Clinical Depression Doesn’t Make People Incapable of Making Choices or Changes 

Clinical Depression Doesn’t Make People Incapable of Making Choices or Changes 


Follow-Up Posts:

(Link): Addendum – Mental Health and Treatment and the Goals of Mental Health Professionals

(Link): An Alarming Trend in Psychotherapy by Christine Sefein – (Woke Therapists Want You To Stay In a Victim Mindset and Miserable)


I don’t frequently feature mental health related topics on this blog, but a friend of mine recently became very angry and “blew her top” at me and basically said she wants nothing more to do with me, and this topic pertains to the reason why.

(I will be doing another blog post or two later about this friend biting my head off this past couple of weeks.
And I will repeat this in the future, but:
The irony is that this now ex friend is someone who spent about a year and a half or two years asking me on Twitter if I could befriend her on other sites and share more about myself with her.
I was hesitant to do that but eventually took a chance. She and I have never met in person – but she initially wanted to befriend me further, not vice versa!)

Despite the fact I informed this (now ex) friend a few times over the last two or three year period that I was diagnosed with clinical depression when I was around age 11 by a psychiatrist,
and that this diagnosis was verified as I got older (into my 30s) by about three other psychiatrists (in a total of three different states),
this ex friend, who I shall call “Emma” (not her real name) continued to insist that there is no way I ever could have had clinical depression.

I can’t begin to describe how insensitive and obnoxious I found that.

Side note:

I was appreciative of the times this ex-friend listened to me describe my anxiety-laced concerns with her, as she did many times, and I made sure to thank her for that several times in the last few years.

I even asked this ex friend, “Emma,” a time or two that if she found my anxiety produced ruminations on the same topics crazy-making that I could back off, but she said it was okay.

But as I told her, I was fighting my anxiety to make changes in my life. I’ve not seen her fight her depression to make changes in her life.

I also told her I realize it’s not good to stay angry at people, which is why I’ve been trying to move past anger at family members of mine. I don’t think she’s willing to let go of some of her issues to move forward, though.

At any rate…

I finally politely yet directly told Emma this past week, when she once more insisted there’s no way I ever had depression, that it was not okay for her to keep denying my medical diagnosis like that.

And she has never apologized for it, and she told me this about three times over a 3 or 4 year period!

But she kept acting angry and incredulous that rather than offer her non-judgmental emotional support recently (which I had done for a few years now), that I dared to change strategy and offer her a few suggestions.

In Emma’s mind, it’s perfectly fine for her to keep denying my previous medical diagnosis (which is really insulting and obnoxious behavior), but God forbid I try to help her by giving her some tips that may reduce her levels of depression, oh that makes me such a platitude-giving, evil, victim-blamer!  🙄

I am 99% sure that “Emma” kept denying that I ever had depression because it conflicts with what she wants to be true and needs to believe about her own life and ability to hold a job or go out and live life again. (More about that later in this post.)

Emma claims that she herself has depression, but she never told me if she was diagnosed by a doctor with it (or if that is a self diagnosis), and if so, for how long; I asked her for how long has she had depression (I asked her about this and never got a reply).

One of several things that set this “Emma” person off in private social media chats with me is that I mentioned that during the years I had depression (from my pre-teen years well into my 40s), I was able to attend school full time (junior high, high school and college), and, I was able to hold part time and full time jobs and do other things.

Emma insists that she learned in psychology courses (which I estimate that she probably took in the late 1970s or early 1980s) that supposedly, people with clinical depression (also known as MDD, Major Depressive Disorder) cannot do things like attend school or hold down a job.

That is news to me, because I was in fact diagnosed with clinical depression and suicidal ideation by psychiatrists, I saw psychiatrists (and one psychologist and one therapist) over the years, I was on doctor-prescribed, anti-depressant medications for years…

And yet, yes, I attended school full time, and I went on to hold part time jobs and a full time professional job or two along the way.

When I was a kid and was diagnosed with clinical depression, even then, my mother would not permit me to stay home from junior high school, even though I begged her to, because I was bullied horribly at that school, and I was deeply depressed.

My mother refused to let me stay at home.  I had no choice but to get up each day, shower, and go to school – even though the depression made me feel lethargic and my dream was to stay in my pajamas all day in bed, rather than face life.

After years of having to get up daily and shower and go to school, despite the fact I had depression, I became accustomed to living with the dull emotional aches and emptiness of depression and having to shower and leave the house anyway.

If you have clinical depression, and yet someone in your life is FORCING you to get up, shower, get dressed, and go out (like to school), believe me, yes, you can in fact absolutely get up daily, shower, and go to classes, and I do not care what your 1980s psychology professor told you about this.

My older sister reminded me recently that she was diagnosed with MDD (clinical depression) and PTSD, and yet, she has worked steadily since her teen years, and she earned two college degrees in her 50s – while still having depression.

My sister told me that in all her years of having depression and PTSD, she never once had a psychologist or psychiatrist tell her that her depression rendered her incapable of having a job.

I too attended college (in my 20s and later), and I not only took an entry level psychology course in my 20s (made an “A” in that), but I also took an abnormal psych course.

And in none of those college level psychology courses, or their accompanying text books, did I ever hear in a lecture or read in the class text books that a person with clinical depression is incapable of getting out of the bed in the morning, going to school, or holding jobs.

In all the years I saw psychiatrists for depression (and later for anxiety), I never ONCE had one inform me that because I had depression that I could not and should not go to school or hold a job.

I never once had a psychiatrist I saw tell me that because I had depression that I should just give in to the depression, cave in, give up on life, and just sit at home in pajamas and stay in bed all day napping or watching television all day.

As a matter of fact, when one of my psychiatrists found out I had quit one of my full time professional jobs  (due to having been bullied by one supervisor), this psychiatrist got really angry or annoyed with me, and from then on out, every time I came in to see her for my visits (some were every 3 months, some every 6 months), she would keep nagging me about getting employed again!

I was seeing this psychiatrist for clinical depression, she was prescribing anti-depressant medications to me, and yet, she was hounding me to get another job right away.

In all my recent web searches about having clinical depression and employment, all the web pages I found on sites by professional mental health organizations give lists of tips of HOW to hold down a job WHILE having depression – which would be really strange advice if it were impossible for depressed persons to hold down a job!

Depression can make a person lack motivation, and rob them of energy.

A person with depression – especially if it’s severe, and clinical depression is severe – will not WANT to get out of bed daily and do any thing.

A person with depression will not FEEL like getting out of bed daily, bathing, or going to a job, or house-cleaning.

A task that might take a non-depressed person ten minutes to accomplish might take a depressed person twenty minutes (or even longer) to complete.

All of that is very true.

However, the fact remains that…
(and what I’m about to say really offends and angers some people with depression; they really do NOT want to hear this or believe it, especially if they are holding a Victim Mentality – the depressed tend to take the following as an attack, when it’s not intended as such but is merely stating truth and reality)…

Having depression does not make a person incapable of making choices and changes in their lives.

Having depression does not make one incapable of getting out of bed, showering, brushing their teeth, or attending classes or a job.

Does a person with depression WANT to go to a job or FEEL like going to a job? No.

But CAN a person with depression go to a job?  Yes. Yes they can.

“Not feeling like doing X” and “Not wanting to do X” are entirely separate issues and categories from “Can or Cannot Do X.” 

Is there any thing EASY about going to a job when you have depression? Nope – because your depression is luring you to stay in your soft, warm, comfy jammies and nap all day.

With depression, you want to “check out of life.” You don’t want to have to make decisions or take responsibilities for any thing.

I know. I get it. 

I’ve been there. I lived with depression from the time I was a pre-teen all the way to my mid or late 40s.

I’m very acquainted with depression after having lived with it for so long.

I did eventually find my own way out of depression later in life.

It’s hard for me to say if I’m totally clear of depression now, or if it’s at such a low level I don’t notice it any more, but whatever the case, I’m not as in the rut because of it as I was for 30+ years.

A few weeks ago, this now-ex friend of mine, whom I am referring to as “Emma” here on my blog (not her real name), told me her depression had gotten worse lately, and the first thing I told her in response to that was, “I hope you feel better soon.”

(I saved screen shots of some of our private chats before deleting them.)

And, I thought, well, if her depression has become worse than usual, maybe I can help her by offering her tips I used to use on myself back when I had depression really bad, or things I’ve read psychologists advise to do.

You see how I was trying to be compassionate and caring there, right?

