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flamingsword: None can take the stars who do not reach. (Take The Stars)
I feel really uninspired and uncommunicative lately. I think I may need to spend more time with my own thoughts and less time on social media to get back to having something to say.

I need to find my enthusiasm again after having had so little energy for so long. I need my opinions and curiosity. I have turned into this person I don't recognize, and some of it is okay, but I miss my other me. I don't feel like myself.

This me survived a hard thing and I am grateful. But now that those hatches don't have to be battened down, it's time for some new growth and some unfolding of previous growth.
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
The Dating Rituals of Superheroes (The Role Reversal Remix) by igrockspock
In hindsight, when Maria asked Sam out, she shouldn’t have brought flowers or aimed for the traditional dinner invitation. After her first attempt failed, she shouldn’t have enlisted Natasha as a matchmaker.

How to use cognitive behavioral therapy to change a negative belief to a positive one. Includes journalling evidence and progress.


Jul. 13th, 2016 05:14 pm
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
I miss the feeling of being fully alive, and according to positive psychology it has a role to play in leading a happy, well-adjusted life. To the end of feeling more alive, I want to plan some activities for the summer while I still have extra spoons because of the heat.

List of things that increase my vitality:
Being around bright colors. Museum trips. Gardens. Gardening.
Making people laugh and participating in laughter. Movie nights. Matinee showings.
Falling. Dancing. Listening to music that is not too crashy or crunchy or harsh.
Eating savory things like fish and salads with nuts.
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
  • If you suddenly had an extra room in your house, what would you do with it?
    I would make [personal profile] numb3r_5ev3n and I a craft room with lots of shelves and ventilation and a closet for her fabric creations. If she separated out the craft supplies from the rest of her stuff, she could have more room to arrange her room the way she likes it. I could have a small craft table with non-glare lighting to do beadwork and knitting at, situated somewhere not under a vent. Maybe we could eventually afford one of those giant magnifying glasses on a swing arm. Hella useful.

  • What people and activities energize you? Make you feel depleted?
    I don't have anyone who makes me energized, but I have a small handful of energy-neutral people whom I do not feel like I have to impress or be a particular thing for. I have some people who take up my social spoons at a discounted rate because of how easy it is to communicate with them. And then I have various levels of the normal rate of spoon depletion for doing things and interacting with people. Reading is relatively energy neutral, which is why I do so much of it. Unless I have a terrible headache and can't concentrate, it is the least energy-expensive thing I can do while remaining conscious.

    Things which are especially tedious and make me tired faster than they seem like they should: driving (25 minutes of driving is as tiring as doing an hour of massage), watching movies that have a lot going on (I need 15 - 20 minutes of decompression space for my brain to rest before I can talk about it now), dancing (I can dance with a moderate level of butt shaking for two minutes and then I need to lie down). Being in noisy environments or having to focus past chaotic audio landscapes to understand someone takes a lot more of a toll than it used to also, so dancing, clubbing, action movies in the theater, etc. are all much more expensive than they used to be.

  • Is it hard for you to get rid of things that you no longer need or want?
    No. I like giving things away, and I don't mind donating things to charity if that's what it takes to be rid of something. I work now on not buying things I don't need or won't want for more than a few days so that I can stop that cycle on the front end and save the money for more important spoon-saving measures.

  • On a typical night, what time do you go to bed? How many hours of sleep do you get?
    I go to bed basically as soon as I get home and I mostly read or get up intermittently to do chores until about 11 or 12. I usually fall asleep by 1 AM. I wake up between 10 AM and 11 when my alarm goes off. So I guess my average is 9 1/2 hours a night. As long as I get seven hours of restful sleep I am fine the next day, but less sleep than that or less than restful sleep and I will suffer for it the next day. Usually in poor concentration, but sometimes also with higher than average physical pain. So you can imagine how scrupulous I am about getting as much high quality sleep as I can.

  • If at the end of the year, you had accomplished one thing, what is the one accomplishment that would make the biggest difference to your happiness?
    Of the possible things that could happen, I think I would publish a book, hopefully a successful one, either on how to perform human interaction for autistics, or on how to navigate environments of uncertainty and still be a secure person. Because I need to have a backup plan and income that doesn't come from massage in case I can't keep this up forever.

