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Author Topic: The root causes of mental illness  (Read 4130 times)
the joint
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June 23, 2012, 06:57:51 AM
 #21

1)  Desire:  Whenever a person has any type of desire, it implies that they are dissatisfied with what currently 'is.'  Dissatisfaction implies discontent and a lack of happiness.  If you want something that you don't currently have, this is a problem.

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Desire originates in the will. It is activated, in the realms in which it is directed, by that which is the motivating force, through the will and the mental abilities of the individual. Desire is the power which drives our physical, our spiritul self, while will is the directing force. It is the intent of mind that strengthens desire.

I agree with you completely, so I'm actually not sure why you disagreed with what I said.

What I disagree with I highlighted. In your view, all desire is negative. Is self-preservation or hunger a lack of happiness? Is it necessary for us to give up all desire for us to be happy?
The positions in which we find ourselves are drawn to us through our desire; What we are has been built through desire. The 'is' was achieved through desire. Therefore, happiness or a lack of happiness is desire fulfilled already.

Is the desire to eliminate desire negative if all desire is negative?

Your statements lead into those "self-resolving paradoxes" that I talked about.

When we look at our world in the 3rd dimension, we can describe what the 4th dimension might be like.  But, no matter how hard we try, it is impossible to intellectually understand the 4th dimension as it is the sum of all possible yes AND no operations in the 3rd dimension.

When I present an assertion such as "desire is a root cause of mental illness" which then leads to the inevitable conclusion that "all desire is negative," this naturally brings up questions such as "is the desire to eliminate desire negative if all desire is negative?" or the questions that you posited.

As I stated in an earlier post in this thread, due to the human intellect being confined to yes OR no operations only, we must pick a certain level of logical syntax and act as though it is the highest level of syntax.  From this syntax we can then resolve paradoxes that arise in lower levels of logical syntax.  The questions that you posited, and the question that I posited "i.e. is the desire to eliminate desire negative?", can be thrust into this lower level of syntax and resolved, even when we are actually talking about things that are only fit for a higher level of syntax (e.g. trying to understand the 4th dimension as if it were the 2nd dimension).

So, I would respond as follows:  On a certain level, yes, the desire to eliminate desire, the desire for happiness, the desire to eat, the desire to love, to obtain wisdom, etc.  is negative as it still implies dissatisfaction.  I don't know about you, but when I'm hungry, I get rather cranky.  When I long for knowledge or wisdom that I do not have, I feel inadequate.  Even when I desire to eliminate desire, I long for a certain state of contentment that I have only had glimpses of while in a state of deep meditation.

But, on a different level, desire can be good.  Desire and intention allow us to successfully navigate the world around us, to go out and obtain that food when we are hungry, to help the sick or poor in need, to learn, to develop skills, etc.  But remember, on a higher level of syntax, just as the 4th dimension relates to the 3rd dimension, desire is both good and bad simultaneously, and neither good nor bad simultaneously.  However, this type of statement simply cannot be comprehensively intellectualized.  

If you want a glimpse of how yes AND no operations operate, try to focus on your direct experience of phenomena.  Direct experiences in and of themselves prior to any intellectual abstraction are the unification of subject of object, and an experience of duality itself.  If you pay attention to the studies and works of quantum researchers, they are completely disinterested in any phenomena that cannot be observed.  Ever hear the old question, "If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it (i.e. observe it), did it make a sound?"  Quantum researchers don't care whatsoever about this kind of question -- it is more or less a nonsense question that isn't even worth trying to formulate any kind of intelligent response.

Quantum researchers only care about what is observed, and with good reason.  It is through the direct experience of phenomena that a glimpse of yes AND no operations arises, and it is something that the intellectual mind cannot fully comprehend.  In an attempt to understand direct experience, the rational mind must parse the experience -- whereas a direct experience is akin to duality itself, the rational mind parses duality into halves (remember, the root word of "rationale" is "ratio").  It is only from a comparison of yes and no states that anything can be rationally comprehended.

