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Thread: Life after disappointment

  1. #51

    Re: Life after disappointment

    Stop the Whackness! :mrgreen:

  2. #52

    Re: Life after disappointment

    Oh wow. I've found myself a little touched by this thread. On one hand, I see Jundo trying to do what he thought was best, and I can respect that position... on the other, I see a person with whom I can identify on some levels, and found myself learning from. Reading Stephanie's story and the subsequent responses made it very easy to identify the same qualities in myself; some of those things that you can't see because it's hard to get an objective view of one's self sometimes, and then... some surprisingly obvious advice that wasn't so obvious before. Parts of this thread were eye-opening to me.

    I'm new here, and I posted a similar, although not quite as eloquent rant as somewhat of an introduction (sorry people) :-)

    I hope Stephanie comes back. And I hope that you, Jundo, don't hold her to the requirement to take meds if she decides to come back - perhaps I haven't understood all of this correctly? I've been treated for an array of mental afflictions and in the end, not a single thing I was ever prescribed worked. I did however almost commit suicide a few times (not with the intention of ending my life but through completely out of control actions catalyzed by the meds), landing me in the hospital with every progressive episode. My wife has attempted suicide on psychiatric meds 3 times before swearing them off, and my brother-in-law has just started down this awful path - I warned, but no one listened - and now he's been hospitalized once (so far) for an attempted suicide because of "the medicine".

    I don't know a single person who's been on meds who ever improved as a result of taking them, and I've known a few. The best I've encountered have been anesthetized shells of people who are terrified of life, and especially life without meds, and when they're faced with that possibility they usually resort to drugs to fill the gap... and then comes addiction, and further and further down the spiral goes.

    I hate to become involved in intra-forum drama so early in my posting career, just understand this is a topic that hits close to home for me and I'm concerned.

  3. #53

    Re: Life after disappointment

    Quote Originally Posted by anodyne777

    I hope Stephanie comes back. And I hope that you, Jundo, don't hold her to the requirement to take meds if she decides to come back - perhaps I haven't understood all of this correctly?
    Hi Anodyne,

    Since you just joined and are concerned, I want to clarify this.

    I have since written to Stephanie to tell her that I did not mean literally that she had to "take meds". I just wanted her to get checked out by a professional(s) (always get a second or third opinion), and please follow the doctor(s)' recommendations. She has been in and out of our forum three or four times over about a year (not just this time), and I thought the situation escalating and warranting some care. She is always welcome back.

    To me, it is the same as a baseball coach asking a player who seems too winded, has chest pains, or passes out, to go get a check-up on the treadmill and do what the doctor says. Otherwise, I can't let him play on our field. Some folks disagreed, but I made the call. I think it common sense. I even offered to pay for her doctor's visit, no strings attached.

    Gassho, Jundo

  4. #54

    Re: Life after disappointment

    Thank you for the clarification, I understand.

    -Owen

  5. #55
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Life after disappointment

    I don't think meds are as 'toxic' as many do. Perhaps you have other 'issues' than depression, Owen. I have Borderline Personality Disorder, and some of those meds would be very wrong for me. However, I take a non-stimulant med for my ADHD and without it I could not do my job effectively. There are some side effects, but on the whole, my suicidal ideation is vastly reduced probably in part because of the career strides I've made because of the meds. Strattera, the med I take, is a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor that works like a classic Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) except that it works on norepinephrine instead of serotonin. It took a while to find what worked best, and I had some bad experiences with stimulant meds (they helped with the ADHD but greatly aggravated my emotional disregulation, for instance).

    So - for me - meds have been infinitely helpful. I do think, though, if there are underlying issues (such as Borderline Personality Disorder for myself), intensive therapy is also required.

    I had a conversation with someone recently who's having issues with her 'worldview framework' falling apart - and we contrasted the way I live my life with the way she would like to live hers - and I came to some initial conclusions.

    The powerful experience I had in my teens released me from needing that sort of framework - from needing some sort of 'meaning' in life. I realized that 'this' itself IS the meaning of life - the culmination of all things before it and the seed for all things to come are all contained right 'here'. There is a profound liberation that comes from this, and all doubts about the fundamental teachings of Buddhism had been erased for me, strangely, before I even came to Buddhism.

