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Maybe this is the way to go for me

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Maybe this is the way to go for me

Postby floatingtree » Fri Mar 17, 2023 9:46 am

I've been feeling very negative about a mental health problem I have (or perhaps, various problems and how they interact in a specific way). Then I thought of something.

This is a work in progress and as usual, I don't have much time or motivation right now. However, I wanted to get a few things down before I forget.

Some mental health problems just can't be "cured". Let's talk about another of my problems: misophonia. Certain sounds drive me absolutely crazy. I know there's no point endlessly "exposing" myself to the problematic sounds, or "coaching" myself to tolerate the sounds. Now, maybe there is some bizarre cure to the problem out there, but I don't know it. I just need to do things like leave a room if there is too much problematic sound, cover my ears or wear earplugs in certain situations, use white noise and so on and so forth.

Onto the original problem I was alluding to. It's a complicated phobia / PTSD thing which started when I was a teenager and I still have it in my late thirties. It doesn't directly affect me every day, but when it affects me, oh boy does it affect me. It also keeps me as a second-class citizen in many ways, an incomplete, enigma of a person in the eyes of many of the "normies" out there. But this problem shares many factors with my misophonia problem. I can't just keep "exposing" myself to the problem and hoping it will go away. It's there to stay and I need to accept it. That doesn't mean I can't do anything about it. But it does mean that I can't completely cure myself of the problem. It's part of me and I need to work with it, not against it.

I HAVE this problem and it isn't going away, no matter how impossible it is to understand, no matter how some "professional" or random person might think it can be quickly cured by CBT or exposure or "avoiding avoidance" (to coin a phrase perhaps) or "fighting it" or some other method.

(Incidentally, many people also think that these kinds of problems can be solved by blaming ourselves as much as possible and feeling as bad as possible about our mistakes and so on, which will somehow fix the problems. Please go away if you were thinking of suggesting something like this)
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Re: Maybe this is the way to go for me

Postby lilyfairy » Mon Mar 20, 2023 3:53 am

Not everything is fixable or treatable, and sometimes accepting it for what it is is all we can do about it. For years, I've had CBT thrown at me, and endless counsellors who couldn't look outside the box, telling me I just needed to try harder. A few years back I had a therapist suggest aspergers/autism as a diagnosis. It made a lot of sense- it explained a good portion of why my depression and anxiety have been largely untreatable, because they're a reaction to trying to function while overwhelmed by a lot of everyday stuff.

More recently I've been doing some trauma work. My trauma is complex and lots of small items triggering and triggered by lots of other small items rather than one big lightbulb moment. So the aim of working on trauma items has become a case of not expecting a "fix" but any reduction in flashbacks or symptoms is a win. My chronic fatigue syndrome would seem is a result of my brain and body being in absolute overload for far too long.

It has taken a long while for me to accept that I'll be dealing with this for the rest of my life. And even now, I still sometimes get uncomfortable with that idea and would rather reject it. I just have to learn to live with it within my limitations. And accepting doesn't mean I can't work towards goals or making improvements, it's just being realistic about what's possible.

floatingtree wrote:(Incidentally, many people also think that these kinds of problems can be solved by blaming ourselves as much as possible and feeling as bad as possible about our mistakes and so on, which will somehow fix the problems. Please go away if you were thinking of suggesting something like this)
My frustration is with people who want to make every suggestion under the sun for an illness they've never had to deal with and have zero understanding of. I swear if one more person wants to suggest yoga or a naturopath would be able to fix all this, I don't know if I can remain polite.

Something I have found helpful is seeking out others dealing with chronic illness online, where the attitude is "this is what my body either needs or cannot do today and I have to just accept/follow that". It's been very reassuring in a world of being told how my life should look.
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Re: Maybe this is the way to go for me

Postby floatingtree » Sat Mar 25, 2023 9:22 am

Thanks for the reply.

lilyfairy wrote:It has taken a long while for me to accept that I'll be dealing with this for the rest of my life. And even now, I still sometimes get uncomfortable with that idea and would rather reject it. I just have to learn to live with it within my limitations. And accepting doesn't mean I can't work towards goals or making improvements, it's just being realistic about what's possible.

My frustration is with people who want to make every suggestion under the sun for an illness they've never had to deal with and have zero understanding of. I swear if one more person wants to suggest yoga or a naturopath would be able to fix all this, I don't know if I can remain polite.

Something I have found helpful is seeking out others dealing with chronic illness online, where the attitude is "this is what my body either needs or cannot do today and I have to just accept/follow that". It's been very reassuring in a world of being told how my life should look.


You're probably aware of the problem of "false hope" and how it can be a symptom of mental health problems, essentially ("I'm cured! Maybe I never really had a serious problem anyway!"). Unfortunately many people want to push us in the direction of false hope and denial.

I don't know much about naturopaths, but I do know a bit about yoga and quite a lot about meditation and mindfulness. Often these things (and "talking cures" for that matter!) are presented as if they're entirely safe, extremely effective and have no risks or side effects. Sorry, but they can definitely have enormous risks and side effects. They can also be helpful, but each individual, if they want to try them in the first place, should be careful with them and avoid specific practices which don't seem to "agree" with the individual for whatever reason.

I agree that it can be helpful once we've found a person or two online who shares some of our problems. Maybe if I look for "chronic illness" communities I can find more help.

