Thursday, July 7, 2011

Truth and Perspective

In the course of my various treatments by various professionals, the academic kind and the real professionals who have experienced mental illness and in the reading I have done on depression, anger, blah, blah, blah; all those problem emotions that are not supposed to be a problem there has been a lot of discussion about truth and perspective.  (Maybe there should have been some talk about run-on sentences but in any case...) 
The dilemma is:  What is fact, truth, reality vs. what do I perceive?  What blanks do I fill in with my perceptions in lieu of facts.  Isn't that the heart of the problem?  I mean, think about it.  I have a roof over my head (that doesn't leak), I have food on the table every day (even treats and junk food I don't really need), I have clothes to wear that are suitable for every season so I don't boil or freeze, I have a loving supportive husband, I have two healthy reasonably well-behaved children and even a healthy happy dog, I also have some extended family that are wonderful and some that are not awful.  So what's to be depressed about?  If it was a question of my changing my perspective to see the facts of my life as others see them why don't I just do that?
I totally get that I do have negative thought patterns and habits that I need to catch and challenge but I am finding it to be very difficult.  It has become easier since I started following other bloggers because I can see clearly their skewed perceptions just as mine are probably as obvious to you.  I had a counselor once who said "Sheila, you have a 'yeah, but' for everything."  He was absolutely right and I still do.  So yeah those skewed perceptions may be obvious to you but, I'm different.  I really am inadequate as a parent (the fact that both kids think pot is harmless, among other issues, is my proof),  I really am a bad dog parent because it's a fact that I don't walk my dog every day,  I really am a less than perfect wife because it's a fact that John works two jobs and still I can't seem to manage the house without his help (the kids don't help either and it's a fact that if I had been a better mom, they would help).  It's a fact that I cannot hold a job and so do not contribute so well (my pension is pathetic) financially to the household.   Last, but not least, I create art (which costs money to do) that I don't do anything with,  I can at least somewhat justify the art thing as a kind of therapy, but (there's that word again) it's been sixteen years and the art thing has been no more successful than any other kind of therapy. (I know, I know, what a pathetic little self-pity party I'm having)
So what is my truth, where do I find my reality and how do I change the perspective I have?  I'm pretty sure that's the key but (see, I told you so) I don't know how to do it.  I have tried, honest, there have been:  affirmations, "Fake it 'till you make it", charts (you know the ones with the events, thoughts, feelings, etc), gratitude journals, thought challenge journals...  The problem is I've never really believed any of what I've said or thought or written.  Maybe I haven't tried hard enough, maybe I haven't stuck with anything long enough, maybe I like being depressed because it absolves me of so many responsibilities, maybe I've forgotten how not to be depressed.  Who the hell knows?  Not me and if God, or the Divine, or Allah or anyone does, I wish to hell they would tell me so I could get over this already.  Waah


  1. How to change the behavior, yelp that's my question too.
    I've never had the standard things like affirmations work for me either, except that I kind of make up my own. Like "learned behavior" is the current one, meaning when I'm negative, it was learned, meaning I can change it and learn positive in its place. By saying it a lot, I notice more about others and myself. That's all I have :)
    I learn a lot from other people's blogs also.
    At least you realize your perception is just that.

  2. I could, and was about to start contradicting you but as you say... you've been here before. You know the drill. If you were to take that section from where you say you're a bad parent and start doing the 'evidence for' & 'evidence against' those 'facts' you'll see for yourself if they are true or not. I'd bet money that they aren't true. Judy MADE me do this, she didn't do it for me, and she would never ever let me get away with it. If it came out... I had to deal with it. I just mention that because i needed someone like her to persist and be tough on me, otherwise i didn't have the discipline to retrain myself. x

  3. Maybe you could ask yourself why both perspectives can't exist together? None of us are perfect so to put that expectation on yourself is only going to set yourself up for failure. I know easier said than done--really I struggle with this as well.

    I'm sure that you contribute to your family in more positive ways than you give yourself credit for, because for us it's easy to negate the positive and obsess about the negative.

    I can only suggest that you look deep inside yourself to find something that will make you happy that has no bearing on your family ties. Whether that is volunteering, putting your art on ebay for some extra cash, or finding a class that you may enjoy, etc. For me personally, I went back to my childhood where I loved to learn. Often I engross myself in the wonders of this world and the universe. I look for those things that simply amaze me.

  4. Hi again. You know we follow a few of the same blogs so I see your comments here and there, and you are so wonderfully good at being positive for other people... contradicting the negative thinking they have about themselves. You are a good friend to people out there. Reminds me of a line in a song about 'being your own best friend'. You take care.

  5. Okay. Depression and anxiety and all that... they're NOT logical. Not related to how happy you are or how much stuff you have that's paid for or how happy your dog is.

    Anyone who tells you that it's your perspective is full of shit and should be told to fuck off and get a job they're better suited to.

    Can I say 'fuck' on your blog? I say it on mine all the time, and don't want to offend.