Zeitumstellung 2017

Ich verpasse die Zeitumstellung meistens. Glücklicherweise findet sie immer am Wochenende statt, so dass ich es gar nicht bemerke. Ausserdem hilft hier das Smartphone: Es stellt automatisch um!

 

I’m too late to apologize

Dummerweise hatte ich vor einigen Monaten Mühe mit der Zeit. Besser gesagt habe ich es irgendwie nicht mehr geschafft, meine Termine einzuhalten. Also meistens habe ich den Zug verpasst. Nur um ein paar Sekunden. Meistens stand er noch da wenn ich mit allerletzter Kraft die Bahnhofstreppe hinaufgestürmt war. So konnte ich immerhin noch zum Abschied winken.

Die einzige Methode, die langfristig funktioniert hat, um dieses Problem zu vermeiden besteht darin, dass ich die Uhr auf meinem Smartphone 10 Minuten vorgestellt habe. So erschrecke ich jedes Mal am Morgen, wenn ich auf die Uhr schaue und diese Panik peitscht mich aus dem Bett – und wenig später – aus dem Haus. Ich weiss nicht, ob sich mein Körper irgendwann daran gewöhnt. Eigentlich weiss ich ja, dass die angezeigte Zeit nicht korrekt ist. Trotzdem klappt es irgendwie. Das ist ja die Hauptsache.

Aber darum gehts eigentlich gar nicht.

 

How To: Zeitumstellung

Blick erklärt wie man die Uhr auf die Sommerzeit umstellt.

Eigentlich wollte ich erzählen, dass ich heute auf der Blick-Homepage eine Anleitung gefunden haben, wie man die Zeit korrekt umstellt!

Wundervoll! Es gibt sogar eine hochwertige Animation!

Genau für solche wundervollen Aktionen bin ich trotz allem froh, dass es den Blick gibt. (Obwohl ich nicht sicher bin, ob man das überhaupt offiziell Zeitung bezeichnen kann…) Egal, WTF?!? Momente beim Lesen garantiert.

 

 

Fantasizing about having a terminal illness

I know that sounds awful. And really disrespectful to anyone who’s actually suffering from a terminal illness as well as their loved ones.

However it happens to me.

It happened to me before and these kind of thoughts seem to creep up from behind and come to my mind again.

Of course you could argue that having bipolar or depression can be a terminal illness. The numbers change from one study to another but to round it up around 10% of people suffering from depression will eventually succeed in taking their own lifes (if you can call that a success). It’s even more for those who are being diagnosed as bipolar.

As alarming these statistics may be, of course it’s not what I am talking about.

I am talking about wishing I get really sick somehow and die.

 

«Logic of Life» vs «Logic of Death»

It’s against all «Logic of Life» but once you enter into the «Logic of Death» it seems to be quite a «reasonable» wish.

I mean if you think about it in the following way: You are suffering from a severe depression. Maybe not the first time. And even if you know intellectually that it’s «just» a phase and it will probably pass, you can’t feel it. It doesn’t lift your mood or change your feeling of hopelessness one bit. You are scared it will never change. Or it may change but it will come back. Again and again. So sooner or later you are probably contemplating suicide. You start thinking about how to end your life. You start fantasizing about what became over time a thinkable option.

I don’t know if there are any studies to support this but I am pretty sure fantasizing about having a terminal illness is very common with people who are suicidal. Most people suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts don’t want to hurt their relatives and friends. They just want a way out of the horrible pain that’s haunting them. So hoping they may somehow become ill and die without hurting their loved ones by committing the act themselfes – letting their surroundings wonder forever and ever if they could have done something to prevent it – seems like a pretty practical solution.

Again, if you’re thinking in the «Logic of Death».

If you look at it this way, it’s a pretty perfect solution to your problems.

You feel you are in inbearable pain which will never pass and you don’t want to exist anymore. You get terminal ill and die from it. So you end up getting what you wanted: you’re dead. You don’t have to feel guilty because hey, it wasn’t your fault after all, cancer and stuff. Plus you don’t have to do anything, no sliding your wrists, jumping off a high building, organizing a rope, gun or a car or whatever else may come to your mind. So no mess, no insecurities to end up crippled afterwards and having to deal with the consequences of your acts.  And of course, you’re dead so you don’t feel anything anyway.

The bonus is that your loved ones may be devastated at your eartly passing, however they won’t have to deal with the guilt of people having lost someone to suicide.

Thumbs up.

 

What is the best way to attract Malaria?

I know I am not the only one wishing for this terminal illness thing even though most are (understandably) too ashamed to talk about it.

