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Meer last won the day on March 28 2015

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  1. Some notes on this (long) post….. This post is aimed at those who are in a position to look into the possibility that there may be a better way to approach mental health issues and how they’re treated. If you are in the depths of depression and under the care of a doctor/psychiatrist, then you’re probably better off at the moment going along with their advice. Certain topics I allude to in this post I will not expand on as it would require an awful lot of reading for those who may just want to read and mull over the topic. Instead, where there is a topic that you may want to find out more about (Either through books or Googling), I’ll put that in italics. It’s getting more difficult to treat. Since about 1980, there has been an explosion in the number of people reporting or rather, being ‘diagnosed’ with a mental health problem. At the same time there has been a meteoric rise in the number of medications which are being used to ‘treat’ mental health issues such as depression. In the Western world, the various countries are predicting that they will not be able to cope with the expected numbers within a very few years. There will be an increasing number of ‘illnesses’ and ergo more people who identify with those (discovered?) illnesses. Highest on the list of complaints is depression. If you were to ask most people what to do in the event that you or a loved one starts to experience ‘depression’, they’d probably say ‘Go and see your doctor’. So you do, and the doctor diagnoses you with depression and quite likely prescribes you antidepressant(s?) and possibly arranges for you to have some therapy such as CBT. The doctor most likely works off the DSM-V in making a diagnosis and prescribes a medication that s/he believes addresses that diagnosis. This is a diagnosis made with reference to a book that does not actually quantify illness particularly and merely suggests symptoms. In addition, your doctor will have prescribed a medication based on the answers you gave to their questions, together with some ‘hands-off’ observations of you. The same doctor would not prescribe a drug for hypertension unless they had measured your blood pressure so how can they prescribe a medication that deals with emotions when there is no measure of your emotions? If you browse the forums here you will find countless posts regarding the ineffectiveness of antidepressants. You will doubtless have heard rumblings in the media about pharmaceutical companies being taken to court over antidepressants. Whilst it’s true that there are woefully few results from these litigations which would support the claim that antidepressants do not work, you may like to ask yourself why that may be. Nevertheless, returning to what happens following a visit to the doctor. You’re told that it will take a few weeks to start working. After those few weeks, you may feel better – the same – or worse. How can it be measured what precisely has brought about that change, if any? We are told that antidepressants work by a variety of methods, but essentially by correcting an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. So what brings about this imbalance? Did the doctor measure you for an imbalance at their point of diagnosis? (No). Have they measured the ‘new balance’ to verify the efficacy of the drug? (No). But more importantly – has anything changed for you in the past few weeks? The answer to that is undoubtedly Yes. You cannot possibly go several weeks without situations changing and your not having mulled over those things you believe are causing you to feel ‘down’. Most (but not all) people will say when asked what they believe is causing their depression things such as work, relationships, money etc. Now if these are the causes of feeling down, and this ‘down’ feeling is actually your not having the resources to deal with a problematic thought, then why should a doctor or medication make any difference? Are doctors the ones who sort out these problems? Most certainly not. Are we (all?) increasingly having an imbalance of chemicals in our brains? If that were so, then why are they not addressing the cause of that imbalance? (Answer: Because they can’t measure the imbalance anyway). It’s highly unlikely that there is such a global imbalance, but if there is *some* imbalance, then it could be due to more obvious reasons such as diet or toxic substances accruing in the body either voluntarily or involuntarily. Returning to the possible causes of feeling down. Over the past one hundred years there has been a vast alteration to society as a result of transportation, population growth and technology. There are many and varied views of this, but for example; We are more able to travel away from our communities to communities where we are unknown yet we are still exposed to the increasing interactions in a society where we are less able to fall back on familiar territory. That’s a lot to think about in one sentence, but essentially, it means that we are without the support that evolution has granted us. In addition, life has become much more complex. Society as observed by individuals now sets expectations of you rather than you deciding on what you expect from life. Is it any wonder that people may at times feel unable to achieve this ‘nirvana’?. So, to summarise this ‘situation’, we have a growing population who feel discontent as a result of the world they live in, and are being treated with chemicals that may not or certainly do not work, by people who have no real insight into that person’s position in relation to their feelings and have had no measure taken of the person’s feelings. So, what to do about it? There needs to be a paradigm shift into identifying what is ‘wrong’ with a person and how best to deal with that ‘wrongness’, preferably by enabling that person to better interact with the environment they live in. How? For a start, stop diagnosing people with x,y and z ‘mental illness’ as defined by DSM-V. There’s a WHO (World Health Organisation) estimate that there are 9 billion people in the world with a mental illness. According to what I have read, this is a nonsensical claim, for two reasons. 1. If we are to believe that the DSM-V is right, then anybody who is sad has a mental illness. (DSM V-is now defined ‘sadness’ as a mental illness, whereas DSM-IV (‘Four’), did not have that classification). 