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January 27, 2012

A whole lot of thoughts about thinking

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 1:21 am

I feel like I want to blog. I told myself I was done with the Internet for the night, but it feels nice to want to blog rather than it being another item on a To Do list that I expect myself to check off. So, I’m gonna. And then I’m not going to do anything else online and I’m going to bed before midnight.

Hm. I don’t have an agenda for this post. I spent most of the day today doing things for work, or eating or napping or hiking or other things that helped me stay grounded so I could focus on work. (This is particularly tough right now because “work” currently involves Googling e-mail addresses and sending out infinite form letters to people who run out-of-school-time science programs.) Then I went to the Trident this evening so that I’d have a time-limited period in which to do personal stuff online. (Limited by the fact that they close at 11.) It took me that entire time just to catch up on one day’s worth of e-mail and Facebook notifications, only replying to what felt like it needed immediate attention. (Well, and one e-mail from my Dad with cute photos of my twin niece and nephew.) Admittedly, this is busier day than usual because we just started the fundraising drive for KinkForAll Denver. Still, maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself about “where all my time goes” when I’m online. True, I spend some amount of it skimming random blog posts, getting into semantic arguments on Twitter, and looking at Facebook pictures of peoples’ weddings, but I also do quite a bit of work. Where by “work”, in this case, I mean making direct and meaningful contact with and between people who I care about in order to try and build the world I want to live in.

That’s something I realized last night: One of the reasons I don’t write in this blog (or any blog) too often is that I don’t really know who my audience is. Traditionally, my best writing comes in the form of correspondence – because I’m fine-tuning my words to communicate a particular idea to a specific individual. Sometimes that generates work that I want to share with other people. I’m sure you, whoever you are, have noticed how much of this blog is just re-posts of e-mails I’ve written or comments I’ve made elsewhere. But, generally speaking, I write a helluva love letter – but essays composed for the ether? Not so much.

Arguably, I’m writing to myself. Huh. I’ve never really thought of it that way before. I’ve thought of it as writing FOR myself e.g. as either a therapeutic or professional practice. But I’ve never thought about it in terms of writing to myself. However, that definitely resonates with my focus on multiplicity lately. My relationship with the concept of multiplicity (or, in mental-health-industrial-complex jargon, “Multiple Personality Disorder”) as it relates to my own psychology has ebbed and flowed over the course of my life. (There’s also this post, which feels particularly salient right now. I wonder where that book is. The last time I saw it must’ve been six months ago when, amusingly, I was reading it while on a dinner date with myself. But I looked for it this evening and it’s not on any of my bookcases. Hm.)

The most intensely that I’ve engaged with it in the past few years was shortly after I met Dakota, and kitty unexpectedly showed up, and we had to have some long conversations with Dakota about what exactly was going on, and then weirdly enough 8.5 wanted to get involved in that discussion and there were some complicated negotiations about who was doing what with whom and how, which were somewhat stressful – but also really amazing, because Kota basically caught on and just rolled with it in that wonderful way they roll with everything about me that’s “crazy”. Granted, I think it helps that they, too, have a lot of experience being different people. πŸ˜‰

But I’ve been in a pretty integrated phase for a while now. Still, I find my ears pricking up anytime I catch even the slightest mention of multiplicity and it’s been on my mind a lot. I’m doing all this therapeutic work (some of which, come to think of it, involves me literally talking to myself) and I’ve been thinking about various ways to “manage” my mental health such that I can get through that process and still keep my job and be present in my relationships, occasionally do the dishes, not have screaming panic attacks in public, etc. There are some obvious ones like, for example, eat, nap, and go for hikes. People also keep suggesting drugs of various kinds – and I’m not sure how I feel about that yet, although I can say that if I decide to go that route, I’m more inclined to go with the suggestion “You know what would probably help? More MDMA.” than I am with “Have you, um, considered anti-depressants?” And as I txted Matthew earlier: “I think you and I use Deconstruction the way other people use hallucinogens.” In other words, my philosophical background provides me with a lot of really powerful conceptual tools for being able to map a wide variety of meanings onto a given experience/relationship/situation/etc.

But it occurred to me as I was brushing my teeth this evening that I also use, and have always used, a kind of “mental illness” model to hack my own psychology. That is to say, given a Foucauldian understanding that most “mental illnesses” exist on spectrum between “normal” behaviour/experience (neurotypicality?) and a diagnosable “illness”, I ask myself questions like, “If the fact that I’m exhibiting behaviors X, Y and having psychological/emotional experience Z meant I was bipolar/PTSD/ADHD/multiple/schizophrenic/whatever*, rather than meaning I was “lazy” or “fucked up”, what would I do to take care of myself/solve whatever logistical or emotional problem is resulting from these behaviors/experiences?”

Wow.

First of all, that was a convoluted paragraph. Evidently, I really am just writing this for myself. πŸ˜›

But what I basically just said is: Sometimes, I tell myself I’m “crazy” so that I’ll feel like I have a valid excuse to take care of myself. This sounds very reminiscent of the revelation I had the other night re: One of the reasons I used to starve myself was so that I’d be so weak I’d be forced to be gentle with myself. Jesus. That feels really fucking intense.

