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Author Topic: The Black Dog Thread  (Read 36912 times)

Dandontdare

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #300 on: 24 September, 2018, 10:49:49 pm »
No worries, DDD, hope all is ok with you.

Yeah cheers JBC I'm fine - in fact, half of my drunken rambling was apologising to those who suffer from genuine depression for taking up their thread with my petty moodswings.

In a nutshell, I wouldn't say I'm depressed, I just seem to be sorely lacking enthusiasm for anything at the moment- progs go unread all week, box-sets unwatched for months, I'm eating sandwiches and junk because I can't be arsed cooking etc. Although I did have a bit of a cold on Friday, I probably would have been fine at Thought Bubble, but when it came down to it, I just couldn't be bothered going - this surprised me somewhat in hindsight, because it's my favourite con, I always have a good time and I haven't missed one for years. I haven't even been out for a drink or meal with my mates for weeks.

Don't fret though, I'm seeing the NT Macbeth in a couple of weeks with my best friend, and have my great nephew's christening too - Those should snap me out of it, I've just been spending too much time alone lately.

JayzusB.Christ

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #301 on: 25 September, 2018, 08:32:45 pm »
Aye, was going through a similar spell for a lot of last year, veering between the lethargic type of apathy you speak of and full-on depression.

Doesn't sound like you're only having petty mood swings though; sounds like you're actually suffering. Hope the upcoming social events do the trick for you.
“Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest”

The Legendary Shark

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #302 on: 25 September, 2018, 09:39:12 pm »

Aye, nothing I can add, I know, except my heartfelt support and best wishes. It might give some comfort to know that, after over a decade of the loneliest black I've ever known, which I spent like Achilles sulking in his tent, things got immeasurably better for me. The last few years have been virtually dog-free for me and I no longer live in fear of its return.

Things can get better. If you believe nothing else I say (and why would you?), you can at least believe that.

Peace and love, my darlings, peace and love.


Funt Solo

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #303 on: 26 September, 2018, 06:36:57 pm »
The Beeb says eat well.
fate amenable to change

JayzusB.Christ

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #304 on: 06 January, 2019, 05:03:08 pm »
Alright, time to get this out in the open.  I'm veering towards the black pit again; not quite there but I am terrified of reaching it.  My anxiety level is much higher than normal and I feel bleak about the future.

I've been following a CBT book (Feeling Good, by David Burns) for the last week or so and trying (with some success and a few lapses) to keep up the exercises. I also went to a counsellor last week (not for the first time) and I felt good for the rest of the day but am relapsing.
 
I've never really done proper CBT - does anybody have experience of it?  It seems too good to be true but maybe that's just my own negative perspective.
“Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest”

The Legendary Shark

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #305 on: 06 January, 2019, 05:29:09 pm »

I don't know what CBT is but I hope it can help you. My best to you JBC, strength and love - we're all here for you, all on your side, you are valued and not alone.


JayzusB.Christ

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #306 on: 06 January, 2019, 05:31:16 pm »
Thank you, Sharky, I appreciate it.  CBT is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy; I have never really understood it before but am starting to get a grasp on it.
“Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest”

Funt Solo

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #307 on: 06 January, 2019, 06:52:24 pm »
I have a relative who's training to be a high school counselor, and I asked them about CBT.  They said it was very highly regarded, in that there are lots of studies one can point to where the technique has been efficacious.

Interestingly, they also pointed out that a counseling technique often isn't as important as the relationship between the counselor and the counseled.  So: if you have a positive relationship with your counselor (or have a good feeling about the book), then the technique they're using will probably prove effective (whether it's CBT or Freudian psychoanalysis).

That dynamic ties into the idea of CBT itself, where how you feel effects how you think, which effects what you do.  Like wot is in this diagram:

« Last Edit: 06 January, 2019, 06:55:13 pm by Funt Solo »
fate amenable to change

Tjm86

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #308 on: 06 January, 2019, 06:52:55 pm »
Hi JBC, like many other folks in these parts, I can appreciate where you are coming from.  The worst thing about the dark pooch is its unerring ability to jump out on you when you're least expecting it.  Knowing what the worst aspects are is more of a challenge than experiencing them.

CBT is quite popular with primary care specialists these days and like Funt says, it has a large body of supportive research behind it.  In a lot of studies it has generally been found to be more effective than medication in long term treatment.

Possibly it's popularity is because it puts a lot of responsibility on the patient, it is cheap and easy to implement anywhere.  It's built on the idea that it is how we think about our feelings that is part of the issue with regards to chronic anxiety / depression.  Something happens, we think about it in a set way which triggers negative feelings and we're off and running.  Standard examples are along the lines of someone walks past you and ignore you, you assume that they are snubbing you which reinforces negative thoughts about yourself ...

