I like to call this HND, Healthy Normal Disorders. I use the word "disorder" ironically, obviously.
These are not true illnesses I'm referring to, but protective mechanisms built into our species and perhaps long forgotten as a need through our evolution. Like nipples on men or tails on some people that need if possible, to be removed.
Basically, things that once served a purpose that were life saving but may now not be so useful, sometimes even counter productive.
For many of us you can fight these minor symptoms merely by not following them or allowing them to exhibit themselves, or certainly to take you over. Sometimes this can be accomplished just by recognizing them and then countering them. Through conscious effort, you can make your life better.
That being said, for those who have abnormal degrees of these things taking over their life, professional help is useful if not warranted to the point that, when you find that you cannot control these things by yourself, you really should seek help. Why not? Don't put yourself through the misery if you can't do it alone.
That being said let me mention, we can all use therapy throughout our lives, just as a "check in" and evaluate our life and character. Sometimes maybe a tweak is all that is needed. Sometimes we find we really need some serious therapy and hadn't noticed it.
Being beat up by your live in boyfriend (or girlfriend) and always making excuses about how you brought it on yourself? Maybe, you have blocked out the reality of the fact that you're just living with a complete cretin? A therapist is trained not just to recognize that, but to tell you, and get you to do something about it. See?
But for the majority of us, merely by altering our behaviors both consciously and effectively, we can make small changes that enhance the quality of our lives, and quite possibly of those around us.
Some of these things come off to us as a compulsion, something that if we allow it to happen soothes us or makes us feel better. We cave in and allow it purchase in our lives. But it can also take away and not add to our lives in a pleasant or productive way. It can go into a loop and simply overtake us.
We are such creatures that we can ignore the negative when we find we can do something to make us feel better. Sometimes, even if others suffer because of it. Look at it as a degree of energy. If it is too much, we tend to push it away. But energy, according to physics, cannot be destroyed. It has to go somewhere. It can commute into matter, but it doesn't just disappear.
What happens in social dynamics is, when you remove it from yourself, you may very likely be putting it onto someone else. Typically those closest to you, a loved one, a spouse, a child. So we first need to recognize it, then deal with it appropriately in such a way that it relieves you, as well as those around you. To not consider others in this, is to lean into sociopathy. Discare about those around you as long as you are happy.
This is a paramount element in things like traditional bachelorhood, or rising to power in government or corporations. Many leaders who these tendencies. Many people the "world loves" are not so wonderful in their home lives. Few have the energy to cultivate both public and personal lives. Let's face it, even if you do, when you are out in public, you aren't in with the private members in your life.
Paraphrasing something my son said recently, "what we do, is what we practice to be doing".
In other words, our behaviors in daily life are also our practice to be more that way. So be sure what you are doing is what you want to be doing in your life, who you want to be in your life, who you want to be remembered for being, in your lifetime.
Too many of us make that mistake in thinking that what we do in our life, will leave our family and loved ones to love us for it. But that may mean the love they want from you is lacking due to your efforts outside of that relationship between you.
It can also be the case of the unhappy person who is unhappy mostly because of the habit of being unhappy. However, once they just stop it they find they begin to be happier. That goes for those around them too.
It can be as simple a thing as smiling more throughout the day.
Or it can be, simply making an effort to notice the beautiful, the amazing, the fascinating in daily life. Things that go on all around all of us on a daily and hourly basis.
Sometimes, it's just a matter of noticing and taking the time to enjoy it.
There is a story....
|Similar to my signed and framed photo I got from Tom at ZomBcon II|
He got involved with filmmaking and worked on the original "Night of the Living Dead" film. The graphic view of the zombies in their actions is attributed to him and his "practicals" (physical gags and makeup, not CGI) for making skin look real for instance, because of his background photographing things in the war.
They also used accurate depictions of bodies using copies of Gray's Anatomy to make a horror film appear accurate, more real, more affecting, which hadn't really been done before this. Previous to that filmmakers tended to shy away from reality in horror simply because it was, horror.
But Vietnam changed all that, as did Tom.
By the way, Wikipedia defines practicals as: "A special effect produced physically, without computer-generated imagery or other post production techniques. "Special effect" is often synonymous with "practical effect". In contrast, visual effects are created in post-production through photographic manipulation or computer generation."
Tom has said that that it was a year almost to the day that he was driving along one day and noticed a sunset (or sunrise, I don't remember). Finally he took a moment and recognized what a beautiful thing that was. It was from that moment on that he felt he started to get better, to heal from what he had lived through, having seen all the horrible things he had seen and documented in that war. But he turned that horror around into entertainment. Odd as it sounds, he turned the horrible into the entertaining; a difficulty into a benefit.
It was his initial notice of a sunset that began that entire process.
It's like the old saw about the number 23 and how it is everywhere. That is also true for other numbers. What you notice, is what you notice more of until it seems they are everywhere. We are creatures of pattern recognition. And sometimes, that gets out of control. What do you do about that?
