as an explanation of an event

E.g. : "I didn't lock the door, I'm a shit" (AT)
--> "Am I really a shit because I didn't lock up? Can I really be defined as that by this simple event?"
--> "I know I didn't sleep well last night, I'm aware of being absent-minded and stressed about my appointment, I think I would have been more alert if I wasn't going through all this" (Emission of alternatives to consider)

5) Identify and relax Schemas

This echoes the work where you identify the themes of the thoughts, the subject, the theme common to all these thoughts, is the schema. You have to identify it, question it, understand it and counter it with all the things I have listed before so as not to let it dictate your perception of things

6) (If possible) Apply or test the thoughts in daily situations to maintain the change, reinforce it

To take the example of forgetting to close the door, one day, or it's a weekend and there's nothing planned, you can go out and at the moment you go out, close the door and say to yourself "Today I didn't forget, that proves to me that I'm not a shit but sometimes, preoccupied with several things like everyone else".

B) Behavioural work

The cognitive-behavioural work is twofold, to remedy the thoughts is good, but the behaviour does not follow (if for example I fail in wanting to do something), it will generate emotions which will once again generate thoughts and the spiral is started again.

Behaviour generate Thoughts and Emotion and Thoughts and Emotion modulate Behaviour.

So the behavioural work will really depend on the disorder the person has (because from one disorder to another the patterns are not the same and neither is the behaviour)

From what I've read about you, I have several hypotheses but I don't have enough information to orient myself towards one more than the other

I hesitate between
- Panic disorder (recurrent anxiety attacks leading to hyperventilation, accompanied by strong anxieties, fear of losing control and sensations of imminent disaster)
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Reliving scenes of death, through flashes, dreams, shocking, powerful and haunting images. An inordinate fear of dying or being threatened, a feeling of dehumanisation of the event, avoidance but also feelings of not being oneself or in reality)
-Generalized Anxiety Disorder (characterized by the emission of recurrent, frequent and irrational anxious thoughts about either current (e.g., if you have an exam tomorrow) or possible future (fear of not having enough money when at the moment it is fine). The anxiety is constant and can be reinforced over time. The biggest problem for these people is considered to be that they cannot tolerate uncertainty, not knowing. They think that worrying usually allows them to prepare for the worst, to find solutions and also to protect themselves and or their loved ones)

I'm not going to go into too much detail in this section because it needs to be framed and I don't want to lead you astray when no one can see how you're doing things.

But to make it simple, among the classic methods, professionals often use:

1) Exposure: this means confronting (in real life, with a virtual reality headset, by imagining...) what we fear so that the body reacts less and less emotionally to what affects us. This exposure must last long enough to reduce anxiety, must be repeated so as not to have a traumatic effect, must be done in steps of traumatic intensity and the person must not avoid what he or she is exposed to.

If, for example, you are tired of worrying about things that may or may not be happening (in the context of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, I mean) you can either, depending the type of thoughts you have:

Current: Expose yourself to the situation, during several times (if the situation = job interview) and over several days

For example, here is the way somebody could fight his fear with exposure
--> Monday: for 15 minutes you only imagine the place where you'll have your appointment and you stop once anxiety totaly vanished
--> Tuesday: for 15 minutes you imagine getting out of your house, walking to your appointment (then stop when the anxiety subsides)
--> Wednesday: for 15 minutes you imagine yourself getting out of your house, walking to the address and entering the business to say you are coming for an appointment
--> Thursday: same thing, for 15 minutes, leave your house until you get to the reception desk, but this time you also imagine yourself meeting the person you're gonna spend time with for the interview and sitting across from them in the room
--> Friday: same for 15 minutes except this time you dare to imagine the part where you start the interview and do it

Staggering is interesting, you have to do this and always make sure you go all the way and don't give in to anxiety. Never stop exposure till the anxiety is not overcamed, vanished. You have to overcome it but you also have to be tolerant with yourself and not imagine the worst directly, especially if you don't feel capable of it.

Possible: In rare cases such as this, it is better to take a worrying thought (e.g. "I am afraid I will not have enough money to live on") and expose yourself to the scenario, as if you had no money left, imagining the worst, the catastrophe right away.

Obviously, you have to let the anxiety get to you, resist it and finally, when you are calm, move on because that's when you win. What you have to do during this disaster exposure is to use Socratic questioning and to ask yourself about all the disaster scenarios that exist in relation to your initial thought.

Example of Money and disaster scenarios
"Bailiffs come to seize property"
"Homelessness"
"Debts"

Then ask yourself "OK, maybe I could end up on the street, but how would I bounce back?", "This seems far too catastrophic for my situation, can this really happen?", "Am I really destined to become one?", "What could I do to prevent this from happening to me?"

And so on for each theme

C) Others Behavioural Work

Then there are other approaches like but I won't detail them

1) Relaxation

2) Situational awareness
(pretend that the thing you want to work on is happening right in front of you, and so you have to learn to react to it, to work on it

This can be very good
-Assertiveness training
-Training in solving actual problems
-Role play
-Emotional identification workshops...


