Am I going to hang onto these symptoms?

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Sherwin Nuland’s experience with depression led to the observation that some of his beliefs were bound up with his symptoms. [emphasis mine]

And they were indeed a symptom of a long-term obsessional neurosis. And if I was going to get out of this depression, I was going to have to give that all up. And I did. Interestingly, you know, people think well, you know, we’ll take pills, we’ll take electroshock therapy, we’ll get psychotherapy, and we will gradually get better and they forget that you reach a point in an emotional illness, on the upswing, when you’re starting to get better, when you have to make a decision because you’re now strong enough to make it. The decision is, ‘Am I going to hang on to these symptoms?’ Because the symptoms become very meaningful to you, you depend on them, you’re comfortable with them. They represent things to you.

This rings very true for both mental illness and addiction recovery.

2 thoughts on “Am I going to hang onto these symptoms?

  1. You know you are absolutely right. How many people that are wrestling with alcoholism say “it is a part of who I am”? I am a drunk and I have depression (ODC and social anxiety too). So when the Bible (I forget where) said “Blessed are those who mourn” and “he who hates his life will keep it (save it)”. I was pretty ecstatic. Now it is divine that I am such a sour puss.
    (By the way, those are paraphrases, but they are familiar to people who have read the bible).
    Great post. That should provoke some thought in people. It resonated with me, thats for sure.


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