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I'm feeling so stupid but I "don't care" = good or bad?


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Hello everybody,

This is my 2nd thread here. I didn't post much because I don't know how to express my problems - I managed to do so only when responding to others what's very fine, but... now... I'd like to try to post a new thread "about me".

I omit most of the facts I already mentioned in other's threads. I will share only one "problem" now.

I hated myself for years, I wanted to change myself in "every" aspect, ... I knew that "everybody says" that "prior to change yourself, you have to learn to acept yourself as you are", but I considered it stupid or at least useless for me. I supposed that I'd be able to accept myself only after changes. ... Then I started psychotherapy and in 3 months, I realized that the quote was true! I succeded to accept myself almost entirely as I am - I was so happy and it was so fine... And I was waiting for the changes! (My AD against anxiety and depressive moods hepled me to ged rid of my horrible emtions and suicidal intentions - great! But this was only one of many aspects I had to change!) ... And I'm still waiting, but... I know I'm too passive, I only hang about and... enjoy this new state of mind. But I know that I have many bad "qualities" I had to get rid of - but... HOW? Now I've lost any motivation, because I don't feel guilt and don't care anymore that I'm so bad and stupid and - most of all - lazy!!! as I am... So... what am I supposed to do with me? How can I change? My therapist... well, it seems he thinks it needs time to work on it, he's trying sometimes to help me with his questions, ... and I always think "Yes, it takes time, I have to wait", but then, in my every-day life, ... I wonder how long have I to wait and also if this isn't just stupid: waiting that "something will happen to/with me".

You'll probably write me that I have to discuss it with my therapist. Yes, I do and also will. We're talking about concrete things/problems which I can't all describe here because of time and space limitation... But the principle I'd like to ask you (who read and like to respond) about is theoretical:

Is it good that I accepted (almost) everything I hated on me, when now I don't have the motivation to change?

How to get motivated when I don't have the feelings of shame and guilt?


Sorry, it seems to me it all doesn't make sense... That's because I'm writing in English and also because I don't want to "spent" too much time writing it. If there if somebody "interested", he/she can read some other posts of mine.

But I don't wait for replies. I think there is nothing to say. I'm just stupid and lazy and that's all. When something bad will finally happen to me due to my lazyness, I'll wake up, hopefully, even that it will be too late... :)

Sorry for my pessimism - but that's something I will never loose...

Edited by LaLa3
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Hi LaLa3, glad you shared a little of 'you' with us. :)

I am definitively not getting the feeling that you have accepted yourself yet. 'I'm just stupid and lazy and that's all.' does not sounds like a very accepting and loving thing to say about yourself. I think that once we accept ourselves there is a sense that even those parts that we wish to change are accepted. Like for example I am stubborn and wish I wasn't but I accept that and sometimes I can even laugh about it :) I get a sense that when we accept ourselves we stop bashing ourselves, just because we've accepted it and no longer judge ourselves negatively for it.

You are not stupid, that is obvious from your posts. As far as the lazyness I'm not clear what you are referring to. Do you have expectations from yourself that you are not meeting? Do you feel you should be accomplishing something and you are not? Do you have a specific objective or are you just generally 'lazy'? Sort of like a boss that tells an employee he is 'incompetent'. What exactly does that mean??? Does it have to do with a specific project, or the quality of work, or the timeliness? It's important to identify exactly what the expectations is I think so that you don't fall into general negative generalizations about yourself that make you feel bad.

I'm learning about those with Cognitive therapy, distortions in our thinking that set us up to feel bad about ourselves. Here are some of the distortions :

1. All or nothing thinking: You see things in black-and-white categories. If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a tolal failure.

2 Overgeneralization: You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.

3. Mental filter: You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively so that your visions of all reality becomes darkened, like a drop of ink that colours the entire beaker of water.

