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What I Am Doing To Improve Life

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That's a pretty big load to carry, g.   :hugs:   It almost sounds like you see yourself as being in it alone, as far as providing for your family.  I know you're not, you and your wife are partners.  What shape that partnership takes is between you guys, though. 

Unfortunately seems g really is alone as far as providing for his family. He is the family's only source of income, the wife is a full-time homemaker. And with 3 kids including a newborn to look after, it's not like she can begin job-hunting to ease g's financial burden...nannies cost extra money.



Being partners does not necessarily indicate financial contribution, misanthrop. 


In some cases, it literally does not pay for a spouse to work, if they cannot make enough to get past paying the daycare and the transportation costs of working.  If all that is available is a minimum wage job any distance away, it is entirely possible to lose money working outside the home.  This does not even consider the emotional cost in stress on family members, and potentially increased medical bills from kids being in daycare and thus being exposed to whatever contagious disease is going around. 


There is a lot more to a marriage partnership than money. 




My sincere apologies, g, if I came across as flippant or offensive.

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20Years -


Not at all.  I have only ever found support here, and its why I come back, even after varying absences.


And what you described above - the problem of any net financial benefit - is one we have had to confront.  That is why right now, our plan, and my wife's actions, are focused on getting part time work in the evening or on the weekend so that i can watch the kids at no cost.  Right now, we can't think about the emotional cost, although there is one.  I also don't like thinking about her being on her feet while she is now 7 1/2 months pregnant.  It sucks.


But it is about survival.

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What are others doing to cope these days?


I need to be reminded.


Last night, I had one of the more difficult conversations of my life.  I had called my older brother earlier in the day to ask if he might be able to help us a little financially to get through the next couple months until I will hopefully have some additional money coming in from a modest partial year bonus and hopefully a review and raise.

He asked me to call him back in the evening so we could talk more.


It did not go well.  He just started laying into me about past failures and the '10 year screw-up' I've made financially.  

He derided the lack of specificity of measurable criterion for bonuses and raises in my current position, although he doesn't know what he is talking about.

And then, he set forth 5 criterion that he said were deliberately designed to be difficult, that I would need to meet before we would talk about him loaning any funds.


A couple of them were focused on a plan for repayment, the execution of which he said would be good evidence of improved financial stability and responsibility - and that makes good sense.

The rest included actual accounting statements, including a statement of net worth, a statement of cash flows/ income statement, in acceptable formats after working through various versions (his stipulations), and full access including passwords to all of our bank and credit card accounts....because, he said, he didn't trust me.


At this moment, I am not up for that.  I know that improving some actions and behaviors financially are things I need to continue to work on, and I i'm willing to do.  I just right now don't have the bandwidth emotionally - and maybe even cognitively - to sit down and create these.  They are the kind of things I have not, in fairness, generally every been good at.  They tend to play to my weaknesses even irrespective of depression.  I was able to get through them in courses in school because they were exams - tests, games - something like that.


I have made budgets and forecasts, etc. for myself.  And inevitably, I am and will be doing some of this - although in simple, practical form.  It wasn't nearly so much the fact that he prescribed (and required) these items. It was the things he said along with them, and the way he was, well, really just an incredible a*shole about them.  He talked about his doubt, about how to assist otherwise would be 'enabling,' 'flushing money down the toilet,' etc.  I don't remember it all.  But it wasn't productive.


Asking for our passwords because he said he didn't trust me was uncalled for, as was the general tenor of his dickishness.  For me, it wasn't about whether he was willing to loan us money or not - admittedly, it may be a bad investment, as he said a couple times.  I just don't want to talk to or have a relationship with someone who sees fit to treat another person in this way, regardless of whether their is a familial relationship or not.  


I was pretty upset.  I still am truthfully. Yes it is fraught with real mortal fear, and I can't really disconnect it from that.  But I think mostly it is a painful sort of hurt.  A lack of empathy or ability (and desire) to understand.  This hasn't happened in a vacuum.  He sees depression as just a sort of weakness, a fealty and giving in to self pity.  He doesn't see anything real or legitimate about it.  I am not someone who thinks depression functions as a reason or excuse for everything (who does?).  I recognize that life goes on, and we are all required to carry on, even to overcome whatever our various crosses to bear, are.  But it is not nothing.  And despite depression and all the toll it has contributed to taking, I have persevered, and against some long odds, we're still around and still standing.


