June 10th, 2005


Warp Factor 9

Thanks to everybody who replied to my questions about compliments; thank you for making the effort to explain things that are probably blindingly obvious to you. Your comments were all helpful in different ways, and a couple of you left really long comments that I haven't replied to yet because I haven't read them closely enough yet (particularly kaet's comments!).

I'm currently looking at the MoodGYM thing that anat0010 recommended, and it starts with a long questionnaire about "Warpy Thoughts". Now, before I start, anat0010, please don't take the following as criticism of you or ingratitude for the suggestion: I think it's a great idea and I'm going to work through as much of it as I can bear to. However...

As usual with these inventories, my answers to most of the questions are "mu". Collapse )


All this doesn't help (and I say that not petulantly or frustratedly, just stating a fact); it just feels slightly bewildering and largely irrelevant. I feel as though I don't have the right context to answer the questions. ... Tangential ramble follows. My dad once filled in one of those awful consumer surveys, and one of the questions was "Do you drink tea?" He ticked "No", but there was no instruction along the lines of "If no, proceed to..." so he continued to answer the subsequent dozen or so questions, which were of course about the type of tea you drink, how often you drink tea, etc. Irritated by the poor design of the questionnaire, he wrote "DO NOT DRINK TEA" (that is, in the sense of "I do not drink tea" -- I don't think he minds other people drinking tea) after every tea-related question, sometimes with arrows to the original "No" answer. My sister and I thought this was hilarious, and "DO NOT DRINK TEA" has become something of a family catchphrase meaning "If you'd listened to my previous answer you wouldn't be asking this" or "Incorrect baseline assumption" or similar. As you'll have worked out by now, this questionnaire was a bit of a DO-NOT-DRINK-TEA thing for me, only it's more complicated than that, because the questions seem to interrelate in ways I don't entirely understand, and take as axiomatic all sorts of things that I don't believe, don't understand, don't regard as interesting/meaningful/relevant, or all three.

(I do drink tea, by the way. I'd be happy to answer questions about tea.)

It makes me worry slightly that I'm more messed-up than I thought because I don't even seem to be speaking the right language to "fix myself" the way people seem to expect me to be able to; but on the other hand, I feel the same levels of frustration with most polls/questionnaires/quizzes etc., from the most trivial to the most (supposedly) important -- I could often make a plausible case for any of the available options without lying about the way I feel. Perhaps this is as meaningless a quiz as "Which internet quiz are you?".

So I guess the real problem is that I don't know if any of the options are true for me. I don't know what "true" is. They all seem to be questions about things that everybody else either Feels or Just Knows; it seems to me that most people Just Know/Feel that they are worthwhile, in the same way that they know they exist, and the question "Are you a worthwhile person?" is as meaningless to them as these questions are to me. This isn't a random, hysterical "Everybody except me knows what they're doing," it's just a kind of bewilderment; it's also evidence-based: these are questions which people who are depressed are supposed to be able to answer, and despite being reasonably well educated and self-aware I don't understand how to answer them according to the rules in a way that gives a truthful and/or meaningful representation of how I feel/think/behave.

I feel as though some part of me didn't get wired correctly. It's like missing a sense that everybody else can report on accurately but that I just can't see/feel/touch/hear/smell ... and I don't even have a word for what it is I can't do.