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Personal Responsibility

Sometimes you just need to let off steam...
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Personal Responsibility

Postby andthistoomustpass » Sun Feb 18, 2018 8:28 am

I have recently heard real world comments about depression / anxiety being weakness of character or a choice because it is easier to say you are ill than to deal with life's stresses. This is b*ll*cks of course. I am certain everyone here, like me, has fought and struggled for years, showing deep strength of character just to get up and leave the house but I do have a tendency to blame myself and I find these arguments strangely seductive, despite knowing them to be ignorant nonsense.

No one can pin down any one cause for how we think, feel and act but it is clear that there are lots of different factors under the headings; predisposition, brain chemistry, and experiences, AKA Nature, Environment, Nurture and Experience, AKA blind luck.

Personal responsibility does come into play in terms of how we react to things we can control but it should never be forgotten that there is a lot we cannot control, that the very ability to control some behaviours at some times and not others is beyond our control. We do not get to pick. The feeling that we should be in control and the attempt to control things that we cannot often magnifies and exacerbates the problems we are trying to address.

I was reading about yet another research paper into depression. What I found interesting here was that they could induce depressive like behaviours in rats by either injecting chemicals or triggering a protein in a specific part of the brain of adult rats or by putting young rats in a specific social environment.

Depression is a wide umbrella used to describe a vast range of symptoms and we can hardly ask rats how they feel but it is interesting that behaviours associated with depression can be manufactured in the lab.

For me this all reinforces the facts we all know, that these illnesses are real and certainly not a conscious choice of the individual or a weakness of character and the solution is not 'sucking it up' or 'pulling yourself together'. There are no simple solutions.

I found the idea of a future medical treatment targeting the part of the brain responsible for regulating the fear of negative consequences interesting. I also found one method of stimulating depression in young rats interesting. The technique is 'learned helplessness' which is believed to develop when, over an extended period of time, whatever your response to a situation the result is always negative. Rang a lot of bells with me.

Anyway, my point was that I am sick and tired of the ignorant attitudes to mental health. Rant over.

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Re: Personal Responsibility

Postby Isap » Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:43 am

Hear hear

I know exactly what I should be doing to combat depressing thoughts but it's not working not for lack of trying

If depression is forecast to be the leading cause of disabiy by 2020 or 2030 can't remember which, then they should be putting a lot of resources into it. I've read that experiments with ketamine are promising but nothing new is happening.

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Re: Personal Responsibility

Postby andthistoomustpass » Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:23 pm

Hi Isap

Yeah, Ketamine has gotten a lot of attention. I like the idea of it because, unlike the potential treatments derived from LSD or MDMA, it is not about breaking down mental barriers during therapy or about generating a strong therapeutic relationship. Instead it is believed that Ketamine acts directly on brain function to reduce fear of negative consequences.

I am in no way qualified to talk further on this but will anyway. :lol:

It is believed that just like the brain has a reward centre that is stimulated by say, the smell of nice food or the sight of an attractive member of the opposite sex, there is also an anti-reward centre that is stimulated by say, a large, aggressive dog. Ketamine is said to reduce the activity of this anti-reward centre.

Very interesting to someone like me who is plagued by very strong predictions of negative consequences and so struggles to take action.

Street Ketamine has too many impurities and side effects to be worth trying. Reports include; disassociation into an almost coma like state, cysts developing on the bladder, persistent loss of bladder control, addiction, depression, psychosis and apparently scans of habitual users have shown permanent changes in brain structure.

There are some dodgy US clinics offering treatment at around $800 a time but with no major research backing up the benefits. I understand that very strong benefits are reported to be experienced by 1/3rd of patients with treatment resistant depression (low enough that the placebo effect can't be ruled out) but that the benefits wear off within a couple of days to a couple of weeks, necessitating frequent and regular trips to the clinic.

My impression is that the pharma companies aren't interested in doing the extensive testing required to get approval for the drug for MH use because its patent has already run out, therefore there is no profit. The NHS and the medical profession worIdwide have left development of drugs to the pharma companies for so long that, aside from a few small trials, they don't have the structures, experience or resources in place to develop the drug for MH uses themselves. I have read that a couple of patentable variations on Ketamine have been created and these are currently being tested in the US. Obviously to be sold at a massive mark up.

Basically, Ketamine appears to be promising but don't expect to see it available until the clinical trials of the patentable varients have ruled out horrendous side effects and the patentable drugs have been given regulatory approval. The good news is that the US regulator appears to have fast tracked testing and approval for these drugs because the potential benefits are so high.

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Re: Personal Responsibility

Postby depressedtodeath » Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:28 pm

This is good news.

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Re: Personal Responsibility

Postby rsxo » Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:23 pm

I think the issue is that people don't want to admit that they don't know. Instead, they arrive at a single plausible reason that it happens, and understand mental illness as being caused by this one reason. This is why you'll have some people adamant that mental illness is all the parents' faults, while others are convinced that people with mental illness are possessed by demons. They all have their own reason in their mind, but the truth is that none of them actually understand it, and won't admit to doing so eitherx

RSxo <3

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Re: Personal Responsibility

Postby andthistoomustpass » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:01 pm

Hi rsxo

Good to hear from you, are you at uni now?

I more or less agree with what you have said. Pattern recognition is a big part of how our brains function. Cause and effect is part of this and influences our behaviours. This can be perfectly sensible such as striking flint against stone creates spark which creates fire but can be not so sensible such as I wore this scarf and my team won so if I wear it to the next game my team has a better chance of winning.

Perhaps we seek predictability, influence and control in order to avoid fear when the truth is that some things are so contingent on so many factors or so far beyond our understanding that there is no way to achieve this? Perhaps it is then that we create other reasons be that karma, Gods, demons or whatever to try to make things fit that cause and effect model, to make them seem more predictable and less scary? Perhaps we want to believe we understand because that gives us a choice of actions to address the perceived risk or a way to prevent or exit a bad situation.

I also think that there is still a widespread belief that mental illness is due to character flaws which we are personally responsible for allowing to persist. I think it comforts some people who have never experienced MH issues to believe this because then they can convince themselves that they could never fall ill in this way, they would simply pull themselves together. This makes their internal model of life more predictable and less scary.

Equally some sufferers want to believe it is solely down to a chemical imbalance, parenting, or whatever because this allows us to say it is not my fault.

I am not saying that chemical imbalance or brain structure issues are not a cause, because they most certainly are. Nor am I saying horrendous experiences don't create or contribute to mental health problems, they most certainly do.

What I am saying is that cause and effect, blame laying against ourselves or others, is not really a helpful approach because the illness remains.

I do know that the idea that people don't try as best they can, within their means, to address their ill health is ridiculous. Nobody wants to think, feel or perceive in ways that damage their lives and cause them pain.

At the moment I think that self discipline, hard work and facing fear are key parts to improving my life but I am not always able to apply them. How do you change the brain, when the tools you apply to change it are part of the brain which you are trying to change? That is not to say that we shouldn't persist, any chance of improving my experience of life is better than no chance.

For me personal responsibility means doing the best I can at the time, that is all we can ask of ourselves or anyone else but this must go hand in hand with an honest and non-judgemental acceptance of what I am capable of at any given time. It is about giving myself permission to be me, warts and all and about giving others the same respect.

That was a serious ramble but I hope some of it makes sense.

Ps I am liking the term Mental Illness less and less, it suggests there is some sort of optimum healthy mind, that the minds of people not on within the norms of their society are sub-par.

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