My motive was not to offer nothing but “emotional support” (which really hacked her off), nor was my motive, as she angrily accused me of, to be “judgmental,” or merely, as she snapped at me later, to give “platitudes” or “pep talks.”

By the way, there’s nothing wrong with pep talks – sometimes in life we need them.

God knows this ex friend is so very, very cynical, excessively negative, and bitter she needs them.

I had previously given “Emma” emotional support, which I reminded her after she started biting my head off – but at this point, as I told her, I was interested in solutions.

I was trying to help “Emma” figure out ways to actually LESSEN her depression, something which you think she would’ve welcomed, but no!

I guess she is actually deriving some kind of benefit, or getting some kind of weird need met, by staying depressed and cynical (yes, this is an actual thing; psychologists have essays online explaining this behavior, which they refer to as “Secondary Gains”).

For more on Secondary Gains as discussed in mental health, please see (Link): this page or (Link): this page

Also:

(Link): The pursuit of unhappiness: The secondary gains of depression.

Excerpt:

The type and severity of symptoms help to classify the depression as neurotic or psychotic.

Depressed patients obtain narcissistic gratification because of their disorder; they may exploit the kindness and attentiveness of others, shirk responsibility, and avoid the demands of interpersonal interaction.

Such secondary gains may be so reinforcing to the patient that the original depression cannot be affected by treatment.
— end —-

Emotional Support, Empathy Vs. Enabling

I’ve found you can literally (this is not an exaggeration) spend years to decades giving the perpetually angry or depressed in your life lots and lots of empathy, caring, concern, ‘baby-ing,’ hand-holding, and non-judgmental emotional support, but all that care, concern, and that emotional support will NOT remove the person’s depression (or whatever problem they are frequently complaining to you about).

All of which I explained to this friend after she blew up at me for not giving her nothing but emotional support.

She was really miffed that I was offering her a few solutions, rather than 100% empathy and nothing but 100% empathy. (More on this later.)

How is it that me trying to help her decrease her severe depression is supposedly cold, mean, heartless, or judgmental of me, I do not know.

Unless it made her realize that she would have to work, take steps to change – and she wants to stay in the, “I’m a victim in life, so there’s nothing I can do to actually change my situation” mindset (?)

At some stage, if you are someone with depression, or you’re dealing with a deceased loved one, or a job loss, an abusive marriage, an on-going sickness, or whatever terrible thing you went through years past or are going through now, you must surely realize that receiving nothing but non-stop empathy will do NOTHING to actually stop whatever problem you’re having.

After processing whatever pain in life, and receiving that hand-holding and emotional support from concerned friends, you must eventually make a conscious decision to move on from the problem, and that may include coming up with a list of possible solutions to fix the problem!

Constantly complaining to your sympathetic friend about how gosh darned depressed you are may give you a fleeting, euphoric feeling of five minutes of validation and having been heard – but it’s not going to actually make your depression go away.

I can give “Emma” emotional support for her depression (and other problems) every day for the next ten years, but none of that emotional support will remove her depression or improve her other problems in life.

I am not opposed to giving hurting people occasional emotional support.

We all go through frustrating, sad, or stressful times in life and we can use some emotional support. I understand that.

But…
Only “Emma” can take control of “Emma’s” life and fix her life.
I cannot do that for her, no matter how much emotional support I give her.

If a friend continually gives you emotional support for years for the same problem or two, they end up enabling you in your problem or dysfunction, rather than giving you emotional support.

Yes, there is a fine line between enabling and emotional support.

(As a recovered codependent, I spent years and years enabling people, in part by listening to them rant over the phone, in e-mails, or in person for hours and hours for years about their jobs, marriages, health, or financial problems.

All that emotional support I gave to all these frequently sad or angry people left me mentally exhausted and ultimately didn’t help the perpetually angry or depressed people who e-mailed or phoned me with their same problems over and over for years.

Because after I gave these people a ton of empathy and emotional support, they would call me again the NEXT month to gripe, complain, or cry about the SAME set of problems again.)

I know that depression can distort a person’s thinking to being more negative than usual (which I also reminded this ex friend of), but…

I was never AS negative and cynical during all the years I had depression (even with suicidal ideation!) as this ex friend “Emma” is.

(Link): Mental Illness Isn’t an Excuse for Problematic Behavior

Mental illness doesn’t evaporate the consequences of our actions.

(Link): When Helping Doesn’t Help

Why Some Clients May Not Want to Change

Victim Mentality

I think “Emma” also has a super big, very entrenched case of what psychologists call (Link):  “Victim Mentality” (possibly more on that in a future post), and Victim Mentality further distorts a person’s perceptions and attitudes even more negatively.

I know, after having had clinical depression for approximately three decades, that people with depression do not like to hear that there is any thing they can do to lessen depression, especially if they, like this ex friend, are also nursing a bad case of Victim Mentality – they will feel as though any steps you ask them to take is a case of you judging them, attacking them, being insensitive, and so forth.

But I know, after having had depression myself for 30 or so years (which “Emma” keeps wanting to deny – as my personal, lived experience does NOT bolster her misperceptions, it does not support her idea that depressed persons “cannot hold down jobs,” nor does my personal experience with depression neatly fit with what she read in some psychology book in 1979), what is likely to work and what is likely to not work to lessen depression.

(Link): Does Victim Mentality Play a Role in Depression?

…That said, victim mentality does play a role in depression, which is why it is crucial to identify and manage it.

…In my opinion, victim mentality is when one feels that he or she is at the mercy of people or fate because that person doesn’t have control over his or her own life.

While even someone who doesn’t have depression can feel like a victim, I have personally found that this flawed perspective comes naturally to a depressed individual.

Signs You Have Victim Mentality with or Without Depression

…Feeling helpless — Victims believe they can’t take charge of their lives, and this results in them feeling helpless.

While it is true that we don’t always have the power or privilege to control situations, almost everyone in the civilized world has the ability to make choices.

However, a person who thinks like a victim will feel as if everything is out of that person’s control. Over time, this may develop into what is known as learned helplessness.
— end excerpts —

Overcame Depression

I’ve been where she is but have largely over come it.

I reminded her of that when she began attacking me. And I was not reminding “Emma” of that to be mean, nasty, or cruel.

I was reaching out to her trying to be helpful.

I wanted her to know that yes, there are ways to diminish or defeat depression, and I figured out a way.

I had to over-come depression on my own, as none of the psychiatrists for years ever got to the core of my depression, and the Christian faith did not remove the depression, either.

I spent years reading books, and later, after the internet came along, articles by psychologists online, about depression. I was able to figure out how to combat depression successfully after re-thinking my life experiences and reading all that mental health material online.

A lot of this took place after my mother died, and my mother dying is the most painful, difficult thing I had to cope with in my entire life so far, and I had to do that alone as well, because most of the rest of my family are verbally abusive, cranky type of people.

I got sick and tired of having depression over the years and did a lot of research on how to over-come it.

I have no interest in staying depressed or allowing depression (or anxiety) to control or limit my life.

I am not interested in staying in pessimistic, depressed, victim mode, where I think I have no choices in life because I feel that life or God are “out to get me” (as Emma feels), because when you allow yourself to maintain this view that you’re a victim, there’s nothing you can do to fix, decrease, or change yourself, your life, your problems or depression.

Staying in that “victim mindset” robs you of taking personal responsibility and makes you feel as though you have no choices in your life – so why bother? Why bother trying any thing new or actually trying advice or tips to decrease depression?

After “Emma” began pitching a fit when I was just sharing two very basic tips with her on how she could possibly decrease her depression(*), I was explaining to her that I’ve been where she is, and I know what works and what doesn’t, she snapped back at me sarcastically (it came across as sarcastic and nasty),

“sorry I just can’t snap out of it and pick myself up by my bootstraps as you were able to”

That was a very dismissive, demeaning, and condescending response. I had clinical depression for around 30 or more years!

I am proud of the fact that I did work my own way out of depression after psychiatrists failed to do that for me, as did the Christian faith.

And unlike “Emma,” I didn’t cave in to the depression, sit around thinking, “Pity me, poor me, there’s nothing I can do about this.”

(*)The two tips I shared with Emma? Here they are…

I told her, if your tendency is to sit around your home all day in pajamas, not seeing other (non) depressed people often, doing nothing but watching Net Flix or goofing around on Facebook and Twitter all day,

then it may improve your mental health by finding a way to be around mentally healthy people face to face more often and forcing herself to shower daily and put on some pants and a t-shirt.

I even told her that I know with depression that you may not FEEL like showering daily or getting out of pajamas and into daily, regular clothes, but try forcing yourself to do it any way, and it may lessen your depression.

