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Snap out of it, pull your socks up......

G

gunnerwho

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We've probably all heard the advice at some point or another in our lives and all thought something like "you !&*@$£" about the person who said it. When you are way way down, it really isn't going to make any difference whatsoever, it's an illness. What intrigues me though is in the less severe episodes of depression that make up the life of a bipolar person, could it actually be good advice?

I'm not intending to be controversial or trying to offend anyone but is it possible that once diagnosed there can be a tendency to blame the illness and subconsciously embrace the depressive side at times. I find the 6 o'clock news is often a good tonic and even when things are bad I realise that I'm better off being depressed living in the UK than the majority of the world's population. Can a diagnosis actually be a double edged sword in that in becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Maybe sometimes, and I do stress the word sometimes, all we need to do is pull our socks up.
 
Fedup

Fedup

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A thought provoking post gunnerwho.

IMHO i believe when diaognosed we are all guilty to dome degree of blaming our illness.
I look at it this way .......... when i first become ill i was a single parent , so i kept telling myself , come on you have to do XYZ as your boys need you, i do the same now with my animals. But with me also being a carer i do find it more difficult as i seem to be pulled in all directions.

Hope that makes sense .
 
honeyquince

honeyquince

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I have a friend who also has a mental illness who is a firm believer in getting on with things and snapping out of it (he believes that distraction is often the best medicine) and, reluctantly I think there is some truth in it though it doesn't feel like it at times.
 
rollinat

rollinat

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Interesting post Gunnerwho. Distraction is definitely useful - I had a worse day yesterday because I was on my own too much; however, it's difficult to find the motivation at times to keep busy and to see much meaning in the activities that keep you busy. But I agree that it is a temptation to embrace the diagnosis. Having tried hard to avoid being labelled as depressed, however, and keeping as busy as I could, I couldn't do it any more.

I find it difficult to get the balance right between the conventional medical line - so that if you question the diagnosis and say, I think I should just get over myself, then that's the depression talking - and people who have no experience of depression who do tend towards the "pull yourself together" position. I end up not really knowing what I think or feel any more.
 
M

mad as a hatter

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sorry but i think that,s shockin when people say pull ur self together if that was possible then nobody would be ill i can,t get out bed somedays cause i,m so low ain,t got the willpower 2 cope at times i try 2 keep myself as busy as i can but it,s not always possible people that have never had depression say things like that but what they forget it could happen 2 them at ne time then it,s a diff story we all got be symathetic and understandin then
 
Lozzi_1004

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It does annoy me when people just say "snap out of it" because I believe you can't - not when severly depressed anyways. I've used distraction techniques but I think they only work too a certain extent.

I tend to hear this from people who don't fully understand bipolar/depression etc, like most of my family, and it hurts that they can be so ignorant to it sometimes.
 
G

gunnerwho

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sorry but i think that,s shockin when people say pull ur self together if that was possible then nobody would be ill i can,t get out bed somedays cause i,m so low ain,t got the willpower 2 cope at times i try 2 keep myself as busy as i can but it,s not always possible people that have never had depression say things like that but what they forget it could happen 2 them at ne time then it,s a diff story we all got be symathetic and understandin then
I totally understand what you're saying. I've experienced extreme highs and lows and know the feeling about not even having the motivation to get out of bed only too well. I was careful to state that I don't think my theory applies all the time to anybody but I do believe that anybody who experiences depression whether it is diagnosed or not could at times benefit from the "snap out of it" advice. I can go through prolonged low spells and on occasions I get to a stage where I get fed up of being fed up and somewhere find the strength or stimulus to literally pull my socks up and get on with it.

The worst two epsiodes of depression I had were after my two admissions for mania. There was nothing in the world that would have made any difference back then and anyone telling me to snap out of it would have risked verbal or possibly physical abuse, if of course I could have been bothered to do anything about it!

I always look back on those days with a smile on my face now. I was tearing round the countryside thinking I was on the verge of becoming a millionaire, the whole world was my oyster and there was nothing I couldn't achieve. Along come some nice men in white coats saying "stop that, it's silly" who then gave me several buckets full of industrial strength tranquilisers. After 3 months of that they let me go home and I felt the worst I have ever felt in my whole life for months afterwards. After all that they had the cheek to tell me I was cured. Work that one out!

It does annoy me when people just say "snap out of it" because I believe you can't - not when severly depressed anyways. I've used distraction techniques but I think they only work too a certain extent.

I tend to hear this from people who don't fully understand bipolar/depression etc, like most of my family, and it hurts that they can be so ignorant to it sometimes.
I totally agree that pulling your socks up doesn't apply to severe depression but purely for the purpose of debate is it worth exploring whether there is any merit in the theory.
 
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raspberry

raspberry

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i agree it is so frustrating to hear. i generally think that when people say snap out of it shows a misunderstanding of the nature of the illness itself, i dont blame people for saying it.
i take your point that yes in some cases a self fulfilling prophecy can arise and in some cases i do agree. but we must remember there is a reason for the diagnosis of the illness in the firstplace so im not sure that the argument holds alot of weight.

a very thought provoking interesting post.
 
