Tag Archives: Therapy

What do people think about therapists – redux.

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What do people think about therapists – redux.

I originally posted this about two years ago. I wanted to revisit it as I have started a college course training to be a counsellor and the subject is of even more interest to me now. I am making a few additions which will be bracketed and in italics, (because who doesn’t like italics?) based on new knowledge and a change in circumstances. Anything in brackets that is not in italics is from the first post and due to my love of brackets. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts.

What do people think about therapists? I am not one. (Not yet anyway). A therapist that is. I am most certainly a people. I ask the question because I am curious for several reasons. One reason is that I am engaged to a therapist. (I am actually now married to her and she has achieved her Doctorate). The aforementioned therapist mentioned to me the other day that when people ask her what it is that she does for a living and she replies that she is a therapist, they take a step back. I mean a literal and physical step back. No metaphors here.

As soon as she told me this, I wanted to see it in action. Luckily I had the chance the following evening. As we were sat having cocktails (I know! How swanky are we?) the bartender asked us what we did for a living. Now, this question kinda sucks for me. I have to explain that I am trying to make a go of it as a writer and hope to one day make money from it. This is either preceded or followed by Gauri saying she is a therapist, which is a hard act to open for or close after. I have made my life somewhat easier in this respect by coming up with a way of saying what I do that doesn’t make me feel pretentious or pathetic. I now say ‘I am a non-profit writer.’ (This is slightly less sucky for me now. I still have not got my book published, but I had one of the nicest rejection letters ever and I can say that I am in training to be a counsellor. The wife can still blow me out of the water with the Dr thing, but I am at least playing catch up).

As Gauri was about to tell the bartender that she was a therapist, I entered hawk mode and watched him closely; very closely indeed. As sure as sunshine comes out after I come home after getting rained on, he did indeed move backwards. I don’t think he was even aware of doing it. Given the topic I am discussing, it makes sense that he did it subconsciously. He even laughed and said ‘A therapist eh? Are you going to read my mind?’ I love this reaction. Now, I know he was joking, but I have heard this response way more than once and it makes me think of the idea of ‘no smoke without fire.’ Even if it is a joke, why does it come out as that joke more often than not?

It is the logic behind it that I find interesting. Do people on some level think that therapists can read minds? Even Derren Brown, whose stage show is about supposedly reading minds admits that it is nothing more than suggestion, reading of body language and facial expressions and theatricality. So what is it that makes people think of it as a possibility? Is it a fear that a person, because they are a therapist, has a preternatural gift to see inside their very minds? How likely is this? I imagine that if a therapist could read minds it would make a therapy session much easier. (So far, mind reading has not come up in my course, but I wait with baited breath in case it does). 

Client: I don’t know what I think about that.

Therapist: Yes you do. I can read your mind and you are repressing it.

Job done in a fraction of the time I think.

I also think that if a person could read my mind, I would just think some really messed up shit about them until they stopped. But that could just be the way my mind works. (I will of course take this to therapy when I am required to attend it as part of my future training).

A quick therapy joke to make another point about when people say to me ‘Your girlfriend (wife) is a therapist? I hope she doesn’t therapise me.’

Q: How many therapists does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: None. The lightbulb has to want to change.

Now, apart from the fact that I love this joke, it also makes a point about it being the client that has to make the effort in therapy if any real progress is to be achieved. I am fairly sure most therapists don’t go around giving away free therapy to all and sundry. (I certainly won’t be. College is expensive and I need to earn my money back). Where is the business sense in that? I wouldn’t spend hours on a painting and then give it away for nothing. This is mainly because I am a terrible painter and people wouldn’t take my work, even if it were free, but I hope you see my point. Also, isn’t it similar to being a chef or a gynecologist? If you spend all day at work doing something, you are not necessarily going to want to do it in your spare time.

The final thing I have noticed is that people tend to talk to me about what Gauri does, rather than talk to her directly about what she does. (Now of course, they can not talk to me about it) I had two conversations yesterday about what she is doing for her thesis. I suggested they could ask her but i got the distinct feeling of ‘Oh no. I can’t ask her. What if she therapises me?’ I find it funny that people are happy to talk to me about what she does. It’s like I am a gateway drug to therapists. Yet, they have a strange fascination about the whole thing, similar to wanting to know what is under the bed but being too scared to actually look.