Anyhow, it just all felt very, very sh*tty.  Afterward, I told my wife I may not ever talk to him again.  Who knows, but the point is the way he behaved wasn't called for.  It could have been much more constructive.  He could have said, here's what you need to do, now get started, and then we'll talk and let me know how I can offer guidance when you have questions, because I want to help and want to see the best for you, but I just can't loan you or give you money up front now until then.  He is a CPA, I should add here.


But it wasn't.  It was defeating and personally insulting and yah, it was plainly mean spirited the way he was harsh without a purpose.  On my worst day, I wouldn't and haven't treated anyone like this I don't think.  (Maybe it hurts the most to ask myself whether I have sometimes been similarly harsh with my wife at times - oh god, I hope not like that).


Anyway, life feels amazingly bleak.  These rushes of thoughts and feelings of just going up on the roof and ending it keep coming in waves.  I can acknowledge and accept that they do, and sometimes re-focus on the right here and right now.  I've been going back to some of the coping skills I learned over the past couple years in DBT and elsewhere - half-smiling, breathing, practicing a few moments of mindfulness here and there.  And posting here.


I got to spend some time with my wife and girls last night - watching Supergirl - my girls are into this.  It felt good hugging them.  I am trying to keep that close.  


I don't know what I will do.  I do not feel much good about anything right now.  The feelings of guilt and shame and fear are pretty nearly constant.  And that is a shame.  My primary care doctor called yesterday, telling me that my blood sugar is down and still moving in the right direction (even cholesterol down), which seem improbable, because the month of upheaval surrounding our move, contributed to disrupting improved eating and exercise habits.  I want to feel good about that, feel good that I have been putting forth some good performance in my new job - as they've told me.

It is hard to feel good now.


I know that there's nothing I'm going through that others (including many here) haven't experienced and many have gotten through.  I also keep holding on to the hope that things can get better, as several here have reminded me.  I am very grateful for that today.  I don't want to die (and I really don't want to think about how that would impact my beloved children and wife).  Of course, I just don't want to live in this kind of pain.


So I come back to it, and wonder what others are doing, and how they're getting through their suffering and their difficulty today?  I need the support, and hope I can stick it out and hopefully be a support to others.

Edited by gandolfication
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It sounds like your brother took the opportunity to be a real d*ckw*d.  It really sounds like he has some issues of his own, though, in demanding your account passwords.  CPA or not, that sounds really over the top.  And quoting stuff that's a decade old (or more?) is also a sign of issues.  I know blood is blood, but you're right that this doesn't mean you have to put up with it.  You took a long shot, you gave it a chance, though.  You left no stone unturned in your effort to provide for your family.  I'm just sorry that you were rejected in your time of need.


If you have as much difficulty as I do in acknowledging when you do things right, then you might need to keep reminding yourself of what people say you have done right.  Remind yourself that you achieved a goal, whether it is physical health or work related performance.  Remind yourself that you have achieved a standard of performance, and that it is good.  Frequently it is the 'good' part that I have to remind myself about. If you need to, write them out and go over them every day. 


Break down what you need to do into small steps you can achieve, and then make sure you give yourself credit for achieving them.  Write things out if you need to, and go over what you have achieved when you are feeling down.  Sometimes you have to wear down that negative self talk with persistence and relentless optimism.  Your own sense of persistence and sheer stubbornness will see you through a lot of this. I have come to think that a lot of us who struggle on and on with depression have the asset of being sheerly too d*mn stubborn for our own good. 


You are an amazing person, gandolfication.  Don't let depression and insecurity convince you otherwise.  You are an intelligent, determined, caring, capable, aware person who can and will make it through this.  :hugs:

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good grief. That says it all when it comes to his capacity for support or understanding. I have to say that the only way I survive these days is to avoid people who are like this or to at least put up as many boundaries as I need to feel safe. 


You are a human being that has a legitimate illness and I have never seen you use anything as an excuse. Try not to take on his words as truth. I know how hard that can be but they belong to him not you. 

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I'm sorry to hear about your continued struggles, G. I am back in a funk as well, and to cope I am continuing my meds, engaging with people, forcing myself to eat a bit of something, focusing on the positive things I have in my life--parents and sisters, my house, my job, coming to this site, and reminding myself that things will get better. 

