Monday, September 24, 2018

Comments by dfk

Showing 44 of 44 comments.

  • We live in a culture of competence, ability, achievement, excellence, responsibility, etc. It matters how good we are at doing something. What has happened, however, is that these things, no matter how good they are, have become the foundation of our mental state, our foundation in life. We get fed this story of doing our best from when we are little, and it’s become the principle story. The other story, of our unconditional value and worth, comes in second place. Whatever we do, we are going to be compared and scored and classified. In my opinion, the spirit of competition has become so ingrained in almost everything, it’s making us sick, even some of those who excel.

  • The only therapist I felt like taking any advice from was one that actually seemed to care what I thought or felt. The rest of them just wanted to use either some authority figure approach or some kind of method approach. I think we have to feel like our attitudes, feelings, opinions, are first accepted as important, worthy, and honorable, because that is what we have to work with, that is what we are at the moment. But when they just brush those things aside, I seem to just automatically reject their advice.

  • I understood CBT to say basically that since feelings are derived from the consequences of beliefs, and the beliefs you have were almost certainly arrived at through faulty reasoning, it must follow that they are not necessarily true, and therefore questionable, and when seen correctly, must be false. So, if you buy all that, logically, you give up those beliefs, and feel better, find yourself able to do that which is validating, satisfies your needs, conquers your fears, and improves life. It sounded good, except for the feeling that beliefs were somehow so basically ingrained that to challenge them with reason wasn’t going to budge them because they were learned emotionally, and it takes an emotional approach to influence them. To me it was that I was going to have to feel something to change something, and CBT was just missing that. Their solution is exposure therapy, and I had enough exposure to bad situations already, I thought it was bad experiences that created the problem, so why just keep doing that over again. I suppose my beliefs had to change first, but then how does that work? It all seemed to rely on you being over awed by the authority of the therapist. IMO it takes some good experience to overcome some bad experience, but with CBT they seem to like to throw you to the wolves.

  • I was reading about childhood emotional neglect, and it said this is a very big problem, where children don’t get the right emotional responses. Another place I think said that as children we learn what our feelings mean by first feeling we have transferred them to a parent or adult, and then from their reaction we get the meaning. So, if we never got this, maybe the problem is not so much the feelings, but that we don’t know what they mean, we don’t know how serious they are. It’s the unknown that makes them so hard to live with. And perhaps the most intense one is that we are not known at all, and thus our survival is in peril. It seems like the answer is to provide the kind of signals and signs that our feelings are at last received and correctly understood, and then by watching the reactions of those who received them, we get the meaning. Maybe our subconscious mind doesn’t respond to a verbal explanation of what our feelings mean. Maybe the helping professions are not giving the right kind of feedback to those in distress. My experience was always feeling like something fundamental was missing.

  • I’ve read where most of the personality is formed in the first 5 years of life through interactions with adults, usually parents. Since psychosis does involve some kind of external influences being thought about, perhaps it could be the brain still looking for what it needed in those first years but was unable to find. I read they think that infants first feel like they are one with the mother and then later separate to form a separate person. And that a child growing up needs to feel their experience and feelings are known to their parent, who can be trusted and tolerant. There is a lot that can go wrong on the way to maturity. If we really knew what happens to people, maybe we would be a lot more sympathetic.

  • I think the system we have in our society must be defined to include the family of origin, and how dysfunctional it is. I came from a very dysfunctional family, and so were the families before them. It gets passed down until it is interrupted by chance or intention. This is the part of our society’s “system” that, if changed, would really do something good. Once the damage is done, I don’t think the methods to correct it are very effective, at least not in my experience.

  • I think if you do something, possibly anything, that you expect might make you feel better, it probably will. And if you were in a study, and someone was acting even sort of half way like they were interested in how you felt, that would help you feel better. I tried a light like that once, and it didn’t seem to do anything, but I wasn’t expecting it to. What helps me is when anyone shows what I perceive to be a genuine interest in what I think or feel. I have never understood how therapists or psychiatrists hope to do anything with their cookbook methods.

  • I think people really believe that our nature as human beings has changed as our mode of living has changed. People have become more separated from family, more mobile, we have lost a little with each new generation, of the things which really we evolved or were designed into as our natural habitat. We need to be in our clan, tribe, community, and have a sense of common identity. Now, people get evaluated, classified, sorted, and treated like objects. We are taught to compete in just about everything. If we put an animal out of its normal habitat, it’s considered cruel. But we allow ourselves to be put out of our natural habitat, and we call it progress.

  • I too had parents who barely spoke to me as I grew up. I think it became like a sentence handed down from a court, that I should never be known to other people, because they say that what a child interprets from his parents is taken as very final. But we all have a powerful need to be known, to be social, and so these two forces are in conflict, and this has lasted my entire life, and been a source of a lot of misery. I never got involved with the mental health system hardly at all, and I suppose that is fortunate. I don’t have any answers, but I came to the same conclusion, that the system doesn’t either.