You’re Not to Blame for Having Depression, But You Can Still Make Choices, and You’re Still Responsible for Your Choices

At least two times or more in this last batch of private messages I exchanged with this person, she kept falsely repeating that I “blamed her” for having depression, when I never said any such thing!

I even went out of my way explicitly to say, “Nobody chooses to have depression.”

But I stand by my point that just because a person has depression (and I had it for over 30 years), that while a person is not “to blame” for having depression and does not “choose” to have it, that having depression does not make a person un-able to make choices in life and to make changes.

I lived with depression for 30 or so years, and during that time, I was able to make choices and changes. There are no competent mental health professionals out there who will tell you otherwise.

Depression makes certain things in life more difficult but not impossible!

And as I told this now ex friend, if she were to actually begin seeing a therapist or psychologist for depression treatment, they would all begin helping her see how depression is negatively influencing her thinking process, they would help her correct that, and, many of them would give her small, obtainable goals to achieve – such as get up daily, shower, and get dressed.

There is not a single competent mental health professional who would advise a depressed patient to give in to depression, stop living life, spend all day, every day in pajamas in bed!

One goal of many mental health professionals is to assist their patients to function again in life, whether that person has been diagnosed with depression or anxiety.

This ex friend of mine apparently thinks her depression will magically disappear on its own, or if her circumstances change (i.e., if she can get a job again, etc).

Well… no.

You have to live in reality.

Don’t Make Getting Rid of Depression Contingent on External Factors

I told her, if you are making your joy in life contingent upon external circumstances, such as getting a job again, what do you do when you never get another job?

And how is it, if you usually spend most of your days on Facebook Messenger complaining to people about how awful your life is, that you expect your depression to change or go away on its own?

If you want your depression to go away, you will have to stop it with the inertia and actually start changing things.

Your dynamics won’t change until you change the dynamics.

I told “Emma” other than being around non-depressed people in person more often, and other than wearing regular clothes during the day (if she’s wearing pajamas all day), that she could look into CBT or BA (Behavioral Activation), because her attitude is hopelessly, excessively negative in part because it’s been colored by the depression.

So… if she can change HOW she views and perceives her problems and depression, that will make the depression seem and feel much more manageable.

– which is preferable to living in the hell of depression, one would think, but hearing things like that from me just hacked her off even more.

I was also  telling her that with depression, you will have to FORCE yourself to do things you won’t FEEL like doing, but if you force yourself to do those things (whatever they are), your depressed mood will lift.

That was not only a solution I stumbled on to for myself years ago, but it turns out to be a technique that psychologists use on depressed persons called BA (Behavioral Activation).

She replied at one point, “Don’t you think I already know all this.”

No, I sure don’t, because if you know it, it doesn’t show! Or you heard it but never put it in action.

This lady has been depressed for how many years now – 10, 20, 30? And what has she tried to halt the depression? (I asked her, but she would not reply to that.)

If you’ve spent the last 10+ years with depression but have reacted to it by staying in bed half the day napping, then going out to your recliner in the den to watch Net Flix the rest of the day, how has that strategy been working out for you?

When you sit around in a night gown all day, goofing around on Twitter or watching TV, and when you do talk to people online only to commiserate with them about how horrible and unfair life and God are, that only serves to keep a person “stuck” in depression. It prolongs depression.

But this ex friend of mine, Emma, keeps living life along those lines, doing the very things that are keeping her trapped in the hamster wheel of depression. Does she not want off that wheel?

How Psychologists Treat Depressed Patients

Here are a few pages by mental health professionals saying a lot of the same things I’ve said to this ex-friend:

(Link):  Overcoming depression: How psychologists help with depressive disorders – via the American Psychological Association

Excerpts:

Depression is extreme sadness or despair that lasts more than days and affects people in different ways. Fortunately, depression is highly treatable.

Treatment for depression

…Psychotherapy is also an effective treatment, either alone or in combination with medications. The benefits of psychotherapy may have an enduring effect that protects against symptoms returning even after treatment is ended.

Seeing a psychologist about depression

…Psychotherapy can help people with depression to:

    • Pinpoint life events that contribute to their depression and help them find ways to change, accept or adapt to those situations.
    • Set realistic goals for the future.
    • Identify distorted thought processes or unhelpful behaviors that contribute to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
    • Develop skills to cope with symptoms and problems, and identify or prevent future episodes of depression.
    • Two of the most common evidence-based therapies for depression are cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy.

(Link): Behavioural Activation: Behavioural Therapy For Depression Treatment

…These researchers believed that depression was a behavioral issue (as opposed to a cognitive issue) that arose from a lack of positive reinforcement, particularly in social relationships.

Since they subscribed to a behavioral model of depression, the authors believed that the best way to treat depression was to “restore an adequate schedule of positive reinforcement for the individual by changing the patient’s behavior and/or the environment”.

…In other words, BA is a type of therapeutic intervention (most often used to treat depression) that focuses on behavioral changes in a client’s daily life.

(Link): How To Use Behavioral Activation (BA) To Overcome Depression

When we are depressed we become less active. The less active we are the fewer opportunities there are for positive and rewarding things to happen to us. And the fewer rewarding things that happen to us the lower our mood becomes. Behavioral Activation (BA) is one way out of this vicious cycle. It is a practical and evidence-based treatment for depression.

…The relationship between what we do and how we feel
Psychologists have found that there is a close relationship between our activity and our mood.

 …People who are depressed tend to do less overall and so they have fewer opportunities to feel pleasure, mastery, and connection – the things we need to feel good [1, 2, 3]. It is easy to fall into a trap:

Inactivity > Depression > Inactivity > Depression

…One way out of this trap is to wait until something external improves our mood – if it does then we might feel more like getting back to our old levels of activity. This approach is passive though, and it can leave you feeling helpless.

One big problem with the passive approach is that you are likely to be waiting for a long time – left to themselves episodes of depression can last for months at a time!

A more proactive way of breaking the vicious cycle of depression is to increase our level of activity even if we don’t feel like it to begin with. This approach is called Behavioral Activation (BA) and it is a psychological treatment for depression with one of the biggest evidence bases to demonstrate how effective it is

(Link):  Can Counseling Help With Depression?

(Link): Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Treat Depression?

How CBT Works
A therapist helps you identify negative or false thoughts and replace those thoughts with healthier, more realistic ones.

…First, CBT makes you aware you have these thoughts. Then it teaches you to swap them for more positive ones. The change in your attitude leads to a change in your behavior. That can help ease your depression.

You may wake up in the morning and wonder, “What’s the point of trying?” With CBT, you learn to tell yourself, “That’s not a helpful thought. Making an effort has lots of rewards. I’ll start by getting out of bed.”

You may need weeks or months of CBT before you start to feel better.

….Your therapist will work with you to set treatment goals, like to feel less depressed or to cut back on alcohol. Usually, you won’t spend much time focusing on your past or your personality traits. Instead, your therapist will help you focus on what you feel and think now, and how to change it.
— end excerpts —

(Link): Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Depression

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy. This form of therapy modifies thought patterns in order to change moods and behaviors.

It’s based on the idea that negative actions or feelings are the result of current distorted beliefs or thoughts, not unconscious forces from the past.

…The sessions provide opportunities to identify current life situations that may be causing or contributing to your depression. You and your therapist identify current patterns of thinking or distorted perceptions that lead to depression.

….You may be asked to keep a journal as part of CBT. The journal provides a place for you to record life events and your reactions.

The therapist can help you break down reactions and thought patterns into several categories of self-defeating thought.

These include:

    • all-or-nothing thinking: viewing the world in absolute, black-and-white terms
    • disqualifying the positive: rejecting positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason
    • automatic negative reactions: having habitual, scolding thoughts
    • magnifying or minimizing the importance of an event: making a bigger deal about a specific event or moment
    • overgeneralization: drawing overly broad conclusions from a single event
      personalization: taking things too personally or feeling actions are specifically directed at you
    • mental filter: picking out a single negative detail and dwelling on it exclusively so that the vision of reality becomes darkened
      — end excerpts —

(Link):  2 Psychological Tricks That Will Help You Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself

Hardship is inevitable. But self-pity is optional.
—- end excerpts —

Do you see any thing in those articles by psychologists or psychiatrists telling people to not attempt to make changes in their negative thinking? That say it’s impossible to NOT make choices when you have depression?
Because it’s not in there.

This ex friend of mine accused me of being victim blaming, giving “pep talks” and “platitudes” for telling her some of the very same things that a psychotherapist or psychologist would be telling her!

