Are you able to make yourself feel better?

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rva
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04 Jan 2013, 1:11 am

Here are some self-help concepts I have trouble with:

-Be kind to yourself.
-Love yourself
-Tell yourself you are great.
-Accept yourself.


Let's take the above 4, to start. So many self-help books champion the idea of loving yourself, that somehow telling yourself you are worthy will make the pain go away.

I'm sorry, but as a concrete, literal person, it makes no sense. After all, someone could be a psychopath and still "love themselves", thus rendering the thought meaningless. It is logically fallacious.

How can someone get better self-esteem by loving or being compassionate with themselves? It is like a person has an extra head (is two-headed :alien: :alien: ) or something. How can telling yourself you are great mean anything at all, if no one else thinks so??

There is something mysterious about this "self-love" stuff, which makes me think that being neurodiverse is somehow preventing me from understanding.

Same with:

"Think positive".

Okay, now how is that supposed to make you feel better? Either something IS positive or not - it is likely to happen or not. Probability. Chance.

However, many people apparently have the magical powers of turning a worry off by tricking themselves into believing certain things.

Again, have trouble with this. Things just are. Or not. We can analyze logically, and if the logic leads to upsetting conclusions, then I can't very well shut them off. The worry machine churns.

Mindfulness / Meditation

This is another self-help idea in vogue. But I have trouble grasping the idea of living in the here and now. Enjoying the present moment. How is that possible?? :? Do you turn off all thoughts of the future and past like a light switch? Pretend you don't really care about anything, or that nothing is inherently "good" nor "bad"? (If evolution is true, then this pretty much hurls our ingrained needs and desires down the drain, as if nothing really "matters")....

Sorry this is getting to be quite a long post. I'm just confused. (I happen to suffer from depression in addition to AS)

It is just that it is frustrating that nothing seems to make me feel better. I can't make myself feel better.

Wondering if this is an unrelated issue or if it is somehow tied to AS :? :?

What about you? Are you able to make yourself feel better if you're depressed or upset? How do you feel about the self-help ideas above?

P.S. Open to any suggestions......I'm sure it is I that is missing something, rather than the concepts being flawed.



Last edited by rva on 04 Jan 2013, 1:22 am, edited 3 times in total.

answeraspergers
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04 Jan 2013, 1:15 am

i think you have almost all of this wrong.

sorry



rva
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04 Jan 2013, 1:23 am

answeraspergers wrote:
i think you have almost all of this wrong.

sorry


I'm sure I do, just not sure what i'm missing :(



invisiblesilent
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04 Jan 2013, 1:26 am

Like the OP I'm not good at doing nearly any of the above so I wont attempt to comment on most of it. The mindfulness/meditation thing can actually work though. It's not so much about "Enjoying the present moment" as you mentioned but simply being in and experiencing the present moment without assigning any positive or negative attributes to it. I believe Buddhists refer to the state which you are trying to achieve as a "clear thought". It might sound a bit esoteric and wishy-washy but you can take benefit from it without buying into any kind of religious attribute and it is a powerful tool; there is a decent body of peer-reviewed evidence which demonstrates the efficacy of certain types of meditation.



rva
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04 Jan 2013, 1:37 am

invisiblesilent wrote:
Like the OP I'm not good at doing nearly any of the above so I wont attempt to comment on most of it. The mindfulness/meditation thing can actually work though. It's not so much about "Enjoying the present moment" as you mentioned but simply being in and experiencing the present moment without assigning any positive or negative attributes to it. I believe Buddhists refer to the state which you are trying to achieve as a "clear thought". It might sound a bit esoteric and wishy-washy but you can take benefit from it without buying into any kind of religious attribute and it is a powerful tool; there is a decent body of peer-reviewed evidence which demonstrates the efficacy of certain types of meditation.


i haven't given up on mindfulness yet. I read that even "pain" you're not supposed to view as intrinsically "bad"....just having trouble not thinking that is BS. But maybe there is something fundamental i'm missing...



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04 Jan 2013, 1:57 am

Yeah those things don't exactly click with me either...I mean I think sometimes I am too hard on myself, but that doesn't mean I want to become my favorite person in the whole entire world either.