Edited by camilo
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That's very encouraging.  And a lot of it is spot on for me.  I've had several friends over the years, who would frequently say to me, in a way I always found quizzical, [Gandolfication] "you're a good man."  I genuinely always thought the commented denoted mostly a sardonic sense of my naivete or something (I was a bit of a conservative religious activist at the time).  Over time, and eventually asking directly, I learned there wasn't a hint of disrespect in it and they meant it sincerely exactly as stated.  The suggestion to write it down is a good one, and I have resolved to resume doodling in my journal regarding various things including affirmations and venting through writing.


I squeezed in a quick lunch yesterday with a good friend and mentor (and my former 12 step sponsor) and we talked about the present and practicing these things through meditation, prayer (however one views this term), and realizing that most of life's worry and anxiety is over the past and the future.  He shared the adage that the past is history, the future mystery and now is a gift, that's why it's called the present, and a few other tomes, which I am holding to and practicing as often as possible.


I am still processing and having to deal with the feeling of emotional alienation from the conversation with my brother (and since then also "no's" from my mom and one of my close law school friends who I've helped a lot with advice and such over the years - he is the guy who first started telling me I'm a good man - interesting character, and I'm happy to say that although he said no, he couldn't help, he didn't make me feel the slightest bit guilty or ashamed for asking. Regarding my brother, this is what life and hurt in relationships in this world often are, and time and resilience will help salve it.  I am aware of two seemingly incompatible things:  1) I have at least some strong level of tendency to equate security and  help (financial help most frequently unfortunately) with love in a way that even being aware of it in concept doesn't 'solve' or change; and 2) others are responsible for their actions too, and there are plenty of ways to say, "nope, I can't help ya" without being a grade A d*ck about it.


I really like your statement about relentless optimism.  I feel like I still have this in me, although being honest in this moment, it seems like I can rarely find and access it in a conscious way.  Anyhow, thank you.

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I'm sorry to hear about your continued struggles, G. I am back in a funk as well, and to cope I am continuing my meds, engaging with people, forcing myself to eat a bit of something, focusing on the positive things I have in my life--parents and sisters, my house, my job, coming to this site, and reminding myself that things will get better. 


Focusing on the positive things seems to be one of the great powers we have, although I think for the depressed, it takes special energy to access and apply it.  I know it does for me.  But you're doing a lot and I commend and congratulate you for it.  Keep doing what you can, and thanks for sharing here.

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good grief. That says it all when it comes to his capacity for support or understanding. I have to say that the only way I survive these days is to avoid people who are like this or to at least put up as many boundaries as I need to feel safe. 


You are a human being that has a legitimate illness and I have never seen you use anything as an excuse. Try not to take on his words as truth. I know how hard that can be but they belong to him not you. 


Thanks.  Yah, I think many of us here have gone through the difficult cycle of having to impose some level of avoiding even those in our family - some whom we may still greatly love and care for and in a complicated way, want to have a relationship with.  I have seldom been able to reduce it to any kind of simplistic equation, and yet the truth in what you're saying resonated with me.


And I guess that is what I am doing for now.  I'm not chiming in on his emails to the family for example.....which is fine, because they are mostly the kind that aren't about important things anyway.  

And I'm giving myself a complete pass as to whether, when and how I ever really re-engage and try to fashion a relationship with him, as well as the very painful feelings just in general vis a vis my family.  I am not the first or the last to have them, and I do not need to be defined by them.  Pain is a part of life.  Suffering can probably often be somewhat alleviated by the actions we take - and that is what I'll chose and work hard to focus on. (I am stressed at work, but also seeking to smile as often as possible, remember the good, and live in this moment).   Appreciate everyone's constructive feedback here and wishing everyone the best today. 

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I've been getting back into, little by little, some practices of reading, meditating (just found a new website and app I like a lot so far called Calm.com), and I talked to my wife last night about putting a positive/inspiration jar on our kitchen counter for us to jot out any good thoughts, ideas, quotes, etc. to encourage one another and revisit as often as possible.


This morning I was thinking about the people I tend to be drawn to who are 'happy warriors.'  They are in all walks of life, but I tend to think of them in politics, because this is still my cottage interest, hobby and maybe one day ambition again.  I may write about this later.


For now, I'm going to share something I thought was good that the President of my division sent out today.  I like it with partial caveat to # 8 that most of us here know we aren't in full control of our thoughts and feelings....but I think I already dwell on this too much, so on the whole, I think this is good and am thus sharing it.




