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Feelings are the true F-word.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Hot or Fraught

Posted by fxckfeelings on October 24, 2013

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No matter how pretty, thin, and/or rich you are, or how hard this may be to believe if you are none of the above, finding a solid partner always carries a risk of heartache that can make the process of dating feel like a series of debilitating defeats. So instead of expecting that increasing your attractiveness will reduce the pain, toughen up and become more selective, using your experience of rejection and near-misses to improve your skills and dodge the heartbreakers. In the end, believe it or not, you’ll give yourself the match-making, if not the wealth and looks, you deserve.
Dr. Lastname

I don’t see why I always seem to have the same problems with the guys I fall in love with. I’ve got a job I like in sales—I wouldn’t be good at it if I wasn’t reasonably self-confident and attractive—and I’m comfortable with my identity as a gay guy who would like a real relationship. The problem isn’t in meeting men, because I don’t have a lot of trouble attracting very nice, good-looking men who are really interested in me, and I fall for them. Then, after about three months, they seem to change their minds and pull back, and I’m left wondering what I did wrong. Which is why I’m writing you.

Being good-looking and attractive always feels like a gift, and it’s hard to convince the average-looking it has any real drawbacks beyond getting too many compliments and having a hard time finding clothes that aren’t flattering.

You’re attractive enough to elicit positive responses from attractive guys, which feels like they really, really like you, but they’re responding to your attractiveness, not to you. Unfortunately, being beautiful imposes real, ugly burdens, and this looks like one of them. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Coerced Depression

Posted by fxckfeelings on July 18, 2013

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Saying that being depressed just means being sad is like saying that having cancer means feeling nauseous; depression involves a lot more than misery, including anxiety, self-doubt, exhaustion, physical pain, and even nausea, depending on the individual. Some people are always at least a little depressed because they’re never satisfied with themselves, and others have severe symptoms but only briefly after special disappointments. In either case, until depression gets it’s own chemo-like treatment, people can seldom cure their symptoms. They can, however, learn to think more positively about their lives while not confusing the pain of symptoms with failure or character defects, or the pain of life with depression in general.
Dr. Lastname

I have a very demanding and high pressure job, part of which is done in public, so when I make a mistake, I can’t stop thinking about it or beating myself up. I always think the worst, even for the minor stuff, but I don’t understand why. I accept mistakes in others, why can’t I accept them in myself? I am not arrogant or self-important; just the opposite, I often think I’m the dumbest, most inept person in the room. I’ve had some success but I always attribute that to external forces, not anything I’ve done. This is starting to really affect my life. I cry a lot. I don’t know what to do. Please help.

The fact that you got such a demanding and high pressure/profile job probably means that you have what it takes to get it done, but part of what helped you get it and do it well is being ultra-conscientious, which means worrying, self-criticism, and now, probably, depression. Circle of life, meet circle of strife.

The good side of worry and anxiety is that they drive you to work harder and look out for mistakes. Worriers succeed, not to keep my industry alive, but because worry-genes help people survive and multiply. The negative side of these genes, however, is that they set you up for negative thinking and depression. Anxiety and depression are just two sides of the same miserable coin. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Nature Versus Searcher

Posted by fxckfeelings on May 23, 2013

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As we often say, approaching dating as a “search for love” is like trying to keep people safe by starting a “war on terror;” since you can’t date love and you can’t kill hate, your quest is likely to be frustrating. Sometimes people doing a mate-search have a good idea about what to look for but don’t have the good work habits they need for the job. Others with fine work habits get staggered when the carefully chosen prince or princess they kiss turns out to be a frog. Remember, unless you’re very lucky, any search requires both a disciplined method and an acceptance of the fact that good matches are hard to find. The less romantic you are in your methods, the more romantic you can let yourself feel later on, but at the outset, figure out exactly who, not what, you’re looking for, in order to have good—or any—results.
Dr. Lastname

I’ve struggled with depression several times in the past (that I’ve gotten out of through exercise, counseling and little cognitive therapy workbooks), so sad feelings are hardly new to me. But the sudden way they come about lately has me really freaked out. I actually like my job. If I let my work pay for more schooling, and I stick with it, I could make a really good life for myself. These mood swings seem to mostly exaggerate sad feelings I already have about not getting any and might be related to PMS, although I’ve never had period-related mood swings like this before in my life. Despite being an attractive, young girl that likes to go out and be social, I’ve never had a long-term boyfriend. I’m so frustrated that I can’t find a guy that I’m both attracted to and think is a good person, and that likes me back. (Habits like spending money on expensive clothes instead of student loans, and drinking lots on the weekends don’t help.) I eventually want babies (I think I would be a great mom), a partner, a garden, and to be a good person so my goal is to somehow control these mood swings, and maybe take online dating a little more seriously. I just want your opinion first.

