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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Stopping the Machinery

Like most members of the species, there are some things that I can handle very well, and others that are more difficult.  Then there are those "machinery stopping" things that we all have; you know, these are the things that happen in your life when it seems like the machinery in your head seems to come to a creaky stop.  It's the balance of these things that I think dictates our health and ultimately defines our existence.

Lately I'll confess to encountering more of the "machinery stopping" events than is probably good or healthy.  The reasons will make for interesting reading one day, although it may just be me who ends up doing both the reading and the writing.  What's fascinating on a more intellectual level is that when I (I'll keep this in the first person, although "I" think it applies universally) go through these periods of extreme feelings it is as if logic, reasoning, and proportion go out the window.  Yeah, someone may be reading that and saying to themselves "no sh*t Sherlock!", but that someone may not understand that things like logic, reasoning and proportion are really the kind of glue that actually hold me together.

What to do?  

Well part of this whole solution lies in just plain old resilience.  I'm a believer in resilience.  Resilience works.  You slug through the difficult times in your life and do the best you can.  But you always continue to slug through though.

In my experience, even the most resilient people though need some help.  Maybe the very concept of help is central to being resilient in the first place.  Help is a more difficult concept for me, and being an introvert, I don't necessarily feel like emoting at every opportunity to any stranger walking by. For me, just getting help causes additional stress, because I inevitably have this internal dialogue about "who do I talk to", "how much do I say", "can they really help me", "can they be there for me", and on and on and on.  Think that was tiring to read?  That's nothing compared to replaying it in your head constantly.  In the end though, we all need a little help every now and then.

Clarity is probably the most difficult remedy in all of this mess for me.  I seek clarity like greed-heads on Wall Street seek money.  It would probably make sense if I could define just what I mean by clarity in this condition, so here goes:  clarity is this state where I've been able to fully think through something that is bothering me and truly understand how it actually impacts my life, both in the short and the long term.  Clarity isn't as much a process as it is result of a process.  In trying to clearly think about things, I think I am slowly able to chip away at the irrational stuff and come to some real level of understanding about the nature of what troubles me.  Clarity is as much a journey as it is a destination.   

Irrational Stuff
It's the irrational stuff that gets to me the most.  I'm facing a particularly vexing problem now and the most inane aspects of it are what sometimes trip me up the most by interfering with clear, rational thought.  Here's a fictionalized example of what I mean:  "Johnny graduated from college and has to decide whether or not to take a job in another town.  Johnny is stressed about a lot of things, including who will cut his mother's grass."  Seriously, this is the kind of thing I'm talking about.  "Cut the grass"?  Are you kidding me?  That probably shouldn't even be on the concern radar, but it is.  For me, it's dealing with those kids of seemingly irrational details that does the most damage.  Maybe these irrational thoughts are something of a defense mechanism that are put up to shield my head from dealing with the larger issues that lie buried deeper. 

Lastly, there is writing.  I write constantly.  Having something of a public confessional for all of this is actually pretty helpful too, in a bizarre sort of way.  I think it may be an extension of that inner dialogue that all introverts have, although I have the luxury (and if you are reading this you have the curse) of being able to do it in a somewhat extroverted manner.

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