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Sunday, October 31, 2010

I'm Not Doing Well With Brainswitching

Dear AB,

It's been two months since I’ve returned to work full time, and to be honest my depression and anxieties are worsening.  My work performance is low as I have a hard time focusing and I’m starting to get in trouble at work.  Today is the second time I’m calling in sick (last week too).  I try all the brain switching or direct thinking exercises but I don't succeed.  I feel like I’m falling apart again. 
I've been pushing myself just by exercising my will every day at work but today, I just cannot face the day, or face life itself.  Today I feel like resigning to depression and staying in bed all day, which I know is not what I should be doing, but i just feel so broken.  

I know you‘ll say just don’t think those thoughts.   The depression is getting worse as I'm starting to have death ideation, not that I would take my own life but wishing for an acceptable exit like accidents. 

I almost know what you will reply, that they will be some straight forward strictness about discipline and self-responsibility, but I would be grateful to hear what you have to say.  I wonder why brain switch isn't working for me...

Thank you always, Y________

Dear Y_________

It seems as if you have had some success. In two months there have been only two days you have not been up to getting up and doing your job, not two months like before.You are not without some track record of proving yourself capable of discipline. What kind of trouble are you getting into at work?  What keeps you from concentrating on your job? You don't have to give up on yourself as if you can't do your life.

How does it serve you to give up on yourself?  I was thinking yesterday as I got up that there must be millions of downer thoughts in my brain and not any of them are worth thinking. And it is so easy to think them and so hard to think something else other than the downer thoughts.
But since I know this, I can think something else, anyway, and that will always save me. Even if I just think 1, 2, 3, 4 I can do that. I can even think goody, goody. I can think it anytime I want. I can insist, even if I don't fee like thinking goody, goody. And I can think of something, or someone else other than myself. It is always my choice.

I can also think the downer thoughts. That also is my choice. But I do not choose to think all those downer thoughts because there is no point to thinking them. And I can do any work I choose to do no matter how I feel. I am a human being. I can choose. I can go out and walk outside and hope that the world will have some solace for my loneliness, and some tree might comfort me or some small good might occur, and I can think about that. I have been born. I have a life. I should live it the best way I know how.

I may live a small life. But I will honor it. There are other people who are struggling. There are other people whose brains are full of noises, and anger and negative things. Some people are struggling and not doing well.

Perhaps in some way if I pull myself up, I can help others just by doing that.  We are all in this together somehow. I can always ask for help if I need it.

I am not alone. You are not alone.

Why don't you go and see your doctor and tell him about your death ideation. It might give you some sense of security to talk, face to face,  with another human being.

I don't know why it is harder to think something other than to think your depression. That is just the way our brains are made. But we can make new places in our brain wherein we can take some small refuge and momentary peace from our pain, and dammit, we can even dare to think goody, goody and goody for that. A. B. Curtiss

Dear A.B.,

Thank you for your reply and comments.  It's true I have used courage and discipline to go to work for the past two months so I should give myself credit - but it's more just the showing up part and rather pretending to do work.   There is so much detailed work, needing to pay attention to details that I have a difficulty doing. 

The minute I get to a task, it's panic because a) I either don't know how to do it in a productive way or b) it's so much work  --- I ask around but I can't understand what people are saying so need to ask for a lot of repetition.  I can really tell my brain function is lower than before.  I'm missing deadlines, my assistant complained that I’m disorganized in giving her work, my boss complained that my progress is too slow and affecting the whole team.  

All day at work for the past 2 months I've been fighting that feeling of wanting to run away and not face work-- but I've used will and tried to follow through with my commitments.

And of course I try the brainswitching and other exercises continuously all day.    Now I feel so cornered and consumed with work and life that I keep thinking about death, and how I can make it look like an accident. I even looked up websites so I know it's a warning sign.   I've spoken to my doctor but frankly he is useless -- he just says I should up my medication dosage which I don't want to.  I already rely on them too much to get through my day at work which is not good in the long run.    I’ve tried many Doctors here in Asia, but they are so behind in this field.
Objectively I can see how my thoughts are messed up -- but hopes of making progress going back to work seem not to be working, and I think that is what is making me discouraged about the future - that I'll never get better ( though I KNOW this is a thought I’m choosing, right? )

I wish I could be like you and honor the life I’ve been given and help people - it must be such a good feeling.  I don't know why all my efforts are paying off. 

Thank you again for listening. 

Kindest regards,

Dear Y______

Be careful that you don't try to escape the difficulty of your work by taking refuge in depression. This would be a natural thing to do and you want to guard against it. It is human nature for our mind, our natural defense mechanism, to think it is "saving" us by guarding us from risking ourselves in effort that might change our "status quo." The mind knows that so far we have been "safe" and survived in depression. The mind is naturally fearful of what would happen if we were to face our difficulties. Face the difficulty of work instead of sliding into depression so you don't have to face the difficulties which are always harder to to than depression. A. B.

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