Depression&torahs perspective&helpful ideas

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    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    TOL: I would like to express my sympathy to you for what you went through and more importantly my admiration for your having the strength to come out and move on and become the articulate person that you clearly are. I can’t even imagine what you went through. AS hard as my life seems to be, I don’t think there is a comparison. Gehenom does sound like an accurate term.


    People mistake sad for depressed, but there are different types of depression.


    your deppression feels like your hearth turns to lead. Poor thing..Luckly you got out,but you know you always get out, but while your in it you dont beleive it. Some of my cleints got better with shock treatment.Docters dont know how but it works.. a rafia shaleima


    Thanks….are u chassidish what’s the “refia”


    absan – i meant MOST psychologists have their own issues and have a reason why their a psychologist more than anything else.

    Happygirlygirl – not even close to being chasidish.


    its my kind of english.


    sparkly HU?


    absan – me im not even close to being chasidish.


    but you are jewish be proud uf that….. good night speak next week going away for shabbat


    I was asking absan if he’s chassidish and


    You should start learning breather chasidus its geshmak

    Thinking out loud

    @Lilmod U’lelamaid

    Unfortunately, it is not the case that someone in my “condition” would not have been able to post.

    They most certainly can and they do.

    It’s much easier to ask these questions to random people who are sitting behind a computer screen any place in the world. I was depressed. But I was not psychotic. I knew much of what was going on, I just didn’t care, so I didn’t (or couldn’t) pay attention. I was withdrawn, and had little “affect”. However, the average person in the street who did not know me previously, would not have known that. They would have (and they did), just assumed that I was a very shy and quiet person, (I guess without much personality?)

    It was only when I was in conversation with someone that my negativity would come out. And many people – even those who do know me – would say, “you’re just trying to put yourself down”. Which I translated to mean that I’m responsible for making myself miserable, and I further used against myself.

    Most of the negative things I said about myself came from a warped belief that I should be honest with people. My “logic” was something like “They think I care, and I’m misleading them by not telling that I don’t.” From my end I was just trying to describe myself honestly. Especially if they tried to tell me good things about myself. I didn’t want to be “fooling” them.

    It’s really twisted. I was extremely descriptive in my posts. What you are not realizing, is that the posts are being written when I’m B”H fine.

    Had I written them when I was not, I wouldn’t have described the parts that show how mixed up I was. I wouldn’t have said “I keep thinking about my aveiros, and how it’s terrible that I’m thinking about my aveiros, so I’m bad, and I don’t want to live, which is an aveira, and I’m doing so many aveiros…..” ad infinitum.

    I would more likely have said, for example, that “I don’t feel like doing anything, and I know I should get out and do exercise, but I just don’t want to. Does anybody know how I can get more motivated?”

    I saw some of the symptoms, but not the whole picture. Also, online, you would not have heard that there was little inflection in my voice. If you met me, and didn’t know me before, you wouldn’t know that I really have an outgoing, sometimes perky personality, but it happens to be not functioning right now.

    For a time, I volunteered, doing paperwork at an organization. I did that because I was getting different types of counseling, and in one setting, I was being told that of course I can work, I just think I can’t. I said that I wouldn’t get there on time because I don’t want to get up. So they set up this volunteer situation, and I went, sometimes 3 hours later than the official time, because I felt guilty for “not trying”. The arrangement had been that I would get there at 11 AM. I usually got there sometime after 2 PM!! It’s not like anyone was going to fire a volunteer who is doing the most boring work possible.

    For months, I worked at a desk, organizing papers, feeling like a robot. At one point the supervisor of the place, and the secretary, invited me to go out to lunch with them. I knew that they were trying to be friendly, and get to “know” me. But as far as I was concerned there was nobody to know. Because I no longer had any personality, because I no longer had any emotions. (Well really I did, but they had shut down). I couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea of enjoying each other’s company, because I didn’t remember what it felt like to enjoy anything. I just saw it as a well-intentioned waste of their money.

    So I declined. I may have even told them something along the lines that I don’t enjoy going out to eat. Which would have sounded reasonably normal to them. But afterwards, I ruminated about how ungrateful I am, when people try to be friendly, and how bad it is that I am anti-social. My mind never stopped processing everything through this crazy filter that made no sense.

    I don’t know each person’s experience of clinical depression. I have been extremely descriptive in my posts. Not everyone is as expressive as I am; both verbally and in writing. But when I describe some of this to people who have had major depression, they know what I’m talking about. So there is a commonality. There are definitely people who respond to medication. There are many, many who don’t. Also, I would bet that a lot of the medication that people are on, that does make a difference, has at least some element of anti-anxiety. My depression included a lot of anxiety. I’m sure I presented as an anxious person to the employees who saw me every day at that volunteer job. But what they saw mostly, was a shy, possibly inhibited person.

    Doctors do try all sorts of medications to try to inhibit some of the symptoms. For example, if someone is constantly ruminating, like I was, they will experiment with medications that intercept brain activity. Many medications for the more common mental illnesses were developed to treat seizures. I don’t know the statistics, but it may be even most, were discovered by accident to be having an effect on emotional disregulation. There are also substances that numb the pain. Sometimes other parts of the personality get numbed as well. For some situations, there isn’t a choice, and if there is a medication that is “working” the person seemingly needs to take it, in order to function, despite unpleasant side affects.

