Archive for December, 2012

From the psychological to the philosophical viewpoint

Posted in health, mental health, personal, philosophy with tags , , on December 29, 2012 by theweirdphilosopher

This blog has been described as a personal journey. It is, but it centers around a world view which, behind a veil of grey shades (I hate how it is impossible to use that expression anymore without evoking thoughts of grey eyes and luxurious bedrooms) is fairly black and white. The main question I keep on asking myself is: Am I the hero or the villain? I´m asking this question in the lingo of psychology, that is: I´m asking if I´m a narcissist or an abuse victim, if I have a distorted perspective or if everybody else is lying, and my most-read post even carries this dichotomy in the title: Maladaptive Daydreaming – narcissism or dissociation?

I´ve been engaging in this kind of inner conflict for almost ten years now. And the worst thing about this is that I always feel as if I actually know better. I know that psychological concepts are just concepts, and flawed at that. I know that one day I´m going to die, and I know that it is very possible that this life is all I have before my consciousness is extinguished and the world goes on without me – forever. In the light of this, how can I justify letting an idea that was invented around one hundred years ago weigh me down so much? A hundred years are nothing compared to the history of mankind, and the history of mankind is nothing compared to the length of time I will be dead. I will be dead forever.

Problem is: In the light of this, I can justify nothing. No course of action I could take is so meaningful that it could stand out against the infinity of time that obliterates us all. And maybe, on some deeper level, this is what´s behind my inability to choose a profession. To talk about professions in a context like this actually seems bizarre to me. A “mission” is the most mundane thing I will accept.

In the lingo of psychology, this is narcissism. I take my own life so seriously that I cannot do anything with it, because no pursuit is worthy to be what I make of such a unique event as my existence. To this, I´ve added a second problem: I take my own “purity” of mind/character/personality – heck, maybe even soul – so seriously that I´m scared of committing myself to any idea, belief, theory, role, identity. Yes, overall I´m scared of commitment.

There seem to be two ways out of this: One way is to say “my life is not THAT important after all”. It is either a way of being cynical, or a way to punish myself. The other way is to find an entity I can ascribe meaning to. That entity could be a god, it could be society, it could be a family. “I need to work because God wants me to be useful to the world.” – “I need to work because everybody must make a contribution to society.” – “I need to work because I have to feed my family.” What I do doesn´t have to be meaningful in itself – it is meaningful because it contributes to something greater than myself. For those who favour this second solution, this must add up quite nicely: Those who cannot see meaning in making a contribution are narcissists, as they lack all connection to anything greater than themselves. They are lonely, detached, dissatisfied, and ultimately unsuccessful.

I´ve been looking inside of me for where, when and how that link broke. How come I cannot connect, how come I´m detached, what the hell is broken inside of me? I´ve subjected myself to the idea that my nihilism* is somehow neurotic and therefore curable, but somewhere in the back of my head there´s always been this conviction that actually it is spot-on. It is a view that maybe, just maybe I might be able to change – but deep down I just don´t want to, and I feel some kind of disdain for the idea of “changing”. It would indeed be a paradoxical endeavour: I´m supposed to teach myself to believe in something which I believe is wrong? Just because it would make me happy?

I´ve always been at war with a world that seemed to embrace this second solution. I always felt like I need to prove to them that I can succeed. And yet, in the sense that I´m talking about, I can´t. I can get good grades. I can´t achieve anything meaningful if nothing means anything to me. And yet success in the broadest possible sense is to achieve something meaningful.

There are two ways to go about this, and I think I might take both. The first way is to look for something meaningful, find something that means something to me. The second way is to remember that the world I am at war with is largely unaware even of my existence, leave alone my war. It is, essentially, my own private struggle, and the opponents are in my head. What other people, real people think of me doesn´t really matter so much. If I fail, is what matters most really that some random people will experience a moment of schadenfreude?

