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cyrano D

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Everything posted by cyrano D

  1. I'll gently suggest that you're asking the wrong question. It's one thing to accept who you are (which is a good thing) and another to "accept" that you're not a good enough person to (fill in the blank-- or just leave it blank, that you're not a good person). I know whereof I speak-- I knew from an early age that I would be a failure at jobs requiring high social energy and the ability to talk to strangers. That always cut out a lot of jobs-- in sales, for instance-- but in these days when extroversion seems to be so highly prized, we introverts are too often made to feel like we're abnormal and less valuable than extroverts. But I think my self-esteem is, like most people's, variable, depending on what aspect of me we're talking about. I bet you're similar. What are you GOOD at? Smart? empathetic? analytical? artistic? That's where you go, to places and jobs that reward those qualities. If you need skills or credentials for those types of jobs, then so be it-- get them. Your life may not wait for you to "overcome" low self-esteem. You'll have to do it in the way you live your life-- deliberately, as if you were worth the effort. If you're like me, you probably won't accept someone else saying that you're intrinsically worth it (I'm always thinking, if not actually saying, "oh YEAH? you don't know what a lousy person I am" when someone says that to me), but there's lots of things in life that are the equivalent of taking your vitamins (or your meds)-- you may not want to do it, but you know it's good for you. If you "accept" that you're worthless and there's nothing good about you, then you're unlikely to get much in the way of decent jobs. And I'm afraid that that will only reinforce your low self-esteem, which is all too easy to do, since people like you and I too often have our wet fingers stuck in the breeze, on the lookout for more evidence that we're worthless.
  2. No, I never felt normal, and I always felt excluded because of it, that because I was ugly and weak and had a funny name and was an egghead, I didn't belong. It made me slink to the shadows where I wouldn't be noticed, which is where I live today. All the meds in the world couldn't fix those things, and they didn't. Maybe if I'd had plastic surgery and a name change 40 years ago my life would have been different, but I didn't. It's something of a burden when the two things that define you in the most basic way-- your name and your appearance-- are things you cringe at out of Pavlovian habit.
  3. Until a week ago, no one in the office had announced any intention of having a Christmas party. I griped about our self-centered management to the one person in there I can talk to freely (did I mention that we have a delightful paranoiac culture, where boss # 2 has, periodically, approached most of us-- maybe all of us-- and asked us to be his eyes and ears? so even if I'm not the office rat, I can't stop wondering if someone else took him up on it), and she being of a negative turn of thought like me, we agreed that it was better not to have a party because it validated for us what jerks they are. But then someone announced they were organizing a party. (bad word) I was debating whether to call a counter-party at an Irish bar down the street, just peons, not bosses when this news came down. Then they got my hopes up by saying nothing about this so-called party for over a week. Did I mention i had had a dentist appointment for mid-late morning of this so-called party? I was hoping it would die from lack of interest. But it's not. Can I ask the dentist to pull a tooth to take an extra hour so I can miss this party? I mean, it's just supposed to be a cleaning and exam (I hate these things anyway because I hate flossing and one of these days, they'll tell me I'm going to tooth hell as a result), but if I slip the guy a 50, could he keep me tied up there until mid-afternoon? I need to keep this job because it's hard for people my age to find new work and nearly impossible for state employees to find another state job, which is the only way I get a pitiful pension to go along with Social Security. But some days I want to go just postal enough to get the flock out of there. They're not really bad people. Well, the bosses are bad people, especially Mr. Paranoia, but the peons aren't bad people. I just don't want to party with them. Or anyone. Humbug. The he** of it is, they're not my tribe. My tribe reads David Foster Wallace and likes it, especially the footnotes, and reads lots of other stuff and listens to classical music and Radio Paradise and Willie Nelson and Kate Bush and drinks white alcohol from a box in the fridge and likes to talk about interesting stuff. Most stuff is not interesting. And maybe get high once in a while. My tribe doesn't have children, which means we're going to be extinct because that's what happens to tribes that don't procreate. But knowing we'll be extinct gives us a certain freedom. Theoretically. I'm a tribe of one. I'm very lonely. Thanks for dropping in my pity party.
