Crap, I keep falling behind. Keep writing the beginnings of awesome posts, and saving them to finish later. D'oh!
Have, in fact, been one of the minor deities of not sleeping well lately. Naps are hard to come by, but more than 6h at night simply doesn't happen, so inevitably on the weekends I wind up making up for accumulated sleep-dep during the week with 8h neck-soreness-inducing sleeps…it's the dreaded Typical First-World Worker Schedule, EEEEEEEEK!
…OK, actually it's not that bad. I'm still able to get at least one nap most days, meaning 6h at night is enough (though to be fair sometimes the one nap will seem enough reason to go even shorter, and I'll wind up with 4h + 1 nap and making up for the rest on the weekend…ew, I know) — and last week I did clamp down a bit and do better than I have been. Also, in spite of MAD PLAGUE running through the office and everyone I know — and sit face-to-face with and touch and talk to every day — being ill, I haven't come down with anything, which is a pretty good sign I'm doing something right.
Actually I'm doing several somethings right. I've cleaned up my eating a lot, cutting out nearly all sugar that isn't fruit-based, and just one week of that has made me feel a ton better than I had been. I'm also back on the exercise wagon properly, instead of just eeking out something here and there, or relying on the hefty amount of walking I usually do. I'm showing muscle again and losing the (probably sugar-induced) padding I was developing, so that's awesome; plus Chen Taiji, still one of the most awe-inspiring physical activities on planet Earth, is busily carving granite into my legs. I'll have a lot to do this summer, and it'll be nice to not be distracted by feeling all squishy and out of shape while doing it.
Truth be told — and I'm into that, you know — I'm doing better physically lately than mentally. It's been relatively easy to address some of my Feeling Crappiness by bearing down on diet and exercise; but there's a reason it's so hard to sleep, and sleep well, and it's definitely in my brain. I "get" (i.e. lay down for) about twice as many naps as I'm "getting" (i.e. sleeping for), and my core naps are plagued with pretty obviously stress-related vivid and disturbing dreams. Many naps that I'm tired for, looking forward to, and get, I then can't sleep for because I lay there with my mind spinning, and the usual breathing and mental exercises aren't enough to stop it. I suspect, allowing for the temerity of advice from people who usually give good advice, that I'm suffering the psychological after-affects of some recent fairly traumatizing events. Modern reasoning says that firmly placing one's nose on the grindstone and waiting for the wounds to heal is unwise; however, my upbringing and natural tendencies are to do exactly that. I really believe that if I could be left alone to just work and write and do taiji for long enough, all would be righted…unfortunately, I seem to have less room to wait for that to work than I'll need. …I'm fortunate to have health insurance now, and lord knows I know many people who need the help worse than me and don't have that option, so I should quit complaining…but I still don't want to go tangle with a therapist. ::shudder::
Let's see if I can list the reasons therapists and I don't generally get along at all, at all, in less than a book's worth….First, there's the field: Much of it just thinly-disguised shilling for pharmacos and lifestyle drugs; and much of the rest poorly-supported theory veiling simple social normalcy-enforcement and third-grade conceptions of the human mind that envision a "doctor" with a wrench and a spotless past who can "fix you" by giving you suspiciously priestlike tasks and penances. Yuckage.
Then, there's the practitioners…Of average intelligence mostly, the kind of people who want to make their living listening to gossip and drama and "helping" perfect strangers with their "problems"…either there's no compassion at all and it's a cool hundred bucks an hour to them, or it's all about helpless squishy compassion and getting you to 'cry it out'…pretty much there are two psychologists in my life that I've ever met whom I couldn't (and didn't want to) eviscerate logically and leave bleeding in a pool of their own contradictions…and I've done it a few times, too, before I had much compassion for people making a living and trying to do well…as a teenager I made more than a few of them quit, and while I agree now that that's rude, I still think I did others a favor there. Ew ew pushy pseudo-intellectual drama-hippies.
Then, there's the advice…sometimes a relatively-objective reframing of one's own thought processes can be helpful, for sure, and there's massive value in wise people who know how to ask the right questions — this is the talent and practice of the two non-kill-worthy psychologists I know — but ninety-nine percent of the time, it's drivel you could have "learned" from a supermarket magazine. Love yourself. Affirmations. Making progress towards being like everybody else. The main problem I have with those benign pieces of how-to-be-human is that they're explicitly assuming not a philosopher*: NOT someone for whom facing the truth honestly is way, way more important than 2.5 kids and a nice car; NOT someone for whom an answer that feels good but doesn't hold up under intense 3-am scrutiny is completely unacceptable; and NOT someone for whom "don't think about that" is never an acceptable statement. Therapy for me mostly consists of "Tell me about things" "Ok…::talks for a while::" and then "Eyeroll-or-rage-inducing suggestion", repeat for a nauseous hour or until I snap and lose my usual crunchy polite candy shell.
Bah. Anyway, that's what's up, and sorry about the rather nontopical and journal-y post; I do have better stuff out there, I swear; I just don't have time to write it (and also do the other writing I want to do…which is going awesome, by the way, so woot!!). I'll get back on the train soon, probably, if work is the factor I think it is, by the end of July, as that's when things ought to calm down. (Then again, if it's my brain more than it is work, things might get worse when the extra work-to-throw-oneself-at goes away…hmm, crapcrackers.)
In the meantime, have an AWESOME TED VIDEO featuring an adorable woman giving fantastic advice. I'd go to therapy with her, heh. ;)
*I use the term here to describe a type of human, rather than a profession. We can argue about whether I "count" as a practicing philosopher (in terms of the active academic profession, I don't, since I'm neither an academic student or teacher right now); but as a metatype, this is just how I was born, and I cannot and never will be able to undo it or work against it in a nondamaging way.
**Why are you reading this? There was no double-asterisk in the text! ;)