Conclusion

By maintaining these same behaviors and negative attitudes, this ex friend of mine is contributing to her own depression!

She is her own worst enemy. She could help herself out of this, but she refuses.

Any pointers I’ve given her, links to psychology pages, etc, she takes as betrayal, insult, she dismisses as “pep talks” or “platitudes” or hypocrisy (never mind that I don’t hide behind my anxiety disorder; I’ve been forcing myself to do things I’m afraid of my entire life, especially in the last few years, which she knows.)

You’re never, ever going to get out of depression or decrease it by continuing to do and think the same things.

And yes, you can absolutely make changes in your life and attitude even if you have depression.

The sooner you will acknowledge that, the sooner you will realize you do have power in your life and control over some of your situations and your psychological health will get better.

I went back and re-read the private messages I sent “Emma,” and there was nothing mean-spirited and insensitive about them. I was being polite to her, even as she got increasingly preachy and rude towards me.

I worded things kindly, but I was also to the point (I didn’t do much sugar coating).

My motive was coming from a place of trying to help, but she chose to filter it through a negative lens and find my responses victim blaming.

If you ask someone like her to take responsibility for their lives and choices – (and a lot of depressed people are like this too, not just ones with an over-sized, bad case of Victim Mentality) – it’s interesting that so many of them misconstrue this to be a form of “victim blaming,” when you’re trying to make them realize they can be empowered and there-by escape depression!

I actually told this same (ex) friend a few years ago that I had to take a break from our friendship, as her very sour, negative attitude was (Link): damaging to my mental health (letter by a person in similar situation to me)

I’m largely over depression, but being around people like “Emma,” who have a very negative, bleak, “pity me,” depressive outlook, combined with a victim mentality, can easily suck me back into depressive, negative thinking, and even trigger my anxiety.

This was back a couple of years ago, when “Emma” was telling me her depression was bad, and I told her, ‘well, when my depression was bad, I coped with it by baking, going on walks or bike riding and things like that.’

And do you know how she replied to that?

By shooting down every suggestion I had used on myself.

“Emma” told me how she couldn’t bake because her hands were too injured to pull trays out of an oven, and she listed reasons as to why she couldn’t go on walks or bike rides and do whatever else I said I used to help me get through depression.

You understand that my point sailed right over her head.

I was not saying that she necessarily should bake or go on bike rides; I was merely citing those as activities I had used on myself.

My point was that it would help her to participate in activities that do not involve napping or watching television or sitting on Twitter or Facebook all day.

A lot of depressed people “feed” their depression by staring at a screen all day.

They always claim that they “can’t” go on a walk, or they “can’t” visit a friend, or they “can’t” do this or that, when the fact is, yes, they “can” do whatever, but they choose not to. It always comes down to choice.

You may have depression and not feel like going on a walk, but unless your spine was crushed leaving you paralyzed from the neck or waist down, or you overate to the point you are a bed-ridden 800 pound person, yes, you can go on a walk, or visit a church service, or phone a non-depressed friend, or go knit a scarf, or do some other non-passive activity that will not keep you stuck in depression.

Pitfalls of Befriending People You Meet Online

And file this under another example of why I am so hesitant to befriend people I come across on forums, blogs, and social media.

This “Emma” woman spent around two years trying to befriend me better outside of Twitter, she kept asking for more about me, for me to friend her on Facebook, or what not.

And I was hesitant, because I always attract perpetually negative people who do want me to give them rivers and rivers of exhausting emotional support,
they will complain about their life’s problems but not lift a finger to change those problems,
or they end up getting angry at me and turning on me,
or I run into a lot of crack pots and crazies, and I get burned in the end.

Never fails.


Ex Friend Actually and Astonishingly Believes that Motivational Material is Horribly Pep Talk-y, Horrible, Victim Blame-y, and Platitude-y

By the way, one of the links I sent to this ex friend that especially seems to have pissed her off (I don’t think she even bothered to scroll up to see my other private messages, where I shared with her links by psychologists on how to diminish depression, see links higher up this page for examples of those) was this one:

(Link): Athlete Born Without Legs Sets Guinness World Record for ‘Fastest 20 Meters on Two Hands’

Here is what I typed to her under that link:

It’s not always your circumstances in your life that hold you back, it’s how you view the circumstances and what choices you make in response to them. That guy doesn’t have legs, yet he entered that race and broke a record.

And those comments are very true.

Your problem is generally not your situation but how you view the situation!

You can keep yourself unnecessarily stuck with and in depression by holding on to defeatist thinking about how you think about your life or problems.

My paradigms have shifted in the last few years.  I am not in the same place that this ex friend is in now and has been stuck in the last few years.

I have a better sense now that if you just sit around passively, and you fume and express anger at the world and at God, that your problems will not vanish, nor will your mood improve.

Does this mean that I am opposed to any, or some, amount of complaining or expressing sorrow, regrets, and so forth? No, not at all.

I find that too many Christians engage in equally harmful “polly-anna” thinking and “toxic positivity.”

But going the equal and opposite direction, meaning  non stop negativity, can be just as bad and damaging.

I personally found that man’s story I linked to above, the man born with no legs but who entered races, inspirational and motivational, but not my ex-friend, no!

The ex friend, “Emma,” thought it was just horrible of me to send that to her.

She asked me how I would feel if she sent me a link like that, or some of that other content to me, given my severe anxiety disorder?

I laughed when I saw that, because I found it funny because, as I told her, I intentionally on occasion go looking for such material – because it gives me hope and inspiration that if that person could over-come a serious set-back, maybe I could over-come my problems in life too!

That is one of the reasons I sent her the link. I found it hopeful and thought she may too.

But no, she chose to view it as an attack, or as me not “getting” depression, and she just found it flippant, and just wrote it off and dismissed it… but again, that is her choice on how to view content meant to help her.

She seems bound and determined to cling to this very super negative, shitty attitude. She will never, ever heal from depression so long as she refuses to change, or even entertain the possibility that she can change.

Here’s a link I sent this ex friend (she probably didn’t bother to watch it)
– any one who has depression or anxiety will probably find the videos below helpful:

(Link): Catastrophizing: How to Stop Making Yourself Depressed and Anxious: Cognitive Distortion Skill #6
– 14:30 minute long video:

That ex friend definitely could benefit from listening to this:

(Link):  Reframe Your Negative Thoughts: Change How You See the World 17/30 How to Process Emotions
– 17 minute long video:


Some individuals who have clinical depression – whether actual or feigned – also have a huge victim mentality.

Nothing you ever do for them will ever heal them or help them. You will be wasting your time if you try to rescue them or cheer them up. You will wear yourself out in the process.

You may be able to offer limited, genuine support for a truly depressed person in some capacity (such as driving them to their first few therapy appointments, for example), but if it’s a depressed person who has a victim mentality, you need to draw back and stand down (this is ten times more true for you if you’re codependent, an empath, or a people pleaser).

(Link): 10 Signs Someone’s Always Playing the Victim (6.05 long video)

(Link):  The “Victim” Narcissist | How to tell who is playing the victim (17 minute long video)

Applicable to Emma (and to “Donna Hazel”):

(Link):  5 Reasons Covert Narcissists Are Missed or Misdiagnosed


Follow-Up Posts:

(Link): Addendum – Mental Health and Treatment and the Goals of Mental Health Professionals

(Link): An Alarming Trend in Psychotherapy by Christine Sefein – (Woke Therapists Want You To Stay In a Victim Mindset and Miserable)


I see more of Emma, an ex-friend I wrote about on this blog in other blog posts, in this (a little over 12 minutes long):

(Link):  The Covert Vulnerable Narcissist. ( Behaviours Of Vulnerable Narcissism.) 


Related Posts, on This Blog:

(Link): Offering Unconditional, Indefinite Emotional Support to Anyone and Everyone, or to the Same Person for Years, in Whatever Situations – It’s a Trap!

(Link): Mental Illness Doesn’t Make You Special by F. Deboer

(Link): Life Lessons After Recovering from Codependency – I Can’t Save You, and I No Longer Want To

(Link): An Assessment of the Article “Why the Religion of Self-Care is Really Sanctified Selfishness” – Christian Author is Indirectly Promoting Codependency, Which is Harmful

(Link): People Using Fake Sickness or Hardship To Con People Out Of Their Money, Attention, or Empathy

(Link): When Narcissists Fake Being Sick to Manipulate You – Re: Boundaries, etc

(Link): Chronic Pain and the Self Pity, Depression Trap

(Link): Can She Bake or Not? (Emma The Ex Friend – How Honest Is She?)

