Friday, November 11, 2005

The most important thing in life is to accept it...

` This is another post about my life... It is also amazingly long and perhaps tedious, but possibly interesting to read in any case.
` I stayed at the Baxter's house a couple of nights earlier this week, which was highly stimulating. Jason and Andie basically were teaching me how to move on with my life and become interested in being independent and all kinds of things.

` I feel like a totally new person after engaging in conversations with them - yet more weight has dropped off my shoulders, and I'm almost doing as well as I was before the emotional relapse I went through a couple of months ago. Jason is quite a wise and extraverted man, and as such, he did most of the talking. In a fake French accent, which we were all doing.
` Even after we had moved from the living room, we sat on our respective beds and talked the night away.

` Basically, they pointed out that problems, in a way, do not exist. Stuff happens to you. The most common difficulty people have in life are things like not wanting to accept these things, or not wanting to accept the nature of their unhelpful reactions to them. You have to realize what is going on and stop having a cow and whimpering and obsessing over these things in order to heal.
` In other words, people's 'problems' are mostly not from life, but the denial of the parts of life they just don't want to see. They keep feeling miserable because they can't do anything about what has already happened. As goes the saying, life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you deal with it.

` And so, after some lengthy discussion, we agreed that therapists which encourage people to focus on their problems more are only somewhat helpful, and even more unhelpful! If a therapist mainly points out a patient's denial, however, and gets the person to accept what they don't want to (what else can you do?), then I cheer them on.
` However, most therapists in our experiences have helped only a little and perhaps have done even more harm than good.
` I even had one who screamed at me: 'Why do you keep crying? What the hell is wrong with you? You were tortured two whole months ago! Stop crying!!! And don't start yelling at me!'
` The first thing Jason said was; "That's what they need to say!"
` But then, of course, a therapist who screams at people and criticizes a patient's problems like they'd intentionally plotted their immediate animal insticts after being tortured (instead of asking what exactly they are crying about) is not the way to go about this.
` You only alienate and upset the person even worse by angry accusations, as if they had perpetrated some kind of crime, which is untrue.
` In a way, they have, on some subconscious level, and they really hurt themselves with it. The mind is a powerful thing, and when you are not used to handling traumatic events, you can really screw yourself up accidentally.

` Jason said that basically it's both childish and arrogant to act like you can change what already has happened. You're not a deity, and that's life. (Especially, if you are/were a child, this is most expected. Doesn't mean you can go without correcting it, though.) The only way to not feel helpless is to just accept the the past.
` I said; "Or what is inevitable," and told him an instance of such foolishness in my life:
` It was the time Phil and I were spending an hour or so together in Medina, and he kept obsessing over the fact that his bookbag was in the back of his friend's car, which was parked under the hot Ohio sun. In it were many important papers as well as a container of some kind of horrible chemical which - though unlikely - could explode and ruin everything. Unfortunately, his friend couldn't unlock his car as he was on vacation, so there was no way to get the bookbag out except by breaking the window.
` He kept deliberating on whether or not we should drive over to look at it to see whether or not it had already exploded. This, perhaps I would have tolerated just to calm his nerves if it were only a few blocks away, but his friend lived a half hour away in Seville!
` Finally, I had said; 'If we go all the way down to check on it and it's okay, then fine. It stays in there anyway and may yet explode, though it probably will be just fine because the weather is starting to cool down today. If it's already exploded, it's just the same - you still can't do anything! And by the time we get back, we'll have completely wasted an entire hour and we won't have time to go anywhere else!
` 'In either case, it will have been totally useless. There's nothing you can do. What's happened or not happened has probably already been determined. Even if it's not, would you smash the window of your friend's car? Why worry?'
` Incidentally, the container had not exploded, so everything was fine. You see my point, though? I admit, if there was something in the bookbag that was truly unique, and perhaps historical or important to national security, I might have considered going over there with a crowbar. In this case, it really wasn't worth it. Instead, I drove us off somewhere and we did something or other together and didn't think about volatile chemicals.