I guess what makes us feel that life or specific actions are meaningful is – feelings. While life might “objectively” (if such a thing exists) be meaningless, overwhelming feelings have the power to make things seem significant. And while I often enough would like to deny it, I do seem to have feelings, too. And if I can´t shake them all off (and wouldn´t that be pointless, in a way?) in order to satisfy my “nihilism”, if I will always have feelings, then maybe I should better start taking a good look at them, and at the meaning they give to things.

 

*I´m actually wrong when I say I´m nihilistic. I still very much believe in the meaning of meaning. I want the things I do to be meaningful. I want to become a meaningful person. What I cannot feel is that the things I could do mean enough or anything at all, leave alone such concepts as society or god.

 

 

Hello, Demon. How are you?

Posted in health, mental health, morbid, personal with tags , , , , on December 17, 2012 by theweirdphilosopher

I realized a couple of things about myself lately.

1) I´ve gone through a few days of utter frustration and dissatisfaction, where I wanted to either beat the shit out of someone or someone to beat the shit out of me. I understand now what those two wishes have in common: I wanted to lose control. I´m an extremely controlled person, normally. According to a teacher of mine, I´ve been like that even as a child (at least in school, it would seem). This applies both to normal life and my behavior in the bedroom, but especially to the latter. I´m typically very stoical. I don´t show many feelings (though I say openly what I´m feeling). I sort of enjoy myself from a distance. It´s part of why I can be very unselfish and put my partner´s needs first. What I get out of this, among other things, is a sense of accomplishment. It´s similar to the flow experience of writing an extremely strong scene in a story where every word seems to be just right. The comparison is getting old, but being a sadist really is a bit like being an artist. A director, maybe, orchestrating a perfect drama. Sometimes, though, I ache to throw away my self-control and go batshit on someone. I used to think that I shouldn´t flatter myself by calling myself unselfish in bed because I do enjoy myself, after all, even though my entire focus is on my partner, but compared to what appear to be my actual needs I´m very unselfish. I just didn´t realize I had these needs. Anyway, I´m sorry I´m bugging my readers with all these details on a blog that originally was about mental health. I always feel sort of bad doing that, but separating this part of my life from my soul-searching and constant reflecting never worked for me. Again, sorry.

2) This self-control is not just self-control. It also controls me. I feel like I cannot be less rigid. That also makes me feel, though, as if I don´t really have emotions. Otherwise I´d sure have emotional outbreaks at times? It´s part of why I want to lose control. Actually, I kind of idealize losing control, as if it would make me more real or more authentic. My feelings would seem so much more justified to me if I lost it sometimes. Like: If I can´t help yelling at someone, then he sure must have done something bad to provoke me. If I can still control myself, then it can´t be that bad. Writing it down I realize what sick kind of logic this is. What would follow, after all, is that the worse my reaction is, the more the other person has deserved it. So if someone angers me enough for me to murder him, he sure must be a bad person? Weird idea. Still, though, it leads to me thinking my lack of uncontrollable emotional reactions invalidates my emotions as such. My mother once said to me that she never believed in any of the emotions I display, other than fear. Indeed, my anxiety attacks are the one thing I cannot control. Most of the time I feel like I have a choice whether I want to express my emotions or not, and when I decide to do so, I feel like an actor. Like I´m simply trying to create drama. Or maybe like I´m being needlessly mean, especially when my emotion is anger. Expressing anger feels like a conscious decision to be evil. I think: If I´m not already fuming, if I haven´t spontaneously expressed my anger already, then maybe I´m not actually angry enough to warrant expressing it? I´m still not really sure if I just have an out-of-control self-control, or if my emotions are just more shallow than those of others.

