20: Killin Me

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

YouTube.  Some will say since every case of depression is different it’s no use to try to help people in any broad way with their own depression.  It has to be only individual, only by a professional.  And professionals are great, when you can afford one and have time for one and when they know what they’re doing.  But to say that there shouldn’t be any broad knowledge about psychology, to say there shouldn’t be any DIY psychology, would be like saying there shouldn’t be a YouTube for fixing cars.  YouTube is great for fixing your own car.  Sometimes that’s the best option, and it’s good for people to be able to do their own stuff if they can and want to.  I say it’s the same with psychology.  Give the power to the people.  Don’t have to take away professionals, but why feel like the power has to be consolidated in paid professionals when there are so many things a lay person can do him or herself?  That’s what I say.  Just like people can fix their own cars if they want to, let people do their own psychology if they want to.  We can do a lot.  I’m not saying all of it, all the time, just don’t take away our ability to do that.  Let knowledge flow freely.  ($170 for a DSM book!) 

Was reading in [a book]. He says since we’re actively producing our emotional problems, we can eliminate them at their source. (Through the means discussed in this book.)  a few things. You’re saying the source is our self betrayal. Is that the source, or is it just an aspect, a necessary ingredient, an essential part of the mechanism, like I’m saying?  Then you’d be saying everybody’s emotional problems is caused by self-betrayal. You focus on that thing, like it is the sole cause and therefore the sole solution. Don’t do that. Then you’re stuck, which you are, saying the only thing to do is to stop self-betraying, which is not directly possible) and everything else is futile to do, which is not true. Surely self-betrayal, or to me self-deception and all, is only an essential ingredient, helpful to understand but not necessarily the thing to focus on, or to try to directly do.

What can we do?  Read the talk Beware of Pride and go through the ways we can humble ourselves. Notice that none of the ways he says are “will yourself to be humble” or “stop being prideful”. We don’t do it directly, we do it kind of indirectly. Even Terry Warner says on p 299, “we cannot get ourselves emotionally unstuck no matter how we might try. We cannot do it by denying or repressing our feelings or by willing ourselves to feel differently—feelings are subject to our indirect but not our direct control.” 

Also, if you say our emotional problems are caused by self betrayal, don’t you have to say depression and anxiety are caused by self-betrayal?  How can you separate the emotional problems that are higher in degree than others? 

Thirdly, there are no means discussed in the book, except the two I’ve said before – the writing exercise and asking forgiveness for failing to forgive.  But those two things can be done in the wrong way too, so you’re left with nothing. 

It’s tempting to see these insights about self-deception involved in depression and anxiety and think that self deception is the root cause of depression. I would caution against that, and say that it is a necessary part of it, but not the root cause. If you say it is the root cause, what can you do about your emotional problems, except somehow stop self-deceiving?  You might not be able to act on that directly, right?  The thing you need to focus on may be completely different – forgive the person, pray for the power to forgive (the person or yourself), prepare more, organize better, get more sleep, change your job, do something fun once in a while, enjoy the people you’re with, go to the temple more, pray, read the scriptures, go to church, fast, whatever it might be for you. See a therapist, take medication, whatever. Can’t all those things help you not be stressed and depressed and therefore stop self-deceiving and self-betraying in that way?  (Well medication might be more a treating of the symptoms?)

Saturday, Mar 7, 2020

Hmm. When you see how self deception and pride are at the heart of emotional troubles it is natural to think that they are the cause and the solution, right?  But something doesn’t smell right about that. Like I’ve said before, those things are just part of the mechanism. Internal combustion. But the reason your car isn’t going, while it is true that internal combustion isn’t happening correctly, may be something electrical, or gas related, or whatever. You don’t do a compression check every time your car stalls. Yes, compression has to be there, but you troubleshoot smarter than that.

I hope that analogy is somewhat helpful. I’m just trying to say that while pride, while self-deception, while going against the light (or self-betrayal), while self-justification may be a part of all mental illness and depression and anxiety, surely it is not the proper thing to focus on. Maybe don’t lose focus on it, or remember that it’s part of it, maybe keep it in mind, but don’t necessarily make that the primary cause.

A discussion of causality is in order. If you think about it, isn’t there no such thing as a single cause for anything?  Isn’t everything caused, so to speak, by multiple factors?  And when we say that something causes another thing we are really saying it is the primary causing factor?  The one that stands out, the one we need to pay the most attention to? 

What caused the airplane to crash?  Well a lack of lift, right?  Well of course, that goes without saying!  But the primary cause, or the one that stands out, the one we should pay attention to, is going to be something different, right?  Ice on the wings. A mechanical failure of any number of types. Pilot error of any number of types. An electrical error of any number of types. Analyzing the black box is a whole science (if it has one). Surely so is psychology. It’s not just always self-betrayal, or pride, or self-deception. Those things go without saying.

Monday, Mar 9, 2020

It’s an interesting question, and one worth considering, whether there’s a concrete action that can be taken to address the issue, or whether there isn’t. Some say that since any concrete action, basically, can be done insincerely, it’s basically no use trying. The only action to do is to stop self-betraying. But that’s not right, is it!  Though it’s true that any particular action can basically be done two ways, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, if that’s what’s right for you. The Light of Christ can be your guide, surely!  There must be SOMETHING each person can do in each situation to address whatever issue it is, maybe even if the answer sometimes includes being patient. That’s what I have to think.

Even you say to ask forgiveness for withholding forgiveness. As if that couldn’t be done insincerely!  Of course it can!  And that one other thing you say to do (in the whole book!) – some writing exercise. You have to admit EVERYTHING can be done in 2 ways. Including those 2 things you suggested. So what can we do?  Surely the Spirit knows. Surely it is different for each person, and surely there are multiple things a person could possibly do in at least many situations, if not all. A writing exercise. Prayer. Fasting.  Address the person. Internally let something go. Exercise. Sleep better. Eat better. Ignore something. Pay attention to something. Remember something. Forget something. SOMETHING.  Surely!

This deserves some more discussion. And examples. Read your scriptures, go to church, go to the temple, something. Maybe more than one thing.

And is it not true that somewhere deep down, we know what to do?  Hmm. Might need some help from the Holy Ghost or somebody or reading something to know what that is. But surely we know it somewhere all along.

I keep using the term self betrayal, to be compatible with other ideas I’m jumping off from. But I don’t love the term. I don’t think it’s really accurate. It makes the self be the thing that is betrayed, it makes the truth that we go against come from the self. But the truth comes from God. So God betrayal would be more accurate, Or light of Christ betrayal. But then you have the word betrayal too. To betray someone is to do a Judas Iscariot did to Jesus Christ. You are friends with somebody and you turn them over to evil, or something. Anyway it’s not the most helpful idea for what we do when we go against the truth.

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2020

You gotta admit guys, this is fun!

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2020

This question of “what can we do??” is big.  Big, big.  Turns out we’re always talking about that.  We’re always wondering about it.  I know I am, especially.  We may not always like the answer.  And I think of how people say “just don’t worry about it,” and how that’s not always possible for everybody, or whatever.  The answer might be that you can’t always escape your problems right away.  The thing you can do, or things, might be more indirect and choices made at off-times.  Times outside the moment of alarm.  We may not like that.  I know I don’t.  Hmm.

Again, I think of President Benson’s talk “Beware of Pride”.  Many things we can do, to humble ourselves.  Most of them are in the off-moment, if you know what I mean.  Outside the moment of great alarm. 

Wednesday

And he doesn’t list them as things to do to escape or prevent depression

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