From what you’ve said, my opinion isn’t far from your own; your values and goals are good, but your habits and mood swings aren’t. You’ve found a job you care about and want to get better at, but between dips of depression, drinking, and being distracted by the wrong guys, you’re stuck.

It’s not unusual for depression to push people into bad habits, like drinking and other feel-better-now-sorry-later activities, just in case the disease alone isn’t doing enough to make you feel like a pathetic loser who can’t get work done or have normal social relationships.

As you’re well aware, it takes time, lots of practice, and even worksheets to keep your perspective and hold your ground against an invasion of negative depressive thoughts. If you want my opinion on that specifically, I think it sucks, but there’s no way around it, and drinking only makes them worse. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Battle Mortale

Posted by fxckfeelings on April 1, 2013

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Since we now live in a mostly-online world where everything is a loss/”fail” or victory/”for the win,” it’s normal to regard death as the ultimate fail since we’d give almost anything to prevent it from happening to ourselves and those we love (although if it happens to our worst enemies, it’s a win situation, even if most of us wouldn’t even admit that in Youtube comments). In reality, we disrespect our humanity by considering ourselves defeatable by something we don’t control, and what we do with ourselves and our family and friends when someone is dying or otherwise afflicted is what makes us great/gives us p0wnage of mortality, at least for a little while.
Dr. Lastname

After 15 years of homelessness, prison, jails, rehabs, psych meds, medication management, horrific poly substance abuse, and occasional hopeful stints of sobriety, our son overdosed two months ago. He was 30 years old.

All the years of fear, guilt and depravity notwithstanding, his father and I miss him terribly. I won’t go into the efforts (financial, emotional, time) to get/keep him sober that consumed our entire family for the last decade. Lets just say our son’s use of his drug of choice, heroin, has been the 24/7 of our lives. I could write a book about police cars in the driveway, family sessions I’ve sat through with green rehab “counselors” who appeared to be clinging tenuously to not using themselves, and the finer points of being frisked by zealous prison guards.

Some days, like today, all I can remember is what a horrible slog it’s been. Other days I remember my son’s big, kind heart when he was himself, his ability to read a room, and the way he only talked when he had something to say.

I’ve examined our family life over and over, and I had pretty much come to grips with the past, and the present. The future was plainly jails, institutions, or death. I knew all this, and had many sleepless nights to steel myself for the inevitable.

Of course when the inevitable arrives, it is a total sledgehammer to the heart and mind. The worst part is this: his father and I had kicked him out of our home (again) where he was living (again) because he was shooting Xanax. He actually got the Rx for Xanax from the same doctor that prescribed his Suboxone (why heroin addicts should not be prescribed Benzodiazopines is another post). Later that night he died of an overdose from a lethal mix of Xanax and heroin.

So, he is dead, after we pushed him out in an argument. No goodbyes, no “I love you,” just unkind and hurtful words.

In a way I feel this was our son’s final selfish act, leaving me a lifetime of guilt and replaying that night he left over and over in my mind. I feel I’ll go crazy if it doesn’t stop. I don’t want to live this way for the rest of my natural life.

[Please note: We usually edit submissions for length and clarity, but we felt this was so well-written that it should be left almost entirely intact. If the author ever follows through on her threat to write a book, we would read it.]

The usual way we judge ourselves as parents is by the way we help our kids survive and grow, even if we can’t make them happy. That standard is usually fair, unless your child suffers from a disease that nobody and nothing control, from doctors and medication, to the child or the parents who feel responsibility for his/her survival.

The toughest thing in the world then is to judge yourself properly when you still can’t stop your son from dying, unhappily, in the midst of drug abuse and conflict. It’s a mix of every kind of hell, because you feel you’ve failed, that he failed, and that the universe has failed everyone involved.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where nice kids get addicted to horrible drugs, nice parents can’t save them, and part of the illness of addiction is that the kids fuck up again and again, and you can’t keep them at home when they do. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

The Bitter Friend

Posted by fxckfeelings on March 11, 2013

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Many women think that having a friend turn on you is just a call for better communication, deep soul-searching, and improved understanding, but “turning” as acceptable behavior is reserved for werewolves and superheroes, not friends; anyone who turns on you is probably not a friend worth fighting for, and such reaching out usually causes more harm than good. Instead of hoping to find a TV-like misunderstanding, unknown secret identity, or even a way to even the score, learn to accept the fact that friendships are not always forever. Stay true to your standards for friendship and learn strength and better rules for admitting people (without supernatural powers or super-Asshole-like tendencies) into your inner circle.
Dr. Lastname

