Archive for September, 2013

That one time when I tried to say too many things at once and published a very unstructured post

Posted in personal, rants with tags , , , , , , on September 30, 2013 by theweirdphilosopher

Those how-tos and advice I read…

Quite often they´re designed as a kick-up-the-backside. Tough-love motivational speeches. Depending on my mood, I can read them calmly, feeling unaffected, like it doesn´t apply to me (until I reach the passage that says: “and – YES! – this applies to YOU, too! Specifically to you!”), or I will be cast into a dark prison of rage, hurt, self-loathing and demoralizing internal arguments. Actually, if that doesn´t happen right away, I´ll keep on reading those speeches and lists until it does. That´s typically the point where I skip to the comments section, hoping to find affirmation for my feelings. What I will find, however, is floods of: “OMG, brilliant as ever!” – “Oh god, I´m so guilty of all this! Haha!” – “That´s just what I needed to hear right now. Thank you.”

Those comments demoralize me even more. Because they touch upon something that had me doubt myself ever since I can remember:

How do people manage to respond like that to the emotional equivalent of a full-body-thrashing and why is it so impossible for me to respond in the same way?

I´m torn between two explanations, as always. Either everybody else is simply a whole lot stronger than me character wise (need less ego stroking, not afraid to hear the truth, genuinely eager to improve), or those are some very elaborate defense mechanisms they might not even realize they are using.

I´ll explain the second hypothesis first, because that´s easier: Tough-love speeches put their (willing or unwilling) recipients one-down. Said recipients want to be on equal footing with the author again, but they can´t do that by openly contradicting. It´s nearly impossible to contradict those tough-love speeches without looking like “you´re just too weak for them”. The implicit rule of tough-love speeches is that those who contradict are the once who´d need to hear them most. Therefore, you will need to pretend that 1) you absolutely agree and 2) that you aren´t actually a recipient, you´re a bystander. The recipient is someone else. You might applaud the author for his writing style while not talking about the content. You might keep your positive feedback as vague (and possibly even condescending) as possible. You might want to signal “I learned all those rules a long time ago and I have applied them since, but it´s never wrong to hear them from someone else, so kudos”. At any rate, you will want to make yourself sound like an equal.

This part is something I can understand. I apply those techniques, too, rather often. But then I encounter something like: “I needed to hear this, thank you so much!”, and when I´m done cringing I wonder why the hell someone would respond like this. I simply don´t know how this could be a defense mechanism. Sure, excessive self-abasement can be used as a form of subversion. It can shed light on the true nature of some of those speeches, that is: They´re a form of humiliation. But those responses don´t reek of parody. I can only conclude that they are real. Earnest. Serious. And I don´t get it.

Responses like these make me feel dumb and defective. The feelings that could make me want to say such things are a blind spot both in my imagination and my experience. And there surely must be something wrong with that? Beginning with the fact that other people don´t understand my utter discomfort when faced with such reactions. Or the fact that, when such responses are expected from me, I fail to deliver and instead do things that can only be described as irrational, crazy and incomprehensible?

There is, as always, the special snowflake explanation. Maybe something is terrible wrong with a society based on such put-downs, and hierarchies, and all kinds of humiliations guised as child-rearing – and I´m one of those few people who are sensitive enough to recognize the wrongness of it all. I know what tough-love speeches have to say about that. There are no special snowflakes in tough-love, and even if so, YOU are none of them. (This is meme-worthy. This is so meme-worthy.)

I don´t need to be a special snowflake, though, in order to disagree and be right. Tough-love speeches are good at creating an illusion of all-encompassing consensus. No one contradicts, so everyone agrees. Apart from some really, really pathetic twats. Don´t be one of them. Actually, though, the author can be sure only of the agreement of the 159-ish people who cared to comment. That´s not so terrifically much. So maybe there´s hope for me.

Anyway, maybe that´s part of the reason why I can´t stay away from such speeches even though they make me unhappy and unproductive (actually, that was not supposed to be the topic of this post, but never mind): I cannot accept that there is something I don´t understand. It´s a loose end in my belief system, so I need to tie it up. And that´s why I keep on coming back to this issue.

Anyway. How do people do it? How do they feel doing it? What does it take for you to feel grateful for this kind of treatment?

