Still Alive!

Posted January 3, 2015 by e
Categories: Uncategorized

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“Still alive” might sound like a melodramatic way to title the post, but in this particular case it is actually not, in that in the time since I last wrote, it has not been entirely clear that would be the case.  I last wrote about my job search, and that actually turned out reasonably well for now at least; rather late in the summer I did in fact acquire a full time job with benefits–a couple hours away from home so I have to stay there a few days a week, but otherwise a job that I quite like.  So while my anxiety wasn’t unfounded, and I still am not sure what to do long-term, that didn’t devolve into homelessness or some other kind of misery as I was fearing.  I have in fact felt appreciated where I’m working and that has gone a long way to help get past the painfulness of before, though it doesn’t just leave completely of course.

What has been rather more dramatic is that I was suddenly diagnosed with stage three cancer (with very little in the way of symptoms until two weeks before diagnosis).  Obviously, this was not was I was picturing, though I was picturing other sorts of dire outcomes to how life had been going.  I am now through two surgeries and six months of chemo and it could be over, though it also might not.  Now I am trying to learn to live with this reality.  I haven’t wanted to write much during this process but maybe will now.  Seems like a start.


Digging Deep, Scraping the Bottom

Posted May 29, 2012 by e
Categories: Anxiety, Change, complaining, Coping strategies, Failure, Fear, Fierce, Living, loss, Spirituality, or Something

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I thought I’d try a little writing to see if it helps uncrazy me a little.  My main drama is still the looking for jobs thing, the being rejected–or feeling rejected I should say I am told, maybe it’s not actually exactly what it is, the not knowing what’s coming jobwise or anythingwise really, and I could go on, but it is just more of that same sort of thing.

I did have some interviews and I at least found that the utter discouragement of a tenure denial process hasn’t completely killed my feeling for the work, which is nice to see, and which I really didn’t know ’til I had to talk about it in that way.  And I didn’t know that I’d be able to do that at all after what’s happened, and now I do.  They didn’t seem to go badly, which is a way of saying that they seemed to go well.  Not that the positions would go that far toward solving the problems of wanting to live and work in the city I’m in–to not have to live elsewhere and be able to pay the bills.  But still, better than zero even marginally hopeful signs which is where we were a couple weeks ago.

Still, it’s hard to forge again unflaggingly.  I do think that anyone would find it so, but I wish to complain about the fact that life generally has tended to feel this way and it does sort of add up and wear on me a bit.  Dig deep, they say, when it’s hard to find the spark in oneself.  I am digging deep; I have always been digging deep, deep down into the dark where one finds such things as unexpected sparks.

It just sometimes seems too hard, and so it is, but there we are.

Dictators and Vampires

Posted March 6, 2012 by e
Categories: Uncategorized

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Recently I met a person with a narcissist mother who hadn’t ever talked to anyone else with one, and I remember what that was like, when I first learned about that whole concept. She was so glad not to have to say or hear any of the things people say–they do the best the can, they really do love us, things will get better between you now that you’re sober–those things. Maybe the first is somewhat true, though I don’t know that it is, and anyway that doesn’t make everything fine. It certainly doesn’t help the least bit with the damage.

What does help is being able to admit to each other that with these relationships it is highly unlikely to get better. Because the choices are that or keep banging my head on that same old wall pointlessly, hoping for something different. And that is in fact what I might prefer/tend to do–the banging on out of some hope of a different result–and exactly what we must learn to quit doing and what we’re responsible for.

What does help is to hear my friend make comparisons between growing up that way, with one or more narcissists, and living in a totalitarian state. Because that’s the best analogue for the kind of mind control and psychological violence (and physical violence for many, not really in my experience though). That and what it’s light being looked after by vampires.

None of this is comforting exactly, but it is true, and being able to speak that truth at least in some places/with some people goes a long way.


Posted February 5, 2012 by e
Categories: addiction, Anxiety, complaining, Depression, despair, Failure, Fear, trauma

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in and out of despair. . .not much of a way to live but it’s what it is.  not always, but this not knowing if i’ll be able to find a job and afford the mortgage is not going so well.  and there’s the ickiness of still working at the place that’s dropping me, and there’s the crazy making quality of it all.  academia is not charming me that much right now.

i know anyone would be having a hard time with my situation and that’s that.  so i guess i want to write about the other things that aren’t standard, and i want to complain about how hard it is.

this would be an excellent time to relapse, says my addict brain, though of course it always says that.  but i have to do a lot of things to take care of the addiction thing and that can be hard.  also my brain was doing a lot of nasty things, having fears and getting confused about what is real, and i do mean getting confused about that–not for long, just little bits of time, but still.  i don’t mean hallucinating things, but believing things are happening or about to happen that probably aren’t–i think it’s a bit like the veteran who hears a sound and thinks he’s back on a battlefield.  this is hard to bear.  but i don’t want to take the meds they recommend for that for fear of various things, especially of losing what mental clarity and quickness i have, so i’m stuck with the fears.  i do have an anti anx med i could take but when i get that afraid i don’t want to take it because i want to stay alert to face the threats i’m anticipating–there is that problem, if the patient is too afraid to take the anti anxiety pill, since pills work best if actually taken.  but that’s settled a bit, now it’s more that i’m struggling to stay out of despair and not always succeeding.

that concludes my complaints for now.