4. Disqualifying the positive: You reject positive experiences by insisting they 'don't count' for some reason or other.

5. Jumping to conclusions: You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion.

6. Magnification (catastrophophizing) or minimization: You exagerate the importance of things (such as a goof-up or someone else's achievement, or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (your own desirable qualities or other's imperfections)

7. Emotional Reasoning: you assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: 'I feel it, therefore it must be'.

8. Should statements: You try to motivate yourself with shoulds and shouldn't, as if you had to be whipped or punished before you could be expected to do anything. The emotional consequence is guilt. When you direct should statements towards others, you feel anger, frustration and resentment.

9. Labelling and mislabeling: This is an extreme form of overgeneralization. Instead of describing your error you attach a negative label to yourself. 'I'm a loser'. Mislabelling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally charged.

10. Personalization: You see yourself as the cause of some negative external event which in fact you were not primarily responsible for.

from : Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy (Mass Market Paperback)

by D M Burns (Author) "

Edited by Symora
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Thank you, Symora, you gave me a lot to think about! I promise I will :) Your reply provides me "a structure" for my thinking about these problems.

For now, only one comment:

<<Do you have expectations from yourself that you are not meeting? Do you feel you should be accomplishing something and you are not?>>

Yes, both. There is a bit more about it in the therad about procrastination in "New members post here".

Thank you again... :)

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... O.K., I'll try to add something more:

Very briefly, cos I have to go:

Before the therapy, I was doing everything (-including living) because of the people I loved. I didn't kill myself only because I didn't want to cause the pain to my family and friends. Now, it seems I can do things also "for myself". But I don't know what do I really want, so I'm not motivated.

(Added later: ) It's not so "black-and-white". I know what I want, but... when I "try" (do I really try?) to do it, I fail and... almost everytime I find myself with the question "Do I really want it? What for?" which is very stupid, because the thing I'm "doubting" about is my study and I was always "an excellent student" (as everybody says, I'm not ranting; it's a fact that I have to accept, it was hard for me as I never considered myself to be good, only... "by chance recieveing only A-s [i mean grades at school]"... NOW I can see that I was good (at school), but I'M NOT ANYMORE!)... So to do a PhD was a logical step and I decided to do so because I didn't see any other possibility. That doesn't mean that I don't like science anymore. I'm very interested, I like reading about new discoveries etc., ... but the everyday work seem too hard for me, because... the project I'm working on now seems to me not very prospective (but it's impossible to change it, it's too late, I'm in my last year) so I think about giving up almost every day. Most of the days, I do nothing (-related to the study). This was my main reason for firstly seeing a p/doc (last september). I was so naive that I supposed that when the therapy gets off my suicidal thoughts (which started when I was about 14), then I'll be able to start working again. But I was wrong...

Sorry for writing "without thinking it over", only as it comes to my mind, but... this is the way therapists suppose to be the best, so... :)

Thanks to everybody who decided to read it; I know it's not very "enjoyable"... :)

Edited by LaLa3
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Now you all can see very clearly one of my problems: I write too much. (And what I write here is nothing compared to my diary and the letters for my therapist! :o:) )

But... let's see my question: The main idea in Symora's reply was (for me) the fact that I haven't accepted myself yet, although I thought I had. But: What does it mean "accept oneself"?

I supposed: "not to hate myself and to admite all my characteristics and consider them as logicaly resulting from my experiences, life conditions, genetics, ... Not to blame myself because of things I can't influence." I succeed in this all, so I supposed "I accept myself now". So what more can I do? And HOW?

I knew about the distortions Symora quoted. I agree. But what's "the mechanism" by which I could persuade my unconsciousness that it shouldn't feel and act in concert with these distortions?

Does anyone have an idea?

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This comes from Dr David Burns and is in his book "The Feeling Good Handbook, revised edition."

1 IDENTIFY THE DISTORTION Write down your negative thoughts so you can see in which of the 10 cognitive distortions you're involved. This will make it easier to think about the problem in a more positive and realistic way.

2 EXAMINE THE EVIDENCE Instead of assuming that your negative thought is true, examine the actual evidence for it. For example, if you feel that you never do anything right, you could list several things you have done successfully.

3 THE DOUBLE-STANDARD METHOD Instead of putting yourself down in a harsh, condemning way, talk to yourself in the same

compassionate way you would talk to a friend with a similar problem.