A few years ago I read in a forum of a guy who asked if anyone knew in which countries Malaria was the most widespread and deadly. His plan was to go there without vaccination, attract incurable Malaria and die from it in a hospital back home. The problem was he didn’t have enough money to travel anywhere.

I don’t know if he ever got through with his plan but it was good to read that others where struggling with similar thoughts. At the same time it made me lough. I know, I am horrible, but I really had to laugh. This plan, written down in the words from someone else, seemed to me really stupid. I could totally relate to his death wish and not wanting to concern his loved ones, but what cracked me up was him not having enough money for it.

I thought: «Come on! That’s a stupid excuse! If you don’t have the money just get a loan from one of these credit companies with impossible high interest rates. You don’t have to worry about paying them back, you’re going to be DEAD, mate!» So much for my compassion.

What kind of worries me right now is that I don’t even feel especially bad. I wouldn’t say that I am in a depression right now. I feel stressed because I am looking for an apprenticeship and even though it doesn’t seem entirely impossible, it still is pretty hard. I have no certainty yet and I start to feel that time is running out. I don’t know what else to do and I’m scared I won’t find anything and my whole life will be (or continue to be?) a pretty big mess. So yes, I do feel pressure and am scared, but compared to other times, it’s still at a rather reasonable level.

I know that my suicidal thoughts are triggered VERY quickly. Ridiculously quickly, actually. I missed the bus once and my first thought was: «This sucks! I should just jump off this bridge right now!» Which made me lough, too, because it was so dumb. Anyway: These are automatic thoughts. They are there before I can even think – let alone – laugh about their inredible stupidity.

 

Unsuccessful research

I just researched with key words like «fantasizing about terminal illness», «I wish I was dying» adding «depression» to the mix when I couldn’t get any good results, but I got mostly responses about how terminal illness may cause depression and suicidal thoughts. I did this in English, French and German using three different search enginges and I didn’t really find what I was looking for.

I thought there may be some articles from psychologists or psychiatrists who explain why people may wish for terminal illness. What is the meaning behind it. There is supposed to be a meaning, right? So if I understand why I am having these thoughts, what the problem or wish behind it is, I could maybe work on and eventually fix it.

Because I feel fucked up having these thoughts. Caught in between trying out mindfulness compassion and judging myself for being incredibly pathetic and guilty.

Mindfulness Me claims: «It’s okay to feel this. It’s okay wanting to have cancer and hoping to die from it.»

The (not dead) parrot answers instantly: «What the fuck is WRONG with you? You don’t even know how painful that is! You have no idea! Suddenly all your life is shortened to a few weeks and there’s nothing you can do about it! You are a despicable, horrible person and you deserve to get cancer just when you enjoy life the most and want to life! That will show you!»

Mindfulness Me is coming back reminding me that: «This is your inner critic speaking, the mean parrot. You are not horrible. Remember that time you donated a dime to a beggar? Someone truly despicable surely wouldn’t engage in such acts of kindness and humanity.» Well and the two of them could go on like this forever.

 

My own interpretation of what it may mean to hope to die from a terminal illness

As I didn’t find anything useful on what’s bugging me, I hereby offer my own interpretation:

Wanting to die from a terminal illness when not really sick from a physical disease but probably suffering from a mental disorder like depression probably means:

  • I don’t feel good, something’s off
  • I don’t want to hurt my loved ones
  • I don’t actively want to hurt myself
  • I am scared
  • I want to be loved and cared for
  • I prefer leaving my destiny to some higher power, nature or whatever as long as it’s not me
  • I feel unable to change my situation
  • I do not want to face my real problems but rather die from something else
  • I want to get out
  • It somehow feels familiar to be a victim which somehow feels right
  • I feel helpless (or do I even WANT to feel helpless and powerless?)
  • I don’t want to make decisions myself
  • I do not want to take action
  • I want to escape from my current situation without taking responsability of my acts

I don’t really know what to do with these thoughts or conclusions now. What do they tell me about these fantasies? What should I do?

However I think I am probably not a horrible person, but yeah, my mind’s fucked up. I am bipolar which pretty much is the definition of a brain that is fucked up. It’s not my fault that I am suffering from bipolar and it’s depressions. However it’s my responsability what I do with my life.

I’ll speak to my therapist, even though I am really ashamed. It’s probably still better than trying to attract Malaria, though.

Looking at Therapy – from the other side of the couch

First of all: I am not a therapist. I am a patient.

My working diagnosis is bipolar II with some Attention Decificit Disorder (Hypoactive Type) thrown in the mix, a little Hashimoto Thyreoditis (slightly underfunction of my thyroid gland) and two smashed feet, impaired back and wrist due to a suicide attempt from 2015.

