Chronic Pain and the Self Pity, Depression Trap

Chronic Pain and the Self Pity, Depression Trap

If you are someone who is currently in the grieving process because someone you love died within the last five years, some of the tips below by Dr. Trunzo (article: “The Best Life Possible”) about acceptance in regards to chronic health conditions may be useful to you as well in regards to your grief, so please scroll down to read that.


Don’t forget to see my two previous posts about Covert Narcissism, as those posts explain that sometimes, people with Covert Narcissism will either exaggerate or lie about physical or mental health illness to garner sympathy and attention from others, and they often have a “victim mentality.”

In particular, in (Link): this post about Covert Narcissism, scroll down to find the section entitled “The Psychosomatic.” (That section is located about half-way down that page.)

You’ll notice that a lot of the tips and advice in the first article below, which was reviewed by a medical doctor, echo and repeat the same set of tips and advice I have given to (Link): people I’ve known before, people who insist these tips do not work (though some of it worked for me or for other people, in regards to clinical depression), or they dismiss this advice as being nothing but mere “platitudes” or “pep talks,”, or, (Link): some of these people dismiss this type of advice on other grounds.

Recap on my situation:
I was diagnosed with clinical depression by a psychiatrist at a young age, had it verified by three additional psychiatrists as I got into my 30s.
I lived with depression for over 35 years, and largely found my way out of it (on my own), and I can tell you that escaping depression involved doing some of the very things mentioned in the articles below.

Other than lower back pain I’ve dealt with since a teen, I’ve not had chronic physical pain.

Chronic Physical Pain & Mental Health

From my research into the topic of chronic pain and mental health, I’m finding articles by people (some doctors, some lay persons) who live with a chronic pain condition who do talk about the possible slide into self pity, how to avoid it, and how to manage any depression that results from, or accompanies, the pain.

So obviously, things can be done to change here – it’s not as though a person is doomed with no recourse if they live with a physical health problem to necessarily stay in a hopeless, despondent emotional or psychological state (this is also true for physically disabled persons who (Link): must use wheelchairs)

(Link):  The best life possible by Joseph Trunzo

Excerpts:

Living with chronic illness is hard. But there are psychological techniques that make it possible to thrive even when ill

‘Don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do.’
John Wooden (1910-2010), NCAA basketball coach

by Joseph Trunzo, professor of psychology at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island, and a clinical psychologist. He is the author of Living Beyond Lyme: Reclaim Your Life From Lyme Disease and Chronic Illness (2018).

—- — —-

Before Donna got her diagnosis, she thought of herself as a musician, a busy professional, a volunteer, a mother, a grandmother. After she got her diagnosis – Parkinson’s disease, at age 58 – she thought of herself as a patient.

The time she used to spend engaging in the things that gave her life meaning was eaten up by doctor’s appointments, diagnostic tests and constant monitoring of her symptoms, her energy, her reactions to medication. Her sense of loss was profound and undeniable.

Unfortunately, Donna’s experience is all too common. Heart disease, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, depression, cancer, asthma, Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, autoimmune disorders, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, Lyme disease: the list goes on.

I would guess that most people know someone close to them who is suffering from one of these debilitating chronic conditions, if not struggling with a diagnosis themselves.

However, as a clinical psychologist, I see many people trying to navigate the daily vagaries of chronic afflictions. I’ve worked with people who have been diagnosed with various forms of cancer, Parkinson’s, cystic fibrosis, Lyme disease, obesity, all manner of cardiovascular diseases, multiple sclerosis, brain injuries, paralysis and many other illnesses.

Naturally, I also see people on a regular basis who are dealing with chronic mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, trauma, bipolar disorder and so forth.

The causes of these conditions are varied and multifaceted. The underlying factor for all of them, however, is that, in the absence of a cure, people want to live the best life they possibly can, regardless of their affliction or disability.

While each person and each condition presents its own set of challenges, there are some unifying principles in helping people who are suffering from chronic illnesses to live better, more meaningful lives.

In my practice, I approach these issues from a therapeutic perspective known as acceptance and commitment therapy, or ACT (said as the word, not the acronym). I encourage anyone dealing with similar issues to learn about this approach, as it has been helpful to my clients and countless others.

…Generally, living as rich and meaningful a life as possible when you are struggling with a chronic illness requires a great deal of psychological flexibility.

With chronic illness, rigidity in your thinking and behaviour is the greatest barrier to living well with your illness.

Continue reading “Chronic Pain and the Self Pity, Depression Trap”

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

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

This will be a repetitive, somewhat rambling (and very long) post, because this involves a huge pet peeve of mine.

I very much resent any one lecturing me or accusing me of not being compassionate enough, or not giving enough “emotional support” in some situation or another, when they refuse to factor in what I’ve been through in my life and why I now do what I do.

I refer to this highly pertinent fact:

I spent over 3 decades of my life being very codependent. I was pathologically un-selfish, giving, and supportive of and to others to my own detriment.

It’s absolutely perverse and demonic to accuse a recovering codependent (such as myself), who has finally begun developing healthy boundaries, of being selfish or not being “giving” enough in relationships.

You’re accusing a former codependent of the very opposite things she spent decades doing, behaviors which caused her setbacks and harm in life. timeClock

I have since learned what a huge mistake that is (to live codependently), how toxic it is, and how much harm it caused me over my life.