3) My self-control is not just a burden. It also gives me something. Like a sense of accomplishment. Generally, it´s a very instinctive thing. I wouldn´t normally express feelings of insecurity or admit I´m scared of something. I just do stuff. I take my exams. I go to job interviews. I don´t admit I´m scared, not even to myself. In fact, all too often I don´t even know if I´m scared or not. If anything, what I feel is: “I don´t want to do this!”. I always looked down upon classmates who went hysterical before a test. Even when I was nervous, it was clear to me I would never admit it. I didn´t even know why. Wearing your heart on your sleeve seemed dumb to me, end of. Self-control was what distinguished me from others. It was a source of superiority. Maybe, if I do want to dig deeper after all, I felt that the teachers were enemies who wanted to make us afraid to manipulate us into learning. Which is undoubtedly true on some level, though it might be a slightly cynical view on the educational system. At any rate, I didn´t want them to be able to manipulate me, and if they were, that is, if I was frightened, I refused to show it. I guess sometimes I actually told myself I enjoyed learning even when I didn´t, just so I didn´t have to live with this shame. By the way, there was a time when I refused to cry even when I physically hurt myself. I wanted to be strong. I wanted to be above people who were “soft” and vulnerable. I still have many of those traits. I measure myself according to stricter standards than those I measure others by, but I take pride in that. Or would, if I felt that I meet my standards. I don´t. I still cannot let go of them, though.

4) Because of the paragraph above, I understand why I would be labeled a narcissist. In what way it might be true, even. The thought of being manipulated and being made vulnerable, the thought of looking needy, the thought of people thinking that I lack something makes me feel extremely angry and extremely humiliated. I´d go to great lengths to avoid that, including yelling at people. As a kid, I´d even yell at adults, strangers. So, I actually do lose control, or at least I did, and I was so ashamed of it I hardly could bear the memory of that.  I essentially react with outrage to anyone claiming I´m weak. So essentially, my main concern in life, or my most important priority, was to avoid a specific narcissistic injury. I can see why someone like that might be called a narcissist.

5) The main narcissistic injury about being a narcissist is that it means I´m needy. I´m in need of a positive self-image, a very specific self-image. Being in need of anything, leave alone something petty as a heroic self-image, though, contradicts the very self-image I need so much. I´ve been semi-aware of this for a long time, and my solution was that I needed to stop needing that self-image. If I stopped needing that self-image, I´d stop being a narcissist and I could feel good about myself (oh, the irony!). Now I think that the real problem with me is not that I need a positive self-image, not even a specific one. This actually seems to be a fairly common human need. A narcissistic need we all have, so to say. If we feel like bad persons, we feel guilt or shame and we want to avoid that. The problem is that I deny myself the right to have any narcissistic needs, and paradoxically I do that for the sole purpose of fulfilling them.

6) I thought that if I ever found out I´m a needy, “pathetic” narcissist the shame of it was going to kill me. This was before I found out that wanting to be able to look at oneself fondly is not shameful in itself. It is a basic human need that is frequently used to hurt people. What makes me a narcissist, if anything, is my obsession of not wanting to lose face and look weak and dumb, and if wanting to not be ashamed of myself, even to like and be proud of myself, is normal and forgivable, not a personal weakness of mine, then I can integrate it into my self-image. I can “own” that need and recognize when people toy with it. Acknowledging it does make me stronger – which might be the primary reason why I´m interested in doing so.

7) The desired self-image still has its hold on me. What I´m doing here I´m at least partly doing on its behalf. It won´t simply go away, and I´m not sure I´d let it. Maybe it´s even an alright ideal to have, or an alright image to cultivate. The value of what I found out today, though,  is that whenever I find myself tempted to lie to myself about how well I´m corresponding to my self-image, I can remind myself that it´s no shame to want to be something. It´s no shame to want to feel good about yourself. It´s nothing I need to earn by already being who I want to be. And if I want to feel good about myself, as long as I´m not harming anyone else in the process I can just go out there and make me feel good about myself. Even if I´m only dreaming. I don´t need to punish myself for being flawed. I don´t need to shame myself for having narcissistic needs.

 

Disjointed thoughts about masochism, self-destruction, breaking and healing

Posted in health, mental health, morbid, personal with tags , , , on December 14, 2012 by theweirdphilosopher

I´m suprised right now how often I take out my frustrations sexually. Not on others, mostly, and if so I ask for permission before I do it. At least if I´m the one who´s doing stuff to them. Sometimes, though, I find myself provoking and bugging them because I want them to drive this out of me. Break me. It´s still something I cannot ask for directly because I hate myself too much for it and I resist it all I can. It´s actually something paradoxical to ask for.