J

jamesdean

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my horoscope today told me 2 pull myself togther, so u know where that news paper now sits!
 
S

Starbright

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Interesting topic.

When I had depression, if someone said snap out of it then I WOULD have blamed them and thought they were unthinking unfeeling unempathic *&%$£s
 
G

gunnerwho

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I know "snap out of it" it's an offensive concept to many particualrly when severely depressed but there has to a better way than the chemical world we live in. If when I was at my very lowest someone told me that Felicity Kendal (in her prime) was coming round dressed in dungarees to have a roll in the hay on the condition that I snapped out of it, I would have been cured instantly. It's only a theory and I doubt GP's could actually prescribe Felicity Kendal, well not without her permission anyway.
 
R

ramboghettouk

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There used to be a big sign in the NSF West Midlands office "You can't pull yourself together from schitsoprenia" in those days i didn't like it as i'd embraced the get better idea, now i don't know, it is annoying when people say pull yourself together, used to be me trying to get better and my family on about illness, they were NSF activists, now it's gone totally the other way
 
honeyquince

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The most interesting thing I've yet come across that doesn't involve chemicals has been mindfullness. This has popped up in threads on a few occasions and would seem to be not snap out of it but snap 'into' it. I've got the Mindfullness and Depression book and really shouod read it! Dollit on another thread gave a great link to, I think Bangor University which is a national centre looking at this approach.
 
D

Dollit

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I don't know about snap out of it Gunner but I do know that I have two types of depression and one is where I can do nothing about it and have to let it run its course. The other I know if I make an effort it will shift. But it takes time and practice and knowledge of self to recognize which is which. It is an internal thing so another person wouldn't know.

Not so much snap out of it as learn about yourself and act appropriately.

And mindfulness is fantastic with depression - put on the CD and let the time go by. bangor.ac.uk/mindfulness
 
G

gunnerwho

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I'm glad this thread provoked some thought. After my 1st two major breakdowns I recovered to a point where my GP and friends considered me completely cured. We all know, as it's conventional wisdom, that maybe that wasn't the case. However in this 8 year period I got engaged to be married to a lovely young lady and reinvented my career extremely successfully. I also took up an extreme sport and did very well at that, progressing rapidly over a short period of time. The point is that rightly or wrongly I no longer believed I was bipolar and managed to achieve most of what I set out to achieve.

Anyway a few years ago along comes major breakdown no 3 and it was possibly worse in many ways than the 1st two. I'd worked hard, achieved, played hard and eventually paid the price. I learnt several things from this with the major change being that I was bi-polar for life and it was best to accept it. Since that time my life achievements have been considerably less significant and I honestly believe that I have embraced the illness as a kind of safety net. I'm not a risk taker anymore and with risk you can get rewards.

I don't think that I will ever not be bi-polar in the conventional sense but I genuinely believe that coming to terms with a correct diagnosis is a double edged sword. I meet loads of people in life with classic bi-polar symptoms who have no idea that they are indeed bi-polar. They may never get to the stage where a diagnosis that they accept benefits them but by the same token they won't be stigmatised by others and most importantly themselves.

I also believe that economics play an important role in our perceptions. Many psychiatrists seem to believe that bipolar is a condition that can be managed and not cured. Management in the short term is definitely cheaper than a cure. We end up believeing management is best too but not for ecomomic reasons. The undiagnosed person has an advantage when life changes occur that significantly reduce susceptibility to mental illness. Put simply they don't get ill. We do and it may just be because we want to or more to the point others are in effect telling us to.

Again I would stress that I don't want to cause offence and what might work for me could indeed be damaging for others. I'm intrigued to see that another thread has started that indicates that people can recover from serious mental illness with recovery rates being much higher in the 3rd world simply because they believe they can recover. We as bipolar people in the UK are one huge cash cow for an awful ot of people and it is worth considering how that affects what becomes conventional wisdom.

You only have to look at the increasing amounts of people off work with depression nowadays. A lot of the milder cases annoy me. Some definitely would benefit from pulling their socks up and I get annoyed when I think what I have had to work through as a self-employed person. I've met so many people that have had "breakdowns" and often think they have no idea what a breakdown is. They might be having a bad hair day or week but it's not a breakdown.

Anyway I'm beginning to rant now. I hope I haven't offended anybody as it certainly isn't my intent but I do intend to push some boundaries on here if that is acceptable. It is the only way IMHO to change perceptions. If anyone is having a genuinely really shitty day and this hasn't helped, I do apologise but I did need to say it. I genuinely do know what you are going through and you have my heartfelt sympathy.

However I will make no apologies to the "bogus breakdown brigade". To those I do say pull your socks up. You've moved the goalposts too far. People are getting months off work nowadays when all they need is an aspirin. That may not seem serious until you consider the implications. Mental health practicioners are obviously going to think that people with more severe illnesses can't work at all. Think about it and what you might be able to achieve but don't realise yet.

I hope that people with severe depression can see that I am fully supporting them in this post.
 
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