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  1. I don't find that statement blunt at all, actually. Your advice is what I'm trying to do, albeit with mixed success. Currently, (and this may be of some value to you, americandownunder) I've been paying attention to moments where I feel self-limitation kick in. In other words, that automatic (at this point, anyway) reaction to suppress impulse. I'm trying to evaluate why I'm suppressing large parts of myself in the midst of certain situations. What I've discovered so far is that I've got serious anger issues. Self-suppression kicked in as sort of a fail-safe switch, a coping mechanism designed to temporarily plug the leak of extreme passionate emotions, which I experience rather frequently. So the trick is to shut down the suppression system of sorts that I've created, and ultimately, to loosen up.
  2. *Hey everybody, I wrote this last night and thought I'd post it here. It's about stuff that I'm currently working through. I hope that someone is able to get something out of it or can relate in some way. At any one time, I have a million thoughts rolling around in my head. It's just part of me, part of my nature; and though it can be adjusted, there's also a high probability that that won't change. To a degree, I will always be uptight, because I'm overly aware and overly sensitive to the world around me. What other people can ignore with ease I've had to actively ignore or else defuse a build-up of frustration caused by all that in some healthy way. At the same time, however, it gives me a edge in some respects. I can see things others can't; I can create and accomplish things others can't because I'm so thorough. I'm going to be honest: the people who tell others just to "relax" or "not overthink things" don't understand what they're asking people. If your mind doesn't activate or kick to high gear in certain situations, you never have to deal with that or try to figure out how to fix such a thing, even though others expect you to do so and hold you to that standard. With the benefit of so-called "thorough thought" comes a hefty price: my life, particularly with respect to interpersonal activities, becomes incredibly and unnecessarily complicated. Why? Essentially, I have lived in a world separated from others. What I mean is that instead of living in existence, I am living in observation. I'm separated from my experiences because of constant thinking about those experiences while I'm having them. Let me explain by way of a good metaphor someone shared with me: if we think about how birds fly, they basically have two modes: wing-flapping and gliding. They typically alternate between the two. If a bird constantly flapped their wings, we would probably think something was wrong with that bird. They would expend a whole lot more energy than was necessary for flight. They would tire easily and probably couldn't last the distance of other birds. The incessant flapping may provide some temporary benefit to the bird, but in the long run, the constant flapping problem is detrimental (bad). This idea parallels human behavior. We experience and we think. We live by intuition or natural impulse, or that "gut feeling," and by active cognition, the process of thought. Most people alternate between intuition and cognition. If someone were to only live by instinct, that person would be very reckless and probably wouldn't get anything done; if someone were to only live by active thought because they thought their impulses were naturally faulty due to a terrible experience or set of terrible experiences, they would never get anything done either because they would be stuck in thought. Everything that person did would be second-guessed. Now, in my case, I'm neither extreme, but what we can say for sure is that I lean on the active thought side. In other words, while people "just do it" or assume that they're right, in order to avoid mistakes or awkward situations, I actively process through things that people normally wouldn't do (which ironically creates mistakes and awkward situations). Whereas it bypasses emotion, which can be risky, it's like taking the living out of life. This habit comes out of the need to control everything that goes on, and it only happens when someone hits a serious wall in life and has analytical tendencies. (They attempt manage cognitive dissonance by applying rationalization to literally everything.) The trick is to maintain self-control without heading into self-suppression. It's finding a balance between "just being" and "having a head on your shoulders". In the norm, most people, even if they don't say this explicitly, assume they are right. Normal people don't choose things that they think are wrong, and if they do, they attempt to justify them. But normal people also don't assume they're making a mistake all the time. If they did, they would check and re-check everything. They'd live in a state of constant anxiety. There's a whole lot more to this series of ideas...but that's good for now!
