Jump to content

gandolfication

Platinum Member
  • Content Count

    3,347
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    14

Everything posted by gandolfication

  1. Kogent5, Good to hear from you. That's great. A coup[le weeks ago I was reading the marketing legerdemain for a book called Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life (by Susan David), where she recommends a technique she calls "tiny tweaks." We used to call this "chunking" or breaking down bigger goals into smaller component parts. You're right. This is what you have to do when you're really down in depression. It's often all you can do. I'm bipolar. The good and the bad is that when I'm in the lowest throes of major depressive episode (which has been most of the last 10-12 years), like everyone else in that state, everything seems (and is) soooooo difficult. I happen to have just had one of the most revitalizing months of my adult life, just catching fire, and overnight it seems, reviving a great workout routine, being focused, productive, efficient and effective in my job running my law practice, moving to a larger/better office (had to), hiring a paralegal (really needed, but was a big risk), getting a website up in one Saturday morning, writing out a very detailed, formal goals program for myself, and even for the business, and accomplishing several of them already, reading and listening to good books, working on improving my family relationships, and a hundred other things. It sounds great (and it is). But I am so conditioned to think that it's kind of all or nothing like this, and have the vertigo-inducing anxiety (or terror) a lot that....this will fade, it won't last, I can't sustain it, I'll crash. It's like walking a tightrope without a net, and 'knowing' or at least believing, I'm going to fall, I'm going to fall, I'm going to fall again, and its going to be more painful and calamitous than I can bear. This is almost over; it's going to happen any second, and it'll be my final humiliation...what an idiot I am for thinking I could do, let alone sustain this. I remember though, how extraordinary capable we are as humans to change, to learn, to respond. To grow in insight, habits, practices, and....to get back to your point...in what is truly the only way and thing we can - the littlest things. For it is all we can ever have - is this moment. I've been wrestling and savoring this, even when I feel so nervous I think I'm going to fall apart. Looking back, I realize how during all those months and years of suicidal depression, where I hated life, and everything seemed so perfectly awful, hopeless, pointless, and that I'd never be able to feel even decent, let alone good again, it was, of course, the little things I managed to be able to do, that has led me to these broader sunlit uplands now. So thanks for sharing. It encouraged me. I know how hard it is to be beat down in the trenches of misery and fear and depression. Keep doing the next right thing you can. You can do it. There's a doctrine (for lack of a better term) from information theory that the most fundamental stuff of reality is not atoms or matter or even energy of any kind, but rather data. information. bits. And the definition I once heard the theorists give is that the definition of this information is a change that causes a change. It seems circular, but then again ultimately all knowledge is. This is how I think about the ebs and flows and even evolution of change, neuroplasticity, etc. now. Don't know what you can do with that, but keep reading and doing what you can. I salute you.
  2. The past 24 days I redesigned and implemented a robust goals program. I said a written daily schedule and have strived mightily to stick as close to as possible to track in my time, which I have to do is to turn anyway. productivity has soared, I have gotten difficult things done and many of them. I moved to a bigger office, hired a paralegal, I'm taking on and have the most revenue in my account since I started 8 months ago. I have started to develop a practice that I am that I ultimately intend to develop into a niche specialization of mental health law. there is already been a lot of fear in the last two or three weeks that I'm fading or that I can't hit the marks I've set for myself and that I'm going to inevitably spiral downward and crash in severe depression. Of course it's possible that that happens, and I just have to take heart and courage in the fact that I continue to learn and grow and change, I have resources and support and I do know how to handle it and make it softer and faster. I've been listening to some really exceptional educational and motivational materials during my morning exercises which I've been almost 100% consistent with (This is a major accomplishment for me). It is a capstone goal to maintain consistency in these things for the next 6 days which will add up to a full month, to have the confidence that I can and have already gone a great distance in embedding new habits. Anyway all of this was background to say that I've had several mornings like this morning where I still hit the snooze button It didn't get up at 6:00 like I need to and want to. In fact I didn't get up till 7:30, And that's felt very lousy both physically and emotionally and psychologically because of that. I was debating and weighing heavily whether to just get in the shower and get into the office like I feel like I need to early or still try to do a 10-15 minute workout. I did the workout so glad I did. Not only do I always feel better afterwards, but it was important to maintain the ritual even when I didn't hit my mark of getting up. I feel better and proud or about this imperfect start to the morning then some of the other sublime idyllic mornings. It has taken, and will take, a tremendous amount of work. I still have a lot of work to do with my family and also building the practice and my skills and professional capability as a lawyer. The first time in so long, I feel like I can accept myself notice be aware of judgment let it go or respond and reject it and just simply be and realize that I already have everything I need and down my best self.