  • Well, aren’t we basically social creatures, and when we have those needs met, we feel reasonably good, and when we don’t, we feel bad. It’s built into our brains to make us feel bad, so we will be motivated to somehow get our needs met, and thus it makes us more likely to survive. Those who can’t get what they need feel bad, act differently, have internal conflicts, and when society, that is, people, don’t think it’s important to meet a certain person’s needs, then it suits them to label the aforesaid person as “ill” in some way, to label them, to help justify casting them on the scrap heap. Our social nature can go different ways, one competitive, where winners create losers, and the other cooperative, where each person is an asset. Maybe it is instinctive which way people choose, based on conditions, beliefs about what is valuable, or what may happen in the future.

  • Maybe they could call what they are treating for by its cause, such as lingering effects of childhood abuse, or latent effects of childhood emotional neglect, or emotional injury from abusive spouse. They don’t need to say anything about disorder, or to say that a person has something. When they use the word disorder, it implies something wrong with the functioning of the mind. But people’s minds can be functioning fine, it’s just that they are working on really awful data.

  • From abuse in childhood, we learned the world is hostile, and we don’t have the power to defend ourselves. The feelings we get later in life are meant to defend us, to save our lives. But the mental health care system, in a way, tries to remove even this last defense we try to muster. What we need is power, not to have it taken away. Power comes from social solidarity, the kind of thing you get from your feelings being known and highly respected. That’s the way I see it.

  • What a tragic thing. It was mentioned that he endured child abuse. I know from my own experience that can create life long feelings that are very persistent. I have come to believe that it’s not the feelings that are the problem as much as the under expression, and under reception, of those feelings. That is mostly the message of abusive or neglectful childhoods, that feelings don’t matter, and should not be talked about. People in general and therapists that I have encountered are not the “reception” business like they ought to be. They are more in the “deflection” business.

  • I think the comparison of toxic stress to actual diseases is a bad idea. In a disease, there is some process that affects the cells and what they do, but stress is a cognitive thing, so the brain is forming memories, ways to cope, and cognitive defensive reactions. The brain is not damaged like in a disease, there are new connections and additions to fend off the threats that come from dysfunctional environments. We should keep making the distinction that drugs are for actual diseases, but for mental states, we need something else, because those are not actual diseases.

  • I think psychiatrists are like other people, in that when they feel that certain things must be so, and that feeling is very strong, they come to a point where they consciously decide that they should believe it. They no longer leave it as an open question. They know somewhere in themselves, that they can’t possibly be certain, but they have given in to the feelings, they have surrendered their reason to their emotions. When other people do that, they call it psychosis, but when the professional people do that, they call it something else, more honorable, but it’s the same thing.

  • The way I see this is that each person’s experience with a given drug is one anecdote, as in I know this person who…. and so on. I thought the point was, if you then plot each anecdote on the graph (I assume there would be more dots on the graph than shown), you would see the aggregate picture, you get to see all the anecdotes in one place. Then you can get a rough idea of the odds that you will be helped or harmed by this drug. Along the horizontal axis in the time line, so this is when the anecdotes were recorded. I think the graph makes the point.

  • I think that everyone has the need to be seen, heard, understood, and their feelings respected, no matter what those feelings are. And that ordinary people who want to help another can supply this need to those around them if they are determined. That to me is better than any therapy applied by the current system.

    One thing I have never heard mentioned on this site is the Internal Family Systems model and therapy that I read about by Richard Schwartz. It says that we are all multiply part personalities, and it’s about being friendly and considerate to all our parts and allowing our true self to be in the leadership of our minds. It seems like a good idea, certainly kinder and more considerate than the psychiatry system. In that system you fulfill the need to be heard of each part of your mind to get them all working together. And if our minds are multiple parts, then that explains some of the intricate ways in which symptoms present, and to me invalidates the DSM labels.

  • That actually sounds like some kind of military training, where there is a lot of screaming and toughening up. It reminds me of the Daniel Mackler video, where he says that most psychotherapy just helps people dissociate from their feelings, and that makes them actually feel better. But then they end up doing different harmful, addictive, dangerous things to keep their feelings blocked. I have read that there are a lot of sociopaths in the world who are very successful because they don’t have any feelings of conscience to interfere with their business practices.

  • I would think if therapists had many effective methods, and just needed to find the right one, they would want feedback. But since they usually don’t, I question that they really have that many tools. Unless the client can tell them how to do their job, they wouldn’t know what to do with the feedback.

  • It’s not that mature adult leadership for teenagers would be nice, it is essential. The premise that if only kids would be nicer to each other, you can avert tragedy, is flawed to begin with. What I think should come out of a story like this is that what is considered normal for adolescents is in fact a complete aberration of human needs. You can’t combine immature individuals together and expect mature results. And yet for typical teenagers, they are left to their own devices, because adults, the parents, have lost their instinct to assume the role they should have.

