Schizophrenia.com

Righteous Confirmation of Helpless Hopelessness

I worked under an attending p-doc for a while who theorized that while some severely mentally ill patients truly want to get “better,” many don’t, and for what he called “very good reasons.”

Paraphrasing here (because I don’t have this on tape or CD, and I have acquired other knowledge since then), he said that pts who were raised by parents who made their lives a sort of “hopeless hell” become conditioned (socialized, habituated and normalized) to a (usually unconscious) belief that it is impossible to escape from their current mental prisons because it had been impossible to escape from the “prison” of their family of origin.

He then demonstrated how – in an attempt to build a twisted sense of personal power (or “competence” or “efficacy”) – some pts actually convince themselves that there is no hope for them, and that they are never going to get better, even though they display less and less physiological anxiety and/or depression over time, and require ever lower doses of medication to stabilize them.

Moreover, it was evident to us that some of the pts at that residential tx facility would defend their helpless hopelessness to the death in the face of arguments to the contrary.

This made a lot of sense to me personally, as it fit my own experience from 1994-2003, as well as much that Martin Seligman had famous written about “learned helplessness” (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learned_helplessness) and what we could see for ourselves when we witness lab rats being subjected to shocks to their feet on the floor of a “Skinner box” while they continued to self-administer the cocaine or morphine that is tearing them to pieces rather than climb up out of the box to explore another behavioral option.

(These are often the same pts, by the way, who will rationalize not taking their meds and expecting to get “better.”)

Comments? Critiques? Harsh invective?

1 Like

It’s also possible to be realistic about your chances of recovery without it being a case of helpless hopelessness. There’s an element of trying to blame the patient for not recovering in the “helpless hopelessness” POV .

I’ve never encountered that here. NEVER.

[ snork snork snork ]

:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Pixel.

1 Like

Why people remain stuck is a touchy topic but people that stay poor are lacking in innovation or creating new means of sustainability so yes the lab rat not seeking out other avenues is right on.

While that does occur, most of us are waaaaay hip to that sort of thinking and are trained to recognize it when it comes up in ourselves or others on the tx team.

I had to learn how to not be hopeless… I’m sure it’s a hard thing to teach. When I was learning how to not be as helpless… it was harder to bounce back from a minor failure.

In my humble opinion… failure seems to be looked at as an end… not the middle of a process…

so when I would fail… that was just another sign that I was hopeless… not a sign that I was half way there… as long as I get up and try again.

I’m dealing with some of this right now. It’s lack of direction and on top of that lack of capability mainly motivation to see things through.

To exist in this state for the rest of my life wouldn’t be any fun.

I’ve started overhearing people calling me a creep and other things. Completely shatters my confidence of feeling like I even belong here let alone be capable of getting anything done.

I fought this back for years. Just doing ■■■■ anyways, let my capacity to get ■■■■ done carry me(the simple stuff, far beneath maintaining a job). It’s like being impressed with myself for functioning like I was has tapered out, with that went the motivation.

So I’d say… While the theory presented is pretty valid it also oversimplifies and generalizes the scenario. Belittles the actual independent struggle to get past it. The struggle most undoubtedly involves real life challenges whether they are internal or external or both.

While it can be seen as sympathetic it also might have an element of blame to it. People have to be responsible for themselves sure, but they also have every right to become as helplessly hopeless as they want to be.

If it is truly helpless hopelessness then why would you bother trying to help. Unless you aren’t trying to help and you are merely detailing a theory.

Interesting stuff.

I was inconsolable when I was at the point in my life after becoming sick that I felt hopeless even though people (family and friends) would try to make me feel better. It wasn’t until I became better on meds that I saw hope…without hope a person feels lost and down. I am so much better now and I am glad I overcame things.

1 Like

I had been so conditioned to the normalization of my belief in helpless hopelessness / hopeless helplessness that I had a dream – over and a over again – that I lived in a brightly lit hallway of locked doors. The dream drove me to despair. I attempted suicide several times; two “severely” enough to put me in the ICU.