Recently one of my best friends arranged a party with some of our mutual friends and purposely did not invite me and avoided my phone calls (which I only realized after). I feel like she’s just stuck her middle finger at me– she knew what she did, it wasn’t a mistake as she’s already tried to cover it up which is the part that hurt the most. We’ve been good friends for over 9 years and this is the first time anything like this has happened. I was in shock and have not been able to stop thinking about it and why she would do that. I take my few close friendships very seriously and the friends that I do have I spend time on and treat with respect. I would never treat her the way she treated me. I haven’t talked to her about the way I feel, and to be honest, I don’t even know what to say…knowing her she would blow it over and pretend it was nothing. She gossips a lot about her other friends and now I can’t help but now wonder what she says about me. I’m so angry right now that I don’t want to talk to her anyway and plan on not answering the phone if/when she calls, but I guess my goal is to figure out if I should just move on and focus on my other friendships or try to resolve this. I hate losing a friend but I can’t trust her now and even if there is a way to resolve this our friendship is already different/altered.

F*ck Feelings has always encouraged a pragmatic approach to romantic relationships, and while friendships don’t have the same bottom line that marriages do, they do have a purpose, even if it’s not as grand as raising healthy kids, making a happy home, peaceably sharing space on the DVR, etc.

It’s hard to consider the purpose of friendship in the midst of feeling hurt and betrayed by an old friend, but it’s useful, because friendship isn’t just for the good feelings of shared secrets, emotions, shoes, etc.

It also connects you in complicated ways to family and community, so that an open falling-out with one friend, no matter how well justified, can cause unintended damage to other relationships, including ones that lie closer to your heart or are important to your ideals. For instance, confronting and losing this one friend may cause a domino effect, but instead of all the other connection friends falling down, they’ll all fall-out with you. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Force Feel

Posted by fxckfeelings on March 7, 2013

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From “I can’t make you me,” to “You can’t hurry love,” to “You can’t force the funk,” pop music has done a good job of informing the public that you can’t push someone to fall for you if the don’t want to. Sadly, there are fewer hits about how you can’t really make anyone do anything, even if it’s to stop the mistrust and anger of someone you love. If you’re in that situation, you first need to figure out whether their feelings are warranted, according to your own standards; if they are, you have to worry less about changing their mind than changing your behavior to earn back your own (and their) respect, and if they aren’t, you need to figure out whether you’re just being oversensitive about a love that’s worth keeping, or whether you just can’t make it work. At least pop music has heartbreak covered.
Dr. Lastname

I have made some mistakes in my past and unfortunately my girlfriend discovered them—I never told her about them because I wanted to protect our relationship, and I’m trying to be good. I don’t talk to other girls anymore and I avoid every other temptation because I don’t want to have problems with her. Now when we have arguments she always brings up my past. I tell her not to think about the past anymore because it’s over, and besides, we didn’t know each other back then, but she’s stressed that I’ll repeat my old behavior in the future and do the same thing to her. How can I prove to her that she’s wrong? I’m very in love with this girl and I’m trying my best to get back her trust.

To paraphrase the wise words of RuPaul, if you can’t trust yourself, there’s no way in hell you’re going to earn the trust of somebody else. Of course, as hard as it is to trust, love, or even just like somebody else, it’s even harder to start with yourself.

If you’re just controlling bad behavior for the sake of someone you love, you won’t meet that definition because you’re doing it “to be good”, which you won’t always be, or for the sake of love, which you won’t always feel. Plus, if you screw up, you might be inclined to but the blame on the person for whom you were trying to straighten up in the first place, which becomes a pass to behave even more badly in the future.

So if you want your girlfriend to trust you, you have to know you can control your own behavior and live up to your principles, even when you feel injured, angry, unloved, needy, or let down. It’s not easy to do, but it’s the only way. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Perspectile Dysfunction

Posted by fxckfeelings on January 21, 2013

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For all the lip service people give to the importance of truth, your average person is willing to work a lot harder to preserve a bullshit notion than admit what’s real, and that’s not just true for college quarterbacks. Depressed people prefer to listen to their rotten emotions telling them a hundred reasons why they’ve failed, no matter how many victories they’ve achieved, and people with bad habits can find a hundred reasons for thinking they had no choice, despite the many avoidable fuck-ups they’ve fucked up. That’s why thinking is better than just believing, so you can follow a simple moral procedure, add up what you’ve actually accomplished given what you do and don’t control, and give yourself good advice, fair judgment, and a break from all the hard work that defending bullshit requires.
Dr. Lastname