9 Mantras That Will Keep You Mentally Strong in Tough Times
The way you think about adversity affects your ability to persevere.
Amy Morin is a psychotherapist, a keynote speaker, and the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do, a best-selling book that is being translated into more than 20 languages.
Author, "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do"@AmyMorinLCSW
IMAGE: Getty Images

While it's often easy to be mentally strong when life is going well, your true strength becomes apparent through adversity. The loss of a loved one, a health problem, relationship issues, and financial troubles are just a few of the hardships most people face at one time or another.

The way you think about life's inevitable obstacles affects your ability to cope with tough times. Developing a productive inner dialogue is one of the most productive ways mentally strong people keep building their mental muscle. Repeating positive, yet realistic affirmations can drown out the negative thoughts that can hold you back.

Here are nine things to remember when you're going through tough times.

1. I have what I need to get through this.

Thinking things like "I can't do this" or "This isn't fair" will cause you to feel defeated. Rather than insist you need more, remember what you already have. If you've made it this far in life, you clearly have some skills, tools, and resources already in place.

2. Living according to my values is what really matters.

There are going to be people who won't like you and times when people will disagree with the decisions you make. But your job isn't to please everyone. Be brave enough to live according to your values, even when that means making unpopular decisions.

3. Failure is part of the road to success.

Failure isn't fun, but beating yourself up over it won't help. Each time you fall down, it serves as proof you're pushing yourself to new limits. Remember that each failure is an opportunity to grow stronger and become better.

4. All I can do is my best.

Demanding perfection from yourself will do more harm than good. Whether you're interviewing for a job that you really need, or you've got one last shot to try for that promotion, insisting there's no room for error will skyrocket your anxiety. A little self-compassion will help you perform at your peak.

5. Five years from now this won't matter as much as I think it will.

Keep temporary problems in perspective by reminding yourself that the emotional pain, anxiety, or turmoil won't last forever. Many of today's crucial decisions and major worries won't actually matter that much a few years down the road.

6. I'm stronger than I think.

A serious health problem or the loss of a loved one can be very difficult to handle. But catastrophic predictions like "I'll never recover from this" or "I won't ever be happy again" will only drag you down. Adversity often reveals hidden inner strength you never knew you had.

7. I can handle feeling uncomfortable.

It can be tempting to stay inside your comfort zone, but getting through tough times often requires you to do something different. Although emotions like fear, embarrassment, and disappointment are uncomfortable, they won't **** you. Be willing to face those emotions head on and you'll gain confidence in your ability to cope with discomfort.

8. I am in control of how I think, feel, and behave.

Blaming other people for what's going on in your life won't help your situation. Acknowledging that you're in control of how you think, feel, and behave can empower you to either make the best of your circumstances, or create positive changes in your life.

9. I've been knocked down before and I can get back up again.

Look back at the times you've persevered before. Recalling your fortitude in dealing with past struggles can help you summon the strength to deal with current problems.

Giving yourself positive affirmations alone won't necessarily change your life--the way you think is only one of the three core factors of mental strength. But healthy self-talk will help you feel better and inspire you to behave more productively, which is key to getting through tough times.

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Distraction and Discontent


The last few days, I've been thinking a lot about,and struggling a lot with distractions and negative thinking.


I have to admit, I haven't been practicing many of the mindfulness or DBT techniques I've learned over the past couple years to combat and improve this.  Some credit where do - I have done some of them - breathing, half-smiling, positive self talk, taking a break here or there, and some exercise.  


And that is and illustration of part of the solution for me - making explicit rote effort, even journaling, which this here is a form of, the positive things I do.  My negative inner critic is so strong and so embedded, I am convinced that just noticing it as real and there, and normal (this is the not blaming part), is about half the battle for me.  Most of the time, I'm not really self-aware of it or I tell myself that it is appropriate or just a function of judging my poor results accurately.  But that isn't really the case.


I've been struggling particularly at work with remaining focused on doing one task at a time, well and efficiently.  This has led to typos in emails and in documents that I can't afford to have continue.  Many have been noticed and have been raised as issues.  This is dangerous and unsettling, and throws me into more of a fear-based state.


