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typosquatter comments on Beware of Other-Optimizing - Less Wrong

79 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 10 April 2009 01:58AM

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Comment author: typosquatter 17 July 2011 10:46:30PM 3 points [-]

Okay, I know this counts as thread necromancy, but here goes:

I was raised by similar parents. The difference comes because I attempted suicide at 12. The important resulting effects were: 1) the inculcation of the "suicide is uniformly bad until you already have a terminal illness anyway" value (which is arbitrary in a way that frankly I find beyond the scope of this discussion); and 2) I gained an unusual psychological feature: that I empathize with people strongly because I no longer have an emotional distinction between self and other. (This may have been inherent and simply revealed by the emotional charge around the situation; or else, perhaps, taught by the many therapists and further emotionally charged discussions I saw in the years following. I have no way of distinguishing between the two.)

I am going to tell you that my instinctive reaction to this was to recoil and shout "SUICIDE IS BAD" until it went away, but the second instinct pressed upon the first, and so I am writing to you instead.

This is not an intractable problem. The mind is inherently malleable. The real trick is in finding someone who actually has effective coping/helping strategies. For someone intelligent enough to be on this site? Not every therapist will do, I'll tell you that much. The reason many of them helped me at all was because twelve-year-olds are not especially bright. They commented that I was like working with a particularly impulsive sixteen-year-old, and that's apparently reflected in how they treated me. For an adult, you may well be "over their heads" and that basically shuts you out of getting any help whatsoever from a "talk" type therapist with intelligence less than yours.

I doubt that, from what I've read of you, plain old medication will work without further actual therapy to make anything stick. Psychiatric medications in isolation are only better than just tossing sugar pills in very limited circumstances (i.e. people who are raised in good environments who just happen to have bad brains, not the other way around). A family physician, seeing that you're only complaining about lack of motivation now, could easily draw the wrong conclusions; make sure you aren't referred to a psychiatrist, because psychiatrists are basically medication dispensaries and that's about it. Look for a psychologist, but you're going to need to go through lots of them until you trust one, and you're also going to need to avoid the "SUICIDE IS BAD" attitude by not mentioning your thoughts on the subject.

Of course, this assumes you want to do this kind of work. If you don't, there's nothing I can do, and - well, certainly, I'm going to beat myself up about that, but it's enough above background noise that I'd be properly, truly disappointed.

Comment author: CronoDAS 18 July 2011 02:40:48AM *  1 point [-]

sigh, not this conversation again... I am so sick of talking about this over, and over, and over... :(

Comment author: wedrifid 18 July 2011 04:31:37AM *  4 points [-]

sigh, not this conversation again... I am so sick of talking about this over, and over, and over... :(

You made a provocative comment about a controversial plan. Of course you are going to get replies both immediately and after time. If you don't want to have this conversation then either don't comment about it on a public forum or just don't respond to replies after you have changed your mind and no longer wish to seek attention. Complaining that people talk about a self professed 'extreme' plan that you willingly announce to people is just silly.

Comment author: Kevin 18 July 2011 08:39:22AM 1 point [-]

If you've sufficiently changed your mind, delete the post?