2. If we are to take DSM-V as valid, then everybody in the world is suffering a mental illness. Of the two, I’d say that 2. Is more accurate, in that I am more prone to believe that people at some stage or another suffer from feeling ‘down’. In addition, diagnosing people as being mentally ill is very much stigmatising and serves no useful purpose. Second to drawing back from ‘diagnosing’ people, doctors should not be made responsible for evaluating a person’s state of mind. Medical doctors work best by making informed judgements based upon the results of verifiable tests. This also means that people who are experiencing feeling ‘down’ (and I do not include those in a dangerous state) should not automatically be put onto medication to address feeling ‘down’. If, as many believe, antidepressants do not work, then why go to the cost and danger of medicating a person?. Thirdly – doing something about it. There are a number of avenues to explore here. Talking therapy has long been considered useful. And maybe it is. But is it useful to only speak to a therapist?. There are other therapies such as Open Dialogue, developed back in the 1980’s in Finland as a better way of exploring the causes and agreed resolution to a person’s predicament. In fact, Finland has now adopted this as the standard process for progressing a person who reports a mental health issue. I’m not going to expand on that any further (at the moment) as to do so would turn this post into a book. However, I will add these few points. Children these days are increasingly being ‘diagnosed’ as suffering from ADHD. This ‘illness’ was first ascribed to indigent North American (Indian) children who were considered ‘Feebleminded’. Over the (not many) years this same diagnosis was applied to more and more children who were not getting along in the rapidly changing society. (The Indian children were merely ascribed as being feebleminded because their culture was, to certain degrees, stamped all over). There is now a dreadful willingness to medicate young children, some as young as two years old, with medications that supposedly address behaviour that may or may not be the result of a brain ‘malfunction’. Is that really the way to go? I’ve purposely not addressed more serious forms of poor mental health in this post. Until now. There are situations where people become severely ill, perhaps unable to function on a daily basis, and they could be in crisis. There is a need for the person’s ‘pain’ to be alleviated, just as in the same way that pain killers are prescribed for a person suffering a medical condition. With the medical condition, the pain killers are only prescribed to help the person over the period until the original cause of the pain is removed. Eg. A painful hip requires medication to dull the pain until the hip is repaired. So, likewise medication to enable a person to get to a point of being capable of functioning may be necessary, and in general this should be short term. Then there are people who may be suffering from extreme conditions such as ‘Psychosis’. Certainly, people who are under the assault of voices, visions and delusional thoughts need to be taken care of, perhaps with the judicious use of medication and a supportive safe environment. But the way forward after that has to change, as above. Having said all that, I am NOT advocating that anybody currently receiving medication/therapy from a doctor/psychiatrist /therapist should abandon them. Nobody should alter or stop medication without discussion with their health provider (who gave it to them) as to do so could be dangerous. If you have read this far, you may well be saying ‘Well, that’s all well and good, but if this is such a ‘good idea’ then why hasn’t anybody done it?’. Well, Finland (as above) has started it. There are many books and websites that explore all the above. I did not come up with all the above on my own. It is a combination of what I have read extensively, and if I can find it, then so can anybody. For a start, you could google the words ‘Deconstructing the Mental Disorder Paradigm’. There is also a good reason why change is slow in this area. It could upset a lot of people who have an ‘interest’ in keeping things as they are……
  2. I don't think anybody is capable of following their own advice to the letter. How often have you said 'Don't be silly', 'Drive carefully', 'Don't drink too much', 'Cheer up'(!!), and many other things. Also, other people live lives which are different to our own. So, what might or might not be possible for them applies to ourselves also. Taking it to a religious level, God forgives all sinners - regardless of what they have done, and does not expect people to live by the 'law' of the Bible. Likewise we cannot expect ourselves to live life to the letter. Just my ideas.
  3. JJ, I pretty much agree with you. In my prayers, I do not seek God's help etc. I don't really want to detail what I do pray about, but I believe that God does help if He sees that you are doing your best for yourself and others. Put it another way, God makes things easier if you have Faith and seek forgiveness.
  4. Meer

    Tony - A Man I Loved

    Thank you for the comments. Writing it up on here, which is the first time I've committed it to 'paper', has given me a bit of closure. Then again, I don't really want to close this. It's a rather warm part of my life.
  5. Today, for some easily explained reason, I’ve been thinking of two men in my life that I’ve loved. I’ve loved them for the persons they were, and not in a sexual context. Tony He was an Italian gentleman who ran a small restaurant in Clacton-on-Sea – Essex. This was some time ago when I was young and rather poor. I needed a part time job and therefore looked for waitering jobs. I went to his restaurant and he ‘tried me’ for an evening, at the end of which he said ‘You’re useless, but intelligent. I think you can work here’. Over the following months I came to know the job better, and at the same time enjoying myself. We would have pasta parties after the restaurant closed. We would have arguments ‘Italian style’ in the kitchen and then I would walk back into the dining room and just say ‘It’s okay – he’s Italian’. We worked a mixture of really high quality food served in an informal atmosphere of fun and laughter. He taught me how to cook, often saying ‘You are one i***t…… don’t make it complicated or I throw you out’ – all taken with a pinch of salt and as good as I got, I would stand in the kitchen rapping my serving spoons on the counter asking ‘So, we serving people tonight or are you just pretending to cook?’ Then he became ill. He would lie on a board out the back of the restaurant telling me to let him know when a customer came in. I didn’t, and did the cooking and serving myself. I cannot detail what was wrong with him, and eventually he decided he had to sell up as he could no longer continue. The new owners were straight out of cookery school and had no idea how to run a restaurant and make it ‘work’. I was only able to stay there one evening with them. A few months later, after I’d moved away, I received a phone call telling me ‘The restaurant is back – we’re having a re-opening evening – Tony is better!!!’. He’d bought it back for half of what he sold it for!!! I drove 100 miles to be there and we carried on from where we left off – with a full booking from night one. Sadly, as expected, this recovery did not last, and the next phone call I received was to tell me that Tony had died. My heart sunk – a part of me died, too. I went to the funeral where I met up with all the restaurant ‘team’, but it was the end of a beautiful chapter in my life. I often think of the wonderful man Tony – and what a marvellous influence he had on all people who met him. Reason for feeling sad…… I did a cocktail party of my created canapes yesterday – which he taught me to do, Next entry – Arthur, and his connection to it all.
