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Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

For sharing your experiences and feelings about mental illness
andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1763
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Thu Oct 15, 2020 11:31 am

westjensontexas wrote:I went back to work after a couple of weeks. Didn't feel up to it (still don't, had real trouble leaving the house yesterday morning) but I needed to protect my employment and besides, when you fall off of your bike, it is best to climb back on ASAP. Just have to be careful to take time out for me and not to push myself too far.


Hi. You seem to have posted on the wrong thread. No biggie, but this is my diary thread. You can post in many of the other threads on this site. If you are seeking dialogue, you may want to join more active mental health forums. mentalhealthforum.net is a nice place with active and welcoming members.

andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1763
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Thu Oct 15, 2020 11:32 am

Next Steps

I have come so far in the last ten years of successful work on my mental health (and in four years of this diary!). This post is to set out my next steps. The hope is that I can take these steps in parallel with engaging more in life, building on the immense positive changes I have already achieved.

I want to continue engaging with, and noticing the good things in life.
I want to be less cautious, throw myself into life and more activities (feel the fear and do it anyway style), but this will largely have to wait until covid is over.

I want to continue improving my self-awareness. There is still 'something' in my mind that is preventing me from being at peace with myself. It would be good to identify it.

I want to continue my work on shrinking the inner and outer critics, learning how to manage emotional flashbacks and reducing my pessimism, including my fear of unknown others and of the world in general.

I want to continue to practice being in touch with, expressing (within reason!), and acting on my emotions in real time, while interacting with others. It will be post-covid before I can really pursue this.

I want to continue practicing acting in my own interests, including regular mindfulness practice.

I want to practice re-parenting myself, including self-compassion and self-soothing ( I can do these now! :)), but also self-discipline. Giving myself the love, care, boundaries, structure and direction I never received as a child.

Part of acting in my own interests is tackling self-sabotage. This is a biggie for me. I am reading a book on Internal Family Systems therapy. I can't say I buy into the theory so far. I do think some practical elements of this approach will be very useful in tackling the self-sabotage by those parts of me that are over-protective, and in continuing to balance my Fight, Flight, Freeze responses. I hope I can make use of IFS techniques without therapeutic support, but I am open to more therapy if necessary. I aim to be proficient in IFS techniques by the end of November.

Following my IFS work, I want to go back to learning ACT techniques. I think ACT will be very useful for me, previously I was not in the right place to benefit.

I will review progress every month. Managing my mental health and maintaining my many gains is a lifelong necessity, but I hope taking the above steps will lead me to a place where new work, and this diary, are no longer necessary.

andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1763
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Sun Oct 18, 2020 10:10 am

Diary Entry 17/10/20

Reading a book by the founder of Internal Family Systems Therapy.

I keep laughing, this theory is the kind of self-contradicting nonsense that gives psychotherapy a bad name.

Still hoping there my be some useful practical techniques, but I'm up to page 57 and he has already invoked The Wisdom of The Ancients, The One Universal Consciousness, Quantum reality and Epigenetics. These are the four horsemen of quackery.

Dairy Entry 2 17/10/20

Not sure I can bring myself to do more than scan the remainder of this book, in case there are any useful practical techniques to be gleaned. I have finished part one. The last straw was where the author claimed to have cured patients of cancer using IFS. This is offensive charlatanism!

Underneath the unnecessary semi-mystical woo-woo, the techniques described are not too different to those generally used in modern analytical therapy. Although the patient transcripts he gives as examples of treating physical ailments show results that are so incredibly fast, he has either found the philosopher's stone of psychotherapy, he is deluded, or he is a liar. I reckon it is option number three.

andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1763
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Thu Dec 24, 2020 12:32 pm

24 Dec 2020

Been a while since I've made a diary entry.
I've been consolidating the gains from all of my recent work. Not much I can do about the social side in these locked down times and I feel the lack of other people keenly, but overall things have been pretty good.

Emotional flashbacks have me avoiding a key work task. This time I have been able to create a picture of the fear that has led to the avoidance. I'm utilising ACT defusion techniques to help ground myself and not take the flashback seriously. Seems to be helping :) . Really pleased about that, aside from a lack of sleep, this is the last major professional impact of my mental health.

Not been looking after my physical health, over eating and choosing not to exercise again. Work just seems to take all my time, attention, and energy. I want to step back and remember that work is only one subset of the category called 'Looking out for me'.

Christmas Eve and I want to cry for unknown reasons. I want to cry, I want to scream, I want to shout, I want to run about. At least I have a ready made excuse not to visit my mother this year. I'm feeling deeply lonely (as I have done my entire life), very horny (pretty much same :) ), and I am almost cacophaniously aware of my ageing.

As a list of problems, that is nice and short. This will be a much better Christmas than any previous year. All my MH work really has paid dividends.

andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1763
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Thu Feb 18, 2021 9:30 pm

Diary Entry

Things are ok, aside from lockdown. Yesterday I had a long (distanced but physically present) lunch with a friend I've not seen in eighteen months.
It was soooo enjoyable and really brought home how much I miss my friends and human contact. Lockdown considered, I'm doing well.

Most of January was not good, not as bad as it would have been in the past but my mood was dark, I realised I was in a bad way when I drank myself to sleep four nights in a row.
Increased my meds to 90mg of Duloxetine. It took a couple of weeks of getting used to but it is good. Still not sleeping at night but it is like the depressed feelings are there but underneath a bunch of pillows. Drinking is back under control. I am still depressed, the symptoms are there to see and tick off. My reduced / non-existent appetite is something of a good thing, I am morbidly obese and this is an opportunity to stick to a veg based diet. That is going well, porridge, veg, fruit and a little fish are all I have eaten for weeks. Already down one belt notch, despite not exercising. Really good discovery that taking a home made veg soup to work is psychologically different to eating stuff. Having lunch no longer leads to overeating. Still getting all my nutrients, but without animal fats, wheat, etc.