Anyway, I wonder where that frustration is coming from. I get huge levels of frustration which I can´t quite explain. It´s just there, like the physical tension that goes with it. I can´t focus on anything, I can´t do anything right, I can´t even try, and I hate everything I do. Everything about me annoys me.

I´m not sure at the moment if this is a trivial physiological process that has psychological consequences, the way PMS messes with your mind, or if this is purely psychological. Very likely this question is completely misguided anyway. It touches upon serious body-mind-problems which I, despite studying philosophy, don´t know very much about.

At any rate, though, my view on this whole issue is changing a bit. Until now, I tended towards seeing my need to be beaten as a mystery, and I was looking into my psyche for answers. I found plenty, of course (such as: my parents never punished me and for some twisted reason I would have needed just that) but neither of them really satiated my need for an explanation.

What, though, if I´ve asked the wrong question? Maybe that need is just there. Maybe for me being hurt releases stress. Other people do sports, maybe I need something else. Stress, in this context, means that I´m restless while unable to do anything productive, and I loathe myself for it. I lack all resolve, self-discipline and focus. Maybe if that frustration was just relieved I wouldn´t need to hate myself for it. Maybe all the soul-searching is just a substitute. An attempt at finding another way out of this frustration.

I´ve been wondering if the soul-searching is the better way, the way I should go. If I was a therapist, I´d say that I mustn´t resort to physical pain to relieve the frustration because that way I lose the chance to learn why I am so frustrated. The cynical patient inside of me replies that maybe I´m not learning anything at all. I´m just constructing something, anything that helps me relieve the tension in another way. Today I´ve started and discarded three blog entries before this one, and each time I was either berating myself or provoking fights with all sorts of people. I´d go to some lengths to feel I´m making an impact, and to be punished for it. Amazingly enough, though, I´m sane enough not to post that stuff. Maybe, though, it has nothing much to do with sanity. Maybe a sense of accomplishment can kill off this frustration as well, and it gives me a sense of accomplishment when I manage to analyze my situation instead of trying to manipulate people through my communication style. It worked yesterday.

I don´t think, though, that analyzing my situation is necessarily better than just getting myself what I really want. If I could straightforwardly ask for what I need (and get it, of course), there´d be no harm in it. The thought of always having to take this sublime and sophisticated route I´m taking now is wearing me down. I still feel all the tension in my body, I just feel a little bit better about myself in general because at least I manage to write this. But that´s a bit like substituting self-esteem for sex. It´s better to have both.

I think that might really be where I´m headed with these thoughts. Maybe for me letting someone hurt me is what for other people is sex. While I do get a certain amount of relaxation from orgasm (though that amount really varies), the thought of sexual actions doesn´t excite me emotionally. And that´s what matters. If it didn´t, I could kill the frustration by punching myself. What I do get emotional excitement from, however, is the thought of curling up to a ball while someone´s fists are raining down on me. Well…again, I need to turn this around. I already know that for me pain is an emotional catalyst. What I wanted to say is that maybe for other people sex is that catalyst. In which case it might be completely pointless to wonder where my frustration is coming from. Or at least no more pointless than to wonder why other people are frustrated.

Sexual frustration seems to carry an element of emotional frustration, otherwise it could be resolved through masturbation. And that emotional frustration might not be so different from mine. Maybe it´s a need to let go and forget about everything for a while. Maybe it´s a need to be helpless towards overwhelming stimuli. Maybe it´s a need to feel good instead of bad, full stop. Maybe it´s a need for an emotional release that can only be accomplished through physical stimulation.

I compare this to what I´ve written here, about how breaking isn´t healing. It seems paradoxical that while I condemn an idea of healing that seems to involve the overwhelming of emotional boundaries, I demand and defend being broken right now. I believe, though, those two things are different in some very crucial aspects.

For once, I don´t mistake breaking for healing. What I want is a momentary, short-term fix. I don´t expect the thrashing I want to have an effect that lasts any longer than anything else that relaxes you. I just want something to help me fall asleep, and maybe I´ll wake up still feeling a bit of an afterglow, and much less tense and grumpy.