  6. Yes, good people here, very good. Lots of support and understanding. Best.
  7. When I need to bounce ideas of people, I try to identify those who do not 'go off' like an express train. Depression and anxiety need measured responses from people who think about you before they venture to tell you things like 'You're not the same as you used to be....'.
  8. Emme, I just wanted to add something. Often people in the early stages of recovery from alcoholism feel very guilty about their drinking, and the person they've become. I know that when I've been in-patient in a clinic, or attended AA meetings, that the mix of people there is pretty astounding. There's everybody from bricklayers to company directors. Alcohol does not discriminate - it can get anybody. Try not to feel ashamed about what's happened. Rather, take pride in the decision to do something about it. Best wishes
  9. I'm sure your generosity will be rewarded with happiness. (But please do not feel guilty!!!!)
  10. Welcome to DF James. Sounds like you've gone through some real downers recently. Facebook and the world around us in general tend to have some negative implications these days. Try not to let that be a true reflection of your position in the world. You've got many positive attributes, and it's a matter of bringing those forward to overtake your negative feelings. Best wishes.
  11. Welcome to DF. It's really good that you have a good framework around you to battle through your illness. I hope you can come back here when you need to get some support, which DF can supply buckets of!!! Best wishes.
  12. Hi xand - welcome to DF - a place where you'll get a lot of support!! It's often the case that we perceive ourselves far more harshly than others do. For instance, the other day I was going into a supermarket, and I thought to myself Oh god, I'm going to have to go to some counters and the person behind the counter is going to think 'Here comes an old git who doesn't have a decent haircut and hasn't shaved today'. Guess what? All I encountered were pleasant counter staff who did not (at least outwardly) give me any sort of bad feeling. So, it was all my own thoughts - and not other people's. Sometimes I sit at a café and people watch. You get all sorts. Tall, short, thin, large, old, young. One thing I cannot judge though - just by looking at them - is what sort of person they are. When I meet people, at first I can only form an opinion by what I see. Sometimes I've thought 'Wow, they're pretty/handsome' or 'Hmm, they're not blessed in the looks department'. Later as I've got to know them - I've found myself saying 'How on earth did I ever think they were pretty/handsome' - and conversely - 'Actually, that person is really attractive'. However, I can well imagine that you feel alone with all these secret feelings. Coming here to DF is a very good way to start letting go of these secrets and getting some feedback on how you can actually be the person *you* want to be. I hope you can accept yourself for your good points - of which I am sure there are *many* - and at the same time leave behind those negative perceptions of yourself!! Best wishes.
  13. Hi Emme, I'm 54. So there I read your post and felt deeply for you. I suspect that you must feel very lonely in your battles with depression and drinking. All is not lost though. By any measure!!! Re. AA. Have you thought of asking them for a mentor to help you on the road to recovery? Also, you can tell them at the start of any meeting that you do not want to be called upon to speak. Maybe ease yourself in by chatting after the actual meeting? Smart Recovery is also a really good option. As has been said, their approach is different and might appeal to you. Either of these are good if it helps you. Then of course there is your doctor. Does s/he know about your drinking? They might want to do some blood tests to check for low vitamin B etc. Also, they can check how your liver is coping. The Substance Abuse & Recovery forum here is also a good place to help you. You'd be surprise how many people post there....... You would not be alone. I post there. I used to have an alcohol problem which landed me in quite a bit of trouble, but I've gotten over it now. Lucky me. Many people do recover from drink problems. You can, too. By the sound of it, you have a lot of things that need to be sorted out in order for things to get better. If your therapist is not making you feel better, then perhaps you need to find another who is better able to help you with what *you* want help with? But, there's one thing you can rely upon, and that is that these forums here are here to support you in your journey, and there are many many people here who are extremely supportive and understanding. As they say..... A long journey starts with one step...... Best wishes.
  14. Fizzle, That's interesting. I hadn't looked at it that way before. Thanks for the heads up.
  15. Take out/Take away/delivered meals. I can join in the ordering process, but when it arrives, I feel that I don't deserve it, and it's all for other people. I can only eat leftovers the next day. Sad.
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