Monday, February 28, 2011

Projects Can Be Intimidating

I think that part of the reason doing often escapes me is that things seem too big to bother with. As an example, I've meaning to cook this roast chicken and vegetable dish thing for a while now. Yesterday I kind of got the urge to go ahead and make it, but then I started thinking about all the steps involved... get all the ingredients out, wash the veg, find the pan, chop the veg, rub the chicken (with olive oil and seasonings; this is totally NOT my favorite part)... it all just seemed like such a project. I was gonna just pass on the whole thing, but instead I decided to take the urge and just go with it until I felt done. I figured, I can always stick the thing in the fridge til I get motivated again. So, that's what I did. I got most of it done and then stuck it in the fridge. This morning I chopped up the remaining vegetables, added some herbs, and stuck it in the oven.
This goes along with the idea that someone proposed to me of making Doing be play, rather than work. Work has like, a goal; finish this paper, complete this meal, learn this subject. The point of play is to play. The goal is the process is the goal. So in the spirit of play, I made the meal until it stopped being fun, and then I stopped making it.
This is all an exploration, but that tactic felt a lot better than "I must make this food now, no matter how boring it is and how irritated I get!"
The experiment continues.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Thinking Versus Doing

Someone recently asked me if I'd considered that maybe I spend too much time and energy in contemplation, rather than doing. And it occurred to me; that's the crux of my problem. Not necessarily that it's out of balance, although I've long suspected it is. The fundamental problem, I speculate, is that I have a fear of doing.
When the nutrition course I was/will be in gave me permission to start seeing clients, I suddenly stopped being as interested in the course (the subject matter was still intriguing, it was the course itself that lost some of its appeal). In other words, when it came time to do some doing, I deflated.
I often find that when I do get energy or motivation for something, I will make an effort to psych myself out. For example, if I feel like going for a walk, I might then consciously almost make myself think "eh, first I'd have to find some socks so I could wear my sneakers, and I should really use the bathroom first, and fill up a water bottle, and meh, it's not worth it."
It seems a little oxymoronic, or at least plain old moronic, to try to contemplate myself out of a surplus of contemplation... but I'm not sure how else to go about it. I've tried kind of forcing myself to do. Good old will power, right? Apparently I was born without the gene. Or maybe, the ability to access the gene. Or use it. Or something. The point is, I currently seem unable to strictly force myself to do things. Even, in some warped trick of the psyche, things I at least kind of want to be doing (man, human psychology is weird).
Maybe a small amount of contemplation, or at least trick-learning and circuit-bypassing, is going to be required so I can step out of my own way when it comes to doing the things I'm at least a bit interested in doing? And from there, work my way to doing things I'm not all that interested in doing?
I feel like this makes me sound interminably lazy. Maybe I am... I've always told myself "I'm not lazy, I just do things when I am happy to do them" and to a large extent, I believe that. I'd much rather do a larger stack of dishes every couple of days when I am actually enjoying doing them, rather than every day and be hating it the whole time. I guess the problem in the philosophy comes in when I wind up not doing things when it would probably make me happy (in the longer term sense of the word "happy") to do them.
Anyway, I was having these ideas about doing versus thinking and I didn't want to lose them, so I wrote them down. Right now I am going to go DO going to bed.
But if you have any thoughts, my peeps, please share them!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

