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A mass of mess.


ThePetPerson
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I feel so lost. I feel as if I don't belong. I don't know who I am as a person, or what defines me. I am open to change but to change there must be a starting point. I have no starting point. I feel as if I am a bunch of tangled threads, with frayed ends. Broken ties, leading to nothing. Lost in the midst of darkness, depression has torn me apart at the seams. Self harm, paranoia, depression, eating disorder, psychosis. That's all I am anymore. Everything is lost.

I am going to stop taking all medication. I refuse to take medication as long as I am refused a diagnosis. I don't feel a diagnosis would help me very much, but it would make me feel I have something to fight. For now, I continue to fight myself.

I miss my tears. Where have they gone? I want to cry. But do those tears only provide brine to preserve this condition? There is a weight on my chest. Desperation.

I'm getting a headache. Too many thoughts, each trying to shout over each other. This isn't funny, yet the voices continue to laugh. Taunting me. "Kill yourself. You deserve it."

When does this end? Do I have to end it? Did I start it?

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(((( O )))

You did not start anything. Depression is tough to deal with. You are still here, that means you are strong, you are fighting. Please, don't stop taking your medications. That can make things worse.

When you say there is a weight on your chest, did you mean that you feel that you will continue hurting and struggling?

Sending big hugs your way.

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Olivia,

I'm sorry it might look weired in this situation, but I'd wish you to read this - I hope you'll find the energy to do it and to think about it:

The existential position emphasizes a conflict that flows from the individual's confrontation with the givens of existence. And I mean by "givens" of existence certain ultimate concerns, certain intrinsic properties that are a part, and an inescapable part, of the human being's existence in the world.

How does one discover the nature of these givens? In one sense the task is not difficult. The method is deep personal reflection. The conditions are simple: solitude, silence, time, and freedom from the everyday distractions with which each of us fills his or her experiential world. If we can brush away or "bracket" the everyday world, if we reflect deeply upon our "situation" in the world, upon our existence, our boundaries, our possibilities, if we arrive at the ground that underlies all other ground, we invariably confront the givens of existence, the "deep structures," which I shall henceforth refer to as "ultimate concerns." This process of reflection is often catalyzed by certain urgent experiences. These "boundary," or "border," situations, as they are often referred to, include such experiences as a confrontation with one's own death, some major irreversible decision, or the collapse of some fundamental meaning-providing schema.

This book deals with four ultimate concerns: death, freedom, isolation, and meaninglessness. The individual's confrontation with each of these facts of life constitutes the content of the existential dynamic conflict.

Death The most obvious, the most easily apprehended ultimate concern is death. We exist now, but one day we shall cease to be. Death will come, and there is no escape from it. It is a terrible truth, and we respond to it with mortal terror. "Everything," in Spinoza's words, "endeavors to persist in its own being";' and a core existential conflict is the tension between the awareness of the inevitability of death and the wish to continue to be.

Freedom Another ultimate concern, a far less accessible one, is freedom. Ordinarily we think of freedom as an unequivocally positive concept. Throughout recorded history has not the human being yearned and striven for freedom? Yet freedom viewed from the perspective of ultimate ground is riveted to dread. In its existential sense "freedom" refers to the absence of external structure. Contrary to everyday experience, the human being does not enter (and leave) a well-structured universe that has an inherent design. Rather, the individual is entirely responsible for-that is, is the author of-his or her own world, life design, choices, and actions. "Freedom," in this sense, has a terrifying implication: it means that beneath us there is no ground-nothing, a void, an abyss. A key existential dynamic, then, is the clash between our confrontation with groundlessness and our wish for ground and structure.

Existential Isolation A third ultimate concern is isolation-not interpersonal isolation with its attendant loneliness, or intrapersonal isolation (isolation from parts of oneself), but a fundamental isolation-an isolation both from creatures and from world-which cuts beneath other isolation. No matter how close each of us becomes to another, there remains a final, unbridgeable gap; each of us enters existence alone and must depart from it alone. The existential conflict is thus the tension between our awareness of our absolute isolation and our wish for contact, for protection, our wish to be part of a larger whole.

