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  1. Our best friend, our worst enemy... I am talking, of course about our unconscious. At times it is useful to talk about the unconscious as if it is another person. They are the cause of your depression, anxiety and all other related symptoms. But they are actually on your side. What they are exhibiting is a cry for help. Your unconscious desperately wants your attention... but they are ignored, so they cry for help. So where do we go from here? Well your unconscious is like the smartest person in the meeting you are sitting in... they are smart but shy, introverted. They do not offer an opinion because they think no one is listening. As soon as they are invited to speak, prompted a little we find they have a huge amount to offer. So we need to start listening to our unconscious. If we do so we will find they become more talkative. Once you get this dialogue going you can decipher what the problem is, what is causing your anxiety and depression. Once you do this you will be on the path to fixing the problem and feeling better again.
  2. That's a fair point. Although I would argue that this is not the actual cause of the symptoms. A crisis can happen to two people. One can be left with crippling depression the other can escape relatively unscathed. It is how we have internalised the experience ... what beliefs this leaves in the unconscious that causes the emotional issues that follow.
  3. There are a number of reasons your current treatment plan may be failing you. First off, most of the treatments for mental health are outdated. The provider of these treatments are health care organisations. You go to your doctor. He or she works for the health service. They check your symptoms against their matrix and prescribe the designated treatment. These are treatments that would have gone through some risk assessment some years ago and got signed off. Now one benefit of large organisations is that they marshal vast resources. One downside is that they are slow to adapt or move with the times. This is why startup companies can have an advantage over large corporations. Their small scale makes them more agile and easier to adapt. Your health service is a large organisation so it is painfully slow when it comes to embracing new approaches. Secondly, the system disincentivises medical practitioners from being open to new ideas. The financial crisis of 2008 was caused by a banking system that incentivised traders to take huge risks. In a similar way the health care system disincentivises medical professions to think outside the box. The message is stick to your list... prescribe the approved treatment. Thirdly, this system is generally more interested in that which can be quantitively measured and tested. Something is tested, approved and it goes on the treatment list. Mental health issues are difficult to analyse in this way. They require a more qualitative based analysis. This excludes some effective approaches. Fourthly, relative to the size of the problem very little funding goes into mental health issues. People are suffering, terribly. But destruction of quality of life is not a metric they use in their decision-making process. They use different metrics. So the treatments do not evolve. So the result is you go to your doctor with an issue that has a psychological cause. You are either prescribed the all singing, all dancing answer to everything... medication. Or you are directed to various talking therapies which while beneficial for some do not get to the root cause of the issue.
  4. Whilst it is true that there is a lot about the mind we do not currently understand it is also true that we know enough to do much better when it comes to dealing with mental health issues. On one hand there are psychologists who do not believe our minds have a conscious and unconscious delineation. This is largely due to challenges associated with scientifically testing and proving the thesis beyond any doubt. However there are plenty of smart people who believe the unconscious mind does exist. Neuroscientists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky both received a 2002 Nobel Prize for their work in this field. So a lot of people know we have a conscious and an unconscious mind. They just cannot prove it beyond doubt at this stage. We know that emotions are caused by the release of neurochemicals such as dopamine and serotonin. We know that our thoughts regulate the release of these chemicals. Sad thoughts equal sad emotions. And do we know what else triggers the release of neurochemicals? Our friend, the unconscious mind. Are your symptoms the result of a chemical imbalance? You could say that. But the source of the chemical imbalance is the faulty signalling coming from your unconscious. In closing we know enough to come to the following conclusion. If you are experiencing anxiety, depression or associated issues then the cause can be found in your unconscious. A different starting position at best will send you the long way round in your search for a solution. At worst it will send you in the wrong direction.
  5. I want to share an experience I hope will offer encouragement to anyone who is in the same position I once found myself in. Earlier in my life I had some serious issues with anxiety and depression. After spending some time utilising various coping mechanisms I experienced a particularly difficult period. This experience was horrific. It made me wish I had never been born. But it terrified me so much it spurned me into action. I decided to abandon the coping strategy I had clung to and pursue the root cause of my issues. I believed that if I found the root cause I would be able to address this and cure myself of these symptoms for good. I made a list of treatments I thought might allow me to do this. I worked my way through this list. One of these approaches allowed me to get to the root cause of my depression and anxiety and resolve the issue. I went from being someone who was being crushed by the weight of my emotions to someone who wakes up with an optimistic attitude to life’s challenges. I now start my days with a genuine excitement about the future. I walked this path and made this transition. If you walk this path you can make the same discoveries, the same changes and be cured.
  6. Hey Evergreen I came up with the examples myself to illustrate the points and try to explain better what is underlying the symptoms we can experience. I would argue that all of the things you mention (sleep deprivation, needing endorphins, social problems et al) are symptoms of the issue rather than causes. We cannot sleep because of our emotional turbulence. We seeks out an endorphin boost to try and neutralise the feelings of sadness. We have issues with other people because being depressed, anxious and irritable means the things others do easily upset us, makes us nervous or cause us to lose our tempers. It is extremely difficult to will yourself out of a thought trap. What we are referring to here is to using the rational mind to say logically "feel better... you have no reason to be sad". This does not work. It is because the problem is not related to the rational, conscious mind. It is in the unconscious. If we want to speak to the unconscious we must speak to it in it's language. The language of metaphor and symbol. It is like the language of your dreams. If the problem resides with someone who speaks French then speaking to them in English to try and solve the problem will not get us very far. We must speak to them in French. So it is with out unconscious. We must communicate with it using the language of metaphor and symbol. This can be difficult at first. But anyone can get good at it. The same way you have developed your skills at playing the piano. This has worked for me. I can provide further details if it is something you are interested in.
