Tuesday, September 18, 2007

BUBBIE Is Right, You Know?...

"Depression is Anger turned inward"

That's what the experts used to say 25 years ago anyway...we learned in our Psych 101 classes in the 80's that the noun "depression" could be simplified into believing someone was feeling ANGRY and, therefore, had turned that anger inward upon themselves.

Since that time, the noun "depression", has been rediscovered in psychiatry to be far greater than a simplified explanation about anger and has also been removed as an ideal an individual maintains full control over the disorder...in other words, gone is the notion that if one simply STOPS feeling angry, the depression will magically leave.

True CLINICAL DEPRESSION is a far greater beast than anger...it is a manifestation of multi-layers of emotions and mental states as well as a physiological response in one's brain chemistry. It is now a well-known fact, the physiological response that occurs in the brain chemistry of someone who is clinically depressed looks very different from the brain of someone who is NOT experiencing clinical depression.

And, although experts can try to assert the psyche or mind can also ALTER the chemistry of depression, they have yet to develop a fool-proof method of training the mind to do so...thus the invention and use of anti-depressant medication and an assortment of other "mind-altering" chemicals in conjunction with traditional psychotherapy.

But I'm not writing about clinical depression today...actually, I've been very careful and clear to say, "I am NOT clinically depressed", for the very reasons ascribed above. I HAVE gone so far as to say my current issue is a "situational depression", but even THAT explanation is somewhat exaggerated. To be very succinct, I AM AFRAID...and BUBBIE'S comment in my previous post drove that simplified notion home, so thank you, O' Wise Sage, Bubbie! LOL

In my many meanderings down various spiritual paths and teachings in my life, I once heard a lecture from a Science Of Mind (the old Church of Religious Science) practitioner who stated, "There are really only two emotional states in life. FEAR and LOVE, and neither can exist in the presence of the other. All other descriptive emotions fall into these two categories." I DO believe this idea to be authentic and true.

If you "Google" fear and love, you will find a wide array of spiritual teachers talking about this ideal. For instance, Frank Sant'Agata says:

"Learning to make the active choice to love and not fear in every situation is the way to find inner peace in this world. Yes, I said choice! We all choose what we wish to see in every situation, at every moment. Most of the time we choose based on what we learned in the past. It is what we were taught by our parents, teachers, peers, doctors, employers, etc. and what we were brought up to believe we should do. We act on laws that we made to control our behavior and that of others so that we may live in an orderly society. When someone gets "out of order" they may be disliked, fined, incarcerated or killed. Sometimes, entire countries get "out of order" and our answer is to declare war on them.

These are all things that are done out of FEAR. We fear that, if someone is out of control, that is, not following the rules we set up for them to follow, they are a threat to us, and we fear they will harm us in some way. So we react to our fear by attacking them first. That is the way of this world. The law of the jungle so to speak; eat or be eaten; kill or be killed. That is the way of fear!

Sonya Green describes the Love/Fear phenomenon in this way:

Between Fear and Love is the Living.

Fear has many faces and most of those faces are in disguise. Fear can be so deceptive that we rarely recognize or define it, and therefore fail to challenge it when it sneaks up upon us in such an insidious way that it can paralyse, erode, control and ultimately destroy us. Fear is the most lethal weapon and the most toxic poison known to man. Fear is highly contagious and self destructive. Fear can be spread by word, suggestion, imagery, innuendo or intimidation.

Fear is a chameleon and will most often show up as something completely different which makes it very difficult to recognize or unmask. Almost all destructive behavioural and emotional responses can be tracked back to fear when we peel away the layers of our feelings and actions. Fear is the core issue behind violence, jealousy, bigotry, anger, depression, greed, hatred, lies, insecurity or obsessive worry, just to name a few. When fear is appropriate it is a vital, effective life saving response which is critical to self preservation.

Staying alive and protecting ourselves from harm is our most primal and instinctual priority. Appropriate fear, will prevent and protect us from danger; it will instantly ignite super alertness and superhuman strength. This is commonly referred to as the fight or flight response. Most of us will have experienced this super state of reaction if we have been involved in a potential car accident. In something like a nanosecond we are capable of processing an extraordinary amount of information and physically manoeuvre the car to avoid the collision.