THUS…, when after all those horrible years, I encountered an “unlocked door” in the form a doc who could actually SEE me, and who put me on the right medication for what I actually had, I did not sit back and say, “Oh. Everything is going to be just fine, fine, fine; I can go back to being an idiot playing with obsessive-compulsive fire.”

I learned how to redirect that manic, OCPD energy, and battled my way back into school and learned how to take care of my self.

Can you see the insistent, self-righteous nihilism in this? Can you see the oxymoron? (I really do have better things to do than intellectual jerking off. Ask your friend.)

If it was just a theory that is basically just jerking off.

Good point though.

I do recognize a significant incidence of complacency with some people with schizophrenia. I also hear a lot of talk and see very little walk.

Everyone is a badass before they get knocked out.

I do, however, seen a fair number of persons with mental illness not taking comfort in their diagnosis. You know what I actually think, after reading a substantial amount of literature on the way minority/subordinate groups reactions to being victimized? It’s the ones who do not want to be like the average member of their group who are the healthiest and most successful. The ones who have a mix of intropunitive (it’s my burden) traits and extropunitive (fuck the people who arent like me, its their fault for being dicks) such as enhanced striving (direct compensation for inferiority), aggression to the extent of militancy, and aggression against their own group as well as prejudice towards other groups (reciprocated prejudice, “oh you’re calling me schizo? You’re a soft normie”) along with a lack of both neuroticism and the self-fulfilling prophecy (basically reading about sad cases and becoming one) man ■■■■ all of this ■■■■.

■■■■ schizophrenia. That’s my educated opinion on this ■■■■■■■■. I sometimes get so caught up in reading about it and other people’s stories with it that I realize that I hate it and I own my schizophrenia, I have schizophrenia, its my bitch, I control it, it doesnt control me.

■■■■ the labels, ■■■■ the fancy names for common sense constructs, that is my standpoint.

Every day I see the same old ■■■■ for the most part on here. I just need to see more people take a threat to their life more seriously. You know that living with this illness is like being in a warzone. One in eight of us DIE EARLY, and mostly by suicide. wake up. Smell the whatever. You’re in danger.

If your life is in danger, the healthy response is to run for your life or fight for your life. That is the fruit of this post.

I get a little offed because I was a fighter before this, literally, I fought with my hands and feet and shins, knees and even my forehead. I dont fight like I used to, I fight like a pro now, against one of the hardest opponents. Oh, and I still stay in shape to physically fight. I do that on the side.

This illness will take your life, figuratively if not literally, if you do not give it all hell.

I fight fire with fire. I smash the square peg in the round hole and it’s just tough titty if thats not cool, because that is how I do what I do.

Im sorry but sometimes fighting is necessary. “Oh take it easy just dont do anything with your life” nope take ■■■■ back where you found it, Mouse does not care for it and will not be dining on that crap.

1 Like

Very much agreed. I try not to over-generalize.

Thank you, Stanley Milgram.

You just got an A in my class, bud. (However pretentious that may sound.)

I hope you will consider my editing. Because it reflects my personal experience, though others have a right to whatever they believe. (I just get tired – at times – of hearing about the consequences.)

(I know I am somewhat speaking out of turn here, but I spend time every day conversing with a former – and hopefully future – member of this forum who has the =balls= to face her stuff “like a man.” It’s a joy to hang with her, because I don’t get to meet to many others like you, her and a few others here and elsewhere, who are willing to hold a mirror up so much of the time. Most people just want the pain to go away for as long as the pill will do that for them, never realizing that they have far more of a say in their own destiny than they think they do. But, of course, it is our thoughts that are our jailers.)

That’s evident. I knew a former boxer who won his first few, had a rough time the next few after that, and lost his last few. But he knew this much: “If you keep your guard to your chin and keep swinging, you might get lucky. If you don’t, you might as well take a dive.”

Sounds like we’re avoiding the same lousy restaurants.

1 Like

But moving past pain must have been her saving grace. What if the pain is still constant for instance head pain to top center of head and relief? What if @soitgoes hasn’t made the structural changes needed?