Then, everything that might be said to me in order to facilitate the break-down (“you´re weak, you´re strength is just a facade, actually you´re frightened, but you´re too proud to admit it, do you think that will help you?”) is really just a means to an end. I´m not expected to internalize or believe it. Telling me that I am everything I fear I might be, or mocking myself the way I´m already  mocking myself in my head serves as a kind of exorcism. It isn´t a serious psychological analysis.

Then, I go into this knowing what it is all about. It´s about producing an emotional breakdown. It´s about hitting my sore spots. I´m not under the impression that my opponent is a neutral observer. I know he intends to make it hurt. All this builds a very important framework that confines the breakdown.

Confining the breakdown is absolutely crucial. And I feel that this is what´s not happening in ideologies that equate breaking and healing. The breakdown is supposed to be absolute and to have lasting consequences. What is said is being taken seriously. It´s like taking the emotional dramaturgy of sex and turning it into a psychological agenda.

I don´t think breaking me heals me. It is  something entirely different. A step towards “healing”, if I even want to use that word, would be to be able to ask for exactly what I want without being strangled by the shame and inappropriateness of it. A step towards “healing” is to stay away from people who conflate breaking and healing. A step towards “healing” is to hold my ground against people who try to breach my emotional boundaries without my permission. Letting people breach them with my permission is  a completely different issue.

Uh…..anger management? Maybe?

Posted in health, mental health, morbid, personal with tags , , , , , on December 12, 2012 by theweirdphilosopher

Under normal circumstances, I´d say I´m depressed. Depression, however, is just a convenient cover-up in my case; convenient because what I actually feel is too trivial, shameful and private. It will probably repulse people. At least that´s what always seems to happen in real life.

I´m angry enough, though, to feel entitled to repulse anyone reading this. If I´m not going to get what I want, I can at least voice it. Maybe it will relieve some of the frustration I´m feeling. Because, yes, this is my problem: Utter frustration.

The frustration is actually physical. I feel awfully tense and angry, and I know exactly what I need: I need someone to knock me down onto the bed and beat me up.

It´s as simple as that. I don´t want it because I deserve it, or because I need to self-destruct. My body wants it, demands it, requires it. That´s just part of the screwed-up person I am. Any kind of sexual tension, if taken too far, at some point transforms into  ferocious, aggressive impulses. It´s nothing psychological for all I know. At least nothing I can perceive. It just is.

It´s not a place where I like to go, because usually there´s no way out of that. I can either take it out on others, which they and I normally don´t want, or I can let others take it out on me. Which is normally not pleasant either, not while it happens. The last time we did that I couldn´t stand the pain one bit, it made me angry, I felt it was unfair, and I started to cry. I thought the whole thing had been a giant mistake, but suddenly it was like a huge weight had been lifted off my chest. I felt cheerful, relaxed and renewed.

Ever feeling that good again seems unimaginable right now. It´s like this tension, the frustration will never go away again. It´s not like I haven´t tried punching myself, but this won´t do. It doesn´t get my adrenaline up the way it goes when I brace myself for someone else´s attack. I hardly even feel the pain while I do it. I can´t break myself, but that´s essentially what I need. I don´t like it very much, it doesn´t feel good while it happens, I try to fight it even though I asked for it, but right now it is what I need in order to be able to focus again.

I wonder how much of my “depression” is down to stuff like that. Depression is often described as suppressed anger. I wonder if, maybe, much of my mental self-torture is an attempt at giving myself what I need. It is somewhat satisfying. Even what I´m doing here, that is, writing it all down for the public to read, is somehow provocative. It could end with conflict, and maybe, though on some level I absolutely dread conflict and get severe bouts of anxiety about it  – maybe I want just that. Maybe I want to be told I´m sick and need therapy or worse, just so I can spit at anyone who tells me so. I think my anxiety about conflicts largely stems from a pre-emptive guilty conscience. I have a vague idea what I´m capable of, and most of the time I´d prefer to not find out how cruel and unfeeling I can really be. Sometimes I think my anxiety is just an attempt at making myself believe I´m a little more humane than I am. An attempt at making myself feel weaker so I don´t have to feel evil. I recently looked more closely at when anxiety and worry suddenly kick in, and I realized that it reliably happened whenever I felt happy or triumphant or self-confident, so there´s actually something to this theory. At other times, though, I think that I´m overestimating the meaning of my aggressiveness.  Maybe I´m pointlessly phobic of my own aggression, maybe I´m the only one who´s even remotely frightened of it. Maybe I´m not more aggressive than others.

