On ERE and Mental Health issues

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horsewoman
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Re: On ERE and Mental Health issues

Post by horsewoman »

Ego wrote:
Sat Nov 02, 2019 9:48 pm
Why do we feel okay about non-professionals giving advice about depression and anxiety but not about a heart condition? We've had a few people here mention suicide so the stakes seem comparable. What makes depression and anxiety different?
A few things come to mind. I know which threads you are referring to. The OP has a habit of posting slightly strange questions without following up on the answers, or posting questions that have been discussed literally 2 threads up. At least it has been this way since I'm around. The OP has gotten some advice, but did not really answer again. So what more is there to say than "go see a doctor"? The health problems he discribed are normally easily deal with by any GP.

@ego - have you ever pursued a diagnosis for a mental health problem or tried to get qualified help for such issues? I think most people who have done so would agree with me that you are mostly on you own, unless you are content with a prescription for anti-depressants (not that there is anything wrong with taking some!).

The amount of energy it takes to even find help and to get this people to take you seriously is often more than a person in mental distress is able to bring up. People tend to take you seriously if there is something visibly the matter, with mental illness you have to fight for yourself a lot, which makes validation from other people with similar problems so valuable. Hence there is a great need of discussing this often taboo like topics with other people who know what it feels like.

Furthermore, I'm not comfortable to give advice on health questions if I have not a) experienced it myself and b) done a lot research. Should anyone need advice on migraines, food intolerances or reflux, bring em on! :)

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Ego
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Re: On ERE and Mental Health issues

Post by Ego »

@horsewoman, I have no doubt that obtaining a mental health diagnosis is unimaginably difficult. I am certainly not belittling the challenges.

Think of it from a community health perspective. Imagine for a moment we are talking about tuberculosis, measles or zika. Mental health advocates often point out the mental health disease model. They say that mental diseases are the same as physical diseases. Zika, TB and measles kill people. So do depression and anxiety.

Now imagine for a moment that zika or TB or measles could be spread socially without physical contact, like through the internet. What would happen? What would we do to protect the general population from zika if they could get it from a friend on facebook or measles from their favorite Youtube personality? Imagine the quarantines.

Studies have shown that both depression and anxiety are communicable and contagious. They are communicable and contagious in person and through social networks. I read one study that said the contagion has been detected as far as four degrees of separation from the depressed or anxious person.
Consider a 2014 study of college roommates: Researchers studied more than 100 pairs of newly assigned freshman roommates at move-in, and then again three and six months later. They examined, among other things, the students’ symptoms of depression and their tendency to ruminate—their propensity to get tangled up in their feelings and to obsess about the causes and consequences of not feeling well.

Sure enough, students who lived with a ruminating roommate also developed the tendency, which greatly increased their own risk of depression. To be clear, the depressive symptoms themselves weren’t contagious, but the thinking styles were. After six months, freshmen who “caught” a ruminative way of thinking from their roommates had twice as many depressive symptoms as those who didn’t pick up the thinking style.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog ... contagious

If the thinking styles are contagious and the obsessions are contagious then would it make sense to discourage that kind of communication without oversight from a professional?

horsewoman
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Re: On ERE and Mental Health issues

Post by horsewoman »

Thank you for that link, I was not aware of this circumstance. Food for thought! It does not really change anything however. Most of us have someone close who suffers from depression, so the only way to ward against getting "infected" is becoming a hermit. Jokes aside, your call for specialists is of course valid, and would be preferable to discussing it with strangers on the internet. Unfortunately there are not enough specialists and some are simply not qualified. IDK how it is in the States, but here in Germany waiting lists of 2 years to see a psychologist are the norm. The best way to get "preferred treatment" is by getting admitted a to psychiatric clinic as an in-patient, because you are a danger to yourself. Obviously this is a serious step with even more serious long-term repercussions (stigma, job-loss, problems with getting insurance,...). Few people are willing to go there, and having lived through this I can tell you it is not pretty.