  3. Sounds like victim blaming without evidence like Job's friends. Honestly, "I let 'the Devil'..." as if the Exorcist is non-fiction. This is a good example of fundamentalist literalism I'm so glad to leave behind. I was taught all this stuff, and when I started really struggling with depression, I read The Screwtape Letters (I read almost all of C.S. Lewis at one time or another), and then Frank Peretti (sorry, but what garbage that was), heck, I even read the first 4-5 Left Behind books until even as a then-Christian, I realized they we pulp sophistry. I even went to one Christian/pastoral counselor for a while, who anointed my head with oil. 4 years of Pentecostal college and I managed to avoid this, and then I get it in 'counseling.' This stuff is toxic. Anyway, yah, "The Devil." I'll be sure to keep a lookout for sulfur and black footprints, or to do spiritual warfare with the principalities of this world. Maybe I need to have an exorcism performed or be bled with leaches, or see if I sink to make sure I'm not a witch? Nah, if I could just get myself to focus on my job, I'll be a world better. I don't mean to sound sarcastic here, but I really wonder and want to ask: do you see how damaging this unfalsifiable superstition is? To anyone? Let alone, someone trying to excavate the fundamentalism I was indoctrinated into since birth, complete with total depravity, original sin, utter worthlessness in myself, etc? I would ask you to give some rational thinking to that.
  4. That was more succinct than my typical rambling. I have strong feelings about it too, but then again, I'm a tortured soul when it comes to this, and the Bible is a lot of things. It contains some great and truly beautiful ideas, literature, poetry, etc. I simply am trying to reprogram my mind to realize that (at least for me), it was never meant to be taken as some strictly literal, inerrant, infallible, take-all or leave-all thing.
  5. god, I can't seem to help myself right now, and just want to take a ton of sleeping pills and never wake up.
  6. There is a difference. I'm not sure I can fully articulate it here (although it is part of what Learned Optimism is about). One point Dr. Seligman makes repeatedly in the book is that optimism is much more appropriate and should be used for lower-stakes items/decisions, e.g., I can do x-project. Rather than very high-stakes items/decisions, e.g., I'm optimistic I can make it across the train tracks in time. He gives better examples. He doesn't posit that we have anything like total control. He points out--and so does evidence-based CBT--that we can control much more within ourselves, our thoughts, and our actions, than we often believe when we are going through the motions mindlessly. I'm not preaching here. I do think it is mind-opening and needed for those of us tormented by depression, to remember that we have a large measure of control over our attitude and explanatory style, and how we interpret events, and this in turn, does influence how we think, what we do, and the results. I think its too limiting and simplistic to label all of this 'just' a self-fulfilling prophecy, but hey, virtuous cycles are good things. When I listen to Seligman's books, I constantly think, yes! that makes sense, I buy that, etc., in part because he is one of the most accomplished research and even experimental psychologists there is, so he backs things up with data. These aren't some self-help guru wannabe. Selgiman, is credited as being the father of positive psychology. For years, decades, at Penn and in the field in general, he caught hell and was criticized as not being part of the serious part of psychology. But he basically overcame it through persistence and proving results. In the 90's, he was elected as the head of the American Psychological Association by the largest margin in its history. Although he doesn't dwell in detail, he also talks about how these things helped him through some of his own depression. These are why he has high credibility to me. Besides, by this point, I've read enough psychology and personal growth, self-help books to feel like I can ferret out things that aren't well supported. I like to think being a lawyer helps, but really it comes down to a simple DBT maxim. Do what works. Seligman had just a slightly different spin in keeping a gratitude journal, and presented the very simple evidence and data showing that this works. I did it for 40 days and shocker, I felt better. I'd tried this before, but never put together 40 days in a row. Anyway, I'm not trying to sell his books, but I do think if you listen or read learned optimism (again, I think the Audible version I listened to, which is only like 120 minutes is abridged), I think he does a good job of making it clear and non-controversial. He defines terms and explains what he means and doesn't mean. I found myself wanting a work book and/or therapist who could help me practice and apply the ideas more.
