Maintaining Distance and Following Your Star

June 29, 2007 at 7:48 am 1 comment

It’s 8am and I’m still awake. Not that I’ve made any real attempt to get to sleep. There didn’t seem much point. I’ve been thinking about how the meeting with the CPN went yesterday. He asked me what I thought my future would be like and I responded with my usual explanation that I think I’m likely to be dead in five to ten years, and have done for a long time. This got us into a discussion about what I’d want my future to be like if I believed I had one. I mentioned that I’d like to write.

I listened to the various platitudes mentioned, keeping quiet. Being horribly opinionated myself, I’ve found it’s a lot easier not to argue about these things. I have no problem letting other people tell me what to think, and then utterly ignoring everything they say. There is, however, a phrase that I have a particular loathing for. It goes: If you want something enough you’ll get it.

There’s a bit in a Terry Pratchett book (Wee Free Men, as it happens, since I’ve just looked it up) about this attitude, which expresses my feelings rather well:

Miss Tick sniffed. ‘You could say this advice is priceless,’ she said. ‘Are you listening?’

‘Yes,’ said Tiffany.

‘Good. Now… if you trust in yourself…’

‘Yes?’

‘…and believe in your dreams…’

‘Yes?’

‘…and follow your star…’ Miss Tick went on.

‘Yes?’

‘…you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy. Goodbye.’

The other thing I said was that I try not to think of the future. That’s not entirely true, but it was as close to the truth as I felt like explaining. I’m fine with thinking about the future, but only in abstract terms. Maybe this ties into what I was saying before about using medical terminology to describe my mental states – I’d much rather analyse myself and my world in abstract intellectual terms than connect with it emotionally. Hell, look at my nom de blog: Experimental Chimp. I’m my own research subject. And being a research subject is much easier than being a person. People have emotions, goals, they’re hurt and afraid. A research subject — an experimental chimp — doesn’t have emotions, but behaviours. They’re never hurt, they experience typical pain reactions. They’re not afraid; their fight-or-flight response is activated.

I wonder if all us mentally atypical bloggers share this to some extent. Is writing about yourself just a way to distance yourself from that self over there, the one by the keyboard. Are we all narrating our own lives?

Back before I saw the psychologist, my GP told me that it would probably be quite stressful and could dredge up memories and so on. I found it an interesting diversion for a few hours. But then, why should I care? It’s not like I was talking about myself. After all, I, the observer see clearly. It’s the poor, deluded fool who actually lives this that’s got the problems.

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Bugger Anxiety

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. katm  |  June 29, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    I find myself separating myself from my emotions more and more, sort of going back to my “Data” persona. It just hurts to damn bad right now.

    I don’t know how much of it has to do with leaving therapy. I don’t know how much of it has to do with triggers at work. I don’t know how much of it has to do with the new memories.

    Bah. I don’t think I want to know.

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Hi, I'm James. I'm a 26 year old guy from England with bipolar disorder (currently well controlled). I also have a circadian rhythm sleep disorder (not so well controlled). This blog has charted my journey from mental illness, through diagnosis and, recently, into recovery. It's not always easy, but then, what is?

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