If you manage to find a psychologist you can only hope it works with this person. For example, my husbands' shrink told him that it is impossible that our child is autistic because she was able to take a message on the phone. WTF? She stated this with 100% certainty, too and in a belittling tone, turning a deaf ear to contrary information. This is like a doctor claiming you cannot have cancer because you are a brunette, or some such stupid thing. How do you trust such a glaringly incompetent person to treat your depression? You don't! Which leaves you without a therapist, but not without a burning need to get help or the feeling that you are not alone in this. So finding like-minded people to compare notes is the next best thing. Plus, it is not only doom and gloom in mental health sub-reddits. I have got so many valuable hints how to deal with my daughters sensory issues from adult Aspergers that I was often close to tears for gratefulness. A small child cannot articulate what the problem is and how to work around it, but someone who has lived through it can. Our quality of life is considerably higher because of those forums. So while your concerns are valid, the benefits of exchanging understanding and coping mechanisms are invaluable, since they can not be got easily from a professional source.

AnalyticalEngine
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Re: On ERE and Mental Health issues

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

@horsewoman - Since you mentioned food intolerance, have you experience/read the research on the link between certain food intolerances and depression? I'm thinking of specifically gluten and Celiac Disease here where depression can be an early warning sign of the disease. I've read some research that food intolerance, autoimmune disease, and depression all share a connection, so I'm wondering what your experience is with those and if you have an insight on the connection between food intolerance and mental health.

bigato
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Re: On ERE and Mental Health issues

Post by bigato »

AnalyticalEngine:
Some keywords that mat help your research are the link between carbohydrates and serotonin (no carbohydrates available means no serotonin in your brain) as well as the role of B12 in forming red blood cells. Low blood cell count guarantees low levels of energy and may contribute to depression. Those links are simple to understand. I also remember vitamin D deficiency being linked to depression but I don’t know the details.

chenda
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Re: On ERE and Mental Health issues

Post by chenda »

@horsewomen agreed, I think such forums can be helpful if used in the right way.

Diagnosis seems fraut with difficulty as mental health is experienced through the subjective first person. I think I suffer anxiety, but it's not anxiety in the vernacular sense of the term like being anxious before an exam or something. It's a sort of sickening mental hellish feeling of which there is no word to really describe. Sorry for the melodrama, but people who are fortunate to never experience it can't really relate to it.

daylen
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Re: On ERE and Mental Health issues

Post by daylen »

chenda wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 4:54 pm
It's a sort of sickening mental hellish feeling of which there is no word to really describe.
Existential crisis.

Jason
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Re: On ERE and Mental Health issues

Post by Jason »

Wait till you get old enough where they're handing you a glad bag and a shit scraper. These will be your halcyon days.

horsewoman
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Re: On ERE and Mental Health issues

Post by horsewoman »

AnalyticalEngine wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 11:53 am
@horsewoman - Since you mentioned food intolerance, have you experience/read the research on the link between certain food intolerances and depression? I'm thinking of specifically gluten and Celiac Disease here where depression can be an early warning sign of the disease. I've read some research that food intolerance, autoimmune disease, and depression all share a connection, so I'm wondering what your experience is with those and if you have an insight on the connection between food intolerance and mental health.
I have no direct experience with gluten and Celiac disease (thank god!), in my case it's a pretty severe histamine intolerance (HIT). There is a definite link between HIT and depression, even though it has not been one of my prominent symptoms. I often felt slightly depressed because of my difficulties, but I felt it was more like an inevitable consequence of not being able to eat anything without my whole body going bonkers. Or having one crippling migraine after the other, or insomnia. It was pretty depressing! Looking back I see that I was extremely nervous and anxious before I got my diet and with it the HIT under control.
My belief is that it is all connected in the gut, and the bacteria that lives there. Modern humans eat too much and the wrong stuff. Since I reduced my food intake drastically I have almost no migraines, I'm way calmer and I sleep a lot better. So while I'm still not sure HOW all of this stuff connects, I'm seeing results with eating less - not starving myself, of course! But being very mindful of what goes in.

ertyu
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Re: On ERE and Mental Health issues

Post by ertyu »

This might be a bit tangential to where the thread has gone, but as a depressed and anxious fuck with I'm pretty certain undiagnosed ADD + mild autism, it's a topic I've thought of a lot.

Namely: the terapy model is essentially a consumerist one. Instead of helping each other and talking through our problems in our friendships and social networks, we pay someone to listen to us and ask us questions. Before therapists, people did this for each other. (Religion used to play a role, too, but I am not a religious person, so while I know many find help from clegry and congregation, it's not a place where I'd go - but it's an option.