  3. I don't know if mine is a success story, but I like to think it is. I've had depression for 7 years (roughly), and since then, I feel as though I've made great strides. I am not on medication anymore, and I've lost a bunch of the weight I gained when I was on depression meds. one day, I just decided I'd had enough and started to really push through a lot of the crap. Yes, I still have moments where I freak out on the inside, where I feel as though no one is paying attention to what I need/want, where I'm about to burst. Now, however, it lasts maybe a couple of days at worst, instead of being continual. My counselor even said that I'm basically in the range of normal emotion, though I still get counseling because I'm in a new area as far as location (and a lot of other changes). Plus, it just helps to have a listening ear. I'm still awkward at times, and much of the time, people looking at me now can't understand my idiosyncrasies and "off" characteristics. But I'm more confident than I was before. I'm really trying to get back to the "real" me, the healthier me. I don't know that I'll ever be completely out of the woods (so to speak), but I know that I'm better now than I've ever been.
  4. I'm single, and while I've had small flings off and on, I've had nothing long-term for at least 5 years (which last 3 months), and nothing longer than 6 months. I'm trying to be optimistic and relax in my "singleness," but it's difficult much of the time. I would love to have a successful long-term relationship, but I'm unsure about whether that's a good idea right now considering my life circumstances.
  5. @wanderer82 Maybe this story will explain what I mean. In my undergrad, I had this friend who I tried to date, and though we did go on one date, she ended up friend-zoning me. At the time, I was overweight and still reeling with serious depressive symptoms on a regular basis. Nevertheless, being rather bright, I made good grades rather easily. On top of that, I was considered one of the best in the program, although somewhat of a dark horse, due to my abrasive manner (for the South) and reluctance to open up to people or cater to their wishes. One day, I walked into the computer lab where she was crying. She was so stressed out that she couldn't think straight. To her, the workload in front of her was insurmountable, and she was worried that a poor grade on the next day's exam would deprive her of her scholarship, without which she wouldn't be able to attend the school (or so she believed). I tried to get her to calm down, and eventually, she did. I got her to start thinking logically about what she needed to do next, instead of throwing all her thoughts into a chaos of emotion (or what I like to call the "thought avalanche"--a small negative thought that triggers a firestorm of mental and emotional disorder). I would never have been able to tell her that without having experienced what I had experienced. At one point, she did retort that it was so easy for me. Easy?! For me?! It had never been easy for me. Everything there was a labor. Going to class was a struggle every day for two years. I had flunked out my first year at a previous school, and came to this one in the hopes that it so easy I couldn't possibly fail so long as I showed up. I had severe trouble getting out of bed for class. Had any of my professors actually been consistent with the attendance policy, my grades would have been in the tank. She had friends. People invited her to things! I had to rely on old friendships the first two years simply because I couldn't create and maintain any new ones! She had dates...I was dateless. I cried miserably because she didn't like me, and I was foolishly in love with her because I got so attached to people. I was desperate for connection, for love. She was firm in her beliefs about God, just like everyone else at the school. I struggled with why a god would consign me to such a horrible fate, a fate in which nothing was wrong with me, except for my mind, a fate where my mind and emotions would play tricks on me, a fate where everything was okay but me, a fate where I was oblivious to good. But you know, that's the terribly ironic thing of it all. It was all about perspective. It wasn't easy for me, but she only saw the outside, what seemed to be true. And in her error, I was at the very least one step ahead of learning a valuable lesson. Everyone has a weakness. Everyone has a strength. There is a price with every privilege. There is a trouble with every talent. Pros and cons for everyone. We are all stupid in something, and smart in another. I don't know why. I don't know if there's a god or any sort of spiritual force out there keeping the scales equal. I don't know why it seems that some people just get along ok, while others are raped, abused, diagnosed with schizophrenia, or suffer the fate of watching it all, being powerless to stop it, and despairing about it all. I just don't know. I hope you get something out of this, and if you don't, just know that this is as impassioned a response as one can be, even though you and I know nothing of each other, really. There's something to this all, to life--if not for its own sake. In any case, I wish you the greatest peace in your life and hope that you are able to find some enjoyment, some fulfillment.