  7. Hmm, bit of a Rorschach there. There is also a tremendous amount of negativity and violence, and disorder and manipulation in the Bible. The capstone doctrines of original sin and total depravity, taken right from the text are prime examples. They teach, quite literally, that human beings are worthless, evil, and deserve eternal torture. Take that in for a moment. The doctrines of grace, mercy and redemption, somehow didn't solve or assuage this for me, especially as I got older. I read and studied it the first 35 years of my life, and unfortunately the fundamentalist milieu I came out where we were taught strictly to believe every word of it literally, did really profound damage to me. I still sometimes read certain compendiums (collections of versus), as I try to move from fundamentalism to a much more open and expansive faith. There is a lot of actual stretched-out trauma to get through with it though. In short, being taught the Bible in fundamentalist Christianity in my formative years (but really into my 30s) did severe and lasting damage to me, from which I'll most likely be trying to recover from for my entire life. It may even be a central cause of my depression (I try to be careful because this is probably unknowable, but certainly it hurt much more than it helped, and is why I eventually had to leave the church).
  8. There is a difference. I'm not sure I can fully articulate it here (although it is part of what Learned Optimism is about). One point Dr. Seligman makes repeatedly in the book is that optimism is much more appropriate and should be used for lower-stakes items/decisions, e.g., I can do x-project. Rather than very high-stakes items/decisions, e.g., I'm optimistic I can make it across the train tracks in time. He gives better examples. He doesn't posit that we have anything like total control. He points out--and so does evidence-based CBT--that we can control much more within ourselves, our thoughts, and our actions, than we often believe when we are going through the motions mindlessly. I'm not preaching here. I do think it is mind-opening and needed for those of us tormented by depression, to remember that we have a large measure of control over our attitude and explanatory style, and how we interpret events, and this in turn, does influence how we think, what we do, and the results. I think its too limiting and simplistic to label all of this 'just' a self-fulfilling prophecy, but hey, virtuous cycles are good things. When I listen to Seligman's books, I constantly think, yes! that makes sense, I buy that, etc., in part because he is one of the most accomplished research and even experimental psychologists there is, so he backs things up with data. These aren't some self-help guru wannabe. Selgiman, is credited as being the father of positive psychology. For years, decades, at Penn and in the field in general, he caught hell and was criticized as not being part of the serious part of psychology. But he basically overcame it through persistence and proving results. In the 90's, he was elected as the head of the American Psychological Association by the largest margin in its history. Although he doesn't dwell in detail, he also talks about how these things helped him through some of his own depression. These are why he has high credibility to me. Besides, by this point, I've read enough psychology and personal growth, self-help books to feel like I can ferret out things that aren't well supported. I like to think being a lawyer helps, but really it comes down to a simple DBT maxim. Do what works. Seligman had just a slightly different spin in keeping a gratitude journal, and presented the very simple evidence and data showing that this works. I did it for 40 days and shocker, I felt better. I'd tried this before, but never put together 40 days in a row. Anyway, I'm not trying to sell his books, but I do think if you listen or read learned optimism (again, I think the Audible version I listened to, which is only like 120 minutes is abridged), I think he does a good job of making it clear and non-controversial. He defines terms and explains what he means and doesn't mean. I found myself wanting a work book and/or therapist who could help me practice and apply the ideas more.
  9. Taking one day at a time is always good advice. So is forging a good set routine, which seems to be one of the hardest things for me to do. It drives me crazy why and how hard this is for me. I just struggle with it immensly.
  10. I've been having a really hard time lately, what seems so often. So, I needed to write something positive and hopeful, and did so in the form of a letter to myself. I hope it might help some others too. Much of this came from then abridged version of Martin Seligman's book, Learned Optimism, I re-read a few weeks ago. Dear Rob: Wow, I know you’ve been through a lot. So first, I just want to say congratulations and way to go! Really. This isn’t trite or patronizing. I know you come from a school of thinking and habits that says, you should be hard on yourself to be your best, and that trophies for participation are bunk. But you’ve fought through severe depression, anxiety, mental illness, job losses, strained relationships, cross-country moves, changes in career, and long, sustained and painful suicidal hopelessness. Oh, you also lost your faith in the god you thought provided and tied together the only love and hope that was ever worth living for in the first place. A lot of people wouldn’t have made it as well. In fact, unfortunately, a lot haven’t. But you have. Yah, I know, you naturally think and focus obsessively on what’s gone ‘wrong’ and what you’ve ‘lost,’ and the very real-seeming feelings of total hopelessness. And that’s much of what I want to say to you. Those feelings, while not to be taken lightly, are false. They’re not facts. Sure, they’re based on thoughts, but--and here’s the hard part--those