Stating the Problem

Frederic Leighton The Countess BrownlowI am not at rock bottom. It seems to me that my life could be worse. My dissatisfaction is not yet greater than my non-specific anxiety. What holds me back? I want to state the problem so I might have some idea how to change.

I am a victim. It is not (all) my fault that I am here. And, it is for me to deal with the situation now. I think I am just about over I must be bad, because I am like this. The self-acceptance seems to be working.

Motivation and emotional lability seem to be problems.

In Doctor Who (The Bells of St John) the chief human slave could call up her fellow slaves on her tablet, and adjust their qualities- intelligence, empathy, whatever- with a slider. Hormones don’t seem to work that way: Dr Lorimer suggested testosterone for motivation, adjusting oestrogen for lability, but I don’t think it is that simple, though I remain open to suggestions from the endocrinologist. Cognitive behavioural solutions seem more likely. Initially, I put my increase in lability down to being taken off oestrogen, but actually I was pretty labile before then. The main issue with my emotional reactions seems to be that I fear them. I anticipate getting angry and frightened, which I anticipate will make me react impulsively, show my feelings, and look foolish. Or I feel that my anger and fear will be so unpleasant at the time and in retrospect that I need to avoid them. I want to control my feelings rather than external events.

It seems that fearing the feeling makes it far worse. If I could accept the feeling, it would be less painful. I felt intensely angry with my printer and the various websites when I could not print off a useful score for All Things Bright and Beautiful on Friday. In the end, I photocopied a book, which was not the solution I had wanted, though it was adequate. Accepting the adequate could be useful. Situations where I feel clearly, such as meditation, might be worth practising. Situations where I feel fear and do it anyway would be great if they come off: I need help deciding what such situations might be good for practising this.

I have written over a thousand posts here. My living room is untidy, and I am not looking for work. Mostly, I can go out to get food, or to London for particular purposes, so I am motivated for some actions which I think I will enjoy or will improve my situation, not for others, which I feel will not. It might be worthwhile thinking through what could be good to try, and what stops me.

I feel this analysis, trying to put it into words for you, is useful even if no-one reads to the end (please Like or comment if you do). I will now discuss it with my counsellor, and see what good that does.

John Anster Fitzgerald, the artist's dream

15 thoughts on “Stating the Problem

  1. The link between chemistry and depression is one of those awful chicken and egg problems. You want to find the deep psychological root, but as a friend of mine once said: sometimes depression is just depression; there is no deeper cause, just take your pills.
    I’ve never suffered a clinical-level depression but I get into my funks. Things that help me: trying do something kind for a friend, and lifting weights.
    I think the point is that it helps to treat the depression as something objective and outside of yourself, no matter where the cause lies: I’m showing these symptoms, so I have to do / take these things to counter them.
    And God has his plan.
    Wish I could be of more help.


    • I think it is childhood survival strategies not being best for adulthood, but they get driven into the unconscious and become the way of dealing with life. I am pulling them up. So it seems there is a deeper cause, though that does not necessarily mean there is a non-chemical solution.

      Thank you for being here.


  2. Clare, I’m sorry you’re having a difficult time right now. I can share with you what has helped me greatly — has helped me get out of a funk. I am not a doctor, but I am a neurotechnologist and fairly well educated in the area of brain wave training. You mentioned meditation. Well, part of meditation is rewiring the brain and synaptic pruning, and another part is learning to control your brain waves. It is possible that you might be dealing with low brain waves. I also realize that a flux of hormones can certainly not be good all the time and can affect your mood.

    When I’m in a funk, I use isochronic tones to raise my brain waves to what is called sensorimotor rhythm (SMR). This is the lower beta brain wave range. I have found that Isochronic tones are the best type of brainwave entrainment. They are evenly spaced beats or tones that can entrain with your own brain waves. This is called a cortical evoked response. You can get similar benefits if you carefully select music with specific beats per minute, usually around 120 to 150 bpm. You can Google for music with these specific beats and do the same of YouTube. But a quicker way to raise them is through isochronic tones. If you are not prone to seizures, then this is a non-invasive and very effective way to train your brain waves.

    Btw, there have been at least 80 years of scientific research on this, and also published in peer-reviewed journals. If you are interested in any of the research, I will be happy to send it your way, via email, so just drop me a line. My email addy is in my avatar. In the next few post, I’ll leave a couple of sessions with you. You don’t need headphones, but I recommend them, as you don’t want anyone in the room with you to hear them. They will be affected too, including pets. Get as comfortable as you can, close your eyes and focus on the tones. It is very possible you will feel a difference with the first session, but remember, training your brain waves is like training your muscles. Repetition (once a day or every other day) is very beneficial.


    • Thank you. Looking at the image, I was hoping for a fractal zoom, like this:

      but it was still. It went silent half way through, and I sat to the end. I will try that again, and the next, and let you know. I was half-hoping, half-fearing a caffeine-like high, and it is not that.


    • Welcome, Sabina, and thank you for commenting- and following.

      Bringing it to consciousness has been a lot of work, with a lot of steps on the way. It is a middle-aged thing. It seems to me that the great difference between people my age and above, and people around ten or more years younger, is that my lot grew up with Mutual Assured Destruction and parents who had lived through the Second World War, and after us the fear and hurt has grown steadily less. This presents wonderful opportunities.

      I like what you write.


      • Thank you so much! And I agree–since I’m part of the younger generation, it excites me that our fear and hurt is less than that of the generation before and that it continues to decline.


  3. This makes so much sense to me, Clare … we are soulmates, of a Platonic sort. Don’t give in to the idea of more and the more and then maybe a little bit more change. Your issues are not spiritual, they are issues if fluctuating hormones trying to find the right spot roost. My mother’s motto comes to mind, and makes me think of you, “When in doubt, leave it Out.” Don’t change, for sure ask for anti-depressants like Paxil and sleeping aids like Temazapam, but otherwise, remain yourself and it will all come clear in the fullness of time. Give things time to rest, settle in, feel comfortable. You’re my poster child, about whom I have spoken to people in New York a hundred times … so, again as my mother says (and she’s a renowned psychologist): ride the wave until you hit the shore. Okay, my pet?


    • I see the conflict of two views. Me: greater learning, greater understanding, brings me towards Happiness. But I can plot that greater understanding, and even give dates: eg in June 2001 I moved from deciding to transition intellectually- this will be better for me, I fit the doctors’ definition of a transsexual- to deciding emotionally- this is what I want. That seems a moment of gaining greater integrity, understanding, and effectiveness. Stating the Problem II is currently scheduled for 5 June: it seems to me I have gained greater clarity, which I hope should renew my effectiveness.


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