There´s this Jungian idea of the shadow everyone has. I thought I was well acquainted with mine, given that I keep on digging up nasty secrets and talk about how I feel inadequate, or about how I´m not just empathic but also sadistic (empathy and sadism are a very typical set of twins, so it would seem like I know my dark side). This, however, is all bright and shiny as daylight. In a twisted way it makes me look good to talk about those things, as it seems to suggest that I´m modest and self-aware and not getting ahead of myself. It´s a way to look humane. Even a way to connect with others. A way to look courageous.  And regarding the sadism part – I only admit to the non-aggressive, playful part of it. A part that is real, strong, good and very much appreciated by some. There sometimes comes a point where it turns into blind aggression, though, and this is exactly what I´ve described here. I don´t act on it, but sometimes I want to. Sometimes I don´t want to ask permission, sometimes I don´t want to ask “are you okay shall I stop?” when I hear real noises of pain, sometimes I want to push people to the point of tears and yell at them for crying. Sometimes I want to use to opportunity to take out real-life trouble on them.  And I think that some of my anxiety is, indeed, down to me being terrified that I am like that. Just how unfeeling I can be. How far I can separate myself from all feelings of connection, from my own and others´ humanity. Or could, if I didn´t stop myself with the help of anxiety attacks. Sometimes I think I´m something as unlikely as a neurotic psychopath.

Then, there´s other things that potentially separate me from others. Triumph. Success or even ambition. Pride in what I do. Happiness that does not relate to moments of intimacy. Instead of feeling such things, I often start to feel anxious. Sometimes I decide to stop denying I´m happy, proud or triumphant. It always makes me feel a tad reckless and evil, like I´m dancing on someone´s grave. Like I´m being utterly arrogant. And then I tell myself: Well, fine, so I´m arrogant! I don´t care! Which makes me feel like an indifferent, stereotypical narcissist. Lately, I want to come to the point of not caring about that, either. I just should be aware that I will get no one´s permission for that. Not diminishing oneself anymore is always everyone´s great goal in theory, but for some reason it is rarely welcomed in practice.

So – replacing anxiety with scary feelings of pride and accomplishment and even megalomania and arrogance, if they are what is inside of me is one thing. But how about the aggression?

I guess it´s all about allowing myself to feel. I am allowed to have absolutely every feeling. I just shouldn´t act on some of them, and I see no indication that I will. It seems to be the only way to get rid of my anxiety, though. By replacing it with whatever feeling it covers up.

Thank fuck I´m feeling I´ve just admitted to being a homicidal maniac who should be taken out. At least now I know what I really think about myself. And at least the bloody tension is gone!

 

 

Parasomnia and my frustration with society

Posted in health, mental health, personal with tags , , , , on December 12, 2012 by theweirdphilosopher

It´s half past six and I´m facing a very banal and ordinary nightmare, but a nightmare nonetheless: I have to get up in half an hour and leave the house, though only in order to let someone into our old place. I can go to sleep afterwards.

Why is it a nightmare? Because normally this or an hour or two before this is when I go to sleep. I go to sleep at five, normally. That sounds insane each time I write it down, but that´s the way it is. And this being the way it is, I cannot get up before twelve without being extremely tired – with very torturing symptoms, like nausea, belly cramps and constant shaking.

I know exactly the kind of reactions this evokes, from “god, you´re lazy!” to “this can´t be healthy, you need to do something about it!” Neither reaction shows any readiness to accept that, whyever I may have such a weird sleeping rhythm, right now making me “get up” early in the morning is like making a normal person get up at three a.m. and forcing her to work  or be friendly to others or perform complicated intellectual tasks. It´s unfair, and it borders torture.

