Fibro + ADHD + Depression Part 2

Another long one I’m afraid🙄  Everything in bold italic is me talking. Regular print is from the linked website I was reading.
I have been diagnosed with PTSD (memories to age 12 missing) except for the molestation of from a close family member. I was also diagnosed with clinical depression, which I doubted until reading from this website

According to what I read on their site about behaviour and black + white thinking, I am 3/4 convinced I have lived my entire life this way.

Making the most of the bad and the least of the good behaviour:

Take a look you’ll see how you can easily fit below:

Good Event:

Write off your successes
Fail to get any emotional satisfaction
Miss out on a boost to your self-esteem
Fail to get a realistic idea of your abilities
Bad Event:

Blow things out of proportion
Dramatically increase the negative emotional impact
Fail to see possibilities for change
Take responsibility for things outside of your control
And when you are depressed, because of your state of emotional arousal and/or exhaustion, you are more prone to ‘allocate’ meaning to something incredibly quickly, which is why tolerating uncertainty is such a key skill…

Making the most of the bad and the least of the good

Take a look at the above and you’ll see how you can easily:

Good Event:

Write off your successes
Fail to get any emotional satisfaction
Miss out on a boost to your self-esteem
Fail to get a realistic idea of your abilities
Bad Event:

Blow things out of proportion
Dramatically increase the negative emotional impact
Fail to see possibilities for change
Take responsibility for things outside of your control
And when you are depressed, because of your state of emotional arousal and/or exhaustion, you are more prone to ‘allocate’ meaning to something incredibly quickly, which is why tolerating uncertainty is such a key skill…

Becoming less rigid in our thinking allows us to avoid using All or Nothing statements to depress ourselves without examining their validity. Using this ‘cognitive’ technique will literally allow you to spot what you are doing and therefore challenge its accuracy.

Remember: A major reason people depress is because of the way they perceive reality. Once this begins to broaden, depression has little to cling on to and will start to lift. Depression often centers around one recurring belief, such as “I’m just not the sort of person other people like.”

Deliberately challenging this and coming up with alternative evidence starts to break down the depression. This can often be easier with the help of a friend or properly trained therapist.

What prevents depression coming back:

When talking about curing depression, we are not simply assessing what will get rid of it, we need to look at what will stop it coming back.

As we have seen, depression works through the type of cyclical thinking patterns that work on a “downward” spiral. (See the Cycle of Depression). It fuels our negative bias of events, reducing our apparent options, changing our behavior and affecting our sense of control.

What prevents relapse is the sufferer possessing the skills to deal effectively with life experiences, and perceiving these experiences in non-depressing ways.

This doesn’t mean being unrealistic. It means being able to assess situations, our own feelings and our sense of control realistically. This is precisely what effective therapies such as cognitive and behavioral therapy do.

Positive life experiences increase levels of serotonin just as antidepressants do. Negative introspection reduces serotonin levels.

Curing depression is more about the sufferer learning a set of skills that inoculate them against further bouts of depression, rather than a ‘magic bullet’.

The cure (according to the website linked above):

What we do. (Behavioral therapy) DID THIS
How we think about things. (Cognitive therapy) DID THIS
How we relate to others. (Interpersonal therapy) DID THIS
How things are going to be better in the future. (Solution focused therapy) DID THIS
Getting our basic emotional needs met in the wider world
Helping you find solutions to your immediate problems

I WAS OFFERED HYPNOTHERAPY TO BRING ME ALL THE WAY BACK TO MY CHILDHOOD (to recover the missing memories) and continue to my teenage years to re-live the rapes and other trauma I sustained. I refused, not seeing any constructive purpose to this as all parties involved are dead and only the people who  loved them remain. I see no point involving innocent parties.
What you can do to help yourself (according to the website link above):
1) Know about your condition – what you know about your depression has been shown to have an effect on well you respond to treatment. Take the Depression Learning Path – it’s the best way to start helping yourself.

2) Cut down on rumination

Do whatever you can to decrease the amount of rumination you are doing. (Ruminating is ‘chewing over’ emotional issues in your mind without coming to any decision to act.)