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analyser23
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04 Jan 2013, 2:43 am

This whole area is my "thing", so to speak. Yet, contrary to what you say, it is BECAUSE I have such an analytical mind!

I believe one can make themselves "feel better" through good old hard logic.

It takes mental work. It takes learning. It takes wanting.

The first question is, do you WANT to feel better, and if so, how much do you want it?

The concepts you mentioned are fine, but you can't just tell yourself these things without any other work, in my opinion. So, I kinda agree with you there.

As for your "extra head" concept that you don't understand, I really like this one. I see that we have different versions/roles of ourselves, for sure.

It is all to do with what we tell ourselves, which ties all four of those concepts together. If you are telling yourself negative, harmful stuff, basically, you will not feel good. If you tell yourself helpful, compassionate stuff, you will feel better.
However, everything we tell ourselves GIVES us something. This is where the analysis part fits in. If you are telling yourself a negative line, what is it that you are gaining from telling yourself this? There is always something. Use your analytical brain and work it out. After you have figured it out (however long that may take - minutes, days, months), then analyse it down to the positive gain you get, and then create healthier ways to achieve that positive gain. This could also work with actions, not just thoughts. For example, if someone can't stop smoking, they need to work out what positive gain they get from it that they don't want to give up. It could be that smoking enables you to have small breaks throughout the day. If so, you don't need the cigarettes, you need the breaks. Drop the cigarettes, and find healthier ways to get small breaks.

As for self compassion.... We are so hard on ourselves!! And the harder we are on ourselves, the harder we are on others, and so the cycle goes. Often we are hearing someone else's voice when we are being hard on ourselves. Analyse that. What is going on there? When did that start? What do I gain by repeating that phrase to myself? What could I say instead to still give me that, but also give me other positives?

We are all human. We all have feelings, we all have struggles. BE kind to yourself - understand that you are not perfect yet, but that you are learning. The more patient you are, the kinder you are, the more productive you are. How does being hard on yourself help you? Often it stops you. It stops you from being productive, it stops you from growing, it stops you from getting better. And, the kinder you are to yourself, the kinder you will be to others.


You mentioned a fear in stopping to worry about stuff due to "tricking yourself". Just analyse it. What am I worried about? How valid is this worry? How likely is this worry going to happen? If it is, what can I do to stop this? At the same time, if it does happen, what can I do to not let it bring me down? Often we worry because we don't believe we have the skills & capabilities to handle it in the moment. This is especially a big thing for those with AS because we AREN'T as good at thinking on the spot if unexpected/new stuff happens. Be prepared instead. Think of a few options in advance, as well as working out what you can do to limit your bad reaction if something happens you weren't prepared for.

Thinking positive means, IMO, keep your mind open to possibilities.

Get to know yourself.

Don't do half thoughts, think them all the way through. We get so caught up with our "half thoughts".

Be patient with yourself. One step at a time. As people with AS, we also get caught up expecting to go right from point A to point B. Understand there are many small steps in between and work them out.

Put the mental work in.

Understand that bad feelings and good feelings will come and go. They don't define you. You are always you.

Most bad feelings come from fear. What are you afraid of?

Just some thoughts :)


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quaker
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04 Jan 2013, 2:55 am

Generally speaking
When the pain of one's old ways
Becomes greater than the fear of the new, then and only then, can change become possible.
The see of mindfulness is in us all. To cultivate this seed or to not to cultivate this seed.........that is the question.



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04 Jan 2013, 2:57 am

One thing I don't get is, typically if I am feeling bad its feeling bad that occurs before any specific negative thoughts. So I don't get the whole concept of telling myself positive things rather than negative things when I wasn't really telling myself anything to begin with but rather analyzing why I might feel how I feel which can lead to specific negative thoughts.

But its not like I wake up in the morning and start thinking negative thoughts till I feel worse, I typically wake up just thinking of how best to get going for the day since typically I don't get much rest even if I do sleep because of dreams...then maybe an unshakable feeling of impending doom will hit me and I'll start thinking of all the reasons as to why trying to figure out whats bothering me so it will go away not that it always works. I don't really wake up in the morning and start going overboard complimenting myself or telling myself a bunch of positive crap since thats a little fake for me. I just don't really tell myself things too much.


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analyser23
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04 Jan 2013, 2:58 am

rva wrote:

What about you? Are you able to make yourself feel better if you're depressed or upset?