May the Days Be Aimless

Posted January 14, 2012 by e
Categories: ADHD, Literature, Living, Uncategorized, Work, Writing

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May the days be aimless.  Do not advance the action according to a plan.

That’s from DeLillo’s White Noise via the filter of my memory.

I like the sound of those lines as much as anything, but some other things too, though I should mention that speaking these lines do not exactly solve the narrator’s problems.  He has a wee bit of trouble taking his own advice, and does in fact advance the action in his life according to a plan, and shall we say it’s a bit of a bad plan and goes disastrously, but not unamusingly.

But the thought–

I don’t suppose it would be practical to abandon all plans and be aimless, but I’m thinking that a little of this lightness and non-attachment could help sometimes.  Especially because non-aimlessness planified actions do not always seem to be entirely optimal in my case, not least because I sometimes have bad plans, or a combination of bad and good plans, or just a general crazed drivenness or obsessiveness.  These, of course, are not particularly productive even if they are well-meaning.

What works is me doing things toward goals but not always too narrowly defined–sometimes just directions–and not crazed plottingplanning.  And then once I’ve done some of each those things it would be better to let go and quite fussing with things or over things.

And aimless days–what a thought–like a dream.  May they be.

Because then I think there’s space for things to happen.

NYT Yoga Dangers Article

Posted January 6, 2012 by e
Categories: addiction, Body-mind, Cheap Thrills, Coping strategies, Embodied spirituality, Exuberance, perverseness, Yoga

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There’s something to get me to come write a little something after this while–the recent NYT article on the many injuries that can arise in yoga.  Funny, because I was just told by my massage therapist that I seem to be doing some things I shouldn’t do so much all at once–she suggested a week off-which I of course find too extreme as with most suggestions.  I guess they do say that’s a good idea to do regularly.  But I have the fear I’ll revert back to not feeling like exercising and couch potatoing my way through life.  That has been a mode of mine at other times in the past, not for a while, but it has, and it’s even worse for my brain than the rest of me.  So I worry about sliding back into that–it’s funny how even after a couple days of not exercising (not that it’s happened in while, though I can stop any time I want to–sure, like I’m good at stopping anything) it’s hard to start back up.

But I do see the value of recuperating every now and then.  Really the trouble (other than the moremoremore issue that pervades all parts of my life) is that I’ve been attemping to cope with things as they are through yoga and running instead of other ways, and things as they are haven’t been so optimal–job ending, holidays, those sorts of things.

But the article.  It talks about some rather disturbing injuries (neck related, for instance) that I’d rather not have.  And there are ways to get hurt doing yoga, as with many things.  There are also, I think, ways of doing yoga safely.  Probably it would involve being reasonable and not getting carried away.  Not my area of expertise, though I am trying a bit.  So how it seems to me is that it’s not really yoga’s fault if I stubbornly/foolishly do things that are too much.  It might be someone else’s fault, just maybe, the person who gets going on the moremoremore kicks.  Seems to me.  Of course I do also think it matters how the instructor is skill-wise and attentiveness-wise, and we have to learn what our own bodies can do and need and we need to keep track because it changes.  But in my case, the little twingey things I get seem more to do with my non-stopping tendencies than anything else.  And yes, I can overdo yoga, just like I can overdo anything, and often do.

There’s a response to the debate about yoga safety/harmfulness without all the reflective wisdom and placid reasonableness that you find everywhere.  We don’t want to be too sensible or too evolved, after all, do we?

Being Understood, and Not

Posted November 9, 2011 by e
Categories: attachment, Change, Fear, Memory, Social Experience, Therapy, trauma

I’m trying to make hard decision.  It doesn’t seem like everyone would think it hard, but figuring out what the right thing for me to do sometimes is–the decision that wouldn’t necessarily be what others want or think I should do.  It’s that I’m having some uncertainty about the therapy group I go to, which maybe wouldn’t have to be difficult, but seems to be.  My spouse thinks it’s not so good for me but I am not sure if that’s something to go by–also it could be about saving money for him too, and it’s hard to explain that sometimes struggly group experiences can be part of a good process.  But sometimes it’s not just that but actual problematic things–the tricky bit is that sometimes it’s so good and helpful.  And sometimes it seems a little uncontained and maybe some people don’t get thrown by that but I seem to.

I tried speaking up about it and it went okay, except i think people give advice out of reasons that are often their own rather than knowing what I should actually do.  I don’t think that the things that apply to lots of emotional issues fit exactly with certain kinds of trauma–like the really early sexual kind by parents.  People say to sit with the feelings, and while I normally throw tantrums about that but begrudgingly admit it’s the right thing, it’s not exactly the same with this stuff.  Going through the feelings can mean reliving things, and reliving things with a different result and an Alice Miller style enlightened witness and safety and such is one thing; reexperiencing them just as they were the first time just deepens the trauma.  The line is fine, or fine-ish.  Not everyone seems to know this, even therapists sometimes don’t totally seem to get it.

The fact that I’m even trying to figure this out and taking a time out to let myself settle down from getting all triggered and overwhelmed is something in itself–not my usual approach.  So that in itself seems like a step.