Important Point:  Keeping this in mind, lets go back to the question, "Is the desire to eliminate desire negative (if all desire is negative)?"  Well, if desire eliminates something negative, then it seems to be the opposite of negative (after all, it is axiomatic that removing the cause of something negative removes that which is negative).  So, this means that the desire to eliminate desire must be non-negative at the same time that it is negative!


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June 23, 2012, 07:00:57 AM
 #22

To anyone in this thread:
So, based on your theory, what do we do about it then?

A great question:

Here is my humble advice.

1)  First, try to identify more with yourself as being an 'observer' rather than a 'participant.'  If you think "I am thinking," try to shift it to the idea that "there is thinking."  If you think "I am sad," try to shift it to the idea that "there is sadness."

Thoughts are like boxes.  Whenever we have a thought or idea, its as if our mind jumps inside that thought-box and whatever that thought-box contains becomes our entire reality.  Now, if that thought-box is full of negative things and we jump inside of it, then all of those negative things can hurt us.

The trick is to learn how to float above and hover around those thought boxes.  If we can make the box be "over there," then our mind becomes free.  Thoughts are the constraints on the freedom of our mind.  By learning to identify ourselves as observers, we can place some distance between ourselves and the boxes.

Now, you might be thinking, "Well, what about good thoughts?  Why not jump inside those boxes?"  Well, why need to?  Have you ever just looked up at the clouds and enjoyed the view, or watched the sunset?  It's not like you need to be right next to the clouds or the sun to enjoy them, you can enjoy them from afar.  Besides, if there's many good thought boxes, why jump inside only one of them?  Why not simply enjoy all of them from a distance?

2.)  When you learn to identify with yourself as being an observer rather than a participant, then naturally your desires will decrease in frequency and intensity.  You will learn to be more content and satisfied with what you observe. 

Keep in mind, observation is related to stillness.  Any good photographer knows that in order to get the most clarity in a photograph, he needs to be calm and still.  Observation itself is the method of stillness and calmness.  When we become better observers, we naturally become more calm and more still, and less anxious and stressed. 

So... basically CBT except leave out the social conditioning. You go blablabla and then some dude is gunna pull down his pants and say suck it in a threatening manner cause hes sad and pissed because he got a DUI and is now being punished for it and can't get a job. I've seen it.
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June 23, 2012, 07:02:28 AM
 #23

To anyone in this thread:
So, based on your theory, what do we do about it then?
It is difficult to provide a specific answer to a vague question.

I don't understand what is vague about it. If you recommend dietary changes or whatever, how do you go about convincing someone to modify their behaviour to reap the benefits you think they will get?
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June 23, 2012, 07:08:50 AM
 #24

To anyone in this thread:
So, based on your theory, what do we do about it then?

A great question:

Here is my humble advice.

1)  First, try to identify more with yourself as being an 'observer' rather than a 'participant.'  If you think "I am thinking," try to shift it to the idea that "there is thinking."  If you think "I am sad," try to shift it to the idea that "there is sadness."

Thoughts are like boxes.  Whenever we have a thought or idea, its as if our mind jumps inside that thought-box and whatever that thought-box contains becomes our entire reality.  Now, if that thought-box is full of negative things and we jump inside of it, then all of those negative things can hurt us.

The trick is to learn how to float above and hover around those thought boxes.  If we can make the box be "over there," then our mind becomes free.  Thoughts are the constraints on the freedom of our mind.  By learning to identify ourselves as observers, we can place some distance between ourselves and the boxes.

Now, you might be thinking, "Well, what about good thoughts?  Why not jump inside those boxes?"  Well, why need to?  Have you ever just looked up at the clouds and enjoyed the view, or watched the sunset?  It's not like you need to be right next to the clouds or the sun to enjoy them, you can enjoy them from afar.  Besides, if there's many good thought boxes, why jump inside only one of them?  Why not simply enjoy all of them from a distance?