(Link): Help! I Think I Made a Terrible Mistake When Helping My Elderly Neighbor (The Codependency, People Pleasing Trap)

(Link): They Put Their Faith in a God-Fearing Man Selling Them Tiny Homes. Now They’re Suing Him For Fraud – Christians: Please Learn the Red Flags, Research Cluster B Personality Disorders

(Link): Are You Stuck in the “I’ll Feel Better When” Cycle? by Diana Hill, phD

(Link): Hedonism is Overrated – to Make the Best of Life There Must Be Pain, Says This Yale Professor

(Link): An Experimental Depression Treatment Uses Electric Currents to Bring Relief by L. McClurg

(Link): Acceptance (vs. Denial, Anger, or Should-ing) – Helps in Healing and Getting Through Painful Events and Dealing With Things You Cannot Change

(Link): Avoid Getting Entangled with Covert Narcissists – You Can Waste Your Time, Effort, Money or Giving that Exhausting Emotional Support and It Won’t Make A Difference to the Recipient

(Link): The ‘Paralyzed in a Wheelchair’ Analogy – Regarding: Clinical Depression – Also: The Cynical or Victimhood Filter

(Link): Grace Spence Green: The Medical Student Who Was Paralyzed by a Falling Man, is Now In A Wheelchair – and Found New Purpose

(Link): Not all Narcissists are Grandiose – the ‘Vulnerable’ Type can be Just as Dangerous 

(Link): How To Deal With Chronic Complainers, by Guy Winch, Ph.D.

(Link): Emma Responds – My Comments

(Link): Emma the Ex Friend, Part 2 (I Won’t Play the Codependent or Rescuer Anymore – Some Life Lessons Learned)

(Link): Poster “Donna Hazel” Was Blocked From This Blog Yet Still Tries to Post – She Is an Incorrect, Insufferable Cow

(Link): Donna Hazel Cannot Quit This Blog / also: Re: Victim Syndrome

(Link):  If Nothing Can Be Done to Lessen or Heal Depression, Why Do I Keep Seeing Articles Like This One? ‘Feeling anxious and depressed? Sit less and move more, study says’

(Link): Man Who Lost Movement in His Entire Body Feels He Is Missing Out On Relationships and Sex by L. Thomson

(Link): Online Dating Lowers Self- Esteem and Increases Depression, (2018) Studies Say

(Link): An Alarming Trend in Psychotherapy by Christine Sefein – (Woke Therapists Want You To Stay In a Victim Mindset and Miserable)

(Link): Therapists and Whiners / Constant Complainers

(Link): Christians SUCK at helping people who have mental health problems. (Ask me how I know.)

(Link):  People Really Hack Me Off  (Part 1) The Hypocritical, Constantly Angry, Christian Ingrate (ex friend of mine)

(Link):   People Really Hack Me Off (Part 2) The Clueless Christian Who Likes To Send You Upbeat Updates About Himself In Reply To Your Announcement of Your Mother’s Death (ex friend of mine)

9 thoughts on “Clinical Depression Doesn’t Make People Incapable of Making Choices or Changes ”

  1. I don’t know who “Emma” is but boy do you know how to shame someone whom, one presumes, has been a good friend of yours for a long time and has or is experiencing a great many problems.
    It reads as straight-up victim blaming.
    I did it so you can too! Just follow my supreme example. If you can’t, I will turn you into the shameful target of a bitter blog post.
    I’m guessing “Emma” would not have confided in you if you had not ALSO pushed all your issues onto her.
    It’s never one-sided.
    And this is how you repay her trust. With a carefully worded but immensely damaging targeted public blog post.
    Nor is it the case that circumstance and pain do not play an enormous part in depression. Yet you discount WHY she is depressed.
    Imagine. A boy in a wheelchair in insufferable systemic pain. You, “just help yourself out of the depression occasioned by your wheelchair and pain by magically turning into ME and following all my advice! Seek (help) and ye shall find! No, not necessarily.
    Just do what I did.
    That work for everyone?
    Thought not.
    Where’s any compassion here? I see none.

    I used to teach. I would never dream of saying “I have awards, degrees, books…if I can do it then so can you!”

    I knew not all had the same capacity to do that. It simply wasn’t possible for them all to be me.

    I’m astonished at the temerity and tone of this piece. You are the one who gives the impression of victim blaming. Exemplary. You just did it to perfection with this blog post.

    Jolly good for you personally in getting over your depression. Yet don’t presume to hector others in this manner.
    You’d add immeasurably to the depression.

    1. reply to Donna Hazel. (this is a reply to “Donna Hazel’s” second comment, one which I have since deleted)

      If I did things correctly, I blocked you from commenting on this blog.

      Jeebus, you left one hell of a very long, rambling post just moments after I submitted my reply

      I only glanced at parts of your reply before sending it where it belongs – the Trash Can.

      There are newer treatments for depression I’ve read about, which may include shocking the brain.

      Edit. “Shocking the Brain.”
      I refer to this:

      Treatment Resistant Depression, via Mayo Clinic

      — start excerpt —
      Treatment-resistant depression

      Procedures to treat depression
      If medications and psychotherapy aren’t working, you may want to talk to a psychiatrist about additional treatment options:

      Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS).
      This type of treatment uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression.

      An electromagnetic coil is placed against your scalp near your forehead.

      The electromagnet used in rTMS creates electric currents that stimulate nerve cells in the region of your brain involved in mood control and depression. Typically, this treatment is delivered over 30-minute sessions in rapid bursts.

      This treatment can now be delivered over briefer sessions with dosing called intermittent theta burst stimulation.

      Ketamine is a medication that’s delivered through an IV in low doses.
      It’s used for rapid relief of hard-to-treat depressive symptoms and its effects can last from days to weeks. Usually it’s given in decreasing frequencies over several weeks.

      The FDA approved an intranasal form called esketamine that’s given in a physician’s office or a clinic under the supervision of a health care provider to monitor for possible serious side effects and because of the potential for abuse and misuse.

      Esketamine is for adults who have tried at least two other antidepressant medications that did not adequately control symptoms.

      Ketamine and esketamine work in the brain in a different way than standard antidepressants, and each is typically used along with an oral antidepressant.

      Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
      While you’re asleep, a carefully measured dose of electricity is passed through your brain, intentionally triggering a small, brief seizure. ECT seems to cause changes in brain chemistry that can relatively quickly reverse symptoms of major depression.

      Although there are potential side effects, such as temporary confusion or temporary memory loss, a series of ECT treatments may provide significant relief of severe depression.

      Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS).
      Generally, VNS is only tried after other brain stimulation therapies such as ECT and rTMS have not been successful in improving symptoms of depression.

      VNS stimulates the vagus nerve with electrical impulses.

      This treatment uses a device implanted in your chest that’s connected by a wire to a nerve in your neck (vagus nerve). Electrical signals from the implant travel along the vagus nerve to the mood centers of the brain, which may improve depression symptoms.
      — end excerpt —

      Self Help is not a bad thing, sweetie.

      Endless listening to a depressed person will not stop their depression.

      I know, I was once there.

      I had to heal myself of the depression – in part based on life experience and changing my thought processes, how I think about life, myself, my problems.

      I can listen to a depressed person every day with empathy for years about their depression or whatever they are upset about, and they will still be depressed years later.

      Depressed people are not as helpless as they think they are – or as you think they are.

      (And I have a college degree, by the way. You mentioned something in your response about college degrees – yes, I have one.)

      If depressed people continue thinking they are helpless (and focus constantly on negative thinking), they will remain stuck in the depression.

      And I’ll repeat what I said above:
      I personally seek out any pages, including pages containing personal experience, by someone who says they over-came thus and so a problem, because I think, “If this person found a way out of their problem, perhaps I can too.”

      I also think, “Maybe the strategies they used on themselves to fix their problem can work for me too.”

      When I come across such content, I don’t view it as insensitive, impractical, or victim-blaming, which is how you, “Donna Hazel” are framing it.

      If you work in the mental health field, you sound angry or resentful that I found a way to rid myself of depression or manage it much better on my own,
      WITHOUT using whatever methods YOU think people should pay you for – whether it’s on-going therapy or medications.

      Edit. I have to point out the hypocrisy here
      – both Donna and Emma totally glossed over my 30+ years of dealing with clinical depression.

      Neither person showed concern, compassion for my experience at all, but they sure want me to show sympathy for someone in depression who has a defeatist attitude.

