Coping With Depression Quotes

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Sometimes I just think depression's one way of coping with the world. Like, some people get drunk, some people do drugs, some people get depressed. Because there's so much stuff out there that you have to do something to deal with it.
Ned Vizzini (It's Kind of a Funny Story)
And that's the most frustrating thing about depression. It isn't always something you can fight back against with hope. It isn't even something - it's nothing. And you can't combat nothing.
Allie Brosh (Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened)
A Short Alternative Medical Dictionary Definitions courtesy of Dr Lemuel Pillmeister (also known as Lemmy) Addiction - When you can give up something any time, as long as it's next Tuesday. Cocaine - Peruvian Marching Powder. A stimulant that has the extraordinary effect that the more you do, the more you laugh out of context. Depression - When everything you laugh at is miserable and you can't seem to stop. Heroin - A drug that helps you to escape reality, while making it much harder to cope when you are recaptured. Psychosis - When everybody turns into tiny dolls and they have needles in their mouths and they hate you and you don't care because you have THE KNIFE! AHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Nikki Sixx (The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star)
Nobody can guarantee that it's going to be okay, but - and I don't know if this will be comforting to anyone else - the possibility exists that there's a piece of corn on a floor somewhere that will make you just as confused about why you were laughing as you have ever been about why you are depressed.
Allie Brosh (Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened)
And I know, knew for sure, with an absolute certainty, that this is rock bottom, this what the worst possible thing feels like. It is not some grand, wretched emotional breakdown. It is, in fact, so very mundane:…Rock Bottom is an inability to cope with the commonplace that is so extreme it makes even the grandest and loveliest things unbearable…Rock bottom is feeling that the only thing that matters in all of life is the one bad moment…Rock bottom is everything out of focus. It’s a failure of vision, a failure to see the world how it is, to see the good in what it is, and only to wonder why the hell things look the way they do and not—and not some other way.
Elizabeth Wurtzel (Prozac Nation)
And finally - FINALLY - after a lifetime of feelings and anxiety and more feelings, I didn't have any feelings left. I had spent my last feeling being disappointed that I couldn't rent Jumanji.
Allie Brosh (Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened)
Although I contemplated suicide many times, and developed concrete plans once or twice, I never gave up. Rather than take the emergency exit, I searched relentlessly for remedies and coping mechanisms. Although often feeling worn down and deeply discouraged, I persisted in hoping better times might come.
Larry Godwin (Transcending Depression: Quest Without a Compass)
We may seem fine, even when the pain remains right there beneath our surface.
Ashly Lorenzana
Sometimes I think depression should be called the coping illness. So many of us struggle on, not daring or knowing how to ask for help. More of us, terribly, go undiagnosed.
Sally Brampton (Shoot the Damn Dog: A Memoir of Depression)
Self-harm is not a grab for attention. It doesn’t mean you are suicidal. It means you are struggling to get out of a very dangerous mess in your mind and heart and this is your coping mechanism. It means that you occupy a small space in the very real and very large canyon of people who suffer from depression or mental illness.
Kathleen Glasgow (Girl in Pieces)
Robin Williams is one more example, that genius people are genius for a reason, and that reason is feeling without reasoning. Depression is for sensitive people. Sensitive people sense the world as it is, and they can't cope with it. Sensitive people need a better, more tender world to live in. Matter of fact, we all do.
Aleksandra Ninković
There I was, casually wishing that I could stop existing in the same way you'd want to leave an empty room or mute an unbearably repetitive noise.
Allie Brosh (Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened)
Females with ASDs often develop ‘coping mechanisms’ that can cover up the intrinsic difficulties they experience. They may mimic their peers, watch from the sidelines, use their intellect to figure out the best ways to remain undetected, and they will study, practice, and learn appropriate approaches to social situations. Sounds easy enough, but in fact these strategies take a lot of work and can more often than not lead to exhaustion, withdrawal, anxiety, selective mutism, and depression. -Dr. Shana Nichols
Liane Holliday Willey (Safety Skills for Asperger Women: How to Save a Perfectly Good Female Life)
Hit the bottom and get back up; or hit the bottle and stay down.
Anthony Liccione
You are not an alcoholic or an addict. You are not incurably diseased. You have merely become dependent on substances or addictive behavior to cope with underlying conditions that you are now going to heal, at which time your dependency will cease completely and forever.
Chris Prentiss (The Alcoholism and Addiction Cure: A Holistic Approach to Total Recovery)
Sometimes I just think depression's one way of coping with the world. Like, some people get drunk, some people do drugs, some people get depressed.
Ned Vizzini (It's Kind of a Funny Story)
My quality of life does not justify the effort required to cope with it
Dmitry Dyatlov
and that makes him wish all over again that his dad would stop crying, so he can have a turn.
Nick Cave (The Death of Bunny Munro)
Mental health, contemporary psychiatrists tell us, consists of the ability to adapt to the inevitable stresses and misfortunes of life. It does not mean freedom from anxiety and depression, but only the ability to cope with these afflictions in a healthy way.
Doris Kearns Goodwin (Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln)
Angelina told Ahmed that there came a time when her grandmother began to call on God to end her life, as she could no longer cope with her pain. She strongly believed that God listens to people’s words and hearts. Her prayers, however, remained unanswered. Instead of death, she only received more pain and depression.
Mouloud Benzadi (أنجلينا فتاة من النمسا)
I’ve found that it’s of some help to think of one’s moods and feelings about the world as being similar to weather. Here are some obvious things about the weather: It's real. You can't change it by wishing it away. If it's dark and rainy, it really is dark and rainy, and you can't alter it. It might be dark and rainy for two weeks in a row. BUT it will be sunny one day. It isn't under one's control when the sun comes out, but come out it will. One day. It really is the same with one's moods, I think. The wrong approach is to believe that they are illusions. Depression, anxiety, listlessness - these are all are real as the weather - AND EQUALLY NOT UNDER ONE'S CONTROL. Not one's fault. BUT They will pass: really they will. In the same way that one really has to accept the weather, one has to accept how one feels about life sometimes, "Today is a really crap day," is a perfectly realistic approach. It's all about finding a kind of mental umbrella. "Hey-ho, it's raining inside; it isn't my fault and there's nothing I can do about it, but sit it out. But the sun may well come out tomorrow, and when it does I shall take full advantage.
Stephen Fry
According to studies, clinically depressed individuals have a more accurate grasp of reality than the average person. We tell ourselves lies and layer falsehoods and self-assurances over one another in order to cope with a world colored by pain and suffering. We put blinders on. If we lose that illusion, we crumble into depression or we crack and go mad. So perhaps I’m crazy, but only because I see things too clearly?
