Archive for the ‘brainweasels’ Category

Things They Don’t Tell You – 1   Leave a comment

I’ve come to realize that some of my…behaviors are not at all atypical for someone running around with my particular brain.  That is to say, it appears that some of the things I do might also be done by others who have a cognitive and/or chemical make-up within their skull that not unlike my own.

Last night, after stowing one of my carry-on pieces of luggage in an overhead bin six rows behind where I was actually sitting (full flight to the Midwest for work) I had to climb over my seatmate to reach my window seat since he didn’t want to stand in the aisle.  On my way over him, heavy laptop bag in hand, my right knee twisted and buckled and, as I went down REALLY low, I heard a distinct POP!

Two-and-a-half hours later, when leaving the plane, I noticed that my knee felt tender, and that I was having some twinges of something almost entirely unlike normal routine leg feelings.  It got steadily worse overnight and by the time I left my hotel this morning to drive to the meeting that made me fly out here in the first place, I was having trouble putting my full weight on it.  By afternoon, my walking speed was curtailed significantly, and I started the process of finding a workman’s compensation physician who can see me before the end of the week.  Because, you see, I fly home on Friday morning, and then turn around and fly out again on Sunday.  To Europe.  Returning on Hallowe’en.

I also sent an email to my husband about my emotional state.

When I got back to my hotel this evening, I was in so much pain that I was holding back tears and I proceeded to call my husband and cry at him over the phone.  And, he soothed me as best as he could, being 1100 miles from me, and told me that the world was not ending.  Because, of course, as the day went on, I was convinced it was.  THE WORLD IS ENDING.  EVERYTHING IS NOT AWESOME AND SHUT UP EMMET.

And then I talked to a couple of friends, and one of them happened to mention that catastrophizing while in pain is a Thing.

Now, I walk around (or lie around) in pain quite a bit.  I have chronic sinus issues that mean I am rarely without some sort of cranial-facial pain.  I tweaked my back a few years ago, so I am often in some kind of back-stiffness-nervy-pain-type thing.  I live with these things, and they’ve become typical for me, and so they have little to no impact on my daily life other than perhaps needing to move a bit differently or take NSAIDs and/or decongestants.

But my knee is KILLING me, and for the first time I am being smacked in the face with the fact that pain can cause other things in my life to run amok.

My friends who live with chronic pain are probably now thinking that it is about fucking time I realized this.  But, the thing is, I did realize it before now…for them.  What I’m just realizing is that this is also a Thing for me.  This strange pain that I was in no way prepared for caused a domino effect and everything came crashing down around me.  Little things that would have been just irritants got blown all out of proportion.  I was tearing up at the drop of a hat.  I was exceptionally sad and crying.  And, if I hadn’t gone into chat and spoken to my friend I would never have known that this happens.

I imagine that pain specialists (who I highly recommend, btw) talk to their patients about this phenomenon all the time, but I’ve never had a medical professional (nor any other professional) tell me that pain can cause emotional turmoil.  And now I wonder if people are really aware of this as a Thing, and of course I’m going to have to go look up studies and other nonsense.  But I’m putting this revelation in the category of “Things They Don’t Tell You”, and I’m sure I’ll have more of them to write about.

(Incidentally, my tears have stopped and I feel fine now.  Identification, it is also a Thing.)

Social Dancing   1 comment

I’m getting a little tired of doing the “should I be more social?” dance with my brainweasels, and so I decided it was time to write about it in the hopes that getting it out in the open will stop the endless brain looping thing I have going on.

Here it is, in a nutshell: I start thinking about socializing outside of what I normally do (work at corporate job, work at swimming job, chat with online friends, participate in various online communities), and I realize I don’t really want to do it.  I wonder if I should want to do it.  I convince myself that there’s something wrong with the fact that I don’t want to do it…and that bothers me until I get distracted from it, and then I stop thinking about socializing until something else happens to trigger the dance again.

Just about anything can loose the weasels – a Facebook invitation to an event, a throw-away comment about someone’s vacation, my husband going to hang out with his friends, my son talking about what he’s doing at university…all of these things can open the corral and send my brainweasels racing.  It’s not a consistent thing, but it happens often enough that I sometimes become exhausted just thinking about the mental gymnastics that I may end up performing.  Because, convincing myself that it is okay to deviate from the norm in yet one more way isn’t an easy thing.

Then again, no one ever promised me a rose garden.  And, that’s good – roses are a lot of work.

If I take the definition of socializing that the people around me appear to use and apply it to my own life, I am dreadfully anti-social.  Outside of work, I rarely go out and do things with other people – I’m content to be home with my video games and my books and my love of napping on weekend afternoons.  I’d rather gouge out my eyes than attend a party most of the time, and the idea of an afternoon of shopping with a group sends me screaming and running down the hall.  But, if I look at what I do every day of the week, well, there’s quite a bit of socializing built in…and I guess my disconnect (and the reason the brainweasels gleefully chase each other) is why being with people in one setting is considered being social when being with people in another setting is not?

I have two jobs, a full-time one because I have to, and a part-time one because I want to.   My full-time job involves a 60 mile round-trip commute four days a week (I get one work-from-home day), and my part-time job involves a 1.5 mile commute three days a week.  Interestingly enough, the part-time job occurs on days when I am not commuting to the full-time job…which means that I leave my house to interact with people not of my choosing seven days a week.  Seven. Days. A Week.

