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Mindfulness and Acceptance

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gettingunstuck

I am currently working on faulty thinking patterns using mindfulness-based therapy. Has anyone seen success with these methods. I always feel really good after meditating, but slip back when a negative event takes place. I can't seem to get unstuck with these thinking patterns (thus my screen name), however I don't meditate every day. Also, if anyone has any good studies to share on the effectiveness of MBT, I would love to see them.

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basildev

Hi gettingunstuck,

 

Yes I'm a big ban of mindfulness meditation. I used it frequently when I was stuck in a phase of my withdrawal where I was obsessively catastrophising about not getting enough sleep and ruining my health as a result.

 

It helped me enormously. But you have to practise it on a daily basis.

 

The key is to do 'rehearsals' every day for 10-20 minutes, where you practise the process (IE: Inviting the thoughts in, creating some space etc...) so that when the 'real thing' comes along you're more likely to respond with mindfulness. Like everything, mindfulness takes regular practise and commitment before it becomes a habit.

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gettingunstuck

Thanks! That's good to hear. I try to do some type of mindfulness every day (even if it's some mindful yoga), but I probably need the regular, everyday meditation. My thoughts always get carried away into a "nothing will ever change" mode, and that's when I can physically myself sinking. It's startling how powerful thoughts can be and how they can affect an individual.

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basildev

Hi gettingunstuck,

 

Be aware that the 'nothing will ever change' thinking is part of withdrawal and is actually a symptom. The ruminating thoughts soften with time. But you might want to add this as a 'symptom' to your daily diary (mentioned in your intro post), should you choose to keep one.

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gettingunstuck

I never thought of the "nothing will ever" change thinking as a symptom. I always thought I did this type of ruminating before I ever started taking antidepressants, but now that you mention it, I think the rumination and the mind that just doesn't want to quiet did start after attempts of stopping the antidepressants. I've always been one of those people who analyzes things to death, but I've gotten more cynical in recent years. Interesting...

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greenwell3977

Does anyone have any good websites or books that can suggest for mindfulness for combatting depression?

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gettingunstuck

Hi Greenwell,

 

One book I've recently begun reading is "Bouncing Back."  Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/Bouncing-Back-Rewiring-Resilience-Well-Being/dp/1608681297

 

Another book I've read is "The Mindful Way Through Depression": http://www.amazon.com/Mindful-Way-Through-Depression-Unhappiness/dp/1593851286/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378163859&sr=1-1&keywords=mindful+way+through+depression

 

Both books are very focused on mindfulness. I hope this helps!

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CaffeineMan
The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety: A Guide to Breaking Free from Anxiety, Phobias, and Worry Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

by Georg Eifert and John P. Forsyth

 

I am recommending this workbook for those interested in trying the Mindfulness and Acceptance approach to anxiety therapy.  I have had a lot of success with this approach.  For me, it just seems to make a lot of sense.  

 

I will detail my thoughts on Mindfulness & Acceptance at a later time in this thread.

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GiaK

that's a good book, I agree...I've been referring it to folks who are unfamiliar with meditation etc for years now...it's a wonderful intro.

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trouper

i always had issues grasping mindfulness meditation until a few friends recommended Headspace to me. (http://www.getsomeheadspace.com/)

its guided meditation and ever day is a new lesson which is bu upon from previous lessons - 365 different ones. he has such a great approach. its not spiritual or new-agey, which may help some people who are turned off by that. he is from the UK and used to be a buddhist monk so he's just teaching what he learned over the years in a very calm, educational, and informative way. you get the first 10 meditations for free to see if it works for you then you can choose to subscribe. there is also an iPhone app so you can listen to the meditations anywhere. he also has sleeping mediations, walking meditations, eating meditations, etc. i am so grateful i found it as it has helped me tremendously through withdrawal.

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Nadia

Had not seen that... thanks for the resource! I'm liking it already just from the descriptions. I think I need to do the "befriending meditation" today.

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Nadia

Dalsaan, I've been doing these the past couple of days, and LOVING them! I sent them to a friend who has anxiety and depression and they are really helping her to. Thanks again for posting this! (And BUMP... you guys should try this, especially if you are like me and benefit from some guidance in your meditation.)

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Songbird

While meditation has proven benefits, mindfulness techniques can be used at any time, meditation is not required to use them.

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JanCarol

I have some difficulties with formal meditation, due to some cultic abuse in my past.

 

I did mindfulness BEFORE I landed into the cult meditation - but the cult (mantra) meditation is so "high" and effective, it has been more difficult to get back into mindfulness.