Now, I am not making any judgements on people’s perspective on therapists. Far from it. People are entitled to think what they think. I am simply curious about the way people think. So, over to you. What do you think about therapists? Are you a therapist that has had any entertaining experiences of telling people what you do?

(I am looking forward to the day when this happens to me. I wonder if people will react the same way in the future though. Therapy seems to be much more mainstream now in Britain. Perhaps we will have a situation in America where it is perfectly normal to have a therapist. I certainly hope so, I really do need to earn my money back. Joking aside, I hope people feel more relaxed and able to access therapy in this country.)

I would love to hear from you.

Take care buddies,

David.

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In Therapy with Myself.

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In Therapy with Myself.

I have done a lot of self-reflection recently. The problem with this is that it is much like looking in a mirror. At first I think ‘Ok, looking good’ but the longer and more closely I stare, the more the imperfections and flaws are noticeable. I often feel like I am both the therapist and client in my head and this week I have felt more like the client, so this is my way of being the therapist and making sense of what I am telling myself.

Client: I have a conundrum and a paradox rolled into one. I want to talk about something and at the same time I do not want to talk about it. If I talk about it, I am admitting I think it and I do not want to admit I think such things. In a strange way, it is the not wanting to talk about it that makes me think I should. If I do not want to discuss it, then perhaps others do not want to say it, so maybe if I do, then they can feel more at ease to talk.

Therapist: What is it that you do not want to talk about?

C: I have realised a few things this week. The first thing I noticed was that I am now aware of knowing when something is bothering me but that it might be another few days before I realise what it is that is actually bothering me.

T: How does that feel?

C: On the one hand it is good because I know I can now sit with it and accept that I am feeling a certain way and that the whatever the problem is will probably come to me eventually.

T: On the other hand?

C: It is horrible because I am sat with this horrible feeling in me and I can’t lance that boil without knowing what is causing it. I just have to sit there and try and contain the hurt, or upset or whatever it is and try not to let it come out at other people.  But, I do feel a sense of improvement in that I now know that there is a problem and rather than getting angry and not knowing, I can relax a bit, relax in a kind of way because I am not just getting angry and not knowing.

T: You accept that not knowing is ok?

C: Sort of. I feel a bit better about it at least. Better than knowing that I don’t know about any of it. Or that only makes sense looking back at when I didn’t know I didn’t know and how I used to react to not knowing. Now, I know I didn’t know at that was part of the problem.

T: I get the sense that you are going back and forth between how you think you used to be, how you feel now and how you want to feel in the future?

C: Yes. It is the past, I think, that affects me most about how I see myself now. How I see myself as I used to be, how people saw me, or how I think people saw me, it all bleeds over into the present and dyes my perspective on others and myself.

T: Can you give an example?

C: This is hard to say, I realised that I have spent a while thinking that people hate me. I get that they probably don’t or at least not all of them, but that is what I have been feeling. I can see now that it is a unfair view, but that doesn’t stop the thoughts creeping in and me believing them for a time, I can come out of it and say I am being silly, but the feeling is still there, or the memory of the feeling. I don’t like thinking things like that. It seems crazy.

T: Do you think you are the only one that thinks like that?

C: No, probably not. I do not think I have enough self-esteem to believe I am that original. I don’t think like this all the time you know? I have my good days, I have very good days. I don’t feel hopeless merely concerned that I feel this way sometimes and sometimes is too much for me.

T: What makes you think people hate you?

C: Weirdly, it was talking to someone and realising they really didn’t hate me, in fact that they really liked me and that made me feel stupid for wasting so much time thinking people hated me. That is the thing right there. I keep doing this thing where I sort one problem in my head out and rather than feeling better about myself, I go straight to looking for another thing to worry about. It is like a dependancy. Or a habit might be a better word. I have got into the habit of looking for the worst in myself. Then again, and this is a good thing, if I have realised that I am aware of when things bother me, then I am aware that I am step closer to resolving them. Isn’t that what life is? A constant search for ways of looking at it be a happier person? It might not always happen fast, but what I find comfort in is that I am still trying, that I will always try. I don’t know if any of this makes sense.

T: Isn’t that what you are saying? That it is ok for it not to make sense now? That it will make sense at some point and that is ok too.

C: You know what? That is what I am saying. It is ok to feel bad at times, but it won’t last forever. It is ok to not know what the problem is because it will be revealed at some point and then I can deal with it. I think my time is up. I will see you next week.