As you can imagine I’ve seen my share of shrinks. Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Ergotherapists, Worktherapists… Women and Men. Old and young.

The first time I went to therapy I was 20 years old. It was 2007 and I was struggling after having finished highschool what to do with my life. I was diagnosed as having recurrent depression as I had experienced depressive epsiodes since my early childhood and frequently struggling with suicidal thoughts.

I was always afraid I may have bipolar disease because my father suffers from it forever.

As I was a bookworm I had read already a lot about all kind of mental illnesses, especially about depression and bipolar, before I turned 18. I still read a lot about it, also psychological studies. I always thought it’s interesting. I still do. I even thought about studying psychology myself but I heard that there was too much statistics involved so I decided for philosophy as a minor subject where – among others – we discussed about assisted suicide.

 

About friends who are psychologists…

However I have two highschool friends who actually did study psychology and are currently about to become therapists themselves.

Actually I even ran into a friend of one of those two friends (who also used to go to our school but I didn’t really know her very well) when I was a patient in a psychiatric ward. I didn’t even know she was becoming a therapist. She probably didn’t know I became a psychopath, either. It was slightly ackward but we said hi anyway. We met several times afterwards watching at our mutual friends house with some more friends the Swiss version of «the Bachelorette».

Oh and my (young and female) therapist at the above mentioned psychiatrist hospital was actually studying with that friend that provided us week after week with a cozy couch, a nice flatscreen TV and amazing snacks to enjoy our bickering about the Bachelorette and her list of more or less interesting pursuers.

And as work is a subject of conversation – even or especially when watching mindless TV shows – I had the privilege of hearing about their professionnal point of view as psychologists.

I can tell you that I heard some hair-raising stories about psychiatry hospitals I wouldn’t believe if I hadn’t been in one. No pun intended.

However I also learned about their problems, their fears before starting a group therapy for the first time, difficulties when they were treating patients older than themselves doubting their competence, the wish to be able to help patients and sometimes the deception when they seem to be unable to to just name a few.

 

… psychologists that are human…

That psychologists are only human seems kind of logic, but it never really crossed my mind before. Having friends who are training to be psychologists makes this very obvious. They are my friends. Just regular young people, smart, struggling to make ends meet, they like to eat Flammkuchen and drinking a glass of Moscato d’Asti, they watch silly TV together with their flatmates and friends, they wonder about what to say when they go on their first date, they are allergic to pollen, they want to pursue fulfilling careers, meaningful relationships and in general a happy life.

As stated above I was always interested in psychology and even before starting therapy I always examined myself, my past, my present, my future, my thoughts, my illness, my feelings, my fears, my hopes, my life… I have to admit that I am very egocentric (I kind of think that this is normal for people suffering from depression). Not egoistic. But I guess I am quite self-centered.

However psychotherapy is a relationship between two people. I always was thinking mainly about myself (which is porbably normal and even the purpose of therapy in the first place).

I just recently (maybe due to my friends) thought about the people sitting opposite of me in therapy. What is therapy like for the therapist?

Now am totally fascinated by how little I was considering what therapy must be like for a therapist. It just didn’t cross my mind.

That probably sounds stupid, but this is like a whole new revelation for me. Not quite as exciting as when I’ve found out that you can whisk up chicken-pea water together with sugar to get a meringue (it really works!) or when I listen to a wonderful, meaningful new song for the first time and wonder how I ever could live without it before.

Maybe it’s like a blind spot. Discovering something that always has been there but you couldn’t see before, like a tiny birthmark behind your left ear that you’ve never noticed before you had that special three-sided-mirror that allowed you to see things from a new angle.

Or … like a new study field I am interested in.

So I am studying.

I am taking this quite seriously – which almost scares me because I feel I am almost obsessed with it (or is this an early warning-sign of a (hypo)manic phase? or rather hyperfocussing due to ADD? or am I just being a hypochonder and overreacting because I am interested in something new?).

Among others I wonder:

«Why did they become psychologists in the first place?»

«How do they choose the furniture of their office?»

«Do they actually like their clients?»

«How do they maintain their professionnal distance?»

«How does a therapist feel when she looses a patient to suicide?»

«Do most psychologists suffer themselves from mental illness? Would that make them a better or worse therapist?»

«Is a therapist allowed to investigate when his client disappears?»

«Does a therapist asks herself what effect she has on her patients?»

 

…and psychologists who are not friends…

There are of course thousands of articles on the internet about psychotherapy, therapists, patients… The difficulty is filtering the information you are looking for among all the neglibigle responses. I was also looking for lectures or movies on the subject.

