Morning Meltdown

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This morning I awoke at 7:30 or so because of my back (the alarm doesn’t go off until 9:00) and I did my vitals and brushed my teeth. Went to prepare coffee for both of us, which usually means putting sleeves on the cups (we use the plastic reusable Starbucks cups: they’re durable, they’re stackable, and they cost a buck apiece), putting one scoop of xylitol and two scoops of creamer into the cups, and preparing two reusable K-cup filters’ worth of regular coffee per cup, then using the small cup button on the Keurig when brewing. I was planning on prepping both cups for me and my wife, but only brewing mine until she awoke.

I got as far as getting the sweetener and the creamer in the cups when I suddenly was overcome with doubt that I had done it correctly – I thought I’d only put one scoop of creamer in each cup instead of two. I opted not to toss what I’d done and waste the xylitol, since we were pretty low, but instead just set them aside and quietly freaked out over screwing up the coffee. I went into the bedroom and snuggled up to my wife, who woke up and asked me what was wrong. I told her and she tried to reassure me that everything would be okay, but my brain, in the time it took to realize what I thought I’d done, stand there for about fifteen seconds contemplating my options, and then slowly pad into the bedroom with the gait of someone that’s guilty of committing a grievous offense against humanity and was caught doing it, wasn’t having any of it. I’d hit full meltdown mode and I was refuting everything she was trying to reassure me of.

Somewhere in there I got sleepy again and felt that it was wrong of me to have woken her up while I was still sleepy. Again she refuted me and asked me where my evidence was that I had done wrong. After getting her frustrated to the point that she was starting to kick herself for not fixing my problems, we both went back to bed and didn’t wake back up until 11:00. The sleep was the reset that we both needed.

The problem that I have with this is that I have the tools to refute my brain weasels on my own, yet this time I failed to use them – just like I’ve failed to do so very often throughout my life. The version of reality that my brain tries to convince me of is the only thing that I can hear, even in the face of overwhelming concrete evidence against that alternate reality. Maybe I wasn’t awake enough to bring those tools to bear – I oftentimes have morning meltdowns and that might be one of the reasons why. Maybe it’s because I felt like I had to be awake because I woke up and it was light outside, and my body really wasn’t done sleeping, and I was dealing with that fight that my body and my brain were having with one another. I really don’t know what caused it this morning, but I knew that it was almost instantaneous, the feeling that I had massively screwed up and the overwhelming need to be comforted through it.

Things worked out this time, but next time something like this happens I’m going to try and be more critical of it, refuting the brain weasels best I can. (Incidentally, if you’re wondering why this doesn’t work all the time, well … I wish I had an answer for you. If we could just talk or breathe our way through our emotional crises like this, we’d put the vast majority of therapists out of work. A lot of times events like this morning have a deeper root than we’d like to admit, and sometimes it takes digging deep to find the root problem and work on that. I think this was one of those times. I couldn’t point to a single instance from my childhood that would have formed the behavior that I exhibited this morning, but I can tell you that I was under a great deal of pressure from my parents to excel at school, and I think that’s one of the reasons I didn’t, to rebel against the pressure to be the golden child. Or I could have been kicked in the head by a horse when I was a kid. Who knows. Also, that bit about the horse actually happened to me, but that’s a blog post for another time.)

Building a Distraction

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Yesterday evening we went to go pick up another BrenĂ© Brown book, I Thought It Was Just Me, that I think will be helpful. The Gifts of Imperfection is coming to a close and I’m probably going to spend some time with it taking notes before starting into the next book. I read for comprehension this time through, next time I’m going to read it with the intent of following through on the questions she asks throughout the book.

While we were at the store, my lovely wife surprised me with another LEGO Architecture set. This is my ninth set, plus I have the Studio. One of the early sets they had was a rudimentary model of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, currently the tallest building in the world, but they discontinued it for some reason maybe a year or more ago. Yesterday, I found out the reason. They’ve re-released the Burj Khalifa as a vastly improved model – bigger, more complex, more detailed than its predecessor. After a rare dinner out (thank you, loyalty rewards program, for the $25 off!) we came home and started to build.

As usual, my wife separated and sorted bricks and I built. I was amazed at how well built this model is at its core. It felt like an architectural project, with several internal elements designed to reinforce the model as it grows taller and taller and larger design elements that were constructed before being added to the full model. The methods used to realize this set were plenty and as creative as anything I’ve ever seen in a set before. It took about two hours before the spire, the final element that took twenty steps on its own, was added to the rest of the model. The finished piece towers over the rest of my collection at 15.4 inches tall. It’s truly a beautiful thing.

As much fun as I have admiring it over on the top of the bookshelf that I display my collection on, I had just as much fun or more actually building the thing, so this afternoon when my wife asked me what I wanted to do, I told her I wanted to break down the model and reconstruct it. So that’s what we did, and it was just as much fun the second time around as it was the first.

The best part, however, is that it’s worked to completely distract me from my recent downward spiral. We can’t go buy a new model every time I get depressed, but this was a special treat and I cannot thank my wife enough for letting me have it. The timing was perfect.

Slowly Emerging

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Last night after I posted my extremely terse blog entry I self-medicated with food and drink – we went to one of our favorite restaurants and I split a plate of poutine with my wife and had half a Cuban pressed burger (think Cuban sandwich with a burger in it), along with a cider. The waitress greeted us and immediately went into the types of ciders they had, since she remembered us and remembered I was a cider drinker. That was a good feeling, knowing that I’m enough of a regular to be recognized. Came home and went to bed in short order.