In 2011, I was working two minimum wage jobs seven days a week, trying to cram in a social life while getting over a REALLY bad break up. Eventually, I gave up trying to fix it myself and started going to therapy once a week for 8 months. A year later, I got a better paying job, had free weekends, a new boyfriend, our own flat, an OK social life, BUT I sometimes still feel like it’s 2011 in an emotional sense. I still feel emotionally drained, exhausted, suffer low self-esteem and spend most days trying to not fight with my boyfriend over dishes. I then start feeling bad because I think I am not being grateful for the fact that my life did change for the “better.” I know I suffer from depression– have done since I was about 8 due to having a very abusive father, and long story short, I moved out when I was still in high school (about ten years ago). I thought therapy would help but it seems to have brought other problems to surface. Anyway, my question is, at what point should I stop trying to find happiness and just be happy and what does that even mean? Everyday is very different– one day I feel like buying a one way ticket to anywhere that will have me & leave everyone and everything I have behind, and then the next day I am dancing around the house feeling like I won the lottery. It’s starting to drive my boyfriend crazy but he tries to accept me as I am. So extreme are two days that I am not sure I know how I feel anymore about anything. My goal in 2013 is to stop getting upset/stressing about things that do not help my situation and to learn to relax more and enjoy just being. How do I achieve this seemingly easy task but which to me seems like a very very difficult algebra problem?

While many Christians ask themselves “What Would Jesus Do?,” we often ask our readers to ask themselves “What Would A Friend Say?” While Jesus’s imagined answers are often similar, it’s hard to imagine going out to a bar with Jesus after work and kvetching about your life, so “Friend” seems to work better.

That said, if you told a friend about your struggles—depression, irritability, past-trauma—they would tell you that they’re sorry you’re hurting, but that it’s worth taking time to appreciate all you’ve accomplished, despite what you’ve gone through. Like Jesus, they would not judge. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Sigh, Anxiety

Posted by fxckfeelings on November 26, 2012

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If you suffer from anxiety and depression, you know they’re like your own mental Statler and Waldorf, the two Muppet balcony hecklers, except less cute and more evil, spewing criticism that impairs your ability to feel confident and make decisions. Even when they don’t prevent you from achieving significant accomplishments, anxiety and/or depression make you believe you didn’t do as well as you should have. So, if you suffer from anxiety, learn how to tune out its constant negative chatter, or, even better, be proud of your ability to go on with the show.
Dr. Lastname

I’m 37 years old, nearly 38. I’m undecided on whether or not to have a child. My mother died 12 years ago and I’ve been in and out of depression ever since. I definitely have a lot to be grateful for, but a lot of times I feel like I just can’t go on—the sadness and loss are still unbearable. The other thing is that I have been dealing with very bad insomnia since my mom’s death, which also makes life very difficult. I haven’t had a lot of long-term relationships but I’m in one now and it’s been 2 years. The relationship is good and he is a good man, but I’ve never had that feeling of “knowing” if he’s the right person/life long partner. There’s always something missing for me and I suppose it’s from the loss of my mom, and the reason I usually end up breaking up with boyfriends. I don’t want to keep that pattern going as I’ll end up alone. Because of my age I feel like time is of the essence and I need to make a decision—on my relationship and having a baby. I have always thought that I would have a child and I am a loving/giving person and love kids, but it’s so hard to take care of myself sometimes, I wonder if it’s right for me to me to have one. My partner wants kids (he would be a wonderful father) and I told him I’m not ready yet, but will I ever be? My goal is to come to a decision and be at peace with it.

You’ve had more than your share of pain in life, so it’s understandable that the things that should make you feel happiness, like a good relationship, are buried by exhaustion and a lingering sense of pain and loss.

Your pain hasn’t distracted you, however, from the fact that certain things make life meaningful, even when the joy they inspire doesn’t register. Apparently, two of those things for you are raising kids and having a relationship, which matter to you despite knowing that you’ll sometimes be unable to function or feel anything other than misery.