  4. I don't hate myself so much as I regret being who I am, which is quietly toxic. I know it and spent years in therapy and counseling fighting it, but when push comes to shove, it is, all too often, the most "satisfying" (in a logical way) explanation for how I, and things in my life, turned out. I hate the two most elementary self-identifiers-- my face and my name-- but because my face wasn't truly disfigured, just a very peculiar mashup of strange individual features, and I was discouraged from changing my name until it became too late to do so (for professional reasons), I feel stuck with both-- and while I have developed compensating strategies for both (I work very hard to keep my weight down because I know from experience that my face looks even dumber when it is-- I am-- chubby, and I present a genial aspect when people ask me questions about my name or have trouble saying it), I'm now at a position where I look back and wonder what not being afraid of roll calls, of not being mocked for either my name or my appearance (and I was)-- in other words, not being ashamed of being me-- would have been like, and how my life would have been different. It led me to hide, both literally and figuratively, to hide myself from the world for fear of mockery and to avoid unpleasant situations. Not everyone overcomes the "boy named Sue" problem-- it defeats some of us. And the fact that it defeated me, and that in other ways I didn't sufficiently overcome these things (after all, I was reminded,others overcome much worse!) has led me to question my character-- am I more of a coward than those others, than most others, than almost all others? Is cowardice a character trait that will follow me to death? Am I really a coward, or are we all cowards? At about this point, it just wears me out.
  5. Hi there. I chose the name "cyrano DB" here for a reason-- the character in the play (Cyrano de Bergerac) looked ridiculously ugly with a huge nose. He loved the fair Roxana but "knew" she would never love him because of his looks. Anyway, there are several movie versions out as well as a modern update, "Roxanne" with Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah. If you've never seen it, I recommend it-- it often is healing to see yourself in a story. From your description, you're probably going to have a difficult time dating the prettiest women in the immediate future, and I know that's what we all want at your age, but the biggest mistake I made at your age was falling in "love" with the most beautiful girl I ever saw. She gently tried to steer me to dating her friends, some of whom were quite willing to date me, but no, I had to have Donna. Well, you can guess how well that went. I ached inside, felt like a total outsider because of my looks, it took me years to get over it. And I don't know if you ever really get over it. I still have a wariness about dealing with people, although I've learned first to be funny then to be interested in others' lives-- people think you're a brilliant conversationalist when you ask them about themselves. My antennae are always up, sensitive to rejection-- but at least I know it, and I know it's self-defeating to stay in my cocoon (or prison), however comfortable it is. I did what I could for my appearance. I didn't have acne, but I had crooked teeth, so as soon as I could afford to get caps, I did it. When hair styles were longer, I wore mine longer to cover the tops of my huge ears, and worked with a really good haircutter who knew how to make the best of what I had. I grew a goatee about 20 years ago to make my face look longer. I taught myself to smile more even though it's still unnatural. I worked at overcoming my natural desire to slump, a desire to make myself invisible. It's a fight every day but it's worth it. Just standing up straight improves my mood. Maybe you'll need to save for plastic surgery for your acne some time in the future and maybe it'll never look "normal," but normal is boring. Ever see the actor Edward James Olmos? When he was on "Miami Vice" in the 80s, he was the insanely cool boss of the two stars, and he had lots of acne scars. Big head? I think Einstein had a big head. Had to, to hold that brain, I guess. Donna? Twenty years after high school, we had a passionate affair-- broke up each others' marriages, then I broke up with her. For years she thought it was payback, but it wasn't-- she wasn't right for me. Some years after that, we became friends. I talked to her today and I am happy she's happy. She supports me, she knows me. I would do almost anything for her, except marry her, of course. Change is the only constant. Your life will not be the same way it is now. Hopefully it will be better. it will take work. You need to work at repairing the damage inside your heart and mind, like all of us do, like I still have to do every day. But the work is worth it. I have faith in you.