As for me personally, as I mentioned above, I put a lot of work into analysing myself and how I perceive and react to the World.

I CAN make myself feel better, yes (and I am a very sensitive person!!)

The latest thing I have been working on with myself is this:

I need to stop connecting myself to others. Their reactions, their beliefs, their behaviour, etc, more often than not, has nothing to do with me. It is a reflection of themselves. By taking a step back and working on seeing that, it helps. It also helps me to be a better friend for them, because I can be more compassionate and understanding, without bringing my own insecurities into it and making it worse for everyone.

I don't give anyone the power to play with my feelings. By giving others that power, it is like giving them strings to my emotions that they can pull and twist in whatever way suits them at the time. What a scary way to live!

I want to be 100% independent when it comes to how I feel. That doesn't mean I have to live all by myself and don't want others around, not at all. Others can help make my life better, easier, more fulfilling, etc. Absolutely! But I don't NEED them. I WANT them. If they are in a bad mood today and take it out on me, MY mood won't be affected, because it is me who is in control of that. Even a partner, who WANTS to be depended on and help me. Well, that is nice in theory, but in reality they are not really always going to want to. I don't want to fall apart in those moments. I want to be able to handle it myself.

Often, I just need some time on my own to let my emotions sift through so I can connect with myself again. Without judgement. The whole "suck it up and get over it" voice that I used to tell myself doesn't really help and makes it worse and last longer than it needs to.
By simply identifying that I feel upset, in a more curious way, like "hmmm I am feeling sad right now... I wonder where that came from? Maybe I might just go be kind to myself and lay down for 10 mins, or have a shower, or go for a walk or whatever and work out what is going on there...".

I am also a Christian. I feel better from reading my Bible in these times. It helps to ground me, and reminds me that I am loved.

When I am kind to myself, I am more open to listening to what my body/mind/soul/spirit is trying to tell me. It is usually right. It is really rather simple! Be kind to yourself, listen, respect yourself, and do what you need.

Oh, and as I mentioned in the other post, WE are not our EMOTIONS. Our emotions come and go, come and go. They are not permanent. Instead of saying "I am depressed", you can say "There is depression happening right now".

I also work on knowing my life purpose, my direction, my goals, who I am, and the steps I need to keep going :) (hence why I love Life Coaching)

Finally, if you are to read any Self-help books, the only one I would recommend is:

"Awareness" by Anthony de Mello. Brilliant!


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04 Jan 2013, 3:17 am

I make myself feel better by doing the things that make me feel better. It's as simple as that :D

Things like "love yourself" are way too abstract. I don't really know how to implement them in practice.


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04 Jan 2013, 3:36 am

I too have trouble understanding how some of these concepts can work. I also deal with lifelong depression. What helps is finding ways to distract and occupy your self, and your mind. See some good coping methods below.

- Exercise. It generates mood boosting endorphins.

- Read funny stories and watch funny shows. Humor also generates endorphins.

- Eat healthy, and enough of it. A healthier diet will boost your immune system and is also good for your mind. Skimping on amount of food leads to depression, crankiness, and being more prone to get sick.

- Get enough rest. Being tired leads to depression, crankiness, and being more prone to get sick, too.

- Listen to and/or play music. This is mood boosting.

- Take courses, either in person, or online. Some of the online ones are free. The in person ones are a good way to meet people.

- Volunteer. There are people worse off than we are, who would really appreciate the help. It's also a good way to meet people, and boost your self image and mood.

- Take up a hobby or join a club. These are good ways to meet people who share your interests.

- Get involved in community activities. Attend town meetings, events at local libraries and other local organizations. Attend local sporting events, fairs, and art shows. Attend and/or participate in local theater groups. Attend events held at local houses of worship. These are all great ways to meet people and boost your self image and mood.

- Employment/or self employment. Great way to meet people, boost self image, put money in your wallet, gain experience. Perhaps you should consider self employment. There are many types to choose from.