Wildbow (Worm (Parahumans, #1))
I’m still depressed, but how depressed I am varies, which is good. Much of the time, it’s a comfortable numbness that just makes things feel muted. Other times, I’m standing in the shower or something and I can feel the nothingness hurtling toward me at eight thousand miles per hour and there’s nothing I can really do aside from let it happen and wait until it goes away again.
Allie Brosh (Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened)
Yes, he was depressed, but he was coping the way people in the growth mindset tend to cope—with determination.
Carol S. Dweck (Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential)
Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain.
David L. Conroy (Out of the Nightmare: Recovery from Depression and Suicidal Pain)
Just as verbally and physically abused children internalize blame, so do incest victims. However, in incest, the blame is compounded by the shame. The belief that ‘it’s all my fault’ is never more intense than with the incest victim. This belief fosters strong feelings of self-loathing and shame. In addition to having somehow to cope with the actual incest, the victim must now guard against being caught and exposed as a ‘dirty, disgusting’ person
Susan Forward (Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life)
She said once that time is nothing to me but a series of bookmarks that I use to jump back and forth through the text of my life, returning again and again to the events that mark me in the eyes of my more astute colleagues, as bearing all the characteristics of the classic melancholic.
Dennis Lehane (Shutter Island)
Ever since puberty, ever since I was 11 or 12, I've had cyclical depression. That's something that has been a defining feature of my life as an adult. It's manageable. But it's real. And it doesn't take away from my joy or my work or my energy, but coping with depression is something that is part of the everyday way that I live and have lived for as long as I can remember.
Rachel Maddow
I couldn't even muster the enthusiasm to hate myself anymore.
Allie Brosh (Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened)
The degree to which a surviving parent copes is the most important indicator of the child's long-term adaptation. Kids whose surviving parents are unable to function effectively in the parenting role show more anxiety and depression, as well as sleep and health problems, than those whose parents have a strong support network and solid inner resources to rely on.
Hope Edelman (Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss)
I've come to realize that hunger feels more like home than any tangible structure ever has, or probably ever will. I know now that creating absence is my way of coping with absence.
Kris Kidd
When I feel blue I cope with red And the sad part is you completely get what I just said
Y.B.
The beginning of my depression had been nothing but feelings, so the emotional deadening that followed was a welcome relief. I had always viewed feelings as a weakness-annoying obstacles on my quest for total power over myself. And I finally didn't have to feel them anymore.
Allie Brosh (Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened)
Whatever awful things you go through, however miserable you feel, those feelings will pass. But don't think for one second you can't show them now anyway. Who does it help keeping them in?
Alexandra Duffy
It's not a crime to feel sad, down or depressed. Moving through difficult feelings is an essential part of living life authentically. Though society would have us believe that when we are sad, we need to smack a silly smile on our face and pretend everything is okay. Problems arise when we repress, deny or bury these feelings. We need to know when it's time to seek help and support, to avoid becoming overwhelmed by these types of emotion. Life is a bittersweet symphony, we need to hear every instrument and listen to every note.
Jaeda DeWalt
What is it about someone asking if you're okay? Even if you think you're holding it together, all it takes is someone asking is if you're alright to completely melt away your resolve and bring that lump bobbing straight into your throat.
Lia Louis (Dear Emmie Blue)
Positive thinking, after all, is an all-American coping mechanism, practically a national pastime. Author James Rorty noted this during the Great Depression, when he traveled America talking with people forced to seek work on the road. In his 1936 book, Where Life Is Better, he was dismayed that so many of his interview subjects seemed so unshakably cheerful. “I encountered nothing in 15,000 miles of travel that disgusted and appalled me so much as this American addiction to make-believe,” he wrote.
Jessica Bruder (Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century)
COPE Create Options Pending Emergence
Kamil Ali (Profound Vers-A-Tales)
Slowly, my feelings started to shrivel up. The few that managed to survive the constant beatings staggered around like wounded baby deer, just biding their time until they could die and join all the other carcasses strewn across the wasteland of my soul.
Allie Brosh (Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened)
Imagine what effect it would have on you if someone stood behind you all day telling you how useless you were when you were trying desperately to cope with a difficult experience. Now imagine how much worse it would be if the criticism and harsh judgment came from inside your own mind.
J. Mark G. Williams (The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness)
The defining feature of a major depression is loss of pleasure. If I had to define a major depression in a single sentence, I would describe it as a “genetic/neurochemical disorder requiring a strong environmental trigger whose characteristic manifestation is an inability to appreciate sunsets.
Robert M. Sapolsky (Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping)
You will find peace not by trying to escape your problems, but by confronting them courageously. You will find peace not in denial, but in victory.
J Donald Walters
I’ve been married but I’m not anymore. And I still believe in love.
Nick Saint Clair
Laborsaving devices do not necessarily save time, but they increase our expectactations of what mothers should accomplish
Kathleen A. Kendall-Tackett (The Hidden Feelings of Motherhood: Coping with Stress, Depression, and Burnout)
Sometimes I just think depression’s one way of coping with the world.
Ned Vizzini (It's Kind of a Funny Story)
If I was lonely, if I was afraid of being alone, then why abandon myself? Why run to someone else looking to give myself the thing that only I could give? I wanted to escape myself because I felt empty, and the emptiness frightened me. But obviously, I was empty because I was always running out, running away. The only way to fill the emptiness was to remain, to take up residence in myself.
Norah Vincent
…depressive realism. Depression is not the near death experience described by so many, [Kayla Dunn] suggests, but a rebirth in which the new psyche has removed self-delusion. Compared with so-called healthy individuals, depressives are more realistic in their worldview.
Jan Wong (Out of the Blue)
Your iPod is whispering in your ear. It was keeping you company, but now it's like a good friend turned bad [...] It is turning your life into a dark, looping rock opera.
Meg Jay (The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter - And How to Make the Most of Them Now)
Despair was strength. Despair was the scab and the scar. The walled city in a time of plague. A closed fortification. A sure thing, because it was always safer, less painful to stop trying than it was to repeatedly try and fail. Failure-disappointment-was a poison in my blood. Despair was the antidote.
Norah Vincent
Fear is the vigilance and the need to escape from something real. Anxiety is about dread and foreboding and your imagination running away with you. Much as with depression, anxiety is rooted in a cognitive distortion. In this case, people prone toward anxiety overestimate risks and the likelihood of a bad outcome.