* Incidentally, there isn’t really a “whatever” here. Those are the big ones. That is to say, those are the “disorders” (and in that order) that I “suspect” myself of having traits from, or that have descriptions that resonate most strongly with my psychological experience – but, more saliently, those are the frameworks that it’s most helpful for me to map onto the ways that I respond to my environment, in order to give me more power for navigating that environment safely. (And Borderline, of course, but I really don’t mess around with Borderline because it’s so loaded with stuff to do with my mom. But, of course, not having a stable sense of unitary selfhood/identity and not knowing what the fuck is real are Borderline traits – or, y’know, traits that might be found in a child who was raised in relative isolation by a Borderline mom. :P)

Huh. This is really not what I was expecting to write about. Although I don’t know what I was expecting to write about. It’s weird how I am a) totally in denial about being “crazy”, b) totally terrified of going “crazy”, c) absolutely fascinated by and almost dependent on understanding myself as “crazy” all at the same time. I feel like it might be valuable to read some stuff about the neurodiversity movement. I’ve put SO much philosophical and sociopsychological thought into this stuff over the course of my life, but never really approached it from a political framework. I don’t know if that would make it “worse” or “better”. I don’t even know what “it” refers to in that sentence.

TL;DR: I have a complicated intellectual and emotional relationship to my own mental health. Like, y’know, everybody.

I can’t believe I’m posting this kind of shit in public. I feel really chill about it right now, but tomorrow I’ll probably get really nervous about it. But I feel like I’ve been consciously trying to be more public about the ways in which I’m not…neurotypical? (Except, I mean, maybe I am. I don’t know. I don’t really understand how that word is used well enough to feel comfortable defining myself one way or the other. I mean, that’s sort of the thing right? It’s like…yeah, I’m suicidal sometimes or can’t get out of bed or have anxiety attacks because I’m afraid that I’m about to start hallucinating. But so does everybody. Suicidal thoughts are completely normal. Pretty much all humans have them from time to time. Depressive and manic cycles at the level that I have them could probably be just as accurately described as “being moody”. I feel like I’m making a big deal out of nothing. This shit is fucking confusing.)

Um. Anyway. My point was that…I’ve historically hid all of these behaviors in a really intense way, because I didn’t want people to think I was “crazy”. But I’m trying to be more public and open about the various ways I’m prone to sometimes losing my shit (however you want to define them), because it turns out that it’s actually not good for me if people just think I have my shit together all the time, because then they expect me to continue to have my shit together all the time, and thus I expect MYSELF to have my shit together all the time or at least to act like it for other peoples’ benefits, and that puts me under MORE stress, which makes the anxiety worse and the whatever-these-things-are-that-are-not-hallucinations-but-are-goddamn-terrifying-regardless worse and…it sucks. Fuck. It really sucks.

…Okay. Well, that was processy. I think the most interesting upshot of this entire stream-of-consciousness ramble, though, is that it might be fun, valuable, therapeutic, interesting, a good writing exercise and a good psychological exercise to actually, literally write letters to mysel(f/ves) – either here or somewhere else.

Here, I’ll start:

Dear Rebecca,

It is 1:30 in the morning. Go to bed.

Love,
Yourself

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3 Comments »

  1. […] never used that word to describe myself before. But that is what I’m doing, isn’t it? That’s what I’ve always been doing. I guess it should’ve been […]

    Pingback by “Back in the day when we were trippin’ on Heidegger…” « Bloggity Blog Blog Blog… — January 27, 2012 @ 1:55 am | Reply

  2. I am really glad that you wrote this piece to yourself…and shared it with the rest of us…for a couple of different reasons. For one, it normalizes the conversations that I have with myself that I don’t have with other people, that I don’t tell other people about, and that I don’r write down…anywhere. The fact that you wrote this and posted it makes me feel like I could somehow record the conversations that I have with myself…and that maybe even one day I too could share them with you and other people. For two, I always like hearing about your day. πŸ™‚ For three, I love the way that your brain works and in this particular format, I get to see the process in detail and as it ‘naturally’ occurs…whatever the hell that means.

    I don’t know that we have ever had a conversation about all the different ‘disorders’ that you might ‘suspect’ yourself (or yourselves) of manifesting characteristics of…so this part was interesting to me…especially because many of them have resonated for me at different points in my life as well.

    I don’t know about everybody else but I definitely have suicidal thoughts, moments, and periods in my life…and I have known quite a few other people for whom this is true.

    So, um, yeah, thanks for doing this. ❀

    Comment by orgasmicon — January 27, 2012 @ 7:33 pm | Reply

  3. […] For me, second-guessing my own feelings, experiences, and sheer reality was a coping strategy for staying emotionally and psychologically intact in the face of the most unimaginable horror: That the person on whom I was totally dependent for my safety and well-being was someone I lived in fear of being hurt by. Telling myself, “This can’t be real. This can’t be real,” and convincing myself of other stories instead was what kept me sane — or, at least, as “sane” as I am. (Whatever the fuck that even means.) […]

    Pingback by An Incredibly Self-Indulgent Post on Archetypal Resonance « Bloggity Blog Blog Blog… — August 7, 2012 @ 1:29 am | Reply


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