      They both just glossed over my 30+ years of having depression like it was nothing.

    2. Reply to “Donna Hazel.”

      Edit. Is this you:
      Biddy Tarot (edit… removed link)… or did you guest author an article there? So weird.

      I usually don’t entertain dissenting views on my blog, but this is one of those exceptions.

      Should you leave me a comment in reply to this one,
      I don’t know if I’ll read it or approve it to appear on the blog,
      because I don’t have the patience for “back and forths” with people who are cranky or who want to argue.

      I’ve only just glanced at the first top of your post – are you sure you’re not my ex friend “Emma” under a new name? 🤣

      I notice you have a Word Press blog of your own, (Link): “Tarot Find”
      [Link now redacted; it was “tarotfind” on Word Press; I don’t want to point any one to her blog, no free publicity or referrals by me for her – also: what kind of supposed university educated person also dabbles in tarot cards (occultic clap trap)?],
      but it doesn’t have any posts, and there is nothing on the “About Me” page at that blog.

      Did you start that blog just to have a Word Press account to confront me here? Hmm.

      I notice that you said nothing about this ex friend of mine gas-lighting me about my medical diagnosis, which I mentioned in the main post above.

      This “Emma” person kept telling me there was no way I ever had clinical depression,
      since it conflicted with what she heard in a psychology classroom in the late 1970s…

      Despite the fact I told her a few times I was diagnosed by a psychiatrist with depression at a young age, and it was verified by three more psychiatrists as I got into adulthood.

      I let “Emma” know that her denial of my medical diagnosis was not acceptable.

      But you don’t have a word to say about that, “Donna Hazel.”

      Emma should’ve apologized to me for having denied my medical diagnosis, which I lived with for over 30 years, but she never did!

      Nope, she just fixates on what wrong she thinks I did to her (which was just offer a few suggestions that might lessen her depression).

      In all my years of seeing psychiatrists, taking psychology courses in college (in the 1990s), and having read a mountain of material about depression…

      I never once heard or read a mental health professional say that depressed people are not capable of making changes and choices, and cannot and should not get out of bed every day or go to school.

      I actually had psychiatrists encourage me to get out of the house and take classes and hold jobs.

      Emma doesn’t want to acknowledge any of that, however.

      DH (Donna Hazel) said:
      “I don’t know who “Emma” is but boy do you know how to shame someone whom, one presumes, has been a good friend of yours for a long time and has or is experiencing a great many problems.”

      No, you don’t know who “Emma” is, because I have kept her anonymous.

      I made a note in the post to mention that “Emma” is not her real name.

      (I think YOU are “Emma,” but you’re using this “Donna” name, honestly.)

      I am not “shaming” her.

      That is your interpretation, but that was not my intent, nor was that what I was doing.

      DH (Donna Hazel) said:
      “I don’t know who “Emma” is but boy do you know how to shame someone whom, one presumes, has been a good friend of yours for a long time and has or is experiencing a great many problems.”

      As I mentioned in my post, I do appreciate the fact that Emma listened to me discuss my anxiety-based problems
      – but I also mentioned that I thanked her on and off for that over the last couple of years,
      and I also asked her a few times if she was tired of it, I could stop talking to her about it.

      But she said no, that was fine, I could keep sharing with her.

      So it’s not like there was no gratitude from me to her.

      Unlike a lot of people with issues, I am self-aware.

      For over 30 years, I not only had clinical depression, but I was also a very empathetic, codependent person who listened to friends, co-workers, and family discuss their problems, while I seldom got to discuss mine.

      I was usually the “listener” in those relationships, where other perpetually angry or depressed people would discuss their problems with me for hours over literally months or years
      (as a result, I am, to this day, worn out by having granted all that non-judgmental emotional support).

      I had mentioned this portion of my past to “Emma.”

      When Emma was getting very negative a couple of years ago (as I mentioned in the post),
      I told her in private messages that I’d have to lower contact with her for a couple of weeks or so,
      as me listening to someone with her excessive negative outlook can cause damage to my mental health, which I was not willing to risk.

      One thing I realized a couple of years ago, upon reflection, (and I mentioned this to “Emma”),
      is that all the years I spent giving all the perpetually angry or depressed people in my life
      hours and years of emotional support didn’t actually help any one.

      The perpetually angry and depressed people I met over my life loved to vent and cry on my shoulder about their problems, but they never did any thing to actually solve their problems.

      They just loved to complain and complain about their problems to me but not do anything to fix them.

      I used to receive a lot of emotional support from my Mother for all the years I had clinical depression.

      However, I realized by my early 30s that all Mom’s emotional support was doing nothing to actually make my depression go away…

      …so I stopped going to my Mom to discuss my depression by that time.

      I realized that I can give a person empathy for so long, but eventually, all that caring, concern, emotional support, compassion, and so on, does not fix the person’s problem, doesn’t make their problem go away…

      And if the person shows signs of being unwilling to fix their situation or their attitude about it, there is no point in me continuing to do that.

      After dealing with the same problem for so long, I would personally rather be given possible solutions than to receive five, ten, or more years or empathy and emotional support.

      Receiving empathy and emotional support up-front is fine when you’re having a problem, but in the long run, receiving it won’t do anything to actually help a person.

      DH (Donna Hazel) said:
      “I’m guessing “Emma” would not have confided in you if you had not ALSO pushed all your issues onto her.”

      Nope, that’s not how it went down.

      “Emma” found my Twitter account and this blog.

      She began leaving me comments at both.

      She began pushing me and pursuing me to reveal more of myself to her.

      (I made note of that in this blog post.)

      I spent about a year or two rebuffing “Emma” about that and telling her I was not comfortable with sharing more about myself with her, but she would keep asking me every so often.

      She came to me, I did not go to her!

      She did share personal information with me about herself, including her struggles with depression and some physical health issues, including a few surgeries along the way.

      And… I was supportive.
      I gave her emotional support.

      After her surgeries, I’d wait two, three days, and text her and ask her how she was doing.

      The first few times she told me she had depression, I told her I was sorry to hear that, and I hope she got better soon.

      DH (Donna Hazel) said:
      “It reads as straight-up victim blaming.”

      To anyone who is still “stuck” in depression, having a non-depressed person, (even one who was formerly clinically depressed such as myself),
      say that ,
      “there is a way out of depression, and here are some steps or suggestions you can try, too, and here is what worked for me, maybe it can work for you too”
      is going to sound victim-blaming.

      But it’s not victim blaming.

      You can have clinical depression, fight it, and make choices and changes in your life.

      I did for over 30 years.

      The opposite is to give in to the learned helplessness, believe you are a victim, and hence, incapable of making choices, of taking control of your life.

      You come to believe you are powerless to fix yourself, your attitude or much of anything else… which feeds right back into the loop of negative thinking and also feeds the depression.

      DH (Donna Hazel) said:
      “I did it so you can too! Just follow my supreme example. If you can’t, I will turn you into the shameful target of a bitter blog post.”

      That is a very distorted way of reading the post – and in that, you sound an awful lot like “Emma.”

      Emma was also viewing my private messages to her through this very negative filter, and she distorted many things I told her.

      I spent years trying to figure my way out of depression – and the psychiatrists I saw, the Christian faith, none of that helped me.

      I had to figure my own way out of depression.

      If I am someone with depression, and my friend tells me they found a way out, rather than getting angry at them over that, I’d be eager to hear HOW they found a way out.

      I would not react defensively about it and assume they are “victim blaming” me, etc, which is what she did, and which is what you are doing.

      If anyone is bitter, it would be “Emma.”

      I was maybe going to make another blog post about this later, so I don’t know how much I should get into this here and now…

      From what I can figure, Emma did not want to have a genuine friendship with me, based on shared likes.

      That she so quickly threw our, what was it, 5 or so year online friendship into the trash can so quickly, tells me she did not want a genuine friendship.
      And maybe that she wasn’t as good a friend as you are “presuming.”

      Emma wanted a friendship based on shared complaining,
      she wants someone to agree with her that life is terrible,
      if there is a God, that God is awful,
      God is “out to get her,” and she wants someone to affirm and validate her negative outlook of life, herself, her situation, etc.

      If I go along with that very negative thinking, the kind she still engages in, it begins to seep into MY thinking, which has the potential to drag me down into depression again, it can trigger my anxiety, or leave me feeling defeated.

      I’ve had to work very hard on myself in the last few years to over-come those negative thinking tendencies.