Robert M. Sapolsky (Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping)
Because women tend to turn their anger inward and blame themselves, they tend to become depressed and their self-esteem is lowered. This, in turn, causes them to become more dependent and less willing to risk rejection or abandonment if they were to stand up for themselves by asserting their will, their opinions, or their needs. Men often defend themselves against hurt by putting up a wall of nonchalant indifference. This appearance of independence often adds to a woman's fear of rejection, causing her to want to reach out to achieve comfort and reconciliation. Giving in, taking the blame, and losing herself more in the relationship seem to be a small price to pay for the acceptance and love of her partner. As you can see, both extremes anger in and anger out-create potential problems. While neither sex is wrong in the way they deal with their anger, each could benefit from observing how the other sex copes with their anger. Most men, especially abusive ones, could benefit from learning to contain their anger more instead of automatically striking back, and could use the rather female ability to empathise with others and seek diplomatic resolutions to problems. Many women, on the other hand, could benefit from acknowledging their anger and giving themselves permission to act it out in constructive ways instead of automatically talking themselves out of it, blaming themselves, or allowing a man to blame them. Instead of giving in to keep the peace, it would be far healthier for most women to stand up for their needs, their opinions, and their beliefs.
Beverly Engel (The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing)
Schoolmastering kept me busy by day and part of each night. I was an assistant housemaster, with a fine big room under the eaves of the main building, and a wretched kennel of a bedroom, and rights in a bathroom used by two or three other resident masters. I taught all day, but my wooden leg mercifully spared me from the nuisance of having to supervise sports after school. There were exercises to mark every night, but I soon gained a professional attitude towards these woeful explorations of the caves of ignorance and did not let them depress me. I liked the company of most of my colleagues, who were about equally divided among good men who were good teachers, awful men who were awful teachers, and the grotesques and misfits who drift into teaching and are so often the most educative influences a boy meets in school. If a boy can't have a good teacher, give him a psychological cripple or an exotic failure to cope with; don't just give him a bad, dull teacher. This is where the private schools score over state-run schools; they can accommodate a few cultured madmen on the staff without having to offer explanations.
Robertson Davies (Fifth Business (The Deptford Trilogy, #1))
Take it from me, that kind of torment causes you to retreat to a place in your mind where you are so strong that nothing and no one can bother you. Or so you think! What you don't realize is that each time an incident occurs, you retreat inside of yourself a little bit at a time, until one day you might not recognize who YOU are.
Yassin Hall (Journey Untold My Mother's Struggle with Mental Illnesses: Bipolar, paranoid schizophrenia, or other forms of mental illness is debilitating for everyone including the families left to try to cope)
Keedwell cites a study of depression in the Netherlands that found that most people coped better with adversity after experiencing depression.
Jan Wong
To be subjected to pain that threatens to exceed coping resources is not something that people choose.
David L. Conroy (Out of the Nightmare: Recovery from Depression and Suicidal Pain)
I wasn't glad that I hadn't died. And I wasn't sad that I hadn't. I wasn't anything.
Kathleen Rooney (Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk)
Sometimes we walk in sunlight with everyone else. Sometimes we live underwater and fight and grow. And sometimes... ...sometimes we fly.
Jenny Lawson (Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things)
A mind inclined to misery is a mind that must keep busy.
Criss Jami
I wasn’t empty because others abandoned me, but because I had abandoned myself.
L.M. Browning (Drive Through the Night)
And that's the most frustrating thing about depression. It isn't always something you can fight back against with hope. It isn't even something-it's nothing. And you can't combat nothing.
Allie Brosh (Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened)
When people recover from depression via psychotherapy, their attributions about recovery are likely to be different than those of people who have been treated with medication. Psychotherapy is a learning experience. Improvement is not produced by an external substance, but by changes within the person. It is like learning to read, write or ride a bicycle. Once you have learned, the skills stays with you. People no not become illiterate after they graduate from school, and if they get rusty at riding a bicycle, the skill can be acquired with relatively little practice. Furthermore, part of what a person might learn in therapy is to expect downturns in mood and to interpret them as a normal part of their life, rather than as an indication of an underlying disorder. This understanding, along with the skills that the person has learned for coping with negative moods and situations, can help to prevent a depressive relapse.
Irving Kirsch (The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth)
No. Depression is the unseen, unheard, silent killer. It is the pain that is too much to cope with, too hard to deal with and never understood. It is something that you can’t escape, no matter how hard you try it ALWAYS swallows you again. It constantly follows you around, like black smoke choking you from the inside out. Like a lion clawing at your heart and mind, eating pieces of you until there is nothing left.
Astrid Lee Miles (Recovering is an Art (Recovering #1))
Feeling that Mommy is happy is a great boon to a child. Imagine for a moment a snapshot of Mother smiling and laughing. She’s happy to be here. She’s happy with you and anyone else in the picture, and she doesn’t need things to be any different than they are in that moment. She is relaxed! When Mommy is relaxed and smiling, we sense that her world is right. And when her world is right, then our world is right. But when Mommy is distracted or worried or depressed, we don’t have the same kind of support, and it’s harder for us to relax and be fully present. It doesn’t feel quite right to be expansive and expressive when Mommy is withdrawn or frazzled. There isn’t really a place to be happy, unless we’re putting on a happy face trying to cheer Mother up. Mother’s happiness relieves us of these burdens, and we can simply express ourselves as we are.
Jasmin Lee Cori (The Emotionally Absent Mother, Second Edition: How to Recognize and Cope with the Invisible Effects of Childhood Emotional Neglect (Second): How to Recognize ... Effects of Childhood Emotional Neglect)
As Beck and other cognitive therapists have emphasized, much of what constitutes a depression is centered around responding to one awful thing and overgeneralizing from it—cognitively distorting how the world works.
Robert M. Sapolsky (Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping)
Over the years I have developed and employed a variety of such coping mechanisms, mostly focusing around a philosophy I call, “Live Because.” “Live Because” is in contrast to what I’ve termed “Live Despite,” which is the idea that people can live rich, full lives in spite of their physical or emotional barriers. “Live Because” takes this a step further by suggesting that in many cases, patients can live a more fulfilling life with their illness than they could ever have done without it. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome has transformed me from a frequently petty and self-absorbed person into the person I am today (still somewhat self-absorbed, but a lot less petty, and with a clearly defined purpose of alleviating whatever suffering I can). I am better because of my illness, and not just in spite of it. But this process was, and still is, a journey. Chronic illness is nearly always accompanied by depression, and the need to constantly remain one step ahead of my illness has left me fearful and exhausted. I could never go through this alone... A part of me will always be angry; such is the process of mourning the pieces of oneself that are lost to chronic disease. I have learned to accept the duality of being bitter and at peace; ignorant and enlightened... while still laying a foundation of hope for the possibility that I can still realize my personal dreams and ambitions, even if not in the exact ways I had expected.