4 THE EXPERIMENTAL TECHNIQUE Do an experiment to test the validity of your negative thought. For example, if, during an episode of panic, you become terrified that you're about to die of a heart attack, you could jog or run up and down several flights of stairs. This will prove that your heart is healthy and strong.

5 THINKING IN SHADES OF GRAY Although this method might sound drab, the effects can be illuminating. Instead of thinking about your problems in all-or-nothing extremes, reevaluate things on a range from 0 to 100. When things don't work out as well as you hoped, think about the experience as a partial success rather than a complete falure. See what you can learn from the situation.

6. THE SURVEY METHOD Ask people questions to find out if your thoughts and attitudes are realistic. For example, if you believe that public speaking anxiety is abnormal and shameful, ask several friends if they ever felt nervous before they gave a talk.

7. DEFINE TERMS When you label yourself "inferior" or "a fool" or "a loser," ask, "What is the definition of 'a fool'?" You will feel better when you see that there is no such thing as "a fool" or "a loser."

8. THE SEMANTIC METHOD Simply substitute language that is less colorful and emotionally loaded. This method is helpful for "should statements." Instead of telling yourself "I shouldn't have made that mistake," you can say, "It would be better if I hadn't made that mistake."

9. RE-ATTRIBUTION Instead of automatically assuming that you are "bad" and blaming yourself entirely for a problem, think about the many factors that may have contributed to it. Focus on solving the problem instead of using up all your energy blaming yourself and feeling guilty.

10. COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS List the advantages and disadvantages of a feeling (like becoming angry when your plane is late,) a negative thought (like "No matter how hard I try, I always mess up, ") or a behavior pattern (like overeating and lying around in bed when you're depressed.) You can also use the Cost-Benefit Analysis to modify a self-defeating belief such as, "I must always try to be perfect."

Hope this helps some.

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Hey Lala3. =)

First off, you can never write "too much", because the more you write the more insight us readers get in your situation, ergo making it easier to understand you! :o

Now, you mentioned something about expectations not being met, I strongly believe you're not alone on that matter. Everyone has goals set for themselves, and some achieve them easier than others while the rest struggles and a few might even never complete any of their expectations. But in these situations it is important to think "Don't give up," because if you do it'll all be over. But you can also go about it in another way, maybe the expectations you have set for yourself are too high? It is, in this sense, important to know your own limitations so you can more carefully plan out what seems reachable and what seems unreachable. But I know of course that repeatedly telling yourself to not give up never really helps, it's more like a basis, a ground you need to build further on. And from there it's more up to yourself what you want to base it on, your reasons for doing what you do are up to you, is it for your career, future, other reasons? Finding a good reason for what you're doing always helps your cause.

Now, back to the part where a few don't reach their set expectations at all. I see you mention not reaching any of the goals you set, this must without a doubt be discouraging for you, and hard to deal with as well. But that's why we are here, any friends you might have, your therapist, family etc. We support each other, so we'll get through the hard times with you and brace you for another go, I have no doubts that you will eventually complete expectations set for yourself again. Believe in yourself, stand up and try again, there's no one who says you can't keep trying!

Accepting yourself is indeed difficult, but I wouldn't say "loving every bit about yourself" defines it. You just need to accept it, no one says you have to love all the bad sides about yourself, just accepting that they're there is enough. We're not all perfect, all of us have negative aspects that we try to hide and tuck them away. Learning to live with them instead while finding ways to handle them would undoubtedly be better than denying them. It's all about knowing who you are, through and through.

I don't want to say too much, because I'm trying to be very careful when offering help. I am only a young student yet, and my expertise barely goes that far. But do not hesitate to write until your heart is content, this entire site's intentions is to help everyone and you Lala3! :)

Good luck on the way, T.M.

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I'm here again. I decied to write also about my actual problem which is related to this forum: I became "too habituated" to it... No, that's a stupid way to say it. I have to be clear: Reading the posts and posting became almost an addiction for me, it seems to me that it's almost (or maybe really - how to discern the two???) obsessive. Unfortunately, I have to work on my compulter now, so I'm online all day long and... instead of doing my work, I "only" read and write here, alternating it with e-mail (and sometimes also Facebook - I've been almost "addicted" to FB before my join of this forum).

