Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Choice

Once again, I'm convinced my brain's chemistry delivers fear which my mind then must find a rationale for. Not hard to do. My sister's problems qualify quite nicely for a reason to be afraid. In fact, all her life she's given me a reason to worry, something she herself needs.

Right now she's quite upset over being so helpless, but if she didn't have the brain chemistry she has, she wouldn't embrace her misery so completely.  Having a reason to be miserable is making her happy, in a strange sort of way, because it allows her to explain why she is feeling so bad.

It's terribly hard to let go of that particular coping mechanism--believe me, I know. Feeling terrible is a way to feel better, paradoxically. It works, though, so people keep using it. Not only does it work, but it's hard to see it for what it is--something the person is actually doing deliberately. It's so automatic, so knee-jerk, it seems to be out of the depressed person's control. But we are doing it ourselves.

Just look at any depression-related website, especially blogs. There is a desire to have company in one's misery, to be self-righteous about feeling depressed. People should understand, we say, and not expect so much from us. They tell us to snap out of it, but we can't, so they should let us be the way we are. We want to cling to our misery, our suffering selves.

Medication is frequently tried these days but sometimes does not work, or doesn't work for long enough, or works in a detrimental way. If medication can't work, people must use their minds to help themselves to feel better. Unfortunately, many of the ways people choose to help themselves are ultimately destructive to them and people around them, such as abusing drugs or engaging in other behaviors that tend to increase adrenalin, such as cutting oneself, driving fast, compulsively having illicit sex.

It's rational to try to make a bad feeling go away. But it doesn't have to be a destructive method. It can be something innocuous like playing Solitaire or one of the other games people like to play on their hand-held devices. As long as it works, who cares how simple it is? There is, however, a danger that the behavior designed to solve the problem becomes a problem itself by becoming addictive. So you see people who can't stop playing with their phones even when it's a very bad idea to do so (during driving, for instance).

People don't have to miserable. They can choose not to.  They really can. They just don't believe that the way they feel is physical and that it can be dealt with in a rational way, like any other physical ailment.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

So There We Are

Feeling sad when there's no reason to feel sad--that's one version of bad brain chemistry. That's how I feel today. One could say I have a good reason to feel sad because of my sister's dilemma. And I do feel sad because of that. But other than that, I have no reason to feel as bad as I do, and if my sister wasn't hurting, there'd be some other reason to feel bad, at least according to my brain, that wants to have a rationale for feeling bad.

But my life is good, really, and for that matter, so is my sister's, if she would only acknowledge that and get on with the business of trying to fix what's wrong. She needs to work harder at losing weight and getting strong, but she chooses instead to be the victim, which gives her a reason to be angry and depressed. And that is truly sad because it just doesn't have to be that way. All that needs to change is her attitude, but she doesn't believe that. And she doesn't believe she can change her attitude even. So there we are. And there's not much I can do. I'm no leader, as I've often stated. But maybe I'm giving up too easily too. Maybe.