  • Is there an activity that you love to do–yet somehow never seem actually to do it?
    There are all kinds of things that I used to love, that I no longer do because doing them requires slogging through the emotional toll of feeling betrayed by my body. It kind of sucks the fun out. I should go to the library for books more than I do because I love and miss the library, but instead I live on a steady diet of fanfiction, because fic is cheap, plentiful, accessible via the phone that lives in my hand, and easy to return if I don't like it. But maybe I'll go to the library this weekend.
  • flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
  • Do you embrace rules or flout rules?
    Yes. I embrace rules that I make, or rules that make sense to me that do not have obvious necessary exceptions. Rules that other people make are subject to immediate skepticism, and are free to be flouted at will unless there are legal complications. Rules that I made go under review any time I am sufficiently confused in a situation to warrant questioning my underpinning strictures.

  • Do you keep New Year’s resolutions?
    I keep my resolutions, for the most part, no matter when I make them. And so I don't wait until New Year's generally, although sometimes I will hold off telling people about a new plan until New Year's in order to have more things visibly in common with other people. Sometimes I don't want to actually do something, though, I just want to want to, and those I wind up breaking pretty quickly. Sometimes the cost is too high, or I am uncertain of the intended benefit.

  • Do you work well under pressure? Deadlines?
    I do fine under pressure if I am not in a depressive episode or mixed state. Once the pressure gauges in my brain are broken, though, all bets are off. When I am depressed I avoid everything that seems too hard and give up easily. When I am in a mixed state a whole host of avoidant behaviors become normal and suddenly everything feels too hard and I just want to cry and break things. Fun.

  • What would your perfect day look like?
    I wake up in a robot body, with none of this meatsack's frailties to consider. Aching hands and feet, temperature and light sensitivities, sore back and limbs from not having the energy to dance my muscles into compliance: all gone with one massive state change. After that, there's no end of things I could do, or learn, or become. It could be any kind of day and I would be fine with it, because I would be stronger than the world, as untouchable as I used to feel when I was a young adult.

  • How much TV do you watch in a week (and yes, this includes computer time spent watching videos, movies, YouTube)?
    I don't know. I spend more than 30 hours a week reading, 40 if it's a bad week. TV and video I may watch ten hours in a week, or I may do half an hour of music videos and TED talks, or nothing. Weeks with the half hour are a lot more common than the ten or the zero however.

  • Are you a morning person or a night person?
    I am a night person. It is 10:30 right now and I finally feel really awake today. I've been this way since I was an infant, according to my mother.

  • What’s more satisfying to you: saving time or saving money?
    Saving time now also means saving spoons, which is a must. I will pay in money what I cannot make up in energy, although I recognize that the reverse used to be true for me, having grown up poor.

  • Do you like to be in the spotlight?
    Sometimes, for short periods, yes. I used to like it more often and for longer, but again: spoons. I don't have the energy to be entertaining and vivacious and pay close attention to more than one person at a time.

  • Is your life “on hold” in any aspect? Until you finish your thesis, get married, lose weight, move?
    No. I used to do this, I think I mentioned in the first part of this quiz. There are things that I have planned for the future that cannot come into being yet, but I am not diminishing the amount of happiness and connection I get from my life now in order to focus on a future, especially one that can't be attained by not paying attention here and now.

  • What would you do if you had more energy?
    How MUCH more?
    A little bit more: Work on one more client per day, split the money between paying off the car faster and setting aside money to go see Corbi. Return to seeing one to two friends per weekend. Have sex with my husband more than once in a blue moon.
    Half the energy I used to have: Restart Movie Night. Dance. Date people if I felt like it. Cook meals once a week. Be a better friend.
    All the energy I used to have: Dance MORE in A CLUB. Go back to Panoptikon. Cook meals regularly. Do housework. Cry tears of joy every time I get to help someone do something strenuous.
    As much energy as Xenoix, the hypomanic ex: Go back to school while working. Get a degree in something adjacent to massage, possibly physical therapy. Take krav maga classes once I switch jobs just to keep from getting slow.
  • flamingsword: An octopus wraps around the words FREE HUGS. (Tentacular free hugs)
    I'm blogging tonight and probably tomorrow because I've figured out that the dizzy spells are a very insidious and slow-moving ear and sinus infection. So I'm taking another quiz off of Gretchen Rubin's site and eating Ricola with minty nose things on that are supposed to help with breathing. Wish me luck.

  • If something is forbidden, do you want it less or more?
    Neither. I used to do this thing to myself where I chased impossible things and then I read a book where the main character did this and it was so stupid and contrived for the plot that I decided that I was never going to do it to myself again. And I put the work in and now I don't even remember the book, just the lesson that I learned from it: want the stuff you want, but don't torture yourself with stuff just because you can't have it.