If possible, decide to put off difficult decisions for 1 or 2 weeks while you get your energy back.

Ways to cut down rumination are to:

a) Stop yourself when you spot yourself doing ‘all or nothing’ thinking. (See thinking styles)
b) Read novels when you have nothing to do, to occupy your mind. (Make them exciting novels, not romance or self-help books!)
c) Do exercise (see 5)
d) Work if you can
e) Keep yourself occupied as much as possible in ways that stop you thinking too much!

3) Find ways to assess and monitor your depressive episodes

The way depression makes us adopt all or nothing thinking is a unique and crucial part of understanding depression. The way depression makes us generate seemingly hopeless outcomes to our situation can make it almost impossible to see a way out of it.

Finding ways to gauge your depression can help to show the shades of gray, that will ultimately defeat the black and white thinking on which depression thrives. This is often done in the form of a diary, where you grade how bad your days have been on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is the worst and 10 is the best. Then, after 2 weeks or so, you can look back and see how things have varied over that time.

4) Lower your emotional arousal levels calming down emotions such as anxiety and anger helps your brain function more subtly and decreases the amount of catastrophising you do. Along with getting proper rest, being able to relax is incredibly important.

Relaxation therapies are effective in overcoming some of the other issues that can co-occur with depression. The effects of panic attacks, anxiety and anger, etc can be lessened and overcome with the ability to relax properly and deeply. Physical disciplines such as Tai Chi, which occupy the mind whilst performing gentle, relaxing exercise can be useful, as can relaxation training such as guided imagery or self- hypnosis.

5) Get exercise if you can

If you can increase the amount of physical exercise you get, it can be a great self-help for depression. The results of the physical exertion will lift your depression temporarily at least, in addition to the other benefits of exercise. (As always, consult your medical practitioner before starting any strenuous exercise regime.)

6) Do What You Enjoy

Do what you used to enjoy doing, even if you don’t particularly feel like it. Even complete small tasks within the home if you don’t feel like meeting other people. Seemingly mundane tasks, if they have an end result, can result in a feeling of satisfaction, and actually increase your serotonin levels!

7) Maintain a regular sleep pattern

Do not lie in if you feel exhausted in the morning. All that happens is that you dream a large amount if you sleep through the morning, because your REM periods get longer the longer you have been asleep. Set a time to get up every morning, and get up. Try to spend 8-9 hours in bed, and get up regardless.

8) IMPORTANT! Check that you are meeting your basic emotional needs.

So, I have lived my life with black or white thinking, and I have undergone a few therapies to boot. None of which changed my way of thinking. The cognitive therapist ended our final session with a letter to my physician saying there was no help for me as I was too firmly entrenched in my black or white thinking.

Still, I am not 100 % convinced because I suffer no sadness. I have severe fear of abandonment which my older sister said comes from my mother leaving us to fend for ourselves as babies/young children, but this happens to be part of my missing memories so I really cannot say for sure what happened then.

Anyway, all this to give an idea of what my additional baggage is to fibromyalgia.

Written down, it seems like quite a lot, and it also seems that I lived my life in a fairly successful way in spite of all the negative shit.👍🏽


7 responses

  1. Good article, Janet. IMHO, we must *all* keep our guard up to avoid the black and white thinking demon – that’s why I explore it in my B/W Series. Some of us hear its siren call more clearly, but the only people I have encountered who seem never to be bothered by it have not been what I would describe as emotionally healthy. In my experience, none of us are immune.

    I have also learned that life can spiral down quickly, but crawls out of holes as slowly and painfully as the metaphor suggests. The important part is that we keep up the attempt to crawl out, however long it takes.

    The fortunate few who have not encountered very many catastrophes in their lives (yet!) don’t seem to be able to (or willing to) understand those of us who have had to learn to weather fierce storms successfully. And there are a lot of us. Why else all the comments and pins on the order of, “Dear God, I think you think I’m stronger than I am.”