Meaninglessness A fourth ultimate concern, or given, of existence is meaninglessness. If we must die, if we constitute our own world, if each is ultimately alone in an indifferent universe, then what meaning does life have? Why do we live? How shall we live? If there is no preordained design for us, then each of us must construct our own meanings in life. Yet can a meaning of one's own creation be sturdy enough to bear one's life? This existential dynamic conflict stems from the dilemma of a meaning-seeking creature who is thrown into a universe that has no meaning.

And these are probably a bit related to your wish for diagnosis:

These existential sources of dread are familiar, too, in that they are the experience of the therapist as Everyman; they are by no means the exclusive province of the psychologically troubled individual. Repeatedly, I shall stress that they are part of the human condition. How then, one may ask, can a theory of psychopathology rest on factors that are experienced by every individual? The answer, of course, is that each person experiences the stress of the human condition in highly individualized fashion.

In fact, only the universality of human suffering can account for the common observation that patienthood is ubiquitous. Andre Malraux, to cite one such observation, once asked a parish priest who had been taking confession for fifty years what he had learned about mankind. The priest replied, "First of all, people are much more unhappy than one thinks ... and then the fundamental fact is that there is no such thing as a grown-up person.", Often it is only external circumstances that result in one person, and not another, being labeled a patient: for example, financial resources, availability of psychotherapists, personal and cultural attitudes toward therapy, or choice of profession-the majority of psychotherapists become themselves bona fide patients. The universality of stress is one of the major reasons that scholars encounter such difficulty when attempting to define and describe normality: the difference between normality and pathology is quantitative, not qualitative.

The contemporary model that seems most consistent with the evidence is analogous to a model in physical medicine that suggests that infectious disease is not simply a result of a bacterial or a viral agent invading an undefended body. Rather, disease is a result of a disequilibrium between the noxious agent and host resistance. In other words, noxious agents exist within the body at all times-just as stresses, inseparable from living, confront all individuals. Whether an individual develops clinical disease depends on the body's resistance (that is, such factors as immunological system, nutrition, and fatigue) to the agent: when resistance is lowered, disease develops, even though the toxicity and the virility of the noxious agent are unchanged. Thus, all human beings are in a quandary, but some are unable to cope with it: psychopathology depends not merely on the presence or the absence of stress but on the interaction between ubiquitous stress and the individual's mechanisms of defense.

Now, if death is inevitable, if all of our accomplishments, indeed our entire solar system, shall one day lie in ruins, if the world is contingent (that is, if everything could as well have been otherwise), if human beings must construct the world and the human design within that world, then what enduring meaning can there be in life?

This question plagues contemporary men and women, and many seek therapy because they feel their lives to be senseless and aimless. We are meaning-seeking creatures. Biologically, our nervous systems are organized in such a way that the brain automatically clusters incoming stimuli into configurations. Meaning also provides a sense of mastery: feeling helpless and confused in the face of random, unpatterned events, we seek to order them and, in so doing, gain a sense of control over them. Even more important, meaning gives birth to values and, hence, to a code of behavior: thus the answer to why questions (Why do I live?) supplies an answer to how questions (How do I live?).

The search for meaning, much like the search for pleasure, must be conducted obliquely. Meaning ensues from meaningful activity: the more we deliberately pursue it, the less likely are we to find it; the rational questions one can pose about meaning will always outlast the answers. In therapy, as in life, meaningfulness is a by-product of engagement and commitment, and that is where therapists must direct their efforts-not that engagement provides the rational answer to questions of meaning, but it makes these questions not matter.

Patienthood is ubiquitous; the assumption of the label is largely arbitrary and often dependent more on cultural, educational, and economic factors than on the severity of pathology. Since therapists, no less than patients, must confront these givens of existence, the professional posture of disinterested objectivity, so necessary to scientific method, is inappropriate. We psychotherapists simply cannot cluck with sympathy and exhort patients to struggle resolutely with their problems. We cannot say to them you and your problems. Instead, we must speak of us and our problems, because our life, our existence, will always be riveted to death, love to loss, freedom to fear, and growth to separation. We are, all of us, in this together.