Ask yourself, what are you doing each day that makes little or no sense?
Maybe you'd like to stop it, but it's become more than a compulsion and is a habit. Maybe it's really no big deal, but perhaps it is. Is it something you can trace back to an event in your life that negatively affected you? Or a past behavior in human beings as a specific thing? If you have no education in anthropology that may be asking a bit much. But sometimes you can begin to see it in that context and it can be helpful
I have a university degree in psychology.
When we had our first abnormal psych class the first thing our prof told us all in class was that the first thing we would all do is look for ourselves in our text book. He then said, "You will not be in that book. You will think you are, you will see things that you recognize, things that you do, but trust me, if you were in that book you wouldn't be here. We'd be visiting you in a lock down facility."
All new psych students seem to go through that, thinking they may have a disorder they are learning about.
Why is that?
Pattern recognition. It is what I said earlier. We all have all these disorders in minor degrees. So they aren't per se, "disorders", really. They are in part, human nature.
Split personality. By the nature of how our brain works, one can deduce we are a conglomeration of various "personalities" in our mind with a kind of master control kernel that runs everything. When this gets out of control, or like a body builder who has worked on one muscle too much, it can become dysfunctional and so we may hear "voices".
Or we may thing we hear voices in hindsight but never really hear them, we just remember hearing them the second after we think we head them, but never really heard them. It is just an echoic memory, a kind of deja vu of a mental process. A mirroring of a thought gone awry perhaps.
Much of that is natural and normal and not a problem. Sometimes however it can become a problem simply if we let it become one. If you are scared of the dark, not being scared of it is as simple as not allowing yourself to be. Controlling your mind, and physiology. But for some, that seems impossible for various reasons. So much of what becomes a concern for us can be controlled simply by doing it.
And so, procrastination.
Not doing what needs to be done at times, can be stopped merely by doing it. That may sound offensive to one who has problems with that, but it's just how it is with things like exercising or eating less, or correctly. We just have to do it. Sometimes it requires educating ourselves as we're procrastinating simply because we don't know what needs to be done and education is effort and we may require education about how to become educated on a topic (see, makes you exhausted just reading about it, right?).
Along with procrastinating can be laziness.
Laziness however can easily be one person's perception over that of another's. Different people do things at different rates of speed. Including, getting around to doing it. Some people are more high-powered and more highly motivated, some are just more laid back.
When putting things off gets to the point that you become dysfunctional, then it becomes an issue. If it effects your life, your relationships or your job, you may have a problem. But up to that point, it just takes building good habits and eliminating bad ones. Laziness can indicated depression, too or other associated things. Sometimes it's just a bad habit however. Something we can personally handle, control and rectify on our own. But we first have to just start to do it.
Now it may sound disingenuous to say, as Nike did (referring to a comment made by serial murderer Gary Gilmore, actually), to "Just Do It". Brilliant and true. Except for those with serious problems. However, many times that really is the case. Cut through your mental reasons for not doing it, and just do it. It's all about how we get there that is at question and it takes sometimes properly building up to things in order to become truly productive. .
I have found for myself that finding these things in my own personality, my character and behavior, are very helpful. From there, then building good habits to work around them, or find ways to make them work for me.
I like to look at it as "tricking" myself to do things I need to do. I set myself up so that my least or easiest course of action is simply to do what I don't want to do, but really want to get done. After all no one is going to do it for me. And in some cases, when someone will do it for me, they are just being codependent to my dependency.
"The National Mental Health Association states that co-dependency is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive.
"Codependence can be seen as a set of maladaptive, compulsive behaviors learned by a person in order to survive in a family which is experiencing great emotional pain and stress caused, for example, by a family member's alcoholism or other addiction, sexual or other abuse within the family, or a family members' chronic illness.
"Codependent people have a greater tendency to enter into relationships with people who are emotionally unavailable or needy. The codependent tries to control a relationship without directly identifying and addressing his or her own needs and desires. This invariably means that codependent's set themselves up for continued lack of fulfillment. Codependent's always feel that they are acting in another person's best interest, making it difficult for them to see the controlling nature of their own behavior."
If you need that kind of help, get it.
I have trouble remembering things, so I use aids. The calendar on my cell phone. I keep notes for later. I'm a writer so that is very helpful to me. I have so many thoughts and ideas, that I have to keep notes. Then there is the issue of tracking the long term notes which is another issue. But keep short term notes for only a day to get through the day, if you need it, is gold.
If you have the ability to choose when you sleep, do you prefer to avoid the day and stay up all night, sleeping through the daylight? If you do, you may need to supplement your diet with Vitamin D. I take D3 in the winter up here in the pacific northwest as there isn't much sun for months and it helps my mood from SAD symptoms (Seasonal Affect Disorder).
I also discovered that using full spectrum, "Daylight" light bulbs in the house during those sunless months, helps a lot. I started putting them first in my most used common areas. Home office, kitchen, bathroom, then added them everywhere.