thoughts are so distorted. They’re distorted by very deep emotional pain, feelings of fear, regret, disappointment, anger, disgust, and sadness over all of this. They’re distorted by a million subtle, imprecise distortions in degree or conclusion. All the CBT usual suspects - black and white, all or nothing, catastrophic thinking, etc. These things that have happened in and to your life have multiple causes, not just one. Sure, actions have consequences, we reap what we sew, we have agency, and personal response-ability. But events cause things too. Circumstances beyond our control. And sure, our thoughts and reactions to them. Before I get into how you still have control over your thoughts and reactions, I want to remind you that you’ve gradually had an extremely powerful toxic kind of pessimism seep in. Pessimism--a negative self-referential bias--tells you that all the bad stuff is permanent and can’t/won’t ever change. That’s nonsense. It can and does all the time. There is much you can do, and even much you are already doing to change it. A lot of these negative causes are temporary and highly changeable. It makes you forget that some good things are fairly permanent too. Second, the enormous pain you’ve experienced from depression and circumstances is actually not as pervasive as you usually assume. Whether you view the negative events and responses as failures, helplessness, flaws, etc., you can compartmentalize them. They are not global. This is how you can be more realistic and optimistic. Yah, there’s a little self-fulfillment involved, but you don’t have to read The Secret fortunately, because the science very clearly shows that this is real. When you correct distortions, using tools like CBT thought correction journals, even gratitude journals, two things happen with remarkable reliability and power. First, you begin to feel happier (which is the goal!). Second, you begin to realize it was the excessive pessimism that was the real false pie-in-the sky distortion; not proper, psychologically-studied realistic optimism, which you absolutely have a hand in creating. Third, you’re not guilty. You don’t need to blame yourself for nearly everything that’s gone wrong. These are mindsets, explanatory styles, attitudes - not factual conclusions in and of themselves. And they’re chosen. It really isn’t “all (or even close to all) your fault.” That’s not just a good line from Good Will Hunting. It is true. In reality, most things have multiple causes. How and why are you where you’re at today? Sure, some of it is your own actions and behaviors. But, first, let’s remember, we do NOT have total, 100% control over our own actions and behaviors (if we did, I suppose we’d be gods and we’d all be perfect beings, who don’t get tired, wear out, make mistakes, etc.). Second, there are other causes. LOTS AND LOTS of other causes. Economies, technology, bosses, the market, illness, depression, and hundreds more that are too many to list. Because we don’t see or think of many of these on a daily basis, they don’t seem real. But they are. You didn’t choose everything that’s happened to you, or to your family. You didn’t choose what you were taught, or how it affected you. You did make an awful lot of really good choices - a fact you tend to forget and completely discount. So, let’s look for ways to be more optimistic. More positive. Hopeful. Cheerful. So very much of “What happened was an unlucky situation (not personal), and really just a temporary setback (not permanent), and just for this one particular goal, not every global aspect of who I am and my whole identity (not pervasive)". Learned Optimism means we can change our attitude and behaviors – by recognizing and challenging our negative self-talk, among other things. It is the opposite of learned helplessness, which is the part of pessimism that is false. (The false belief that we’re incapable of changing our circumstances after repeatedly experiencing a stressful event). And so, remember, recite, practice. And practice again. If You Think You Can, You Can By Denis Waitley You can be a total winner, even if you’re a beginner If you think you can you can, if you think you can you can. You can wear the gold medallion, you can ride your own black stallion If you think you can you can, if you think you can you can It’s not your talent or the gift at birth, It’s not your bank book that determines worth. It isn’t in your gender or the color of your skin. It’s your attitude that lets you win. You can redirect a nation, make each day a celebration. If you think you can you can, if you think you can you can. Even if you’re hesitant, you can be a woman President. If you think you can you can, if you think you can, you can. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done before. It makes no difference what the halftime score. It’s never over ’til the final gun - if there were one. So keep on trying and you’ll find you’ve won. Just grab your dream and then believe it. Go out and work, and you’ll achieve it. If you think you can, you can. If you think you can, you can.
  11. Well Epic, thanks. I typed a lengthy, detailed response to each paragraph you included here, but it got lost in a 404 error when I tried to post it. Anyway, thank you for your thoughtful comments.
  12. I felt like this response, especially--and maybe my whole topic--are unproductive (especially for me perhaps). So I hope I may now be permitted to change the subject or take it in a different direction....and if needed, I'll start a new thread. How do people heal from their deepest pain and resentments? The life-changing regrets or disappointments? That's the emotional center I know, of why I still seem to keep coming back to the existential questions, especially god. Maybe I really haven't changed the question, but there must be different perspectives. I thought I'd try. (Hope I'm not being uncharitable here over my own frailty).