 

My first teacher was Thich Nhat Hanh - not in person, but through his texts - back before you could listen to him on the internet.

 

Anyhow, I consider yoga to be mindful meditation - most of my exercise is mindful.  My walks, I try and go slowly and feel the sun on my skin.  When I do physical workouts - like yoga or tai chi or karate, I pay attention to my body in space, and breath and how it moves with my body.

 

When hubby meditates, I "meditate" but it's not vipassana or mantra or even mindfulness - except it is.  I sit on a fitball and put my body in different positions.  Like lifting one leg and holding it for 7 breaths.  or doing a seated twist, and holding it.  IF I LOSE MY MINDFULNESS - I fall off the ball.  It's highly motivational!

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Rusty1

The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety: A Guide to Breaking Free from Anxiety, Phobias, and Worry Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

by Georg Eifert and John P. Forsyth

 

I am recommending this workbook for those interested in trying the Mindfulness and Acceptance approach to anxiety therapy.  I have had a lot of success with this approach.  For me, it just seems to make a lot of sense.  

 

I will detail my thoughts on Mindfulness & Acceptance at a later time in this thread.

This is a great work book. It was recommended to me and I use it a lot.

A similar one that is really good is: Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life, by Steven Hayes.

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freespirit

Mindfulness practice, like anything, can be good for some people or not so good for others...but I thought I'd pass this along, in case anyone is interested:

 

The Mindfulness Summit

Learn How To Live With More Peace, Purpose & Wisdom
A FREE ONLINE EVENT
 
Melli O’Brien of MrsMindfulness.com has gathered over 30 of the world’s leading experts on meditation and mindfulness for a series of online interviews, practice sessions and presentations taking place for FREE from October 1 – 31, 2015.
 
 

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antidepressantsNoMore

yeah mindfullness can help but it only helps me so much. You have to stick with it like anything else.

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freespirit

yeah mindfullness can help but it only helps me so much. You have to stick with it like anything else.

 

As I said, it can help some people, but not others. It depends. It is not a "cure" for WD, but it can be a piece of the puzzle. Being in wd would be, I think a very hard time to learn to meditate..but on the other hand, there's more motivation when a person is suffering. I'm grateful for the years of practice I had before, which does help me not get so attached to the feelings..and allows me to look deeper, when something is repeating itself. As I've posted elsewhere, I've found more benefit from Buddhist loving kindness and other heart practices in many respects..but without the foundation of mindfulness, I'm not sure that would be as true. And I know that strength of attending to things has made my qi gong practice something it wouldn't otherwise have been. It provided some ground from which other things could take root. That may or may not be true for other people, but it has been for me.

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Ziggy

It has been my experience, and I'm sure others as well, that it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel in the midst of severe withdrawl from SSRI's. You are living moment to moment, which can seem like hours in and of themselves. Something I learned while trying to taper off lexapro (went 11 days then reinstated), that I didn't even know was happening. My emotions were so extreme during that time and I was trying to go to work like everything's fine. I thought I was hiding it pretty well. Well in hindsight it turns out everyone around me knew something was drastically wrong. I didn't even notice that the littlest things would cause severe anger and that I would unintentionally snap at my coworkers. I opened up to one of my work associates about what's going on with me and it was amazing to me how obvious it was to everyone. I was so embarrassed that anyone saw that side of me show through! What I learned is that next time I try to taper, I must be mindful of my words and actions at all times. Hopefully I will spare myself and others emotional discomfort as I go through this incredibly difficult journey. I would like to hear other people's experience on how they handled going to work and keeping emotions in check while having withdrawls.

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manymoretodays

And perhaps life as well.  

 

Yah, I blew it tonight.  I think sometimes we just have to eat crow and possibly lose friends in the process.  It is humbling.  I don't even want to apologize.  Other members report a lot of just sheer crabbiness and intolerance of others.  It IS, without a doubt an incredibly difficult journey.  Makes me feel selfish.  But what are my options?  I can no longer, at this time, go back on medications in good faith though.

 

I don't think anyone can be mindful of words and actions all the time..........maybe a monk?

 

I will be interested to see the replies.

 

I will try harder to get back to a better routine as I have been hit hard with stressful things I can't control and fairly depressed for a few months now.

 

Therapy, meditation(not just the sitting kind), regular exercise, healthy diet, yoga, qui gong, tai chi, prayer, faith, self forgiveness, etc. come to mind.