Somehow, I always tip-toe around this question. I kind of – want to experience that state of mind. And I kind of don´t want to. I imagine myself saying those things. I try to strip that idea of its horror. Of the disgust I feel. I try to be sincere. I try to say it without self-disgust. I try to make it sound plausible, real, like the mistakes I´m accused of are the only right explanation there ever was for all my unhappiness. I even imagine trying to forgive myself for not seeing it earlier.

There´s only ever two outcomes: Either it kicks in a a way that it really shouldn´t, or I feel nauseated, depressed and demoralized. Often, it´s one after the other. What doesn´t happen, though, is that it ever feels like a genuine, positive emotional experience. And that makes me feel broken. Defunct.

If I´m incapable of responding well to lectures and criticism, am I then incapable of personal growth? Does my masochism block my ability to react positively to any attempts at improving me? And if so: Do I have to change my sexual orientation in order to become a mentally healthy person?

Those were questions more or less visibly nagging at me when I started seeing Dr. Stoneface. That´s not why I noted them down here. I did so because they still bug me. Part of me feels like the answer to all those questions must be “no”. Part of me feels like this is wishful thinking. Remember, no special snowflakes. Even if there are people who are right, those people certainly aren´t YOU!

Yes. Totally meme-worthy.

I know that many people are inclined to think that the answer to all those questions posed above is “yes”. Dr. Stoneface certainly was. How people answer those questions, though, is my ultimate test of their trustworthiness. It doesn´t protect me, of course. To many people, those questions aren´t even connected. They might think, for example, any kind of masochism or sexual deviation is ill and crazy. But also people who embrace sexual diversity might reject me, thinking I´m an immature twat who isn´t really into their kind of kink but just one of those nutjobs and eccentrics who creep around on the edges and give the “scene” a bad name. And 99% of all people I deal with have no idea of the inner conflicts and the social anxiety I carry around and they will never know that they just failed a major trust test.

I wish that didn´t matter to me so much. Like: I wish I didn´t care what opinions other people have. Fact is, though – when someone I like or even admire has an opinion that makes me feel bad about myself, I sometimes feel unable to continue talking to them. A friend of my partner I always sort of idolized was visiting and I was talking to her about my failed therapy attempts. Suddenly she said that she really took something from her last therapy because her therapist didn´t let her get away with her usual schemes. I felt physically ill hearing her say that. I felt unable to stay in the same room with her. I felt deeply rejected. And this kind of rejection happens to me very, very often, without anybody noticing.

I´m starting to feel depressed, so I´ll just leave it here for a better day.

 

 

 

 

 

Stuck

Posted in personal with tags , on September 28, 2013 by theweirdphilosopher

I feel like I´m pretty close to the core of my self-rejection, but I´m not sure if I can put it into words that won´t make me reject myself. There is a way of writing down painful truths that causes just the right amount of pain to be cathartic, but isn´t open and indecent self-debasement. That way is hard to find and it is by far not always accessible to me.

If done right, this writing down of uncomfortable things gradually lifts the burden of shame, embarrassment and self-loathing. Most of the time, though, I´m incapable of helping myself that way. I have to deal with those feelings by engaging in daydreams and imaginary dialogues in which some kind and patient person tells me what I need to hear. It would be pointless to write those dialogues down here. I´d have to write an actual story that also contains context, gestures, facial expressions, mutual feelings. Even in private that´s too intimate for me. I never turn those daydreams into stories. This inability, though, is extremely frustrating. It is responsible for a great deal of my crankiness. Also, my need to daydream in order to regulate my feelings of shame is responsible for a lot of my time-wasting.

It is not what I wanted to write about, but it is as valid an insight as any that apparently my shame keeps me from being effective in any area. It sometimes stops me even from getting up to brush my teeth. My inertia, of course, causes me even more shame. It´s a vicious circle similar to that of depression. It wouldn´t be such an interesting notion if that shame didn´t feel so specific.

Usually, when you are ashamed, someone is bound to ask: “What are you ashamed of?” I feel like I´m getting close to the point of being able to answer that.

I`m not looking for that answer in order to fix what´s wrong with me. I´m looking for that answer in order to give something to myself that I have been denied all my life.

