"Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly, and expecting different results every time."
August 25, 2011 12:32 PM Subscribe
How does one remain determined and confident in the face of repeated failure? Need help retaining my "original mind".
posted by identitymap to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Left unchecked long enough, depression engenders chronic ineptitude in almost every aspect of one's existence. The simplest of things become difficult to do and even more difficult to do right.
I've crashed and burned in more things than I can count, and my numerous repeated failures in each of these aspects of life has wrecked my state of mind. No matter how hard I try, every new approach is tainted by both trepidation and subconscious prognosticating that this time will be just like the previous 75 tries. It's akin to the feeling that some race car drivers have after a near-fatal crash.
While I have no problem intellectually understanding that my attempts are statistically independent events, this kind of realization doesn't suffice. To use an example, my depression almost led to my academic demise in university. Once I started failing courses related to my core specialization (physics & math), my attitude toward the entire field changed for the worse. The cognitive decline steadily worsened, claiming my proficiency in other areas as well (programming, writing, spoken language, debating, etc.). It took me about half an hour to compose this question.
I now have to revisit some cognitively demanding concepts that I didn't successfully internalize back in university, nor did successive attempts to do so help much. I just can't do it. I stare at the page and the words don't make any sense. The vast majority of people have no trouble understanding something so simple, yet I can't do it. I have failed yet again.
Motivation isn't the problem - I'm very motivated to tackle most challenges (although interest is usually lacking). The trouble is that the slightest setback triggers thoughts of past failures, which in turn makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy. I fail once more, then get frustrated, which leads to rage (both in the form of the abstract Platonic Ideal, and directed at myself).
Have any of you been in a similar situation? How did you manage to overcome this psychological bugaboo?