  13. Interesting. I've either heard you say that before or something like it somewhere. There's a paradox of being patient to all that is unsolved...loving the questions themselves, and Do not now seek the answers" vs. feeling that bond with any person "seeking the truth." I have come to (very grudgingly) acknowledge about myself, (if not entirely accept), that I dislike ambiguity, except perhaps in art. That is to say, in the sciences, and especially in metaphysics, logic, I long eternally for a Platonic-like ideal perfection where all reality is indeed a seamless web (what else does reality mean if not what is actually real and exists without true contradiction?). Every question has an answer. Every problem has a solution, and more, if "god" is real, they are actually ultimately solved. It's more than just symmetry. In fact, this became in some part the definition of god and perfection to me at some point, without consciously wanting it to be. And thus, I suppose it may be made more clear why a full embrace of mystery is uncomfortable for me to say the least. I want to know..... Well, I know there are childish notions there, and it does me little to no good to cling to them. So I try to just be open and smile as often as possible and muse at my lack of real knowing (meanwhile, I'd be a liar if I said that the desire to know really abates).
  14. I'm impressed. because that was LOOOOOOOONG. Thank you.
  15. I certainly know this feeling. One way it is described in Christendom is hearing the 'still, small' voice of God. If I may describe the following as taking it a step further, do you know the feeling of losing that feeling? I do. Even though we are talking about mystery, we are still by needs, talking about knowing or feeling that something of mystery. My personal experience is that losing that knowing, or feeling, or belief, or resonance (or really whatever descriptor one could interject), is a howling pain. I think this is a major reason it is so difficult for me to celebrate mystery in this area in particular - because it deals with nihilism and whether all this pain had a purpose, or if or why I couldn't seem to just 'be' (content) regardless. Restless heart and soul and all that I suppose.
  16. This could be the case. Most of me doesn't like it, but more and more, my sense of the spiritual at least tries to embrace and celebrate the mystery.
  17. "The truth is the world will never believe anyone that says that's who they are." Ah, this is a popular form of aphorism in Christendom, but I don't think we really know or can say this. (notice all the absolutes underlined in the 1 sentence). First, many, many people DO believe in Jesus and that he came. So from the outset, doesn't this defeat itself on its own merits? It would be more accurate I guess to say, much of the world does believe in him, but much if it never would. Even then though, I think everyone would if presented with rational evidence and reasons to do so. Second, I think it's a form of pure* tautology. It's the equivalent of saying, the proposition is true and nothing that could ever happen could convince people it is true. It is unfalsifiable even metaphysically, and I think thus loses its legitimacy. Last, if I saw the Avengers defeat a bunch of aliens in NY (or anywhere), or anything like that, you'd better believe I'd not only believe it, its all I'd ever talk about the rest of my life. Who wouldn't? Its irresistible human nature. People do it for things like aliens and religion even when they do NOT have evidence. I know you are good-hearted, so none of this is directed toward you. To me though, the statement feels like victim-blaming. I passionately pursued and dedicated my life to the person of Jesus I was certain I knew. My experience and belief was not less legitimate than any other 'believer's,' although quite a number of friends and family have tried to post-hoc rationalize it exactly as such. (There is just no way to take this other than as something of an accusation of disingenuousness). But there is actually an alternative answer: the reason that he "hasn't shown up" is that it is a fiction. I do not wish to rid or undermine anyone's spiritual beliefs as long as they do not make the world worse, but it is okay that I observe the fact that many believers accept tautological dogmas and do not actually, seriously question whether the object of their faith could be....made up or not real. And I get it. It's frightful and painful to do so. There have indeed been many thousands of people who have said they were god and jesus - no denying that. And even believers doubt and discard as blasphemers, all but one of them. *Finally, it is sometimes observed that in the grand scheme, all knowledge is ultimately circular, and that may be true. By "pure" tautology, I mean that a statement defeats its own premise and thus should be discarded. I feel like apologizing....I didn't really mean to get into debate mode (sorry, old lawyer and school habits die hard). So I'll end in full agreement with you on your first statement at least, that "religion is a very frustrating thing." : ) :0