2.)  When you learn to identify with yourself as being an observer rather than a participant, then naturally your desires will decrease in frequency and intensity.  You will learn to be more content and satisfied with what you observe.  

Keep in mind, observation is related to stillness.  Any good photographer knows that in order to get the most clarity in a photograph, he needs to be calm and still.  Observation itself is the method of stillness and calmness.  When we become better observers, we naturally become more calm and more still, and less anxious and stressed.  

So... basically CBT except leave out the social conditioning. You go blablabla and then some dude is gunna pull down his pants and say suck it in a threatening manner cause hes sad and pissed because he got a DUI and is now being punished for it and can't get a job. I've seen it.

My personal model of therapy incorporates  CBT with a heavy dose of existentialism.  I cannot control how others respond to what I say.  I can only do my best to present what I have learned in my 10+ years of experience and intense study into the origins of human happiness and suffering.  I recognize that the people on this forum are generally of a different type and are generally more homogeneous than the clients I have worked with in hospital inpatient settings, and so my responses here are vastly more intricate than the ways in which I would present them to most clients that I have worked with in the past.   After spending some time with a client, I try to present my model in a way that I think the client will be able to resonate with.  Usually, I find that analogies work extremely well, so I often try to incorporate as many analogies as I can when working with someone.


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June 23, 2012, 07:25:13 AM
 #25

Do you have system though? Or is it all just kind of an artform? Some people only respond to threats/violence (and will say so) which is not an approved therapy.

Quote
After this, Loughner briefly volunteered at a local animal shelter, walking dogs, but he was asked not to return. The shelter manager later said, "He was walking dogs in an area we didn't want dogs walked... He didn't understand or comprehend what the supervisor was trying to tell him. He was just resistant to that information."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jared_Lee_Loughner

This is the type of person who I have had most contact with I guess. Perhaps your clients have different problems.
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June 23, 2012, 07:56:02 AM
 #26

Do you have system though? Or is it all just kind of an artform? Some people only respond to threats/violence (and will say so) which is not an approved therapy.

Quote
After this, Loughner briefly volunteered at a local animal shelter, walking dogs, but he was asked not to return. The shelter manager later said, "He was walking dogs in an area we didn't want dogs walked... He didn't understand or comprehend what the supervisor was trying to tell him. He was just resistant to that information."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jared_Lee_Loughner

This type of person are who I have had most contact with I guess. Perhaps your clients have different problems.

I have a general system, yes.  I utilize a set of what I believe are Universal principles and then try to tailor them to an individual's situation.

Assuming a person is in full control of their mental faculties (i.e. they are not delusional, hallucinating, mentally retarded, high on drugs or withdrawing from drugs to the point where they are significantly incapacitated, etc.), then my first goal is to simply develop a rapport with the person and try to understand what kind of information they are likely to absorb, and the best ways of helping them to absorb this information.

It is my belief that people naturally are drawn to that with which they can identify. This is why (generally) nerds hang with nerds, beautiful people hang with beautiful people, gym rats hang with gym rats, whites hang with whites, blacks with blacks, happy people with happy people, and 'mentally' ill' people with 'mentally ill' people.  Accordingly, this is why I have found analogies are useful.  I try to use analogies that people can relate to, and as such I find that people are more ready to absorb information presented in the form of an analogy rather than simply spilling them loads of dense information.

After I've developed a certain rapport with a client (the strength of this rapport is usually restrained by the client's length of stay), I then try to emphasize the importance of increasing self-awareness within the client, and try to help them understand why increasing self-awareness is the critical first step to recovery.  Virtually any and all genres of therapy including CBT, REBT, psychodynamic, existential, etc. are designed to increase a client's level of self-awareness.  Increasing self-awareness helps us to become more in tune with the subtleties of our thought patterns, behavior patterns, habits, and tendencies.  