    I wonder about that therapist. I am stunned and angered by her dismissive final report. NO help for you because *she* could not figure out how to help? Pu-leeze! I would love to have been in the room to see the reaction of her supervisor as he read those words and to hear what he said to her in the follow-up. I would like to believe that his reaction was similar to mine – but that modality does not have a “call and apologize” piece to it, so neither you nor I will ever know.

    It sounds to me like she had an agenda (with a timeline) that was more about her own success – proving her acumen as a therapist – than helping you experience your own successes in life. It also sounds like she didn’t *really* know what she was doing, or she would have recognized your fighting spirit as something OTHER than “too entrenched.” I’m sorry you spent time in her treatment room – do your best not to allow it to inflict any more damage than has undoubtedly already occurred. You deserve better.

    I applaud your willingness to trust your own instincts and “just say no” to the hypnosis designed to “recover” your memories – it doesn’t have a very good track record, and many experts consider it totally invalid, even though there are certain therapists who can only see it as “resistance” when patients don’t follow them blindly. I DO NOT AGREE. I don’t want to get in a pissing war, slinging labels instead of voicing opinions, but what makes them believe that we do not have valid opinions about what might work best in our own lives?

    Thom Hartmann is not a fan of the “reliving” therapists either, btw. – he sees it as revictimization that is not likely to be helpful and quite likely to be quite harmful (for context, he has a strong NLP background). I can’t recall how he put it, but it included “the-rapist,” if that gives you any idea.

    I agree with your final comments – from over here it seems like you are doing pretty darned well, despite all that happened. Good job in recognizing that reality and acknowledging yourself for it.

    Too long a comment – as almost always. ::grin:: Let me conclude simply: ONWARD and UPWARD.

    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    -ADD Coach Training Field founder/ADD Coaching co-founder-
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    1. Thank you, a positive validation of my instincts is much appreciated. Especially since I operate through the land mines of life largely on instinct😄
      And I love your long responses, they don’t seem that long to me LOL

      1. Don’t we ALL operate through instinct? As we age, experience hones our instincts – and positive experiences temper our fight/fright responses, but without listening to our instincts I doubt we’d navigate well at all.

        And thanks for validating my love for words – I don’t “tweet.” I have gotten the comment that maybe I need to study poetry ::lol:: — but anyone who reads my blog probably knows how that would work – I’d favor the long form, never haiku!

        Since you seem to like words too, let me add [probably more than] a few more to THIS response.

        Cognitive “reprogramming” is a great *reframing* tool in the right hands – but little more than make-wrong unless the practitioner is a practiced listener, willing and able to do what I call “listening from belief.” Nobody is immune to cognitive bias, of course, but good training is designed to encourage helping professionals learn to recognize it and do their very best to set it aside while they look beyond it. It’s simply crazy to think you can say anything helpful until you understand all of the parameters of the problem.

        It’s been done to me too, and I ruminate over it *for years,* even though I know better than to take anybody’s words to heart simply because they hang out a shingle – we ALL make mistakes. But its tedious (at best) to hear the same misguided “helpful” advice from people I’m paying to help me reframe and recover!

        I’m embarrassed to have to admit I’ve made my share of those mistakes – but I was trained to clean it up as soon as I realized it, and my clients have been gracious about accepting my apologies. Ironically, they have been even more willing to be completely honest about their experience and to work with reframing techniques *after* I’ve admitted that I’d jumped in too soon in my desire to see them happy and effective (and apologized for same).

        Clients/patients who feel made wrong and/or misunderstood have a tendency to reveal only what they think the practitioner wants to hear, or to argue indefinitely in a knee-jerk, protective fashion because they are desperate for understanding – and NO good work happens after that!

        Anyway, the goal of the “cognitive” therapies is to loosen the hold of black and white thinking by seeding a “kinder” perspective. In the case of abuse, that is v-e-r-y tricky to avoid revictimizing. The person a client/patient needs to be kinder to is him or herself – not the perpetrator. Even if they can never truly “forgive” what was done to them, they need to find a way to live with it and heal from it to be able to move forward in a more than limping-along-regardless fashion.(Which it sounds like you have been doing, mostly solo).