  6. I flunked out of college years before you were born-- my depression kept me in my dorm room, and after missing some classes I was too ashamed or just stuck to get out the door and fix the problem I created. Of course, the worst thing was flunking out (back then, no one came around to check to see if you were all right-- it was total sink or swim), but the real worst thing was facing my parents, who had no idea. I was so scared of their reaction that I disappeared for a few days at the end of the semester, sleeping in my crappy car rather than going home, then couch surfing for a few days. They found me, were caring and concerned for a while, then their anger got too much to bottle up any longer. It took years to repair our relationship. But we did repair it. I'm telling you this story to illustrate that what's happened in school is not the end of the world. People come back after flunking out-- they leave school, they go do something else, they try again at a different place (like I did), try something new. They're more mature, they've learned from their time away, they recognize how it feels when things start to feel overwhelming. Take care of yourself, first and foremost, whatever it takes. Don't do like I did and hide from your family-- there may be some rough patches with them but they're family, they'll stick by you. It gets better. Trust in that, and in your ability to recover. Yeah, it's harder with depression, but you can do it. I know.
  7. Wellbutrin made me antsy as heck, to the point that I couldn't stand it.
  8. I'm an atheist who's interested in religions and why people believe what they believe, but it's a sort of detached observer sort of interest.
  9. Yup, I encountered it. What did I do about it? Well, I may be a wuss about many things but when it comes to this belief system, I can stand pretty strong. I told the proselytizers that I had no intention of "converting" to their belief system, but I'd be happy to argue with them all they wanted to. It didn't hurt to have studied the Bible for several years, not to mention Aquinas' and Augustine's so-called logical proofs of the existence of God. Ultimately, the best thing you can do is learn all you can about religion, how it works, why it works on some (no, most) people but not on some of us. If you haven't read Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens on religion and atheism, you should do that. Oh yeah, I agree with changing your doctor if (s)he's going to proselytize to you. That's incredibly unprofessional.
  10. I just don't get the notion that I ought to be thankful that I have a roof over my head and food on the table et al. Those "blessings" didn't come from someone else or fall from heaven-- I worked hard (full-time study while holding down full-time job) to get an advanced degree, then spent a number of years in my profession learning my craft and such. Yes, I agree with Elizabeth Warren's argument that none of us are self-made, that the wealthy in the US can take advantage of having infrastructure and police protection and so on that we all pay for, but I pay my share. I pay for everyone else's infrastructure and police too. If there were something special for me to be thankful for, some glorious blessing, then I would be thankful for that...and I was, for those short times when something like that was in my life. But now? Living a gray-at-best existence with little true hope for improvement, I should be GRATEFUL? What I am is more than a little angry at people who don't know me or my situation and say platitudes like "everyone has something to be grateful for." For me to accept that would require more self-deception than I am capable of, unless you stretch the definition of "grateful" to ridiculous limits, like "I'm grateful I'm not mentally incapacitated or a double amputee." That reminds me of the English schoolboy part of "Monty Python's Meaning of Life," where the rector (?) leads the kids in this "hymn"-- O Lord, please don't burn us. Don't grill or toast Your flock. Don't put us on the barbecue Or simmer us in stock. Don't braise or bake or boil us Or stir-fry us in a wok. Oh, please don't lightly poach us Or baste us with hot fat. Don't fricassee or roast us Or boil us in a vat, And please don't stick Thy servants, Lord, In a Rotissomat. (hey, it took a lot of trouble to find those lyrics) (whatever a Rotissimat is) (I can imagine) Thanksgiving dinner would have been much more interesting if we'd said that as a prayer.