At the moment I've got a loose plan for making some progress with something in my life which is hugely impacted by my phobia/PTSD problem (and indeed the problem may be intertwined with issues such as autism/ADHD/sensory overload and so on). I know I should do my best to avoid false hope, and also to avoid the other extreme of becoming completely hopeless about it (although if I did manage to become hopeless about it, that might leave room for focusing on other things, but anyway I do try to focus on other things regardless).

Okay enough for now, hope that made some sense.

Oh yeah, a couple of things that actually help. One is avoiding toxic people. Two is changing your physical environment. They sound like simple tips, but you'd be surprised by how many people have the attitude that people should just learn to heroically endure problematic people and environments rather than making practical changes.
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Re: Maybe this is the way to go for me

Postby lilyfairy » Wed Apr 05, 2023 11:05 am

You're welcome.

floatingtree wrote:You're probably aware of the problem of "false hope" and how it can be a symptom of mental health problems, essentially ("I'm cured! Maybe I never really had a serious problem anyway!"). Unfortunately many people want to push us in the direction of false hope and denial.
Many of the professionals I've seen in the past have been insistent that my lack of progress was purely lack of effort on my part. Not one of them recognised how complex the situation was though, and almost all totally overlooked or refused to recognise important aspects that prevented me making real progress.

floatingtree wrote:I agree that it can be helpful once we've found a person or two online who shares some of our problems. Maybe if I look for "chronic illness" communities I can find more help.
I find searching for "chronic illness"- for me specifically, "chronic fatigue" on Pinterest helpful actually- I don't have to interact with others or actually join up for anything else, but I find articles/blogs pop up there that other people have pinned particularly helpful. Sometimes I take away ideas, like things that could make my life easier/more comfortable, sometimes it's just knowing there are others that "get it".

floatingtree wrote:At the moment I've got a loose plan for making some progress with something in my life which is hugely impacted by my phobia/PTSD problem (and indeed the problem may be intertwined with issues such as autism/ADHD/sensory overload and so on). I know I should do my best to avoid false hope, and also to avoid the other extreme of becoming completely hopeless about it (although if I did manage to become hopeless about it, that might leave room for focusing on other things, but anyway I do try to focus on other things regardless).
I don't think there's anything wrong with only having loose plans of where you want to get to. I do think being realistic about how one issue impacts on another and how they play off one another is important to try to figure out. I'm finding the more things I understand around my triggers and allowing myself quiet/recovery time is helpful.
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Re: Maybe this is the way to go for me

Postby floatingtree » Sun Apr 16, 2023 7:55 pm

A late reply but things have been busy. And I struggle with motivation and ADHD-type symptoms sometimes anyway.

lilyfairy wrote:Many of the professionals I've seen in the past have been insistent that my lack of progress was purely lack of effort on my part. Not one of them recognised how complex the situation was though, and almost all totally overlooked or refused to recognise important aspects that prevented me making real progress.


That sounds pretty bad. I can think of one guy who does online courses (I only tried a quick, free one) who says that if his content isn't helping you enough, it may be that a trauma-related problem is getting in the way, and that you should look elsewhere for help with the trauma. At least that's a more honest approach than just blaming the client.

lilyfairy wrote:
floatingtree wrote:I agree that it can be helpful once we've found a person or two online who shares some of our problems. Maybe if I look for "chronic illness" communities I can find more help.
I find searching for "chronic illness"- for me specifically, "chronic fatigue" on Pinterest helpful actually- I don't have to interact with others or actually join up for anything else, but I find articles/blogs pop up there that other people have pinned particularly helpful. Sometimes I take away ideas, like things that could make my life easier/more comfortable, sometimes it's just knowing there are others that "get it".

lilyfairy wrote:I don't think there's anything wrong with only having loose plans of where you want to get to. I do think being realistic about how one issue impacts on another and how they play off one another is important to try to figure out. I'm finding the more things I understand around my triggers and allowing myself quiet/recovery time is helpful.


Yes, I've had that kind of experience too, of finding others that "get it" from various sources. Sometimes it comes from a source that seems quite different from me at first, but we have a lot in common under the surface.

I can improve some things, and indeed this year one aspect of my life has improved a fair bit, partly from my effort and partly from luck and other factors perhaps. The loose plan is about something more specific that triggers intense symptoms at times.

Anyway enough for now! Until next time.
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Re: Maybe this is the way to go for me

Postby floatingtree » Tue May 16, 2023 2:31 pm

I've made some progress towards the goal which I'm currently calling "Impossible Mission". That name might sound negative, but it's intended in a "let's do the impossible", positive kind of way.

Unfortunately, working on the goal has resulted in mood swings, which is pretty typical. The mood swings shift very rapidly and unpredictably.

Another downside is that last night, while in the grip of a mood swing, I logged into a mental health chat room and ended up talking about my problem to someone who suffers a similar problem.. Sounds good? As I've often experienced, the person exhibited a spectacular lack of empathy / imagination / insight about my issue, even though we had a lot in common. It was like, "Oh you should be able to easily solve your problem with logic, even though that doesn't work for me. Somehow my case is completely different to yours. I'm not listening to you at all." That's how it appeared to me anyway. I guess some people just don't have the ability to empathise or have any flexibility in their thinking. Maybe it's like those people who can do a thing, but can't explain how they do it in any way. Also I have another goal of never using chat rooms or many types of live online chat in any shape or form.

Anyway that's my rant for the day. Damn this stupid issue. Maybe this post is a mistake is a well lol. Oh well.
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