I’m admittedly not much better than I was last night. I woke up in a great mood, quickly switched to angry at myself for no reason whatsoever, and then soon after that slid back into depression. It’s five after three in the afternoon as I write this sentence and I haven’t been out of bed for long.

Logically, I know there’s no reason for me to be feeling the way I am. I know that everything is proceeding according to the prophecy, and that the events of yesterday are behind me. So I don’t know why I’m back into this well here.

Part of it is a lack of something to do, I think. We had plans to go to a friend’s for a cookout but we canceled them earlier this morning when I was in and out of bed for vitals and meds and I really wasn’t in a good headspace. There are several things that we could do, but I’m reticent to bring them up in case it’s a bad idea, so my brain is telling me that it’s best for me to sit over here and stare mindlessly at the computer like I do so often, just waiting on something better to happen to me.

I really dislike this feeling, this complete lack of momentum to get anything done with my day. I’ve done most of the checklist items up to this point in the day, and once I finish this I’ll be done for the foreseeable future, at least until my alarms go off for my afternoon meds and vitals.

Yet another boring post about my boring life. At least I’m at a point that I can write today.

 

Drawing a Blank

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At three separate times today the subject for today’s blog post crossed my mind, and just as quickly exited before being stored in even short-term memory. This stuff was popping up in the “hey wait OOH SHINY” part of my memory, and I am certain that that is the medical term for this phenomena.

I could write about one of my favorite comic books coming to life this week in AMC’s Preacher. Forewarned that the series would not be mirroring the comics in any way at all, and that material from the comics wouldn’t really start showing up until episode ten, I went in clear of expectations. I was not disappointed. The pilot episode was darkly funny, action packed, brutally violent and gory and just downright weird – which is precisely the spirit of the comics themselves. I have high hopes for this series.

I could write about what they’ve done to poor Steve Rogers in the comics. The internet kinda blew the doors off this one – screw spoilers – and collectively grabbed their torches and pitchforks over the plot twist that they say has been planned for two years and hinted at since 1940. I’m not going to even honor this development by naming it in this blog. What they’re doing is absolutely wrong. There are little kids with Captain America plastered all over their bedrooms crying their eyes out over what they’re doing with him in the comics. You can tell me they’ll retcon this just like they retcon every ludicrous storyline that’s ever done in the comics, and I’m certain they will, but the damage is already being done to the core audience. Rethink this course of action, Marvel, before sales figures force your hand.

I could write about one of my fellow DJs who at this very moment is possibly on stage with his band Super Mega Everything competing for the chance to play the Haight Ashbury Street Fair in San Francisco later this year. This is a huge deal for a NorCal band and would put them in front of thousands of attendees. I really hope it goes well for him and his band tonight. He’s a really decent guy and this would be an excellent opportunity for him to broaden his fan base.

I’m pretty certain what I intended to write about isn’t any of those things, to be honest, but they’re what’s popping into my head now, so this is what you get. Lesson learned: when inspiration hits, don’t put it off – sit down and write.

 

The Gift of Show Day

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I have a radio show for three hours later this evening.

There have been times that I’ve dreaded it. Physically, this is one of those times: the other night I ate a piece of pie that had been heated to the point that it burned my esophagus going down and now swallowing almost anything feels like a punch to the solar plexus. Mentally, though, that’s not the case.

The show requires that I connect with our audience through our IRC channel and optionally another gaming outlet. That connection does me a lot of good, since it’s conversation with a lot of people about a lot of things. It allows me to interact with people I wouldn’t otherwise be interacting with, and lately I’ve been craving that interaction.

I think when I’m feeling better (it actually hurts to talk somewhat) I’m going to try one of those alternate outlets in addition to the IRC channel. I think the environment would be a good one for me mentally speaking and the audience would be appreciative of the dual presence.

I try to stop short of promoting my shows here on WordPress, although I will do so on Facebook. The show focuses on Rock and Roll Hall of Famers and so the music is across the board, just like the Hall, and somewhat whiplashy from song to song. If you have an interest in checking things out, send me a message and I’ll try to answer as soon as I can.

Roadblock Reframing

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I got a lot of good advice about yesterday’s panicky, frantically written post on both WordPress and Twitter. I want to thank everyone that commented and tried to talk me down off the ledge; it eventually worked.

More than one person essentially said “this part of the book is not written about you.” I tend to disagree; the subject matter is relevant to my life. The problem that I had is that I saw one phrase and hyperfocused on that, to the point that the rest of the chapter wasn’t even a blip on my radar. I let that one little bit of cognitive dissonance run amok with the book and with my blog, and I apologize for not having better control of the situation.

It’s true, I am on the internet most all day. I only take a break when I’m doing chores around the house or on those rare occasions that I’m watching a movie. But the internet isn’t a situation that I can’t stand to be away from; if it were, I wouldn’t be able to go to SCA events and forget about my smartphone with the exception of it being my alarm for my medications and vitals throughout the day. The internet is my primary conduit for communication with others, and that’s what I crave, a lot more than the usual content. The things I do on the internet are just filler for the times between conversations.

So yesterday’s panic attack was over nothing, as they usually are. Thanks again to the folks that helped me reframe the situation in my mind into something much more manageable.