I´d have to re-read this to find an appropriate title and I´m afraid sleep comes first

Posted in morbid, personal with tags , , , , , on September 27, 2013 by theweirdphilosopher

There is something I seek time and time again: Advice and how-tos about things which are very personal to me. Such as writing. Or living at all. It´s not so much practical advice as it is advice about which attitudes to have or what to feel. And I really don´t know why I´m doing this to myself because I always end up feeling like shit and rebelling against it. To make things worse, the latter also adds immaturity and arrogance to my list of personal shortcomings.  I´m trapped in that cage of “but why do I have to be such a horrible person where did I go wrong”, running against the same four walls again and again. It is impossible to just accept you are like this. I should know better than to ask those questions, really. I´m too much of a cynic to believe in a great why, and the “how did it happen” question only gets you into more trouble since you will inevitably look for explanations which take the blame off you or make it look like it´s a proof of your character strength that you didn´t turn out worse.

It sounds much more reasonable to identify my strong reaction to this kind of “advice” as the problem. My only problem, maybe. Nobody is perfect, but I have too strong a reaction when faced with my shortcomings. This doesn´t help me, though. It makes me feel like just as much of an arrogant nitwit. Not accepting you have any shortcomings is ignorant, immature and somewhat ridiculous, if not pathetic. It also leaves you extremely vulnerable. And I hate feeling like I´m at anyone´s mercy. So maybe that´s why I keep on going back to such advice even though I´ve noticed plenty of times it does me no good. After every major or minor life change I challenge how solid or important it was by putting myself to the test: “Can I stand this now? Can I take it with a smile? Can I learn from it or do I maybe find I no longer need to? Can I perceive this as helpful and constructive?” So far, I have always failed.

These failures have always demoralized me. It happens so reliably that you can rightly call it “self-sabotage”. But when I go back to those advice pages I´m always bursting with optimism. I´m dimly aware I´m doing something I had, in a moment of better judgement, promised myself to avoid in the future, but I do it anyway because something about it is intoxicating. It is intoxicating in a similar way as is any kind of transgression, just that in this case I get punched in the stomach half-way through.

It is a pattern I´ve shown even as a little kid of maybe five when I insisted on playing rough-and-tumble with my father even though I knew it would end badly. I was always excited for that part when I would start to get afraid because I was hoping that this time – by using fucktons of willpower, self-discipline and attitude adjustment – I could make it feel good. I never could, I always ended up panicked, pleading, and eventually deeply resentful. I complained to him, I might even have complained to my mother, but it didn´t satisfy me when he stopped taking it too far. It is a great life lie of mine that I didn´t want such things to happen to me. I do, and a lot of my anxiety is tied to that. A lot of my self-disdain as well. It´s probably the same guilt-shame-what-kind-of-an-ungrateful-monster-am-I mixture most masochists suffer from at some point in their lives. I´m sure I´d never have tried to believe I had really been abused if it hadn´t been for those toxic feelings. Or, as I´d say in my darker moments: If I wasn´t that kind of monster. That kind of person (let´s not kid ourselves here; “monster” is a form of flattery. It´s so poetic.).

I digress. What I was originally going to ask myself (before I started to ponder the complexities of masochism) is why on earth I´m wasting my time fighting one tiny little vulnerability. Okay, maybe not so tiny. Vulnerabilities are big and serious by definition. And maybe it is kind of relatable that one would try not to be vulnerable. The only reason to stop fighting vulnerabilities is if there is a chance it might make you less vulnerable. Is there?

Let us do a thought experiment. I walk through life and I still feel horribly upset every time I encounter someone who is better at living than me. Shouldn´t be difficult, as I´ve just proven I´m one of those fools who think life is a competition, so absolutely everyone is entitled to lecture me by default. But enough of the snappiness and self-defense. I walk through life and I cannot cope with the fact that I have serious personal shortcomings. Meaning that every time it is somehow pointed out to me I either fly into a fit of rage and angry internal (hopefully!) dialogue or I feel depressed and demoralized and secretly punch myself in the bathroom. Well. The worst thing that can happen is that things remain just the way they are. Which means that I can keep on fighting or I can give up – the outcome will be the same.

The advantage is – as long as I´m fighting, I´m aware of my problem. I am anxious to avoid situations which could expose my vulnerability. The disadvantage is that in order to do that, you pretty much need to avoid life. Any attempts at doing something I will suck at initially – and be it writing the first draft of a novel – are such a punch in the stomach that I avoid them, too. The result is more shame. Not good at anything because my ego is too sensitive to be a beginner. Great. Who doesn´t want to be that kind of person?