    Metal health professionals typically take a mechanical approach to emotional needs. It doesn’t work that well. A child needs an emotionally responsive go to person who has a stake in the child’s life. A child needs to have power in this relationship so he can share his inside world of feelings with a person of some importance. This is foundational, what is needed without question, in every life.

  • My mother was paranoid, and one of her beliefs was that people would put things in her food. I would get her groceries and she would ask if I had put something in her milk, and I would say no. But she would say she knew I did that. Sometimes I would get outraged about it, but she was undaunted. Now I wonder if I had said, oh, you feel like I spiked your milk, and just let the conversation go from there, never telling her my version of what I knew to be reality. Maybe a lot of why she felt that way could have been revealed. She saw many psychiatrists, took many drugs, and never did change her mind.

  • I’ve talked to a handful of therapists, and most have not helped, so I have had various theories about what they should have been doing. My latest thought is that a therapist should make expressing your feelings a positive experience, and nothing more. When they give advice, it just makes things worse. One that I spoke to listened for a short time, and then told me I should go home and take up knitting, and he even wrote it down on a piece of paper and gave it to me. I wish I was making that up.

  • It seems like what’s needed is a more humane and ethical treatment of people in distress. What if someone very influential wrote something which changed the public’s perception of those who have painful emotional problems?

    What it could say is that the brain is like a computer, and has software and hardware. The hardware is the neurons, and the software is the meanings in the organized connections between the neurons.

    Now the basic idea with the article is that mental distress is mostly a software problem, not a hardware problem. In fact, the brain’s hardware conforms to the software. It increases or decrease it’s resources to accommodate the software.

    All that is done by drugs is to interfere with the hardware so it can’t efficiently run the software. But this is an impossible job to do without undesirable side effects, just like in a computer in which you sabotaged the hardware by cutting wires and circuit traces to inhibit some rogue software.

    And now the clincher is that you say something like, if a person can become part of a social grouping in which they are unconditionally accepted and acceptable, their brain software is gradually rewritten and new software put in place that will allow them to feel much better.

    The goal is to have an analogy that ordinary people can understand. Of course it would be written better than this, but I hope you can see what I’m getting at.

  • Insanity is probably defined as when a person’s feelings are so extreme and disabling that they can’t function as the culture they live within requires. And culture is defined as the way people do things because that’s the way people are doing things. Our culture is becoming more heterogeneous than we humans were designed for.

  • I have been a very anxious person throughout life, and talked to several therapists, tried a couple of medications which didn’t do much one way or the other. None of these therapists really had any insight to offer about my problems, either what to do about them, or where they came from. Since reading on the internet, I have come to realize that early developmental emotional neglect is the source. I have come to wonder if developmental traumas are not the source of most distress. But it seems like most people are not very curious about whether that could be true. It’s almost like they are fond of their own ignorance. People seem to instinctively avoid any area of discussion which could make them responsible for some one else’s problem, even if they were ignorant of what they were doing at the time.

  • Sometimes the language in the articles and replies is hard to follow, but I think this article really captures what others on this website have said, that the social and emotional connections in childhood really are what causes later mental distress. And the distress is a reaction of the brain to an unnatural environment, and not something wrong with the “hardware.” And the point of trying to work at prevention is also very important. But it is hard for people to just read about how to provide the right environment for their children and then actually do it. And it seems very hard to provide a way to remedy mental problems once they happen, but I think that the social and emotional connection remedy, if it can be done, is vastly better than even considering medications. My own mother lived most of her life on several meds for schizophrenia. It is too bad that some other kind of help was not available. For some reason I will never fathom, it seems like we do just about anything for people with problems other than the one thing that will really help them, and I think this article kind of makes this point.

  • Good comment. I think there is a subtle but important message that we need to get from parents or from others, which is “you’re just as human as I am, and you’re a real person just like me.” We really need to be “one of” and “ourselves.”

  • I have heard the analogy that people, like plants that need the right sun, water, and soil, need the right social, emotional environment to do well. I can see that my beginnings with parents who were stressed, emotionally closed off to me, one schizophrenic, had a lot to do with my experience of a lifetime of anxiety. I sometimes feel that even now if I could find a way to construct a good social environment, that I could make progress to feeling better, but I see that as impossible. My experience with psychotherapy is that if you find one that uses a person to person approach, it is a lot more helpful than one that uses the standard professional advice giver approach, which is most of them.

  • I agree very much with this article.

    I think mental distress comes from the instinctive reactions to an unhealthy social environment, mostly in childhood. And the symptoms of mental illnesses are the survival adaptations. Most therapy tries to suppress these adaptations through medications or talk.

    But the problem is that to our subconscious mind we only have one choice: to use them or to not survive.

    What we really need is another choice, which would come from experience in a healthy social environment. The problem we have is a scarcity of healthy social environments.