I hope that you are not going to "boycott" me here since now "to help me" with this!!! :(

I only write it here because I'm trying to convince myself that I have to do something with this problem too. I know the way how to cope with it: I should reserve 1 or 2 hrs by day to this forum (in the evening, after I would have done some tasks related to my study) and not to open this website at other times. But it's the same as with each of my problems; I know the theory very well, but I'm too "weak" (?) to DO it.

I feel so "ashamed" here (the word "feel" is not appropriate; I've almost lost my negative feelings due to my med, as I already stated...): You all suffered sooooo much in your lifes, and most of you I know here are soooo wise, ... And what am I? I had a "normal" childhood (even beautiful when compared with those of many of you!) - isn't is a SHAME that I somehow "developed" my self-hating, my suicidal intentions, ... It seems that it was only because of my too complicated mind: I used to "philosophize" too much, in bad ways. I developed so complicated "constructions of arguments" prooving how bad I am and that the only thing I have to do on Earth is not to cause any harm to others. ...

And now, I have a great husband, I have a good therapist I like very much, a med that hepls me w/o any side effects (I put on 5 kg in the first 3 weeks, but it's nothing compared to others!)!

I "should" be happy! My life is almost perfect, but I'm unable to... "take use of" this happiness. But I feel I'd rather give my happiness to the people I love and to you all here, because it's useless for me. The biggest problem is that I HAVE TO be happy to allow the happiness of the people I love.

I suppose it's enought for now. Don't want to flood you with my words... :(

Edited by LaLa3
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Hey again!

I cannot fathom why you label yourself "weak" in the understanding that you can't follow through with your ideas. Think about it, already posting about it here shows considerable mental strength already. But I can empathize on the matter, and if I were to speak from self experience, then I'll say that it wouldn't hurt to learn how to give yourself a few kicks in the butt. :( (if I can say that without hurting anybody.) Just that in my case this was related to a lot of laziness, reason being why I pulled my own neckhair so often. But enough of me!

I can totally and wholeheartedly understand why you spend so much time here on the forum, wanting to help others is extremely admirable I must say. But you need not be ashamed because you don't "have it as bad" as some others who seek out help from this site. If we all were to suffer just as bad as everyone who came up to us with their difficulties, there wouldn't be anyone left who could offer help anymore. Playing the martyr is tempting, but I think that considering everyone elses well-being instead of dragging myself down is more important. More accurately, if you learn to keep yourself in tip-top shape, helping others will be that much easier, right? :-)

And worry not, not being able to accept positive emotions when down is perfectly normal, take your time with them and slowly recuperate, it takes time, but we humans are fully able to adapt to most circumstances. But don't push yourself, give yourself time to accept the feelings of happiness around you, there's no rush at all!

Hope it helps, T.M

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I guess "accepting yourself" is not so much about "well, this is just the way I am and I don't have to change". Because there are things in us that we want to change and just accepting them seems very counter-intuitive.

For me, "acceptance" has been more about first seeing what it is that I do (think, feel, behave) that makes me feel depressed/anxious/whatever, identifying it and looking at it. It's what the CBT therapists call an 'automatic thought'. My next step is to understand why I do it. It has a root or reason, there is a 'why' to how I learned it, because it served me at some point, to avoid pain or escape from danger or whatever it was. This involves compassion for yourself, for the little girl who was only trying to protect herself. Perhaps this is the acceptance part? I seem to need this step (which I'm not sure is done in straight CBT), because I HAVE to understand, not just know. (I'm so relentless with the "why" that a teacher in high school got exasperated with me one day and said "You don't have to understand it, you just have to know it!" I stopped asking and found out elsewhere.)

You already know about this: When you repeatedly have a thought or behaviour, learning theory says you are connecting neurons and strengthening those connections so that those neurons can, so to speak, fire and release neurochemicals with its eyes closed. So it's an ingrained habit in your brain. This is the situation now and it is what it is. You accept that, but you don't stop there, this is only set in neurons, not in stone. You've identified the automatic thought which has become outdated and is now self-defeating, not adaptive.