(The quotes are from the beginning of Yalom's Existential Psychotherapy (1st and 2nd) and Love's executioner (3rd and 4th).)

I'd be very glad to hear from you what this has evoked in you... But even if you don't want to share it, I hope that you'll think about it and it will lead you to some other perspectives, new ways, new orientations of searching for your personal way out of the pain...

Big hugs to you!

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Would it help to see one of my “poems” and compare my situation while writing it with the current-one? I hope it might give you the hope that when I was able to “get out of it”, you’ll be, too.

I wrote this in September 2009 (the translation is not good, but it doesn’t matter – just two remarks; 1) it’s not in the ‘male gender’ in my language; it’s neutral, but that can’t be translated to English; 2) I don't know which word would be better: a hole, a pit, ...? But as in other cases; I choose a synonym rather randomly...):

One falls into the hole that others had dug up for him

and if he’s not sprouting, he’s just rotting, waiting for salvage, but in vain.

(Sometimes even screaming, vomiting from disgust, but adding himself one more punch.)

I’m squealing for help, knowing I’m not allowed to,

so I’m suffocating all the desperate invocations by the fist in my mouth,

only shapeless shrieks are scraping trough the chinks,

all so toxic and useless… so useless…

Being sentenced to a slow rotting alive,

rambling about being replanted to a fecund ground,

everyday I’m wambling in my hole

and I’m poisoning the air to everybody around me

by the vapours from the degradation of my soul.

Why is it so unimaginably hard

to change something,

to find out what I’m allowed to beg for (yet, what would it be good for?)?

No, it’s not hard; it’s impossible…

Only ripping or burning entirely is possible.

But which one is the smaller evil?

My brain is a sulky child without respects.

I think it’s already decided.

It’s stuck in a dead-point.

It’s playing a dead beetle. [-It’s phraseology in our language.]

It’s waiting until all the tissues around will be death, too.

Or maybe until something else.

It seems it doesn’t care anymore.

It’s caring about nothing but my façade.

Being on strike inside and trying to keep the basic external impressions,

reminding its better times.

Well, and when I’m alone and there’s nobody to feign in face of,

everything quails and buckles beneath the claws of despair

until my mind bleeds thought my eyes by a salty blood – colourless and faithless.

Hundreds times I’ve already lost my blood this way.

Who’ll be the first to notice this anemia?

But all this doesn’t matter as my rottenness doesn’t yet stink badly enough;

they don’t yet chase me out from the hole because of being choked by the smell.

Do I really have to wait until somebody gets poisoned?

I’m trying to show that I can more or less imagine how you might feel. [i know... in your case, the "blood" is not a symbol of tears, it's... real :(...] What you need the most now is to begin to WANT a change for better – to live, to fight the despair, to get better. I suppose you’d like to hear a reason why. Why should you try when everything seems so pointless? Maybe the current situation doesn’t allow you to see any better reasons than: to become able to see the reason to live you’re missing now AND because there are people who care deeply about you. But isn’t that enough?

What may really help is ... communication. Talking and writing about "everything you need, everything what contributes to the mess". You have people who want to communicate with you - the problem is not their absence.

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There's always a starting point, even if we don't know much about it (because the learning is part of the voyage.)

In your case, "you" is defined as the person who occupies that you-shaped gap in the atmosphere ...

Granted, you may not know much about your you, but that's okay. Go ahead, shake her hand. Ask her what she likes (you probably already know what she doesn't like.) Now give her a hug, because she's the only you you've got.

Try to be her friend. She sounds like she needs one.

{Maybe one day I'll write a book called "How to care for your You".}

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Maybe it was a mistake not to focus on your questions. I'd like you to know what at least some of them evoke in me. But I don't want to be overwhelming (yet I know I may be... by all those long posts...), so I'm always trying to choose only a part from what's on my mind... A feedback from you might help - and not just me. We like to talk to you, but having often no idea what our words evoke in you, it cannot be as "useful" as it might be; at least that's how I feel it. So if you feel we aren't helping here much, it might help to argue, to explain, and/or to say more ;). And if you feel we are helping, then... why not to get more of this help?