True Confessions

All right then. Some of you may have noticed I've been more my old self than is entirely comfortable, lately.
I've always had trouble in January and February, I think. Or at least, since I started being aware of such things. It dates to before Kahlil, so it's not (or at least, the onset wasn't) related to his birthday. It's possible that it's related to February 19, which was a day that a lot of my stuff came to be shared with people and was a huge turning point (for the good, but still quite a big deal) for me psychologically. My therapist and I are exploring the idea of good old traditional Seasonal Affective Disorder, too (ie, getting depressed during winter months). While SAD might play a role, it's definitely not the only contributing factor, though.
My regular doctor (well, ok, she's not regular, she's a naturopath... so, my physical doctor) is keen on biological factors, as one would expect. There are some mental disorders (most notably autism, which I don't have, but I do officially have "depression with autistic features" or "depression with autistic tendencies") in which viral infections can actually take so much out of a person that everything else kind of... shuts down. I had a bout of icky upper respiratory illness at the end of November and continuing through December. Heck, it's possible I get a cold or worse every year around that time. It would be a sensible time to get ill. She did remark that last year my January/February wasn't nearly so crazy, which is very true. I also didn't get very sick last year. Coincidence versus cause can be very confusing, but somehow it's all related, I believe.
Here is what I do know: I haven't been depressed. It may have looked a lot like depression in terms of isolating and lack of motivation and not much laughter going on. But inside it felt different. Previously when I've been truly depressed I felt like I had always felt horrid and would always feel horrid. I felt like it would never pass and everything ever was just awful. For the past couple of months, it's really felt more like I was hibernating or something. I haven't been interested in doing stuff, and I definitely haven't taking care of myself as well as I had been, in terms of spiritual, mental, and physical health. But I was ok with it. It wasn't a horrible feeling, and I was confident that eventually it would pass. I still enjoyed some things, too, and could see that there was even more to enjoy that I just wasn't in the mood for.
I'm using the past tense there because I'm pretty sure it's starting to pass. Since the weather has gotten nicer (which lends credence to SAD playing a role) I've been more interested in doing things. I've gotten my car fixed, gotten work done on my tattoo, cleaned up the house a bit, prepared for Ayyam-i-ha (gift-giving holiday for the Baha'i Faith).
However, there's a few things this time of low energy have cost me. I've a few more scars (not bad ones, and not many, and only from like 3 or 4 days), gained a few pounds (oh sugar and gluten, my love for you is so good, but so bad...), and I've decided to defer my enrollment in my nutritional counseling course. I want to take time to work out what exactly happened, and how to not let it happen again, or at least minimize it. I want to spend energy getting myself back into my life before I try to do anything extra-curricular to my basic life, like school.
I start school again in July. So that's my goal: back on schedule with building healthy habits by July.
Thanks for sticking with me, friends.

DBT Shenanigans

The DBT group looked at me blankly again today. It made me laugh.
We were supposed to be sharing about a time when we observed our feelings/situation without judgment. So I told about yesterday, when I got some tattoo work done. I said something like this:
     "I went to get some new ink yesterday *gesticulating to my right arm*. I was in the chair for about 3 and a half hours. I was practicing the skills by noticing the sensations, like a buzzing in my arm, without deciding it was a 'bad' sensation and without feeling that I had to do something about it, like run away or cuss out my artist."
When I stopped talking everyone just looked at me. They had made comments on other people's stories, so at this point I got the idea that something might have gone wrong. Eventually the therapist running the group said "Oh! For those of you who don't know, 'getting ink' means getting a tattoo." And then everyone said "Ohhhh!"
Apparently a few of them had just been totally lost, one thought I was an artist of some sort that deals with ink but couldn't figure out why my arm was buzzing or why I'd want to be rude to my artist, and one lady thought I said I had "gotten egrets" and was trying to imagine huge bird pets.
I didn't get the kinds of "good job" compliments others got. I got "You have tattoos??"
I'm learning a lot in DBT... just not necessarily the things DBT thought I would!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Drive-Thru Lady

I don't know why I remembered this today, but I did.
A few years ago, in another city, I went to a drive-thru... Bojangle's maybe? I don't remember. I do remember that it was summer and I was wearing a tank top.
The lady working at the window was older; maybe in her mid-60s. She saw my scars and asked me what happened. I told her "I used to cut myself," which is my pretty standard answer. She wrote her name and phone number on the back of my receipt and told me that if I ever needed anything, or just wanted to talk, I should give her a call. She said she had had some hard times in her life, and she knew what it was like.
It could have been a kind of creepy moment, but it wasn't. She was so sincere, it was just a really sweet moment. I kept her number for a few months, although I'm not really sure why; I'm pretty sure I would have never called her. I never did, and the number is long gone.
But anyway, thanks drive-thru lady.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Great Things

I don't have a whole lot to say lately. Or maybe I have too much to say. Either way, here's  great things post instead.

Cream soda

Vampires who become FBI agents

Blue elephants
Sweet grass (it smells like vanilla-cinnamon)

Having a working car

The White Stripes (who, alas, have officially disbanded [ha. disbanded. no pun intended])