Batman v Superman – What the hell are the characters thinking?

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Batman v Superman – What the hell are the characters thinking?

Let me say straight off the bat that this will contain spoilers, but not too many because the main point of this post is that I do not get what motivated the main characters in this movie. I will also say that I did not hate this movie in the same way a lot of people do. I have seen plenty of movies that were a lot worse.

My main issue with Batman v Superman is that nothing the main characters did made any sense to me. If any of them had seen a decent therapist for even one session, I think they all would have said ‘Oh, my whole reasoning is flawed and I won’t do what I had planned because it is (sorry, but I have to say this) Batshit crazy.’

I should also say that I avoided any pre-movie news or publicity, which I my way of saying that I did not know obvious things, so don’t be surprised if some of the things I am about to say seem dumb.

Final admission, I am coming at this with no real knowledge. It has simply been bothering me for a few days and I wanted to get it off my chest.

So. let’s start.

Lex Luthor Jnr (Or at least I think he is a Jnr).

I did not understand why this character did anything. At the start I did not even get that he was Lex Luthor. All I thought was Jimmy Olsen is acting a bit weird. He looked more like a Jimmy Olsen right? (Please see my explanatory comments about saying seemingly dumb stuff). I now understand that the character was meant to be Lex Luthor Jnr, but this is a problem in itself. Should a movie goer need to be fully up-to-date with movie news or DC lore to see a movie and have it make sense? Anyway, I digress.

In one scene, Lexie Jnr talks about how his dad beat him etc and grew up in poverty. Ok, fair enough. The jump from this to Superman must die is a leap that even Superman could not make. I am more than willing to say that I missed something, but I did not get an understanding of what Lex’s problem with Superman was. Or was it that Superman was too powerful and Lex was jealous? Or that Superman got it all too easy?

Why did Lex want Batman and Superman to fight if he was going to create Doomsday anyway? If you run a multi-billion dollar company like Lexcorp I would expect Lex to have a basic understanding of time-management and cost-reduction. The whole Batman plan took two years to put together and in the end it did not even work and he went with the Doomsday plan. Why not just cut to the chase and go straight to Doomsday? It is not like Lex cared about innocents dying or anything, so doesn’t it make more sense to go with the crazy strong Super-villain to begin with? Evil geniuses are not what they used to be.

There is something I have just thought of. Lex seemed bummed out that his Kryptonite was stolen by Batman. Maybe he did not know it was Batman who stole it, but shouldn’t he have wanted Batman to have it anyway if he wanted Batman to kill Superman? Lex could have just had the following conversation with Batman.

L: ‘Hey Batman, we both hate Superman right?’

B: ‘Yup.’

L: ‘Want some Kryptonite so you can kick his ass?’

B: ‘Sounds good.’

Job done.

This is my main problem with what Lex did. Why did he not give the cute Asian PA the day off instead of sending her to be blown up at the Superman hearing? Good PA’s are hard to find and she was super cute, so why not send her to do some photocopying or something? It was not like she was integral to the bombing plan. Dick move Lex.

One more thing on Lex, but I guess this is not totally his fault. Why did they shave his head at the end? Did he have lice? Was it a lice thing? Or did they think ‘Hey his Dad was bald, so maybe we should shave his head so he looks more like his Dad?’ That is some pretty messed up reasoning there Mr Prison Guard.

Wonder Woman.

Did she spend most of the movie trying to get her hands on a photo of herself from 1918? Why bother? Who would care? She could have said it was photoshopped. Or deflected attention by saying ‘Hey, wait, I might be old, but what about this Superman guy who is going around trashing cities. Let’s hate on him instead.’

This is something my brother mentioned, but why didn’t they give Wonder Woman the Kryptonite spear and let her kill Doomsday? She was doing well enough with her regular sword and shield. Imagine how well she could have done if she had a weapon made of something that Doomsday was really, really allergic too? Batman and Superman could have called it a day and gone for a cup of tea and a scone.

Superman.

Was it me or did Superman just mope around and be a complete downer in this movie? I am not letting the fact that I hate Superman cloud my judgement here (Tee hee, I totally am) but I wanted someone to slap him and say ‘Cheer up. People might hate you, but what are they going to do about it? Fly to another planet and take a break. Or, have some cake to feel better. Just lose that stupid face you are pulling in every scene.’ Superman is a twat. At this point I think it is fair to say I wouldn’t have cared if Superman’s motivations made sense.

