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I just have to remember I'm still me. Sunday July 20, 2014

I've had long spells of 'low mood' for a good few years. For ages, I wanted to know 'why'. My life is good. My wife truly loves me (I've stopped wondering why - no good can come of pulling on a thread!) I have a good job and am well-off financially.

It wasn't until recently that I realised that knowing 'why' doesn't really help. I discovered that I have low testosterone. That causes (amongst other things) low mood. Having T treatment helped my mood enormously, though the levels do vary a lot - so often, low mood returns.

When it does, life seems as hopeless as ever - even though I know 'why'. But I've realised that it's still 'me' underneath the fog. My values are still the same, no matter how I feel or how temporarily grouchy I might be sometimes. When I can keep that in mind - 'I'm not the feeling. I'm not the thought. The moods pass and 'I'm' still here' - it's much more tolerable. I just have to remember I'm still me!

A Moodscope member.

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Anonymous Sun, Jul 20th 2014 @ 9:01am

You have hit the nail on the head for me, Peter.

J Sun, Jul 20th 2014 @ 10:28am

Peter, thank you. I am stopping psychodynamic therapy in 2 weeks as I feel after a few years it's right for me to do so now. Psychodynamic approach is all about using the reasons why to change your behaviour but I feel I've graduated onto self empowerment coaching instead as a different approach (I am currently doing 6 sessions with a coach on the same topics as in therapy to breakthrough effect and am a coach myself). There are some things I could know the why to, but agree with you that not knowing the why doesn't mean you can't move forwards. Your post felt reassuring. Thank you.

heather Sun, Jul 20th 2014 @ 11:05am

Yes, I am sure that those illusive hormones are mainly to blame. I liked your blog a lot - it is reassuring to remember that through all the whys, whats and wherefores I am still the same person with the same principles.

Anonymous Sun, Jul 20th 2014 @ 11:07am

You are so right, if only could remember to tell myself this soon will pass, but that voice (whatever) says maybe it wont this time!!
The reply from J I've not heard of Psychodynamic approach, or self empowerment coaching wow that all sounds very interesting, would like to know more??

Maggi Sun, Jul 20th 2014 @ 12:10pm

So interesting for three reasons. One is that it is always a good reminder to me that even people who have things that I am missing in my life, and which I can think would make everything okay, can still feel very low. Next, I learned in the last year that in habit theory, and apparently in coaching, there is less emphasis on examining why something happened (the past) and more on tracking the successes of a target behavior and acknowledging ANY progress toward it with as little drama as possible over failures (the present). The third is that one of the foundations of a spiritual practice I've associated myself with in the last few years gives a lot of attention to that sense of "me-ness" that is there that is beyond/behind all the thoughts, feelings, opinions, personality preferences, the roles we play, even sensations, and certainly the events of our lives- all the things we often think of as ourselves, but which this tradition says is actually not us. Peter, it seems you have hit upon a powerful anchor. I'm glad for the chemical help you're getting but equally for the new strength you've found to ride the waves. Hmm, I'm also wondering if women are ever given testosterone as therapy...

Julia Sun, Jul 20th 2014 @ 12:43pm

A very helpful and interesting way of looking at depression Peter. We are not depression, but ourselves. Depression is something that happens to us but deep down we are basically the same as we have always been. Depression is an added layer that can be removed. It tries to smother us and define us but it can't and mustn't be allowed to because we are too strong and permanent to be taken over by an ethereal layer. Have I read you right Peter? Even if I haven't exactly, you have written words which I have interpreted positively and which makes me look at "depression" with new eyes. Thank you!

Anonymous Sun, Jul 20th 2014 @ 3:20pm

Your words resonated with my experience, Peter, so thank you. Knowing I am the same person underneath the depression helps me (and others,,maybe?) to cope with my periods of low mood. Although sometimes it takes a while to recognise that.

heather Sun, Jul 20th 2014 @ 5:05pm

Yes, I am sure hormones are the cause of our problems, but so hard to pinpoint. I find it reassuring, as you suggest, to remember that underneath it all I am still the same person with the same principles, doing my best in sometimes stormy waters. Heather x

Peter Sun, Jul 20th 2014 @ 6:07pm

Thanks - glad you liked it - nice of you to say that.

Peter Sun, Jul 20th 2014 @ 6:09pm

Thanks J - interesting to hear about that therapy - I will look it up. Glad you liked the post.

Peter Sun, Jul 20th 2014 @ 6:12pm

Thanks Heather. It's amazing what chemicals do to us. They don't absolve us of responsibility for the things we do of course, but they don't half confuse us (me, anyway) with feelings, urges and thoughts. But they're not "us" are they? Thanks for your nice reply.

Peter Sun, Jul 20th 2014 @ 6:13pm

Thanks - you're right - it's so easy to forget to do or think the things that help!!! Thanks for replying - hope it helped a bit.

Peter Sun, Jul 20th 2014 @ 6:19pm

Thanks Maggi - that's extremely helpful and thought-provoking. The habit/target point in particular is very useful. As for women and testosterone - actually I think they are given it sometimes, if I remember rightly. It's mighty complex stuff! Thanks very much for your thoughts.

Peter Sun, Jul 20th 2014 @ 6:22pm

Thank you Julia. That's beautifully expressed - much clearer than my ramblings. Thanks for putting such a positive slant on it. It's like a cloud isn't it? When it's cloudy, the sun doesn't get through. When it rains, we get wet. But we're still "us". But it's so hard to think like that sometimes isn't it? Thanks again for your lovely summary.

Peter Sun, Jul 20th 2014 @ 6:24pm

Thanks - that's exactly it. I know the low mood is a passing thing, but the low mood itself so often stops me realising that. Then afterwards, I realise it! Der! Thanks for replying - hope it helped.

Peter Sun, Jul 20th 2014 @ 6:26pm

Thanks again Heather - we both need to keep paddling don't we? If we keep looking out for each other in this community, we'll be OK. Take care x

Silvia A Sun, Jul 20th 2014 @ 6:51pm

Yes, woman also have some testosterona and it might be checked, for instance, in case of low energy.

Mary Sun, Jul 20th 2014 @ 8:44pm

Hello Peter, This is a lovely post. It really reassured me. When down I feel most unlike myself and realise that I identify "myself" as having high energy and boundless enthusiasm. You (and Heather above) remind me that, even in the lowest place, I can still make choices based on my underlying values and personality. I can apply humour and a positive outlook (by force if necessary) because those things about me do not change: it's only my energy and feelings: it's not real. Thank you so much. Yours was a deceptively deep and profound post. Great stuff.

Peter Mon, Jul 21st 2014 @ 10:06pm

Thank you Mary. That's lovely. You put that so well, and it helped me today.

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