When We Are Afraid

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I used to regularly be a liar. With my friends, in business and generally I was a ‘boy scout’ and told the truth. But in love relationships my words at times contained less than the full truth; sometimes very little of the truth.

Now living an authentic life I look back to see it was my insecurities at the root of my lying. I did it to be perceived as more than I actually was. And worse, there were times I was liar to cover my tracks of even greater dishonesty: being unfaithful. Deep down there was a compulsion to fill a hole within using the affection of someone new, however impossible it actually was. And oh, the stress, worry and anxiety of an affair! Doing wrong when one knows it’s wrong, then living with it is a sort of slow strangulation.

Lying requires a lot of effort. When you tell the truth, you simply remember what happens. When you lie you have to consider what you’re trying to hide, figure out a believable version of the opposite, give a convincing performance to sell that lie, and then remember it for the rest of eternity so you never get caught. Furthermore, it builds and builds every time you lie.

Lies, just like many other things, cause stress and anxiety. If you need proof, consider the polygraph machine (what’s come to be known as the “lie detector”). They don’t actually detect lies, specifically, but rather the signs of stress that accompany telling them. While stress isn’t a definitive indicator of lying, it’s often a good clue.

You probably know that stress harms your brain and body in several horrible ways. Since lying contributes to your stress level… you need to consider the impact of your secrets. The harm isn’t self-evident, but it readily exists in the numerous health issues you encounter in your daily life. By Adam Dachis http://lifehacker.com/5968613/what-lying-actually-does-to-your-brain-and-body-every-day

Secrets are poison. Any relationship seasoned even with small ones will suffer a little short-term and a lot eventually. Emotional intimacy can be based only on truth and honesty. To do otherwise is self-foolery, delusional and a touch of self-induced madness. My heart smiles and my mind beams with pride that I learned better to grasp and practice honesty today. I am grateful for the heartache that taught me how to be a ‘good guy’ who tells the truth and is worthy of someone’s complete love. Mistakes are great teachers if one pays attention to the lessons.

We tell lies when we are afraid…
afraid of what we don’t know,
afraid of what others will think,
afraid of what will be found out about us.
But every time we tell a lie,
the thing that we fear grows stronger.
Tad Williams

Food for Thought

antidepressant-facts-400x400It has been no secret on this blog that I deal with cycling depression that comes around for two or three days about every six weeks. Though counseling I have learned to mostly just let it pass through me like “wind through the trees”. The depression comes, shakes me a bit and passes. For years now I have taken the prescription antidepressant Wellbutrin/Bupropion. While I don’t necessarily agree with the material I have placed here today, I don’t disagree with it either. Simply it makes me want to know more.

Depression is not caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, and it is not cured by medication. Depression may not even be an illness at all. Often, it can be a normal reaction to abnormal situations. Poverty, unemployment, and the loss of loved ones can make people depressed, and these social and situational causes of depression cannot be changed by drugs.

Our analyses of the FDA data showed relatively little difference between the effects of antidepressants and the effects of placebos. Indeed, the effects were so small that they did not qualify as clinically significant. The drug companies knew how small the effect of their medications were compared to placebos, and so did the FDA and other regulatory agencies. The companies found various ways to make the data seem more favorable to their products, and the FDA helped them keep their negative data secret. In fact, in some instances, the FDA urged the companies to keep negative data hidden, even when the companies wanted to reveal them. My colleagues and I hadn’t really discovered anything new. We had merely revealed their ‘dirty little secret’.”

In 2004, the FDA urged drug companies to adopt a ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy with respect to their clinical-trial data showing that antidepressants are not better than placebos for depressed children. If the data were made public, they cautioned, it might lead doctors to not prescribe antidepressants.

Psychotherapy works for the treatment of depression, and the benefits are substantial. In head-to-head comparisons, in which the short-term effects of psychotherapy and antidepressants are pitted against each other, psychotherapy works as well as medication. This is true regardless of how depressed the person is to begin with.

Psychotherapy looks even better when its long-term effectiveness is assessed. Formerly depressed patients are far more likely to relapse and become depressed again after treatment with antidepressants than they are after psychotherapy. As a result, psychotherapy is significantly more effective than medication when measured some time after treatment has ended, and the more time that has passed since the end of treatment, the larger the difference between drugs and psychotherapy.

When people recover from depression via psychotherapy, their attributions about recovery are likely to be different than those of people who have been treated with medication. Psychotherapy is a learning experience. Improvement is not produced by an external substance, but by changes within the person. It is like learning to read, write or ride a bicycle. Once you have learned, the skills stays with you. Furthermore, part of what a person might learn in therapy is to expect downturns in mood and to interpret them as a normal part of their life, rather than as an indication of an underlying disorder. This understanding, along with the skills that the person has learned for coping with negative moods and situations, can help to prevent a depressive relapse.

Depression is a serious problem, but drugs are not the answer. In the long run, psychotherapy is both cheaper and more effective, even for very serious levels of depression. Physical exercise and self-help books based on CBT can also be useful, either alone or in combination with therapy. Reducing social and economic inequality would also reduce the incidence of depression. From “The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth” by Irving Kirsch

I am grateful for this food for thought came into my path. It deserves a good bit of further exploration. Maybe it is time I stood on my “own two legs” without being propped up by a pill. Then again, maybe without it I’d end up back in the ‘darkness’. From people I known there is a personal conviction that antidepressants really do help some, but don’t help others at all (sometimes doing some harm). For now, lots more research to do before I reach any conclusions for myself.

The truth will set you free,
but first it will piss you off.
Gloria Steinem

Just Past the Self-Imposed Starting Line

“See It Through” by Edgar Guest

When you’re up against a trouble,
Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
Plant your feet and take a brace.
When it’s vain to try to dodge it,
Do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer,
See it through!

Black may be the clouds about you
And your future may seem grim,
But don’t let your nerve desert you;
Keep yourself in fighting trim.
If the worst is bound to happen,
Spite of all that you can do,
Running from it will not save you,
See it through!

Even hope may seem but futile,
When with troubles you’re beset,
But remember you are facing
Just what other men have met.
You may fail, but fall still fighting;
Don’t give up, whate’er you do;
Eyes front, head high to the finish.
See it through!

Today getting in shape and losing weight began in earnest with an evaluation session with my fitness trainer. I am just past the self-imposed starting line one day before my 59th year kicks in. I am excited and a little fearful.

Excitement comes from the thought of being in better shape, losing my belly and being able to enjoy wearing clothes again. A touch of fear comes from borrowing trouble by worrying about the discomfort that’s ahead for a few weeks as I wake up old pains, past injuries and out of shape muscles. I will be OK! The hardest part is over: the beginning.

Like pushing a car is hardest the first six inches, beginning a fitness program is most difficult during the early days. I am grateful to be past the starting line. It took me years to get here.

What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Buddha, Confucius and Franklin

 

There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt.
Doubt separates people.
It is a poison that disintegrates friendships
And breaks up pleasant relations.
It is a thorn that irritates and hurts;
It is a sword that kills.
Buddha

 

Life is really simple,
But we insist on making it complicated.
Confucius

 

Life’s Tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.
Benjamin Franklin
 
 
Inspiration can come from many places, but I have found few sources as consistent as the words of Buddha,Confucius and Ben Franklin.  Completely different men from greatly varied times saying much of the same things.  I am grateful for the bits of wisdom they left behind for me to benefit from.
 
Too bad people can’t switch problems
because nobody knows how to solve their own problems,
but they always know how to solve another’s.
Unknown