Michael Bihovsky
If you tell someone you have depression, they will often say, "Oh, I've been depressed before, too." The difference lies between being depressed and having depression. Everyone's been depressed at one time or another, but these are far from being the same things. One is a passing mood. The other is a chronic illness that does not come and go, ebb and flow, is here one day and gone the next. The difference between being depressed and having depression is that one is a mood and the other is an illness. One is a momentary bout of melancholy. The other is a debilitating condition that requires medical treatment. Would you feel better about having a cancerous lesion if I likened it to the rash I had last week? The difference between being depressed and having depression is the difference between a mood that will soon pass, and a serious illness that disrupts your ability to function and will take years to treat. The difference between being depressed and having depression is the difference between Cleveland and Bangkok, or your frying pan and the surface of the sun. So, no, we (depressives) do not feel better when you tell us about your rash. We'll do our best to be polite about it, but no, it really doesn't help at all.
Northern Adams (Mickey and the Gargoyle)
Trying to find answers to why and how my life got into such a dismal mess, I sought answers in the scriptures, in religion and philosophy, but it only confused me further. Stories, on the other hand, helped me cope, heal and recover.
Indu M (The Reengineers)
Diversion is the absolute worst remedy for depression. When we ignore the things that haunt us or taunt us, not only do they keep coming back, but they’re bigger and stronger each time they return. Stop shoving us depressives in that direction.
Northern Adams (Mickey and the Gargoyle)
We are afraid of what we will do to others, afraid of the rage that lies in wait somewhere deep in our souls. How many human beings go through the world frozen with rage against life! This deeply hidden inner anger may be the product of hurt pride or of real frustration in office, factory, clinic, or home. Whatever may be the cause of our frozen rage (which is the inevitable mother of depression), the great word of hope today is that this rage can be conquered and drained off into creative channels … …What should we do? We should all learn that a certain amount of aggressive energy is normal and certainly manageable in maturity. Most of us can drain off the excess of our angry feelings and destructive impulses in exercise, in competitive games, or in the vigorous battles against the evils of nature and society. We also must realize that no one will punish us for the legitimate expression of self-assertiveness and creative pugnacity as our parents once punished us for our undisciplined temper tantrums. Furthermore, let us remember that we need not totally repress the angry part of our nature. We can always give it an outlet in the safe realm of fantasy. A classic example of such fantasy is given by Max Beerborn, who made a practice of concocting imaginary letters to people he hated. Sometimes he went so far as to actually write the letters and in the very process of releasing his anger it evaporated. As mature men and women we should regard our minds as a true democracy where all kinds of ideas and emotions should be given freedom of speech. If in political life we are willing to grant civil liberties to all sorts of parties and programs, should we not be equally willing to grant civil liberties to our innermost thoughts and drives, confident that the more dangerous of them will be outvoted by the majority within our minds? Do I mean that we should hit out at our enemy whenever the mood strikes us? No, I repeat that I am suggesting quite the reverse—self-control in action based upon (positive coping mechanisms such as) self expression in fantasy.
Joshua Loth Liebman (Peace of Mind: Insights on Human Nature That Can Change Your Life)
It turns out that how you think about stress is also one of those core beliefs that can affect your health, happiness, and success. As we’ll see, your stress mindset shapes everything from the emotions you feel during a stressful situation to the way you cope with stressful events. That, in turn, can determine whether you thrive under stress or end up burned out and depressed. The good news is, even if you are firmly convinced that stress is harmful, you can still cultivate a mindset that helps you thrive.
Kelly McGonigal (The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You and How to Get Good at It)
There are two basic coping mechanisms. One consists of dreading the chaos, fighting it and abusing oneself after losing, building a structured life of work/marriage/gym/reunions/children/depression/affair/divorce/alcoholism/recovery/heart attack, in which every decision is a reaction against the fear of the worst (make children to avoid being forgotten, fuck someone at the reunion in case the opportunity never comes again, and the Holy Grail of paradoxes: marry to combat loneliness, then plunge into that constant marital desire to be alone). This is the life that cannot be won, but it does offer the comforts of battle—the human heart is content when distracted by war. “The second mechanism is an across-the-board acceptance of the absurd all around us. Everything that exists, from consciousness to the digestive workings of the human body to sound waves and bladeless fans, is magnificently unlikely. It seems so much likelier that things would not exist at all and yet the world shows up to class every morning as the cosmos takes attendance. Why combat the unlikeliness? This is the way to survive in this world, to wake up in the morning and receive a cancer diagnosis, discover that a man has murdered forty children, discover that the milk has gone sour, and exclaim, 'How unlikely! Yet here we are,' and have a laugh, and swim in the chaos, swim without fear, swim without expectation but always with an appreciation of every whim, the beauty of screwball twists and jerks that pump blood through our emaciated veins.
Jaroslav Kalfar (Spaceman of Bohemia)
Freud was fascinated with depression and focused on the issue that we began with—why is it that most of us can have occasional terrible experiences, feel depressed, and then recover, while a few of us collapse into major depression (melancholia)? In his classic essay “Mourning and Melancholia” (1917), Freud began with what the two have in common. In both cases, he felt, there is the loss of a love object. (In Freudian terms, such an “object” is usually a person, but can also be a goal or an ideal.) In Freud’s formulation, in every loving relationship there is ambivalence, mixed feelings—elements of hatred as well as love. In the case of a small, reactive depression—mourning—you are able to deal with those mixed feelings in a healthy manner: you lose, you grieve, and then you recover. In the case of a major melancholic depression, you have become obsessed with the ambivalence—the simultaneity, the irreconcilable nature of the intense love alongside the intense hatred. Melancholia—a major depression—Freud theorized, is the internal conflict generated by this ambivalence. This can begin to explain the intensity of grief experienced in a major depression. If you are obsessed with the intensely mixed feelings, you grieve doubly after a loss—for your loss of the loved individual and for the loss of any chance now to ever resolve the difficulties. “If only I had said the things I needed to, if only we could have worked things out”—for all of time, you have lost the chance to purge yourself of the ambivalence. For the rest of your life, you will be reaching for the door to let you into a place of pure, unsullied love, and you can never reach that door. It also explains the intensity of the guilt often experienced in major depression. If you truly harbored intense anger toward the person along with love, in the aftermath of your loss there must be some facet of you that is celebrating, alongside the grieving. “He’s gone; that’s terrible but…thank god, I can finally live, I can finally grow up, no more of this or that.” Inevitably, a metaphorical instant later, there must come a paralyzing belief that you have become a horrible monster to feel any sense of relief or pleasure at a time like this. Incapacitating guilt. This theory also explains the tendency of major depressives in such circumstances to, oddly, begin to take on some of the traits of the lost loved/hated one—and not just any traits, but invariably the ones that the survivor found most irritating. Psychodynamically, this is wonderfully logical. By taking on a trait, you are being loyal to your lost, beloved opponent. By picking an irritating trait, you are still trying to convince the world you were right to be irritated—you see how you hate it when I do it; can you imagine what it was like to have to put up with that for years? And by picking a trait that, most of all, you find irritating, you are not only still trying to score points in your argument with the departed, but you are punishing yourself for arguing as well. Out of the Freudian school of thought has come one of the more apt descriptions of depression—“aggression turned inward.” Suddenly the loss of pleasure, the psychomotor retardation, the impulse to suicide all make sense. As do the elevated glucocorticoid levels. This does not describe someone too lethargic to function; it is more like the actual state of a patient in depression, exhausted from the most draining emotional conflict of his or her life—one going on entirely within. If that doesn’t count as psychologically stressful, I don’t know what does.