The more we become aware of these patterns (i.e. by becoming more observant of them), we can begin to develop some increased insight into our situation.  We can begin to identify negative habits and tendencies more readily, and by becoming more observant of these habits and tendencies, we can begin to find ways to intervene in situations where we would ordinarily react without thinking.  Becoming more observant of these tendencies allows us a moment of stillness for insight and clarity, and it is during this moment of stillness that change is possible.  We become more distant and disconnected from our negative habits and tendencies the more we observe them, and when we are distant from them, we become more free to act differently.

To give an example, how many times have we become so completely angry or frustrated that we literally wanted to grab the nearest thing to us (e.g. a remote control, a phone) and chuck it across the room.  Sometimes, we actually do this!  Other times, we actually have the object in hand, and we even may make the arm motion to begin to throw it, but then something stops us in our tracks.  We might have the thought, "I can't throw this, I'll have to spend $250 replacing my new I-Phone!"  Somehow, we had a moment of clarity.  We were able to intervene.  We were able to, for a very, very brief moment, distance ourselves from our anger and have a moment of rational clarity.  Now, the question is, why were we able to intervene?

We were able to intervene because we briefly became more observant of our situation.  We took a look at the situation in a broader context.  No longer was it simply "Me and my anger"  but it became "Me, my anger, my phone, my money, my future need to replace my phone if I break it."  In other words, we distanced ourselves from the situation, even if only slightly.  Sure, we might just go back to being really frustrated, but we must not forget that moment of clarity.  The more observant we become, the more moments of clarity we will have like this.  How often do we change the channel when it reaches a commercial without even thinking about it?  Do you even know why you changed the channel, or has it become so instinctively natural for you to do so that you haven't even realized that there was anxiety present?  "Oh, this channel doesn't satisfy me anymore, I desire something else."

So, the first step is to drive home the importance of increasing self-awareness.  Increasing self-awareness is a skill that is developed through continued practice.  As we become more self-aware, and as we gain more clarity and insight, then we can begin to find ways to replace negative habits of thinking and acting with positive ones.  Increasing self-awareness which results in clarity and insight develops hope for recovery, and hope for a better future when we realize that positive change is possible.  From hope stems motivation, from motivation stems positive intention to do better and think better which will reap positive results.  This is the path to recovery.

TL;DR:    
Understanding the importance of increased self-awareness leads to...
Motivation and intention to increase self-awareness leads to...
Increased self-awareness leads to...
Increased clarity and insight leads to...
Hope leads to...
Motivation to do better and think better leads to...
Positive habit formation leads to...
Positive results and recovery

the joint
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June 23, 2012, 07:58:41 AM
 #27

By the way, I truly want to thank everyone so far who has commented.  You have no idea how helpful your comments have been.

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June 23, 2012, 08:16:24 AM
 #28

If I was already pissed, the "we" thing would just piss me off more. " You don't know me or my problems!"... just sayin.
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June 23, 2012, 08:21:40 AM
 #29

If I was already pissed, the "we" thing would just piss me off more. " You don't know me or my problems!"... just sayin.

... are you my client now or something?  I think that response was a bit foolish.

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June 23, 2012, 08:31:14 AM
 #30

If I was already pissed, the "we" thing would just piss me off more. " You don't know me or my problems!"... just sayin.

... are you my client now or something?  I think that response was a bit foolish.

I have been counciled before, I also have an undergrad in a related field and have done some of that work. I'm just trying to convey the lessons learned from my experiences to you. Sorry if it came off as irrelvant.
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June 23, 2012, 08:41:45 AM
 #31

If I was already pissed, the "we" thing would just piss me off more. " You don't know me or my problems!"... just sayin.

... are you my client now or something?  I think that response was a bit foolish.

I have been counciled before, I also have an undergrad in a related field and have done some of that work. I'm just trying to convey the lessons learned from my experiences to you. Sorry if it came off as irrelvant.