3) Thymic self-evaluation

Note 3 times a day your mood (morning, noon and evening) from 0 (emptiness, absolute suffering) to 10 (absolute happiness). It helps to realise that moods fluctuate and that the brain only focuses on the bad times and forgets the good times.

4) Self-assessment of pleasure

For each activity performed, give a score from 0 (no pleasure) to 10 (absolute pleasure). It helps to realise that we still have passions and that the brain sometimes makes us believe that there is nothing left.

All of this depends on the topics that the person wants to discuss with the accompanying carer

Even the smallest things are good for healing :happy:

To finish with all this, my message was very long to write, sorry for not having done it earlier, I really hope it will help !
if I'm not replying today, I'm sorry, I'm a little tired

The work is long, but since you seem motivated, you'll be able to do it without worrying :heart:

Good luck :happy:

Love :heart:
Thank you for one of your characteristic long and detailed responses, Nirrend. It's so nice of you to be giving your time trying to help many of us out like this. As you've written, I am thinking (or at least hoping) there is positive change through cognitive work that could be made. I've recently connect with a new therapist and since some of this is subject matter I haven't taken to a therapeutic environment before, it'll be my main aim this time given how bad it's gotten.

When I was younger I used to have recurring intrusions of some of the bad situations I had lived through when I was a teenager. These intrusions referred to situations where I was either phsysically attacked by my father and felt in danger or situations where I had been horribly humilated. I also had a lot of negative thoughts about what I had or had not done, blaming myself for not doing enough to prevent the abuse I suffered from happening.
What helped me was talking about it with friends who had also survived abuse in their childhood. This was especially important, because they questioned my excessive self-blaming for everything that had happened to me. At some point I also started writing in detail about some of the situations that had happened to me and I tried to also find reasons why this couldn't happen like this any more in my adult life or to what extend I would have more options to take action compared to when I was still a minor. So it basically came down to confrontation. I did some of the talking with friends and some of the writing while under the influence of drugs, mostly MDMA and some reseach chemicals similar to MDMA or LSD, because it helped me to actually have the courage to write/ talk about what had happend to me.
There were also several mushrooms and LSD trips that helped me to process what had happend to me in my childhood. I find it hard to explain what happend during these trips, but I can say that they helped me to form a positive connection with the child/teenager I had been (as opposed to the usual self-hatred for the weak person I had been, that had lacked the strengh to stop the abuse from happening). Plus the mushrooms and LSD trips also made me feel connected to nature and the universe and helped me to understand on an emotional level that people abusing others may often do so, because they don't know how to deal with the pain within themselves and thus direct it towards others in some cases. Although this sounds probably weird and might not add up for people who have no experience with these kind of drugs, these insights and the connection with nature (and this includes humans as well!) I often felt on mushrooms and LSD helped me to regain trust in the world.
However, if you don't have experience with drugs you should be very careful experimenting with them. While taking LSD or mushrooms might help some people to deal with stuff that has heppend to them, it might make it worse for others. Certainly stay away from drugs, if you are prone to psychosis.
And I should add that it took time. All in all it took several years for the intrusions to completely go away, although there was only about one year when the intrusions where intense enough to severely affect my quality of life. (Possibly the years before I had been so busy indulging in my self-hatred that I hadn't been able to really suffer from the intrusions, as I was convinced that I got what I deserved anyway.)
Some years back, someone I knew had recently experimented with mushroom and said it was a rather transformative experience. She said that the positive cognitive shift lasted for a very extended period of time in a way nothing else she'd tried ever had. I'm actually pretty curious about this but some barriers include 1) it being illegal where I live, 1b) consequently not knowing anything about dose, variety/strain, etc., 2) a bad past experience with psychotropics (which was also a big reason for the dissolution of a friendship) which has linked them to a forced hospitalization after having (probably?) been drugged, and 2b) not having anyone I trust enough to be my rock during an experience. Maybe you'd have some pointers given my history. I could look into clinical trials too I suppose but those aren't often accessible.

i'll give my two cents on this. feel free to disregard this advice if you don't like it, what works for me might not work for someone else.

basically, my perspective became this: viewing the thought as 'intrusive' in the first place was counterproductive. in reality there is no 'intrusive' thought, there are just thoughts. all thoughts are the same, you just don't like the ones you're having right now. fundamentally it's no different from thinking about the sun all day or whatever. if you have an intrusive thought, well, that's just you thinking, and trying to think about not thinking of something naturally won't do anything.

you can let yourself think about whatever you might happen to be thinking of. there's no 'diffusing' or 'stopping' or 'dispelling'--if i said 'never think of elephants on the moon', you're probably gonna think of elephants on the moon a hundred times more than you did before, and knowing that you're not supposed to think about elephants on the moon will make you.......think of elephants on the moon more. fighting it would just be fueling it more.

if you have a weird unpleasant thought, have the thought. that's really it. it's not like there are any rules about what you can or can't think. have it, because odds are you will think of something else soon, and then something else, etc.
You're right. Going off what I said at the start of this reply, a massive part of the problem is the psychological blowback I fire off in response to this. As it's past-trauma related and not just random mental formations, there's a huge amount of guilt, shame, anger, hatred, powerlessness, and other things I haven't been able to label tied into the picture. I've noticed now that I hardly listen to music anymore that when I do hear a song with a memorable part, it's liable to stick in my mind a keep resurfacing for a good while. It's a big annoying but not psychologically distressing, like the other shit is. So I feel rather stuck.

