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Recognizing my triggers



The following is a huge vent. Don't take it seriously.

Today I learned that doing something good for myself stirs up my demons. Saw pdoc today and every impulse is pushing me to sabotage my own efforts. Related to growing up and being trained not to talk to social workers, teachers, or anyone outside the family about what was going on. Still have that conditioning to keep secrets so talking about my issues honestly brings out the fear of punishment, and the fear of being found out and thrown in a prison as that was the threat used to keep us kids from talking to CPS. I've noticed this same fear come up from going to therapy, getting a massage, or basically anything else that could expose me to the Kafkaesque system that wants to file all the round pegs into squares rather than let us find our own round areas to settle in.

Pdoc officially said I have treatment resistant depression. Well, duh, but still it was easier to accept in the back of my mind than to have that actually come from the dude writing my scripts. Why do I allow myself to get worked up about a diagnosis? I can't change it by will. Nonetheless I'm still thinking holy shit what if I get diagnosed as borderline or avoidant personality disorder. Isn't that just a professional way of saying I'm a huge jerk?

I've had one therapist though who assured me that I'm not borderline (even though I have the unstable personality characteristics and poor relationship skills) because I have a high degree of empathy and I can realistically interpret others' intentions after accounting for my cognitive distortions. Bless her heart - I need a new therapist like that (she was at the university and I've graduated now so couldn't see her again). My therapists/pdocs since then seem to be more about tearing me down by focusing on my drinking and discounting my progress as self serving bias. Why the hell should my self esteem be determined by my darkest weaknesses though. I have good traits too.


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You have loads of good traits dude! I have that background voice that says "Don't tell anyone!" "You're going to piss them off!" "This is our business-don't interfere!" too. And my relationship skills are brutal and i've heard whisperings of Opositional/Defiant disorder before. Thats kinda my fear with going to see a therapist, that I might not like what I have to hear. It would be nice if the feedback was "ohhh, you're just a little off track, nothing to worry about." but that seems unlikly.

I have had many impressions of you Ralph, since I've been here, and with all sincerity, I don't recall any single one of them being negative.

You seem focused and determined and willing to do hard work to improve yourself. You are thoughtful about your learning process, and by being so, have allowed others to understand how you've formed your ideas, and use that information to their own benefit as well.

You have a level head, and don't get pulled into any surrounding drama. Nor do you lash out. You make thoughtful comments and are a reasuring and calm presence on the forum. Thanks for that.

So i would like to officially declare that "RALPH IS NOT A JERK!!~"

=j - u heard it here first!

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awww, thanks peeps.

JaiJai, My ADHD coach once suggested that a lot of people with ADHD symptoms have oppositional defiant traits as well. I immediately launched into a detailed explanation of how that didn't apply to me and he just let me go on and on... essentially proving his point on my own. :P Well let's see I identify with people like Johnny Cash, George Michael and of course Toki Wartooth. A junky, a queer, and a cartoon character. I think it's safe to say conformity is not the sharpest tool in my toolbox.

I think there's a difference between building someone up and simply blowing sunshine up proverbial skirts. If someone is oppositional/defiant, how do you think they'll react to being labeled as such? Would it help that person or would it just make them resist harder.

I think a good therapist is someone who can take that question into account rather than labeling a patient and then expecting the same person to respond as if in fact they were not suffering from the diagnosis.

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I had one therapist who refused to tell me what, if anything, her diagnosis of me was. At the time, it pissed me off, but I later came to appreciate it for precisely the reasons you're talking about, Ralph. Labeling is a risky thing. If people know how they've been labeled, they'll apply their own understanding of that label and react accordingly. That may be therapeutic, especially if the therapist really works with the person to deal with the label, or it may be very, very negative.

And I'll chime in: you're not a jerk!

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Ditto what J said!

Also, regarding labels - they are just collections of symptoms, conveniently packaged for the benefit of insurance companies and pill providers. They can be very damaging. I have found a particular label that matches most of my symptoms. My therapist prefers not to label me and for that I am thankful.

It is much easier on the ego to label yourself for the purposes of reading up on possible treatment options, but it is REALLY, REALLY hard to hear it from somebody else - because it ALWAYS comes out as judgemental, especially the personality disorders. It's like they are attacking your very being.

My mom used all sorts of derogatory personality labels on me. Not like I was a bad person, just highly limiting, fear inducing, self-esteem bashing things. Like they were set in stone for life. And DAMMIT!, I believed her until last year. Sad thing is - Last year I found out I've been half deaf most of my life. NOT something that helps you fit in socially. Her limiting beliefs about me prevented her from even considering that perhaps a concussion at 5 years old had caused hearing loss and in turn, a lot of my social problems.

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