It came off as irrelevant because you asked about my method, and then instead of commenting about the method itself, you commented on the way the explanation was presented.  Furthermore, you commented on the way it was presented as if you were actually a client being given this information.  It's really not a fair critique of any sort.

I get what you're saying, but I acknowledged in the very same post that as a therapist I need to find what the person can identify with so as to make the information more easy to convey.  The posts on this thread are to a general audience, not just you, hence I used the word 'we' and used very general examples.

Now, if I go on to write a book or something (which I intend to do at some point in my career) then I agree, I will need to be especially choosy about the language I use.  But I'd still bet that the majority of us have had experiences similar to the examples I just used.

For the record, I've been counseled too.

Edit:  Here's a little more detail to explain why I think the critique wasn't relevant.  A client who is genuinely interested in learning my method will likely ask about it after we have developed some kind of personal rapport.  If this is the case, then I will have some basic idea about the way to approach them as an individual.  You seemed to be forming your critique from two differing perspectives.  If you're simply an individual on the Bitcoin forum asking about my method, that's one thing.  But then to also simultaneously take the perspective of a resilient, emotional client puts my explanation at a disadvantage because you can play both sides when convenient.  In other words, it seemed that when you asked about my method, you were asking from the perspective of a curious person reading this thread.  The response seemed to be from a client's perspective. 

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June 23, 2012, 08:55:41 AM
 #32

Point taken. I don't mean to be so antagonistic really. You are clearly out to help people and just trying to bounce ideas off of others with this thread. It's just talking about abstract concepts that guide human behaviour feels out of date to me. I got out of pysch, etc because noone really knows what works or keeps track very well, so it results in people endlessly arguing with each other with no real evidence supporting either side.

Let me put it this way:
Do you keep a list of successes and failures and score each patient on various parameters, then try to analyze this data to find correlations, followed by building a model of what factors are important in determining the success/failure of a certain approach? If not you should. Last I was involved the field really needed that.
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June 23, 2012, 09:18:36 AM
 #33

Point taken. I don't mean to be so antagonistic really. You are clearly out to help people and just trying to bounce ideas off of others with this thread. It's just talking about abstract concepts that guide human behaviour feels out of date to me. I got out of pysch, etc because noone really knows what works or keeps track very well, so it results in people endlessly arguing with each other with no real evidence supporting either side.

Let me put it this way:
Do you keep a list of successes and failures and score each patient on various parameters, then try to analyze this data to find correlations, followed by building a model of what factors are important in determining the success/failure of a certain approach? If not you should. Last I was involved the field really needed that.

Well, in terms of 'scoring' successes and failures, I haven't done that in an objective manner, no.  I documented therapy sessions with clients in the form of case notes, but none of my roles in the workplace have necessitated such a scoring, nor would I have been allowed time at work to devote to such objective scoring, nor would it have been feasible to even try.  That's definitely the downfall to being an intern -- I could only do so much.  My 'scoring' has only come from feedback from clients. I personally think I was quite successful with many people.  But, the average length of stay for patients at the hospital where I was working is only 5-7 days.  That doesn't really give you any length of time to form baseline data, apply an intervention, collect outcome data, then formulate correlations or conclusions.

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June 23, 2012, 11:03:13 AM
 #34

Point taken. I don't mean to be so antagonistic really. You are clearly out to help people and just trying to bounce ideas off of others with this thread. It's just talking about abstract concepts that guide human behaviour feels out of date to me. I got out of pysch, etc because noone really knows what works or keeps track very well, so it results in people endlessly arguing with each other with no real evidence supporting either side.

Let me put it this way:
Do you keep a list of successes and failures and score each patient on various parameters, then try to analyze this data to find correlations, followed by building a model of what factors are important in determining the success/failure of a certain approach? If not you should. Last I was involved the field really needed that.
I don't think you are antagonistic enough. While there is some useful philosophy that comes out of studying human behavior, behavior itself is only perceived through our self-prescribed lenses. Correlations don't in themselves prove causation. We have barely scratched the surface with finding tools to allow our organic and fractal gray matter to evolve to keep up with the complexity that our technological civilization has evolved into.