  7. It does not sound stupid. It is actually a very good question. I would use the analogy of someone having a stone in their shoe. It is causing them discomfort. Has that situation been created by that person? Well, we could say they walked somewhere where there were a lot of small stones. Or they did not tie the laces on their shoes tight enough. But this does not mean they have caused the stone to be lodged in their shoe. We go through life. We interact with the world. We experience emotions as part of life. We record these experiences in part of our minds and they have emotions attached to them. Sometimes these experiences are mis recorded. Like in the above example where Jane's experience was recorded as "hot weather makes me depressed". But we can untangle and rewrite these records the same way we can take off our shoe, remove the stone and put it back on.
  8. Conclusions: If our negative emotions, depression and anxiety is caused by plugging into certain memories or beliefs in our unconscious then there are a number of implications. One of them is that we can tap into these memories or beliefs and reorientate them. Here we are talking about showing the unconscious mind something the conscious mind knows to be true. In the first example I mentioned [https://www.depressionforums.org/forums/topic/187325-what-is-happening-part-2-of-4/] Martin can tap into the memory which reads “if I go in the lift I will feel terrified and might die”. He can come to terms with the fact that this is not true, that he had an experience that scared him when he was a little boy but that the truth is he is perfectly safe going into a life and does not need to fear the risk of death. Similarly in example 2 [https://www.depressionforums.org/forums/topic/187387-what-is-happening-part-3-of-4/] Jane can uncover and revisit the belief that “hot weather makes me depressed”. She can show herself that it was normal to feel devastated when her dog died but that because she was a child and could not account for the overwhelming strength of the emotion at the time she rationalised it by attaching it to the weather.
  9. It is easier said than done... it is the hardest thing in the world. Sorry to hear you are on the slide my friend. It's crushing when you think tomorrow can only get better... and it gets worse.
  10. When Jane was nine years old her dog died. She was devastated, traumatised and depressed. She could not understand why she continued to feel overwhelmed with sadness. People told her “don’t be silly... he was just a dog... we will get you a new one”. Jane did not want to be “silly” so she looked for other reasons she was depressed. It was the summertime and the city where Jane lived was experiencing a heatwave. “That must be it” she rationalised. “It’s this stifling heat that is making me depressed”. The sadness naturally subsided around the same time the heatwave died down. This reinforced the association. 30 years later Jane starts to experience waves of intense depression. She has tapped into the “hot weather makes me depressed” association recorded in her subconscious. Maybe she went on holiday somewhere very warm, saw a movie about a heatwave or heard a story from a friend about their trip to a destination with stifling heat. Jane has no idea why she feels this way so she goes to see her doctor who prescribes medication. Some days this helps her feel better, other days she feels worse. Jane looks for answers but dismisses something that happened when she was nine years old as a trivial footnote in her life which cannot possibly be related.
  11. I don't believe that anyone's brain is inherently negative. You brain malleable. It is like the cup and the emotions are what are inside. Negative and positive can build up over time, you can go from being full of positive to full of negative and vice versa. It is really interesting that your childhood memories acted as an emotional boost to get you across the line with that.
  12. Example 1: When Martin was six years old he was in a shopping centre with his Mum. While she was talking to a friend he wandered into a nearby lift and pushed some of the buttons. The door closed and due to a technical issue stayed closed for five minutes. Martin was terrified. He felt trapped and could not see his Mum. While he was feeling a particularly intense emotion the door between his conscious and unconscious opened and sucked in the reference experience. It was recorded as “if I go in the lift I will feel terrified and might die”. An engineer got the doors open, Martin was embraced by his Mum and forgot all about the experience. 25 years later, from out of nowhere Martin has a panic attack. It might have been caused by watching a movie where someone get’s stuck in a lift, or hearing the same elevator music, or perhaps it was the same distinct smell that lift 25 years ago had. Now Martin is suffering from anxiety, panic attacks and he looks around for a cause in his current life. He looks to his job, his relationships with his wife and parents, his finances. He cannot find the answer. On a conscious level he barely remembers the experience of 5 year old Martin.
  13. If we can start to understand how our minds work we can start to make sense out of the often illogical, sometimes random, always terrifying uncertainty that surrounds our symptoms like a wintry fog. We have a logical, rational, conscious part of the brain. We then have the unconscious. The latter is like our hard drive. It is where our emotional programming, the emotions themselves and our memories are stored. The language of this part of the mind is symbolic, metaphorical. It often works by association. When you hear that song from a happy time you plug into that happy feeling. The unconscious contains beliefs. These can be beliefs that the conscious/rational mind knows are not true. These beliefs can be the cause of the depression or anxiety. I will include a few examples in subsequent posts.
  14. No shame in that my friend. We all need help sometimes. L
  15. We sink lower and lower until we hit the bottom. When we're there the best thing to do is take a while... allow yourself to be there, don't force it and don't beat yourself up about it. Tell yourself you will accept it for a period of time... the next hour, day, week, whatever you decide. But tell yourself once that hour, day, week has passed you will take the first small step... start to listen to music you find uplifting, go out and get some fresh air, maybe then meet some friends and work to build the momentum back the other way.
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