The promise that lies in awareness, though, is that it might help me avoid humiliation. I always remember to display so much humility that no one could possibly think of attacking me. I try very hard not to find myself in a situation where I angrily yell at someone who´s just scratched my ego (best of all, at the verge of tears, full of self-pity and over-the-top accusations) just to realize they´re not only right, they´re also going to call me out on my behavior. Of course, awareness is a 100% guarantee this is never going to happen to me again. Until the next family meeting, if I´m lucky.

Family meetings are the worst thing ever. You compare notes with anyone roughly your age, you realize they´re more happy, more successful and better sons and daughters than you are, your sister helps your mom in the kitchen while you´re just surfing the web and by the end of day two you are seething with barely restrained self-loathing that makes you want to start fights and take everyone down to your level. Comparing yourself to the person you believe to be at work or around your friends is to look into the mirror and to find your image chuckling at you with just the right amount of pity in their disdainful voice, saying: “You bloody hypocrite!”, before smashing you straight in the face. No need to mention I approach family meetings the way I approach life advice.

So, essentially my only conclusion can be that fighting my vulnerability doesn´t make me any less vulnerable. It doesn´t make me feel less shame or provide less reason for self-loathing. I will run into my that sword all the same. So why don´t I just stop fighting it?

Excuse me, what? That would require anything about my character has changed. It hasn´t. I´m still dead scared of any kind of humiliation. And the thought that I carry the recipe for my own worst case scenario within the foundations of my personality is nothing I can just shrug off and get over. At best, I can find it tragic and inspiring.

Well, there might be something equally good, or maybe it goes hand in hand with “tragic and inspiring”. If the shame, the rage and the hurt pride are somewhat fateful emotions I´m bound to experience again and again, then maybe I can separate them from whatever currently happens to be their object. I cannot prevent myself from feeling them, but I can deal with them more intelligently. Such as by not assuming I should respond to them with therapy or any other attempts at self-improvement. Fate should not be messed with. Those emotional responses are my individual burden and if they are rooted so deeply in my character as I fear they are then I´ll be damned if I let something so personal be taken away from me.

I think your life can be a whole lot more characteristic of who you are if you devote less time on trying to force yourself to be someone better.  You can get realistic expectations of the kind of experiences your life will likely contain by imagining which conflicts a novel character with your sort of character flaws will encounter in various areas. That story is a whole lot more individual and interesting than the happily-ever-after-I-fix-that-one-unforgivable-flaw fairly tales we tell ourselves. It only works, though, when you have a fundamental and not entirely philanthropic liking for predicaments.

This is not to say that you can never try to conquer your flaws. Even swallow your pride. But you should make sure you have your own consent. Are you doing it in order to reach a self-chosen goal (such as learning a craft even though you hate being a beginner with all your heart and soul), or are you trying to escape the stinging bite of shame and the scornful voices of a bunch of people who don´t even know you exist? Doing what you do on your own free will lends a lot of dignity to actions that would otherwise damage your pride. Actually, that process itself is, like any kind of transgression, kind of intoxicating.

And here we are back to where we started. One of my most intense fantasies at this point in my life is to let someone point out to me everything that tortures me about myself and to let him see exactly how much I mind that. Not just anyone, of course. I do have a specific person in mind, but the main point is that it would have to be someone who wants me to be just that flawed. The intention behind this exercise couldn´t possible be to improve me. If it turned out the person doing this to me does not 100% embrace who I am, that would be an unforgivable breach of trust. I´d feel used and manipulated, just like I always did in therapy. I want love for who I am, not help to become someone else. And if I do need help, I want help for the person I am. Telling me that I wouldn´t have the problems that I have if I wasn´t the person who I am is not help. It is a trivial observation with an overtone of dismissal.

 

 

Work and mood issues

Posted in health, mental health, personal with tags , , , , on September 26, 2013 by theweirdphilosopher

Maybe I should keep a diary of my inner tensions and my self-perception. I cannot really tell what has happened to me between my last post and now, but I feel like it happens to me very often. I do know what happened today. I was stuck in angry inner dialogues again. They were extremely vicious. Even visions of people which are normally on my side were attacking me and I started to judge myself very harshly. Now, though, I´m comparatively relaxed (or I would be if I wasn´t down with a stomach bug). It´s like some kind of positive aftereffect. I didn´t do anything to alleviate the tensions, aside from, maybe, getting dressed and putting on make-up. Maybe that´s all there is to it, really. Get dressed. Or take a shower. Or wash the dishes, just anything. Maybe, though, the tensions simply follow a pattern of their own which I cannot decipher. At least not without major observation.