I think there is a parallel between taking yourself outside the wage-earner - consumer style of providing for yourself and mental health. ERE advocates cultivating and leveraging networks to take needs provision off the consumer track. Maybe you can borrow tools, freecycle, teach and learn skills, barter, etc. The focus is on developing your own skills so you can do for yourself and so you can be a useful node in that network.

I think a similar parallel can be drawn to mental health care. Therapists are trained professionals whom we pay. But we can learn their skills. We can learn active listening. We can learn being non-judgmental and holding a space for others who wish to talk. We can brave opening up and letting others hold a space for us. We can read about therapies and techniques, whether in self-help books or in manuals designed for professionals (this is a hobby of mine, I have read quite a few EMDR manuals, integrate-focusing-with-your-therapy-and-teach-it-to-your-clients manuals, etc.). I have implemented many strategies and seen results. Of course, lots of ground remains. We're all reactive works in progress. But I think I have improved a lot at being able to hold space for another person and respecting them and the fact that different things would be differently hard for different people - removing judgment.

Anyway, the point is, maybe a hand-crafted item will be rougher than a store-bought one, but there is inherent value in it: "producer manifestation" I believe Jacob called it. Ditto with aiming to unburden outselfves from the temporal and psychological demands of employment so we can learn how to better help each other - then actually help. A person would have much more time and patience to stick with a friend who is going through a hard time when that person is not burdened by their own excessive stress.

Anyway, just something I've thought about.

Vaikeasti
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Re: On ERE and Mental Health issues

Post by Vaikeasti »

I think this TED talk links to almost all the points made in this thread. Mental hygiene was a really good concept I had not heard of before. It makes so much sense though. https://www.ted.com/talks/guy_winch_why ... _first_aid

@Ego, The discussion on whether or not this kind of topic is acceptable I am biased to answer. There is a part on the ERE book on the Emotional ideals of the Renaissance man that include character and thinking etc. but that is still not really an answer.

Depression and several other mental health problems are in the ICD so at least WHO classifies them as real diseases.
On the other hand there is exists no clear cut way to diagnose mental health problems (there are no blood tests or CT scans for depression as far as I know). The science seems to point to the direction that there are multiple different ways the brain chemistry can be wrong in a person diagnosed with depression. Different people respond to different treatment and the only way to find out the suitable medicine is by trial and error at the moment. How many somatic diseases are like that? Can it be a disease if it's not consistent like that?

Depression is diagnosed by the thought patterns and behavior exhibited by the individual. The unhealthy thought patterns and brain chemistry are separable in my opinion. You can discuss they way you see the world and think about it. Discussion on the topic could give you insight on what needs to change and what are more healthy ways of thinking.
It is a valid point that if my thought patterns are not producing positive results and thought patterns can be learned, I risk teaching my negative thinking to someone else just by talking about them.
Selfish as I am, I still think the discussion is worth the risk. I feel that I cannot just ask to see someones healthy thinking patterns and study them. I wonder if a healthy person could even share their patterns or are these "thinking skills" at their unconscious competence level. By showing my "faulty code" and also my skill level in "constructive thinking" I have the opportunity of finding people in skill levels closer to my own and from those I can learn and maybe slowly climb up to a "normal" level. (Wheaton levels of mental hygiene or something?)

Also there's the point that a professional therapist will try methods that statistically work on the average joe. But if I'm aiming to be ERE, am I average joe and do I benefit from learning to think more like normal people?
I've found that I consider it better to do with out than just buy something if I haven't had time or energy to think properly about a problem. And my experience is that this is seen as an issue to fix in me.
Of course this might be an issue of what Kegan level are we working on at the therapy? Maybe healthy thinking and ERE can be processed separately?

This discussion has been quite enlightening at least for me. Please do continue.

chenda
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Re: On ERE and Mental Health issues

Post by chenda »

@vaikeasti - Funny I was thinking yesterday I liked the term mental hygiene; feels quite empowering.

I was diagnosed earlier this week with a borderline personality disorder, which has been massive relief. I ended up seeing a psychiatrist privately which cost £300 + but was worth it for a proper lengthy consultation and diagnosis. The psychiatrist cautioned against discussing the condition specifically as apparently it can worsen things, but I think getting a professional diagnosis is a worthwhile investment.