 

Are you tapering the Lexapro slowly.......it appears so.  Good luck.  I can commiserate.

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Ziggy

Silver star,

 

What a mess these drugs make of our minds! Total lack of self control when it comes to the emotional aspect of withdrawl. Humbling is a good word for it.

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manymoretodays

Lol.  I am ManyMoreTodays........it's at the top.  In the blue line.  The silver star is for the number of posts I've done or something.  But thanks for the laugh.

 

It's not a total lack of self control.......just enough sometimes though.  It can be trying.......

 

Ahhhh, it's all the Lexapro I say!!!!  I really feel that that one is the major culprit for me now........some 16 months later.   It is real tough when you get to the less than 5mg. mark in my humble opinion.

 

Hang on.  Go very slow from here on down as instructed here.

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Ziggy

Woops! Sorry, still new to this site. I'm on many meds but Lexapro is my demon right now. Currently on 2.5 mg and plan on hanging here for a while. So sorry you're sharing this awful experience, but I commend you for being brave enough to stick it out to get off of it.

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pocketnurse

Ziggy

 

I totally understand your difficulties with work. I too am withdrawing from the dreaded Lexapro and totally relate to how hard it is to remain "normal" at work. I pretty much hate my job although I love my co workers. On co worker however causes me immense difficulty. I have considered moving jobs as this person has such a negative effect on me but I have no confidence to get out. Over time the combination of depression and bullying from this co worker at times has torn my confidence from me. I feel I have become a vulnerable victim and shadow of myself.

At times I find it hard to control my temper and anger bot at work and outside but in the work place I feel my anger simmering inside me. I wish I had the balls to confront the co worker but I am not a confrontational person and would feel guilty for doing so. When going through a bad wave I really don't know how I even manage to go to work and make it through the day. 

What you need to remember though is that it takes an incredibly strong individual to continue working, managing a family and just continuing with daily life whilst undergoing withdrawal. You are that strong person Ziggy and if you lose your cool a few times don't beat yourself up about it. You are doing your best and the  very fact that you are concerned about your behaviour to your co workers shows what kind of decent, caring individual you are. 

 

Be kind to yourself, speak up for yourself if and when appropriate and don't beat yourself up, we are our own worst critics.

 

Best wishes

 

PN

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greentrain

Another angry Lexapro damaged person here! I'm nearing 21 months off and while the mood swings and brain states are SO much better now, I still find myself so volatile in the second half if my cycle. One little thing can set off a cascade of anger, resentment, jealousy and downright irrirability. I practice mindfulness as much as possible but many times it feels like I'm a pot of boiling water and the spills just need to happen as part of the process. Of course, when the energy dissipates I apologize and can come back to a more peaceful presence, but when I'm in the dislocation often all I can do is let it out and feel the emotions in my body.

 

Hang in there!

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Ziggy

Greentrain, you hit the nail on the head for me. I feel like a simmering pot of water slowly coming to a boil and then boom! I see red and totally lose it on the people around me. My patience and anger tolerance have severely diminished since tapering and it's hard to be at work while this is all going on inside me.

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JanCarol

Mindfulness needs to be a regular practice.

 

One session of mindfulness does not a zen master make.  And it takes very close to mastery to get through withdrawal!

 

One of the things that I don't see enough discussion of here, is rumination.  I learned this in "The Mindful Way Through Depression" listed above.

 

When we were primitive humans, rumination served a purpose.  When the sun went down, and there was nothing else to do, the tribal leaders - well - everyone - would spend some time thinking about - why didn't the rabbit snares work?  where is that bear, and are the children safe from it?  Was that a good plant to eat?  Or is that why 1/2 the tribe got tummy aches?  Where will we hunt tomorrow?  How can I take care of this baby that is due?  (and probably) Where do babies come from?

 

It's an effort to connect cause and effect in a way which teaches us.  It developed as a survival strategy, and differentiated humans from other animals - our ability to reason, even to ruminate.

 

But in modern society, survival is different, and rumination serves a different purpose.  The problems of modern living cannot be solved by moving a rabbit snare, or trapping a bear, or hunting a wolf pack that is competing for your food.

 

So instead, we ruminate on obsessive things:  Should I have said that?  What did she mean when she said that?  Am I right?  Am I wrong?  Why did I (do, say, behave, act) that way?  How will I get through tomorrow?  How will I get through the next hour?  I hate this!  Are they looking at me?  I am such a loser, they will never invite me into the group!  S/he doesn't really love me, does s/he really love me?  If I (did this, had that) s/he might love me!