Robert M. Sapolsky (Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping)
There’s nothing. Nothing to hold on to while the current takes me. Whatever I might have had until today, I’ve lost. I feel my love for her, swelling; bloating into something that’s about to explode, like an abscess that’s been allowed to rot for too long, but the pain drowns it so completely I know I’m never coming back out. This feeling, that you’re choking and that your body is underwater, immersed in the ocean, a dense flood that overpowers your breathing abilities, and your will to survive gets drowned right along with it. And as I’m drowning I see her face and hear her voice—and it doesn’t give me hope, it terrifies me. I’m terrified because I know she’s going to be the death of me. I’m terrified because I know I won’t be able to cope. I’m terrified because the darkness is the only true friend I’ve ever had and if it wants to embrace me I don’t have the power to make it stop.
Kady Hunt (Seven Cuts)
One of the main things that tip people toward garden-variety depression, she says, is a “low tolerance for sadness.” It is the inability to bear dark emotions that causes many of our most significant problems, in other words, and not the emotions themselves. When we cannot tolerate the dark, we try all kinds of artificial lights, including but not limited to drugs, alcohol, shopping, shallow sex, and hours in front of the television set or computer. There are no dark emotions, Greenspan says—just unskillful ways of coping with emotions we cannot bear. The emotions themselves are conduits of pure energy that want something from us: to wake us up, to tell us something we need to know, to break the ice around our hearts, to move us to act.
Barbara Brown Taylor (Learning to Walk in the Dark: Because Sometimes God Shows Up at Night)
I wasn’t empty because I was abandoned by others, but because I had abandoned myself. Who I am was repressed—collateral damage in a longterm coping mechanism gone unchecked. My subconscious had put up partitions to contain the flood of emotion in the wake of trauma but in doing so my identity was trapped and locked away as well. Everything that is repressed would one day come forward­—without warning, without control, and without a shutoff valve.
L.M. Browning (Drive Through the Night)
Battered women who were physically abused as children develop an active coping style as adults, typically with obsessive-compulsive tendencies. It is as if she can "just get things right" then the battering will stop. Those who were sexually abused as children tend to be severely depressed and a more passive coping style.
Debra Crown LPC-S Journal of Family Violence 2006
Hayes and his colleagues have distilled these insights into seven skills for coping with loss. In more than a thousand studies over thirty-five years, they’ve found that the acquisition of this skill set predicts whether people facing loss fall into anxiety, depression, trauma, substance abuse—or whether they thrive. The first five skills involve acceptance of the bitter. First, we need to acknowledge that a loss has occurred; second, to embrace the emotions that accompany it. Instead of trying to control the pain, or to distract ourselves with food, alcohol, or work, we should simply feel our hurt, sorrow, shock, anger. Third, we need to accept all our feelings, thoughts, and memories, even the unexpected and seemingly inappropriate ones, such as liberation, laughter, and relief. Fourth, we should expect that sometimes we’ll feel overwhelmed. And fifth, we should watch out for unhelpful thoughts, such as “I should be over this,” “It’s all my fault,” and “Life is unfair.” Indeed, the ability to accept difficult emotions—not just observe them, not just breathe through them, but actually, nonjudgmentally, accept them—has been linked repeatedly to long-term thriving.
Susan Cain (Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole)
Whether the underlying cause of your dependency is a chemical imbalance, unresolved events from the past, beliefs you hold that are inconsistent with what is true, an inability to cope with current conditions, or a combination of these four causes, know this: not only are all the causes of dependency within you, but all the solutions are within you as well.
Chris Prentiss (The Alcoholism and Addiction Cure: A Holistic Approach to Total Recovery)
I want to believe him. I know stuff happens to people and they can't always be who they were or who they think they're supposed to be. But knowing that doesn't mean I'm okay with it. It's more like what Mr. Krueger says about black holes: We can't wish them away, so we'd better learn as much as we can about where they are and how they work so we don't get sucked in.
R. Dean Johnson (Californium)
Many survivors of relational and other forms of early life trauma are deeply troubled and often struggle with feelings of anger, grief, alienation, distrust, confusion, low self-esteem, loneliness, shame, and self-loathing. They seem to be prisoners of their emotions, alternating between being flooded by intense emotional and physiological distress related to the trauma or its consequences and being detached and unable to express or feel any emotion at all - alternations that are the signature posttraumatic pattern. These occur alongside or in conjunction with other common reactions and symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem) and their secondary manifestations. Those with complex trauma histories often have diffuse identity issues and feel like outsiders, different from other people, whom they somehow can't seem to get along with, fit in with, or get close to, even when they try. Moreover, they often feel a sense of personal contamination and that no one understands or can help them. Quite frequently and unfortunately, both they and other people (including the professionals they turn to for help) do misunderstand them, devalue their strengths, or view their survival adaptations through a lens of pathology (e.g., seeing them as "demanding", "overdependent and needy", "aggressive", or as having borderline personality). Yet, despite all, many individuals with these histories display a remarkable capacity for resilience, a sense of morality and empathy for others, spirituality, and perseverance that are highly admirable under the circumstances and that create a strong capacity for survival. Three broad categories of survivorship, with much overlap between them, can be discerned: 1. Those who have successfully overcome their past and whose lives are healthy and satisfying. Often, individuals in this group have had reparative experiences within relationships that helped them to cope successfully. 2. Those whose lives are interrupted by recurring posttraumatic reactions (often in response to life events and experiences) that periodically hijack them and their functioning for various periods of time. 3. Those whose lives are impaired on an ongoing basis and who live in a condition of posttraumatic decline, even to the point of death, due to compromised medical and mental health status or as victims of suicide of community violence, including homicide.