If that’s what’s meaningful to you, don’t ask yourself whether motherhood or marriage will make you happy, whether your feelings will ever be normal, or whether you’ll always be able to function as a parent. Unfortunately, it’s not your lot in life to have normal expectations about feelings or function. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t achieve normal goals if you’re prepared to make realistic adjustments. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

End Of Transition

Posted by fxckfeelings on November 8, 2012

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Although stopping long-term intensive psychotherapy can leave you in a state of mourning and fear, particularly if it occurs during tough times or against your wishes, it’s unrealistic to expect that returning to therapy will make everything right again. Instead, give yourself time to adjust to change and reassess your ability to stay functional and positive. Then, if you think it’s necessary, find a therapist who’s a good, supportive coach and use him or her for a different kind of therapy that keeps your head straight without stirring up your deeper feelings. If you’re certain that you have to be “in therapy” to get helpful support and are helpless without it, then the therapy you’re in is helping you a lot less than you think.
Dr. Lastname

In my early 20s I spent 4 years in therapy (which I think in and of itself says a whole lot about the not good place I was in my head). Therapy ended, not because I was ready, but because I moved. I am now 46, and in the years since I continued to work through a lot of things on my own, with my therapist’s voice in my head, if no longer in actual therapy sessions. In January my grandmother took a turn for the worse, with both health and cognition, and we had to place her in full nursing care. She has always been one of the most influential and positive forces in my life, so I had a hard time dealing with this. It sent me spiraling down into my 4th lifetime episode of depression. I’ve started back on Prozac, which I now realize I need to stay on for the rest of my life to try to prevent future recurrences, and I’ve spent the last 10 months in therapy with my former therapist via phone sessions as we now live 1,000 miles apart. I have finished working through a lot of stuff in that time, meaning I’ve changed my attitudes and perceptions and behaviors, which has changed my life, inner and outer. I wish I’d figured it out 25 years ago, during that first round of therapy, but better late than never. It’s been a hard year. My grandmother died 7 weeks ago. The grief hit me more than I ever imagined. I thought I’d prepared in those months when she was slowly dying, but I was wrong. What is the saying—Where there is no struggle, there is no strength? Good growth has come of the pain—I have returned to college, and I am training for my first full marathon in January. I am at a truly good place in my head and was ready to end therapy, so two weeks ago, with my therapist’s blessing, I had my last session. I knew, though, that ending therapy because I am truly ready is a celebration, but that it would also be a loss. It is currently hitting me harder than I imagined. How do I get through this and find a place of healthy acceptance of this transition?

While it’s unfortunate that stopping intensive psychotherapy after many years is hitting you hard, it’s not surprising. As you well know, loss is painful, be it the death of a loved one or the end of a source of support.

That said, your pain doesn’t mean your psychotherapy has been less complete than you thought or that you stopped it too soon, just that you can be a solid, resilient person and also be very sensitive to loss, both because of temperament and circumstances. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

The Feel Deal

Posted by fxckfeelings on September 17, 2012

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Some very smart people are brilliant at expressing the way they feel and acting on those feelings tenaciously while remaining inept at putting those feelings into a broader perspective. For them, feelings are facts, allowing them to act first, ask questions never. If you happen to be such a person and these words aren’t meaningless, be aware that there are ways to learn a different, more value-driven way of thinking. If you happen to have been written off by such a person, know that it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the impulses of an otherwise-smart person for whom feelings, not facts, are an infallible truth.
Dr. Lastname

Growing up, I always had a feeling that the things that promised happiness to other people didn’t work out for me, I hated being alive, and I didn’t mind who knew it, even though my family always told me I was being too emotional and that I refused to admit or remember the moments of my childhood that were fun or happy (no idea what they’re talking about). Anyway, I grew up, found steady work and got married, but the marriage ended a couple years ago. I’ve tried medications for depression, and the 3 or 4 I’ve tried haven’t done anything but cause side effects. So my point is that I’ve had it. I really don’t see the point in staying alive when I feel miserable most of the time and nothing has worked out. I’m not feeling suicidal at the moment because I’ve been busy at work and that makes me feel useful, but I doubt that I’ll want to hold it together when the next layoff comes around and I have nothing to do. My shrink wants me to stay positive and fight my negative thinking but I think it’s more than negative thinking; it’s a negative reality and I’ve had enough of it. My goal is to challenge anyone, including you, to show me that life is worth living.

While depressed feelings can be very powerful in persuading you that there’s no point in living, feelings aren’t facts. Just because you’ve always felt like life isn’t worth living doesn’t mean that it’s true now or in the future.

When people say to “stay positive,” what they really mean is that you should look at the bigger picture, beyond whatever negativity you happen to be feeling, and identify long-term goals that are meaningful in terms of values (like doing good, supporting the people or causes you care about, or sharing love), not in terms of feelings or outcomes.

As long as your life reflects your values, like trying to be decent to others and doing a good day’s work, you can tell yourself that your efforts are worthwhile, regardless of how badly things are going at the moment…unless, of course, your brain is unable to see facts and feelings as two different things. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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