Then you look at it again and see how it makes you feel - usually not positive - and you understand how this happens, the 'logic' by which you operated - then you work towards figuring out what you would need to think or do, to bring about a more positive outcome.

Then you try it out. It feels strange, unnatural and not really 'you'. But this is why you are doing it in therapy, with some help. :) Because of learning theory, the pathways are new and need practice to make and solidify the new connections. This is the boring part for me! But if the emotional outcome of the old habit makes you feel sufficiently crappy, it provides motivation to - as the Nike slogan says - Just Do It. (While I yawn and roll my eyes. :))

Central, for me, has been the understanding and compassion for the 'me' who bumbled along doing the best she could with what she knew. She wasn't bad or broken or inadequate, she was only following her survival instinct. It's as if, once that child is really heard and understood, (which she often wasn't before), she stops having to convince me so loudly and insistently that I must do THIS to survive and be safe, (which she has to keep doing when I keep pushing her away). And that hearing and understanding, is my acceptance.

The simple act of being heard and having what I say accepted without the person running away screaming, is what the therapist does and models for me, so that I can learn to do it for myself (in effect access my own 'Inner Therapist' :)) Just being heard is immensely and incredibly healing.

This is how I understand the therapeutic process. It works best, possibly only, when you have a good therapeutic relationship with the therapist, when you really trust that that person is solidly 'on your side' and isn't going to harm you. Parts of this process have been like a 're-parenting' for me, providing a safe place for me to let down my guard and my need to cling to outdated 'safety' measures.

And once I feel accepted and understood, THEN I'm ready for therapy. :) If you know what I mean. (If only insight alone was enough! But I've had to feel the feelings and cry the tears, that's the hard, but real work, and it's not called 'work' for nothing.)

(I'd love to hear from David and Allan if this is how it is intended, or if it's just the way I experience and explain it for myself. If you have time. And inclination.)

Edited by Luna-
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Thank you, Luna, for sharing your experiences and thoughts!!! It was impressive to read :)

I don't have enought time, but I'd like to answer you in more detail later. I only add one comment now:

I understand your concept of therapeutic work and I feel the same. (Fortunately, I have a good therapist, I already (after 3,5 months of therapy) found myself thinking "now the therapy can really start, the sessions before were only as "preliminary"..." And once I cried (at home) realizing that I like the therapist so much... (I'm not in love "yet" :), but... it's such a strong relationship, that... it might be seen as "a kind of love" - or "positive transference", if you want :)) To compare: Before, during my 4th (?) session, I cried telling him: "It's so unfair that you don't have the possibility to chuck me out!!!" etc... So ... it's much better now; I think I understant our relationship much more ;-) )

To T.M.: Thank you too, Tor! :-) I have an idea for you: As you probably know, the training of every therapist includes also therapy (=the student is "the pacient"). So, maybe when you're becoming one of the people helping others in this forum, it would be benefical to post here a thread about your problems (you mentioned in your 1st post that you also have some (who doesn't? ;-) )). To "see it also from the other side" ;-) This might be benefical also for your future therapeutic sessions during your own training process! (-You will be "prepared")

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Hm... I see in all of this, well, you say you accept yourself. But I don't see acceptance of what you call 'being lazy' or 'habitual addiction to the forum'. I thought that I sensed rejection of that in yourself.

There were a few thoughts coming to mind.

Being 'lazy' is a form of avoidance I think the way you described it. You are avoiding to deal with work you need to do. Why?

You come back to this forum to read and post. Why?

You also avoid to respond to some messages because you feel you are out of time, yet you are habitually on here... Why?

This is from Thomas Merton in "The Way of Chuang Tzu"

When The Shoe Fits

Ch'ui the draftsmann

Could draw more perfect circles freehand

Than with a compass.

His fingers brought forth

Spontaneous forms from nowhere. His mind

Was meanwhile free and without concern

With what he was doing.

No application was needed

His mind was perfectly simple

And knew no obstacle.

So, when the shoe fits

The foot is forgotten,

When the belt fits

The belly is forgotten

When the heart is right

"For" and "against" are forgotten.

