Tuesday’s Meanderings…

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared some of the ever present discussions in my head. It helps me gain order, the writing of them that is, hopefully it offers you some light relief at the very least…

 The art of Control

It sometimes feels like things are spinning out of control. In the past things spun quickly, they now move more slowly and I have time to do something about it, to act or to just watch it spin around again and again. I guess this is a sign of me improving, the oft spoken ‘recovery’ is in progress, tracking upwards but forever threatening otherwise.

I have a problem with my online usage. Yes a new issue, but not so new. I’m forever buying stuff from China that I think I need and that I rarely can afford. It’s not large items, more just crap that I can live without, but as it’s cheap I think ‘fck it just buy it’. This combined with me binge reading news sites and looking at crap on YouTube, has seen me forsake sleep, school work and worst of all reading books. Things spinning slowly out of control…

It’s not that they’re massively bad habits or drastic changes in my life, but the reward and comfort I trick myself into believing I’m obtaining, is what frightens me more. ‘I can’t live without this stuff.’ I hear myself lament, but I can, I just don’t choose to, for now at least anyway. I just put it down to my general boredom and increasing levels of free time on my own, but that changes also. Things are again slowly spinning…

Like much of life I go through patches, things change, they evolve, today’s boredom and isolation is replaced by tomorrow’s busy schedule of train trips, meetings and conversations. It’s the swings that trouble me, I’m alone, I’m not alone. Back and forth forever swinging one way or the other, in control for now but for how long?

It would be nice if things had a reliable pattern to them and I guess in some ways life does. It’s just a case of whether the pattern is one you choose or rather one that you’ve allowed to be chosen for you. Perhaps it’s not the spinning that’s the issue but rather my ability to control it. If that’s increasing then maybe I’ve got little to worry about.

That would indeed be a nice thing, but I won’t allow myself to be too comforted by this thought. As if I do, then something will go wrong, my vigilance is what helps me keep control and it’s not something that I wish to ever let slip, not anymore, well maybe just not for now. No fck it, never again, life’s too short to let things get out of control, the slope remains slippery and it’s my ability to keep control that matters.

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2 Responses to Tuesday’s Meanderings…

  1. HipHop Hippopotamus says:

    Ahhh so you’re starting to learn life’s secrets to success. You’re learning how to use your pain and pleasure rather letting your pain and pleasure use you. Doing this makes you in control and not letting life control you… But now you’re at a crossroads where you have succumbed to excessive shopping, a feeling of an overwhelming and irresistible urge to buy that persists despite subsequent adverse consequences. Thank yourself lucky it’s China (it’s cheap). If your $1 or $2 items provides temporary relief then fine however, if you start to feel remorse or disappointment once your purchase is made then continue that cycle as you say then maybe delete that app; as you said you’re starting to gain control, so hitting delete should be easy right? You mentioned it’s not the spinning out of control that’s the issue but rather your ability to control. I sense you’re in control, you just don’t see it, you’re seeing cheap specials, EBay, Ali, instead!

    Like the old saying, “Look at how far you’ve come, not how far you have to go. You’re not where you want to be, but you’re not where you were”.

    HHH

  2. Professor Cockington says:

    Indeed, I think it’s our curse in many ways that we attach greater significance to failure, at times, than to success. As for using pleasure and pain, sure being controlled by emotions is not in any way a healthy way to make decisions in life, but I don’t see it as being solely a key factor either. I think having an ability to reflect upon why it is that you; have certain core beliefs, why trauma effects your decision making and even the readiness to make changes are all equally as important.

    It’s not that my fears of ‘losing control’ are based upon an inability to control my emotions, it’s that my thinking is effected by my mental health issues, in that when I’m unwell I’ll make decisions to do things I know don’t help, as I feel unable to make any other choice. As in I’ll stay in bed today, as I don’t think that getting out of bed will do anything to make me feel less like my life is falling apart. Now obviously this isn’t true, as I’ve past experience which shows otherwise. But that knowledge, at times, isn’t enough to give me a sense of control, that self belief of my own ability to cope is at times so low that I discount everything else. At times I may feel challenged to such a degree that I contemplate taking my own life, as I can’t see any way that things will change.

    So what do you do when your brain isn’t allowing you to think your way clear? Well you do the things that bring you some relief, things that have worked before, one’s that you can’t argue about their efficacy, even if you might be doubting your ability to follow through with doing them. You talk to someone, you exercise, you eat better, you look at ensuring your substance use is under control, you try and keep better sleep patterns, you take the time to reflect upon the decisions you make in life and you look for patterns that may occur that you know are warning signs for maladaptive behaviour, like excessive online shopping.

    Yes, thankfully it’s China and thankfully it’s not monogrammed bars of soap but rather $2 sunglasses and $3 baseball caps. It’s that ability to have perspective, that thought of ‘am I in control of what’s going on here’ or is it I’m doing things for other reasons that I’ve yet to fully establish?

    Some people can manage all this better than others, some need to do it more than others and definitely your emotional state will factor in what thoughts you give credence to, as at times you may be unable to move your thinking past that very primitive fight or flight response that governs our decision making at times of great stress or anxiety. It’s like what they say about disciplining​ kids or animals, you wait until you have calmed and then you decide what to do, otherswise your making decisions before your able to engage that rational evidence seeking part of your brain and you might make a decision that isn’t in your own best interest, but it takes practice to do this and for sure at times you’ve gotta cut yourself some slack.

    Life is great, it’s challenging, it’s rewarding and knowing that people want to help and care and support each other, makes those difficult times bearable.

    I appreciate your response as too often we think we’re doing all this on our own.

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