Batman. 

As you may have guessed, the main reason I wanted to see this movie was to see Batman punch Superman in his super stupid face. I loved The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel, where this movie stems from. The difference is that the graphic novel was awesome and the movie managed to take all the best ideas and throw them in a hole in the ground instead of using them.

In the graphic novel, Superman was sent to kill Batman and Batman was up for that fight for many reasons I won’t go into now. In the movie Batman wanted to kill Superman because…err…Superman destroyed one his buildings or something? Bruce Wayne is a billionaire so he had lots of other buildings or could have built new ones. Batman destroyed a bunch of buildings in the Batwing and Batmobile, but he did not seem to be bothered about it. The same goes for Batman hating Superman because people died when Superman fought Zod. Batman killed a bunch of people too, so hypocritical doesn’t even come close.

Batman said a few time that ‘Superman could burn this whole planet to the ground.’ so he has to die. Pretty extreme reasoning there. Anyone who is a threat to the human race must die. Taken to an extreme logic, this could equate to potentially everyone is a threat to the human race, so everyone must die. I have this image of Batman being the last person alive and thinking ‘At least there are no more threats to the human race now.’

As bizarre as Batman’s reasons for hating Superman are they are nowhere near as weird as his sudden reason for not hating him. The whole fight to the death thing was ended because Batman found out Superman’s mum had the same name as his mum. Seriously. I have seen the movie and I can’t believe what I have just written.

Flip this reasoning. Superman must die because he is a threat to the human race. Batman makes the decision not kill him because their mum’s share the same name. The survival of the human race is less important than mum’s sharing a name. I think the idea was that Batman realises that Superman can’t be all that bad because he has a mum and his mum has the same name as Batman’s mum, so he is probably a good guy. This makes no sense. The name of the mother has no bearing on how the child turns out one way or the other.

I know none of this is real, and I am taking it all way too seriously, but I really wanted to love this movie. This is my getting over it. My therapy to deal with a sucky film. As I said, if they had all gone to a good therapist… Actually, if Zack Snyder had gone to a therapist with this movie idea, hopefully they would have said ‘Do not make this movie. You are thinking crazy right now.’

Blogging – My road map to where I was, where I am and where I might be going.

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Blogging – My road map to where I was, where I am and where I might be going.

I started blogging nearly a year and a half ago. When I started I was quite depressed and about to go into therapy. Now, I am relatively happy and finished therapy some time ago. Looking back on my older posts, I am struck by how things have changed for me in that time.

I think we can all look back on our lives and think ‘I can’t believe I used to be like that’. This can happen in two distinct ways. I look back sometimes and ponder that I was so much more depressed than I am now. I can also look back and wonder why I worry so much now about what people think when I used to not care what others thought of me.

The post in which I wrote about self-harm is still the one that startles me the most simply because I can’t believe I did that. I literally still have the scars to prove it, so I have to face the fact that I did. However, that was where I was, and now is where I am. I do not do that anymore and the only thoughts I have about it now are the ghostly reflection of a now dead thought process.

I can see how my blog posts mostly were on an upward curve during and after therapy. There were of course the occasional dips but therapy does have the habit of unearthing things I had not realised I felt or recalling times I had completely forgotten. That’s therapy for you. What I really like about my blog is that I can’t change the way I remember my life. It is there for me to see in black and white with warts and all.  It is also there for me to see all the good and happy moments I have had as it is all to easy for me to forget the 99% good in favour of the 1% bad.

Yes there were low moments, but what I focus on is that I had a lot more good moments and the low moments lasted for a lot less time. That process led me to where I am now. Where I am now is a good place, but I can’t help but feel I need to drive myself forward to really achieve what I want from life. So, where am I going? Now, that is a question.

Having seen where I have been and where I am now, I am desiring to go to a place I actually want to go. That place is to be happy, positive and of help to others. I am seeking to achieve this by simple steps at first. I have decided that I am going to focus on positive or happy news on my radio show as there is enough doom and gloom to go around as it is and I think the world deserves to be seen in a better light. It is a wonderful place afterall.