Christine A. Courtois (Treatment of Complex Trauma: A Sequenced, Relationship-Based Approach)
Although we had had no precise exponents of realism, yet after Pushkin it was impossible for a Russian writer to depart too far from actuality. Even those who did not know what to do with "real life" had to cope with it as best they could. Hence, in order that the picture of life should not prove too depressing, the writer must provide himself in due season with a philosophy.
Lev Shestov (All Things are Possible (Apotheosis of Groundlessness))
the dysregulation of the body’s neurobiological system, that impairs one’s ability to pay selective attention to one’s surroundings. The world becomes a land without street signs, the individual a car in bad need of a tune-up. The vastness of the attentional system partially accounts for the variation of ADD “types.” Where one individual needs an oil change, the next needs spark plugs replaced. Where one individual is withdrawn and overwhelmed by stimuli, the next is hyperactive and can’t get enough stimuli. Where one is frequently anxious, the other is depressed. To compensate, each develops his or her own coping strategies that developmentally add to, or subtract from, the brain’s various subsystems. So Mr. A becomes a stand-up comedian, and manic. Ms. B becomes an architectural wizard with obsessive-compulsive traits. Their offspring become a sculptor and a stunt pilot. None of them can balance their checkbook. And all of them wish they had more time in the day. With such diversity in the disorder,
Edward M. Hallowell (Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder)
This is where we are now, endlessly cheerleading ourselves into positivity while erasing the dirty underside of real life. I always read brutality in those messages: they offer next to nothing. There are days when I can say with great certainty that I am not strong enough to manage. And what if I can’t hang on in there? What then? These people might as well be leaning into my face, shouting, Cope! Cope! Cope! while spraying perfume into the air to make it all seem nice. The subtext of these messages is clear: Misery is not an option. We must carry on looking jolly for the sake of the crowd. While we may no longer see depression as a failure, we expect you to spin it into something meaningful pretty quick. And if you can’t pull that off, then you’d better disappear from view for a while. You’re dragging down the vibe.
Katherine May (Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times)
Attitudes and ignorance” about (any type of) abuse can be passed down through the generations. It is important to our healing that we sort out the belief systems we adopt; belief systems that were taught to us and because they are so full of lies, they lead to all kinds of depressions, addictions and other struggles while we try to cope with the manifestations of the problems instead of the roots of the problems.
Darlene Ouimet
Even if we do manage to get our act together, the goalposts for what counts as “good enough” seem always to remain frustratingly out of reach. We must be smart and fit and fashionable and interesting and successful and sexy. Oh, and spiritual, too. And no matter how well we do, someone else always seems to be doing it better. The result of this line of thinking is sobering: millions of people need to take pharmaceuticals every day just to cope with daily life. Insecurity, anxiety, and depression are incredibly common in our society, and much of this is due to self-judgment, to beating ourselves up when we feel we aren’t winning in the game of life.
Kristin Neff (Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself)
Two-thirds of the terminal cancer patients in the Coping with Cancer study reported having had no discussion with their doctors about their goals for end-of-life care, despite being, on average, just four months from death. But the third who did have discussions were far less likely to undergo cardiopulmonary resuscitation or be put on a ventilator or end up in an intensive care unit. Most of them enrolled in hospice. They suffered less, were physically more capable, and were better able, for a longer period, to interact with others. In addition, six months after these patients died, their family members were markedly less likely to experience persistent major depression. In other words, people who had substantive discussions with their doctor about their end-of-life preferences were far more likely to die at peace and in control of their situation and to spare their family anguish.
Atul Gawande (Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End)
Maybe we should be looking at how we live, and how our minds weren’t made for the lives we lead. Human brains – in terms of cognition and emotion and consciousness – are essentially the same as they were at the time of Shakespeare or Jesus or Cleopatra or the Stone Age. They are not evolving with the pace of change. Neolithic humans never had to face emails or breaking news or pop-up ads or Iggy Azalea videos or a self-service checkout at a strip-lit Tesco Metro on a busy Saturday night. Maybe instead of worrying about upgrading technology and slowly allowing ourselves to be cyborgs we should have a little peek at how we could upgrade our ability to cope with all this change.
Matt Haig (Reasons to Stay Alive)
Mental health, contemporary psychiatrists tell us, consists of the ability to adapt to the inevitable stresses and misfortunes of life. It does not mean freedom from anxiety and depression, but only the ability to cope with these afflictions in a healthy way. “An outstanding feature of successful adaptation,” writes George Vaillant, “is that it leaves the way open for future growth.” Of course, Abraham Lincoln’s capacity for growth would prove enormous.
Doris Kearns Goodwin (Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln)
The emotional, loving, moody child had small chance of developing into a happy woman. Had she as a girl been naturally joyus yet all that had befallen her must surely have driven away the bright birds, one by one, from her breast. As it was, made of more sombre clay, capable of deep happiness, but more easily drawn to the dark than the light, Fuchsia was even more open to the cruel winds of circumstance which appeared to have singled her out for particular punishment.
Mervyn Peake
The off-drug patients also suffered less from depression, blunted emotions, and retarded movements. Indeed, they told Carpenter and McGlashan that they had found it "gratifying and informative" to have gone through their psychotic episodes without having their feelings numbed by the drugs. Medicated patients didn't have that same learning experience, and as a result Carpenter and McGlashan concluded, over the long term they "are less able to cope with subsequent life stresses.
