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About how to live best

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Lohrenswald

世界的 bottom ranked physicist
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Or something

I could try to hide that this is somewhat of a personal matter for me, and generalise it. That would take effort (which really is warrented), but hopefully as much as this can be generalised and applied to other people that'll just get clear.

I've been depressed for around 9 years. I thought I had gotten over it at some point, but it came back to bite me, so I've clearly not.
What have I done with my life you know? It took me 7 years to get a degree that was supposed to take 3. That'd give me plenty time to master it, but I'm back in school trying again, and it's clear I haven't. Important things I've learned about don't sit, Maybe it'd be easy to review old material to relearn fast, but I keep failing at that.
I found a person I wanted to spend my life with. He said he found out after a while he didn't.
So with these things I've really questioned the merit of my life. I don't feel I'm in any way the type of person I want to be.

This is navel-gazing as well.
So I've been trying to think of ways to like make life worthwhile, and I think the bar is pretty high. Like I feel I should be learned in almost all things. I'm pretty bad in physics
I don't read things. I hardly even read fiction. I don't know what's wrong with me, I don't know how to change.
I don't know how to find the worthwhile material and think correctly about it
And these goals are really vague, but even something as concrete as learning a language I've failed at

I'm thinking about how especially western industrialised lifestyle is unsustainable, but I'm not even a vegetarian
Everything seems wrong

I know I'm shaped by society, both at large and people I know, but that's not good enough to not do something. If my attention span is ruined, I should fix it. If I've learned to be lazy I should overcome it
But I feel really unmotivated and and incapable
Most of the youth is behind me

So I don't know
I guess the question is how to make life worthwhile
One way is to reframe your thinking to be satisfied with small life being stupid, but that's not good enough. Not valid
 
Short answer: try to find something (anything, and preferably the easier source) that makes you feel happy, even to a small degree.
I do realize that too can be difficult, but it is of paramount importance.
In the meantime, anti-depressants can help a little.
If you feel like it, you can also pm.

If it matters at all, I've always liked you and hope you'll find what you want :)
 
It's though speaking of matters this personal, specially for someone like me, that never really struggle with depression. That said, I'm always drawn to topics I never discussed before.

How to make your life worth living?

That question is as old as humanity itself. No one can give an objective answer to that, so you must not fret by being unable to as well; you are in the company of our greatest minds in all recorded history.

And speaking of history, many answers were proposed as people thought about it. Achieving wealthy; beauty; a modicum of immortality through deeds that deserve to be remembered!

I don't like any of these answers, because they are all goal-driven, all assume a priori that you must enact quantifiable change... and maybe you don't need to. I think of goals as, well, sidequests; nice to achieve, to be proud of, to strive for, but ultimately, not the point. I think our lives have values that are intrinsic, due to it's two defining characteristics - it's great rarity, and it's even more rare ability to engage in self reflection.

I remember a physicist discussing the topic of our uniqueness (if I remember what is that video, I'll post here) that mentioned that our most amazing feature is that of having models of the reality inside our heads; we are the vessels through which existence became able to know itself.

So, your lucubrations, painful as they are, by their very nature, make you one of the most unique, and valuable, entities in this reality in which we exist. Perhaps this is a small comfort, but nevertheless, it's very true, and a very reasonable source of self-worth. We have a hard time seeing that, generally, as we are surrounded by people, so our perception is very skewed as to our objective uniqueness.

Good luck to you. Don't know how much I helped, if at all. But hey, a stranger took time to reflect with you and try his best to make you feel better. Don't you think this is a sign that you are worth the effort?

Regards :).
 
I remember a physicist discussing the topic of our uniqueness (if I remember what is that video, I'll post here) that mentioned that our most amazing feature is that of having models of the reality inside our heads; we are the vessels through which existence became able to know itself.
Others might have said something like that too, but maybe Feynman (since there are videos of him online saying similar stuff).

At any rate, indeed a human is featuring (not forming) models of something that is then used to present in an anthropomorphic manner, the external=> you are running after what is already you.

Happiness is a positive. Many people have come to think that unhappiness is natural for those intelligent enough, but that is also a dream. I recall a diary note by Kafka, near his end, along these lines: "I always thought that happiness would prevent me from creating literature, but in reality unhappiness has proven to be at least an equal obstacle".

Ultimately, even the points to reach, to feel happy, are extremely personalized. An easy example of this is how someone can feel better than you, despite being (relative to you) noticeably sick, dumb, poor, old, ugly etc. We often make the mistake that there is a common measure, and things are organized in very similar ways, but the balance of each person is highly unlikely to feature that many similarities to the next; there is no blueprint for how to move in this minefield, for it's not the same minefield to begin with.
 
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Well, I'm not a psychologist, but the way I understand it, for people who truly are suffering depression, they often can't simply set themselves on one of the self-improvement tracks that you lay out here. You may need counselling or medication.