  11. Even a lot of non-depressed people find this time of year hard. Me, it's a total slog. It brings up nothing but bad family childhood memories. The absence of children I see as an indictment on my failure to have children, which wraps around me in a variety of different ways, which I'll spare you. And I spend all the "family" time with my in-laws because what's left of my blood family is a thousand miles away, and it's nice to see them in small doses anyway. It just reinforces feelings of alienation and loneliness and general failure at life. I'm not a fan of my in-laws either. Must be something wrong with me, but then everyone already knows that. Ho ho ho.
  12. I was married to a compulsive liar. Like you apparently, she lied about little things, big things (honey, where'd the $75 grand in the money market account go?), almost everything. Then she lied to the therapist I insisted she see as a condition of staying married, then lied to me about continuing to see him when he'd refused to treat her after he caught her in a whopper. The love I felt for her withered and died. It's usually alcoholics and drug addicts who lie compulsively, but whether for those reasons or some other, what kills the relationship is the lying more often than any other reason. With her, it was a habit she couldn't break. Maybe it is with you too. Your problem with "winning her back" is your track record. Why should she trust anything you say? I'm glad you recognize the problem and are taking steps to address it. That probably ought to be your focus for the foreseeable future.
  13. I'm sorry, I should have checked to see what they call it here. PM stands for "personal message" and I just sent you one. You should receive a notice to that effect the next time you log in.
  14. Hey MB. I'm you, 40 years ago. Your story is a lot like mine was, only I didn't lose my virginity until much later. I did love a girl I thought was perfect for me, and only years later did I recognize that she used me as her utility date in between real boy friends. I was mocked for my appearance from the first day I went to grade school, so much so that when my parents asked me what I wanted for graduation, I said plastic surgery, which was both a big deal and pretty risky in the late 1960s. They talked me into Europe instead-- well, a plastic surgeon did, when he showed me the limited things he could do for my ears (they're huge) and my nose (it's funny-looking-- really). My report from the future is that things do change. Now, if you were to search my handle on here, you'd find a thread I started wondering if things really do get better as we get older, wondering if they do, but note that I'm not saying they necessarily get better (and I should say that I'm not nearly so miserable and suicidal as I was when I was your age, and I've had an interesting and sometimes fun life, and I am not eager to die...most days, anyway)-- I'm saying that they change. Smarter people than I have said that the only constant in life is change. That's an oxymoron that I've always enjoyed. Within 18 months of trying to hang myself, I was flying to England for a 5-year adventure working offshore in oil fields around the world. Fifteen years after the high school love of my life and I graduated from high school, we broke up each other's marriages in a madly passionate affair. It didn't end well, but you got to admit, it makes for a great story. And I saw her a couple of months ago, and she's still pretty hot for a lady our age. I'll be discreet about what happened. I learned the happy way that being a funny-looking guy doesn't mean you're condemned to a life of celibacy, but anything like that you tell yourself over and over can keep you locked in a prison cell of your own construction. I fight self-doubt every day. I assume the worst from people. Yet I remember how I was when I was your age, and I am sooooo much better now than then. I was positive I would not live to see 25, much less 59. Here's one thought about the ugly thing-- while I still believe, deep in my bones, that others think I'm ugly, I also believe that, as a general principle, most people don't notice you and I. In a way, that's almost worse than being mocked, but it's not really. Most people are too wrapped up in their own lives to notice much about us. Listen, I understand about being lost, about being miserable, about not wanting to live. I have some ideas for what you could do, but I won't push them on you. Use the PM function of this board and drop me a line if you're interested in more of what I learned from my days of, well, being you-- how I learned how to live better. Because it doesn't come naturally. Oh, breathing and eating are natural, but coping with all the sadness and stress of our lives-- THAT we have to learn how to handle.
  15. I have a playlist of songs that have meant a lot to me over the years-- music I discovered when I was living and working in England, music I associate with the woman I loved above all, music that pulled me through some of the really bad times, stuff I would listen to over and over again. Now, all I have to do is set the iPod to repeat and I don't have to get up and move the phonograph needle back to the beginning of the song. What's on the list? Probably no one you've ever heard of-- Kate Bush, Nanci Griffith, the Chieftains, Loreena McKennitt, Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett, James McMurtry. And then there's the classical-- a lot of Mozart, a fair amount of Schubert, Wagner for heavy metal equivalent.