` Even though this incident was potentially about something that had not yet been decided, it is very important to realize that as for events that have already happened, it is fruitless wishing that things had been different. Whether or not you were helpless in the past, you are helpless to change the past.
` What is so difficult about understanding that? Your emotions can get in the way.
` Similarly, if you see someone fall off the bridge that you are standing on, you are not psychokinetic or anything. You cannot just rescue them - you can only call down to them; "Point your toes!" After that, it is the way it is from then on, and that's that.
` Most important here is to accept that there is a real difference between something that is a reality - all things which have happened in the past, for example - and something that you do have control over - most things in your life which could happen in the future - and what really does have the most priority to be changed, then not only do you stop fighting what is history, you start going after anything you can and want to change.
` This gives you real control over real things because you can only really control those things in your future - this includes helping other people, too. And, though it requires you to accept that you are helpless to change the past, you stop feeling helpless!
` I imagine that many people have trouble with this idea because it seems so counterintuitive.

` Let's say, you were tortured, like me? Raped? A loved one was killed? You feel like part of you is gone? I suspect that at least most of this part of you that is missing is merely the part of you that thought, in shock; "Nooo! I can't take this!!"
` It is an 'animal' reaction, though, a coping mechanism, something all people have, and something that no one can really be expected to be able to control in the moment. Though it may be, overall, more useful in Animals of Very Little Brain, it can easily happen despite your human intellect.
` And so, you feel broken. Nauseous and sick. Lost, contaminated, perhaps. It hurts so bad that the pain is all you seem to be able to think of. You don't know it, but there is another side of you, the part of you that is hiding and has let the trauma control you. It may be hard to believe, however, when you are in this situation. It is really part of you who is causing this pain, and though this thought may insult you, it is only that you don't know how to get yourself back together.
` Of course, there is a simple way to get rid of this feeling, and it may be exactly what you don't want to do: Get rid of the denial! It divides your mind into pieces that don't work well by themselves. It causes literally 'mind tunnel vision'.

` Stress, I would say, is really what does this. The higher the level of stress, the more you feel like you are in a tiny, windowless room with nothing in it. It seems as if, no matter what you look at, there is nothing there to see. Thinking feels like trying to slog through a swamp, and it may seem like your head is packed with wool or cotton balls. Very unpleasant, but this 'wooly' thinking is not really not the way you are, it is the fact that you are - probably not exactly on purpose - trying to block things out.
` Feeling a lot of paralying stress all or most of the time is truly a torturous hell. Even when you aren't feeling strong, unpleasant emotions. Blocking them out, however, can cause most of those emotions and anything else in your mind to become utterly invisible most of the time.
` The worst, I think, is the fact that it may make it practically impossible to think of more than one thing at a time, so you don't generally focus on things or have goals, ambitions, or the ability to make simple, everyday decisions. On top of this, blocking out unpleasant emotions also blocks any type of feeling that you might like to have.
` No one likes that!!!

` If whoever is reading this happens to have such a problem, which even I was not aware I'd had (being this way almost all my life and having no other frame of reference), I still suspected it was not normal.
` If you suspect it of yourself but are not convinced, then, irritatingly, accepting this concept would have to be taken kind-of 'on faith': It is hard to see when thinking and remembering feels like groping around in a basement with a flashlight - it is hard to hold more than a couple of things in your thoughts.
` You yourself are not falling apart. These are superficial symptoms. Painful stress is merely making you 'short circuit', deviating from your normal brain functioning. It masks your normal behavior and thoughts.
` Personally, mine was so bad that I thought that since I'd been this way most of my life, my brain would never be normal enough to think as well as it is right now. I had actually tried to deal with this by attempting to organize and control the few thoughts I did have going through my brain. It turns out that they don't work in such small numbers - they need to be 'networked', by not blocking out other thoughts or processes or memories which might be connected to them. (Of course, this was a surprise, as I had no idea they were even there!)