Self harm, paranoia, depression, eating disorder, psychosis. That's all I am anymore. Everything is lost.

No; that's only all you can feel, perceive, sometimes. You're not a flu when you catch a flu. I know it's a very different state/problem than a flu, but I believe the principle is the same.

What you consider lost now is only hidden. Suppressed or not allowed to flourish. I can see much more in you than what you listed here - and it's only from some short occasional texts! What would I see if I knew you more! And what will you see when you'll be cured!

I miss my tears. Where have they gone? I want to cry. But do those tears only provide brine to preserve this condition?

I like your metaphor about the preserving brine. It sounds even probable to me; the image of "something" that needs to be released in order to allow a change - and tears are often an important part of "such a release".

It occurred to me that maybe you've been suppressing your tears for too long, maybe you became used to holding them back/inside. What did crying represent for you in the past?

But... there's an even stronger idea: It seems to me that you've replaced the tears by blood - crying by cutting. Are you sure that if not "coping" by cutting in a situation when you "need" it, you wouldn't finally start to cry? OK, maybe you really wouldn't, so far; I don't know. Maybe you need another kind of situation to evoke your tears. For instance; if you really try to feel love for yourself, if you try to be kind, supportive, ... to yourself - as Mark suggested so nicely - doesn't it bring emotion? Or if you imagine somebody loving and caring beside you, as he tells you he loves you and tells you, for instance, that you're his lovable little girl who'll succeed to defeat the despair suffocating her now as well as the bad voices talking such nonsense to her, and who'll find the right way for her, her identity, ... - There's a lot to be imagined and it might bring some strong moments if you succeed to submerge yourself into the fantasy.

Maybe the voices you hear don't allow you even to have such fantasies. But you need to know they're just, so to say, one "personified" opinion/position which is in your head along with others and it is possible to get rid of them eventually.

When does this end? Do I have to end it? Did I start it?

It ends when you'll succeed to win, to defeat the voices in your head, the despair pressing on your chest, ...

You have to end it, but in a different way than you probably imagine now. But you're not alone in this process of ending it. There are people who can help and others who can at least support you.

The 3rd question: To be honest, I don't know. It's rather a philosophical problem. I would say no; it started in you because of the circumstances and some unlucky coincidences. (You, as you've said, refuse to see the external reasons, supposing that your childhood wasn't traumatic etc., but... that's something I've already talked about, so...)

I'm looking forward to your next posts...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yah, do what you can. Read, if it helps. Post, if it helps.

But reach out for help somewhere, Livvy.

After all, Jobs' comment in your signature could be re-written:

"Remembering that you're going to die doesn't mean that you've got nothing to gain by trying."

Because right now, you're alive. Only when you're dead does all hope truly disappear.

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I've never been so low for so long. It's just getting worse, I never thought it could get worse. I'm tired. Every part of me is tired. I don't want to stop trying, but I don't know where there is to go.

You are so so sweet, IJ, thank you for thinking of me. I think I need some care and comfort. Everything my self hatred has always told me I didn't deserve, I feel like a helpless little child. I want somebody to look after me.

Malign, you are right, I am alive. I don't plan to change that, so maybe there is hope left. I don't know how to reach out. I want to beg for help but there's nowhere to turn.

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Nowhere, or just nowhere you feel like you should turn?

When I was at my worst, I rejected the idea of getting away, of talking to my family, of talking to a doctor.

But when it was that or die (and I had pushed myself to that point repeatedly), I found that help wasn't nearly as hard to get (as shameful, as scary, or even as undeserved) as I thought it would be ...

You "know" how; let's be honest. You're afraid. It's okay to be afraid, of course; everyone is at one time or another (or most of the time ...)

But we all survive, because fear isn't fatal. But I wonder how many times giving in to fear has been ...

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