No drives, no compulsions,

No needs, no attractions:

Then your affairs

Are under control.

You are a free man.

Easy is right. Begin right

And you are easy

Continue easy and you are right.

The right way to go easy

Is to forget the right way

And forget that the going is easy.

(end quote)

I had to think very much of this, reading what you wrote. May be it can help to provide some insight to you?

sending love to you across the ocean...

Edited by Unbekannt
correcting a typo in the quote
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Hello, everybody :)

I'm going to add some comments to your posts:

To T.M.:

- <<wanting to help others is extremely admirable I must say>> Well, I don't admire it when I do it, because I know that I do it also for myself: One of the things I need is to feel I "have something to give to other people" and that "I'm not so stupid, sometimes I can write something that seems to me logical and appropriate". This is also the answer to the question of Unbekannt :)

- <<you need not be ashamed because you don't "have it as bad">> Thanks :-) I agree, but sometimes it's hard to see it this way. I've been often thinking "Why do I want to be treated? So many people need it much more that me!" This was one of the main reasons why I hesitated so many years before deciding for therapy. But is still remains in me a bit and now, when I'm much better, it's stronger again - this is related also to what I'd like to write to Luna:

I don't know very well what I expect from therapy now, when my emotions are "under control" and when I feel almost accepting myself (-I never wrote entirely accepting ;-) ): I know I "have to do something with" the things I can't accept yet and that I have to "move on" in my work. But... do I really have to understand the reasons of my former anxiety and depressive moods? My therapist seems to think that I do. But I feel like I don't have "a clue" to this part of my life, as it's already gone and I'm unable to "experience it" again during the sessions to "get in touch with it" to understand it. You described the therapy also by <<But I've had to feel the feelings and cry the tears>> - and I think (based also on other texts and books I read) that this is the way one can be healed. But I can't cry anymore (during a session), I can't "experience the past again", I'm talking about it w/o any emotions and considering it as... something bygone/long. I even feel it's unimportant for me now. But at the same time, I think this attitude is wrong. It's not good "not to feel anything" during therapy. I wrote about this in my last letter to the therapist, so maybe we'll discuss it next time. But I suppose he will only ask me WHY it is like this. And I will say I don't know. The same it was when we talked about why I (so often!) can't have any associations/thoughts/ideas when he asks me a question. Why do I feel (so often!) unable to respond? I don't know and he only keeps asking the same...

Ups, this was a bit "out of topic"...

To Unbekannt: Thank you too!

- the quote is very insightfull. I have to think it over. :(

- <<Being 'lazy' is a form of avoidance>> Yes, I concluded the same, in other words, but avoidance is even more apposite. Last weeks I've been thinking a lot about the reasons of this avoidance. I've already written here the main: I'm not motivated, because I don't think my work is prospective. I feel it's impossible to do it in the short time I have. Then, several days ago, I get to know that prolongation of my study (for one year) is possible (it was not sure before, because it depends on many factors...), so... now... I have to decide to make a new plan for the next year, but ... my supervisor was abroad for a week and... this week I was supposed to finish one work (which had to by done in january!), but... as he is not here and I don't have motivation to do it knowing that I realy can have another year, I do nothing, what is... nothing but lazyness, because the work have to be done in any case.

I'm sorry to go into too much details, but it's hard to decide what is important to write and what is not. It's all quite complicated and I try to write only what I'm able to explain here. For exemple: The avoidance is here almost 3 years! It's not new, related only to the therapy or only to the fact that now I know I have an additional year. Why? Well, I supposed that it was only related to my anxiety and suicidal thoughts, but... it doesn't make much sence - now I can see... Probably... it was related to my feeling that I'm unable to do to a good work. Yeah; I remember - that's what my therapist suggested. He thinks that "I have to be perfect and have to have precise plans - if not, I'm too confused and can't do anything". Hm. He's probably right, even that I don't agree completely (I never wanted to be perfect, I only wanted not to be bad!).

O.K. I think this is really very much for today.

Thank you all once again!!!


Edited by LaLa3
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