Robert Whitaker (Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America)
There is point in your life when you come face to face with the reality that you cannot take another step on your own. For me, I had never experienced that point, but depression brought me there. I have slowly, painfully and continually been confronted by my brokenness. Coming to terms with the fact that I am broken has been at the center of my accepting my being loved. For me, now, there exists a sense of desperate need for what God brings to my spiritual and mental self. Without His voice I cannot cope with the darkness, but with His whisper of "you are My beloved", I can take a step each day away from the chasm. I am broken but not beyond mending, not beyond love. It has been this desperation that has opened a crevice in which I am seeing Him for the first time. He is why my soul can find some peace even when my mind is dark and numb. It is this love that continually has brought me back from the edge of the impostor to the honesty of my broken, inner self
David Hulon Hood (Soul Interrupted: A Journey of Simple Prayers and Poetry)
In 2008, the national Coping with Cancer project published a study showing that terminally ill cancer patients who were put on a mechanical ventilator, given electrical defibrillation or chest compressions, or admitted, near death, to intensive care had a substantially worse quality of life in their last week than those who received no such interventions. And, six months after their death, their caregivers were three times as likely to suffer major depression. Spending one’s final days in an I.C.U. because of terminal illness is for most people a kind of failure. You lie on a ventilator, your every organ shutting down, your mind teetering on delirium and permanently beyond realizing that you will never leave this borrowed, fluorescent place. The end comes with no chance for you to have said goodbye or “It’s O.K.” or “I’m sorry” or “I love you.” People have concerns besides simply prolonging their lives. Surveys of patients with terminal illness find that their top priorities include, in addition to avoiding suffering, being with family, having the touch of others, being mentally aware, and not becoming a burden to others. Our system of technological medical care has utterly failed to meet these needs, and the cost of this failure is measured in far more than dollars. The hard question we face, then, is not how we can afford this system’s expense. It is how we can build a health-care system that will actually help dying patients achieve what’s most important to them at the end of their lives.
Atul Gawande
While interacting with television, the mind is protected from personal worries. The information passing across the screen keeps unpleasant concerns out of the mind. Of course, avoiding depression this way is rather spendthrift, because one expends a great deal of attention without having much to show for it afterward. More drastic ways of coping with the dread of solitude include the regular use of drugs, or the recourse to obsessive practices, which may range from cleaning the house incessantly to compulsive sexual behavior. While
Mihály Csíkszentmihályi (Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience)
Both the suicidal and non-suicidal are often angry with others. One way to discharge this anger is to fantasize about violent revenge. The insults of daily life often cause fantasies of revenge to flare up and quickly subside. The people with these fantasies usually do not act on them; they are not motives or goals. They are involuntary responses to perceived insult—ways of coping with rage. The suicidal, whether or not they attempt, suffer tremendous and persistent pain and anger. That this pain should find its way into their fantasies and dreams is no surprise. This ideation is not a motive for action; it is an alternative to action. Fantasizing about suicide is an effort to delay or avoid suicide, not the activity of formulating a motive, goal, or intention. Fantasies doubtlessly succeed in preventing many attempts.
David L. Conroy (Out of the Nightmare: Recovery from Depression and Suicidal Pain)
We must always remember that the healing will happen in the way that God knows is best for us. Sometimes we may not recognize that healing has occurred as it may not have been the healing we asked for—it may be emotional or spiritual healing rather than physical. We need to watch out for healing and recognize when it has been granted. Often healing can seem small—perhaps somebody who has been depressed for a long time smiles or laughs; maybe someone who was in a lot of physical distress feels a lot better; or maybe a mother who has been stressed out and unable to cope suddenly feels happiness and joy.
Lorna Byrne (Angels in My Hair: The True Story of a Modern-Day Irish Mystic)
Physiological stress, then, is the link between personality traits and disease. Certain traits — otherwise known as coping styles — magnify the risk for illness by increasing the likelihood of chronic stress. Common to them all is a diminished capacity for emotional communication. Emotional experiences are translated into potentially damaging biological events when human beings are prevented from learning how to express their feelings effectively. That learning occurs — or fails to occur — during childhood. The way people grow up shapes their relationship with their own bodies and psyches. The emotional contexts of childhood interact with inborn temperament to give rise to personality traits. Much of what we call personality is not a fixed set of traits, only coping mechanisms a person acquired in childhood. There is an important distinction between an inherent characteristic, rooted in an individual without regard to his environment, and a response to the environment, a pattern of behaviours developed to ensure survival. What we see as indelible traits may be no more than habitual defensive techniques, unconsciously adopted. People often identify with these habituated patterns, believing them to be an indispensable part of the self. They may even harbour self-loathing for certain traits — for example, when a person describes herself as “a control freak.” In reality, there is no innate human inclination to be controlling. What there is in a “controlling” personality is deep anxiety. The infant and child who perceives that his needs are unmet may develop an obsessive coping style, anxious about each detail. When such a person fears that he is unable to control events, he experiences great stress. Unconsciously he believes that only by controlling every aspect of his life and environment will he be able to ensure the satisfaction of his needs. As he grows older, others will resent him and he will come to dislike himself for what was originally a desperate response to emotional deprivation. The drive to control is not an innate trait but a coping style. Emotional repression is also a coping style rather than a personality trait set in stone. Not one of the many adults interviewed for this book could answer in the affirmative when asked the following: When, as a child, you felt sad, upset or angry, was there anyone you could talk to — even when he or she was the one who had triggered your negative emotions? In a quarter century of clinical practice, including a decade of palliative work, I have never heard anyone with cancer or with any chronic illness or condition say yes to that question. Many children are conditioned in this manner not because of any intended harm or abuse, but because the parents themselves are too threatened by the anxiety, anger or sadness they sense in their child — or are simply too busy or too harassed themselves to pay attention. “My mother or father needed me to be happy” is the simple formula that trained many a child — later a stressed and depressed or physically ill adult — into lifelong patterns of repression.
Gabor Maté (When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress)
In one sense the cause of suicide is simple: overwhelming pain. This overwhelming pain, however, is the aggregate of thousands of pains. Any hurt that we have ever suffered, if it remains consciously or unconsciously lodged within us, can contribute to suicide. This may range from being an incest victim 50 years ago, to losing a job 10 years ago, to having a car battery stolen yesterday. The pains come from everywhere: ill-health, family, peers, school, work, community, caregivers. For each suicide there was a finite point at which this aggregate became too much. Although "The straw that broke the back," is frequently an accurate metaphor, no one pain is ever the cause of suicide. Suicidal pain is decomposable into thousands of pains, and nearly all of these pains are decomposable into painful constituents. Sexual abuse, job loss, and personal theft each have numerous painful constituents. The search for the single cause is a fundamentally wrongheaded approach to the understanding and prevention of suicide. It is inaccurate to say simply that pain causes suicide, since a level of pain that is lethal for one person may not be lethal for someone with greater resources. Similarly, deficiency in resources cannot be regarded as the cause of suicide, since two people may have equal resources and unequal pain. Our resources may also come from everywhere; even such trivial distractions as going to a movie can contribute to coping with suicidal pain.