    On the other hand, very ingrained emotional patterns persisted. Some delusions about the nature of self and security were much more deeply ingrained and had been resistant to zen techniques. BUT, then again, without a basis of zazen, my ability to work on these other issues would probably have been effectively 'zero'. It seems as though in my life I am putting myself in the places where I can resolve these issues, and that I 'lean in' to pain and am more likely to accept personal responsibility for my condition and make strides to improve it. My previous therapist was amazed that I was such a 'motivated' client when I learned about my BPD - most people with personality disorders resist treatment or are manipulative and try to 'game' the system. They do not accept that there is something disordered about THEM.

    I guess the point of all this is that, A: Meds are sometimes very helpful, B: Zen may not 'fix' all psychological problems, but it can certainly be an invaluable cooperative therapy. The thing is, it would still be a COOPERATIVE therapy, and without very specific guidance from a good psychologist, zen does not necessarily resolve certain psychological issues.

    Chet

  6. #56

    Re: Life after disappointment

    My experiences have been at best a waste of time, and at worst... dangerous! I've taken three types for anxiety, two for depression, and two for ADHD over the years, all of which I have been diagnosed at various points. It's been years now since I've seen a doctor for any of it, because either 1)they didn't work, even after long periods of taking them 2)they made the problem worse 3)if they did work, I became addicted to them - for example, Adderal for ADHD, worked fabulously. When I'm on that stuff I'm more focused and mentally able than ever before. BUT, I can't eat. Or stop taking them. Too many of them. There was an anti-anxiety med that I became dependent on TO eat! And the next thing I know, I've gone for 5 days without eating and then it's impacting my job, everything. Basically, I've gone through three different diagnoses, seven different kinds of medications, two doctors, and three therapists and... it's never been helpful. So I kicked it all to the curb. Nobody seems to know what the problem is, so I quit trying to find out!

    One extra mystery, is that tend to flap my arms around wildly, like a bird trying to take off when I get overwhelmed by my thoughts (too excited). It's almost involuntary as it starts, but I can stop it, and I don't do it in public out of a deeply ingrained fear people will think something is wrong with me (since young childhood I've learned to hide this, and I hide it well). Research on my own has led me to believe this is something called "stimming", an autism trait. Who knows. All I do know is that I'm incredibly distrustful & skeptical of the mental health community due to having experienced their "let's mess with your brain and see what happens" approach, to the point of accepting that whatever is "wrong" with me is just something I will have to live with for the rest of my life, no matter now debilitating or dysfunctional of an effect it has on me.

    For a while I self-medicated with alcohol, but that too had to stop. I quit completely over a year ago, more or less on my own, as the 12-step program didn't work, and staying in a rehab center for 30 days didn't help either... for long, at least. Perhaps I was trying to game the system, as you say - it is hard to accept there being anything wrong with me, because I have been abused at several points in my life and I've developed a 'victim' mentality, not to mention some 'learned helplessness' - they're not dominant personality traits but they shine through when I'm under stress, and they can really get in the way when it comes to taking an honest look at myself.

    I'm glad meds and therapists have worked for you, Chet. I'll try to keep more of an open mind towards the effectiveness of certain things for different people. I don't think zazen is a cure for everything either, but at a minimum I think it can help make clear what's going on.

    -Owen

  7. #57
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Life after disappointment

    Quote Originally Posted by anodyne777
    My experiences have been at best a waste of time, and at worst... dangerous! I've taken three types for anxiety, two for depression, and two for ADHD over the years, all of which I have been diagnosed at various points. It's been years now since I've seen a doctor for any of it, because either 1)they didn't work, even after long periods of taking them 2)they made the problem worse 3)if they did work, I became addicted to them - for example, Adderal for ADHD, worked fabulously. When I'm on that stuff I'm more focused and mentally able than ever before. BUT, I can't eat. Or stop taking them. Too many of them. There was an anti-anxiety med that I became dependent on TO eat! And the next thing I know, I've gone for 5 days without eating and then it's impacting my job, everything. Basically, I've gone through three different diagnoses, seven different kinds of medications, two doctors, and three therapists and... it's never been helpful. So I kicked it all to the curb. Nobody seems to know what the problem is, so I quit trying to find out!
    Well, assuming that the fault lies with them means that you're not personally responsible for your condition. Your story then becomes 'The 'system' has failed me.' Have you considered that? There are some bad therapists out there, but there are plenty of good ones. Find a good one. It should be obvious, but the same thing goes for zen teachers.

