Saturday, July 26, 2003

Michael's Wonderful Life Of Doom

Ok, so they put me on megadoses of nerve damage medication. The main results, so far, have been that I am always nauseous, and a bit dizzy, but without any cessation of pain. The pain is bad enough that it overrides the other medications I take to help me sleep, the better to enjoy the pain in the wee hours of the night. This, as you might imagine, is affecting my otherwise cheery personality.

I have been thinking about the amount of pain I see people in every day. I have obvious sources of pain, and methods (some more successful than others) for combatting them. It seems to me that we are somewhat beholden to ourselves, if not to each other, to learn and grow as we age, to put aside the petty games we played when we were young and clueless, and to deal with each other on a level that is more honest and real. I find that even if some pattern of behavior that served me well in the past still wants to rear its ugly head in contexts to which it no longer applies, I am just too fucking tired to deal with it, and it is much easier to just drop it and deal with things on a more honest level. Luckily, this sort of weariness forces me into a mode of behavior that is more honorable than I might be able to sustain had I more energy :)

I've been trying very fucking hard to deal with people better, even to the extent of attempting to develop or maintain relationships with people who have traditionally ticked me off. My instinct is to avoid people who seem to need other people around them for the purpose of playing out some sort of script that requires either an audience or a victim or whatever other roles that are in the game instead of in the realm of actual human interaction. When I find myself in an unpleasant mood, my instinct is to remove myself from the equation, to back off from the social scene until I can participate with a clear mind and heart. There are others, I have found, who have the opposite response to their internal turmoil: they actively seek out someone on whom to dump their frustrations, in effect using the people around them as an abstracted proxy for the real issues that are inside of them.

This saddens me immensely, and wears me out. By not dealing with their problems directly, these people only add turmoil to those around them (usually people who have some sort of emotional connection to them, who are therefore easily held hostage), and in doing so they convince themselves that the pain they feel is caused by someone outside of them. This doesn't help the person who is feeling the pain, and it sure as hell doesn't help the people they take it out on. I know large groups of people that feel like they must tiptoe around one of the group, lest they 'push a button' that triggers some sort of drama. I am still shocked every time I see an adult display this sort of behavior, which was only slightly more acceptable when we were young and clueless. Holding your 'loved ones' hostage emotionally isn't acceptable in any case; relying on them for support is great, but I think it behooves you to actually use that support in service of your own healing, not to squander it away playing out some script that only reinforces the problem.

Life isn't something that happens to you. If you feel good, look within yourself to see why: it may indeed be that your love for someone else is causing you joy, but that is your love, something inside, not something the other person is doing to you. No one can save you from yourself, you have to do the work on your own. Similarly if you feel bad, do not cast about to find the person who is causing your pain; look within and determine what the source of your unhappiness is. If you are upset because someone is not meeting your expectations, that is a problem within yourself, not some deficiency within the other person. To lay all of your unhappiness on the people around you is not just dishonorable, it is also not addressing the real issues at all. Fix yourself first; then you can look around yourself with clearer eyes.

It amazes me that people will go to such great lengths to avoid looking within themselves, even when they are clearly unhappy and the scripts of their lives are clearly not working. Of course, my disease has always been the opposite side of that coin: I always assume that I am the fuckup in any situation, so I retreat and try to work on the things within myself that I believe caused the problem in the first place. I've got pretty simple rules for how to deal with this: if I am in conflict with one person, or some small number of people, I am willing to accept that the problem might just be interpersonal friction, possibly even something that should cause me to re-evaluate my relationships with the people in question. If, however, I find myself in conflict with everyone, I must assume that the more pressing problem is one that lies within myself, and I don't make any rash judgements on people around me; I find it better to compose my mind and heart and wait until I am clear before doing anything that might harm my relationships with people I care about.

I get depressed pretty easily, and seeing people who are clearly experiencing a depth of pain that is only exceed by the depth of their unwillingness to look within themselves really shatters my already faltering faith in humanity. I didn't always see this as clearly as I do right now; My New Head™ is providing me with alot of perspective lately, and more energy to delve into my relationships to reinforce my bonds with the people I care about. The hardest part for me was admitting to myself and to the people who care about me that I needed help. Once I got to that point, I found that there was more love around me than I had ever imagined. I hope the people I know who are journeying through similarly treacherous mindspaces find the courage to drop their faulty scripts and get on with their lives.