 

None of these problems can be solved, and so the rumination continues, getting stuck in ruts which do not lead to solutions - because there are no solutions to these types of problems!

 

The longer it goes, the more it spirals in on itself, becoming more and more negative.  It can get down to the tiniest of details - details that might have saved your life in tribal times - why did I eat that?  why am I craving more?  when can I have more?  Will this feeling last forever?  Will I always feel like this?  - become motivators and drivers of your distress.

 

This distress is often fed into by media, advertising, and "reality" TV in a big way.  He drives that nice car, why can't I have a car like that?  Her (skin, hair, body) is so beautiful, I just look like a lump of lard.  I wish I could afford a real (insert designer here) (insert item of clothing or accessory) here.  It's obvious when you look at the "anti-aging" cosmetics, which make impossible claims.  We are constantly fed messages in media of "not good enough, unhappy, need more, if I consume more, when I get this, I will be happy." 

 

(I suspect that this is close to what Russ Harris is talking about in "The Happiness Trap" - still reading that one)

 

And - the more these messages repeat, they become statements, and the more they sound and feel like "truth."  I will always feel like this.  S/he hates me.  I am a (insert negative message here).  It will never get better.  This is what I deserve.  You have convinced yourself that you are hopeless and helpless.  This is a main contributor to depression.

 

So - how do we address this harmful rumination?

 

First, interrupt it. 

 

Oh.  I'm thinking again.  Look at that, I'm thinking.   (hubby calls it the "cement mixer")

 

Here's the weird and important part:  do not judge the content of your thoughts!  Most of them are old programming, or inserted by media, anyway!  Judgement makes an attachment to the thought ("I shouldn't think like this, this isn't helping") that keeps the thought in control of you.

 

Just watch them go by, like train cars along a track.  Be objective, don't look at the content of the train car, just let it go by.  You will notice, as soon as you detach from the thought - you don't need to look into every train car - it passes, and another comes along.  Clack-a-clack-a-clack-a-clack - I'm thinking, thinking thinking.

 

Your brain is designed to think, to receive and produce thoughts.  It's what it does.  You cannot stop those thoughts, anymore than stepping out in front of that train would stop it.

 

So let it go by.  Thinking, thinking, thinking.

 

Another image which helps is clouds.   The clouds come, the clouds go.  You cannot think them closer or further away, they will do what they do.  Let them come, let them go.  Sometimes (like in a wave) they are huge thunderheads, black, spitting lightning, rain, hail, and destruction.  They can even manifest as frightening events such as tornadoes - but - in the depth of a wave, if you can say:

 

"This is only thinking.  This is only feeling" and let the clouds alone - don't dive into that thunderhead.  Just accept that it is a phenomenon over which you have no control, and realize that it will pass.  There is no such thing as a permanent weather phenomenon.

 

There is no such thing as a permanent thought.

 

Now, after years and years of minding the trains, watching the clouds - there will come moments when the sky is clear, or the track is empty.  This is mastery.  The more moments you have where the sky is clear, or the track is empty - that's what becomes enlightenment, true clarity of presence and being.  That's what Tolle calls "living in the now."

 

But it takes practice - and here's the awesome thing about mindfulness:  you can practice and practice - and just practicing helps, even if you never achieve a moment of mastery!  The rumination no longer has power over you.  By accepting and allowing your thoughts, you sit again, in the driver's seat of your being.

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LexSuks

I just wanna throw in a book suggestion that helps me deal with and combat negative thoughts, & anxiety that has been a great read and very positive influence as I'm going through my withdrawal. Joel Osteen's "Think Better, Live Better". Hope it helps someone else as much as it has me

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RipVanWinkle

Another fantastic book, and it's FREE, is Mindfulness in Plain English.  Beautifully written, very practical, no superstition or hocus pocus.  It actually works.  

 

You can download a free PDF of the book from various sites.  Just search the title.

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powerback

Mindfulness needs to be a regular practice.

 

One session of mindfulness does not a zen master make.  And it takes very close to mastery to get through withdrawal!

 

One of the things that I don't see enough discussion of here, is rumination.  I learned this in "The Mindful Way Through Depression" listed above.

 

When we were primitive humans, rumination served a purpose.  When the sun went down, and there was nothing else to do, the tribal leaders - well - everyone - would spend some time thinking about - why didn't the rabbit snares work?  where is that bear, and are the children safe from it?  Was that a good plant to eat?  Or is that why 1/2 the tribe got tummy aches?  Where will we hunt tomorrow?  How can I take care of this baby that is due?  (and probably) Where do babies come from?