    One extra mystery, is that tend to flap my arms around wildly, like a bird trying to take off when I get overwhelmed by my thoughts (too excited). It's almost involuntary as it starts, but I can stop it, and I don't do it in public out of a deeply ingrained fear people will think something is wrong with me (since young childhood I've learned to hide this, and I hide it well). Research on my own has led me to believe this is something called "stimming", an autism trait. Who knows. All I do know is that I'm incredibly distrustful & skeptical of the mental health community due to having experienced their "let's mess with your brain and see what happens" approach, to the point of accepting that whatever is "wrong" with me is just something I will have to live with for the rest of my life, no matter now debilitating or dysfunctional of an effect it has on me.

    For a while I self-medicated with alcohol, but that too had to stop. I quit completely over a year ago, more or less on my own, as the 12-step program didn't work, and staying in a rehab center for 30 days didn't help either... for long, at least. Perhaps I was trying to game the system, as you say - it is hard to accept there being anything wrong with me, because I have been abused at several points in my life and I've developed a 'victim' mentality, not to mention some 'learned helplessness' - they're not dominant personality traits but they shine through when I'm under stress, and they can really get in the way when it comes to taking an honest look at myself.
    If you DO have a personality disorder, the situation you have thus far described would fit the profile almost entirely. Meds don't work. AA doesn't work. Therapy doesn't work. I guess you're fucked, man. It's not your fault, it's the crappy doctors, your childhood situation, etc. (/sarcasm). I suspect you may be setting up Zen for the same sort of fall. In the end, it's still your shit and your situation. I'm not trying to belittle the things you've been through - I've been through a whole lot too - but it's still your responsibility to dig in and work through it. If you don't do that, well then, I very much expect a 'Zen failed me' post from you some time in the near future. A zen teacher is not a therapist. Buddhism is not self-help. The mindfulness and concentrative power of zazen will be extremely helpful, but by themselves - well, you're just looking at your stuff - and you'll be hard pressed to be able to look at it from a therapeutic perspective.

    I'm glad meds and therapists have worked for you, Chet. I'll try to keep more of an open mind towards the effectiveness of certain things for different people. I don't think zazen is a cure for everything either, but at a minimum I think it can help make clear what's going on.

    -Owen
    Good luck, Owen - and I hope I haven't come across too harshly here - but I can't help but press the point that your insistence that 'nothing works' for you is a really likely indicator that the fault really lies with you.

    For instance, BPD is VERY hard to treat - as are most of the personality disorders. Many therapists won't even take a Borderline client because they're so impossible to work with. Manipulation, dropping treatment, an insistence that the problems is always others, the idealization of a therapist followed by the devaluation of that same therapist - these are par for the course with BPD. People with personality disorders have very poor 'reality testing' skills - in general. I think that your insistence that 'nothing works' may be an indicator of poor 'reality testing'. Of course, poor reality testing is a symptom of most psychological problems - so I'm not trying to insist that you have a personality disorder.

    Zen will help, but a good therapist is probably also essential, if for no other reason than that a highly honed ability to 'reality test' is the essence of Buddhism. Without knowing you better, there's very little else I can recommend (except Byron Katie's 'Loving What Is' - to learn the method of inquiry and improve 'reality testing' skills).

    Once again, what I've said here is offered with a very compassionate intent. I frankly can't say that I've been where you are - but I feel like I can relate to your frustration. If your 'reality testing' is compromised by childhood trauma (as evidenced by the suicide attempts and drug addiction), you need an objective anchor to help you learn how to more accurately 'unpack' your emotional experience.

    IMHO.