  16. Thanks, Palomine and houns. I needed to read that someone understood. Thanks to others for their suggestions. I apologize for my irritability. I'm worn out from 40-odd years of fighting this, only to be in the same place. Yup, it's treatment-resistant depression, all right. I've come to see my depression as a part of me, like my nose (which is as ugly as my depression). Some days all of it just wears me out. My diet sucks, too, but I can only change so much. Diet cokes and frozen dinners for me, I'm afraid-- the penalty of a long work day and a long commute, all required for a job I can't afford to lose and from which I am too old to change. At least I don't scarf down a package of Oreos any more, although they were better than Prozac or Zoloft for immediate relief.
  17. Well, I guess no one can relate to how I feel. Changing meds, volunteering yet somewhere else, trying meditation for the 804th time, changing my exercise routine, faking a smile (it hurts, literally hurts, just like exercising all unused muscles), trying another therapist (it's not humble of me to say I can anticipate what they're going to say before they say it, but it's true) (and it's a fun pseudo-intellectual game in a way, but only as satisfying as a day-old jelly doughnut and a hell of a lot more expensive, even with the copay), trying something different, seem like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Or dancing about architecture. I mean, what is the POINT? (God is not the right answer, at least for me. I'm glad for you if he/she/it is for you, but please don't extrapolate your experience onto others. YMMV.) For awhile, I took some comfort in Camus' approach in "The Myth of Sisyphus," that the struggle is its own reward. But sorry, Albert, that's just not working for me any more. Sisyphus only kept rolling the rock up the mountain because the gods made him do it. But how did they do it? With the threat of something worse? Or was he just stupidly obedient?
  18. I've been on eight different medications over the last 30 years and had extensive therapy/counseling from six different providers. Maybe it wasn't "proper" treatment, I don't know. The meds made me feel worse, alternatively draggy and fat or hyped up and unable to sleep. The therapists varied in utility. Oh, I have an understanding of why I am the way I am all right, but that affords no relief, nor does it make the absence of a future worth staying alive for any more bearable. I'm tired of looking for ways to get better. Did you ever get sent off on a snipe hunt as a kid, a hunt for something that doesn't exist? That's what it feels like. And I'm tired of being courageous. Being courageous only got me knocked down and kicked in soft places, over and over again. If I wasn't courageous enough, then I guess it's a character defect.
  19. There are lots of good to great ideas above this post. This is a very practical one-- if you live in the US and you haven't already gotten a formal diagnosis of depression from a physician or psychologist, get one ASAP, and get on a course of meds and therapy. This last part is really important, the meds and therapy part. Then, go to your boss (if a small company) or your company's HR department and tell them your depression is a mental impairment and you're entitled to coverage under the Americans With Disabilities Act. If you qualify (I can't post a link that discusses it, just google ADA depression), you'll have a measure of protection from firings or layoffs, and the employer will have to make reasonable accommodations to your illness. The meds and therapy are supposed to be the most powerful combination for depression anyway, so there's some value in doing that. The reason you have to do that is that the law changed so that you have to show you're substantially limited in performing a major life activity (work is one), even though you're on meds and in therapy. Yes, I'm a lawyer. No, I don't practice disability or employment law. And I too have many days when it's all I can do to drag myself into the office...and I have a great job, one that I wanted for years.