  6. Hey all, The main question is this: How do you guys and gals work out timing in relationships? Now, explanation... I've been dealing with depression for roughly 7 years now (I just turned 25). The worst has been long over (2005-2007), and I've really made a lot of progress in terms of finding fulfillment in my life on a regular basis. (I guess I would loosely define fulfillment as accepting who you are and confidently, calmly, and diligently working toward your life goals and such.) Since losing weight, I've had a lot more relationship opportunities, and have attempted a dating site with mild success. I still struggle with confidence issues and getting past my communication barriers with people; that is to say, my mind works in a weird way due to my upbringing, artistic nature, and depression-related influences. I recently left my conservative Christian roots (Assemblies of God) and am living in a big city in the North (as opposed to suburbia in the South). I'm in artistic field, so I don't have much money. I'm also rather transient at this point, not able to really plant my roots down because of other life goals. Because there's a lot of transition in my life right now what with moving out of religion (at least, temporarily--hoping to find middle ground) and the other stuff, I find that while I want a relationship, I don't know if I have enough time or resources for one right now. For instance, I met someone through a dating website, but she seems super busy all the time and rather inflexible in terms of schedule. While we both have busy schedules, I feel as if she keeps playing the availability game, expecting me to pursue. But I really hate the game. Like really. Plus, I don't feel as though we have much in common despite being matched on compatibility (go figure). So I'm tempted to just move on from that or just let it go entirely. I don't like dating to just date, but I'm not sure what other course of action to pursue. Should I wait and see what happens? Should I stall stuff just to work out all the details in my life with the identity stuff? Did any of you have a similar set of circumstances? How did you deal with those issues? I hope what I'm talking about makes sense, and all answers/personal experiences are appreciated.
  7. Hey Matavastros, I'm not a female, but I feel as though I've had a similar set of circumstances. Take it for what's it worth to you (and feel free to discard the rest ). I'm 25, and up until recently (a couple of months ago), I was a virgin. I'm not terribly experienced at relationships myself: people generally find me quirky at best and often refer to me as "uptight". I'll be honest: getting in shape is one of the best things I ever did. In 2010, I lost 70 lbs. in 8 months (roughly), going from 225 to 155 (at a height of 5'11"). For as hard as it was, it's one of the best decisions I ever made. Yes, people are superficial a lot of times, and the more attractive a person is, the more likely someone will talk to them. That's how the world operates--by sight, unfortunately. Still, the discipline it took to accomplish that boosted my self-confidence. Certainly, it alleviated my symptoms, though it didn't get rid of them. You will feel better about yourself. Granted, again, I'm not the best at relationships (far from it, actually). I've been "friend-zoned" more times in the last 12 months than I can count. It's tough because a lot of people don't understand how a person with depression thinks and acts, especially not the why's behind that behavior and speech. But you've got to push through all that. People who are worthwhile will treat you as worthwhile. And you're in luck because you're a worthwhile person, by simply nature of being you. Here's the trick, though. You've got to strike that balance of openness without being too open too fast. For someone like me who has a very honest approach to everything, that's a hard spot to be in; so I can understand the tension of not having all this experience that everyone else seems to have but you don't. One of the things I've used to help me is to respond to what the other person gives you. How deep are they going? How open are they? If they aren't very open, I'd sit tight until they're ready, or move on if there's no connection. Another thing: don't grab onto things simply because you need a "thing" in your life. In other words, a relationship for relationship's sake is a bad, bad idea. It will only lead you to ruin. Try your best to stay calm (yes, that's super difficult) and choose wisely. Also, if you're looking for an "honest assessment," you're probably not going to get it. Everyone has their own perspective and bias. Work at being comfortable with yourself as you are without the need for someone's feedback. Ultimately, your self-confidence will do the job far more efficiently than anyone's assessment of how good you might look will. I really hope some of this helps; I couldn't sleep and found this randomly. So I figured I'd offer some advice. Take care! 36thoughtless
  8. When I saw this, I knew I needed to join this forum. I don't know why, but I figured it was the right thing to do. I understand completely what you're talking about...no, really, I do. I don't know that I have a good answer; perhaps, there just isn't one. Either way, know that someone is experiencing the same thing. If I've learned one thing, all life comes to some sort of weird cosmic balance (whether that has to do with a god or anything like that, IDK). That is, everyone has a weakness to deal with; for us, it's this inexplicable dissatisfaction with life. But I think it can be overcome.
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