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Ralph

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I looked to a doctor to make me whole, but a doctor cannot make a man whole. A doctor can only patch up what a doctor knows to patch up. In the 18th century doctors were using leeches and bloodletting. I think we've made progress, but is it so hard to believe the meds of today will be the leeches of tomorrow? All this while they said oh how courageous of you to ask for help. Help is, surprisingly, a cruel teacher. Courage and ignorance apparently resemble each other from a distance. The answer is meaningless without the right question. The wrong question is more dangerous still.

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I've been thinking a lot about the mental health field and all its categories and diagnoses and treatment methods and wondering what form it would take if we erased all current knowledge and started it over from scratch. I think so much of it is subjective that you'd get a whole different picture; a whole different way of grouping problems; entirely different diagnostic criteria. Hard to say which parts are actually fundamental truths that would last beyond the do-over.

I spent years trying to get myself to a place where I was happy and ok. I feel like i learned a lot in the attempt, but in the end, need something outside of myself to get the rest of the way there. I've been doing the whole therapy thing for a few months now and I see it giving me some different perspectives and helping a little here and there, but I still feel so strongly that something is missing. From deep down inside, what wants to fight to the surface is "help me, help me, help me" but there doesn't seem to be a help. What's missing isn't inside; it lies outside of me somewhere. But no one seems to be able to offer it and I'm not even sure what it is. I keep looking and begging and I don't know what I'm doing.

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I've recently learned more about how the APA developed the DSM-IV and how psychiatric drugs were first developed and continue to be developed. It's scary to see how much is based on mere conjecture.

That said I think therapy can help, but it's not going to solve anything. The mental health field cannot lead you to what it is that is missing, but could help you identify what it is that is missing so you can seek it on your own. In my case I've met mostly therapists who want me to simply get used to not being with that which is missing.

Sometimes I think they are right, but then I will feel OK for a little while and the change between that and being a mindless robot getting up and going to work and doing little else tells me clearly something is wrong.

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Just some of my subjective thoughts after reading your posts here:

It's a too simplified point of view, I know, but the first that occurred to me when reading was "You (both) miss love" :D. For me, receiving a therapeutic kind of love (from my therapist) has been essential. All the other aspects of therapy are very important, but... the feeling that I'm entirely accepted and 'liked' with all my 'dark sides' has been (=still is) the most life-changing :o. It gave me the opportunity to learn to be loved, to learn to accept myself, ... I have to mention here that I differ from you also by the fact that I'm married, but I still think I'm a good example showing that even in case there is somebody in your life who loves you, you still can 'miss love' as you have problems with being able of fully receiving it - and a therapist can help with this. (And not only love!)

I know that this seems out of topic, but I think it's actually not. 'Love' doesn't mean only 'romantic love'. And... I think you both have some problems with receiving acceptance and appreciation from others - at least here (in this community).

I think that finding a therapist who can bring you this 'special gift' to therapy - the feeling of being liked and accepted - can be a problem :D, but it's at least less hard than find somebody to love 'outside the therapy room'.

...could help you identify what it is that is missing so you can seek it on your own

I also strongly agree with this.

Sorry, too much text again :o. Hope it makes some sense to you in this context...

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