` So, first of all, you need to realize what stresses you out and do something about it. It's not as complicated as I'd thought, either. What helped me first of all was noticing what is bothering me in the present and just not putting up with it, which I've explored in this post. You cannot say things like; "It seems ridiculous that this is bothering me, therefore I'll put up with it." No! It bothers you, and this feeling is part of reality. You may question how it happens, but you cannot question that it happens.
` You have to accept that your feelings are real if you have felt them, and there is no two ways about it!
` Why? Even if you aren't sure, feelings do not neccesarily have to make sense to you. For example, I discovered that my more ill-fitting clothes were actually causing me to almost have a nervous breakdown, and I really can't think of why. Ridiculous as the reaction sounds, I realized that there is nothing that can stop me from not wearing these clothes, and I eventually threw the offending garments out.
` I accepted my feelings, and I realized that there is no way to 'just put up' with them. You have to remove yourself from a situation - even if it sounds like a stupid thing to remove yourself from - and then, perhaps you may figure out what was wrong there.
` The most important thing now is that these awful, terrible clothes cannot bother me, I am safe from them, I will no longer want to tear them off to prevent smoke from shooting from my ears, even as I continue to puzzle over why. (This feeling has been present ever since I can remember.) I think some of it has to do with already-high-enough levels of stress.
` Really, this can apply to anything that bothers you.

` So yes, you can control things like this. If you haven't been, you have obviously underrated them, or do not care that much about yourself. Or both. You can change your environment. As far as I know, the same principle goes with people: If you can think of someone in your life who is bothering you, then do you know why? If you know why, then can you fix things? Even if you cannot fix things, at least you can just get away from them.
` That is very important to know, and even more important to realize.
` Putting up with such foolishness only shows that you would rather care about their feelings totally at the expense of your own. It is possible to care about both of you, but to realize that you do have problems, you are being hurt in some way, and then to think that you are not as worthy as they are is a very unhealthy attitude.
` Hurting people doesn't always equate with being mean - it can also equate with self-respect rather than denying that you have problems, or disregarding them. If you are too afraid to confront a problem you have with someone, it only causes you emotional problems, plain and simple! In the long run, at least, the same usually goes for the other person.
` It may seem selfish, but it is actually more selfish to keep things from yourself! You are not below other people!

` Luckily, I do not have anyone that I want to push out of my life. But, I do want to just... get away and learn to be myself. I understand now what the appeal of this is - you do not go through the same, hackneyed existence, with the same people. I am not sure this idea would have had such impact on me before, however, I am more emotionally open due to my non-resistance to much more of reality.
` What's more is that I have always had people to pay most of the rent for me, even after I've moved out of my mom's house. For once, I need to spend my own money on things other than largely food and car insurance.
` For once, I need a life, and I'm finally feeling confident enough to do so. Getting rid of a lot of my stress has done that for me. Why do you think I was crazy about Benadryl, which was actually prescribed to me. It let me relax and therefore cleared up my thinking! And here's the genius part: when it cleared up my thinking, this allowed me to think of more than one thing at once, giving me a huge advantage in clearing up my internal difficulties. I could then think of about eight things at a time, and had many more thoughts touching up against these.

` I used the drug as a way most (I think) psychotropic drugs are meant to work - to enhance rationality, thereby allowing you to overcome problems which require more 'thinking space' than you have - and now I don't really need it much anymore!
` In other words, drugs which let you relax and also allow your brain to function better allow you a mental shortcut - you aren't burdened with thinking your way through your problems so that you can feel better, which improves your thinking, so that, then, you can think better in order to feel better.
` That's much more difficult than just not being able to think and perceive freely enough to come up with solutions of problems that are keeping you from thinking and perceiving freely in the first place! Getting rid of stress artificially will not only show you some of what you are working for, but allow your complex network of thoughts to flow normally, which personally had slowed me down by about a hundred times.
` (Yes,
a hundred times - it's a multiplication thing, having to do with how many thoughts you can connect to every other thought in your brain at one time.)

` Not only is my mind clearer and my muscles less tense, but I feel like I have much less weight holding me down. I have more energy, and more motivation...
` Really, I don't know what motivation is - just a non-painful drive that people have in order to do everything they need and want. I was previously not that intimately aware of it. I don't know how it works, though I do know that stress will block it out. Too much and you might wind up weighed down to the point where you might seem incredibly lazy to yourself.
` No, I was not lazy, it was more like being too afraid to do anything. Really, it was. I needed to relax!! As simple as that sounds, I was just not very adept at it, that's all.
` And now that I feel safer in the world, my plan is to go off and have a somewhat different life for two weeks - with Jason and Andie of all people, who are going to be at Andie's mom's house for a couple of weeks. Then, they are moving temporarily to the Queen Charlotte Islands, where I might also go to visit them.
` Phil says my going out and experiencing other things is a good idea - he has done it himself a whole lot. I have actually never felt so enthusiastic about something for as long as I can remember! This includes driving across the country (and seeing some sights) to get here!