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June 23, 2012, 01:24:44 PM
 #35

Forgive my harshness in regards to this topic. It's the industry of mental illness and the educational system that has been coopted by Big Pharm, the prison industry, the insurance industry, and every other self-serving over-bloated bureaucracy that created that abomination called the Bible "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders."

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June 23, 2012, 01:33:43 PM
 #36

Atlas wants to talk to you, https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=89284.msg984122#msg984122

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves and wiser people so full of doubts." -Bertrand Russell
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June 23, 2012, 03:26:25 PM
 #37

Is there a safe threshold of self-awareness ? the more the better?
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June 23, 2012, 07:13:05 PM
 #38

Forgive my harshness in regards to this topic. It's the industry of mental illness and the educational system that has been coopted by Big Pharm, the prison industry, the insurance industry, and every other self-serving over-bloated bureaucracy that created that abomination called the Bible "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders."

Believe me, I get what you're saying.  I dislike the DSM-IV as much as you do at the same time I recognize the benefits it can have.  It's a slippery slope...a very slippery slope.

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June 23, 2012, 07:38:40 PM
 #39

Is there a safe threshold of self-awareness ? the more the better?

Good question.

In every-day usage, self-awarness seems to correlate with introspection.  This can be very dangerous.  Becoming too introspective can leave a person trapped in a world of thought.  Many depressed people are this way, and they find themselves catastrophizing their thoughts -- they become so aware of their thoughts that they become utterly drawn to them, and one negative thought can snowball into the next.

Have you ever sat and just watched the clouds pass by?  I'm sure virtually all of us have done this.  Now, have you ever tried to control the clouds, to twist them and mold them into a particular shape?  No?  Well, what would happen if you did?  Do you think that you would become frustrated very quickly once you found out that you can't shape the clouds to your liking?

Now, apply the same logic to your thoughts.  Many people with mental illness will tell you that they get frustrated by their negative thoughts, and no matter how hard they try to control them they fail.  I contend that this is similar to trying to change the clouds in the sky.  The clouds will continually pass by, taking on various forms and shapes, just as your thoughts do.  But, if you can simply observe your thoughts rather than trying to control and manipulate them, you will find that you can calm and relax yourself even when the most negative of thoughts are passing in front of you.

Ideally, I contend that your awareness should be placed on equal-parts subject and equal-parts object.  I believe you need to be aware of your role as an observer at the same time you are aware of what is observed.  As a result, you will be focused on stillness and chaos equally.  Then, you will still be able to navigate the world with your body, intending to reach your goals and accomplishing them whether they are as simple as getting a glass of water when you're thirsty or studying for a doctoral degree.  But, you will also be aware of that underlying stillness that is associated with your very nature as an observer.  This will help you to remain calm among all the chaos unfolding before you.

Edit:  I believe this boils down to focusing your awareness on your direct experience of phenomena.

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June 23, 2012, 08:13:27 PM
 #40

Is there a safe threshold of self-awareness ? the more the better?
You're probably familiar with gnosticism? They say that true knowledge comes from within. Well, not exactly, but we certainly learn about our own optics there. Breaking dependencies on worldly things are nothing compared to the strange connections that form in human bonding. We are unaware of nothing about our relationships with others until we experience our own relationships between our two brain hemispheres. Let me tell you that the journey is indeed very dark and dangerous, but the rewards are in finding those places your problems dwell. I'm talking about the places where 'others' exist. These are how we perceive each other, where dreams come from, and I suspect where our altered personas sleep. I have never taken hallucinagens, but I do not think they would offer any more connectivity than finding yourself in what we think are the people in our lives.

I don't recommend the journey into deep depression, but if you write what you experience it will help you to become very in touch with yourself and your creative powers.

Any significantly advanced cryptocurrency is indistinguishable from Ponzi Tulips.
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