The one other thing I note about your post (again, I'm not a psychologist) is that it's full of standards that you think you ought to meet or to have met, full of shoulds. Trying to meet such standards is almost a recipe for feeling dissatisfied. Just find something that gives your life some meaning and do that thing. Do it for no other reason than that you find it meaningful. Don't try to get anywhere with it. Just do the thing. And pay attention to where it leads you. To more of that thing? To another similar thing. Then do that for the sake of doing it. To a complementary thing? Then do that, for the sake of doing it.
 
I like the book "Feeling Good" by Dr. David Burns.

Very good read with practical exercises that can be performed according to how much time you have and how bad/unmotivated you feel.

I know the 10 cognitive distortions he lists by heart, and notice some of them in the OP. 90% of Dr. Burns' work is teaching how to notice and respond to cognitive distortions with rational responses. What are some of them, hmmmm?

I've been depressed for around 9 years. I thought I had gotten over it at some point, but it came back to bite me, so I've clearly not.

This is an overgeneralization, which means that you see these returning negative feelings/events as a never-ending stream of incoming defeats. A rational response would be, " I might feel crummy now, perhaps very so, but I've kicked malaise to the curb at times in the past, so there's no reason why I can't kick it again and enjoy my life in the present and future."

What have I done with my life you know? It took me 7 years to get a degree that was supposed to take 3. That'd give me plenty time to master it, but I'm back in school trying again, and it's clear I haven't. Important things I've learned about don't sit, Maybe it'd be easy to review old material to relearn fast, but I keep failing at that.

This contains disqualifying the positive, all-or-nothing thinking, and minimization. You imply you're not intelligent or that you're degree is lesser because you took longer to get it, even though it's the same degree everyone else gets. You say you need to be a "master" of a subject, when even "masters" are wrong about things and struggle at times with information. You minimize your sense of competency, even though you learn new things relating to the topic every day.

I found a person I wanted to spend my life with. He said he found out after a while he didn't.

This contains personalization. Sometimes you can do "everything right, " and the other person still leaves you hanging or your hard work unrewarded. Maybe they have their own cognitive distortions that caused them to pull the plug on a good relationship? Regardless, it isn't your fault, and setting up a mental bargaining contract with yourself in your head to guarantee your personal worth around the perceived worth given to you from another human is a way to easily wind up depressed.

So I've been trying to think of ways to like make life worthwhile, and I think the bar is pretty high. Like I feel I should be learned in almost all things. I'm pretty bad in physics

This contains should statements and labeling. Saying you "should" be learned in physics is just a post-hoc whipping of yourself, as though you need to punish yourself for not achieving something sooner or feeling motivated. You label yourself as bad, but don't say in opposition to what. A rational response would be, "I want to get better at physics. I'm studying more every day and learning more as I go. Some days I learn more, some days I learn less, but that doesn't make me 'bad.' I am a human, and humans learn in a non-linear fashion."


Want to tackle cognitive distortions? Three easy steps:

1) Write down your honest thoughts about a situation.

2) Label your cognitive distortions (SEE BELOW!!) in the thoughts with the help of the list of the 10 cognitive distortions in the book "Feeling Good."

3) Write rational responses to refer to when you have sudden and intrusive thoughts that are cognitive distortions. Re-write them, even, and go through the process again and again. You'll eventually find that you catch yourself doing it in your head, stopping and reversing your depressed feelings!

Here is all you need to know:

Cognitive Distortions:

(quoted directly from pg. 42-43 ed. 1999 of Feeling Good)

1) All-or-Nothing Thinking: You see things in black-and-white categories. If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure.

2) Overgeneralization: You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.

3) Mental Filter: You pick out a single negative detail and swell on it exclusively so that your vision of all reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that colors the entire beaker of water.

4) Disqualifying the Positive: You reject positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or other. In this way you can maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences.

5) Jumping to Conclusions: You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion.

a) Mind Reading: You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you, and you don’t bother to check this out.

b) The Fortune Teller Error: You anticipate that things will turn out badly, and you feel convinced that your prediction is an already-established fact.

6) Magnification (Catastrophization) or Minimization: You exaggerate the importance of things (such as your goof-up or someone else’s achievement), or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (your own desirable qualities or the other fellow’s imperfections). This is also called the “binocular trick.”

7) Emotional Reasoning: You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: “I feel it, therefore it must be true.”

8) Should Statements: You try to motivate yourself with shoulds and shouldn’ts, as if you had to be whipped and punished before you could be expected to do anything. “Musts” and “oughts” are also offenders. The emotional consequence is guilt. When you direct should statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration, and resentment.

9) Labeling and Mislabeling: This is an extreme form of overgeneralization. Instead of describing your error, you attach a negative label to yourself: “I’m a loser.” When someone else’s behavior rubs you the wrong way, you attach a negative label to him: “He’s a goddamn louse.” Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded.

10) Personalization: You see yourself as the cause of some negative external event which in fact you were not primarily responsible for.

I hope you enjoy the book "Feeling Good" if you choose to buy it. There are free PDF versions online and from Amazon for only a few bucks. Regardless, the above is what like 90% of the work/exercises are based around, so this is a great place to work off of daily.

Mental health is not only showing that you love yourself, it's also pretty fun!

Have a cow:

plains-cow 3.1.png
 
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Love like there is no tomorrow. It shrinks the scale to the attainable and real.

From a man that dreads them all.
 
Even tho it took longer you muscled thru & got your degree. So give yourself credit for that. I dropped out of college @ 19 to work & never returned.

Give yourself credit for the small things, I wouldn't call yourself lazy its more about incentive, if you see large incentives 'laziness' will go.

I've been depressed to some degree or another since 1992 but its never that bad anymore.

I'm with kids now so should get off my phone but regular exercise and much more recently meditation have helped. More later

I tried to start a thread on depression and avoiding suicidality a couple times on this forum but the concern of liability overrode the potential benefits of helping anyone (I don't blame cfc much it's just the modern world unfortunately)
 
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great posts 👍
How old are you?

When was your first episode/age? mild, moderate, severe, psychosis? How long and what types of treatments did you receive over what period of time?

IMPORTANT QUESTION did you respond or remit? For how long? Did you continue on meds after you got better?were there chages/sressors /triggers, preceding the second episode?

Are you working? Whats social life for you right now? Speak to your friends and family but by all means --->see a psychologist!!!
 
>see a psychologist!!!
If you want to. But don't feel.like it's a necessity especially if it causes more financial stress.

Psychologists have reverse incentives, the longer it takes for you to get better (if at all) the more they get paid.
 
Moderator Action: Please note that Off-Topic is not a reliable source of serious, specific, professional help regarding mental health issues, and any advice in this thread should not be used to the exclusion of seeking help from a medical professional.
 
^Yes. Although psychiatrists are not gods either, they certainly have (if good) a chance of helping, due to being professionals.
Chronic depression is not easy to fight. Don't take radio messages from people in entirely different battle-fronts, even if they want to they cannot help.
 
Yes. Although psychiatrists are not gods either, they certainly have (if good) a chance of helping, due to being professionals
They're professionals in a loose sense. Any individual psychologist's track record will be necessarily unknown and most psychologists have more issues themselves than the general population. If you want to go that route I'd shop around and not settle for someone you lack rapport with
 
Expecting too much - and chasing - often leads to disappointment.
Changing from one day (or even weeks, months) to another isn't realistically possible.
There may be an illusion of that when things go well, but as you wrote it's coming back. You are not alone with that.

Being too hard on ourselves isn't good, there should be some balance. Take into consideration that you are a good person if you harm nobody, cos there are many criminals etc in this world who do.
Success or high standards are far from being the only (or even important) measurements of being a welcome member of society.
 
Neurogenesis
 
My first major in college was psychology. I hate to be indelicate but it would be a good idea to find a therapist or other mental health professional. Have you discussed this with your primary physician? If not, please do. It's just my internet opinion, but what you described indicates a health challenge you can't ignore.

If it helps, I left college before I got my degree. Went back 35 years later and finished. Everyone is allowed to set their own schedule without stopping to ask if it's correct.
 
Thanks for being nice

suppose I'll give special credit to plains-cow for giving actionable advice.

I get the view of trying to be nicer to oneself, but it's hard.

I think I want to read more and I'm not sure why I can't do it or hardly even try.
Also language learning. That's a couple of very specific things to do I keep and keep failing to do.

as for questions posed by bernie14 I don't know how much I feel like getting into the weeds of what I'm doing and have done right now. I am going to therapy, I probably mess it up though
It's really hard for me to talk with other people. Most people who like me like me for who I am, and I don't.
Also really upset about ex and it's not leaving me. Might be I'm sabotaging myself by not wanting to let go.
Thanks anyways
 
Success or high standards are far from being the only (or even important) measurements of being a welcome member of society.
Yeah, it's easier than ever to compare ourselves to those way "better" than ourselves (in whatever metric you choose) but it doesn't actually mean anything
 
Regular exercise (30-50 minutes, 3-5 times a week) has been shown to improve both mental and physical ailments. Brisk walking, jogging, gym exercises, swimming, etc. all qualify. The hardest part is often including such exercises into one's routine.
 
I think I want to read more
One can't "read more," Lohr. One can only read a book. What book have you heard about lately that sounds interesting? Go read that book. Let me know whether it proved to be interesting.
 
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