 

It's an effort to connect cause and effect in a way which teaches us.  It developed as a survival strategy, and differentiated humans from other animals - our ability to reason, even to ruminate.

 

But in modern society, survival is different, and rumination serves a different purpose.  The problems of modern living cannot be solved by moving a rabbit snare, or trapping a bear, or hunting a wolf pack that is competing for your food.

 

So instead, we ruminate on obsessive things:  Should I have said that?  What did she mean when she said that?  Am I right?  Am I wrong?  Why did I (do, say, behave, act) that way?  How will I get through tomorrow?  How will I get through the next hour?  I hate this!  Are they looking at me?  I am such a loser, they will never invite me into the group!  S/he doesn't really love me, does s/he really love me?  If I (did this, had that) s/he might love me!

 

None of these problems can be solved, and so the rumination continues, getting stuck in ruts which do not lead to solutions - because there are no solutions to these types of problems!

 

The longer it goes, the more it spirals in on itself, becoming more and more negative.  It can get down to the tiniest of details - details that might have saved your life in tribal times - why did I eat that?  why am I craving more?  when can I have more?  Will this feeling last forever?  Will I always feel like this?  - become motivators and drivers of your distress.

 

This distress is often fed into by media, advertising, and "reality" TV in a big way.  He drives that nice car, why can't I have a car like that?  Her (skin, hair, body) is so beautiful, I just look like a lump of lard.  I wish I could afford a real (insert designer here) (insert item of clothing or accessory) here.  It's obvious when you look at the "anti-aging" cosmetics, which make impossible claims.  We are constantly fed messages in media of "not good enough, unhappy, need more, if I consume more, when I get this, I will be happy." 

 

(I suspect that this is close to what Russ Harris is talking about in "The Happiness Trap" - still reading that one)

 

And - the more these messages repeat, they become statements, and the more they sound and feel like "truth."  I will always feel like this.  S/he hates me.  I am a (insert negative message here).  It will never get better.  This is what I deserve.  You have convinced yourself that you are hopeless and helpless.  This is a main contributor to depression.

 

So - how do we address this harmful rumination?

 

First, interrupt it. 

 

Oh.  I'm thinking again.  Look at that, I'm thinking.   (hubby calls it the "cement mixer")

 

Here's the weird and important part:  do not judge the content of your thoughts!  Most of them are old programming, or inserted by media, anyway!  Judgement makes an attachment to the thought ("I shouldn't think like this, this isn't helping") that keeps the thought in control of you.

 

Just watch them go by, like train cars along a track.  Be objective, don't look at the content of the train car, just let it go by.  You will notice, as soon as you detach from the thought - you don't need to look into every train car - it passes, and another comes along.  Clack-a-clack-a-clack-a-clack - I'm thinking, thinking thinking.

 

Your brain is designed to think, to receive and produce thoughts.  It's what it does.  You cannot stop those thoughts, anymore than stepping out in front of that train would stop it.

 

So let it go by.  Thinking, thinking, thinking.

 

Another image which helps is clouds.   The clouds come, the clouds go.  You cannot think them closer or further away, they will do what they do.  Let them come, let them go.  Sometimes (like in a wave) they are huge thunderheads, black, spitting lightning, rain, hail, and destruction.  They can even manifest as frightening events such as tornadoes - but - in the depth of a wave, if you can say:

 

"This is only thinking.  This is only feeling" and let the clouds alone - don't dive into that thunderhead.  Just accept that it is a phenomenon over which you have no control, and realize that it will pass.  There is no such thing as a permanent weather phenomenon.

 

There is no such thing as a permanent thought.

 

Now, after years and years of minding the trains, watching the clouds - there will come moments when the sky is clear, or the track is empty.  This is mastery.  The more moments you have where the sky is clear, or the track is empty - that's what becomes enlightenment, true clarity of presence and being.  That's what Tolle calls "living in the now."

 

But it takes practice - and here's the awesome thing about mindfulness:  you can practice and practice - and just practicing helps, even if you never achieve a moment of mastery!  The rumination no longer has power over you.  By accepting and allowing your thoughts, you sit again, in the driver's seat of your being.

Hi jancarol this a brilliant post about mindfulness and ruminating ,I've watched my father's life consumed by ruminating and I live my life with mindfulness and learning about ruminating for a while now ,it's the key to ever living a functional life

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