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Old 09-09-2012, 08:08 PM   #1
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Self-Help Books... Uh, No. Not Now.

To make a long story short, the economic difficulties of the last 3 or 4 years have exacerbated issues that I've always had and life has become rather challenging and discouraging. I've always been a "try again" person, but lately the positive events have been greatly overshadowed by numerous disappointing events and chronic financial anxiety. I'm out of (emotional) gas right now, and much less resilient both physically and emotionally. Most of the things I like or need to do to help myself cost money... that I don't have.

So the other day, instead of sugar-coating things and/or downplaying my difficulties, I opened up to my mom and told her honestly how I feel. She reacted by asking me if I'd read this self-help book, The Secret. I know she loves me and is only trying to help, and of course positive thinking is always a good thing, but I felt really offended and betrayed. What if you feel like you just CAN'T think positively? What if you've always tried it but it doesn't help? What if you have legitimately serious problems that a book won't solve? It's always frustrating when you feel like whoever you're talking to just doesn't get the seriousness of what you're saying, and I know I'm not alone in that experience. I don't know why my reaction to this book suggestion has been so extreme and provoked so much anger on my part, rather than just annoyance.

My mom ordered the book for me, it showed up, and now she's asking me about it every time we talk, which is about once or twice a week. I've managed to duck the subject, but sooner or later....

What do you folks think?

 
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Old 09-10-2012, 08:10 AM   #2
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Re: Self-Help Books .... Uh, No. Not Now.

It's a mom thing. Moms HAVE to fix it, even when they can't actually fix it.

When I first developed a chronic illness, my mother LOVED buying me books, sending me articles, anything at all to fix me. She couldn't bear the thought that I couldn't be fixed. Sometimes I laughed off her behavior, sometimes it hurt me deeply. For now, we get by. We can't always talk comfortably about my problems, but at least I've managed to stop her trying to fix me.

Skim the book, read a few pages. The next time your mother asks about the book, say, "Thank you for buying it for me. I'm looking into some options to improve my situation, and I'd especially appreciate it if you have any practical advice about improving my finances or finding a new job."

 
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:36 AM   #3
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Re: Self-Help Books... Uh, No. Not Now.

Hello Belly864.

I think I can relate to your anger about the self-help book. It sounds like you want real solutions to your financial difficulties, which I think is completely legitimate. I think you're right. Reading a self-help won't solve your financial problems. I think the possible benefit of reading a self-help book is becoming more self-forgiving about issues that are beyond your control.

You'll still have your problems to face, but you may have more resiliency and patience for overcoming such challenges when you're not so burdened by anxiety and similar emotions.

 
Old 09-12-2012, 09:34 AM   #4
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Re: Self-Help Books... Uh, No. Not Now.

Thank you for your replies and understanding!

I actually cooled off enough and started reading the book, and got all riled up again. Don't get me wrong...I love the concept of positive thinking, and I believe it is certainly beneficial to everyone. I greatly enjoy the books by Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Norman Vincent Peal, etc., and this would be a good time to revisit them. I consider myself somewhat spiritual, but I don't go blabbing about it to everyone all the time.

However, the part of the book I happened to land on when I was reading it yesterday talked about how everything in your life today you attracted to yourself. Yes, thanks to the "law of attraction", every single thing, even the bad things that you think are just totally random things that have nothing to do with our will.

Now, I think it's a great thing to take responsibility for one's own mental health, and we certainly can--for the most part--control how we react to the world around us. We probably DO have more control over our lives than we choose to admit. Nevertheless, I can check the weather forecast before leaving the house, I can remember to bring an umbrella and dress appropriately, but I absolutely cannot influence the weather, no matter how I think. I'm just not that dumb.

Isn't there a maxim out there about knowing that there are things you can change, things you can't, and how you have to know the difference? It seems to me that thinking one has control over something when one really doesn't would lead to more depression and chaos, and then thinking that everything is your fault would be really harmful in the long run.

Thanks for hearing my rant!

