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Frustration - Her Most Regal Majesty, the Queen of Snark
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sesquipedality
sesquipedality
Frustration
Sometimes I get really frustrated with myself. I have a great life. I live in one of the richest countries in the world, am financially solvent despite being currently unable to work, am cared for by the State because I live in a country that regards social welfare as an important part of society. I have a truly phenomenal number of friends, many of whom are totally amazing people who I feel privileged to know, and who take care of me far better than I deserve. I have a close and loving family, whom I adore.

In short, my life totally kicks arse. I'm not hyper rich or well connected, but I do live in comfort despite the limitations of my various health problems. If I ever tell you my life sucks - don't believe a word of it. There are many many people on this planet whose life is far worse than mine. And yet I'm still unhappy. How chronically ungrateful is that?

On one level I can claim that I don't choose to be unhappy. A lot of it is down to chemical imbalances in my brain, or if you want to look at it another way, an excessively realistic model of the world. Taking depression into account, I'm ceettain that depression is the "correct" rational response to life. No matter how things are, everything can be taken away in an instant by factors totally beyond our control. Being miserable is actually a prety darn sane response to this. It's just not as helpful as the seratonin based "well, yeah, but it's not as if I have anything better to do."

Then why aren't more humans depressed? There's a very simple reason. Rational it may be, but it's rubbish in terms of a survival trait. The thing very thing that makes humanity so resilliant is it's capacity to ignore the realities of life, and just get on with the living. We should be proud to be a bunch of delusional people - it's what keeps us going.

So how much am I the prisoner of my own rational processes? Why do I brood upon the essential random nature of life and how, in some limited senses, I've received a fairly nasty beating from the shitty end of the fate stick. I can spend as much time as I like feeling hurt, and guilty and angry. On a pragmatic level, however, there's simply no point in doing so.

These feelings gain me nothing. All they do is provide more fuel for my depression. Being bored and miserable isn't any more pleasant than being busy and miserable, so why not *do* something instead of moping about how terrible my life is? At least I'll have accomplished something, even if it's something pretty meaningless. In what way is this possibly worse than having accomplished nothing?

None of us can control our environment or our lives. But this is not the same as saying we have no power over them. We can't control the hand we're dealt, but we can damn well play the hand rather than folding and shrugging our shoulders in despair.

I don't think life is going to get better. I don't think the pain will stop. But I'm fed up of being scared of it. It's counterproductive behaviour, and I can decide to let go of it if I really want to. Which is not to say I've miraculously turned around, or that the rest is trivial, just that I'm admiting that I'm never going to feel happy and saying to myself "So what? Get the fuck over it". It's stupid to let that get in the way of living.
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Comments
the_mendicant From: the_mendicant Date: April 8th, 2005 06:42 pm (UTC) (Link)

So what's next?

How are you going to challenge yourself to either climb out of the pit of despond, or live with it with an easier concience?

Having lived with a depressive, I have a good idea of what you are going through, and know how hard it is to self motivate. You seem to me though to be at the same stage as someone who's admitted they are an addict of some kind, and wants to do something about it...

Other than chemical help, one of the main things they suggest to recovering addicts, is distracting the mind with new activities. I know a limited budget severely tampers with this, but there are things you could do - (and I hope I don't sound preachy, just helpful) - fresh air is free. Get out for half an hour each morning (early enough to have a positive impact on the rest of your day), and evening for a brisk walk. I know energy levels are low in depression, but the endorphines released by exercise with help you surprisingly quickly. Also this will allow you to observe the changes in nature and see summer coming, which is always an uplifting thought. Swimming is also excellent and most baths offer much reduced fees if you're receiving benefits.

How about the benefits of some aromatherapy oils? for a modest investment in some citrus based oil (grapefruit is best) you can have something to scent your room when you wake up and give some zest for life. Then some lavender and geranium in your bath in the evening is a wonderful way to relax.

I wish you all the best, however you decide to move forwards. Spring is the best time to start.
evilmomlady From: evilmomlady Date: April 8th, 2005 08:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
First step taken then.
liriselei From: liriselei Date: April 8th, 2005 08:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
If I ever tell you my life sucks - don't believe a word of it.

at the risk of stating the obvious - the suckiness of external (circumstantial) life and the suckiness of internal (psychophysiological) life don't necessarily correlate, or even relate. the feeling-guilty-for-being-unhappy trap is one i've fallen into on several occasions !

No matter how things are, everything can be taken away in an instant by factors totally beyond our control. Being miserable is actually a pretty darn sane response to this.

yes and no - if life can be changed by factors beyond our control, then being miserable or happy about things won't affect those factors. so, given the choice of being miserable about things because they might not last or being happy about things because in the present moment they exist, doesn't happiness make as much sense as misery ?

So how much am I the prisoner of my own rational processes?

rationality, as many things, is a two-edged sword - one can rationalise the glass as half-empty or half-full according to intentions (whether those intentions are conscious, subconscious or chemical).

Being bored and miserable isn't any more pleasant than being busy and miserable

and if brooding upon stuff is one of the things making you miserable, then being too busy to brood might even lead to you being busy and not miserable !

does sound like you're making progress, hope these words have helped rather than hindered - any strength or assistance i can give is yours.
From: ex_lark_asc Date: April 8th, 2005 09:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mmm.

I think trying to have a life anyway, in spite of being ill, is probably a good step. I'd say it's one of the things that put me on the road to recovery, though it also made my life unbelievably shit at times. I am the queen of bloodyminded "no dammit the world IS this way" thinking, and it does get you through. I've had people telling me I'm barking mad for believing what I do, shunning me because they wouldn't say it to my face and you name it, but I know I'm not ill any more and I think the two are related.
quisalan From: quisalan Date: April 9th, 2005 01:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
But I'm fed up of being scared of it. It's counterproductive behaviour, and I can decide to let go of it if I really want to. Which is not to say I've miraculously turned around, or that the rest is trivial, just that I'm admiting that I'm never going to feel happy and saying to myself "So what? Get the fuck over it". It's stupid to let that get in the way of living.

Since no-one else has said this, well done. It may not mean you've turned your life around, but it's the first step.

I'm in no way competent to comment on psychiatry, but what I do know is that changing your behaviour does affect your mental state, especially if it's against what you are used to thinking. There was a principle when I did psychology at 6th form, Cognitive dissonance. The idea was that you can't exist in a state of tension when your actions conflict with your thinking (cognitive dissonance) and so your thinking will alter to match your actions.

It's partly how affirmations work, the looking in a mirror and going "I am great", because fundamentally you can't keep doing it and feeling stupid, and you start to believe it after a while.

I don't know this is a helpful analogy, but reading your post reminded of someone with a debilitating physical injury considering recovery. In the same way as a broken a leg, it really hurts to walk. But you still have to make yourself do it, and in the end it'll make it stronger, and the end is worth it.

Good luck with it.
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