  18. Since at least college, I have had an utterly torturous up and down (but mostly down) brawl with spirituality and faith. I've written about it numerous times here, so I won't go into detail other than to mention that I grew up being indoctrinated "coded as an avatar" as my friend below puts it, into fundamentalist American evangelical Christianity. That means literalist, Bible-believing Christians who believe that God and his only son Jesus Christ are the sin qua non measure of all things and without them life really doesn't have meaning. Yesterday, I sent this friend, an article I read, Self-Isolated at the End of the World: Alone in the long Antarctic Night, Adm. Richard E. Byrd endured the ultimate in social distancing....and then went on to write an international bestseller about it, saturated with spiritual interpretation and import. My friend responded back with several very thoughtful messages. The article mentioned Albert Woodfox, who spent over 40 years in solitary confinement for a crime he didn't commit. An excerpt from a book he wrote aligns more closely with a "non-theisistic" (perhaps even non-spiritual) impression of life: "Solitary confinement is used as a punishment for the specific purpose of breaking a prisoner. Nothing relieved the pressure of being locked in a cell 23 hours a day. In 1982, after 10 years, I still had to fight an unconscious urge to get up, open the door, and walk out. The only way you can survive in these cells is by adapting to the painfulness. The pressure of the cell changed most men. I’d see men who’d lived for years with high moral principles and values suddenly become destructive, chaotic. You look for the good. This can set you up for disappointment. Once I did some legal work for a prisoner that reduced his sentence to “time served”. He was going to be released from prison because of the work I did for him. The day after he found out he came to the door of my cell and threw human waste at me. He was pissed off because I was watching the news and I wouldn’t let him change the TV channel to a different program. You can’t hold on to those experiences or you become bitter. Every day you start over. You look for the humanity in each individual. I made my bed every morning. I cleaned the cell. I had my own cleanup rag I used to wipe down the walls. When they passed out a broom and mop I swept and mopped the floor of my cell. I worked out at least an hour every morning in my cell. By the time I was 40 I saw how I had transformed my cell, which was supposed to be a confined space of destruction and punishment, into something positive. I used that space to educate myself, I used that space to build strong moral character, I used that space to develop principles and a code of conduct, I used that space for everything other than what my captors intended it to be. In my forties, I saw how I’d developed a moral compass that was unbreakable, a strong sense of what was right or wrong, even when other people didn’t feel it. I saw it. I felt it. I tasted it. If something didn’t feel right, then no threat, no amount of pressure could make me do it. I knew that my life was the result of a conscious choice I made every minute of the day. A choice to make myself better. A choice to make things better for others. I made a choice not to break. I made a choice to change my environment. I knew I had not only survived 15 years of solitary confinement, I’d honored my commitment to the Black Panther party. I helped other prisoners understand they had value as human beings, that they were worth something." Below here, with permission, I reproduce some of my friend's comments that I found immensely helpful to me today. I think the distinctions are about how we frame our expectations, like whether we perceive our experiences as part of a grander struggle and assign meaning as a reactionary coping mechanism or accept the meaningless of our unsatisfactory existence. I think people like Byrd are unable or unwilling to accept that there is no God and their perceived spiritual struggle is a refusal to accept that life doesn't contain elements they naively ascribe to it out of sentimentality rather than than acknowledging the fundamental nature of reality. It would be like Byrd wearing virtual reality glasses standing next to Albert Woodfox in his cell, telling him how glorious this spiritual journey is, while Woodfox, disillusioned with the soul-coddling Byrd engages in, accepts his grim reality and over time makes it more comfortable, uses it as a base for helping others, and grows into a better person within it. Byrd is like a junkie who thinks they're getting in touch with the universe on a deeper level but they have no interest in cleaning up their actual reality and they wither away in a dirty hole in pursuit of something actuality can never give them, so they opt for a pleasant hallucination. I don't think casual drug users are like this, it's just a clumsy metaphor. Basically, I think you're too clever to accept Byrd's virtual reality without having a constant nagging sense that there's something contradictory lurking just out of view. Imagine you climb the highest mountain and your soul triumphs in Byrd's virtual reality. Would you be truly satisfied? I doubt it, because it would register, consciously or subconsciously, as not a real triumph. You're investing in the wrong game, in my opinion, in a way. I don't think it's your fault or even your choice, given your past experiences. You were raised as an avatar in Byrd's virtual reality. It's coded into you. You've come so far in deprogramming yourself. Of course the virtual world is so tempting. But now that you've glimpsed the locked room, Byrd's eye view isn't as vivid. You yearn to recover the meaning you felt in virtual reality. In this metaphor you have two options. You can put on the virtual reality glasses again, and be despondent at how the colors have lost their vividness and you can see the locked room behind the illusion, and you can never quite repress the impulse to tear