I am going to blog more about being positive and happy as I am hoping that it can turn into a positive rather than vicious cycle. I believe that if I concentrate on the good I can feel the polar opposite to how I felt when I focussed on the bad and was depressed. The wheel can go both ways.

Finally, I going to try and be happy and positive. This last one is hard. It is not always easy to do this. It is cold outside, I am tired and want the work week to be over. However, I can look at this another way. I am inside in the warm, I can sleep well in a bed tonight and I am lucky enough to have a job that pays enough for me to be comfortable, if not extravagant. Then again, I never was much one for extravagance. Then I plan to keep trying to be happy. I might falter on the way, but I believe it is a better plan to have than to let my emotions be at the mercy of life’s whims.

Take care buddies,

David.

Feeling trapped by my own sense of inadequacy.

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Feeling trapped by my own sense of inadequacy.

There is a literal and metaphorical cloud hanging over me today. It is raining outside and each drop is being taken by me as another increment in feeling down. I cannot escape this sense of not knowing what to do; both short and long term. I do not know what to do for the next hour of my life, or what to do for the foreseeable future. I certainly have my dreams and aspirations, but they do seem like a long distant and sometimes unattainable affair. I can feel a tiny positive voice in my head expressing the belief that this is a passing phase and the feeling will go away soon; I know that it most likely will, but for now it is being drowned out like a timid person in a boisterous party.

Sometimes, and this is clearly one of those times, the negative voices in my head gain the ascendency and ask all the questions that can wound me to the core. Are you ever going to make money as a writer? Are you good enough? Was the book you wrote worth people’s time reading? Do you want your future children to see you as a failure? With a wry smile, I have to admire my negative side’s skill in trying to take me apart. It strikes with surgical precision with cuts so sharp it takes a while to know I am bleeding.

Yet, even as I write this, I am starting to feel better. Words have a wonderful healing aspect for me, getting them out of my head and onto something, whether it be paper, this blog or speaking them aloud even though there might not be anyone else in the room to hear them. Writing, even if no-one else reads my words is my own personal therapy. Considering this now, I am thinking that this might be enough. Or it is enough to get me through this current period of malcontent and back to a place where I can be positive enough to chase my dreams with passion, even if they do not work out the way I would like them to.

I have been wondering why I write this blog? I know it does not reach many people, but maybe that is not the point. Perhaps, it is to help myself and if in the process I can help anyone else at all, then I am going to take that as good enough. I still feel an emotional vacuum inside of me, yet that blank canvas is something that can now be painted in a way I choose. I have said before that it is ok to feel down. The trick is not to let it last too long. So, onwards and upwards. Time for inspirational music, a bath and a good book, food to heal the soul and time with my nearest and dearest. After all a sad smile is still a smile.

Take care buddies,

David.

Image retrieved from here

Max Payne 3 and beating of levels of depression.

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Max Payne 3 and beating of levels of depression.

I wanted to post something I wrote a while ago. I did not write it as a post or a blog. I just wrote it the morning after a bad night. I want to make something very clear. I am not in this position anymore. I am very happy, off anti-depressants and do not need therapy anymore. However, I do know that a lot of people find it hard to talk about depression and I figure it might help someone. Also, I think depression needs as many kicks in the balls as it can get.

Max Payne 3 and the beating of levels of depression. 

