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Re: Apathy

Post by kharr1sma » Sun Jul 08, 2018 2:40 pm

Hi Everyone,

And thanks for all your input. I'm so glad that psychological therapy came up in this thread. I've had both psychological problems since around age 9, and substance-abuse issues since early teens, and my Mind definitely sees itself as a 'victim' of a rocky childhood... my generally out-of-control mental gymnastics consist largely of replaying all the things that 'scarred' me. Even before discovering ET, I realized the futility of that, comparing it to the LaBrea tar-pits or the straw-baby from the Brer' Rabbit stories: it just gets you stuck, and draws you ever-deeper in. I couldn't seem to do anything about it, though (not yet having learned that there really is no control over your thoughts, only over where you put your focus, your 'presence.')

Anyway, I've been dealing with depression for over 20 years, now (I'm 65.) Started as SAD, slowly became year-round, and slowly got worse with time. I've seen easily a dozen different therapists (both because of changing locations, and looking for others because the current one wasn't helping much, if at all.) Most of them just want to sling pills of one kind or another (frequently several different meds at once) to treat the symptoms; I've never had one try to help me 'dig down' to see why I was the way I was.

My life literally fell apart in 2009; I hurt my back on the job, had to have surgery to keep the use of my right leg, went back to work (I loved my job; it was literally my identity, though I hadn't yet realized that), and over the course of about five months, developed severe chronic pain that is apparently going to be life-long. Long story short: lost job, ability to work, identity, self-respect/esteem (not that there was much of that in the first place), ability to support myself (can't work anymore, living on disability income), my mother, my house... just about everything but my marriage and my life. I've reached a "medical end-point" (translation: there's nothing that Western medical science can do for me anymore), and was put on palliative treatment for the pain. Was on opioids for years, before the huge "opioid-abuse" thing came up. I don't know why I thought adding alcohol to the mix could possibly be a good idea, but that's what I did. I quit drinking (and smoking, on the same day) over thirty years ago because I couldn't control either one; I managed to "see the light" before losing everything and hitting utter rock bottom. Well, that lasted exactly as long as things weren't too tough... enter 2009, and by 2010 I was drinking worse than I ever did before. Got caught one too many times, and the wife issued an ultimatum, and I found myself in AA (been there almost a year now.) I threatened myself with it, the first time I quit; if I couldn't, I was going to join.

I mention all that only because I wanted to say this: I have gained more psychological ground, found more insights, in my almost one year association with the good folks of AA than I got out of all twenty years of psych therapy. For me, at least, therapy is definitely not the answer; spiritual work IS. AA got me started thinking along spiritual lines and self-examination, which led to ET (PoN book literally fell at my feet while helping wife organize overhead bookshelf,) Buddhist teachings, this site, and more leads to related subjects that I can pursue at this time... got my work cut out for me, obviously. The psych problems persist, obviously, but at least now I think I see a path out of it. Eventually.

Apathy? Sort of... I've had just enough of an 'awakening' to realize just how much work I actually need, of just how far I have to go. Many times it seems overwhelming, just too much to do (especially starting out as late in life as I am), and a "why bother" attitude kicks in, a general loss of interest in pretty much everything. I've had that for some years now, due to the depression, but this is more all-encompassing and severe. I keep drifting into and out of this fugue, and I just don't know what to do about it... if anything. I try to practice 'Presence Now,' as I call it. Any suggestions on dealing with this? I saw 'intuition' mentioned at least once, as being of more value than logic, and that scared me. I've learned, unfortunately, not to trust what comes out of my 'intuition;' every time I've followed what it 'said' to do, things did not work out well at all. So since I can't/don't trust this 'little voice' within, are there any other 'guideposts' I can use to work towards my 'correct' path?

And my apologies for such a long-winded post; this is all very much new to me, and it feels necessary to get all this junk out of me. Sorry to inflict it on you folks.

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Re: Apathy

Post by kiki » Sun Jul 08, 2018 5:20 pm

Glad to hear your report, kharr1sma. Your body has accumulated a lot of stress over the years, and medications can certainly affect how you feel as they alter the nervous system, and coming off them can be rough. I see that you have gained some insight in how to approach wellness more effectively rather than looking to treat symptoms. That's progress, and that's where you work from. You can only begin from where you are, and that includes "waking up" to presence.

The dynamic between the body and mind can be an intricate one because how one functions can affect how the other one responds. Realizing that you have no control over your thoughts is important. Thought stream is pretty much conditioned repetitive thoughts. No one would choose to think them, and yet they return again and again. It's that conditioning that kicks in after responding to something in the environment or in the mind, and a negative feedback loop to the body causes further suffering. This cycle continues on and on and life remains a struggle.

I hope you can find a therapist who approaches substance abuse from a more holistic viewpoint, one that includes returning to presence. Scott Kilody comes to mind, and he has good insight into how to do this since he's been where you are now. In the meantime, keep exploring ways to find presence that work for you, and use them throughout the day. Just doing that can help to undermine repetitive thought patterns that keep you stuck in the mind, and that freedom will aid the body in relaxing and detoxifying. In addition, keep up with AA and look into Kiloby just to see what he has to offer. And keep us informed, and ask questions about whatever you need clarification on in specific approaches to presence that you investigate.

All my best -
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd

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