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Ralph

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I'm doing better, mostly I think due to meds. The depression is still there, but in the background instead of obscuring everything else. I am thinking more about what I want to do instead of seeing a bleak lack of future when I look forward. Still haven't figured out how to get there but at least I have a general direction. It's hard not to kick myself for not figuring this out sooner. It seems like it was in front of my face the whole time; I just didn't want to believe it. Well it's in the past so I can't do anything about it now. All I can do is try and figure out where I can go from here.

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Has kicking yourself ever helped before? And I don't mean that as the throwaway easy answer it sounds like: maybe it did help you in some way, just not in the way that you were consciously trying for. Maybe some part of you sees a benefit in you having low self-esteem, for instance; that would keep you from trying things you might be afraid of. Or maybe some part is afraid that if it doesn't keep talking you down, you might get cocky, or lazy, or careless. If you trust that part of you has a reason for doing it, it might be a bit less mysterious ...

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Sorry I don't know what to say, but I want at least to say this:

Ralph, your post sounds interesting and positive, I'm glad to see it...

Mark, what an interesting insight!! Mostly the part about the possible role of low self-esteem...

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it's self defense I think. Talk myself down before others have a chance to attack me. Mostly though it has to do with feeling immense amounts of regret and not knowing what else to do but be aggressive toward myself.

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Counter-punching, it's called. Hit yourself first so other people don't need to. I do it all the time ...

Is it worth asking yourself what purpose the regret serves? One possibility is to imagine asking the regretful part of you, not with accusation but with compassion, what it wants. It's conceivable that it's trying to coax you to do more at the same time as the kick-yourself part is trying to keep you safe by making you do less. (That sort of oppositional polarization is apparently common.) And it's not surprising that a person could fight themselves to a standstill. Again, I do it all the time.

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Hmm, I didn't know it was so common there was already a name for it. What's the regret serve - I guess I think if I regret something enough I won't do it again. In reality I seem to be stuck in a loop and unable to change my behavior even though I can see it's not working for me. But what my regret laden self is wanting is for me to achieve more. Doesn't matter what, just set a goal and conquer it. I try to set goals though and that's where things basically go off the rails... I lose my focus and never get back to what I was doing.

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It's very common, though counter-punching is just what I've heard it called.

I misunderstood you, at first: I thought the regret was for things you hadn't done yet (maybe that's my regret) instead of things you feel you did wrong. So of course, it's working with the kick-yourself part, and maybe is the kick-yourself part, rather than against it.

What would you be if you "achieved" more? And what might you be if you tried your hardest, and didn't quite "achieve" up to the standard you had set? Maybe that opposition is what's stuck ... fear of never trying versus fear of trying and failing. It's pretty normal to build up layer after layer of protection, just so we won't realize how scared we are. And if the fear does get close to the surface, there's always the numbing effects of substances.

I guess what I'm saying is that most of us aren't as different from others as we think we are.

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