I was extremely tired at about 4 a.m., so I tried to go to sleep, but one hour ago I woke up with, guess what, belly cramps. Those are, I´m sure, purely down to stress. When I know I´ll have to either get up after two or three hours sleep, or not go to bed at all (until like 8 a.m.), I feel so much stress that I cannot sleep, no matter how tired I am, and my thoughts are racing. Loudly. Add to this a piercing headache.

I´m starting to feel like I need to fight back. Whether I simply have an extremely unsual sleeping rhythm or some kind of sleeping disorder, I do not need to punish myself for it. I feel like I have some obligation to function anyway, and to do what everybody else does, that is, be available in the morning. I can´t, though. It may annoy people, and it may make them roll their eyes and call me lazy or spoiled, but effectively I´m not sleeping more than others. I just sleep at different times.

It might actually be great to get some official diagnosis. Not because I necessarily believe I´m ill. It would shut people up, though. It needs to be something that can´t be helped, of course.

Right now I´m treating my sleeping behavior like a drug addiction. It´s something shameful that I need to keep secret, even if it means I´m shaking and panicking and have a choir of shrill voices yelling at me in my head. Maybe, though, I need to be open about it. I could actually make up some doctor I´ve already talked to who said there´s nothing anyone can do about it. Why do I need to answer to people anyway? How many of them function at three a.m.? Well. I do.

If I stopped feeling like I need to justify myself, I could simply say no to tasks like the one that´s ruining my night right now. Early morning tasks are just something you mustn´t come to me with. Full stop. Nothing to discuss. If you need someone to switch on the washing machine at two a.m., go ahead, ask me, but don´t demand I let anyone into your flat at seven a.m.! 

Right now I´m actually fairly functioning. Obviously. I´m writing a blog entry, and it´s not even a manical panicky stream of consciousness. But I don´t want to get up. I want to finish this, lie down and sleep; and instead I´ll have to get up now. When will I wake up, given that I can only go to bed in one hour earliest? At four? Now how will that feel? I will be getting zero daylight!

The logic I follow is actually: If I cannot work in the morning and keep early appointments then I am a problem because this is inconvenient to other people. Normal people. Real people, people who count. So I either need to keep those appointments anyway, or I need to go to the doctor and make sure he fixes me somehow.

I tend to think I only need a normal rhythm to be forced on me, and then it will work. Give me some hard work and suddenly I´ll go to bed at 10 p.m. Well, yes. It works for about four days, then my old rhythm sets in again. I´ve just experienced that. At the moment, early appointments merely have the paradoxical effect that I cannot sleep at all because that´s somehow less painful then the – indeed – physical agony of being ripped out of your bed when you´re just been in a phase of deep sleep.

I keep on thinking to myself what I´m missing out on because of my sleeping habits. It´s restricting my possibilities, isn´t it? Might even have a dangerous impact on my career options. Makes me look like a junkie, with those shadows under my eyes. Who´s going to employ someone like me?

I´m desperately trying to cover up for my lack of normalcy, but at the same time it´s the tyranny of normalcy that´s causing me all this stress. If I was met with understanding rather than disdain, I would actually be able to contribute something. But no, I probably just lack discipline! Really, I dare you: Imagine you´re suddenly cast into a society where the day starts at 3 a.m. You´ll have to get up just that early for most jobs, for most appointments, and if you don´t, you´ll be frowned upon and called lazy. I already look forward to storming into your room and shaking you awake, and please make sure to tell me exactly how you´re doing!

If you think you´re going to get used to it and be just fine, good for you, but by doing so, you´re admitting that our current rhythm is pretty arbitrary. I´m actually sick of being told that we have a natural rhythm that is oriented towards daylight, and that every other rhythm is sick and perverted and unhealthy. Human beings adapt damn quickly, and electricity has been around for a while now. Maybe people being awake at night is a natural reaction to a technical development. What´s so good about natural anyway? Most of modern medicine isn´t particularly natural, but it has greatly improved our life quality.