My hypothesis, right now, is that the pattern goes:

Hero

Hero

Hero

Just me

Zero———————

Being in this “hero” state of mind is incredibly exhausting. It´s like I´m a magnet for ideas and projects and ambitions and ideals, and they all add up along with the dirty dishes and at some point I realize I haven´t done anything at all for days and I don´t have the slightest clue how to, either. I´m bursting with ideas but I can´t put pen to paper. I know what to say in my nobel prize speech, but I compared to what I believe I am capable of I have achieved fuck all.

In “zero” state I get hit by all the shame of how out of proportion my ambitions are, and much more than that. It is extremely exhausting, too. Just like I´m stuck in megalomanical fantasies in “hero” state, now I´m stuck in angry dialogues. When they get as bad as they do today, absolutely every thought I identify as mine (I cannot perceive “the voices” as my own thoughts then) is met with such a scathing reply that I either freeze or punch myself.

Weirdly enough, though, now that I´m in “just me” land, I wonder if this breakdown is necessary for me to come down from the manic high which leaves me completely unproductive. I feel like I´m only ever productive over any length of time with a boot firmly on my neck holding me down. I was at my most productive during my recent work when I had an entire hierarchy on top of me making sure I didn´t get ahead of myself. I think, though, as much shame as those bouts of mania cause me, they go beyond a simply character flaw. Even when I realize what is happening I can´t stop it. And I do realize it. It happens mostly when I think about stories I want to write. I know it will give me writer´s block, but I can´t stop my head from spinning into more and more dizzying heights.

I want to stay the way I am right now. Just me. Alone in my head. My thoughts just about quiet enough to allow me to be as productive as writing this blog entry. I sometimes simply don´t want any more ideas. I don´t think I ever suffered from a lack of ideas, really. I often feel like my life is fully planned already and I can´t pursue any wildly different path. Maybe my lack of spontaneity has some roots in this. I always feel like my day is already packed, even when I don´t have to leave the house or make any calls. I cannot take the time to fall in love with an idea and work on it. I cannot put any time and effort into a novel. I should have written it yesterday. If I can´t write it in one night, it will never get done. Maybe that´s why I tended to put off writing my essays until there was just one or two nights left.

You can´t imagine how content I was when I was still being ordered around all day and people wanted me to be in three places at once. I could finally work according to my preferred speed. Working against the clock is the only real remedy against my perfectionism. It gets my focus and creativity up ten notches. Expecting guests is the only thing that can make me clean up my apartment, but then I can do it in three hours. Working against the clock makes use of my mania, and if you have to complete an essay within a day without knowing what you´re talking about, you will need all the megalomania you can get in order not to give up and cry.

But if you´re trying to write a novel? For me, they´d have to invent the national novel writing week. Fifteen days is the longest my discipline has ever lasted, but at least I wrote five pages a day. I doubt, however, it will ever work again.

It´s beside the point, though. I´m bragging. I´m psyching myself up into a state of mania again. And I´m no longer alone in my head. But who says it´s bad? Stop policing me, you traitor!

And so on. It´s okay, I´m not a traitor. As long as I´m alone in my head self-criticism is not self-betrayal. But who am I trying to tell this, really? It gets so bizarre when I start talking to voices in my head. I can´t believe I´m really doing this. I mean – I know there´s no one there, but I feel so different. The “just me” thing is gone and I feel like I could have stopped it from happening, like I could still stop it if only I erased the paragraph above – but my urge to show how crazy I am is stronger and I despair wondering why. Why is that so important to me? Important enough for me to ruin a potentially constructive line of thought?

I´m at a complete loss to describe what is happening to me. Okay. What is different to where I just was? There is something. A feeling. A tendency to become enraged which wasn´t there a moment ago. Thoughts which I could simply have a moment ago are now some kind of personal judgment that enrages me. I feel inferior. I shouldn´t need to, because I´d be feeling inferior because of traits which I objectively have, they just subjectively seem to belong to someone else. I know that objectively I am well capable of self-criticism, but right now I am angry and ashamed because I do not feel like I´m capable of it while – well, who?? – is.