  20. Question first, whine later- for you older people, do any of you share this feeling? I'd like to know your experience, whether it was like mine or not. Here beginneth the whine. I forget which one of my unfortunately huge collection of self-help books says it, but whichever one it is, there's a chapter in it with a title, "It Gets Better." The author encourages us to, at the very least, hang in there because, well, life gets better, he says. Only mine isn't. I'm actually kind of ok and over grieving and/or self-pity about the hundreds of poor choices I made in my life, and can even summon the cognitive mind trick of seeing my life as kind of a mix of discovery journey and overcoming obstacles and making the best of things. It actually made me feel good last weekend to have a very old friend tell me that she was surprised I survived my 20s. But with doors closing for opportunities for the rest of my life, and having no dreams or even wants that I can hitch my proverbial wagon to, the thought invariably comes back around to, why bother living? There are no children so no grandchildren, few friends and candidly, I think I choose friends badly anyway-- they constantly need my help but don't offer much in the way of real advice or perspective when I air out this problem to them. I still want to accomplish things with my profession but it seems more and more senseless to even try. I see a future where I play computer solitaire all day then take something I should not one day, just out of sheer boredom. Nothing is interesting. The country is self-destructing, opportunities for young people are so much smaller than they were for me (and yet I squandered mine). And this sounds terrible, but I spent a lot of time and effort helping others in the recent past, and it just felt like I had nothing to show for it-- mentoring at-risk children, teaching ESL to recent immigrants, volunteering at a crisis hotline-- all had their moments but none were ultimately satisfying. I still push my body hard and that comes the closest to alleviating things-- I did a spinning class of one earlier this evening (the classes don't fit my schedule, and I was testing an mp3 indoor cycling recording-- it works) and that scent of deep sweat is still on me, proof that I pushed myself hard. The cramps in my calves say the same thing, although I'll probably pay at 3 am when they wake me up. But there's a part of me that thinks, what's the use? just dive into the Tostitos and bean dip and gorge myself. I've given up on leading a meaningful life. I'd settle for interesting.
  21. Hi-- I wouldn't call it "wrong" so much as unfortunate. Regardless of the circumstance of the recipient of the information that you had/have a crush on them, it puts them in an uncomfortable position-- why are you telling them this? they can't help but wonder. Is it a sort of pass that a shy person might make? (I know I've done that, hoping for a positive response from the recipient, and never getting it) Generally, I think it falls into the category of Too Much Information. But then, unless the recipient tells you how they feel/what they think about what you told them (and sometimes even if they do tell you something), you'll probably never know what they really think, and you can drive yourself crazy projecting your thoughts, feelings, and so on onto them. So, let it go, move forward. If your love life consists of unrequited crushes, maybe this is a signal to take your quest for love to the next level-- ask a woman you're attracted to for coffee or the like, 20 minutes max, public place, no pressure. Or just talk to them. Ask them open-ended questions about themselves-- not creepy questions, just regular questions, like how do they like school or their job, have they seen this or that TV show, and what's their favorite show and why? The why part is the open-ended invitation to talk. You get better at talking with and relating to people with time. The mistakes you make when you're young are a part of your education. Put yourself out there and focus on others. When you get people to talk about themselves, they come away amazed at what a brilliant conversationalist you are.
  22. I hope we can distinguish between being mad at religion versus mad at people who believe in it. We're all imperfect (and let's face it, if we're here, we're all some flavor of depressed). Who knows? Maybe they'll turn out to be right, in which case i'm hoping for a merciful God who'll merely think me foolish for not believing.