Imagine a society that celebrates sleeping rhythm diversity. Wouldn´t such a society be a whole lot more productive? Especially regarding the global nature of our economy. It can only be useful to have people around who work at night, because for other people it´s bright daylight and they can interact without losing any time.

Well. Dream on. I didn´t even mean to turn this into a political debate. I only meant to say that I´d do myself a great favor if I forced others to simply accept that I´m not available before noon. If I stopped acting like I have to make up for it. This thought has been confirmed right away, simply because my cramps have suddenly stopped. Fascinating, isn´t it?

 

Shelf esteem

Posted in college, health, mental health, personal with tags , , on December 1, 2012 by theweirdphilosopher

I´ve been apathetic and depressed all day and doing anything at all was an effort, but now I´m feeling much better. I have spent a lot of time sorting my books, deciding what I want to keep and what needs to be stored in the basement. Now when I look at my bookshelves, for the first time in my life I only see books which interest me or which I like for some reason.

I used to have tons of clever, sophisticated books in my shelves, and then tons of stuff my parents gave to me for whatever reason, and I always felt the burden of those books. But I have to read them. I need to read and know all this before I can do anything else. They have become part of my life and part of what I´m supposed to succeed in and know about.

Well, now I don´t need to worry about that anymore. One of my bookshelves is childrens´ books and crime novels, the other one is books about crime, terrorism and psychology. I´m surrounded by books which actually are my friends.

Some books used to make me feel bad for very foggy reasons, like there was one single line or a piece of dialogue which somehow made me feel stupid, unlovable or otherwise bad. They´re gone now, though just to the basement, as I´m still not one for throwing things away.

I no longer feel obliged to tolerate things that make me feel bad.

The statement, admittedly, is a little bolder than I deserve, given that I´m only talking about books. It´s only now, though, that I realize to what extent I have tolerated my identity and my wishes and needs to be marginalized if I have to grow this old before I even feel fit to decide what I put into my own bookshelf.

I constantly seem to be waiting for someone´s permission for every decision I make. I cannot just make them on my own. It amazes me how much more alive I feel just because I made sure my bookshelves reflect my interests. It was incredibly liberating, also, when I went through my old papers, notes and clutter and put my past into one big box, wrote “sort out when you feel better” on it and banished it to the basement where it will patiently wait for me to develop a morbid interest even in times which now seem too toxic to think of. That interest will come eventually, I know myself that well.

What I put into that box was nothing too dramatic, it was just a whole lot of uni stuff, for example. And damn, did that feel good! Banish all the expectations, all the should-haves, everything I should have read, studied, obsessed over and didn´t! Even if I graduate, my time at uni will largely have been a failure. Not the years in general, but the uni part. It feels good to free myself of the feeling of obligation I still have when I look at my uni stuff.

Now that I free myself (or at least try to do so), what´s next? I will be done with uni soon, one way or the other, and I´ll need to find something to do. I don´t want to slip into the old routine of letting others decide or doing what others expect.

I recently reached a point in my life where I stopped being terrified of who I am and started to feel curious about it. That seems to be a good foundation for finding out what to do. I think it´s too early to think about jobs or worrying about making money from every little talent or passion I have. That´s the kind of thinking that´s been blocking me for years. Since when am I a person who reduces the meaning of life to finding the right career anyway? I sort of turned into that kind of person, but I can still feel my younger self cringe at that somewhere in the back of my head, and she´s damn right.

I´m a bit worried about my optimism. I´ve had moments like this before, and I always lost that spirit again. I´ve somehow become skeptical towards the dream that one day everything will change and I´ll suddenly be someone who feels alive, someone with an identity of her own.

I´m the kind of person who doesn´t even know she has an intuition when it comes to life choices, so I´ve never been good at following it. But right now it seems to be saying something, and that is: Don´t do anything that doesn´t have that little trace of magic that makes you feel alive.

Well, I will have to do some things. I´ll have to try and graduate. Afterwards, though…we´ll see!