 
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:04 AM   #5
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Re: Self-Help Books... Uh, No. Not Now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Belly864 View Post

Isn't there a maxim out there about knowing that there are things you can change, things you can't, and how you have to know the difference? It seems to me that thinking one has control over something when one really doesn't would lead to more depression and chaos, and then thinking that everything is your fault would be really harmful in the long run.
I agree with you on this. I prefer to read self-help books that offer practical advice rather than wishful thinking. Bad things do happen to us that's beyond our control. Sometimes the most we can do is try to not become bogged down and immersed in the hardships and setbacks we face. I think blaming ourselves for all of our problems is just as bad as refusing to accept responsibility for our own behavior.

 
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:52 AM   #6
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Re: Self-Help Books... Uh, No. Not Now.

Thank you guys so much for your input. I haven't spoken to my mom for 2 weeks now, as I don't want to A) lie to her, or B) get into a pointless argument.

My mom also once tried to tell me how great meditation is. I agree, it is, and I get a lot out of forms of moving meditation, but I can't get into a "just being"-style meditation. When I try, I become very angry, and trying harder just exacerbates it. She kept pushing the issue, and eventually I had to tell her to drop the subject. We nearly got into an argument.

One (more) thing that hasn't helped is that I have gone off Wellbutrin (2 or 3 weeks now) since to get more I have to see my MD, and that costs money. There has been no major crash or anything, but I'm sure it's not helping. Recently I was directed to a charity fund for folks in my predicament, and one of the things they supposedly offer is resources for free/low-cost medical care. I have an orientation meeting tomorrow with these people; I will take my empty medication bottle with me, and hopefully get the ball rolling on with refills.

The point of my writing about this is that I know that your life experiences shape the way your brain is wired. Looking back at my life, I've been conditioned in many negative patterns, and it's difficult if not impossible for me to just "think happy thoughts" for any length of time, especially if I'm not in a supportive environment. I know the brain can be rewired and that one can retrain one's thinking, but it's not simple, easy, or fast, and it's not something one can do alone. I can't do this alone, and trying just seems to make it worse. How do I explain what an uphill battle it is when one is battling the very hardware of the brain?

 
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:37 PM   #7
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Re: Self-Help Books... Uh, No. Not Now.

Well, just in time, I managed to get in touch with my psychiatrist and got refills for medication. I was crying every day, almost breaking down in public. That was about a week ago. I've been back on meds (buproprion) for about 7 or 8 days.

Constant financial stress is a real killer.

Then last night, I found out that I and a bunch of people had been fired from our jobs. I have been out for awhile with an injury, and was preparing to return. I'm trying to get my resume together and look for jobs, but some days I barely can get the dishes done. I'm a good person, and people generally speak highly of me, but the "go-getter, never quit, keep going that extra mile, take-on-any-challenge" person has flown the coop. I feel like it's pointless to try.

Instead of picking myself up and making myself keep going, I'm going to let myself just be. Normally, I'd repress those sad feelings and say, "Now, there's no use crying or being sad, let's put on a good attitude and get back in that game, champ!" but I've done that so many times before, and for what? I'm going to try and let my sad and angry feelings run their course; I'm theorizing that perhaps pushing the feelings down just makes them worse in the long run. Through my reading, I've learned that chronic stress and depression not only affects the hardware of the brain, it affects your whole body and glands especially. I'm not going to force myself to be cheerful or try to manipulate my own emotions and see if maybe my body (at least my adrenal gland) will recover on its own with good diet and rest.

I'm flattened and numb from my job loss, and maybe I just need to sit with that for awhile.

 
Old 10-25-2012, 06:18 PM   #8
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Re: Self-Help Books... Uh, No. Not Now.

Hello Belly864.

It's good to hear you were able to get back on your meds.

I agree trying to repress your emotions isn't healthy in the long run. Losing your job I think is in and itself a stressful event to deal with. Trying to push yourself too hard and too quickly probably won't work out in the end. I do hope you feel better after you've given yourself some time to clear your mind and figure out what your next move will be.

 
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