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April 24, 2012

A few questions.

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 1:31 am

ME: I keep feeling like, okay, I quit my job. That was this pretty dramatic move, practically and symbolically, and so now all these problems I was struggling with should be resolved, right? What I need to remember is that the reason I quit my job was because I was struggling with all this stuff that made it hard to work. If those problems were easy to resolve, I probably would’ve just resolved them rather than quitting my job with no other plan. So, maybe I should be a little more patient with myself.

HER: Right. The real difference is, now, working through that stuff is your project.

I can make a list here of all the things that I know — or believe that I know — help me feel emotionally stable. I’ve been meaning to do that for a little while, actually. But before I do that, some questions to muse over:

– What does “emotional stability” look like? What does that even mean to me?

– Is “emotional stability” a virtue?

– If not, then what do I value instead?

– If yes, is it a virtue in and of itself or as a means to something else?

– If the latter, what is it a means to and is there another way to get there?

– If the former, why?

– What are the times in my life that have felt the most “emotionally stable”? What are the times in my life that have felt the least “emotionally stable”? What was going on then?

FYI, I told my therapist today that I promise to call her if I’m seriously considering suicide. I also told her that I don’t actually think there’s a high likelihood that I’m a suicide risk and she told me she didn’t think so either. But I do tend to write about suicide a lot publicly. (I write about it much more often publicly than I do privately, for what that’s worth.) And I sometimes exhibit a number of symptoms that you’ll see on the little hotline cards. I do want to be able to write about both my suicidal thoughts and my thoughts on suicide publicly because I feel like normalizing those kind of thoughts is important work. But I don’t want my loved ones to worry. And I don’t want myself to worry. And, because my philosophy on suicide includes the belief that it can sometimes happen more-or-less “accidentally”, I do worry myself sometimes.

So, I wanted to have a safety plan. And talking about it that with a professional who I trust and who I trust not to make it into a bigger deal than it is felt good. Hopefully it feels good to you, too, dear reading friends.

Now I’m going to take a bath and go to bed.

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7 Comments »

  1. vir·tue/ˈvərCHo͞o/
    Noun:

    Behavior showing high moral standards: “paragons of virtue”.
    A quality considered morally good or desirable in a person.

    I am not sure what emotional stability has to do with morality. Common usage of the word virtue often just means “a good way to be” but it literally has to do with one’s morality.

    Other than that, you are asking yourself really important questions! Good!!! I wish you great hunting for answers!

    Comment by Terri Jones — April 24, 2012 @ 7:05 am | Reply

    • > I am not sure what emotional stability has to do with morality. Common usage of the word virtue often just means “a good way to be” but it literally has to do with one’s morality.

      I suppose that the post-Aristotelian virtue ethicist* in me believes that “a good way to be” and “a moral way to be” are, in fact, tantamount to one another. Which is to say that I have a much deeper emotional investment in being moral than I do in being happy — but, since I also agree with Socrates that there’s no such thing as akrasia** (i.e. The Good is humanity’s “natural goal”), I believe that pursuing a moral way of being is necessarily and by definition ALSO the only way to pursue genuine meaningful happiness. And that anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something. 😉

      * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtue_ethics
      ** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akrasia

      > Other than that, you are asking yourself really important questions! Good!!! I wish you great hunting for answers!

      Thank you, Terri. 🙂

      Comment by thirdxlucky — April 24, 2012 @ 11:18 am | Reply

      • Hmm. It seems prima facie false that there’s no such thing as akrasia. I do shit all the time that I know is against my better judgment, often (always?) by force of habit. Habit is a huge factor that has to be taken into account in any moral theory. (Virtue ethics seems like a fertile ground for this: repeated good actions produce good habits which produce good character, and vice versa. But maybe that makes it consequentialist. Maybe I’m just talking outta my ass.) Also, instinct. And what this guy said. (It’s a TED talk about irrational decisions. He’s got another good one on “our buggy moral code.”)

        But I know that you and Socrates are/were both smart people, and have probably considered these objections. So, what am I missing? Or should I just actually read the wiki article you posted?

        (Additionally, I didn’t actually count, but I think more of this comment is in parentheses than is outside of them.)

        Comment by corvinity — April 24, 2012 @ 8:24 pm

  2. I don’t know what “emotional stability” means to you, but to me that phrase does not quite describe something that I would consider a virtue or goal in itself. What I value is being mindful and aware enough to recognize the emotions I’m having and make a conscious and constructive choice about how to respond to them. I think mindfulness/awareness is a virtue in itself and/or as a means to just about everything else. (What if everything that is valuable is valuable as a means to everything else that is valuable [as a means], and there are no ends-in-themselves? Kind of an ethics of differance.)

    Comment by corvinity — April 24, 2012 @ 10:47 am | Reply

    • > (What if everything that is valuable is valuable as a means to everything else that is valuable [as a means], and there are no ends-in-themselves? Kind of an ethics of differance.)

      I love you. 🙂

      Comment by thirdxlucky — April 24, 2012 @ 11:19 am | Reply

  3. […] think, somewhat unintentionally, that I’ve come up with a preliminary answer to some of the questions I posed here about whether “emotional stability” is a virtue. I don’t have time to articulate […]

    Pingback by A Follow-Up: Eudaemonia « Bloggity Blog Blog Blog… — April 25, 2012 @ 2:41 pm | Reply

  4. […] have the tools or knowhow to kill myself and I have consciously chosen not to research them. I have a standing agreement with a mental health professional who I trust that if I’m ever seriously considering it, I’ll call her first. I may not feel like I’m going […]

    Pingback by Operating Manual: How to Help Me When I’m Upset « Bloggity Blog Blog Blog… — May 16, 2012 @ 11:27 pm | Reply


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