I feel like I was much less prone or made fewer of these types of typographical and just 'dumb' mistakes (sorry, I just don't know a better shorthand word to describe them - careless?  driven by ADD, where I'm on the scale?  maybe 'distraction mistakes' is the right term).


So today I went looking for some articles and information about how to minimize these kinds of mistakes.  I read a couple this morning, including this one:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2013/01/15/how-multitasking-hurts-your-brain-and-your-effectiveness-at-work/.  Turning  off email is one of the freequent suggestions.  I can do this at home, but at work, there really is an explicit expectation to have it on all the time for up to the minute communication - I work for multiple managing directors and they're both in my office and around the country, and like everything nowadays, ours is a fast-moving business.


Some of it for me too, is still perfectionism, and wanting and making things a little too detailed or long form (people can probably tell this from many of my posts).  So I try to make a conscious effort to make both emails and documents shorter and more succinct - and find the right balance.  Tough for me.  The urge to want to make it 'just right' and somehow think that is the mark of quality and will benefit me when it hasn't seemed to have worked out that way, is nonetheless still powerful.


I try to see how other people do this effectively.  I think the goals are these:  1) to focus on the right things; 2) to focus on one thing at a time as much as possible, finish it until it is done or put it aside until another more appropriate scheduled time; 3) move between fewer tasks and decisions during they day.  The articles and the neuroscience are clear - our brains are not equipped to do more than one things at a time unless it is an embedded task, i.e., driving somewhere we know while listing to the radio.  The time and energy lost from moving from a distraction or even one legitimate task to another, is astonishing - 4x the energy of just doing a task, by some measurements.  So trying to cut down and filter down to fewer, more important tasks is a goal, although is difficult.  We all have calls, emails, voicemails, IM's etc. - and this is just work.


Planning my day and week more specifically is also something I believe I need to continue to work at an improve.  I used to do this very well, albeit, it also was easier in the easily structured and low-distraction environments of college and law school (one big reason I loved the cloistered confines of academia).


Anyhow I posted this because writing helps me focus and calm, and to see if anyone else has thoughts or tips that have worked for them to improve in this area.

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Today it all feels like its falling apart and useless and hopeless.

Just stress and emptiness.

I let it out at home - just couldn't pretend at all that I think I'm going to make it. Not proud of that, but nothing seems to matter right now. The feeling of loneliness and pointlessness has submerged all else. I really don't know what to do. I want to write something positive....but I can't muster it right now. Had to write something.

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If I had enough of the right kind of pills right now I would do my best to make sure I'd never wake up. I just don't want to face more consciousness feeling like this....hurting others because Ibhurt myself. Thia is no kind of life woth living. The feel guilty posting this here, but have no idea how hatvelse to do.

Im overwhelmed thia week and it coincides with a big dip in energy the winter blues, work stress, my court date, etc., and a baby in a month. I REALLY want out. I know I shouldn't shownor aaybthia around my wife.....I just don't know how to always keep it in. ****

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Thanks for the reply....to my admittedly unconstructive posts last night.  There is something positive in your post, which is that there is power in acceptance of what is.  You're right about that at least to a large extent.  Last night, and in general, I cannot control or at least have limited power to influence how I feel at any given time.  Feelings just arise, and are.  And that has some power and liberation.  Especially for me since I tend to be a terrible self-critic (and I know that is common here).


Yet, one of the lessons I have learned and have to re-learn again a lot, is that there are things I can do, actions I can take, that help.  I don't have to theorize about it because I have felt and seen it many times.  In that sense, I know I am not totally helpless, even when it feels like it.  To me, it is the mystery expressed in the serenity prayer,  help me to have the courage to change the things I can, the serenity to accept the things I can't, and the wisdom (and peace?) to know the difference.


For me, the last part of your post is more fatalistic than what I believe (even if what I said last night contradicts this).  I'll appropriate Walt Whitman's phrase from leaves of grass here:  "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes."



Yes part of this is my trying to convince myself, but that's okay.  I had a hard night.  I'll most likely have many more, and last night I yelled into this page so to speak.  It beat a lot of alternatives I guess, and that is the paradox I'm talking about of acceptance and empowerment.  You've helped me hear by listening and responding.  That's one other thing I have learned.  When all else fails, if I can help someone else - anyone - even with the smallest act of kindness, it affirms the good in life for me.