  • Is there an area of your life where you feel out of control? Especially in control?
    I am not in control of my health, that's for certain. I have a fair amount of influence over most of my life, but I am still pretty pissed at my body's continuing refusal to do what I say and have more energy.

  • If you unexpectedly had a completely free afternoon, what would you do with that time?
    I had a cancellation today and I ran errands. So exciting, right? But I have to use the free slots to do stuff that require spoons so that chores and stuff that needs to get done don't fall through the cracks and get lost.

  • Are you comfortable or uncomfortable in a disorderly environment?
    Yes. I am both comfortable and uncomfortable in messy environments. Sometimes it bothers me and sometimes not, sometimes I like chaos and sometimes I like order. I'm not sure where the line is.

  • How much time do you spend looking for things you can’t find?
    Since I got rid of most of my possessions and put the rest into bins according to what they are, I don't really spend much time looking for things. Unless it's my glasses. If I set these bastards down on a dark surface by accident they disappear and it takes forever to find because I can't see them to find them.

  • Are you motivated by competition?
    No. I used to be, but I don't have to do that anymore to prove that I'm worth something.

  • “I really wish I could make consistent progress on my project to _______.”
    Make beautiful things in my spare moments. But I think it might be one of those things I only want to want to unless I feel really bad on a particular day.

  • Do you find it easier to do things for other people than to do things for yourself?
    Sometimes? I go through tides, and everything has it's ebb and flow. Sometimes I work more on stuff outside myself and sometimes I pull everything back inside my skin. It's less extreme than it used to be, but still very much a detectable tidal impulse.

  • Whom do you envy? Why?
    The able-bodied, straight, rich, white men. Why do they get to walk around ignorant of how the world works for other people? Not cool, guys.

  • What do you lie about? For instance, a friend told me he’d been telling people that he walked to work, when in fact he almost never does.
    I lie about being okay to my clients. I lie about not wanting anything to my housemates because I want stuff less than I want them to not feel bothered 89% of the time.

  • What did you do for fun when you were ten years old? Do you still do that activity–or would you like to do it?
    I don't remember being ten. That's the year after Larry died and I had all the amnesic confabulation. I remember twelve. I remember writing bad poetry, sewing superhero clothes with Jillian, reading comics and drawing characters (also badly), and singing. Today my voice is not great and I get sick if I sing too much, and I don't draw, but everything else I still do in some fashion. I still make and repair clothes, write poetry, read comics, collect crazy friends, and try to be a superhero. I guess only some things have changed.

  • Do you work constantly? or think you should be working?
    I do feel like I should be getting more done than I do, but the feeling only hits between noon and about eight p.m. now. It's better than it used to be, where I felt restless and useless ALL THE TIME. I have done a lot to forgive myself for not being as productive as a regular person, and I am starting to even have realistic metrics for myself within those boundaries. I'm not there YET obviously, but I'm closer than I was, and I will take the progress.
  • flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
    I'm going to start blogging more stuff on the friends-locked settings to encourage people to feel safe talking about private stuff in comments, but when I am talking to myself in public and anyone can see comments then I am going to say so at the head of the post, okay? Confusion is the enemy.

    On Facebook the other day I came across this link which talks, in part, about how one tactic of PR firms that handle social media is that they look for popular people who get reblogged a lot and start fights and flame wars in their networks to distract them from forming negative opinions about something else that's going on. That, basically, you can't trust the internet to not dangle clickbait in front of your face when something important is going on. And it got me thinking: the internet does that anyway, even when nobody is trying to tell you to look away from the man behind the curtain. There's stuff that we dread, or are angered by, or saddened by and those things are always going to have a pull towards making us react. And they're memetic: we often react by sharing and spreading them so they can distract other people. Maybe we should do something about that.

    So in the paper Putting Feelings Into Words: Affect Labeling Disrupts Amygdala Activity in Response to Affective Stimuli it talks about how putting your feelings into words distracts the part of your brain that deals with those bad feelings we were just talking about and interrupts the way the brain processes that negative information. Talking about the bad stuff really does make it better, even though it takes effort. Having to slow down and think about our outrage either diminishes it's importance or clarifies what to do about it and empowers us. We could use a format that makes us take some time to think about the bad stuff going through our brains and put it into words, a place where we know that the people reading aren't afraid of our feelings. Why won't they be afraid? Because, like you, they want emodiversity (favorite new word!)

