Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Depression - I don't get it

I have/had a friend, Cecilia, who has quite bad depression. There are a number of her friends that she has seriously offended during an episode. Recently I was one of them. Without realizing, I did something to upset her, and despite apologizing, she began to insult me, and wouldn't stop. I was very hurt by this and have not spoken to her since. It has been two months and she has not apologized or tried to speak with me.

In the mean time she has offended other mutual friends of ours, and as a result of this she was not invited to a lunch or beer date here and there, while we awaited an apology. She then announced to our group that if we did not start to include her again she would kill herself.

As a response to this threat, the group decided that despite being very upset with her, they would pretend as if everything was fine and act friendly, so that she didn't go off the rails. I was completely opposed to this plan. I believe that we should treat her like a normal person and await her apology. I believe it feeds her depression when we let it be an excuse for her behavior. It got back to her that I thought this, and now I am the bad guy.

I feel frustrated because it seems to me as if she does not want to get better. I don't know anybody with depression who has not somewhat improved their mental health by taking control of their life as much as possible, getting up every day, going to work, keeping busy - the tenets of CBT (and, as a sufferer of OCD, my natural responses to my own depression). This is why I thought we should await her apology. I always tried to treat her like a person - as if she was capable of reasoning and could be held morally responsible for her actions - because I believed that to do otherwise was to worsen things for her, was to empower her depression. Instead, Cecilia acts as if she is on holiday most of the time, talks about her depression all the time, brings it up whenever she has done something wrong, makes it her defining feature. It is as if she wants it to be an excuse.

She has a close friend who I think is very very rational, but Samy always makes allowances for her, always excuses her behavior because she is depressed. It makes me wonder if perhaps I am wrong to treat her like morally responsible and rational agent; because her depression is so bad that it has actually taken over her brain and she is just an intelligent animal, but not a person. Maybe she doesn't want to get better because her depression is so bad that she actually can't want to get better. In which case I would in fact be completely taking the wrong approach because I am expecting things from her that she is not capable of, eg: acknowledging that she was rude and apologizing.

Depression, I don't get it.

Feb 2011. I spoke to a friend of mine who is a mental health nurse in a mental hospital. She told me that given the display of behaviours she would be suspicious that Cecilia is not suffering true depression, but instead that she has a Cluster B type Personality Disorder.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Following blogs and privacy

WHAT!? Now when I try to follow a blog, rather than following it as "Liquorice Pixie" or anonymously, I am asked to follow it using my real name (which blogger has taken from my yahoo email address) or anonymously. I like following somewhat publicly as Liquorice Pixie whilst still keeping my real name and email address private.
Privacy is a big issue for me, I always shut the curtains (when I'm home in case people watch me through the windows, and when I'm out in case people look at my stuff)!

My Dad and Hand Towels

When I was younger I didn't really suffer OCD. My Dad was always particular about strange things, one of which is that he doesn't like others to use the same hand towel as him. These peculiarities used to really piss me off and I'd sometimes give him shit about these things. Now that he's much older and I've grown up I am far more respectful towards him. Now when I visit him I take into account the things that bother him, for example when I arrive I'll ask him if he'd like me to get out a hand towel for me to use. I've noticed that now that I take his concerns seriously, he is less OCD about them. For example, since I have been asking him about the hand towel he no longer minds if we use the same one.

What is it that has changed for him? Why does a concern of his seem to cease being a concern now that I too am concerned about it? Perhaps he thinks that if I too am the kind of person who cares about sharing a hand towel with dirty handed people then he reasons that we must both be clean handed people, and can therefore share with each other?? Perhaps the concern is caused merely by a fear that something which seems to him obviously of great importance is not being recognised as such by others, and once he knows someone else is looking after the issue he no longer needs to?? Perhaps it's a trust thing - he trusts that I care about what matters to him, and that is enough to end his anxiety about it??

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Moving House

I'd hate to be a hoarder. I'm not a hoarder though. I'm more like a minimalist. I have to organise and reduce everything. Obsessively. All the items in the first aid / bathroom cupboard. Can't have two bottles of shampoo. No. One has to go. It's like the more stuff there is the more out of control my life feels. The more I feel bogged down. However, there's a certain amount of stuff that, pragmatically, you just can't do without. Moving house makes this all too apparent. It makes you realise how much stuff you have. How dependent you are on all this stuff. Cutlery, plates, teapots, stereos, tvs, toaster, hair drier, sunscreen, towels, toilet paper, blankets, books, chairs, pillows, winter jackets, hats, running shoes, work shoes, summer shoes, dressy shoes. And all the bits and pieces that are left behind on the floor when you're taken the boxes. But when you're moving house, things are everywhere. You do have a lot of stuff. It is all over the place, out of order. There's nothing you can do to make the knot go away.