Good. Rage. There is rage, and with rage come the voices or vice versa. I was trying to stay away from certain forums in order to reduce rage and voices. Remember the reality checklist. Nothing changes by winning arguments with the voices. You don´t prevent any real life evil from happening. The problem is, at this point I don´t care about reason. There is just pure vitriolic rage. But why would I care? Why would I listen to you? You are the traitor (and stop appropriating my voice for getting your hypotheses confirmed)! It´s true. I really had the thought that for the voice, my reality checklist was written from the traitor´s point of view, so I kind of put that sentence into her mouth. It was true to her beliefs, but immediately she called me out on this. Just – where in all this does my own agency begin? Where in all this could I put a stop to it but don´t?

I´m getting distracted damn easily here. What I was on about is: I appear to be in two minds and they have very different ideas of a desired outcome of the situation. The lists that I write, like the reality checklist, are written from the point of view of sanity. They make very much sense to anyone other than madness. Madness doesn´t really deny it´s mad, it just says that being mad is good because the world is a bad place. It´s the only way to be rebellious, the only way to not be sucked in. The only way to really be me, the only way to have anything worthwhile to say. And it has a point. The world really is a not such a terrifically good place. There are things to lose your mind about, plenty of them. And maybe it feels like the most integer thing to do, but unfortunately it doesn´t tend to be very effective in terms of changing anything.

But that´s not all there is to it. The reason why my sane half wants to be more effective is not noble, altruistic motives. It wants fame and recognition. And that´s where her treason lies. She´s not merely the mask of sanity on the face of a scheeming rebel. She wants to be successful in an allegedly bad world and she´s just using the rebel´s ideas for that. How embarrassing! What a disgrace!

She can´t be relied on. When she actually gets recognition and power, she suddenly isn´t so adamant about righting the wrongs anymore. She can suddenly see the point of view of the enemy. Feels mature doing so. Realizes it has been sour grapes all along. Feels mature admitting so. How bloody corrupt do you get.

Where in all this am I? Nowhere. I am either one or the other. I either perceive myself as a sane person trying to battle her near-psychotic anger and paranoia, or I perceive myself as a desperate underdog trying to maintain her pride and integrity while threatening to be betrayed by weakness and desires. Betrayed to my therapists, society, family, ex-friends, anyone.

What is true, no matter which version is correct? Here we go:

  • All thoughts in my head are mine. I don´t have all those thoughts intentionally, but there´s no other, real, physical person who can read my thoughts or access my head.
  • There are people out there who act just like my voices. Plenty of them. Their ideas are worth refuting and their style of arguing should be criticized.
  • The people in front of whom I´d feel most humiliated if they could see me can´t see me because to 95% they are no longer part of my life. If they could see me, they might feel it confirms their view of me, but that doesn´t make it right.
  • I actually am achieving something by winning arguments against those voices, but I shouldn´t have to do this in the first place. I should be left alone in my own head.
  • I may not be a victim in the sense I sometimes feel I am when the voices plague me (like in: I´ve been bullied and abused all my life), but I didn´t choose to go mad, either, so dear sane part of me, please cut me some slack if I don´t always confirm to your standards of how a sane person should behave and/or think about herself and the world. Please don´t demand that I act sane 24/7 just to…battle the voices who say you need therapy. You´re just as crazy as I am.
  • This blog is the last place in which I need to appear sane. It´s a safe place to throw away everything I have achieved in terms of stability and apparent control of my life.

Good. So much for my sanity, “just me” and my potential productivity. I don´t feel productive when I ramble like this. I don´t feel productive when I don´t stay in the same mood while writing a blog entry. I don´t feel productive when I drift into meta-writing.

I feel like I get flooded with an ocean of detailed observations, especially about myself and everything I do, and that kills me. I can´t pin it all down. I can´t think straight anymore. I sit there feeling unproductive. It´s what I get when I write and suddenly have a million ideas. It´s what I get when I build up an argument and get filibustered by mysterious voices in my head. There´s a common thread in all this. Maybe I´m not entirely crazy after all. Maybe I should worry more about the structure than about the content of my thoughts. A very comforting idea.