off the glasses and peak at the reality beyond. Or, you can reject the glasses. You'll put them on from time to time, feeling nostalgic, or just to have the sense of escaping your cell for a moment. But the thing is that any progress you make in virtual reality doesn't translate to your real cell. You can climb the highest mountain in VR, but you have a creeping sense that it means nothing, and when you take off the glasses the sense of having worked so hard and having nothing to show for it is crushing. This is getting super speculative so don't take anything I say seriously. But imagine you abandon the glasses that keep you in a perpetual cycle of extreme aspirations and devastating disappointments. You may look at a mountain and think, "yeah, I can climb that," but a virtual mountain cannot support your actual weight. Climb actual mountains. They don't look as glorious, but they're real and they are substance for actually improving your life in your actual cell. Get more in touch with your humble cell. Work on making your cell a more comfortable place to live, to raise your kids, to become a better person. You're despondent because you've spent an inconceivable amount of time, energy, and stress trying to climb a mountain and wondering why it never took you anywhere. Being despondent and not knowing why or what to do differently. Grandiosity is a blessing and a curse for you. Don't spend your life trying to turn your cell into Byrd's VR. Reevaluate your goals and what you are going to do to achieve a better life. Feel free to disregard this next stuff in particular. It's completely unsolicited advice that may be way off base. You aspire to a higher purpose like being an attorney. You think if only I can make it work this time, it will work. Maybe; I don't know. You think life will only be worth living if you can make your job work as a higher calling. You've come so far in preparation for that role, you have so much practice climbing that glorious mountain, and you remember how good it felt. But I wonder if that mountain was in Byrd's reality and those experiences don't translate to the life you have now. Sometimes I think you're limiting yourself to playing an appealing game that won't actually get you anywhere. You say you can't imagine surviving if you get an unfulfilling job. I think see your life as a struggle to get back to VR, and you envision "recovery" as making VR real, because that would solve all your problems. It would, but you're betting on the odds that it's possible to make the world be something it isn't to give you the chance to transcend it. I've been doing better because I've accepted my cell and worked on it. Sure, I've also grieved that this isn't the cell I wanted and wanted to leave it after realizing it would never be able to offer me so many things I desperately wanted my life to be. But that's productive. Coming to terms with life not being able to give you all you wanted and hoped for and worked toward is thoroughly dispiriting, but then you can start making your cell a better place to live. Leaving VR means leaving beyond a lot of beliefs about what a worthwhile life looks like with your limitations. I think you are strangling your job by saying that if you can't have a rewarding career, life is unlivable. An underwhelming but healthy job may be better than a would-be awesome job that in practice just doesn't function. I'm not saying abandon your practice, but if it doesn't work out, I don't think you should **** yourself. I think you should apply for SSI and consider a less fulfilling but more stable job and see where it gets you. You may find a humble little cell more comfortable than a flimsy castle made out of wallpaper. Just try to throw out your preconceptions about what a comfortable cell looks like and work with what you've got. Which in your case is a law degree, so I have no idea honestly. There was no central point to all of this, I'm just rambling, hoping I'll find a conclusion if I write long enough but it's yet to happen so I'll just stop. I'm going to try to cc a couple people here who I think if they get time, eventually, would enjoy reading this. @Sophy @Epictetus @JD4010
  19. That's funny, I can relate to this. I try to tell myself that an ounce of application is worth many pounds of knowledge anyway, so it's kind of an immediate thing with me too. I've been keeping a "what went well" and gratitude journal. Just keeping it simple. Sometimes it gets tedious, but I find that it still helps just to direct myself to focus on the positive things that actually happen and things I have that I'm grateful for. It defies depression's logical power. I've heard of Marie Kondo's book. I think she has a show on Netflix. My wife needs her Tidying Up book, though somehow I sense that's not the gift to give your wife. The Nerves book sounds interesting and useful. I've been feeling panicky lately. Pretty sure it is pressure at work (and at home). I've been going off of Latuda, and these things can always have a tendancy to mess with my nerves and anxiety too. Thanks for mentioning those books.
  20. That's funny and interesting @JD4010. Other than some clients losing jobs and not being able to pay legal bills, it hasn't too much directly impacted me that I know of. Probably just the next convenience excuse for anxiety about the present and future and the unknown. The last week has been really rough for me, though not because of COVID, just feeling a lot of fear and not a lot of hope in general. I'm really glad to hear you're doing okay. 'Yah, don't question the good.'