      Whenever I tried to chat with “Emma” about neutral or happy topics, she would generally (not always, but generally) IGNORE that and not comment such content, or even acknowledge seeing my neutral or happy posts.

      “Emma” would generally only reply or hit the “like” button on any content I sent her that affirmed her negative world view,
      or topics that she loved to complain about that I am also opposed to as well, such as comp (gender complementarianism).

      I could send this Emma person, say, about 10 to 25 to 30 (short) private messages in a row, and if those messages were a mix of negative stuff and neutral stuff, or links to topics she was interested in…

      (such as, let’s say, koalas, wombats, kangaroos and other wild life in Australia)…

      …she’d usually ignore the “normal” content to only comment or hit the “like” button on the topics that get her animated (such as complementarianism), or any links to news articles I sent her about koalas.

      My feeling is that she was not terribly interested in me, my life, or really getting to know me better,
      so that is part of the reason she’d ignore most of my messages and only react to the ones that were of interest to her.

      I last contacted “Emma” on a Sunday. I sent her some polite replies.

      In her last set of replies to me, she made some kind of comment about not wanting to be friends with me any more.

      I waited a few days, but when she did not reply at all, that Wednesday, I un-followed her on social media.

      I took it that she had no intent of ever replying to the last set of messages ever, and that she no longer wanted to know me, so I unfollowed her on one social media platform.

      She seems really determined to hold on to a negative outlook on life.

      She does not want any friends even gently pushing back on her world view, even if it’s meant to help her.

      She wants to feel sorry for herself, and she wants me to feel sorry for her.

      “Emma” views herself as a victim, and therefore, she thinks she is incapable of taking control of her life.

      And finally, with age and life experience, I realized in the last few years, that I cannot help people like that.

      I cannot save, rescue, or fix someone else.

      If she’s not willing to make any changes or fix herself, no amount of me feeling sorry for her and piling on large amounts of emotional support will help her.

      And I don’t really think she wants emotional support – she wants me to enable her by agreeing with her that she’s a helpless victim who has no power or control over her life or her choices – but I don’t agree with those views.

      She was quickly willing to toss me under the bus after a few years of friendship, though I was willing to discuss things with her further, and work our differences out, or agree to disagree.

      But after about three, four days, she did not reply to my last batch of messages, so I deduced she didn’t want to be friends any longer, I didn’t need the grief, so I unfollowed her on that platform.

      She’s the one that got into a huff and wanted to end things, where-as, I was willing to work through our disagreement.

      DH (Donna Hazel) said:
      “It’s never one-sided.
      And this is how you repay her trust. With a carefully worded but immensely damaging targeted public blog post.”

      You must be “Emma” writing under this Donna name.
      Why don’t you just re-friend me on one or the other social media site so we can discuss our differences?

      How can I have betrayed her trust when I didn’t mention her real name?

      How is it damaging to this person when nobody (but her and me) know who this post is about?

      You know what, I’ve written other, similar posts before…
      Like the (Link): one about the Christian (now ex) friend of mine (and I did not use his real name in the blog post, either) who sent me an inappropriate e-mail years ago, after I notified him of my mother’s death.

      Are you going to leave me a critical comment under that blog post ripping on me for writing “carefully worded but immensely damaging targeted public blog post?”

      What do you care if I write a post, where I keep every thing and everyone anonymous, about some friend of mine who was being so frustrating? What’s it to you?
      (Unless you’re her under a pen name.)

      DH (Donna Hazel) said:
      Nor is it the case that circumstance and pain do not play an enormous part in depression. Yet you discount WHY she is depressed.
      Just do what I did.
      That work for everyone?
      Thought not.
      Where’s any compassion here? I see none.”

      Yes, both those things can play a role in depression… but still, one can choose how they react to depression.

      For god’s sake, there are people with worse situations and physical pain and conditions (some of whom I told “Emma” about), than either mine or Emma’s, but they realized at some stage in their life that they can work past that.

      Nick Vujicic was born without arms and legs.
      (More about (Link): Nick Vujicic here, on Wikipedia)

      I once sent Emma a link about him a few years ago.

      I don’t know if she even bothered to look at the content I sent her about him.

      Vujicic has said that when he was younger he was so despondent over having been born with no arms and legs, that when he was a child, and his mother put him in the tub for a bath, that he was going to turn himself over and drown himself in the bath water when his mother stepped out of the room.

      But Vujicic decided against it.

      He’d still love to have arms and legs, but he’s accepted his situation and decided to change his attitude – so that he can enjoy life the way it is, and not what he had hoped and wanted it to be.

      A few years ago, I gave up on the view that “I cannot be happy until I get married.”

      I realized if I never get married, another year of my life will go by, and then another, and another, where I will be miserable all because I am not married.

      So… I decided to accept my reality and choose to be happy and at peace with my life even should I never get married!

      You can certainly sit around day after day having regret, sadness, or anger over your circumstances, or that life didn’t turn out the way you thought it would and so on, but that is a recipe for keeping yourself trapped in depression.

      That is one thing I’ve learned through life experience.

      DH (Donna Hazel) said:
      “Imagine. A boy in a wheelchair in insufferable systemic pain. You, “just help yourself out of the depression occasioned by your wheelchair and pain by magically turning into ME and following all my advice! Seek (help) and ye shall find! No, not necessarily.”

      You know, there are people in wheel chairs… and not all of them succumb to such defeatist, negative thinking.

      Once you operate in that way, you can never enjoy life.

      There are probably people out there in wheelchairs who at some point, accepted being paralyzed, and went through an anger or sadness process, but eventually made peace with it, and have learned to enjoy life in spite of it.

      I just mentioned Nick Vujicic above.

      There’s this guy – I watched the embedded video about a week ago, and this guy has a fantastic attitude:
      (Link): Athlete Born Without Legs Sets Guinness World Record for ‘Fastest 20 Meters on Two Hands’

      I still deal with generalized anxiety disorder to this day, but I force myself to go out and do things I am afraid of doing, or am not comfortable with doing.

      Because if I give in to the anxiety and “listen” to it, I’d never leave the house!

      As I told “Emma,” who said sarcastically to me, “If I can do it, so can you,”
      I asked her, what alternative do you want me to tell you, how about this:

      “No, you are correct. You CANNOT defeat depression. There is no way out. You are stuck with depression forever!”

      That is not a helpful or hopeful message.

      I think both you and she are hacked off that my lived reality doesn’t match your assumptions and preconceptions about depression and what is or is not possible with depression.

      I never wanted to stay depressed, or use depression as an excuse.

      I spent years trying to find a “cure” from it, and none of the prayer or Bible reading I used to turn to ever helped.

      Emma does not want compassion or emotional support.

      She wants me, or whomever she comes across, to enable her, act as an echo chamber, and just repeat back to her what she already believes and needs to be true –

      – that she’s a helpless victim, she is incapable of change.

      At this point, I think to some degree she enjoys stewing in negativity.

      Some people find a twisted, weird sense of happiness or satisfaction in being negative and complaining all the time, and wallowing in a mud puddle of negativity
      – some of my family members are like that, and I never felt comfortable around them due to that (which I explained to Emma a time or two in the past).

      (I see a lot of the ex-Christians on Twitter, who use the “Empty the Pews” and “Exvangelical” tags are the same way, as well.)

      DH (Donna Hazel) said:
      I used to teach. I would never dream of saying “I have awards, degrees, books…if I can do it then so can you!”

      I don’t even follow this.

      All I know is, I suffered from clinical depression for YEARS, and if I had stumbled across a blog post years ago by someone saying,

      “I once had depression, but church, faith, prayer, and anti-depressants did not help me, but here is how I found my way out…”

      -rather then find that arrogant sounding, insensitive, victim blaming, or judgmental, I would think, “I am eager to read this. Maybe what worked for them can be of assistance to me too!”

      DH (Donna Hazel) said:
      “I knew not all had the same capacity to do that. It simply wasn’t possible for them all to be me.”

      Hmm, okay, so reverse this.

      You’re saying Emma is this unique, special snow-flake.

      In spite of the fact that other people have suffered in life, others have been paralyzed, or have (or had) depression, and yet they’ve either over-come whatever the issue is, or they’ve learned to find joy or peace in spite of the difficulty, Emma is incapable of this.

      Every one else can do this but not Emma.

      DH (Donna Hazel) said:
      “I’m astonished at the temerity and tone of this piece. You are the one who gives the impression of victim blaming. Exemplary. You just did it to perfection with this blog post.”

      Emma does not want to believe she can change her life, or that she is accountable for her actions, whether or not she has depression or some other problems going on.