And I found «In Treatment», an HBO Series about an American Therapist named Paul and his patients (which is based on the Israeli serie «Be Tipul»).  It deals with a lot of questions from the point of view of the therapist. He also sees his own therapist so we learn about his personal problems and how he feels about his patients, his family and his current therapy.

I finished the first season and I am in the middle of the second one. I like it. Some of the questions I have myself are touched, some new arise. Setting and Breaching Boundaries, Transference and Counter-Transference, The Relationship between the Psychiatrist and the Patient, The Role of the Therapist himself, his past and his own feelings… I am researching further and find new information which makes me tape in new questions that lead to even more answers which of course have to be answered in return… On top I am doing this in three languages – and yes, there seems to be cultural differences in the approaches (not really surprising either).

To be honest I am intrigued by all of this. So many different layers!

As I read about it, for the moment mostly in English, I am amazed by the topics. By what seems to be «the code». Or maybe it’s just what I’ve found so far and it goes all a bit in the same direction.

The boundaries of the relationship of the therapist and the patient are very important. It is a relationship and the success of the therapy depends essentially on it. It may feel intimate, almost like a friendship. But it isn’t. Your therapist is neither your friend nor your potential lover (even though these kind of feelings arise quite often (transference) and are sometimes even mutual (counter-transference) and are normal).

It has to be very clear that the relationship is a professionnal one. What exactly «professionnal» means is of course open to discussion.

There are a few things that seem obvious like whatever the patient tells the therapist is confidential and safe with him. Or that they work together towards the goals of the patient and the therapist supports her client in this. Or that therapists shouldn’t sleep with their patients.

 

Answer a questions with a question

I am thinking about my different therapists and their approaches.

My very first therapist, a doctor and psychologist whom I remember saying that the opposite of good isn’t bad but well meant (something that stayed with me all those years and the older I get the more I agree with it). This young woman that was in training (as my friends are now) and we did all our therapy sessions in French. The Shiatsu-Therapist that analyzed my dreams with me and told me that my water line was out of balance. The head of the Mindfulness-Course that I appreciate especially because he told me about «Les Emotifs Anonymes», now one of my favourite movies. The female therapist I had seen for about six months – and just a few hours before I tried to commit suicide. The horrible psychologist I had at the first psychiatry hospital. My current psychiatrist who treated me already a few years ago before I moved to the French part of Switzerland.

I can honestly say that I feel they all fulfilled those basic requirements (well the horrible one maybe not so in the way that I didn’t feel supported by him… but I bet he thought he was doing his best).

However when I read further on in the net, some say a therapist should never answer questions. Always conter a question with a question.

And having clear boundaries implies for some that any question about the life of the therapist is completely out of the question. Like if patients would like to know how the therapist feels or if he is married or if she likes Italy, one should always say something like: «Why is it important to you to know…?» or «I see that you are interested in … What would it mean to you if I…?» Personally I think that’s silly. But that may be because I have underlying problems and want to cross boundaries, re-enacting my Odipus-Complex (which I actually think I may very well have) with my therapist to fill the whole of the father figure I never had the way I wanted it.

I suppose there sometime is a certain tendency to overinterpret… Like when patients are late they are trying to tell you something. That whatever they say or do is really meaningful. It’s interesting listening to these theories (also explored in the TV series  «In Treatment»), but I don’t think it’s always accurate.

They also should never talk about other patients, not even without mentioning specifics that guard the confidentiality.

Again, I’m thinking about my therapists. I think the ethic discourse in Switzerland may be a little bit different. I know for example that my current therapist likes chocolate, has a family, has had other bipolar and suicidal patients und used to be an architect (black turtleneck pullovers included) before studying medicine and psychology and he really enjoys handing out these little cards where the next appointment is noted upon.

I think it helps to build a therapeutic relationship. Yes, it is therapeutic, he is a therapist and I am a patient, but it’s a relationship nonetheless.

I reckon if I couldn’t relate to him at all as a person it would be difficult to establish enough trust to open up. Most of the stuff just popped up in conversation «naturally» – or at least it felt natural to me. Like in «I understand your sister’s anger. My wife hates it when my children or I walk into the house without leaving the shoes outside!»I think it’s good to know he has had other patients suffering from the same disease as I do. «I had a bipolar patient once who did… can you relate to that?» It gives me some perspective, what others are struggling with and how they can get better. It makes me feel that he knows what he’s doing. I think it’s okay if he shares some neutralized information about me (like, a bipolar woman in her 30ies). Changing careers along the way rings a bell with me as it’s always been an important topic in my life.

Okay I find the thing about the appointment cards quirky. However it’s exactly the kind of thing that keeps me going back to him.