  21. Thank you @Atra, The Joy of Living sounds good. I listen to audio books when I run or walk, sometimes at bedtime (though usually podcasts more then), in the car, and used to when I had to mow the grass. If one is really good and I don't want to keep pausing or adding notes/bookmarks electronically (which is easy,), sometimes I'll also buy the paperback used on Amazon to be able to use in print. Audio books are the best. Especially when they have good narrators/authors. The two I have listened to by Kelly McGonigal, the Stanford neuroscience researcher and professor are especially good because she they are made from the beginning to be audio books. She partners with SoundsTrue, does the narration herself, has a great voice for it, and works with a producer and director (!). Her editor must be good too. Every sentence, sometimes every word just comes alive off the page. This is one reason I've listened to her last book, The Neuroscience of Change: A Compassion-Based Program for Personal Transformation, 3-4 times, (something I rarely am able to do). The content helped me make meditation and mindfulness simple, and motivated me to understand and use it because the presents the scientific benefits and exercises and techniques in such clear, simple terms, including guided meditations throughout much of the book. Anyway, I'm obviously a fanboy. Anyway, I feel like I've listened to a ton of books in psychology, neuroscience, and psychology/self-help genre. Many are really interesting, but not necessarily overly helpful in a practical or lasting way. McGonigal's and Seligman's are exceptions that are both supremely interesting and very pragmatically helpful. I guess that's what I'm looking for these days, out of necessity. Sometimes I get a little burned out, but it's okay to take breaks and listen to other stuff just for entertainment, I tell myself. Hope you're doing well in SF - my favorite city in the world. I only got to visit once for a few days, after I passed the bar exam to practice law (in Oh), back in 2005. I loved just walking around from one side of the City to the other, to Coit Tower, Lombard st., through China Town, the wharf, got to tour Alcatraz, see the bridge, then the redwood forest and some wineries. I didn't drink then, but do now. I know its expensive, but I loved getting to visit, and hope to see it again sometime.
  22. I hope all those I know (and those I don't) out there are managing and carrying on. in the midst of this nutso pandemic. For me, here in Ohio, the things that are still the most anxiety-inducing and befuddling are local and personal: struggling to get up on time, to focus consistently, fear of making mistakes and being an idiot in law practice, money, relationships, the past and the future. The usual. And now, pain. I hurt strained a disk or two in my lower back in 2018, and its been getting worse in recent months. I'm beginning to have a better understanding of what life is like for people who have long-term constant physical pain. Its distracting and scary. It gets worse throughout the day even when I stretch 2-3 times/day. I'm trying to treat it. On the plus side, I'm listening to a lot of positive psychology material, and finding it instrumental in my ongoing recovery. I've been joyously surprised I guess at how good I can still sometimes feel, and how there is fodder for hopefulness and optimism at least in the here and now. I read The Joy of Movement: How Exercise Helps Us Find Happiness, Hope, Connection, and Courage, by Kelly McGonigal (probably my favorite audio author), while running and walking. She researches how the neuroscience shows that virtually every aspect of life is made better by movement itself, so much so that the posits the human brain's primary evolutionary function is to help us move. I'm not reading and working through some of the exercises in Flourish: a visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. (It's about 10 years old, by Martin Seligman, the former head of the American Psychological Association, elected by the org's largest margin its history). It's almost insufferably positive. First 3 chapters are really practical. Some of the rest, while still evocative and interesting, is a little academic. I think next I'm going to read The Strength Switch: How the New Science of Strength-Based Parenting Helps Your Child and Teen to Flourish by Lea Waters. These are all 'positive psychologists,' and are part of a deliberate effort on my part to spend more time and energy focusing on the light. I'm always curious what books and sources have helped others out there.
  23. Mixed bag. My experience is that depending on the strain, it either amplifiers sedation or stimulant effects. Really, this is always the case, when agents are mixed, isn't it? I mean, big picture, broadly speaking, virtually every psychoactive agent I've ever had that did anything, either increased stimulative effects or sedation. Those are kind of the two options. So, awareness and caution. I don't do it much, and I've reduced the amount, but now and then, when I want to feel good, I still do. One time, someone told me that the purpose of life was to be happy. I try to remember that.
  24. I like how you've dialed in that green buzz is the way to watch stuff. I like it to work out. I'm not supposed to use it while on Latuda. But I deemed that further data were required.
  25. hahaha "BOOGA BOOGA" i take to mean media boogeyman hysteria? I'm binge watching the newer Battlestar Galactica--again Flawless. I'm going through watching movies with my kids and we're also 'bout to finish the 5-6 part Night On Earth Netflix animal documentary, which is great. Movie recommendation time: Knives Out and Dark Waters, both 9/10 Frozen 2 - 6/10, but still good with the kids. Star Wars 9: Rise of Skywalker - 7/10, worth the watch. My pocket book after renting and buying new movies: $1
×
×
  • Create New...