    Chet

    *edited to add: I respect your aversion to medication - meds are overprescribed and the pressure is on for an easy 'cure' for complex problems. I suggest you go to a good PSYCHOLOGIST first and do some solid talk therapy. My first therapist came from a behavioristic background. My second, and more helpful therapist was a traditional Jungian therapist. His name is Steve Wolf and he actually has a book out about working with the 'shadow'. You can find it on Amazon - it's called 'Romancing the Shadow'.

  8. #58

    Re: Life after disappointment

    welcome owen -- i'm sorry to hear what you've been through -- your view is shared by many who have worked in the mental health system, though i expect we are in the minority

    as part of my work in a mental health clinic, i made it my job to interview everyone before they saw the psychiatist -- although i presented it to the bureaucrats as a simple "orientation", i was actually trying to get to our new clients before the potentially traumatic visit with our shrink -- he told everyone(yes, everyone, including a women recently beaten by her husband) that their "real" problem was a "brain disease", that the disease was not curable, just treatable, and that they would be on the meds for the rest of their life -- you, and any of us who have been "clinically" depressed, can imagine how it feels to hear this when you are already down -- i had one guy in tears after his shrink visit -- he imagined maggots running around in his head --

    so my self-assigned job was damage control, to keep the shrink from killing the spirit of so many -- my previous job assignment, for the state of ny, was to make sure the shrinks in the admissions unit were taking THEIR meds -- no bullshit

    having said that, i'll pass along what i said to folks during that first interview -- take a pragmatic approach: whatever works -- if chemicals are the only thing that works, after trying alternatives, go for it -- but keep in mind the extended and long term effects of any course of tx -- above all, demand to be treated with respect, including control of your tx -- look for good staff, but there aren't many -- if they seem like assholes, they are, its probably not your imagination -- don't be snowed by jargon -- this is not auto mechanics -- they actually don't know what they're talking about, and worse, they don't know it -- and don't take diagnoses seriously -- i saw so many dignoses for the same individual it was ridiculous -- you're not a diagnosis, you're a person -- the diagnoses are primarily a futile attempt by staff to create the impression that this field is a science -- its not --

    does this sound familiar? -- yup, was the buddha who supposedly said to not believe to0 readily, but to check a path out, try it, and if it leads to non-harming for self/others, thats your path -- the mistake is believing that anyone else, including "experts", therapists, zen teachers, pills, can do the job for you -- if you find a good one, the most they can do is provide support for the work you need to do(that includes the pills)

    sorry for ranting, but just wanted you to know that the reality you describe sounds very familiar to me

    gassho, bob

  9. #59

    Re: Life after disappointment

    Roky, that's an awful story, glad you were at least there for the "damage control" part. This seems to be how it works in a lot of mental health situations - a lot of what's considered "science" in that field is very speculative. But we never know... maybe some of the seemingly bad things that happen to people while they're seeking help, and their resulting distrust of the process, has had its own positive effect as certain people learn to accept responsibility for how THEY feel, instead of leaving it up to doctors and medicines to both diagnose and treat. I'd claim to be among those for the most part. For the rest of those who've sought mental health care, it's either been effective or the placebo effect has been sufficient. Bottom line, one way or another it gets people to take care of things, be it via the direct path or a meandering one, so I guess it's not all bad... minus the guy who thought the maggots were eating his brain. I hope he didn't stay there long.

    I'm aware that not every therapist is going to be awful. Perhaps there's even a medication that might be helpful (if I decided to afford multiple $50 copays per month plus prescription costs). But personally, I'm not too worried about it. You guys caught me on a really bad couple of days (or rather I caught you). Everything I said made sense within the context of this thread and how I felt at the time, but honestly, 95% of the time I don't feel this way.

    Thankfully, life only sucks in short bursts - impermanence has its upside. Now I'm going to look up the meaning of the term "reality testing".

    Respectfully,
    Owen

  10. #60
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Life after disappointment

    'Reality testing' just means the accuracy of your instincts and emotional or intellectual responses to your world.

    Bad reality testing implies jumping to conclusions about a person's motivation behind their actions that are later demonstrated to be very inaccurate.

    Chet

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