David L. Conroy (Out of the Nightmare: Recovery from Depression and Suicidal Pain)
and confused if someone does not appreciate their niceness. Others often sense this and avoid giving them feedback not only, effectively blocking the nice person’s emotional growth, but preventing risks from being taken. You never know with a nice person if the relationship would survive a conflict or angry confrontation. This greatly limits the depths of intimacy. And would you really trust a nice person to back you up if confrontation were needed? 3. With nice people you never know where you really stand. The nice person allows others to accidentally oppress him. The “nice” person might be resenting you just for talking to him, because really he is needing to pee. But instead of saying so he stands there nodding and smiling, with legs tightly crossed, pretending to listen. 4. Often people in relationship with nice people turn their irritation toward themselves, because they are puzzled as to how they could be so upset with someone so nice. In intimate relationships this leads to guilt, self-hate and depression. 5. Nice people frequently keep all their anger inside until they find a safe place to dump it. This might be by screaming at a child, blowing up a federal building, or hitting a helpless, dependent mate. (Timothy McVeigh, executed for the Oklahoma City bombing, was described by acquaintances as a very, very nice guy, one who would give you the shirt off his back.) Success in keeping the anger in will often manifest as psychosomatic illnesses, including arthritis, ulcers, back problems, and heart disease. Proper Peachy Parents In my work as a psychotherapist, I have found that those who had peachy keen “Nice Parents” or proper “Rigidly Religious Parents” (as opposed to spiritual parents), are often the most stuck in chronic, lowgrade depression. They have a difficult time accessing or expressing any negative feelings towards their parents. They sometimes say to me “After all my parents did for me, seldom saying a harsh word to me, I would feel terribly guilty complaining. Besides, it would break their hearts.” Psychologist Rollo May suggested that it is less crazy-making to a child to cope with overt withdrawal or harshness than to try to understand the facade of the always-nice parent. When everyone agrees that your parents are so nice and giving, and you still feel dissatisfied, then a child may conclude that there must be something wrong with his or her ability to receive love. -§ Emotionally starving children are easier to control, well fed children don’t need to be. -§ I remember a family of fundamentalists who came to my office to help little Matthew with his anger problem. The parents wanted me to teach little Matthew how to “express his anger nicely.” Now if that is not a formula making someone crazy I do not know what would be. Another woman told me that after her stinking drunk husband tore the house up after a Christmas party, breaking most of the dishes in the kitchen, she meekly told him, “Dear, I think you need a breath mint.” Many families I work with go through great anxiety around the holidays because they are going to be forced to be with each other and are scared of resuming their covert war. They are scared that they might not keep the nice garbage can lid on, and all the rotting resentments and hopeless hurts will be exposed. In the words to the following song, artist David Wilcox explains to his parents why he will not be coming home this Thanksgiving: Covert War by David Wilcox
Kelly Bryson (Don't Be Nice, Be Real)
I also worried about her morale. During Linda’s first season working for Amazon, she had seen up close the vast volume of crap Americans were buying and felt disgusted. That experience had planted a seed of disenchantment. After she left the warehouse, it continued to grow. When she had downsized from a large RV to a minuscule trailer, Linda had also been reading about minimalism and the tiny house movement. She had done a lot of thinking about consumer culture and about how much garbage people cram into their short lives. I wondered where all those thoughts would lead. Linda was still grappling with them. Weeks later, after starting work in Kentucky, she would post the following message on Facebook and also text it directly to me: Someone asked why do you want a homestead? To be independent, get out of the rat race, support local businesses, buy only American made. Stop buying stuff I don’t need to impress people I don’t like. Right now I am working in a big warehouse, for a major online supplier. The stuff is crap all made somewhere else in the world where they don’t have child labor laws, where the workers labor fourteen- to sixteen-hour days without meals or bathroom breaks. There is one million square feet in this warehouse packed with stuff that won’t last a month. It is all going to a landfill. This company has hundreds of warehouses. Our economy is built on the backs of slaves we keep in other countries, like China, India, Mexico, any third world country with a cheap labor force where we don’t have to see them but where we can enjoy the fruits of their labor. This American Corp. is probably the biggest slave owner in the world. After sending that, she continued: Radical I know, but this is what goes through my head when I’m at work. There is nothing in that warehouse of substance. It enslaved the buyers who use their credit to purchase that shit. Keeps them in jobs they hate to pay their debts. It’s really depressing to be there. Linda added that she was coping
Jessica Bruder (Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century)
I began to see that the stronger a therapy emphasized feelings, self-esteem, and self-confidence, the more dependent the therapist was upon his providing for the patient ongoing, unconditional, positive regard. The more self-esteem was the end, the more the means, in the form of the patient’s efforts, had to appear blameless in the face of failure. In this paradigm, accuracy and comparison must continually be sacrificed to acceptance and compassion; which often results in the escalation of bizarre behavior and bizarre diagnoses. The bizarre behavior results from us taking credit for everything that is positive and assigning blame elsewhere for anything negative. Because of this skewed positive-feedback loop between our judged actions and our beliefs, we systematically become more and more adapted to ourselves, our feelings, and our inaccurate solitary thinking; and less and less adapted to the environment that we share with our fellows. The resultant behavior, such as crying, depression, displays of temper, high-risk behavior, or romantic ventures, or abandonment of personal responsibilities, which seem either compulsory, necessary, or intelligent to us, will begin to appear more and more irrational to others. The bizarre diagnoses occur because, in some cases, if a ‘cause disease’ (excuse from blame) does not exist, it has to be 'discovered’ (invented). Psychiatry has expanded its diagnoses of mental disease every year to include 'illnesses’ like kleptomania and frotteurism [now frotteuristic disorder in the DSM-V]. (Do you know what frotteurism is? It is a mental disorder that causes people, usually men, to surreptitiously fondle women’s breasts or genitals in crowded situations such as elevators and subways.) The problem with the escalation of these kinds of diagnoses is that either we can become so adapted to our thinking and feelings instead of our environment that we will become dissociated from the whole idea that we have a problem at all; or at least, the more we become blameless, the more we become helpless in the face of our problems, thinking our problems need to be 'fixed’ by outside help before we can move forward on our own. For 2,000 years of Western culture our problems existed in the human power struggle constantly being waged between our principles and our primal impulses. In the last fifty years we have unprincipled ourselves and become what I call 'psychologized.’ Now the power struggle is between the 'expert’ and the 'disorder.’ Since the rise of psychiatry and psychology as the moral compass, we don’t talk about moral imperatives anymore, we talk about coping mechanisms. We are not living our lives by principles so much as we are living our lives by mental health diagnoses. This is not working because it very subtly undermines our solid sense of self.
A.B. Curtiss (Depression Is a Choice: Winning the Battle Without Drugs)