I’ve been stuck in awareness but no growth, hung suspended in time, grappling with the past and the impact on my present. I have had MANY revelations as to why I’m stuck.
Stumbling on the concept that I probably have ADD explains quite a bit.
Interestingly enough, since Dr. Hallowell (one of the leading experts on ADD) is a writer as well, and he himself has ADD, he has something really cool to say about those who love writing and literature:
In order for literary types to cope…they write. They submit to that unforgiving discipline to try to get a squirt of dopamine, and some endorphins, and some other pleasure mediators as well. They can get a milder shot of pleasure in other “word” ways, such as through a witty conversation or reading a piece of writing that they love.
OHHH, NOW I understand why I’m always writing…and on the internet, and reading…and wanting conversation…
I found some “answers”. THAT’s why I’m so attracted to language and communication. And when I come across particularly rich, complex, lyrical prose, I’m spellbound. And I’m quite drawn to those who can write fluently and lyrically and can carry on a meaningful conversation. I need more people like that in my life.
Quitting my career has not only reduced my intellectual stimulation, but also had effectively reduced my connections with others, as my colleagues were also my friends. Other friends have simply relocated due to job changes. I have a husband who struggles with communicating with me, I’m so impatient while I’m waiting for him to respond – which makes him disinclined to try to keep up.
I’ve attempted to reach out, thinking maybe I’ll someone could help me find what I need to feel better. I’ve pretty much bombed on most of my attempts to make new in real life friends.. I get a few nibbles…but essentially nothing comes of it. I’m just letting go of the hope that I can make friends with “random” people. I can’t seem to find friends that want to go out with “me” and not “me and my kids”. I try very hard not to let that bother me. Often it doesn’t work for long. All these things have left me feeling starved and empty, hurt, confused…and stuck.
The only guaranteed weekly meeting with another person is with my therapist. Every Tuesday is couple’s therapy and every Thursday is individual therapy. Needless to say we’re going to have more to talk about. I probably should print out these posts as talking points.
The few internet friends I’ve made seem to carry the burden of my existential loneliness. Those who’ve actually stuck around for the ride…thanks, but I sometimes think I’ve over-depended on you and I’m sorry for that.
So…I’m turning back to two of my sources of comfort – books and blogging. Rather than share my discoveries with those I’m over-dependent on, I’m going to be reading and blogging more. Part of it is in hopes that it helps someone, but mostly its because I hope it helps me.
And so, after that long preamble…
I love, love, love Irvin Yalom’s writing, and his wisdom and philosophy, and his compassion.
How did I come across him? I just stumbled across his “Staring at the Sun” book on existential depression by accident, and I wrote about it here: Existential Depression and Death Anxiety.
He’s a psychotherapist who has also written books of his encounters with his clients and has presented the stories with a compassionate lens, and YET he reveals his own humanity and shortcomings and prejudices and the process by which HE is called to stretch and grow as an individual and a therapist.
From the prologue of his book Love’s Executioner (which I got for 50 cents at a resale shop – bonus!) that I just picked up last week (and I sense it was waiting there precisely for ME because it was just what I needed and it was the right time for me to come across it!):
Freedom not only requires us to bear responsibility for our life choices but also posits that change requires and act of will. Though will is a concept therapists seldom use explicitly, we nonetheless devote much effort to influencing a patient’s will. We endlessly clarify and interpret, assuming (and it is a secular leap of faith, lacking convincing empirical support) that understanding will invariably beget change. When years of interpretation have failed to generate change, we may begin to make direct appeals to the will: “Effort, too, is needed. You have to try, you know. There’s a time for thinking and analyzing but there’s also a time for action.” And when direct exhortation fails, the therapist is reduced, as these stories bear witness, to employing any known means by which one person can influence another. Thus, I may advise, argue, badger, cajole, goad, implore or simply endure, hoping that the patient’s neurotic world view will crumble away from sheer fatigue.
It is through willing, the mainspring of action, that our freedom is enacted. I see willing as having two stages: a person initiates through wishing and then enacts through deciding.
Some people are wish-blocked, knowing neither what they feel nor what they want. Without opinions, without impulses, without inclinations, they become parasites on the desires of others. Such people tend to be tiresome…
Other patients cannot decide. Though they know exactly what they want and what they must do, they cannot act and, instead, pace tormentedly before the door of decision….
Decisions are difficult for many reasons, some reaching down into the very socket of being. John Gardner, in his novel Grendel, tells of a wise man who sums up his meditations on life’s mysteries in two simple but terrible postulates: “Things fade: alternatives exclude”. Of the first postulate, death, I have already spoken. On the second, “alternatives exclude,” is an important key to understanding why decision is difficult. Decision invariably involves renunciation: for every yes there must be a no, each decision eliminating or killing other options (the root of the word decide means ‘slay’ as in homicide or suicide)….
I realize for the longest time (oh, about 6 years now), I’ve been stuck, unable to make decisions. I realize that there are MANY things I want…MANY things I crave…MANY things I’m not getting. Desperate for change and not certain what kind. The time has come for me to choose.
Recognizing that I might find solutions in Hallowell and Ratey’s Delivered From Distraction, I feel more hopeful. I won’t cover those things here…but I’m thinking I’ll have some new discoveries to write about.