Tag Archives: self-knowledge

Sapiosexual

I came across this definition in UrbanDictionary.com yesterday:

Sapiosexual: One who finds intelligence the most sexually attractive feature.

… yeah, I like the sound of that!

 

1543,AndreasVesalius'Fabrica,BaseOfTheBrain.jpg
1543,AndreasVesalius’Fabrica,BaseOfTheBrain” by User Ancheta Wis on en.wikipedia – Originally from en.wikipedia; description page is (was) here. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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“…shows great courage…”

From MasterChef last night:

To change your career at 27 takes great courage.

Sorry, Marco Pierre White, I beg to differ.

This isn’t because I think the young man you were talking to isn’t an outstanding individual. It’s not because I’m well over 27, and have changed career a number of times.

It’s because I seen even greater courage daily among the mental health community.

You think it’s hard to change your career, Mr White? What about adapting to a completely new way of being in the world? What about suddenly realizing that what you’ve done all your life isn’t going to work for you any more – and may, in fact, be the end of you?

These are the questions mental health patients come up against, at precisely the time in their life when they’re least equipped to deal with them.

I enjoyed a long “phone date” with one of my best friends yesterday afternoon. Her schedule is busy, and we don’t get to talk often these days, but I always enjoy our chats. It was really great to be able to say that – finally! – I’m beginning to feel different,  to feel better again, to be able to think differently and constructively about my future. I haven’t been able to tell her that in a long time.

She asked me what I thought was the biggest factor in overcoming my mental illnesses. I gave her an honest answer: “My attitude.”

I believe that I will lead a happier, smoother, healthier and more hopeful life again, and I work hard towards that goal, even when it’s difficult. I still have a way to go, but I’m fortunate to be inspired and supported by those who walk alongside me.

Byron (the young man Mr. White was addressing) did leave the show last night. Among his parting comments were this:

Being 27 and finding out what you want to do in life – it seems so late.

I’m truly happy for you, Byron, I really am; it is a wonderful thing to discover what you want to do in life: but imagine what it must be like, at any age, to try and re-learn what you have to be in life, in order to survive.

That’s courage.

Dogtags

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Not in Kansas anymore

No, this blog hasn’t transmogrified into a travelogue! Instead, I was inspired by the responses to yesterday’s post on appeasing the inner critic to write about acceptance.

It was lovely to hear people’s responses to the all-to-common phenomena of the inner critic, that voice which can ride our backs, tearing us apart from the inside – if we let it. A theme which recurred was the concept of the “used to” voice, that particularly nasty one which reminds us that now we’re living with depression or anxiety or whichever “quirk or frailty” we’re now dealing with, we can’t do everything we used to be able to do.

This voice has been strident in my head this week! I started a university course about a month ago. I already have two masters degrees, so I felt fairly confident that I could tackle two subjects in this study trimester – two subjects is not a full time load, after all, and in the past I’ve managed both a full load of study and a full load of work, at times.

Not now.

Census date* was looming, so I dropped one of the subjects. I have two small assignments due tomorrow, 500 and 750 words respectively (so nothing, really!) and while I’m moderately confident I can complete them, I am finding it really hard to get the reading done. Yes, you heard that right – the woman with not one but two masters degrees is finding it difficult to do the reading required for a couple of piddling little pieces.

As you can imagine, the inner critic has been having a field day with this! So I have been vigorously exercising my appeasement strategies. I was also helped considerably this morning by a conversation with a dear friend, who works in education, who helped me tease out where some of my resistance was coming from … and by my husband, who reminded me that I am still suffering from a viral infection! (Sometimes we miss the glaringly obvious; perhaps that malicious inner critic hides it from our consciousness!)

I’ve read a few posts on the “life is a game” metaphor lately, one by nikeyo and another by happilydepressed. Check them out – they’re excellent. They also helped me realize that I firmly believe that radical acceptance of your situation as it is now is not only the way to appease the “used to” voice, but also sets you up for happiness and, I guess, success in life – however you define success.