` So really, relaxing is, in a way, the most important thing ever, because you can think! (Even if this means taking Benadryl or something!) And if you have some kind of issue or another, you can think through it relatively effortlessly. The only real roadblocks from there are not wanting to face up to things, including how much better or worse things are getting in your life.
` I just didn't used to know how to chill! I thought that the way I would lay around 'lazily' sometimes was the same thing as relaxing. Though my body was rather inert, it was from the weight of pain pushing against me: I was paralyzed by tension.
` In fact, the more relaxed that I am, the less sedentary I am, and the more I notice that I'm not slouching, simply from my shoulders not being weighted down by pain - know what I mean?

` Because I can relax, I am amazingly more mindful of what is going on, with my thoughts together, and can even plan for something in the future. This includes day-to-day things like chores and whatnot.
` Seriously, it's really so much easier when you can remember and keep track of the laundry, writing, drawing, answering e-mail, running errands, and other things I might be doing in one day. (Ah, drawing, I haven't done much of that for like... ever!!!) These things I need to do are just there in my mind and don't overwhelm me to the point where I just want to collapse.
` I could probably even get a real job at this point, and hold it for more than a month! (However, I'm going to be very cautious about this, due to the fact that a job could cause so much stress that I might backslide into numbness, and I really don't need that!)

` Anyway, that is, in its entirety, everything on my mind I could think of to write. (Obviously! 'Cuz that's a lot!!) Thought I'd get that out. Anyone who is having some kind of psychological issue, however, may find it helpful - after all, relaxing and thinking can really help with all kinds of disorders! I have the disorder of post-traumatic stress, oh, and that is one other thing...
` Disorder, shmisorder! Andie and Jason have had the same diagnosis - they've gone through some pretty tough trauma in their lives that was about as bad as mine! In fact, Andie, sad to say, even developed some kind of bizarre psychosis from one event!
` While she was in this state, she had blocked out the feeling in her body, just like I have, which feels just like novocain or something. Blocking out the sense of touch or vision, my psychiatrist has told me, is part of a family of conditions called 'conversion disorder' (a strange name, I know), and it is perfectly curable. Of course, there's really not that much to cure...
` It is like a 'reverse hallucination' - the blocking out of senses which are there - which I suppose complemented her regular hallucinations - which are sensory imput-type things from things that are not there.
` After a couple years, she did get completely over all this! Really, I have yet to conquer conversion thingy. We don't really see it as a 'disorder' in some mycommon sense of the word. I see it, personally, as something like a scientific theory. Oh, it is there, all right. It works as predicted, yes. But it is not like a thing; it is an ever-changing process. And one of the things it is predicted to do is to go away as suddenly as it came.
` Mine tends to get worse when something stresses me out. I know this. And when my hand touches something that I am uneasy with (no, probably not the kind of thing you're thinking!), it feels like novocain being injected!! It gets better when I relax, however.
` So, see, relaxing seems to be most crucial for recovering from just about anything!

` Anyway, I'm going to stop blathering now and publish this, before my post gets any longer!


Joey M. said...

Spoony! Come on AIM and stay there!

irish/turkish chic said...

i have to say you could be a retreat wittness with just this blog entry.
well i am wipped out from this weekend. i love ya'll & miss ya'll. oh sara friends can love each other like family.


ur weird

Aaron said...

'To be misunderstood is to be.'

S E E Quine said...

` You said it!!

` Also, Shakespeare said: "To be or not to be."
` Socrates said: "To be is to do.
` Sartre said: "To do is to be."
` And,
` Sinatra said: "Do be do be do."

` Ugh... yeah, I need to get to bed.

Galtron said...

Sein, oder nicht sein. Das ist der frage!

Aaron said...

"Its, or not its. That is asks!"

Translation courtesy of Google language tools.

S E E Quine said...

` Haaaaaaaa! That's Google for you.

Galtron said...

...or may bad Deutsch.