        You mentioned (in a comment on my blog?) that you vacillate between wondering if she was right and anger. Trust the anger. Nobody seeks out and spends time in therapy because they do NOT want things to be better! She simply can’t have been right, right? She bailed and blamed you – plain and simple.

        If there is ANY truth in her remarks, she failed to express it well – or came to an unfortunate self aggrandizing conclusion (yes! I said that in print). It could be possible that short-term therapies would not have been likely to help (and most cognitive approaches are designed to be short-term) – that you needed to work with a more traditional therapist to be able to work through more of your past before you were ready to reframe it in a cognitive therapy fashion.

        There is a great deal of healing that happens simply from telling our stories to a non-judgmental, trained listening professional who isn’t trying to get us “better” overnight (this from personal experience, btw.)

        However, this is NOT the same as tromping back through it in hypnosis, attempting to “recover” ALL the trauma. We don’t *more* to process, we need to process what we are already consciously aware of.

        Anyway, that’s MY twenty-two cents!

      2. U are so awesome! It is why I mention you whenever I can. If I had the monetary means to hire you I would be your patient in a snap…I would totally have to be a “forever” client cause I got a lot going on LOL. Next best thing is to recommend you when everever I can and hope someone goes to you for coaching.❤️

      3. What a doll you are! Thank you — for the acknowledgment as well as the public endorsements that might produce referrals. I can’t tell you how MUCH I appreciate it (especially right now).

        YOU are exactly the reason I [normally!] spend so much time writing articles for ADDandSoMuchMore (and why I trained coaches & ran the coaching clinic and free ADD Hours for years & years), along with the inexpensive Peer Coaching classes — which I hope to be able to offer again, once my own life stabilizes a bit more.

        You are one of *many* members of our Club who “could really benefit from” coaching (IMHO, nobody “needs” coaching) — who don’t have the economic resources to hire a comprehensively-trained and globally well-informed coach who understands the implications of neurodiversity. (Too bad that there are MORE than more than a few coaches charging hefty fees who meet neither criteria – but don’t get me started on THAT “ethics violation!”)

        You are not alone, btw. I must admit it would be a practically impossible stretch for ME to hire a coach, at this point FOR SURE since, for most of my life and career, I prioritized helping others over economic security for myself. (so much for “Extreme Self Care,” huh?). One never knows what the future will bring, so building reserves is essential. There but for the grace of God go ANY of us. (too late smart, lol).

        In any case, the unfortunate events of the past few years have knocked me into a d-e-e-p hole I simply must focus on climbing out of as soon as humanly possible before I can do much of anything else for others.

        Because I strongly believe in the value of coaching, I trade services with another coach – “peer coaching” of a professional sort.

        I’m currently trading with someone who took my training. I have tried other coaches trained elsewhere (sometimes paying, even!), and they have ALL [unintentionally] made me wrong – which shut down my foreword progress with a SLAM, given ADD/EFD (always has, always will). I strongly believe it operates with NTs too, albeit to a lesser degree.

        Carrots vs. sticks is what works – **as long as** one validates and focuses upon ANY forward progress without pressure to do still more “next time” (subtle make-wrong, but still leaves one feeling deficient and less likely to stay on the horse).

        So much for my life and coaching theories. I really only meant to say thanks but got carried away.

        PS. Therapists have patients – coaches have clients — different mindset.

      4. I understand how much of a struggle you’ve had since that mugging? ( other best kept secrets are those to an ADDer since we will forever be fuzzy in the details LOL) I think that’s when it all started becoming difficult for you. Even though I’ve been relatively quiet myself I have been keeping track of your progress. I hope things pick up for you, financially especially. That would be one less worry for you.

      5. Yep! It takes one to know one, huh?

        The mugging took a lot of things down with it, since my phone and datebook BOTH were stolen – and the rush to have to move out, etc. while my dominant hand still wasn’t fully operational sort of finished me off for a while.

        I’ve been spending time revisiting my Activation Series (next article posts on Wednesday), hoping to inspire *myself* to get going again & rebuild some habits that became victims of 2014. Empathic comments like yours go a long way toward helping me stop ruminating and start *doing.* THANKS!

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