Mutually Exclusive Worlds

22 05 2011

I just saw it.

I have two parallel modes of existence.

1)      Free time. My mind. Quiet. Calm. My inner world. Unchallenged, my mind drifts and takes on a life of its own, creates its own challenges, indulges. Analyses. Images. Wishes. Thoughts. One depth after another. One twist after another in a never-ending downward spinning spiral. Terrible emotional state. Only a mind. Nothing more.

2)      Lots of work. Involvement. Engagement. People. Tasks. My mind is focused and directed towards certain (allowed) tasks and paths. Those are the only ones allowed. No time for images, analyses, deep thoughts. My (real)  mind is starved. Partial emotional fulfillment.

It’s amazing how I am this morning. After the smashing success of my presentation last night, knowing that “the course” is coming to a close, dreading the free time which I so badly covet, aware of how tired I am, thinking about how much writing and thought analysis and juxtaposition I want to do, anticipating getting back to more reading and writing, I find myself at a low. Why? Is it because I know I will fall back in my own mind-cage again, without a savior from my whipping thoughts and judgments? Is it because I know I will go back to doing nothing? Is it because I know I will go back to valuelessness? Decisions? Is it because I know I will go back to my dark rooms and the not-so-bright but absorbing lights emitted by my laptop screen? Will I go back to my world of movies and soaps? Will I still have a chance to see myself through others’ eyes, a medicine so healing to me?

Maybe my problem is that I haven’t been challenged enough. Maybe it’s because all the work I have done, including teaching, does not challenge my mind. Is studying and learning the only thing that challenges me? Writing. But to write, I have to be alone, all alone.

Can’t I manage some sort of combination where I don’t completely ignore my mind and mental dungeons but also engage in life and everyday tasks, without getting overwhelmed by the details and giving up? Can’t I find a way to take a bright walk in a day lit park (maybe even with a friend), yet also solitarily roam the dim pathways of my mind, acknowledging both but not getting stuck in either?

An awakening conversation I recently had with a very interesting lady as I worked the courage to tell her about my life-long depression. (No, I did not mention OCPD. Not nearly brave enough, yet.)

Her: Your depression means you understand.

Me: Elaborate.

Her: Well, most people sort of live above a certain “crust,” if you will, a superficial level. Some, though, think deeply enough to penetrate this crust and go “in.” They have a certain level of awareness and understanding. They get depressed and it’s hard for them to go back up to the crust. It’s like a constant slipping in. You have to help yourself stay “up there.”

. . . . . . .

Me: I am trying to minimize stress in my life to stay well. That’s why I am staying with part-time work (and living).

Her: When you minimize stress, you’re really increasing stress.

Me: ??

Her: When you minimize stress, you’re increasing stress because yourself time to think and your mind takes over.

I’ve come such a long way during this course, mainly during this course, and I am so afraid of falling back. I am so scared. I need other people. There, I admitted it. I need other people in my life. I need their presence, their feedback, their insight, their eyes, most of all, their eyes.

I need (small) missions to accomplish, to regain my sense of value and success. I want to hold on to this little “self” I am beginning to discover. I don’t want to be a transparent diluted island of nothingness anymore.




One response

23 05 2011
The Writing Goddess

As a non, sometimes I find that the more I have to do, the more productive I am, whereas sometimes when I have big windows to do whatever I want… I do nothing.

I hate to suggest a list to an OCPDr, but maybe you should make a list of free time activities that interest you. Reading. Going for a walk. Catching up on Netflix. Getting a massage. painting a picture – or coloring one (coloring mandalas can be relaxing yet give the brain SOME activity.) So, instead of panicking when a big window of nothing appears, you can check your list and do something that is NOT work but is also NOT nothing.

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