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I Keep Forgetting This

I keep forgetting what I am really trying to fix >_<

This insidious poison has a name (anhedonia) and Knowing Thy Enemy is part 1 of getting better, but I keep forgetting that I am anhedonic in the first place. Whenever Aunt Flo makes an appearance, my hormones boost me to the point where I can't even believe anything is wrong with me.

Well, something is wrong enough that I don't give a sh*t about anything, and nothing feels good for 2 weeks solid out of every month, isn't that enough of a sign!? (Not for me....)

I need so much stimulation just to smile in that half of the month that I keep ending up back to square 1, thinking "this is the way the world is", "people are boring", "everything's boring", "there's no reason to do anything", "why waste so much time on a game?"
"Why learn a new programming language?"
"Why would I want to volunteer?"
"Why is my relationship so crappy?"
"Why does money rule the world, this world sucks."
"Why are people so dumb?"
"Life is boring and pointless, why not just kill myself and get on with whatever comes next?" (said matter-of-factly, without the slightest tinge of sadness).
Etc....

... Even though the other half of the month, everything is genuinely peachy, and I am who I want to be....
- I can't remember why I felt so bad.
- My husband is just fine.
- Things become somewhat interesting again
- I become hopeful that I will be able to set some life goals and stick to them
- I become hopeful that the worst is behind me
- I can sincerely laugh and find pleasure in food, sex, meeting with friends, meeting new people

In that half-month, I restart trying to be the best human being I can be, because I actually get feedback from my actions.

The world is fine the way it is... That's what I want to believe, and I believe it half the time.
People have their ups and downs, that's normal.
No relationship is a bed of roses all the time, that's normal. (Mine is more than half the time except when I'm actively trying to poison it, or I require hubby to be Superman.... I am no superwoman, who am I kidding? =P Humility!)

Barring deep brain stimulation (I am not getting holes drilled in my head for an experimental procedure), I am still reliant on dietary control of my mood. I suppose I'll have to add 5-HTP back in the mix for the worst days.

But what I need first and foremost is to remember that I am fighting not feeling anything good most of the time. Getting out of this situation is my clear goal. I just keep forgetting.

I've done so much drilling into my psyche already, and I'm there half the time... it's the other half that sucks and sets me back three weeks. One step forward, two steps back. (Sometimes).

I am just a little tired of having to hit rock bottom every month before I find my way back up. >=/

Doing this all alone is hard. I guess that's why I'm posting this story.
I don't want to be stuck in a colorless world my whole life.
Wonderatrix Wonderatrix 31-35, F 5 Responses Nov 12, 2011

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P/s: Oooh! Squish, Squish, I only just realized that there are 10 additional pages of recipes hiding behind the main page for the company's recipe section.<br />
<br />
:O<br />
<br />
Wow!<br />
<br />
Hmm... maybe I will try cooking tofu. But for now, I prefer to get my protein from chickpeas, pigeon peas, kidney beans, adzuki beans, and mung beans. Yum!<br />
<br />
:)<br />
<br />
AP

P/s: To a Singaporean/ (Nominal) Chinese/ Southeast Asian like me, the word "tofu" means about as many different products as... say the generic words "fruit" or "meat" or "Asian".<br />
<br />
:D<br />
<br />
Basically, most of the squishier stuff is ordinary tofu ("doufu" or "tau foo" or "tauhu", depending on the dialect/ language).<br />
<br />
The firmer stuff -- the stuff I prefer -- is called "taukwa" or "dou-gan".<br />
<br />
The really runny silky stuff which is like brains or jello is... "silken tofu".<br />
<br />
You might like the silken kind of tofu that comes in a tube; that is silken tofu with egg in it. Technically, I would describe it as "very elegant and tasty tofu and egg custard:. Very nice.<br />
<br />
Other soybean products you might like trying are: Bean curd skin. It's actually the la<x>yer of protein which forms on top of soybean milk; they skim that off carefully and process it because it is a very valuable source of protein.<br />
<br />
That comes dried, in sheets. You reconstitute it for a few minutes in warm clean water and then you can use it like wonton skins to wrap food (*even spring rolls...). In a stir-fried dish you could throw in a handful of finely cut strips of that. Brave cooks who always remember to pat the bean curd skins dry first will sometimes deep-fry the skin, which then puffs up and gets crispy.<br />
<br />
Good luck! <br />
<br />
Love,<br />
<br />
Andrew

Hello again! Squish, I'm afraid I don't have many ideas for cooking tofu, because it's not a food I cook with a lot. Recently I've begun buying and eating tofu, for the protein, but the only way I really enjoy it is to cut chunks off a block of raw tofu -- well, it's all pasteurized here, so technically it's not "raw"... -- and just eat them without any cooking or any sauce.<br />
<br />
That said, I went searching for recipes for you, and good old Unicurd has what looks like a nice library of recipes on their corporate website:<br />
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http://www.unicurd.com.sg/Recipe.aspx<br />
<br />
Hope there's something there which you will enjoy eating...<br />
<br />
:)<br />
<br />
*hugs and love*<br />
<br />
Andrew

