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Complicated toad

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  1. I'm not an expert or anything but I kind of wonder if your self-awareness is skewed towards the negative. Is it really self-awareness or is it a brain ruminating on the things it dislikes about itself? The zen mindful sort of people might note that the self is neither good nor bad it is simply the self so if it hurts you are experiencing an emotional reaction not awareness.
  2. This is why I'm afraid to try therapy again. They need to come with a return policy so if I go in and they tell me to do deep breathing and exercise I don't have to pay hundreds of dollars for something I could have gotten by asking for advice from a guy sitting next to me on the bus.
  3. I've heard it is very effective but I never tried for the same reason - it terrifies me. We've spent so long relying on our rituals to keep us safe it's like taking away our armor in battle....except I suppose the battle only exists in our heads. I hope it goes well, I'd be interested in updates if you're willing to share them. I think if you have a therapist who is compassionate and knows how to guide you through it, its probably not as scary as it sounds.
  4. Last weekend I took mine to a walking path and then realized how bad the asphalt could be on their paws and left. My furriest one has become obsessed with the sprinkler because playing in it is about all she could do. I don't remember a summer with this many hot days this early in the season, at least in this neck of the woods.
  5. FYI from my experience. Alcoholism is really really good at convincing you it's not there. It's the superpower that's key to the addiction's survival. You keep thinking your behavior is normal so you keep doing it and don't notice when you've slipped over the ledge. A little over 20 years ago, I had been having a lot of problems at work, my friends had all vanished, and my sibling insisted I should "talk to someone." So I went to a therapist. She listened to me for about 2 minutes and ran out of the room and came back with an addiction counselor. He said "go to the nearest hospital, tell them you're an alcoholic and need to be admitted for detox." I laughed, thought that was the silliest thing. I explained that I was not an alcoholic, I was just going through a hard time and couldn't figure out why. I was also visibly shaking because I hadn't had my first drink of the day yet. But somehow my brain did not compute "lose control of drinking every night and in the morning, shake and dry-heave until I have alcohol in my system" with being an alcoholic. I was honestly shocked when he said it. I'd been functioning with the abnormal drinking behavior for so long it felt normal and not like a problem. It was just what I did with my free time. I am an idiot very much like you describe. Sometimes us idiots should listen to people like Cerberus. I drink for the exact same reason - to feel comfortable in my skin. The problem is that it quit working 20-some years ago and hasn't worked since. If you think you're uncomfortable in your skin now, it's 100 times worse if you keep drinking. Being away from the drink causes ugly anxiety and discomfort at first. It keeps getting worse until you start having daily withdrawal symptoms, and then it feels like your skin is literally crawling. And it seems like once you get to that point, you can't go back to when it was "not really a problem." Apologies if this sounds like annoying lecturing. I annoyed myself a few times while writing it. But it seems like I've written annoying replies to similar posts before, so maybe your brain is trying to send you a subtle message by bringing the topic into your thoughts so much. Me too. Happens to me all the time.
  6. When I re-started it this time, it gave me really bad nausea and headaches too. So I dropped the dose waaaay down, from 50 mg down to 11.5 (I cut each pill into quarters). I did that for a few weeks, then went to half a pill for a few weeks. Now I'm back to the regular dose and it does help - when I don't take it I go off the rails on a binge each time. However, even when taking it I'm still having trouble...it's not the craving so much as the wanting to get out of my own head. Mood and anxiety are bouncing around like a pinball machine, I need to get those under control but it's such a moving target it is hard. Spaz out today, panic attack tomorrow, hate myself and can barely get up the next day. I can't figure out what my problem is for long enough to tell the doc about it. I'm sure the alcohol is making it all worse, the two things feed off of each other.
  7. I restarted naltrexone recently too and I am really hoping it makes a difference, I am in a rut that I can't seem to climb out of. Crossing fingers for both of us!
  8. I don't know whether these are places people look for vets but for house things I consult Consumers Checkbook and BBB. Also a lot of people look for vet recommendations on neighborhood apps like Nextdoor
  9. An ex and I did bunch of homebrewing for a while. The first few batches were not terribly enjoyable but the more trials the better it got. We finally did an IPA and a stout that were darned good. Don't get discouraged if the first one isn't great. Once you have the equipment the hops and yeast and whatnot arent too expensive so hopefully you can continue trying to get the hang of it. I dont remember a lot of details 'cuz it was many years ago and it turns out I'm an alcoholic so not the best choice of hobbies (he used Everclear to sanitize the bottle caps and was furious when every time he went to do it I'd already consumed the sanitizer), but it really was fun at the time.
  10. I am here too. I am sorry you have so much going on, I can understand how cutting sounds like it might relieve the stress. I'm a mostly recovered cutter, but at times get strong urges and have snuck making a cut a few times this year. What I've found is that the relief is greatly overshadowed by the shame and fear of someone seeing the marks until they heal. A few seconds of a cut resulted in a week or more of my feeling terrible about doing it. Sometimes intrusive thoughts about it can get VERY loud and it feels overwhelming, but I know if I follow through the end result is that I'll feel bad and humiliated and be terrified of someone finding out (I've caused a lot of drama in the family with this habit in the past). So in summary, I totally get it. I don't have a good solution to shut the thoughts up....sometimes I tell them out loud to shut up, sometimes I'll try to find a distraction like a book or tv or even housework. I also try to remind myself this is just the result of conditioning from years of doing the behavior, it's not something I HAVE to do, it is just something I got used to doing for a long time so it takes time to adjust to not doing it. I (mostly) gave it up about 20 years ago but it still rears it's head when I'm overwhelmed and especially when in a mixed state. But every time I give in I greatly regret it afterwards.
  11. If some positive affirmations were all it took to cure depression, it wouldn't continue being one of the leading causes of disability and people wouldn't spend billions on medication and therapy and ECT and TMS and everything else. I like to read about neuroplasticity and I do believe our brains have the capacity to rewire, however, saying positive thinking can cure depression is like saying a baby aspirin cures all cardiovascular disease. It's a tool that can be used, and it's possible to change a negative thought pattern or learned behavior, but to say it can cure severe depression is really dismissive of the gravity of a serious mental illness. Things like CBT work on rewiring negative thought patterns, and it certainly helps in some cases, but for most mental illness it takes a combination of approaches to achieve any significant improvement. Yay for them being able to think themselves un-depressed. If I could positive-think my way out of my depression and other disorders I'd have done it 30 years ago. I will tackle a bad pattern in thinking when I recognize it, but as you said, when symptomatic, we don't always have the capacity to be so self-aware and in control that we can do it. It takes other interventions to get to that point.
  12. I echo what every one else said, Effexor withdrawal is really unpleasant, you want to take it slow. When I did it slowly over a month it wasn't as bad as when I went off fast (I'd been on 375 mg so quitting cold turkey was a very bad idea). The slow way I had some nausea and brain zaps but it was tolerable. It was worth titrating off of it though, it really destabilized me.
  13. I agree! 50% success or failure is way too big of a margin to let someone cut into your head.
  14. Been thinking about this post, it's so interesting from a scientific perspective but terrifying as you said. I would be hesitant too. I hope you find a better alternative that works. I feel like I just have to live with my OCD, I haven't found a solution. The last therapist I asked was hesitant to treat me because she'd never dealt with a case that severe. I will follow your post for updates, I am interested in what you find. In a weird way, I am kind of scared to get rid of it, like maybe the OCD is right. It's absurd but I devote plenty of brainpower to the absurd so who knows.
  15. @Goofball yep, I relate to all of your experiences too! It seems like checking doors and fear of causing a fire are themes OCD loves to heap on us.
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