In addition, my best friends (aside from my husband) are all people I originally met online…and they don’t live anywhere near me.  Seeing them is a major production that happens maybe once or twice a year (the closest is an 8-hour drive from me), so we do most of our chatting and hanging out online.  I can do some of this during my work hours, especially on my work-from-home days, but I still wish I had more time to spend with them.  Since they’re not local to me, we can’t go out and grab coffee or dinner once a week or something…and they’re the people I want to be around!

When I just read what I wrote above, my first thought was, “Wow – I am busier than I think I am.”  My second thought was infested with brainweasels shouting about how what I do doesn’t count, and that I am a sucky anti-social person…and now I am wondering about how other people see me.

I know where the brainweasels come from – I have some social anxiety on top of everything else, and it manifests when I don’t have a specific role or job to do.  That is to say, put me in a room full of people and give me a defined set of goals, and I’ll make the entire group fall under my spell.  Put me in the same room without a specific task to accomplish, and I’ll hide in a corner and not talk to anyone, or I’ll cling to the one person I do know.  This last bit is actually why I haven’t gone to as many of my husband’s shows as I’d like to – the idea of sitting with people I don’t know without a job to do makes my skin crawl and ties my stomach up in knots.  In fact, I felt amazingly guilty after the last show I attended – I watched him play quite happily, but left when the next band came on because he was recording their performance and I would’ve had to sit with a bunch of people I barely knew.  I berated myself the whole way home…or, rather, the brainweasels did.

So, the social anxiety feeds the brainweasels and the brainweasels run amok at random based on how social I am.  When I don’t go out and do things, they yell that I don’t have any friends and don’t deserve any because I don’t put the effort in…even though I know I don’t want to.  When I do go out and do things, they yell that I’m doing them incorrectly.  I haven’t quite figured out how to get rid of them: one of the points of this exercise was to exorcize some of my weasels…and I don’t think it worked quite in the way I wanted it to.  Right now I seem to be stuck on the fact that I am an anti-social sucky person who won’t even put in the effort required to make new friends.


Anyone else dealing with this?

More Brainweasels, Poly Brainweasels   2 comments

Having Depression and being polyamorous leads to circumstances that are slightly less than amusing on first glance.  And to additionally less amusing brainweasels.

I have found that I need to believe I have worth in order to practice polyamory in the manner I think it should be practiced.  That is to say, I cannot be sure of my position with my partners unless I know my own worth and, when I don’t have a firm grasp on that, my grasp on how I fit into their lives gets shaky.  I find this to be an interesting problem but, like I said, not an amusing one, because my Depression goes after those bits of my brain that know I have worth and so I oftentimes end up in one of those endless loops of mental non-logic.

This is not amusing.

Here’s a routine brainloop, for your consideration:

>Hooray!  My husband found someone he really likes!  He’s inviting them over to hang out with us!
She won’t like me.
>It’ll be great to meet her; he’s so happy!  I love how NRE affects him!
People never like me.  I won’t know how to act.
>Maybe we’ll get along and she’ll come over more often.  We can all sit on the couch together.
No.  I’ll do something wrong, and he’ll decide not to bring her here and then I’ll get less time with him because he’ll be over there.

Logical brain knows this is a fallacy, and not how polyamory works.  Logical brain knows my husband loves me and isn’t going anywhere, and that love multiplies, and that I am loved and cared for.  Depression brain?  She doesn’t care about logic.  Depression brain knows that the end of every good thing is coming and that it starts with teeny tiny things like a happy husband.  And yes, I’m rolling my eyes as I write this, because I am not in the throes of Depression brain.  Plus, as you know from my other post, brainweasels make less sense when written down or said out loud.

I’ll let you in on a little secret, too: many poly- people have brainweasels around their polyness. (Is polyness a word?  Chrome doesn’t think it is.)  They usually suppress them, or find a way to work through them, but they have them.  It’s not unusual to identify as polyamorous and still feel jealousy, or envy, or anger, or any of the other emotions that can pop up from time to time to wreak havoc on communication and honesty.  The people who say we shouldn’t feel these things in the name of compersion or frubbly are LYING.

*ahem*  What I mean is, we feel what we feel, and don’t need to make excuses for it.  I fully plan to kick the next person who says such things to me in the ASS, then hang them from a wall until they beg to be taken down.

(And, yeah.  This is not a post about sadism.  When I write one, I’ll cover it with trigger warnings.)

Paxil helps with my Depression brain, and my brainweasels pop up much less often than they used to, but at this point they are corralled rather than eradicated.  And, you know, I think that’s okay, really – brainweasels, in small amounts, can point out things that need to be addressed.  Brainweasels, in small amounts, make you aware of things you might not otherwise notice.  And that’s a good thing.  Brainweasels en masse however need to be rounded up and have their feet held to the fire; a sneak of weasels isn’t good for anyone or anything.

I don’t know if there’s a moral to all of this rambling, but I have come up with two things to remember: (1) Feel what you feel, and let it out.  Better out than in, if you will.  (2) Clearly, brainweasels are going to be a running theme, and I should probably make them a category.