For me, radical acceptance today means realistically assessing my overall health status, and moving forward from there. My status at the moment is:

  • I’ve tired myself out, talking to my friend for over an hour (delightful though that was)
  • I’m running a mild fever
  • I have to get these two pieces written before tomorrow’s end
  • I possess the skills required to complete these pieces, but
  • thanks to my depression, and viral infection, I am lacking in energy and motivation to do so; and
  • thanks to my anxiety, I am unrealistically fearful that I may not be able to complete the tasks.

So, I am going to set myself very, very small goals; 5 minutes of reading here, 10 minutes of reading there, with lovely relaxing breaks in between. In this way, I know I’ll get the pieces written, and also take care of myself.

This is a very specific example. Thinking more broadly, how do you deal with the “used to” voice? I’d love to hear your strategies!

* For overseas readers: “census date” is the date at which you get charged for all subjects you’re enrolled in. If you want to withdraaw from a subject, you’re best off doing it before the census date to avoid having to pay for it, which you’d have to do even if you subsequently withdrew even before the “withdraw not fail” date.

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Appeasing the Inner Critic

Yesterday I wrote about keeping the horizon close, or managing to find joy despite suffering the symptoms of major depression. Today I’m going to reflect – for my own benefit, as much as anything else! – on handling the inner critic as you do so.

Here’s a sample of the delights my inner critic has offered up this week:

Inner Critic

On one hand, when I hear these phrases, it’s a matter of “ho, hum; here she goes again” but there’s also an element of sting to them – because my inner critic really knows how to hit home.

The trick to keeping the horizon close is not just in focussing on the present moment, but in doing to to the exclusion of the inner critic’s voice. There’s no point fighting her; that just adds power to her hurtful words. Instead, I find it better to acknowledge what she’s saying in a cursory way, and then focus all my attention on what I’m doing right now. Treated this way, she eventually recedes muttering into the nasty, dank corner of my  mind where she hides out.

She’s got no choice, really. Because I’ve acknowledged her, she can’t get all huffy and shout louder and louder for my attention: I’ve thrown her a bone – “yes, you may be right, but I’m concentrating on something else right now” – and completely taken the wind out of her sails. At the same time, though, I’ve not engaged with her emotionally. No wonder she turns her back on me in a snit: she doesn’t have cause to complain, but she’s not getting any attention, either!

How do you deal with your inner critic?

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Finding Joy Despite Flattening

Yes, you read that right – “flattening”! It seemed the best way to describe my week. Or, if you prefer pictures, this –

DB Badge

has become this:

DB Badge Flattened

However(and I can’t emphasize that “however” enough!) I am still happy. Lacking in energy, motivation and general bounce, but still joyful.

How is this so? Well, I’m keeping the horizon close and staying in the moment. It’s that simple.

My floors still aren’t mopped; my assignment still needs completing. (To be honest, it still needs starting.) My garden needs weeding; my fridge needs cleaning. Dinner isn’t going to cook itself, but there’s always soup in the freezer. There’s a book waiting for me at the library, but it will still be there tomorrow.

In this moment, I am enjoying tapping words out for you, dear reader, to consider. A few moments ago, I enjoyed flopping on the sofa after the effort of emptying the dishwasher exhausted me. In a short time, I intend to enjoy the moment when I turn on the TV and watch The Good Wife. Outside of those moments? Beyond the scope of my attention.

I believe that if I were to widen my horizons today, I would rapidly become joy-less. I’d be frustrated at my lack of energy, angry at myself for not having started things earlier, feel guilty about considering soup for dinner when there’s the makings of a good meal in the crowded fridge, and panicked about all the things that I haven’t ticked off on my To Do list.

However, I feel none of those things. Instead, I feel happy.

It makes me happy to write these words, happy to know that you’ve read them. Thank you! And may you, too, find much joy in your day today.

xx DB

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