      I put up with a lot of verbal abuse and bullying off family members and bosses over the years, and my mother used to tell me to put up with it silently.

      My mother asked me to excuse other people’s nasty, abusive actions towards me, because, maybe, my Mom said, these people were taking anger out on me because they were hurting, because maybe their grandma died recently, maybe they were going through a painful divorce, or whatever…

      And a big no to that.

      I am sorry if you have depression, if your pet dog died three days ago, or your spouse divorced you six months ago – none of that absolves you of taking personal responsibility for your life, how you treat other people, nor does it render you incapable of making changes or choices.

      DH (Donna Hazel) said:
      “Jolly good for you personally in getting over your depression. Yet don’t presume to hector others in this manner. You’d add immeasurably to the depression.”

      Emma, (I do believe you are “Emma” here, not “Donna”)
      until you accept the fact that you are still responsible for your life,
      and that yes, you can make changes, you will never, ever get out of depression.

      Listen to the bitterness in your reply there!

      You also sound a little jealous?

      You’re not the least bit happy for me I figured a way out of the depression
      – and out of concern, I was trying to point the way to the door out of depression to you –
      and you got angry at me.

      You really blew your top at some harmless bits of advice.

      I asked you a couple of years ago if you had tried calling local churches in your area to explain your situation to them, and maybe they could help you with free transportation (my dad’s church does this).

      You never commented on that.

      A couple of weeks ago, I asked you if you had ever tried my suggestion about calling local churches, and you did not reply to that.

      So I can only assume that you never actually began contacting local churches.

      I also told you that it would benefit your mental health to find a way to spend more time face to face with Non-depressed people.

      I also asked you, if you are not going to call “Meals on Wheels,” which provides face to face companionship,
      if you’re going to use this other food delivery service where you live, “Service X,” do you engage in friendly banter when the delivery guy from “Service X” shows up at your home?

      Or does “Service X” delivery person just drop your food off and leave?

      The whole point is for you to spend more time chatting with mentally healthy people!

      So, if the “Service X” delivery guy is just dropping off a sandwich and leaving, that defeats the whole purpose.

      If you have a depressed room-mate, that is not going to help you.

      You and she will just feed off other’s depressive thought patterns.

      If most of your day is spent complaining to people online, trying to bond with people over how terrible life is (which seems to be the case for you), that is not going to lift you out of depression!

      Are you taking actual steps to change any thing in your life to decrease the depression?

      Have you tried contacting local churches in your area? Have you tried engaging in friendly chats with the meal delivery person? No? Yes?

      And Emma, as I told you in a private message twice, I think you got the wrong idea about me from my blog here and off social media.

      I think you look at this blog, where I sometimes have gone on rants, and you assume I am exactly like you are – perpetually angry and upset and wanting to stay that way.

      I sometimes use this blog to vent because I was raised in a family that taught me I should not ever show anger to other people in person.

      That is why I sometimes express anger on this blog, it gives me a place to express anger, should I have any.

      Also, while I did go through an “angry” phase on this blog several years ago, I’m not so angry now.

      I may see a news article that ticks me off, and I may rant about it here on the blog, but day in and day out, I’m not in a place of constant anger and shaking my fist at the world or at God.

      I am not a chronically angry person who is looking to continually justify her anger at the world.

      I don’t like being angry, upset, or sad all the time.
      I’ve been looking for a way out of those things.

      Emotional support would look like me cheering you on every time you tell me that in spite of your depression, you’ve been forcing yourself to get up, shower, and put on pants, and me saying,
      “Good on you, that is great, keep it up!”

      Emotional support is NOT me always agreeing with you that life is always unfair, it’s terrible, there is nothing you or I can do to change things, fix our outlook or situation, we’re two victims in life.

      I actually have to fight against that mentality, or did for a good long time, because I had depression for years.

      Is life sometimes unfair, frustrating, and painful? Yep, it sure it.
      Nothing wrong with acknowledging that to a point.

      But my god, to stay trapped in that mindset 24 hours a day, seven days a week will kill your mental health, and it sure as hey won’t solve any problems you have.

      You are your own worst enemy here.

      I realized a few years ago that I was standing in my own way. I was my biggest enemy.

      Nobody else was keeping me down. I was standing in my own way.

      I wasn’t going to allow pain or bad things from the past to hold me back.

      I was brought up by my parents and church to be a very passive person, to just hope, pray, or wait that things work themselves out.

      That sort of passive thinking contributed to the depression I had for years, and it held me back.

      I made a decision to go on in life, to get up and act.

      You really mis-read my motives. I was sincerely trying to help you.

      I don’t even think you valued me as a person, or valued our online friendship for its own sake.

      I think I was just an object you were maybe using to commiserate with, to gripe about life over, and to validate your very distorted (negative) thinking.
      So I feel kind of used.

      But I was sincerely trying to help. But you wanted to take it as an attack.

      There are pages out there about a concept that psychologists call “Victim Mentality,” and they offer tips and steps one can take to get out of that mindset.

      I think what you have goes beyond depression and physical health problems into Victim Mentality and being very, very cynical.

      My sister reminded me recently that she’s not only been diagnosed with depression and PTSD, but she’s had surgeries over her life and has been in chronic pain (she just had a surgery a few months ago)
      … and she agreed with me that only you can fix you.
      You have to pick up and go on in life in spite of difficulties, and that is a choice that is up to you, and you can make it.
      Having depression doesn’t make a person incapable of making choices.

      If you stay in your current mindset, you are condemning yourself to more depression.

      I’m just the messenger. This is something you’re doing to yourself, I’m not doing it to you.

      All I can do is share with you what I learned (via life experience – and it was hard work, no instant or magical fixes for me on this),
      and you can choose to be angry at me,
      you can choose to continue to take it the wrong way,
      and reject it if you want to, but by doing so, you’re only hurting yourself.
      ——
      (Edit. I have edited this comment a few times after publication to correct typing mistakes)

    3. Reply to Donna Hazel.

      You’re still blocked and banned on this blog!

      Some of the comments you tried to leave on here were automatically sent to the “Trash Can” page of the blog!

      For someone who supposedly teaches “psychoanalysis,” you are sure ignorant of what’s going on in your field.

      You have shown me NO compassion for what I’ve endured, psychologically, so you really should change careers – you’d harm any patient who is trying to recover from depression or other issues.

      Regarding: “Shocking the Brain.”
      I refer to this:

      Treatment Resistant Depression, via Mayo Clinic

      — start excerpt —
      Treatment-resistant depression

      Procedures to treat depression
      If medications and psychotherapy aren’t working, you may want to talk to a psychiatrist about additional treatment options:

      Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS).
      This type of treatment uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression.
      An electromagnetic coil is placed against your scalp near your forehead.

      The electromagnet used in rTMS creates electric currents that stimulate nerve cells in the region of your brain involved in mood control and depression. Typically, this treatment is delivered over 30-minute sessions in rapid bursts.
      This treatment can now be delivered over briefer sessions with dosing called intermittent theta burst stimulation.

      Ketamine is a medication that’s delivered through an IV in low doses.
      It’s used for rapid relief of hard-to-treat depressive symptoms and its effects can last from days to weeks. Usually it’s given in decreasing frequencies over several weeks.

      The FDA approved an intranasal form called esketamine that’s given in a physician’s office or a clinic under the supervision of a health care provider to monitor for possible serious side effects and because of the potential for abuse and misuse. Esketamine is for adults who have tried at least two other antidepressant medications that did not adequately control symptoms.

      Ketamine and esketamine work in the brain in a different way than standard antidepressants, and each is typically used along with an oral antidepressant.

      Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
      While you’re asleep, a carefully measured dose of electricity is passed through your brain, intentionally triggering a small, brief seizure. ECT seems to cause changes in brain chemistry that can relatively quickly reverse symptoms of major depression.

      Although there are potential side effects, such as temporary confusion or temporary memory loss, a series of ECT treatments may provide significant relief of severe depression.

      Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS).
      Generally, VNS is only tried after other brain stimulation therapies such as ECT and rTMS have not been successful in improving symptoms of depression.

      VNS stimulates the vagus nerve with electrical impulses.

      This treatment uses a device implanted in your chest that’s connected by a wire to a nerve in your neck (vagus nerve). Electrical signals from the implant travel along the vagus nerve to the mood centers of the brain, which may improve depression symptoms.
      — end excerpt —

      I guess if you were actually competent, you’d already be aware of that information as I put it in layman’s terms, but in addition to lacking compassion, you also lack in brains.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: