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About how to live best

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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.
Yeah, I'm always doing that. I found in order to actually start doing that on a regular basis I had to join a club where they do it on a regular basis.
 
most psychologists have more issues themselves than the general population
lel

Anyway, despite the fact that psychiatrists are inevitably human with all the weaknesses that comes with, they still generally have formal training (though it often helps to have recommendations if you're looking at a specific person, institution or the like), generalisms like the above only tend to push people away from seeking counseling, in the event they may benefit from it.
 
I wouldn't advise using psychologists, since (afaik) they cannot prescribe drugs on their own, and the norm is that treatment will require some drugs (=psychiatrist) along with the cognitive parts.
Even anti-depressants can have a notable effect - particularly if you haven't felt anywhere near good for a long while. Obviously drugs by themselves don't solve the problem, only alleviate some symptoms.
 
Neurogenesis
Gimme that bdnf :)
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

Understandable. Sorry, I didn't ask the questions with the intention of you having to explain yourself in any way, just that the how you were able to improve the first time around my help with your current episode. In particular, depression is a symptom, not a disorder. You are describing mood, cognitive and psychomotor symptoms.

@Remorseless1 makes an excellent point that you should talk to your primary, since there are plenty of medical conditions that can cause your symptoms.
 
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

I wouldn't advise using psychologists, since (afaik) they cannot prescribe drugs on their own, and the norm is that treatment will require some drugs (=psychiatrist) along with the cognitive parts.
Even anti-depressants can have a notable effect - particularly if you haven't felt anywhere near good for a long while. Obviously drugs by themselves don't solve the problem, only alleviate some symptoms.
Moderator Action: This is not a thread to discuss your personal preferences about seeking professional help nor to steer people away from any professional help you don't like.
 
generalisms like the above
Based on reality. People go into psychology because it's a strong interest, usually because of some personal or family trauma. Some come out w a lot of wisdom and ability to help others, others not so much. Just like cops, some protect and serve, others get off on the power
To be fair, I missed the switch between psychiatrist and psychologist, but regardless you used the former (correctly) and Narz went to the latter (incorrectly).
What? I was talking about psychologists. Try not reacting off the cuff

I could go on a separate tangent about psychiatrists, the pros and cons of tweaking your brain chemistry but not here.
 
I wouldn't advise using psychologists, since (afaik) they cannot prescribe drugs on their own, and the norm is that treatment will require some drugs (=psychiatrist) along with the cognitive parts.
Even anti-depressants can have a notable effect - particularly if you haven't felt anywhere near good for a long while. Obviously drugs by themselves don't solve the problem, only alleviate some symptoms.
I've never had to see a psychiatrist for treatment for depression.
Here a GP can prescribe anti-depressants and refer you to CBT courses run by qualified therapists.
 
Just watch TV (in America anyway), you'll see drugs advertised and you can request the one you want from your doc.
 
I know that when I stop daily exercises and stop being curious about things - that’s when something invisible inside me breaks apart. It’s like a cold shower. I may be entering the shower booth all sleepy and lazy, but after 30 seconds of cold I know exactly where I am and where I am going to go right now.

Anyway, that’s my recipe. Hope you find yours.
 
I know that when I stop daily exercises and stop being curious about things - that’s when something invisible inside me breaks apart. It’s like a cold shower. I may be entering the shower booth all sleepy and lazy, but after 30 seconds of cold I know exactly where I am and where I am going to go right now.

Anyway, that’s my recipe. Hope you find yours.
Certainly. There's never a benefit in giving up. And there is no floor to a free-fall either= you can always get worse.
Battling chronic depression is extremely difficult and even small victories have to be taken.
 
Black dog of depression is a tough one.

Is it the world crushing me, or is it me?
Only way to know for sure is to be rich, and see if the problem persists.


In my personal opinion, physical health has a huge impact on the mental health.

People need a good night's sleep, breakfast, small amount of exercise, toilet, shower, brushed teeth, fast floss, a deodorant smell they really like, and good vision.

Skip one of these steps, and just throw the day's confidence out the window.

If it takes too much time, practice blazing through the routine as fast as possible.


Then is the struggle for survival money.
With no money, any depression issues can't be a priority.
A whole nother post.


Motivation is a tricky creature.
Wanting to want to do things is depression territory.
Sadness tends to come from not being able to change the way things are.

A person can become soft locked if their brain convinces them they can't do anything.
Too much noise for the neighbors, costs too much, I smell badly stay away from people, fear, better tomorrow than today, etc...


Pursue your goals. Don't always try to make other people happy.
Don't set yourself on fire to keep everyone warm until you are ash.
If people want more than you can give, say I'm human not a god. Monkey see, monkey like.
Beware the time sinks, they take all your time and have no pay off.
Pick the advice you like and throw away the rest.


Finally, always be mindful of the things that could destroy you.
Will Smith was a great motivational speaker.
Then he slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars and his career is done.
Or the countless people who got ruined in a traffic accident they could have avoided.
Sometimes the destroyer is another person, but it can be hard to tell.
Don't give into a violent impulse or be near things that don't care about your well-being.
Maybe today there is some contagious disease going around?
These are rational fears that are perfectly ok to have, so do it with eyes wide open and not sleepwalking.
Most bad luck is just people not paying attention.


If nothing is working, professional help becomes a good idea.
The only fix for a hardware problem might be a medication.
 
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I'm on the fence about sunscreen.

Do I really want to smell like that all day?
All dust sticks to me...
That is an awful lot of chemicals that don't wash off easily.

Wide-brimmed hat all day for me usually if I'm outside.
 
I'm on the fence about sunscreen.

Do I really want to smell like that all day?
All dust sticks to me...
That is an awful lot of chemicals that don't wash off easily.

Wide-brimmed hat all day for me usually if I'm outside.
Skin cancer (of any variety) sucks though. A wide brimmed hat can work well; just don't forget about your arms. Hats don't work well in and around water though.
 
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?



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."



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.



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.



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:

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Ah very nice!

I didn't know cognitive distortions were so well understood.

Yes, that is a much fuller list of all the ways the brain tricks itself than what I wrote. :)


Modern life is much less dangerous than some people think, and their odds generator for encounters is way off.

This video is basically me.
For the longest time I thought people were just way too brave.


My English teacher helped me understand I made way, way too many assumptions about things.

Even now when I trace back a problem to the start, it was usually a faulty assumption I made.
 
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Ah very nice!

I didn't know cognitive distortions were so well understood.

Modern life is much less dangerous than some people think, and their odds generator for encounters is way off.

This video is basically me.
For the longest time I thought people were just way too brave.


My English teacher helped me understand I made way, way too many assumptions about things.

Even now when I trace back a problem to the start, it was usually a faulty assumption I made.
He does make a good point, yes, the timorous children have it harder than the reckless ones. And while intelligence disparity isn't negated later on either, the chasm can be filled with personal theories if one is a pre-teen child.
Lohren clearly is a thinking and sensitive person. This can be very positive, but not if surrounded by the opposite; surrounded either in physical space or - more crucially - in your world of imagination and recollection.
 
From WaPo today. The last section may be most useful for those experiencing depression.

How inflammation in the body may explain depression in the brain​

Inflammation is a pathway to depression — and a potential avenue for treatment, research suggests​


One in five Americans will experience major depressive disorder in their lifetime, and many will not find relief from current therapies. But now researchers have identified an unexpected source of the problem: inflammation. Inflammation in the body may be triggering or exacerbating depression in the brains of some patients. And clinical trial data suggests that targeting and treating the inflammation may be a way to provide more-precise care.

The findings have the potential to revolutionize medical care for depression, an often intractable illness that doesn’t always respond to conventional drug treatments. While current drug treatments target certain neurotransmitters, the new research suggests that in some patients, depressive behaviors may be fueled by the inflammatory process. It appears that inflammatory agents in the blood can break down the barrier between the body and the brain, causing neuroinflammation and altering key neural circuits, researchers say. In people at risk for depression, inflammation may be a trigger for the disorder.

Research suggests that only a subset of depressed patients — roughly 30 percent — have elevated inflammation, which is also associated with poor responses to antidepressants. This inflammatory subgroup may be a key to parsing out differences in underlying mechanisms for depression and personalizing treatment. “Activation of these inflammatory pathways in the body and brain is one of the ways through which depressive symptoms can be produced,” said Charles Raison, a professor of human psychology, human ecology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

The challenge of treating depression​

Depression is itself a risk factor for several other diseases and disorders, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disorders and arthritis. Depression is the major cause of suicide, which is a leading cause of death in the United States.

One person’s depression is not necessarily the same as another’s. “It’s not that depression is sort of this generic disorder that is the same for all people,” said Andrew Miller, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Emory University School of Medicine. “It’s quite different depending on who it is and what they’re experiencing.” From the nine symptom criteria — depressed mood, diminished pleasure, weight change, sleep change, lethargy, feelings of worthlessness, attention problems, psychomotor disturbance or suicidal ideation — there are 227 possible combinations for being diagnosed with major depressive disorder, though some combinations are more common than others. For many people, this makes it difficult to find an effective treatment.

Antidepressants, a standard treatment for most depressive disorders, are designed to modulate the transmission of certain neurotransmitters — serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine — but only about 30 percent of patients go into remission following treatments. While many others may find partial relief from antidepressants along with behavioral therapy, an estimated 50 percent of depressed patients are inadequately treated and 30 percent are resistant to current treatments. Newer treatments such as ketamine are helping some people, but have their own problems and side effects.

The inflamed body and the depressed brain​

Inflammation is the response produced by the immune system to protect the body from pathogens, injuries and toxins. But chronic inflammation, which can be caused by stress, poor diet, an unhealthy lifestyle or autoimmune diseases, can damage cells and organs and increase risk for a number of health problems. A number of studies show that depressed patients tend to have increased inflammation compared with non-depressed subjects, including more inflammatory cytokines and C-reactive protein — which is produced by the liver in response to inflammation — circulating in the blood. Patients with autoimmune diseases have inordinately high rates of depression. And postmortem brain samples from people who died by suicide showed more activation of the brain’s immune cells, which release inflammatory agents.
Crucially, pro-inflammatory drugs can induce people to become depressed, which suggests a causative link. In one seminal study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Miller and his colleagues conducted a double-blind study of 40 cancer patients undergoing treatment with interferon-alpha, an inflammatory cytokine. Though none of the patients had depression to begin with, the inflammatory agent had a striking effect: Many became depressed, a finding that has been consistently replicated. “The patients recognize pretty much immediately that, ‘Hey, you gave me something, and now I feel this way. I don’t know why I feel this way,’” Miller said.

Inflammation changes brain circuits and behavior​

From an evolutionary standpoint, inflammation may be a way for the immune system to communicate with the brain, Miller said. When animals were wounded or fighting off an infection, the brain and immune system would work in concert to shut down the animal’s activities to allow for quicker recovery.

But for humans today, living in more sanitary environments and with relatively new sources of inflammation — unhealthy foods, sedentary lifestyles — this immune response may be less adaptive because the inflammation is less likely the result of an infection or wound.
“Now we live in an environment where we’re not terribly physically active, we eat a ton of carbs, we’re overweight by and large, and it’s killing us,” Miller said. “The inflammation is killing us. And one of the ways that it kills us is by affecting the brain.” But how inflammation influences depression is complex. Inflammation may be increasing anhedonia, or the depressive symptom of reduced pleasure. It may also play a role in causing psychomotor slowing, or the slowing down of thought and movement.


People receiving pro-inflammatory agents such as interferon-alpha had blunted responses in brain areas associated with reward, such as the ventral striatum. Inflammation also seems to decrease the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter implicated in reward and movement. At the same time, inflammation reduces the functional connections between the ventral striatum and the prefrontal cortex, which are important parts of the brain’s reward circuitry.

A leaky blood-brain barrier​

Prolonged, elevated inflammation can lead to a leakier blood-brain barrier, which normally protects the delicate brain from potentially harmful molecules in the blood. But when chronic inflammation is present, immune cells in the blood glue themselves to the barrier blood vessels, where they constantly release inflammatory molecules. These may activate the brain’s specialized immune cells on the other side of the barrier, called microglia, to release inflammatory agents of their own and cause neuroinflammation. “This will fragilize the blood-brain barrier,” said Caroline Ménard, an assistant professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Université Laval and CERVO Brain Research. “So eventually, you will have some tiny holes in the blood-brain barrier of the brain. And this will allow inflammation to pass from the blood into the brain, and this will eventually change the neurons and all the cells that create the behavior and who we are.”

Ménard and her colleagues discovered, in one mouse study, that chronic stress and inflammation caused the blood-brain barrier to get leaky in specific areas involved in depression, such as the nucleus accumbens, a key structure in the ventral striatum. When the researchers examined the nucleus accumbens in postmortem brain tissue of depressed male patients in a 2020 study, they found similar molecular changes in the blood-brain barrier.

Interestingly, there are sex differences in how inflammation affects the blood-brain barrier. When the researchers ran similar experiments in female mice in a 2022 study, they found that chronic social stress caused the blood-brain barrier to be leaky in a different part of the brain — the prefrontal cortex, a mood-related hub. Postmortem brain tissue of depressed women exhibited similar vascular alterations in the blood-brain barrier near the prefrontal cortex.

These results suggest one possible mechanism for how inflammation, a whole-body process, could affect certain depression-relevant parts of the brain, such as the ventral striatum and prefrontal cortex, more than others: A leaky blood-brain barrier could cause neuroinflammatory changes to nearby neurons in the reward circuit. The coordinated involvement of the immune, vascular and nervous systems also underscores that depression is a whole-body problem that requires a whole-body approach to solving it. “I think we need to think outside the box, which is the brain and the neurons,” Ménard said. “When you’re stressed, you feel it all over your body, you don’t feel it only in your brain.”

Can treating inflammation treat depression?​

If inflammation can induce or exacerbate depression and its symptoms, then reducing inflammation could provide relief. Even if inflammation is a disease modifier rather than the cause of the problem, “you have to take care of it in order for you to be able to get your therapeutics working to restore your circuitry and what’s happening in the mind,” said Eleonore Beurel, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Anti-inflammatory drugs, used alone or in conjunction with a standard antidepressant, may help some depressed patients. A 2019 meta-analysis encompassing almost 10,000 patients from 36 randomized clinical trials found that different anti-inflammatory agents, including NSAIDs, cytokine inhibitors and statins, could improve depressive symptoms. But some recent large clinical trials testing anti-inflammatory drugs have not found any noticeable impact on depressed patients.

Part of the issue is that anti-inflammatory treatments should target only patients with elevated inflammation — and not be used as a one-size-fits-all approach, because depression is so heterogeneous. Most clinical trials are not designed to compare inflammation levels of patients, but analyses run post-hoc suggest that anti-inflammatories have the largest effect on depressed patients with inflammation, Miller said. For example, one early randomized controlled trial conducted by Miller and Raison found that giving a cytokine inhibitor to treatment-resistant depression patients helped only those with elevated inflammation.

Future research trials need to consider the heterogeneity of the patients and their different flavors of depression as well as their inflammatory profiles. Making more precise measurements of particular symptoms impacted by inflammation, such as anhedonia and psychosomatic slowing, may also tease apart subtle effects of different treatments. “We’ve come to the tipping point,” Miller said. “And we know enough at this point to begin to target the immune system and its downstream effects on the brain to treat depression. We are there.”

How to manage your own inflammation​

Experts agreed that people should not take anti-inflammatories without talking with their health-care provider. Your doctor can order a C-reactive protein blood test to measure your level of inflammation. “There are so many patients who do not respond to antidepressants,” said Ole Köhler-Forsberg, a physician and associate professor of psychiatry at Aarhus University who has given anti-inflammatory drugs to his patients in addition to antidepressants. “So there is the issue of how can we improve the individual outcomes.” Tailoring treatment for each individual on a holistic basis may add some benefit.

More clinical tests for inflammatory markers may be a way to differentiate the effectiveness of antidepressant treatment. If confirmed, it would “be the first actual biomarker in psychiatry,” Raison said. “I mean, we’ve been looking for biomarkers for 50 years and had zero luck. And it’s ironic that it’s not a brain chemical.” In the meantime, “you get much more mileage out of the lifestyle changes than you would out of supplements or any other over-the-counter drugs at this point,” Miller said. These include:
Making lifestyle changes may be hard for severely depressed patients, Köhler-Forsberg said, but it could help build resilience and prevent relapse when they get better and have the energy to make these changes.

“Trying to reduce behavioral things that promote chronic inflammation is probably a smart move if one wants to reduce one’s depression,” Raison said.

 
@Lohrenswald, like others suggested, maybe a hobby might help a little? Since you are into physics, maybe have a look at interesting physics videos on youtube, or theories mentioned (not things you have to use for your own work, but possibly interesting).
Although our civilization hasn't yet evolved to the point of solving depression or so many other common and life-damaging issues, tech is already interesting and you might find areas of interest there too - eg with the various computer-based creators of art or text, available online.
 
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
oh boy am i mirroring myself in some of these things.

so, i'm schizophrenic, depressed, probably have aspergers and have other things going on, currently living in a social housing program with crew at the site.

i'll reiterate what people have told me - things i know to be true, but i've myself failed to internalize:
- don't undersell that you managed to pull through and get the degree you got. it's a huge achievement to manage to do it; that it's been normalized to get degrees say a lot about society. it's a huge deal, and you should be happy with yourself; the years show what you were up against, not that you were bad. it's your life, and your schedule. you deserve to give yourself a break here.
- lifegoals are overrated, in a sense. at least if they're external. what matters is what you want to do, and that you measure the reasons why you want to do it. of course, there are some aspects here, and i'll share from my own situation. i can't expect to get a mansion if i choose to be an artist - but i like doing my writing, i like teaching writing, and i'm completely happy when i'm able to do these things, regardless of whether i eat beans for dinner.
- i was a vegetarian for years. being that, i'll like to share what i think now and what i thought then. you can't bear the bulk of the western ailments on your person. it's just not fair to yourself. you literally, physically, can not change things on your own. you will never get that power, so it's unreasonable to feel ashamed. in addition, as you're obviously an empathetic person, bearing the weight of society on yourself counterintuitively takes away the energy you could have to help that society. if you get overwhelmed by what's going on and therefore can't work against it, that's no good for society, even if we didn't care about you as a person. what you can do is allocate the power you have (if you were a politician, eg, you could push for good policy); you can argue for what is right, vote ethically, and such.
- i reread the lifegoals thing, so ok. i feel you're similar to me in that you were a brilliant kid that got stifled by sickness. that can really wreck you as a person. i get it. but like, there's no actual reason for you to be a Civilization Great Person. it's fun to be smart and it's rewarding to learn, but like... what does it, concretely, do in your world? here's a simple question. regardless of your long term dreams and such. what do you want to do tomorrow? if you manage to do tomorrow what you wanted to do tomorrow, your tomorrow is succesful. it's not about learning a language, but like... cat videos are neat. if you're aching for a specific kind of pasta. that sort of thing. and to a lot of depressed people, actually answering what you want to do tomorrow - what you want to do - is probably the biggest part of the issue. i'll talk from my own perspective again. i myself have spent so long managing my symptoms and dealing with the insanity that like a month ago i realized, like... wait, do i have dreams? like, really. things i want to do if i get better. i think aspirations are good, but there's a difference between aiming towards things you like and punishing yourself for not being able to achieve it. like - there's dreams, and there's expectations. the latter can be bad. am i making sense?

like, for myself - i like writing, and i like teaching writing. i want to be healthy enough to do that (it doesn't have to eclipse what i've previously achieved), and i want to eat pizza sometimes, and have some good laughs with friends. maybe a girlfriend at some point. in the end, none of that requires me to be a big name academic. i can work at a coffee shop and do all that. and be happy
 
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