Saturday, 16 February 2013

I don't want to kill myself

A couple of weeks before starting Depressed Academics, I started an entirely private blog just for myself about my depression.  These are some posts collated from that.

December 28, 2012: I don't want to kill myself

I thought I should get the good news out of the way in my headline. I don't want to kill myself. But on the other hand, I think to myself "I want to kill myself" several times every day.   Sometimes I say it out loud, though almost always when I'm alone, or think I'm alone at least.

It happens after I have some negative thought.  Most commonly it's something from the past where I think I did something wrong, even if that's with hindsight.   It might happen several times in a row.   I could be happy enough and suddenly a thought comes which makes me negative and makes me think "I want to kill myself."

I know I should be able to get out of this, and I wish I could think of this great SMBC comic.   If I can successfully do that it reminds me I shouldn't let my brain do this to me.

But for now, I'll be reassured that I don't really want to kill myself.

December 28, 2012: I like SMBC!

Since writing my first and last post, I have been trying to get back into the habit of thinking of that comic when I feel something bad in my mind.

So I've been trying to stop myself saying "I want to kill myself" and replace it with "I like SMBC!" or if I don't catch it in time, saying "I like SMBC!" after "... myself".

It's been kind of working today, but I don't know if I can keep it up.

January 4, 2013: Not Been Too Bad

Since my last posts the SMBC thing has been more or less working.

I spent a day or two pretty much saying "I want to kill myself. ... no I love SMBC" or even "I want to .... love SMBC".   Over and over again, many times a day.

Since then it's slowed down, which is great.  That means that I don't tell myself I want to kill myself nearly so much.  When I do I usually catch it and am not replacing it with SMBC, but just that I don't.

And I've been a lot more cheerful.   Probably at about 1 or even sometimes 0.   On a pointer where 0 equals normality, to be described in a later post.



6 comments:

  1. You seem to have found a nice method to associate a less painful emotional response to such memories.

    I've also been suggested to focus on the memory itself for a while, which, seems to me, achieves a similar result by dilution.

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  2. Interesting. Intuitively I think I might find that focussing approach negative, because usually they are not memories I want to focus on. But equally, many treatments are highly counterintuitive, so I could be wrong.

    While I didn't say this in the post, many of these negative thoughts are of almost incredible triviality. Very commonly something I said literally 30 years ago which was maybe slightly out of place, and for which I have no evidence that it annoyed anybody! And I find myself saying "I want to kill myself" as a result.

    Another point is: this is clearly a habit which I get into - and fortunately sometimes can get out of. The SMBC thing seems to help get out of it. Obviously the focussing on the memory idea might help with that too.

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  3. For me it's similar to what Ian describes here — it's not anything post-traumatic, but much more likely to be biochemical in base; my moods very seldom are rooted in anything concrete, and any attempt to (by looking at correlations) find a causative chain makes the triggers so painfully trivial that the triviality of my hangups in itself causes distress.

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  4. Yes it's a bit embarrassing to say to a therapist when they ask what kind of things trigger misery to say "well I might remember that once about 35 years ago I didn't knock on the door of the teacher's room and had to go out and knock before coming in again."

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  5. Ian: You're embarrassed about remembering one time you then felt mortified about… my typical thing is “Susanne said ‘I love you’ in a tone I was able to convince myself might mean she might not mean it…” or variations of that… :-)

    we've found “overinterpretation” to be a useful description of when I get into this — I'll start picking up on minute cues, and imbuing them with ridiculous amounts of meaningfulness. And one of my current cognitive hacks is to recognize when I seem to be ascribing subtlety or intrigue to Susanne and to remind myself that she doesn't do subtlety even to begin with, and if she had been inclined, she knows I do this and won't try to communicate subtly with me. Anything that requires mind-reading or subtle body language is fabricated by my brain.

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  6. I'm in the same boat with regard to the trivial but painful memories, but what I meant by focusing is a striving towards a calm and understanding recollection of the event and its context.

    I've found it helpful when I managed to get that far, but of course I wouldn't know how correct an approach it is past that.

    Oh, by the way, posts like these helped me over the embarassment:

    http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/search?q=cringe+memory&sort=relevance&restrict_sr=on&t=all

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