As I lay in bed early afternoon, still drunk from the night before and feeling new levels of self loathing and depression a tiny thought snuck into my head. It was to do with Max Payne 3 and depression. Max Payne has a special place in my heart. The original is still my favourite game. Max Payne 3 saw me through two separate instances on depression when I was signed off from work for over two months. It kept me occupied and from thinking about self harm. It mostly worked on this count. It kept me from thinking too many dark thoughts and gave time for my anti-depressants to do their thing. The reason it helped was that I became very good at it. I say this not to brag – but hey, who I am kidding? I completed the New York Minute Hardcore mode. I completed a thirty gigabyte game all the way through without dying, under a time limit. What has this to do with depression I hear you rightly ask? A tiny thought that snuck into my brain I answer. What if I put that same level of dedication, patience, attention to detail, honing my reflexes, learning the rules of that world and how to break them, remembering what enemy came out of where and how to dispatch them and not dying into beating depression as I did with Max Payne 3? With depression being the cunt that it is, I will have ample opportunity to replay the same level over and over again until I know it off by heart. As I write this, I have a recurring image playing behind my eyes of me calmly cutting the skin on my left arm. My natural reaction is to repress this. Who would want to think about that? Or acknowledge that they are thinking about doing that to themselves? Perhaps I should remember it. I should remember every bloody detail of it. How the skin separates from the flesh. How, even though I know how much it hurts, I do not stop myself from doing it. The fact that it feels good. I should remember this like the garage scene on the first level of Max Payne 3. I can see it now although it has been over a year since I played it last. Max slides behind a pillar. Enemies run into to cover. The boss is dragged away behind a locked gate. And go…
I should remember thoughts of self harm in this way. I should think of ways of beating this thought. Not dealing with, but beating it. Otherwise I am simply playing the same level over and over again and not wanting to get past it. Which is exactly what I have been doing. So how do I beat this? As I write this I admit I do not know the answer. Yet, even as I write this, another thought has come to me. What would Max Payne do? I do not say this lightly, mockingly or without all due respect to anyone who has ever suffered or suffers depression. I say this as an exercise in thinking through how to beat depression. So, what would old Maxy boy do if a hailstorm of depressive gunfire assailed him?

Option 1: Get into cover.

Ok. Good idea. When depression hits it can hit hard and contrary to logic, when I am at my happiest. It makes sense to bunker down and try to survive. The problem with cover though is that it is purely defensive. I can hide and hope the enemies won’t flank me and creep up on me and eventually, get me.

Luckily, Max Payne makes a habit of not staying in cover. He attacks, but he attacks with a set of skills.

Option 2: Slow down time.

Admittedly, a nifty trick to pull off and one we all wish we could do. Depression does not like me to try this. As soon as I take that first attempt at a calming breath, the panic sweeps in, the rage explodes in my chest and anger swamps my brain. Of course it does this. Depression does not want me to be calm. It is more effective if I am not calm. Much easier to knock me off balance and keep me that way. Yet, is this any different to learning how to guide Max through a burning office building? The principles are the same. Pressure, a need to escape the situation, intense heat. So, I know when I try to calm down depression will fight back. So, I need to find a way to fight back too. Not necessarily harder, just a way that wins. As I write this I do not know how to succeed at this. I am hoping an answer comes to me. I think being in cover while trying to stay calm is a start. Sadly in real life, cover is not always available. Being at work with colleagues does not give a lot of space to cover and deal with an onset of depression. Not withstanding the embarrassment of being depressed at work in the first place. Then again, maybe I have to find my own cover and not rely on it being readily available. Toilet breaks, pretending to smoke to be safely alone for a few minutes, emergency phone call from home that has to be taken can all be ways of getting into cover, even if only for a few minutes. But in those few minutes, I can calm down. I know I have talked my self down from some desperate heights before. Every time I did I had to regain control first. And that came from breathing and forcing myself to be calm. I know this is a contradiction, but desperate times call for desperate measures. In this instance it is a pure battle between me wanting to be calm so I can back to being happy, or at least as close to it as I know how to be and depression wanting me to not be happy. Depression has a whole host of ways to do this. The cocksucker uses my own unconscious against me. It knows secrets that I am not consciously aware of (thanks a bunch repression). It is the perfect time to attack. So what are my options? Breath. Force every other thought out of my head through pure force of will power and a desire not to be beaten and to complete this god damn bitch of a level. One thought. Breath. When I achieve that, everything does not become easier. It is still hard. It is now manageable. Which brings me onto what Max would do next.

Option 3: Attack.

Max leaps out of cover guns blazing. Enemies, stunned by this sudden and unpredicted assault fire wildly, missing him by inches. But those inches are enough. Bullets slam into his foes; they go down in grisly heaps one by one and they are all dead by the time Max hit’s the floor. I know right? If it only it were that simple. The truth is that the ninety nine times I did it this way before I succeeded in my hundred attempt resulted in Max being shot down before I killed anyone and seeing that damn loading screen that told me I had let people, especially Max, down. Max did seem to want to assist his own downfall in this regard by continuously jumping into danger at every available moment. My therapist and my fiancé (who is also a counsellor) would not doubt find it interesting that Max is my hero. A man doomed to tragedy no matter what he does. Yet, that is why he is my hero. He digs himself out of the trouble he finds or puts himself in.