P/s: Squish, I know that 5-HTP is a substance involved in the metabolism of tryptophan (which itself is linked in some way with the metabolism of pleasure-related substances such as -- say -- serotonin), but could there be any benefit in trying to "jump the queue" and loading up directly on tryptophan-rich foods, if you aren't already doing so?<br />
<br />
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=103<br />
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Of course, that would be of little help if your problem is a certain difficulty in utilizing tryptophan.<br />
<br />
Soy products might also help on the hormonal side. But I am speaking as a Singaporean; here every supermarket, no matter how tiny, has a complete chiller display devoted to maybe a dozen different kinds of fresh soy products. If I ate a lot of tofu/ soy products -- and I don't --, I would be spoiled for choice (see, eg., the websites of Singapore companies such as Unicurd).<br />
<br />
Anywayz, I wish you much success in your quest for that mysterious state of mind which keeps hedonists in business...<br />
<br />
LOVE YOU.<br />
<br />
Andrew

I am going to give that list a long hard look. The thing is, I am vegetarian now because animals are treated like crap in this part of the world (most of the world actually) and I honestly feel BAD about eating meat now. It's also helped me even out my mood (I think... possibly a placebo effect but if it works, I don't really care why it works!) Soy is a major part of my diet now, but most of the soy products here are overly processed and contain some altered components that are NOT helpful. I eat a lot of Tempeh (and Seitan for protein, not soy but a good meat replacement) and drink organic soy milk. I don't eat half as many soy nuts as I should.... and I don't think to buy germinated soybeans (they are hard to find too! ;(

I need to eat more tofu as well. Would you have any pointers on how to fry it properly? I am not good at preparing it... I use the silken (soft) kind in fruit shakes and that's my only successful use. I would LOVE some properly fried Asian tofu but I fail at recreating the same taste and texture I find in "true Asian"-owned restaurants (meaning the chefs have imported their recipes from their homeland! ;)

*hugs*<br />
<br />
I have sort of always known that you struggle with anhedonia. Early in our friendship I did some googling (*only googling, coz I am not a shrink or doctor or therapist), and learned that anhedonia is a very real and distressing symptom that is strongly associated with depression in particular, but also with a few other "mood disorders".<br />
<br />
*hugs again*<br />
<br />
It can't be easy for you. I can see from articles LIKE THIS ONE that whatever label or significance the shrinks put on anhedonia, it is in fact a very real state of mind which involves very real -- and measurable -- differences in the way the brain and its chemistry responds to certain stimuli:<br />
<br />
http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/special_reports/depression/anhedonia.htm<br />
<br />
I guess this reminds me of the many reasons why I love and admire you. Nobody has ever broken my brain as much as you have! You are also a very kind and loving and helpful person, although you may not know it; breaking brains is not the same as "breaking balls". Nope, you are no ball-breaker.<br />
<br />
Thanks for giving me this little window into how you feel. Me, I have addictive tendencies and are therefore very nearly the exact opposite of you: Right now, my addictive tendencies have settled down COMPLETELY as the "neurotransmitters" have re-wired themselves. So being sober actually gives me a sense of well-being and pleasure, and I don't miss drinking AT ALL.<br />
<br />
But -- BUT --in the early days after my detox just about *everything* could have turned into an addiction.<br />
<br />
Eg. "Hmm... so this is Milo? Nice... now how many hours before I can have another one? I wonder how many Milos I can drink in a day without getting into trouble..."<br />
<br />
:P<br />
<br />
Moods are such immensely powerful forces, aren't they? Good luck with your dietary therapy. You know that I am interested in nutrition, so please (please?) break my brain as soon as you can, with as many questions as you have, concerning your diet. I miss that... well, I miss you....<br />
<br />
Love,<br />
<br />
Andrew

Yeah, anhedonia is a strange beast. I've Googled much the same pages as you did. I found it distressing at first that it seems so closely linked to depression, but there have been cases where depression is present without anhedonia, and (fortunately enough for me) the reverse also exists. It was confusing because of the lack of sadness.

It seems the significance professionals put on it is becoming greater, especially now that it's isolated as a separate component instead of being "just a symptom of depression". Brain studies have shown that the reward system of people suffering from anhedonia is indeed messed up compared to "balanced" people. (I would not call my brain balanced if it's skewed towards boredom half the time.)

About addiction, I try to stay away from it like the plague... I've always felt that if I gave into one, it would become my lifeline and any progress I made with my state of mind would stop.
I find being blunt and too honest has helped me keep myself in line in very stressful and trying situations (you'd know ;)

Sometimes I see people with mild addictions to drugs, alcohol, sex, food, "partying" and I am very jealous. It's really hard to remind myself all the time that those are traps. It's so easy to imagine the cure to my lack of enjoyment resides in that One Thing Everyone's Got, One Thing You Haven't Tried, etc....

I am skeptical about anything that gives me an initial rush. It's too often let me down. Whatever it did to my brain always faded after a few days at the most, and the post-event letdown was a major source of discouragement....

It's easy to become a minimalist in those situations (which is not bad in this materialistic, expensive culture). I get to filter out all the consumerist BS. I get to concentrate on things that should, at least, feel worthwhile. Sometimes they do.

Seriously, planning my diet is the easy part. STICKING TO IT when I give a care about *nothing* is the hard, hard hard part. How do you care when you don't really care? Military discipline, I guess.... ;)

Also I hate the reply editor because it squished all my spaces and indentations. ;( Sorry about the illegible mess.