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Ego
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Re: On ERE and Mental Health issues

Post by Ego »

Vaikeasti wrote:
Sun Feb 02, 2020 4:08 pm
It is a valid point that if my thought patterns are not producing positive results and thought patterns can be learned, I risk teaching my negative thinking to someone else just by talking about them.

Selfish as I am, I still think the discussion is worth the risk.
At the moment we've got several million people - the vast majority of whom have not shown signs of infection - quarantined because of the coronavirus. A person who escapes the quarantine may benefit personally by escaping but they run the risk of infecting those outside the quarantine. Is it worth the risk? As a global community we believe quarantining to be a reasonable response because the virus is contagious and kills people.

Depression and anxiety are also contagious and also kill people. Many health professionals say it has reached epidemic levels among the young.

Image

People suffering from depression often lament the fact that their disease is not taken seriously because there is no simple blood test or scan that can produce a definitive diagnosis. If we had such a test, would it be reasonable to use the same logic as with coronavirus? If not, why not? What level of contagion would be acceptable? If you had a child going off to college would you encourage them to volunteer to room with one of the depressed freshmen, knowing that they were far more likely to become depressed themselves as a result? If not, why would you feel okay about it on a societal level? Or on a peer-to-peer level?

I should say that I realize that it may sound as if I have answers to these questions. I don't. I just have these thoughts bouncing around in my head and I guess what I am doing here is wondering aloud. I have a friend who has been suffering bouts of depression lately and I've been gradually easing away from him because every time I see him I come away wishing I hadn't gone. The typical advice to "be there for him" may be good for him, but I know for a fact it is not good for me. And like you, I'm selfish.

AnalyticalEngine
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Re: On ERE and Mental Health issues

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

I think the difficulty with depression is it can be both a symptom as well as a primary condition. What I mean by that is someone may be depressed because they suffer from Major Depressive Disorder. They may also be depressed because of complex circumstances in their lives. And still they might be depressed from bad mental habits they picked up from others (the contagious part). I think this is one of the things that makes it so difficult to treat. Someone with Major Depressive Disorder might have a genuine chemical imbalance and benefit from SSRIs. Someone suffering from trauma might benefit from therapy. Someone with poor life circumstances might benefit from changing them.

There's also an element of perceived agency with depression. People might (perhaps wrongly) think they are mentally strong enough to "resist" becoming depressed themselves. Whereas the coronavirus isn't really something you can "resist" getting through perceived sheer mental willpower.

The chart with students is interesting though because the other age groups are pretty consistent in their rates. I personally somewhat subscribe to the theory in iGen that social media is to partially blame for Gen Z depression. Nothing is quite contagious like social media induced depression.

Riggerjack
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Re: On ERE and Mental Health issues

Post by Riggerjack »

If we had such a test, would it be reasonable to use the same logic as with coronavirus? If not, why not? What level of contagion would be acceptable?
And here, I think is the key.

Yes, the study says depression is contagious.

The study of very young, inexperienced adults in their first roommate scenario some of whom picked up patterns of thought similar to their depressed roommate.

That's not the typical social contact level. In particular, not on the internet.

Those aren't typical adults. They haven't developed an independent identity as an adult yet. They are experimenting and exploring. Of course they will try on the replicable characteristics of those close to them. They are still deciding who they are, and who they will be.

That's not depression.

That's not contagion.

That's just another pop psychology study of college kids, designed to grab headlines.

steveo73
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Re: On ERE and Mental Health issues

Post by steveo73 »

Riggerjack wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:49 am
And here, I think is the key.

Yes, the study says depression is contagious.

The study of very young, inexperienced adults in their first roommate scenario some of whom picked up patterns of thought similar to their depressed roommate.

That's not the typical social contact level. In particular, not on the internet.

Those aren't typical adults. They haven't developed an independent identity as an adult yet. They are experimenting and exploring. Of course they will try on the replicable characteristics of those close to them. They are still deciding who they are, and who they will be.

That's not depression.

That's not contagion.

That's just another pop psychology study of college kids, designed to grab headlines.
It's just another stupid study that proves nothing at all. Sure if you are surrounded by people who are down all the time that might impact you but depression is not a virus like the coranavirus for instance.

It's like a lot of studies where they prove what they want to prove.

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