How to know when I go wrong is simple. I recognize a flood of ideas, thoughts and observations when it happens. I just don´t know how to stop it. It goes with a great deal of impatience and a sense of urgency. I don´t know if I can make myself stop working on what I want to do because it seems terribly important. And the vicious voices? I might even have a better shot at getting rid of these. I can try to write a calm and structured argument, or I can just give in and say: “Yes, I´m just what you say I am. You are right. I´ve actually been ashamed of myself all the time, I just didn´t want to admit it.”

Or maybe I just need some mood stabilizers or ritalin and everything will be okay. Just because it feels unthinkable doesn´t mean it can´t be true.

Restrictions

Posted in health, mental health, personal with tags , , , , on September 18, 2013 by theweirdphilosopher

I have enforced a strict mental diet upon myself. In particular, I´ve stopped reading psychotherapy forums. I want to reduce my anger.

It´s not a whole lot of fun. Zimmer was right when he said that the constant drama in self-help and psychoanalytical groups can be addictive – addictive even to the point of self-destruction. It is very, very easy to become addicted to drama, especially when you´re still hoping to find your own views confirmed. The first step out there is to understand that this is not going to happen. The next step is to understand that you are not going to win arguments with people who apply circular reasoning, make claims without providing evidence, snub science and live in a world of relentless subjectivism and relativism. The best thing, however, is to understand that even winning an argument or two would accomplish nothing, which also means that losing them doesn´t matter. Actually, everything those people say doesn´t matter. Why am I even listening to them? What is the virtue in listening to everyone, even if you know they neither know the facts nor care about them? It is a virtue of the same relativism and subjectivism I´m trying to escape.

Being in such forums for too long turns a dissenter into a hypocrite. It is very hard for any civilized, well-mannered person to tell another person (even via Internet) that she doesn´t respect their opinion, especially when it comes to touchy, personal subjects such as psychotherapy and mental illness. I don´t even know how well-mannered I consider myself, maybe it is my lack of manners that forces me to be hypocritical where I don´t want to be downright offensive. But I´m tired of hearing myself weaken my own points and sugar-coating my opinions to avoid the level of clarity that would create a backlash; and also I´m tired of listening to me telling myself that I do, in fact, respect the other person´s opinion, it´s just that….

It isn´t. I don´t. I believe that everyone has the right to state their opinion. But I also believe it is inhumane to demand that we should have respect for everything. No. Sometimes we just think something is bullshit. Hilarious, even. Some opinions, some lines of reasoning make us laugh incredulously. There will always be people we consider stupid. If we wanted to avoid this, we´d have to switch off our brains. We make such judgements even if we try to suppress them, reprimand ourselves, try to humble ourselves. Actually, those exercises are missing the point anyway. Even if you were able to put yourself down to the point of not considering yourself worthy of criticizing anyone or anything – it would change nothing about the fact that you´d believe in a hierarchy of character and intellect.

Maybe it is inevitable that such hierarchies exists in peoples´minds.  The ideal of not judging is merely another way to create a hierarchy: Who´s most non-judgemental? While many people will notice this ideal is paradoxical, they will merely consider this evidence for its esoteric truth. It doesn´t matter that you cannot obey a paradoxical order. At least trying to gives you something to do for the rest of your life. Anyone who has ever been bored and dissatisfied for a longer period of time will understand the allure of this. Besides, the idea you might be able to make sense out of nonsense is a promise of future superiority. Another thing that is very hard to resist, especially when you aren´t happy with what you have achieved.

I´m staying away from psychotherapy forums because I want to get all this false thinking out of my head. Arguments and lines of reasoning become an automatic thing if you´re exposed to them long enough. I know from experience, though, that they can go away again if only you stay away. It doesn´t mean I will no longer deal with why they are wrong. Doing so is absolutely vital. I will not, however, knowingly expose myself to lines of reasoning and styles of debate that cloud my judgement and lead nowhere.

By staying away from the drama I´ve been following, I´m ensuring my mood doesn´t depend on whether I get confirmation or food for doubts. I´m trying to make this irrelevant to me. I guess to be absolutely sure I´d have to stay away forever. Of course the key to that is having something else to do, something that is more worthwhile. Such things aren´t always easy to find. I´m bored a lot lately. I feel caged in.