Appropriate fear is also an effective decision making factor. Most, if not all, of our choices are based on predicting pleasure or pain. We are predominately motivated by pleasure and pain, that is, gaining pleasure or avoiding pain. We all like to kid ourselves that we operate from intellect, and that we make decisions by using knowledge, logic and experience. If we just scratch the surface a little we will almost always find that our motivations are emotionally based. Pleasure is easy to comprehend; we choose and maintain our careers, relationships, homes, hobbies and possessions because they please us. Choices of pleasure may encompass comfort, self esteem, love, respect, acceptance, approval, security, safety and prosperity.

Decisions based on avoiding pain may include any or all of the above, but from the flip side. Avoiding pain is extremely motivating and many of our decisions and reactions have a fear base. Pain avoidance is what fear is. Fear of physical or emotional harm, poverty, abandonment, violence, humiliation, loneliness, disapproval, disease and ultimately – death.

It is vitally important to discern what appropriate and inappropriate fear is, as appropriate fear can and will protect us, and inappropriate fear can destroy us. Most of the time we don’t recognize it at all, so, it’s impossible to name it, let alone challenge it.

The human condition has a huge emotional range and can appear quite fluid in its ability to change; we can be carried away or bounced around in a little cesspool of negative influences one minute, and then find ourselves lifted up and flying high the next . Emotions can be quite unpredictable, indefinable and often uncontrollable, and yet emotions can dominate, create or destroy us.

At the very risk of having this blog printed out and waved in my face at any upcoming potential discussions with my employer regarding ADA, FMLA, or "accommodation" requests for my Multiple Sclerosis, I will directly say here and now...the issue I have been skirting on CHEESE...the FEAR I have been labeling as "situational depression"...is really a deep-seated terror of possibly becoming unable to perform the functions of my current job, losing my job, being "phased out" of my job, becoming unemployed, becoming "homeless and penniless", being unable to solely support myself financially...ALL BECAUSE OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS. There, I said/typed it...let the Human Resources minions do as they will with this information. I AM DESPERATELY AFRAID.

This fear of which I speak (and with whatever "label" one chooses to place upon it) has left me feeling emotionally and somewhat physically paralyzed. What I DO for a living is all I have ever known...I have spent nearly 22 years "doing" what I do in a variety of settings. My career has weaseled its way into the very fabric of my identity. I look upon my current job with an even greater sense of identity and responsibility because the very NATURE and TASKS of my job require me to be a known "public servant" 24/7/365...somewhat like a police officer, who is never REALLY off duty even when off the imaginary clock. The notion of potentially and suddenly changing the fabric of my identity sends cold shivers up my spine and sweat upon my brow...all because of MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS.

If there is any ANGER associated with my fear, it is this: I LOATHE MS, MY MS in particular. It is an unforgiving, cunning, manipulative, narcissistic, and hateful disease. "It" doesn't care or mind what I might want and "it" certainly doesn't follow traditional rules and guidelines of society. "It" sneaks up on me, like an IED in my road, and tries to blow me to "smither-eens" whenever "it" feels like it. "It" decides when I've had enough or when I haven't and "it" dictates much of my future.

And what I hate/loathe MOST about my MS? "It" is a product of my OWN body turning against itself, whether because of genetics, virus, sunshine, or any other negligible cause. "It" is me doing this to me, in the most simplified version of auto-immune language...and "it" feels out of my control, even though my own body is creating "it".

You will never hear me say the trite words, "I have MS, but it doesn't have me"..."It" DOES have me...in a tight vise, squeezing and pinching my very will to live and push forward. But what "it" doesn't have is control over my perceptions AND how I choose to express the essence of my life...namely, how I choose to acknowledge and deal with my FEAR.

I don't have any cute sayings or simplified answers to impart upon you regarding how to "appropriately" manage fear...mine, in particular. LOL But what I DO know is this: by naming and acknowledging fear for what it is, the emotion becomes "tame-able"...fear's image becomes less of a vicious monster and more like a scared and tremulous child crying in a corner. I can deal with a crying child...I can't *battle to death* a huge and looming monster.

So, thank you for letting me ramble to the point of authenticity...thank you for allowing me to ramble to the point of identifying my inner truth. But then again, what CHOICE did you have, dear CHEESE reader?!? LOL Although, if you've gotten THIS far in reading, you did have a choice to click the ol' mouse many paragraphs prior and take you away to some other read that would be far more entertaining! (Several are suggested to the left of this page)

And a special thank you to BUBBIE for her comment and to HARKOO for her private emails...your assistance in "seeing" to the core issue has been much needed. And now I think I will go outside and plant a Hosta garden...play in the dirt...and bury some of this FEAR in Mother Earth...


