Discussion with my therapist

August 30, 2020 § Leave a comment

My therapist said today she felt I should temporarily stop trying to taper off of my anxiety drugs. The point is the very thing that I was worried about yesterday. Once I’m off the drugs, I’ll still have to be functional, make sure my work is done on time and still manage my anxiety at a time when we will still be stuck in the Covid situation. And now there’s talk of reopening the schools.

So her advise is for me to wait until at least some of the negative factors turn positive. For example until I feel a lot more confident and a lot less anxious about work or until the Covid situation eases up with vaccines becoming available and so on. With some companies just entering phase 3 trials with their vaccine candidates, we should probably have them available by Feb-March if the vaccines work and are deemed safe.

On the work front, now that I’ve found Descript, at least some of the transcription work will become easier, so to that extent I’ll be less anxious or prone to procrastination. And as I become more engaged again with my wife and son, becoming more involved — as I’ve gradually done over the last three months especially — the tensions with my wife should also ease. The last two weeks, for instance, have been much better.

We also spoke about my depression, for which my health anxiety is an important trigger. And the health anxiety took root over two and a half years ago when an intermittent fasting programme went totally wrong I ended up with a series of scary heart palpitations. My therapist’s view is that it is possible that I learned to become more depressed with each of these episodes because of the feeling of helplessness that the palpitations brought.

So she asked to look up the work of Martin Seligman, who’s famous for his work on something called the theory of learned helplessness — which he later found was incorrect — and something called positive psychology, which he is credited to have pioneered. Authentic Happiness is one of the books he’s written and another more recent one is The Hope Circuit, which is biographical.

I have witnessed the transformation of psychology, and at more than one pivotal moment, I led the transformation. Psychology in my lifetime rejected these premises in order to remove four huge blind spots. First, the discipline abandoned behaviorism to embrace cognition and consciousness. Second, it realized that evolution and the brain constrain what we can learn. Third, it ended its fixation on only curing what is wrong to include building what is right and positive in the world. Finally, it discovered that we are drawn into the future rather than driven by the past. Together these make up the new psychology of hope. — Martin Seligman

#anxiety #depression #authentichappiness #martinseligman


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