The completing of the game can be done in many ways. My way was to use all of the advantages Max has. This seems fair to me. He is facing a literal army of enemies so needs all the help he can get. My own troubles are much less considerable. So Max Payne tactics should work right?

Get into cover first. Then calm down. Then, using all my knowledge and experience of my depression, where my enemies are going to jump out from, where they are going to lay in wait for me, focusing my aim so I do not miss my targets and staying alive, I can beat my levels of depression. Right?

As I write this I do not know. Yet. I do think I might be able to beat the first level of depression by doing something I should have done a long time ago. Like old Maxy boy, it is time to dry out a bit. Quitting drinking is going to be hard. Luckily, I do not really enjoy it anymore. It affects my anti-depressants too, which is another genius way I have tried to get better before now. Now though, I am seeing it as the option menu before I start the game. I simply need to set it to the ‘not drunk’ setting. As I am a fan of the hard mode of games, I can be ok with this as I have made it plenty hard enough before, and maybe this once, it is ok for me to start this game on easy mode.

So, I will give this idea a try. Now, if there were only something to help me stay occupied so I do not drink for the next seven days. Ah…good old Max saves me again.

Take (the best) care buddies,

David.

[Image retrieved from here]

Moving on from and staying ahead of depression.

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Moving on from and staying ahead of depression.

I have reached a stage in my life where I no longer think I suffer from depression and I am no longer depressed. All in all I am happy with my lot in life. What I am considering is how to move on from the concept of being a person who has been depressed and more importantly, (for me anyway) is how to stay ahead of it happening again.

For a period of time after finishing therapy I feel I have been treading water. Now I want to be able to swim forward with big powerful strokes. I must say that this is very unlike my actual swimming which consists of an enthusiastic doggy paddle at best. I do acknowledge that being able to find some semblance of normality and balance in life is a gift and I am very grateful for it.

I believe it is the time of simply being normal that has helped me see what is actually in my life. For the most part, I am seeing the good things that do exist as opposed to the perceived or imagined problems that do not. I am not saying there are not any problems in my life, but I know that I tend to panic spiral about situations and make myself see them as worse than they actually are.

I have learnt recently that there is a new approach to tackling depression which is the idea of prevention being better than cure. I will use myself as an example and say that the theory is that if I take better care of myself mentally and physically then I am less likely to suffer from depression again, or if I do, then to suffer the effects less severely. Now, I know that depression is a vast and complex issue and I am not saying this is a cure all that will work for everyone. However, I think this idea can work for me, and so far it has seemed to.

First off, I feel empowered to even think about being prepared to deal with problems. I feel more prepared to face problems and find ways to deal with them as opposed to dreading even the tiniest problem as I saw it as already being insurmountable. In my mind I see it as being like a ninja in fighting stance ready to take on any unseen assailants.

Another thing I heard of, and this has really stuck with me, is that a lot of what people think are mental events rather than reality. As I have mentioned, in the past I have tended to imagine the worst and think things are much more severe than they are. What I have found useful when a thought like that occurs is stop and ask myself; is this real? Has it happened? Is it likely to happen? The answer to these questions is invariably no. What this has helped me do is to be a hell of a lot calmer. I spend less time stressed over non-events or I am able to put them into perspective and they are not as bad as they first appeared.

I am of the opinion that certain aspects of depression can stay with a person even after they no longer feel depressed. Habits form in every aspect of our lives and I see no reason why this is any different. I formed the habit of worrying too much. By trying to stop this and think in a different way I am attempting to form a new habit. Time will tell, but so far so good.

One of the contradictions, as I see it, of having been depressed, but no longer being so, is that I am overly aware and scared of being sad; let alone actually depressed. I think I have seen sadness as a potential backslide into depression and to be avoided at all costs. Obviously I now see this as putting a ridiculous amount of pressure on myself. Perhaps I thought I should be more like a robot?

Two weeks ago I was the most down I have been in ages. I was angry and upset at what was happening in my life and I lost control for a night. The next day I told myself to stop being so damn harsh. Being angry, hurt, upset or whatever at things in life is fine. In fact, it is more than fine; it is being a human being. The trick for me is to not let it go on for any longer than needed. If I am down I get back up and try and figure it out.

My conclusion, if I have one, is that it is fine to have moments that feel like a backslide, or to have an actual backslide as long as I get the momentum going forward again and to use whatever tools work to keep it going that way.

Take care buddies,

David.