    Emodiversity and the Emotional Ecosystem
    "Compare three individuals: Person A experiences three moments of joy in a given day, Person B experiences two moments of joy and one moment of contentment, and Person C experiences two moments of joy and one moment of anxiety. If we sum the number of positive emotions (joy and contentment) and subtract the number of negative emotions (anxiety), A and B would be equally happy, and happier than C. Indeed, decades of research on negative and positive affectivity has suggested that high levels of positive emotion and low levels of negative emotion are an essential component of health and subjective well-being. Is well-being simply the result of such simple arithmetic subtractions? We investigate whether not just the mean levels but also the diversity of emotions that people experience may have benefits for their well-being. We show that the emodiversity of A, B, and C’s emotions — the variety and relative abundance of the emotions they experience — is an independent and integral component of the human emotional ecosystem that predicts both mental and physical health.

    Our notion of emodiversity builds on a large body of research highlighting the benefits of having a rich, authentic, and complex emotional life. Along with people’s explicit knowledge of their own emotions, the richness and complexity in people’s self-reported experience of emotion is a primary aspect of the broad concept of emotional complexity, which has been linked to adaptive emotion regulation and mental health in adulthood and old age.

    Doesn't that sound a lot more manageable, a lot more humane, than constantly holding ourselves to a standard of experiencing only positive emotions? And wouldn't it be cool to do this in each other's company so that we can practice being thoughtful with one another? When we identify with another's feeling, we can just say so. When we have a more complicated thought about their post, it's okay to go into it, because there is the space that we have set aside for nuance and complexity.

    How's that for a sales pitch. Now please come get a Dreamwidth account and build a community with me?

    flamingsword: An octopus wraps around the words FREE HUGS. (Tentacular free hugs)
    Since sensitive and sometimes privileged information could be referenced in these entries, make use of the privacy functions, and even if you have to keep a post privacy locked for your eyes only, it still counts as journalling. If you feel the need to state such delicate situations vaguely for privacy reasons, any friend will understand, and any non-friend can be encouraged to mind their business.

    -- for your relationship --

    1. Name ALL of the feelings you have for each other. The good and the bad: you can't start dealing with your feelings until you admit that you have them, and naming them will start that process. If you have to use a list of feelings to get the ball rolling, then so be it. Do you only feel certain feelings in certain situations? Write it out or make a note to write more about it later.

    2. Set some short term and long term goals for your relationship. List achievable steps to those goals.

    3. List problems that your relationship has had. How did you solve those problems? What concessions were made by each side? Is this an equitable balance? How would you like to solve problems in the future?

    4. What do you trust about your partner? What are their reliable traits? List their strengths and dependable qualities.

    5. Think about your parents relationship. Compare and contrast your relationship with theirs. Are there positive traits that you are trying to replicate? Are there negative traits that you are reproducing without intending to?

    6. Write two love letters. The first is to yourself.

    7. How does your relationship make you a better person? What aspects of yourself has your relationship inspired you to change? How has your relationship grown with you and your partner as people?

    8. Anger shows us what is important to us. What do your arguments reveal about what you and your partner prioritize? Evaluate your priorities to make sure that you are not still working with an outdated understanding of yourself. What has changed in your priorities, that you need to talk over with your partner?

    -- General Skill Building --

    A. What is a conversation that you have been putting off having? Plan the conversation using respect, honesty, and gentleness.

    B. Listen to your self-talk. What do you tell yourself when you experience negative emotions? Name your coping skills, both positive and negative, and list your methods of self-avoidance.

    C. Recall times you have achieved a flow state. Are there some commonalities in the circumstances? How can flow be encouraged in your life?

    D. Name your fears. Name the things you believe about yourself and the world that make you feel vulnerable.

    E. What are things that make you feel trapped? What relieves that feeling? When do you feel free?

    F. How does your body respond to your emotions? Describe the physical sensations of your emotional reactions.

    G. How are you betrayed by your expectations? When you do not get what you expect out of an interaction, what about that difference is upsetting to you?

    H. List your methods of self-care. What soothes you in times of difficulty?

    I. Refer to the list of your fears. Pick one. List the efforts you have undertaken to guard against that fear. List the hopes you have given up on in order to avoid this fear coming to pass. Evaluate the usefulness of this fear based on this cost-benefit analysis.


    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)

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