I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
May 08, 2012 - 5:11 p.m.
Have you seen my idea for today's entry? I had it right in front of me this morning. It was one of my idea entries, not about me but politics or music, or maybe sports. It really isn't easy not having a brain.
The semester is winding down and I have a lot of school work. I finished writing a test today. I still have to write my final. Then I have to grade the test. Then I have to grade the final. Then I have to cry because that means reading what my students put on the test and final.
I might have a teaching assistant next semester. That would be exciting. She's an undergraduate that's taken the course then would take it again with me and tutor the other students. I believe this something she gets paid for, not something she does for credit. She asked me today if she could and I said, "Of course, I'd love that." One thing I decided is that no matter what I teach I'm going to give them a test on what they are supposed to know coming into the course and if they don't know it insist they learn it and pass the test if they want to pass the course.
I have a political topic to write about, I have a musical topic to write about, but I'm going to write about another step down the rabbit hole. I said I started therapy. I didn't say why. Some of you know but not most of you. Any guesses? I have an anxiety disorder. In fact writing that is making me feel anxious; I have that fist tightening in my chest. I feel like I'm at the top of a 10 meter board with people waiting to dive next, except that I can't dive. I'm not ready to go into details but here's the thing. It isn't things that most people find scary that give me the feeling. It's tiny little things that most people don't think twice about. Let's say it's making a sandwich or grading a test. It isn't those things. You know I love to cook and I'm always complaining about the test grading. I hate grading the tests but I do it.
Very often when I talk about procrastination it's really about anxiety. I put things off to put off that fist in my chest. Funny I felt the fist as I wrote that. Now this isn't a phobia. Well I don't think it's a phobia. It isn't like I know the technical definition. But in my mind it isn't.
So here's the big common misconception. You're always told, "Just do it and you'll feel better." That's not true. I do it and the fist gets tighter. It isn't fair. Of course as I often point out there is no reason to expect things to be fair. As there are more ways for things to be unfair than fair, it is in fact the exception, not the rule.
The anxiety is seriously affecting my life now which is part of what finally pushed me into treatment. I have wanted it for years. Of course it was one of the things that made me anxious. I couldn't have done it now without the help of a dear friend. Thank you dear friend.
One thing I learned is how common this is. I talk to people and a huge proportion say, "I have or had the same thing." Sometimes it's "my spouse has the same thing." Often it's "Don't tell anyone but I had or have the same thing." Now I know where all the bodies are buried. When people hear about me they want to talk share. We bond. There is a release from talking about it.
Last night I was talking to another dear friend. I was feeling awful when she called. I didn't notice my mood changed till she said, "You sound chipper." And I realized I did. I was chipper. Partially it was from talking about my problems and partially it was from gossiping. Gossiping is bad right? But it made me feel good. I followed my rule for gossip which is mainly who I gossip too. It has to be someone that I know will take it the right way and not just spread the gossip to make conversation. It wasn't why I gossip. I do it because someone is frustrating me and I have to get it off my chest. When I talk about it abstractly I can see the humor. Often bad things are funny if you distance yourself from them. There was the time that I broke my toe running to the bathroom to vomit up bile while doubled over in pain from my perforated small instestine and couldn't help but laugh while this was happening. It was just so over the top that I didn't even need the distance. It was just so ridiculous.
I see humor in what's going on with me too. When I told the intake shrink something I did he gasped. That was funny. You think these guys have seen it all but you can still surprise them. I have talent at being anxious. Not a talent that I'm happy to have. But still a talent.
I better finish this off. I'm meeting Catherine for dinner tonight before going to On Your Radar. That means tomorrow you'll get to read about music. I have some anxiety about that but it has nothing to do with my disorder. That's all I'm going to say about that.
Some of you are thinking, "I'd never have the nerve to write about myself like that." You're thinking that I'm being brave which is ironic as it's all about me feeling fear. So I'm being brave about admitting that I'm afraid. It's just not one of the things that causes my anxiety. Not writing about myself here causes anxiety. This is me being me. Writing
Now that I got that out I can write in the future about related topics. I wonder what the over and under should be on how many emails and messages I get saying, "I have the same thing." Don't be shy to tell me but don't feel obligated to either.
Now I have to really run.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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