Bubbie said...

You my dear are certainly not in need of Cymbalta or any other drug du jour. You are just fine without them. (although I wouldn't mind the one where the couple are in tandem claw footed bathtubs overlooking a vast canyon of idealic scenery that offers a 4 hour erection :)
Let go of the fear, now that it's named and tameable, and get creative with your thoughts on future possibilities for you in your chosen field of expertise. Doors will open. Hey, remember, I read the SECRET.LOL
Just call me BuddahBubbie. Hugs
And again, thanks for sharing.I'm sure it will be helpful for many others.

Have myelin? said...

I never knew that. Thanks for telling me. I always envisioned you as this HUGE power of strength, never faltering, never weak- I wondered how, how, does she do it.

I read the SECRET too. *cough* It's worse than "Sexy Cancer". Almost.

Alright woman. Giddy-up.

miles said...

As one of your co-workers who passes you on occassional shift changes I wouldnt know you were saddled with MS, other than the odd limp, unless someone told me. I see from your blog that worlds of emotions are happening inside of you, but your irreverent personality seems pretty much the same on the outside, to me at least. That may not go far in aleviating your angst about becoming a bag lady, but it may give some solace if you're feeling self-conscious about being seen as an anomaly.

I think youre going to HATE this thought but it occured to me while reading your blog the saying that "life" doesnt give us more than we can handle..... and it gives us exactly what we need for the next "growth spurt" in our personal development. Easy for me to say, i know, and i apologize in advance for the audacity of throwing it at you....but im curious. if it were true, what positive traits are you actually learning from this torture?

This is TOO UGLY to mention here, now....maybe in the future




Or should I bow and say, "BuddhaBubbie"?!? Gosh, there's sooo much fodder in your comment...from 4 hour erections to creative thinking? (Or are those really one and the same?!?) Thanks, my friend.




Yes, in the virtual world of blogging, I not only play a doctor on the "Innernet", but I am also super-human! Neither, of which, I do very well in REAL life...LOL

Thanks for the laugh...




Welcome to the commenting world of CHEESE! But if you copy off or reference any of my blatherings at work, I'll have to have you killed! Just ask ROJOO...he trembles in fear. LOL

As far as the age-old saying, "Life doesn't give us more than we can handle", I have to say I'm not really certain this is true. LIFE is terminal condition. The only real thing it gives us is breath, blood pulsating, and conscience...WE give ourselves the other "handling" part. Perhaps a better saying might be, "I can't give myself more than I can handle because I cannot imagine or create more than that". Is that a little too "Zen"?!? LOL


Joan said...

I read somewhere: "Depression is just anger with no energy," or something like that.

For a moment, Cheese, I thought you had read my mind or my diary. Fear and anger are my constant companions: FEAR of losing this job because I can't find another one as easily as I used to ("Hi potential employer, I might be able to come to work tomorrow, or maybe not. I won't know until then.") Fear of being alone and helpless.

Something happened recently that brought all this to my awareness - After 16 years of being happily UNmarried together, I broke down and married my long time boyfriend. I now have his military retirement medical as my secondary medical insurance, and I know that I will have this even if I lose my job and therefore my medical insurance. Suddenly, I'm not as afraid as I used to be. It has soothed me to finally have that fear removed. But how many people live with that fear today? How many people don't have the benefit of one medical plan, let alone two? Knowing that I've got insurance has made such a big difference -- I can tolerate the pettiness at work now and don't feel as hopeless.

I just don't know how good I have it.

PS - And I have thought a LOT about this statement: "I have MS but MS does not have me." BS!!
There are days when I AM MS. We are one, intertwined, stuck together, joined at the hip and brain. My time is spent in research and explaining this disease, writing about it, helping others to understand it, volunteering at fundraisers. I have found meaning from this experience the best way I can.

PS#2: This is what I thought of The Secret: http://shortinthecord.blogspot.com/2007/06/video-review-secret.html



And what makes you think I HAVEN'T read your diary?!?!? MOOHAHAHAHA...

(Yeah, I know...sick joke.)