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You've got more life wisdom than 100 typical, intelligent people.   Wherever you may be in the cycle at any given moment, you help alot of people when you write.  And it took all of the dirt, sweat, and pain to forge that wisdom.  Your baby is going to change the world for the better, knowing that you were the difference.


Your story unfold over decades.  Take care.

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This is an article my wife sent me.  I know it is not as easy as this little article, but I thought it was right and had some good stuff in it anyway.


Why self-love is so important and how to do it


Self-love is a term that is used a lot in the self-help and personal development world. So you might have read or heard plenty about it, you might know that it is important and you may even understand why.

Your primary relationship needs to be with yourself - all others are mirrors of it. As you learn to love yourself, you automatically receive the love and appreciation that you desire from others. When you are committed to yourself and to living your truth, you will attract others with equal commitment. The better you feel about yourself the better your life will be. Your outside world is usually a direct expression of your internal world.

Yet the question I hear by a lot of folks is “how?"

It’s an amazing question and here is how you do it:

By acting as if.

Act as if you were completely and utterly in love with yourself. Speak, eat, drink, dress and treat yourself as if you were your most loving fan, your best friend, guardian angel and lover all at once. 

Let me give you some examples:

  • Tell yourself you love yourself, speak kindly about yourself and stop berating and criticising yourself. Accept yourself the way you are and remember that nobody is perfect.
  • Say positive affirmations such as “I love and accept myself exactly the way I am, no matter what. I am equal to everyone else. I am worthy” over and over again out loud; a million times a day if necessary.
  • Be kind to your body; drink plenty of water, eat healthy foods and exercise. Treat yourself in a way that reflects someone that really loves, cares about and honors themselves.
  • Spoil yourself regularly. Have a bath, do your nails, put a facemask on, get a manicure, wear your most gorgeous underwear regardless whether you are single or in a relationship and do anything else that says “I love you, you are worthy and deserve to be treated well”. (Guys, you can do those things as well, or at least you get the idea here. Treat yourself ;) ).
  • Take yourself on a regular date. Just you and yourself. Whether that is going to your favorite coffee shop and read for an hour, treating yourself to a massage, going for a walk or taking an art class, do take the time to have a weekly date with yourself.
  • Last but not least, take things lightly. Take yourself lightly. Being on a self-development or spiritual journey doesn’t mean we have to be serious. Make sure to have tons of fun, laugh, giggle and do things that make you happy.  

Whatever you do, always do it with an intention of loving-kindness and care.

Even if you are just faking it at the beginning, you are going to reap the benefits of it. Fake it till you make it.

If you need help getting into the right frame of mind, especially at the beginning of embracing this new attitude get used to asking yourself the following two questions on a regular basis:

How would I treat and speak to myself if I loved myself like a mother loves her little child?

How would someone that absolutely loves, accepts and honors themselves treat herself or himself?

I want you to get into this new attitude right away. Think and speak kindly about yourself and choose two things that you are going to do today that express utmost love and kindness towards yourself. Then each day do something new and continue with what you have already tried so it starts becoming a whole new way of being.

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I am feeling it harder to concentrate again lately.  I think it is just anxiety over a lot disparate parts of my life with things going on that I can't control.

I have a little, but need to practice some more mindfulness and other DBT techniques that help with this.


The holidays are coming up, and I am very grateful I'll be able to take some time off, and that is probably something that is actually adding to it at the moment - just a generalized sense of excitement, good and bad over the time of year, etc.


I got out and ran in some sunlight twice this weekend, drafted most of an answer to a stupid lawsuit, and put together a bed for my soon-to-give-birth wife.  I also played with the kids a lot and helped clean around the house.  I am giving myself a good pat on the back for that right now.


I'm trying to remember to speak to myself in ways that are affirming as I do with others.  This takes continual awareness and effort for me. 

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Best Shows/Movies, and Depression or Related Themes


I posted a thread in Depression Central asking what movies or shows anyone is watching that either deal with or touch on themes of depression, stress, anxiety or the like, that people are watching and enjoying these days.  I need an outlet to discuss these shows.  Life is too isolated these days and I haven't found a good forum to discuss this kind of thing even on line.  If anyone knows of one, I'd love if they shared it here.


Along those lines, one of my favorite things within the last 10 years has been a deepening love of great film as an art form and a way to both escape but also see depression, anxiety, stress, emotion, etc., depicted creatively and beautifully on screen.  I think these themes make a story more relatable while helping process certain things.  