I suffer from negative thoughts and beliefs, too. Buddhist psychology and precepts have helped me tremendously. It's taught me a different way of understanding myself, the world, and almost everything else, actually. This is about learning Mindfulness not only to cope with my life but to navigate Life as a whole. This meditation practice has re-wired my brain; it's given me a better perspective. It put my depression & anxiety disorders in remission.

https://www.tarabrach.com/beliefs/ (Tara Brach, Buddhist Psychologist phd., and author)

(Thich Nhat Hahn - Plum Village Monastery)
(Plum Village - excellent instruction with humour!)

Nirrend's fantastic post (above) is explained and backed up, in a 'spiritual' kind of way, by the three links I've posted.

It's wonderful & brave of you to ask for help. And, YES, give yourself a literal pat on your back (or a hug) for having such courage to be open and vulnerable. You are headed in the right direction. Please take care of yourself :heart::hug:

Thank you for the kindness. I actually have a somewhat decent background of experience with some peripheral traditions (Theravada/Thai Forest). Early on, about ten years ago now (fuck time flies), I went on a silent weekend retreat and distinctly remember the flashback/intrustion/whatever this thing is coming to the fore of my psyche very violently during a period of solitary walking meditation. I remember then thinking things like "why would I come to a place like this where this could happen so easily? Why would I just sit (or walk) around and give it the opportunity to attack me like this?!" It was intense but very soon faded and didn't bother me the remainder of my time there.

Of course, at that point, it was something that arose in my mind very infrequently, and caused mild if any distress. It was like that for years. Only as of this year has it become bad to the point of feeling like it's a driving factor in my wish to be dead, in part due to reasons I've discusses, as well as others I haven't and likely still more I haven't even recognized.

Anyway, I hope to give the videos a watch soon. They're pretty loooong but I used to love me a good dharma talk. Granted that was when my mind was less of a vortex of Abaddon, but hey.
 
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Shadow Life

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Sep 4, 2022
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After reading more from you, I would suggest the link from Tara Brach. As a doctor of psychology, she may be of more help. Hang in there..
 
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never mind me

Member
Nov 7, 2022
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I'm sorry to read that you had such a bad experience with psychotropics. That's really the worst that can happen, that someone drugs you with this kind of stuff and you don't knwo what's going on while you're on it.
If you don't know other people who are into drugs it's probably hard to get mushrooms, so you would probably need to make friends with people who are into drugs to get mushrooms. However, I know that there used to be some online shops from the Netherlands that would sell mushrooms and/or growkits for mushrooms. I don't know, if they still exist and I think they also didn't send to certain countries (maybe depending on the risk of stuff getting seized by customs?). You could try to look for them, though. The other possibilty would be to buy mushrooms via the darknet, however in both cases there is a certain risk that you get in trouble with the law, if police/customs finds the stuff before it can be delivered.
I have tried different strains of mushrooms like Magic truffles, Mexican mushrooms and Hawaian mushrooms and all of them would be suitable for giving you a different perspective on things. There are actually forums on the internet where people discuss only about drugs and how to safely use them, it would probably be best to look there for more detailed information on how much to take and other information regarding safe use.
Generally I would advice you to start with a very small dose the first time and if you feel ok with it you can take more on subsequent sessions. And try to be in a place where you feel safe and are undisturbed. Many people find it more peaceful to take musshrooms somewhere in nature, but it's also importatant that you feel that you will be left in peace by outsiders wherever you are. And keep in mind that there is no garanty that mushrooms will help you to solve your problems. Psychedelics are somewhat unpredictable, so it's best to be open and not expect anything. In general it's helpful to know (and reasurre yourself in case things get scary) that mushrooms last only 6 hours, so whatever happens will be over in 6 hours, no matter how scary it may feel. So the only thing you need to make sure is that you are not somewhere where you can endanger yourself (like walking disoriented on a road) or where other people give you a hard time, because you don't behave normally.

However, it might be a much safer alternative to get professional treatment for your intrusions and other trauma related stuff, if you have a a decent therapist. I would probably have done this myself, if psychiatrists and psychotherapists hadn't been a part of the trouble instead of the solution for me. As it was I was simply too scared to try therapy again (and it wasn't helped by the fact that I felt that I could not really talk about certain things in my past and I knew you're supposed to talk about stuff in therapy).