Hope this helps. :D



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04 Jan 2013, 7:53 am

The thing is you may think there is a yes/no logical answer to things, but it's really not the case. Situations can be seen from different angles. It may make more sense to you to choose one view and accept it as truth, but it's more detailed than that. And the way you choose to look at it changes your behaviour and therefore the outcome. For example, I struggled greatly with a class this semester, to the point where I truly believed I would fail no matter what I did. So I had two options, accept that it was a failure and do nothing, turning the whole situation into a self fulfilling prophecy, or refuse to accept what seemed to be a doomed situation and convince myself that despite how hopeless it seemed I was going to get through it. The way I perceived the situation affected the outcome. It wasn't about probability or statistics or chances. My choice, my perception is what made me pass. Many of my classmates simply gave up and failed. Their choices did that, their perceptions, not luck. A lot of the concepts you were talking about are cognitive behavioural concepts. There is no right or wrong thought, reality can't always be quantified, What you think isn't always rational, especially when dealing with depression. We all think we're right all the time, that our perception is the logical, real one, but if this were true everyone would have the same thoughts all the time. If all people with ASD's were truly logical no one would ever disagree on these forums. But if you are truly convinced that all your conclusions are truly rational, then perhaps you should ask you what's logical about worrying about things whose outcomes will not be in the least bit affected by your worrying if everything is truly just chance?
As for the loving yourself, that's always been a weird concept for me too. I prefer to say "accept yourself". The point is not to dwell on all the flaws you perceive in yourself but to focus as well on the positives. You can accept your failings, you don't have to try to pretend they aren't there. But every time you have something negative to say about yourself try to recall something about yourself that is good. The point is not to just dwell on negatives but to view yourself as a whole, with good and bad qualities like everyone else. Depression makes us focus on the negatives, it makes all the bad things seem like the only things. Depression is not logical.



dimfuture
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04 Jan 2013, 9:24 am

For me "thinking positive" is also strange idea. I am always trying to look on reality and myself in most objective way. And reality is not always positive (mostly is not). But people who have mastered an art of deceiving themselves are usually happier and much more confident. One of my friend is truly master int this art: he can speak about things he knows nothing about in such confident way that most people will believe he is a specialist. I think he has almost convinced himself he is an specialist.
Unfortunately I do not have such ability so I have to deal with reality with other way. I have choose "I don't give a damn" approach. When something goes wrong instead of falling into depression or self blaming I will simply say to myself that I don't care. This is quite logical for me: why should I care - it changes nothing and it causes only further problems and pain. For me life is only an absurd joke so I will not treat is seriously.
Other way to cheer up that works for me is to gaining new skills. For example whole my life I was terrible at sports. So some day I have decided that I will improve my physical endurance and I have started jogging. After 6 months of training I am able to run 10 kilometers which is not very impressing for people that have talents in sports but fully satisfies me (because when I was starting I was not able to run 50 meters). Additionally physical exercises causes release of endorphin in brain which naturally improves your mood.
Finally my passions brings me a lot of joy so I thinks it is important to find one.



nessa238
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04 Jan 2013, 9:34 am

In my opinion, a lot of thinking positive is dependant on your brain chemicals and hormones being balanced. For example, I was suicidally depressed in May/June this year but after going back onto my anti-depressants -Efexor I came out of it and felt well enough to apply for a job. I also had CBT therapy for a few months and this helped me to work on not focusing on negative thoughts. Recently I went on the mini-pill, which is progesterone only and that has helped me a lot too. Things have gone badly at work and I'm about to lose my job and have been treated very unfairly but due to the progesterone in my system I don't feel nearly as down or angry about it as I could do potentially. So this demonstrates to me that a lot of positive thinking needs the right chemicals in your brain for it to happen ie you can't necessarily force a positive frame of mind without the backup of the right levels and balance of brain chemicals as well.

When I feel depressed and my serotonin etc levels are low, negative thoughts will keep coming into my mind all the time and I won't be able to focus on positive things at all, but with the combination of the anti-depressants and the progesterone, I might feel down about things that are happening but the continual stream of negative thoughts isn't happening and I generally feel my baseline opinion of myself is much better - something is stopping the negative thoughts getting out of control and also improving my self-image and I'd say it's the chemicals and hormones.

It's not as simple as telling a person to just stop thinking negatively - it's the brain chemicals that drive what type of thoughts you have.

So the answer is I can only make myself feel better with chemical assistance as in my opinion society is too toxic to my way of being to allow me to flourish, hence I need to be propped up with drugs.