I am now more picky and choosy about when, to whom, for how long, and under what conditions, I will grant other people non-judgmental emotional support or other types of help.

And it took me into middle age to figure out – just upon thinking things over, noticing patterns in my relationships, and from reading some books by psychologists  – that a big reason I kept attracting so many damaged, depressed, hurting, self absorbed, strange, or angry people is precisely because I was so giving, loving, and I didn’t put limits on anyone in any fashion.

For years, I was a very shy, people pleasing, undemanding, compliant, kind hearted, sensitive, caring person, and by my late 20s to early 30s and older, I kept wondering why when I did finally make a friend or two, that I seldom attracted normal, mentally healthy, fun, well-adjusted individuals who would meet my needs in return.

Attracting Disturbed, Angry, or Miserable People for Over 35 Years

Instead, I kept attracting selfish people, abusers, bullies, constant complainers, pessimists, self absorbed people, people with personality disorders, or people who were depressed, and while I was giving all these people a lot of my time, attention,  affection, emotional support (or sometimes money), they never thanked me for this, and the vast majority never met my needs in return.

It took me years to figure out why I kept attracting so many mal-adjusted or emotionally injured people into my life.

Continue reading “Life Lessons After Recovering from Codependency – I Can’t Save You, and I No Longer Want To”

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

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

Below: embedded video, “Christine Sefein: An Alarming Trend in Psychotherapy”

This video is largely addressing woke, Neo-Marxist, identity politics influences in the mental health profession and its damaging ramifications upon groups of people (such as women, people of color, and so on).

However, much of what is mentioned is identical as what I said in previous posts in regards to psychologists or therapists (or friends) enabling people with mental health problems, by merely echoing back and validating the negative thoughts and worldviews of those persons.

There is a time and place for non-judgmental emotional support, but if a friend, family, or mental health professional merely validates the person’s distorted (negative) beliefs, and does so for months to years on end, and does not challenge or encourage the person to change their behavior (when and where it can be changed) and/or change how they view their situation or themselves, the person will remain in a state of Learned Helplessness.

Therefore, the person’s anxiety, depression, or whatever issue they are facing, will not diminish or cease.

Giving someone with depression (or certain other conditions) nothing but validation and on-going emotional support – as the therapist in the video below explains – will actually keep the person in a depressive state, or possibly worsen her mental health.
(This is exactly what I was saying in other, older blog posts and other media, but got chewed out over it by others.)

While the far left in the mental health field love to tell people that they are experiencing depression or some other problem because of the identity group they are a part of (whether they are black, homosexual, a woman, what have you), on the individual level, some people are buying into this toxic thinking because they have a Victim Mentality (see this previous post for more about Victim Mentality).

If a friend of yours, or a mental health professional, is simply sitting around agreeing with your negative views – that you are a victim in life, and you always have life oh-so-hard, and isn’t life horrible and unfair, and there’s nothing any of us can do about it – they are aiding you in keeping  you trapped in your anxiety and depression.

If this person was actually competent and compassionate, they’d be trying to help you to find steps to take TO CHANGE, to improve in some way.

Offering empathy or emotional support is only one part of the pie, it should not be the entire pie – and that emotional support is useless and garbage if it’s being mis-used to keep someone “stuck” in some disorder or harmful mindset they have.

If you continue to think of yourself as a victim, your situation or condition will never improve.

If you continue to believe that your life and all its problems – or obtaining happiness or peace – is not in your control at all, that it remains outside of your control and due to external factors, you will continue being depressed and feeling hopeless.

I spent over 30 years with clinical depression – I was diagnosed by psychiatrists with it – and I spent years trying to figure a way out of depression, when the sessions with psychiatrists didn’t help me, and the prescribed anti-depressants didn’t help me, either.

I finally figured my way out of depression (on my own), and I can tell you that the “woke” approach to “treatment” will absolutely keep you trapped in depression.

Getting primarily, or only, emotional support from a therapist, friends or family, when you’re dealing with depression (or most other problems in life), and thinking of yourself as a victim in life, isn’t going to help you rebound and heal in the long run.

As I said in a previous post, receiving emotional support for a problem initially is fine, but at the end of the day, if you want to solve a problem and make it go away, emotional support only won’t cut it – you will have to change something about your life, your usual routine, or how you think about yourself or your life or your problem if you hope to break free.

(Link): FAIR News: An Alarming Trend in Psychotherapy

For our latest video, FAIR’s Christine Sefein explains how her field of psychotherapy has been taken over by what she describes as a “divisive and regressive ideology” that led her to resign from her position as a professor of clinical psychology at Antioch University in Los Angeles.

This ideology teaches people to see themselves as part of an oppressed group and to blame their hardships on oppressor groups. And sometimes that’s true! But most often this way of thinking, which encourages hypersensitivity, is harmful to people who are seeking help from mental illness conditions.

Sefein worries that her field, which is designed to help people overcome their mental illnesses, will actually exacerbate patients’ symptoms by causing them to view themselves as having no control over improving their situation.

Instead, people are acquiring an attitude called “learned hopelessness,” which locks them into a feedback loop of pessimism and despair.

Continue reading “An Alarming Trend in Psychotherapy by Christine Sefein – (Woke Therapists Want You To Stay In a Victim Mindset and Miserable)”