A few of my favorite films/shows, in no particular order, that deal with these issues are as follows.  I welcome others' thoughts here about what they have watched, are watching or want to watch that deal with any of these issues.


Do you feel like watching shows, whether dramas or comedies or anything in between, helps?  Hurts?  Is neutral and is just a generally harmless, temporary escape?  


This thread doesn't have to be limited to just talking about entertainment that depicts depression and the like.  I just think it is one of the more poignant themes in art and literature including film.


-Inception - the love story around DiCaprio's loss of his wife is moving to me

-A Single Man - about a professor who lost his loved one, and the way he copes.  Really aesthetically beautiful (and I think emotionally too) by designer Tom Ford, starring Collin Firth.

-Another Earth - again, a beautiful depiction of regret, disappointment and pain and the way through (the sci-fi aspect is really in the background)

-Luther - the BCC detective thriller

-River - currently watching this BBC drama (on Netflix) with stellan skarsgård who is excellent as usual. His partner was killed in front of him, and he wobbles between skilled detective and his delusions and hallucinations.  

-Jessica Jones - gritty, dark drama wrapped in a Marvel superhero story.  The character is bleak and nihilistic, as a result of some prolonged trauma and the fear of its return.

-Bloodline - fantastic drama on Netflix (has to do with family, not vampires as the name might otherwise imply).  Danny, the black sheep brother has his character wrapped up in a childhood trauma that his family made worse and deals with his bouts with addiction and just darkness in life.

-Magnolia - okay, this isn't new at all, but still one of the best dramas ever dealing with the heaviness of life and a really beautiful way I think.



There are countless others, but I was just hoping to get a discussion going, and see what others liked.

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Much food for thought as usual visiting your thread, thank you!  I have to admit I'm not sure I agree entirely with some of the 'self love' article. I'm always really leery when I hear anything that smacks of 'fake it until you make it.'  But then again, no one could be harsher on myself than me, and if I spoke to others and treated others with the same impossible yardstick I use on myself, even Mother Therese would've clocked me several by now.  Like I said, food for thought. 


For the movies, though, your tastes are a little different than mine. I am an avoidant personality, and I when I escape, I need something that does not deal directly with whatever issue I am stressing over. I also need flawed characters who are able to overcome their weaknesses, as this inspires me to overcome my own weaknesses.  I don't really like 'chic flic' movies, or movies that are primarily 'relationship' oriented.  I tend to favor action, or man vs nature plot lines, and tend to have very little tolerance for movies where 'might makes right,' even if good does 'overcome' in the end (IE Elysium).


Pacific Rim - Action, slightly dystopian future, where telepathically bonded pairs operate mega-mecha-warriorbots against alien species invading earth.

No. 6 - Anime (science-fiction, shounen-ai, slice of life, action genres) set in dystopian future where selected individuals live in highly controlled environments, ignorant of the ugly workings of their repressive society; the main characters overcome this society and expose the truth. I actually re-watch this when I'm particularly stressed out.

Red series or Expendables series - action all the way, classic action hero actors, semi comedy, no discernible plot line

Chronicles of Riddick series - action, dystopian, science fiction - the underdog is insanely determined and has the muscle and talent to back it up; he kicks *ss, takes names, and doesn't back down.  And, I get to watch Vin Diesel.

Blazing Saddles - I love Gene Wilder, that's it.  Hilarious spoof of spaghetti westerns.  And, Gene Wilder, did I say that?

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Gene Wilder version - I dearly love Gene Wilder in this; I think he does it so well. Although Johnny Depp did pretty well re-making it, and I think Depp is really the only one who could have followed Wilder and still made it his own, like he did.  Love Wilder's line - 'And so shines a good deed in a weary world.' 

Underworld series - paranormal, shapeshifting, vampires - I love the paranormal aspect of this, the world we know tweaked just a little.

Megamind - Yes, there could be an embarrassing assortment of Disney CGI or animated movies on this list.

Sherlock BBC series - I. Am. Addicted. Watch, re-watch, memorize, repeat. I adore Martin Freeman, and Dr. John Watson doesn't get nearly enough credit, IMHO.  Love, love, love!!  LOVE IT!!  (sorry, lost control there.)