Also started a training wheel dose of a beta blocker for a physical health issue, supposed to lower blood pressure. Early days but a lot of the anxiety seems to have disappeared.
Between the increased Duloxetine and the beta blocker, I have difficulty getting on with work stuff, but slowly improving. I'm lucky to have an employer that allows me the leeway to look after myself. I'm also lucky that my low end performance, is still pretty good. Still not sleeping at night, hopefully the beta blocker will improve that too. The non-sleep is possibly due to the anxiety about nightmares, they are always prosaic and usually about family / other childhood bullies. My mother features heavily.

I still kinda feel responsible for how my mother feels. It is a difficult one. I understand that is how she trained me, and I have been putting ever more distance between us but I still feel guilty about not putting her wants above my needs. If she wasn't elderly during a pandemic, I may have already cut contact. She is finally getting the message though, via my distinct coldness in messages and lack of interest in her life. Not sure how I feel about that, part of me is still angry at how she treated a dependent child, but there is still a part of me that feels my primary role in life is to help and support that incredibly selfish and abusive woman. Truth is I kinda hate her, despite her vulnerabilities. Squeezing someone out of your vagina does not make you a mother in the emotional sense. I've moved on from wishing she would die, to simply wishing she was not a part of my life. I don't seek a "cathartic" reckoning because it wouldn't be cathartic. She is the type of person who is unable to accept responsibility for her actions and would seek to push the blame for her behaviour during my childhood onto me. No resolution is possible. Once covid is past, I will cut contact. Not on principle, not as revenge, but simply because my life today is worse by having her a part of it, however small that part. Freeing myself from the last of my birth family will be a great relief.

Have to wait until after lockdown before I can test, practice and improve my non-victim mentality when dealing with others.
Embracing victimhood was a necessary part of my recovery but now I see how that mentally is holding me back. Fingers crossed I can sort it.

andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1763
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Sat Mar 06, 2021 9:46 pm

06/03/21 Diary Entry

Still believe focusing on changing my victim mentality is essential to my recovery. Still believe that will have to wait until lockdown is over. I need social events to change my internal view of myself as a small and vulnerable child to the reality of a large, strong, capable, intelligent man. I need social events to change my internal view of others from bigger, stronger, malicious, bullies, to just people with a blend of personality traits, just like me. Most people are decent.

Lack of sleep at night is still a major problem. During the day I seem to sleep for a couple of hours at a time. Always exhausted.
The nightmares are still a constant (are they daymares if not sleeping at night?) One recurring nightmare is people gaining access to my home. Often I will find the doors won't lock and I am running around trying and failing to secure my home against intruders. I have recently realised that the house in these dreams is also me. I suspect they are a reaction to my taking risks and opening myself up to others. This behaviour is breaking a lot of subconscious rules I have about others being dangerous, not trusting them, hiding from them, keeping myself closed off so they can't hurt me. I suspect the trespasser nightmares are the result of protective parts of my mind panicking because I am taking necessary risks. Since realising this, those nightmares have eased. They are still there, but the trespassers are less threatening, less malicious I suppose, more a mix of people. Only been a few days, but feels like a real step forward.

andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1763
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:51 am

06/04/2021 Diary Entry

The nightmares about open house in my previous diary entry have gone away :)
I think I can apply a similar method to the nightmares about my mother and other relatives. Fingers crossed.

I'm coming to terms with the past. Still feel grief, loss and sadness, at a life not lived but I'm not beating myself up about it any more. Regret has gone because I realised and accepted that even if I had my time again, I would be the same person making the same decisions. What was is what had to be.

Still not sleeping at night, really struggling with work as a consequence, but I will push though if I can.

Did some work in the garden the other day. Felt really good afterwards, it was the feeling of having worked muscles usually unused. I want to gird my loins and start exercising.

Still feeling very lonely, understandable even though most weekends are spent visiting parks with friends. I reckon my loneliness is as much emotional flashback to the feeling of being rejected by family, and later the feeling of not being good enough for my peers. It really helps to recognise the emotional flashback element.

andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1763
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Thu Apr 22, 2021 1:09 pm

22/04/2021 Diary Entry


Mood is significantly better. The sunshine helps, but mainly 'cause can socialise again. Was out four nights last week. Really enjoyed it and, like magic, I no longer have the urge to drink alcohol. Drinking at home was a thing during lockdown and had gotten out of hand. Noticed how much reduced my anxiety is when I was socialising too, but want to work more on assertiveness.


Couple of interesting thoughts I want to remember.


Self disgust is one of my key and dominant emotions. It is prevalent at many times, particularly noticeable when I cringe emotionally and when I think of being more open to others. Self disgust fits better than self-hatred, now I've identified it, I want to sit with and explore it. I suspect I will find that it is a view of myself imposed by others when I was a child. Hopefully I will learn to accept it and it will lose its power over me.


Someone said; 'some parents are fantastic at making adulthood basics seem impossible and terrifying.' That has rang a loud bell with me. My mother had a palpable terror at dealing with the world. I suspect I picked up and emulated that attitude, contributing to my avoidance of life admin. Somehow realising that these feelings did not originate with me has reduced their power. I want to explore this further.

andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1763
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Fri Apr 23, 2021 12:06 am

23 April - Note to self

Am I ashamed of feeling sad? Does feeling sad trigger self disgust? Do I punish myself for feeling sad, angry or upset?


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