I guess one of the advantages of the approach is it focuses less on underlying cause and more on dealing with present manifestation, if that makes sense.  No talking for hours about how your mother used to treat you (I finally get that scene in Blade Runner), more about what went through your mind when someone upset you and how else to think about it.

I've been using it for a few years now, along with Dialectic Behaviour Therapy, which is an extension of it, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (another CBT variant) with varying degrees of success.  I find some of the ideas from ACT quite helpful when I'm spiking.  Harris points out that one thing we have a really nasty habit of is giving ourselves grief when we feel low or anxious.  Anyone else we would be supportive of, but ourselves we give a damn good shoeing!  The one person we most need to be compassionate with is the last person we ever are with ...)

One really useful method is 'distancing'.  So if I'm starting to spike, I begin with a simple thought .. "Oh, I'm feeling anxious (whatever)".  This is the start of a chain  "I've just noticed ... "  "I've realised that I've just noticed .." "I'm now thinking about the fact that I realised that I've just noticed ..." and so on.  Each chain puts a bit more distance between me and my anxiety and allows it to ease off.  It tends to work better than my old tendency to ruminate, try and figure out why I'm feeling the way I am and plowing headlong into meltdown ...

Connected to this, I use his other idea about accepting that is the way I feel at that point, that it is only a feeling that will pass and that it is actually okay to feel crappy sometimes.

I'd love to be able to say it is a guaranteed method but it does work with practice.  Remember that you've only been playing around with this for a week, you are not alone and there are plenty of folks here willing to offer support of different types, that you are likely to be riding a rollercoaster for the next few days but not alone.

By all means PM if you need to.  In the meantime, what Sharky said ...

« Last Edit: 06 January, 2019, 06:54:55 pm by Tjm86 »

Professor Bear

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #309 on: 06 January, 2019, 06:56:20 pm »
My insights into mental health begin and end with the observation that if brain medicine doesn't have "LOL" in the name, it maybe won't make you happy, IE: Propranolol is likely great stuff, but cetirizine hydrochloride probably less so.
I hope you give CBT a decent go, JBC.  Irish mental health - as a state of being as well as a public service - is a fucking disaster area, but I've seen mates who've had variable results with CBT ranging from "no effect" to "miraculous turnaround."  It doesn't work for everyone, but give it a good fist and look after yourself.

JayzusB.Christ

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #310 on: 06 January, 2019, 07:04:23 pm »
Thank you, everyone. It's really good to have all your support and advice.  This thread is excellent.
“Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest”

JayzusB.Christ

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #311 on: 06 January, 2019, 07:13:59 pm »
What has triggered this episode is anxiety over a relationship yet again, or a potential one to be more specific.  I won't go into it now but that's always what drives me to the edge.
“Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest”

DrJomster

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #312 on: 06 January, 2019, 10:45:03 pm »
I hope things get better JBC.

Have you tried one of those mental health apps like Calm? Some of them get quite good reviews.

White noise apps might help too. They have things like breaking waves sounds which can be helpful, running stream sounds and so forth. They can be a helpful background noise.

Mobile phone games can be helpful too, if you lose yourself in pottering up through the levels it can distract you from real life.

Hope that’s helpful. All the best.
The hippo has wisdom, respect the hippo.

DrJomster

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #313 on: 06 January, 2019, 11:40:46 pm »
Wanted to rephrase that last bit if that’s ok...

Mobile phone games can provide a sort of neutral space to wait out other things, I’ve found, not just real life but thoughts too. And after a bit of waiting out those other things, sometimes they don’t feel as difficult.

J
The hippo has wisdom, respect the hippo.

Tjm86

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Re: The Black Dog Thread
« Reply #314 on: 07 January, 2019, 06:44:19 am »
What has triggered this episode is anxiety over a relationship yet again, or a potential one to be more specific. 

Quite possibly this is where CBT might be helpful, in terms of reframing what is happening.  The worst thing about relationships is that we invest a lot of ourselves in them and when the other party doesn't reciprocate in the way that we hope we see it as a reflection on us. 

Alternative interpretations can ease the impact a little:

- you are too important for the individual to risk losing in their life if the relationship doesn't work out.
- they are not in a place where the relationship is something they could cope with right now.
- they have similar baggage to you and the relationship could actually be the worst thing ever for both of you (been there, got the scars ...)
- their head is firmly ensconced in their alimentary canal.

Of course we could come out with all the usual platitudes about how important relationships really are but we know they are all complete codswallop!