    There are so many classes of medicines, and each class operates from a different angle. Some medications slow down the time it takes for a “good feeling” to pass. For example, when you hear good news, you feel happy, and invigorated, and perhaps add a spring to your step. At this time, there appears to be a chemical that the brain has released (seratonin), that is spreading the good feeling. Over the following days, or hours, (depending on the degree of good news), the lightness slowly recedes back to your “normal” mood. The chemical, it appears, goes back to the brain. So there are medicines that literally are meant to block the seratonin from going back into the brain too quickly. Some people respond to such medicines. There are many, many classes. Sometimes something works for a person, and then for some reason it stops working. Sometimes a medicine that had no effect in the past, suddenly does have an effect when tried again at a different time. No doctor can claim to know why that is. There are definitely people who are taking medicine for “lowered feelings”, instead of improving their lifestyle through diet, excercise and thinking habits. On the other hand, perhaps those people do not have the psychological strength to make those changes, but they still need to be more functional to be a responsible person. So they take medication because it helps them meet their responsibilities. A psychologist might be able to help them develop the strength to make the life changes that would reduce the amount of lowered feelings they have. But that takes time. So the medicine does the job for now. The side affects are very uncomfortable, and it won’t necessarily work forever. Life changes are definitely more reliable! You can see from the above that there are connections between chemicals, experiences, behaviors, emotional pain, and habitual thought patterns. Each one has an affect on the others.

    There is so much disagreement out there about these things. There’s the well-known placebo effect. There’s the opinion that in some cases, whatever the medicine is doing, the whole point is to get the person functional enough to participate in some sort of therapy, and that is really the only thing that is going to make a real change. The one thing everyone agrees on, is that if somebody’s state of mind makes him at risk for harming himself, he needs to be hospitalized: just so he can be kept safe.

    In the beginning I went to a number of rabbonim. I don’t know if I went because I felt guilty, or for advice. I can’t always re-create the kind of thinking that I had at the time, so I’m not sure. At one point a relative took me to a very chashuve rebbe. I guess for a Beracha? I ended up telling him all the bad things that I think, and that I don’t want to do mitzvos, or something along those lines. This rebbe gave my relatives the name of a different psychiatrist that he knew of. And he advised me to read stories about tzadikim!!

    I couldn’t just “not listen” to a tzaddik, so I plodded through a number of volumes of some series, perhaps it was “Tales of tzaddikim”. The entire time that I was reading, there was a continuous dialogue going on in my mind, comparing my actions to the actions of the tzaddikim in the story, and judging myself to be a bad person. THE ENTIRE TIME. I read the words, but obviously I couldn’t have been concentrating much, because of the parallel thinking that was going on in my head. I don’t think I remembered anything that I read after I read it; unless it included a more powerful guilt producing element, that made it stand out from the rest of the guilt producing stories. It is not a happy memory, and it’s also a confusing one. Would the rebbe have suggested I read those stories if he knew that it would add to my guilt feelings, and deepen my depression? I certainly hope not. It doesn’t mean he’s not a holy person. But we are not required to believe that every Tzaddik has ruach hakodesh, and can never be mistaken. From an Emuna perspective, I believe HaShem decided I should have additional suffering. From a knowledge perspective, I think that sometimes advice that seems harmless can actually be harmful.

    I don’t claim to know the answers.

    As I’ve said before it is NOT a clear science at all.

    We speak of the mind, and we speak of the brain – there is no blood test to tell which one is at the heart of the problem!

    I have obviously not said anything about what actually did lead to my recovery. That is because it is very personal, and specific to me. I don’t think the details will help those who are reading this, and besides finding the cure for a specific case of (clinical)depression, wasn’t my goal in posting.

    There are so many different factors in each situation. Depression can be caused by medicine taken for the common cold! I’m just trying to show that when someone seems just “depressed”, and expresses it as if it’s just “lowered feelings”, they may actually really be depressed. Clinically. And it’s not always easy to tell. It can also be hard to discern if they would really benefit from activities, or if it is just a way to keep them busy, but is not helping them at all. From the perspective of some professionals, it’s probably a no-lose proposition. Either the person will do the things and feel better, or he won’t feel better. Or he won’t do the things, and then we’ll never know if they would have made him feel better. The person himself doesn’t know. But if he is having clinical depression, than almost certainly he will be berating himself for not trying, or for not trying hard enough to be motivated, or interested, or more energetic, or whatever. So there is a risk: It can increase the mental suffering, and G-d forbid cause the person to do something drastic to try to reduce their suffering.

    I think people have to be very careful what they off-handedly say and recommend to someone who says they feel depressed, or is behaving in a way that shows he isn’t feeling emotionally well. There is a need to pursue more information. One rough standard is known in some schools of thought as “F.I.D.”

    It stands for Frequency, Intensity, and Duration.

      How often is this happening?

      How intense, and disruptive is it to the person’s functioning?

      For how long has it been going on?

    If you’ve give a “pep talk” to somebody close, and the advice is taken, but the “mood” isn’t getting better, you should take note of it, and possibly even validate it. As in “I see you are doing the right things, but you aren’t feeling better. Maybe we should take a better look at this”, or “Maybe we should get some help, maybe this isn’t your fault at all. That is a possibility.”

    NEVER underestimate the request in Shemona Esrai for Chochma, Bina and Da’as (nusach sefard), a.k.a. Dei-a, Bina, V’haskel, when you are in a position of giving somebody else advice!

    It turns out that all this writing has proven to be cathartic for me. Expressing oneself in writing is usually a good thing. No matter how well I now feel, there is always residual pain. By expressing some of it again, although it brought up some of that pain, it also provided another opportunity to process some of the leftovers, and let it go. And if it prevents even one suffering person from having frustration and guilt added to the heavy burden they are already carrying, then it was worth all the sleep I missed because I sat here writing into the wee hours of the morning.


    happygirlygirl..Because I am well known I will not give any personal answers.sorry about that..but yes I am observant in every way.

    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    Absan, Observant is not the same as Chassidish.


    Absan is it dangerous if people find out who you are


    NO.ITS NOT DANGEROUS…I just wont like it…but why do you realy care to know?

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