Oh, and speaking of Sherlock, please Robert Downey Jr, by all that is good and holy in this universe, NEVER play Sherlock again!!!!  Please!!  (it took me nearly  3 years to see Downey's Sherlock movies, and the only reason I did is the ridiculously long hiatus between BBC Sherlock seasons.)



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Regarding self-love, the one thing I really identified with and have learned/accepted at least in concept is this line:  'Your primary relationship needs to be with yourself - all others are mirrors of it. As you learn to love yourself, you automatically receive the love and appreciation that you desire from others.'

Don't you think that is largely true?  We are both above saying how we know (even if we can't always get behind and change) that a significant part of depression is self-castigation.  I'm not saying that's all it is, but I do think it's an endemic part of it.  I've just observed with myself, for example, that I have more trouble in relationships, work, etc., when I am disdaining myself more.  And it works the other way too - when external things are objectively going badly, I internalize and blame myself.



​To the fun part, that is an eclectic grouping of movies.



I liked Pacific Rim and Chronicles of Riddick.  If you want a fantastic action movie, the latest Mission Impossible (Rogue Nation) installment was, I thought, amazing.  Which is amazing to say for any movie making its 5th installment. A couple of the earlier ones I thought were just okay, but that one, especially in Imax, but any way, was great.  If you want to add dystopia to it, the other one I saw in the theater that I thought was compelling from beginning to end (although also bracing), was Mad Max, Fury Road.  I know everyone's tastes are different, but for what they're worth...


Gene Wilder was unique, and I like the movies with you that you mentioned.


Regarding Sherlock Holmes, I am a big fan of the stories and genre, since reading them all and watching the British TV series, the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.  For me, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Brettwill always be Sherlock Holmes.  I agree with you that the Guy Ritchie / Robert Downy Jr. films were a terrible mess I regretted watching (much like Pirates of the Caribbean).  I watched a couple of the Sherlock shows with Benedict Cumberbach and Martin Freeman, both great I think.  I liked it and thought it was pretty good.

Cumberbach is one of the best actors out there today for my money and was terrific in The Imitation Game.

The Fox show House MD had a recurring homage to Sherlock Holmes that House's character was loosely and partly based on.


I like films mostly for entertainment's sake as well, but I always feel like they're more memorable and I get something extra out of them if and when they at least touch on some of the heaviest aspects of human existence.  (which is probably why a strong majority of the films above deal with one or more characters who are contemplating or attempt suicide.  It isn't about being morbid.  But it also isn't (for me) just about overcoming, although that is part of it.  It's the beauty that lies on both sides or something like that I guess.


I have been scoping out a few potential movies to watch both with family and with my wife over the holidays and before baby # 3 comes along.  Sitting in a theater is one thing my very pregnant wife can go out and do relatively comfortably still at this point, so I think we will try.


Anyhow, thanks for sharing, I always enjoy conversing with you.  Happy holidays if we don't chat again before thanksgiving.

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Winter/Monday/Return-to-Work blahs


Today is my first day back to work after being off for 5 days for the TG holiday and weekend.

Things are stressful in general with finances, an annoying collections lawsuit I am managing and a new baby due in mid-December, and work.


I have had an energetic and productive period, with some ups and downs (I tend to oscillate in different patterns with manic depressive illness), but I have generally maintained high energy over the last 6 -7 months or so, generally to good effect (I even managed to snatch victory--a promotion--from the jaws of defeat--otherwise being fired at the large multinational corporation I work for).


But for a while, I have gradually--and then seemingly all at once--discerned a slowing down....of energy, vitality, even confidence.  This also brings back heightened levels of fear, guilt and shame, especially because I seem to find it harder to concentrate and stay focused.


Challenges I new deal with include:

-finding the right balance between pushing myself to do what needs to get done while not being too hard on myself (a recurring theme for me);

-dealing with the increased tendency to project, rather than to live in the moment;

-deciding whether and when to take prescribed medication, and if so, which one - Ritalin for help with concentrating or Klonopin for help with the anxiety.


My anxiety usually stems from feelings and thoughts about procrastinating and getting distracted, or otherwise work-avoidance behaviors, generally out of fear, but also I'm sure boredom.


I have not been diagnosed as ADHD, but from testing and reading and observation, am confident I am close on that continuum.  


I posted this on the Depression Central forum this morning because I needed a brief outlet to get this off my chest, one thing I have found this site excellent for and am thus very thankful for.  I hope everyone else out there in the US had a nice Thanksgiving.

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