  23. I'd like to ask as gentle a question as possible-- can you "make up your mind" that you believe in anything? I'm trying to understand the process. For me, "making up my mind" involves some sort of evaluation of evidence and weighing of arguments. Was that the process? You wouldn't be alone in such an approach-- the famous "Pascal's Wager" is just such a logical process. For those readers unfamiliar with it-- Blaise Pascal, eminent mathematician and philosopher, considered the question of whether to believe in God by a cost-benefit analysis. Think of the intersection of each of two possibilities-- I believe in God or I don't believe, and God exists or he (this was France of the 1600s, goddesses were not on the radar) doesn't. Four possible outcomes result-- if you believe and there is a God, you go to Heaven. If you believe and there is no God, nothing happens, certainly nothing bad, your existence stops; if you don't believe and there is no God, well, nothing happens etc.; if you don't believe and there is a God, you go to Hell. Given those four potential outcomes, the smart if cynical choice is to believe. Needless to say, lots of philosophers and others smarter than me have found all sorts of holes in Pascal's Wager. For starters, to repeat my original question, can you "decide" to believe? Or are you just going through the motions? and will that suffice to please God? (or, for that matter, your soul, assuming you have one?) For another, it's a pretty damned cynical approach to God, because it assumes that God is jealous and petty and bases your eternal justice etc. on whether you believe in him. Oh, wait...that IS the God of the Old Testament, and to a great extent, the New TEstament as well. Doesn't it go something like this? "for whosoever believeth in me shall not perish, but have everlasting life?" In my cynical moments, I believe that to be a totally human construct, born of people who are sufficiently insecure in their own beliefs that they have to convert you and everyone else around them. But I am wayyyyyy digressing.
  24. Think better? Probably not, but what I've read (and experienced) is that people who are moderately depressed see things more clearly than do either non-depressed or seriously depressed people.They (well, me too, when I'm there) see the world more realistically. I've also read that a degree of unwarranted rosy perception induces more happiness. But as to the thinking part-- naaah. Depression takes mental and emotional energy away from us, or certainly from me. I don't think I'm thinking straight. I don't trust my perceptions, and I certainly don't trust my thoughts, although at the time they make perfect sense, especially the ones that I'm worthless.
  25. Free weights and the gym and running kept me going for many years...then osteoarthritis threatened both. No matter how carefully I warmed up, the aftermath of a workout or a run was pain for days, and while I could treat it somewhat with acetaminophen, it was only somewhat. I admit, doing just a "normal" amount of exercise never sounded attractive to me. I couldn't run fast, but I could run far-- and I couldn't bench 225 for two sets (I'm kind of a natural ectomorph), but I could give it my all for whatever weight I could push, and make sure I came out of the gym wrung out, leaving everything including sweat on the floor (I did wipe up after myself). I've shifted over to two things, both driven by mp3 recordings. One is a fairly short, but intense (of course) rowing machine workout from [PM me and I'll tell you where, I don't know if giving another website violates any rules here], a ladder workout whose stroke per minute rate starts very slow, ladders up to short but intense at the middle, then goes back down. Rowing well requires discipline-- I can feel it in my body when I don't hit a stroke right, and rowing at the slow stroke rates makes me concentrate both on form and staying on the stroke rate beat. The stroke rate is accompanied by fairly cheesy music but it's a goal to keep up (or down) with. Right now, I'm still pleasantly wrung out from a workout 24 hours ago-- my triceps in particular have a nice afterburn to them. The other is a generalized set of workouts from [again, PM me for the particulars] that I find work best on an elliptical machine. I used to think that there was no way you'd get me on one of those things, but the elliptical works best with the beat of the music, and the ones at the gym have heart rate monitors that read Polar chest straps, and working to heart rates is an essential part of the workout. It still wrings me out, which means I've done well. And while I can only do two of each every week (if I push it, my body will tell me in no uncertain terms-- I'll exhaust myself and my pulse will skyrocket quickly), I have little to no muscle or joint pain afterward. I understand many people's resistance to this sort of particularized monitoring of one's performance and respect anyone who gets out there and moves their body, however they do it-- these goal-oriented workouts just work for me, work very well. It doesn't take a lot to pull my mind back down into self-hate mode if I contemplate the fact that I haven't been nearly so good at creating, much less, achieving goals in other parts of my life, but success in this one part of my life is, well, success. And I like being height-weight proportionate without needing to watch my diet too much, pretty much enjoy whatever food I want to enjoy-- it's just a good thing I no longer enjoy a whole package of Oreos at one sitting! And I'm vain enough to be happy about fitting back into jeans I bought 20 years ago. I'll take my victories wherever I can.
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