I haven't been diagnosed with that myself, but I can't help but notice a long term lack of sunlight changes my behavior to be less functional, productive and less happy, basically.
But you should probably ask your doctor about that.
My mother used to do that, sleep during the day, stay up at night watching TV or reading. The thing about that, especially now a days is that it has been proven that you need sunlight and if you think you don't, you are probably wrong about that. You will however try to rationalize reasons to support your behavior. Why? Because once your body finds a way to make you feel better, you want to maintain that status quo, because in the moment it works even if in the overall picture it doesn't.
There is something about getting up and facing the day that is healthy for you. For HUMANS in general. Yes, there is a condition about this not needing sunlight, or sunlight being bad for you in some ways. But again, odds are that you probably don't have that.
Sleeping all day and staying up all night is also a symptom of certain types of schizophrenia. So all you have to do there is to get up in the morning. Harder than it sounds for some, but typically they have simply fooled themselves into thinking this behavior is "good" for them in some way, though it's just a rationalization and skewing of reality.
Sleeping during the day by choice is also a way to avoid reality, people, and basically, your life. If you are in that state of mind, slowly (or quickly if you can face it), get back onto days, get back to facing people, face reality, face your life.
I worked for five years on nights, all alone in a big hospital in the computer room in the sub-sub basement, and I loved it. Shopping was easier while everyone was at work, I had fewer drama incidents in my life and so on. I'm a solitary type anyway so it enhanced that way of existing. The trouble with that like many things is, a little or enough is good, more or too much is not. Like ice cream is good, but eating it for every meal every day, will kill you, or at least make you obese.
Sleeping during the day, staying up all night can for people up through their 20s, simply be a holdover from childhood. Once you are an adult it's just fun. It's doing what was forbidden before. It's not night time for some so much as being opposite from what is normal for those around them, and so on.
It can be done for reasons of decreasing over-stimulation, and the number of people they daily have to interact with. It can come from a perceived lack of control over one's life, an attempt to gain full control. The former could be a sign to get professional help, the latter could be simply a mechanism to gain control. But then you also have to recognize when to ween yourself off of it and get back to feeling that control and achieving normal sleep patterns once again.
Day sleeping is a go-to behavior for both drug addicts and those descending into mental illness. It can be a warning sign. For my mother it was both.
When I worked nights, I was up all night because I was working a good job for the first time in my life and supporting a family. My son was then born and we didn't need others to watch him since one of us were always awake. I would come home and sleep, then wake and my wife would pass him off to me so she could go to work.
But our relationship suffered and we eventually did divorce. After a while I couldn't wait to get back on days. Perhaps a deteriorating marriage was working in concert with my night job until the marriage was over and then a possible depression began to evaporate. I came to realize that I needed to be up and out and about during the day.
But it was nice for a while. As I said, I shopped when few people were about, streets had less people on them when I was out. But there was also a downside. Services and companies I needed or wanted to deal with were open during fewer hours of my waking day. Mandatory meetings required me to get up in the middle of MY night and attend them at the hospital then show up that night, tired.
Now a days, I love waking before the sun comes up. I start my job early and get off work at 3pm.
But those are major issues. Some issues are much smaller. Some habits for instance.
Like when I take out the trash, but don't take it all the way to the garbage can outside. If I'm in a hurry, I might change the kitchen garbage and put the tied up plastic bag on the raised upper back deck. I put it against the sliding glass door so that later when I have time, I'll notice it and walk it down the stairs to the garbage can. I help myself, help myself.
Otherwise, as someone just did here yesterday, they took the garbage out while there were already two other bags on the deck, left there out of site and forgotten. Which is why you put things where it is obvious or make it an irritant to you, to push you along to finalize things.
Then there are the other smaller things. Like smiling more.
Ask yourself: If you're unhappy, how much do you smile throughout the day?
Research has shown that if you smile, it uses facial muscles associated with mental activity of smiling, wherein if your brain tells you to smile you do and, if you tell your brain to make you smile, it engages those very same brain areas and actually affects your mood. It may not feel that way in the beginning but over time it really is effective.
In the same vein, if you notice the beautiful and the amazing in daily life, it simply has to affect your overall mood. Notice things. Notice, the good things, and stop noticing so much (if it's a problem) all the bad things. Stop watching shows on TV that rant on about the horrible in life. Limit your intake of horror news. Read more about the future, the happy. You don't need to become delusional, just balance things in your life.
The Dali Lama said a few years ago that we have more peace in the world than ever before. It just doesn't seem like it. All this nonsense with religion and ISIS\ISIL in the Middle East notwithstanding as it is a temporary glitch in history really, life isn't that bad for most of us. But the media would have us believe in order to raise their market share, that the world is falling apart around us. Surely there are things going on that need to be fixed. But will those things actually kill you tomorrow? Next week? Probably not. So relax.
Do things to help the world be a better place, just don't let it kill you over it.
I did that years ago, tried forcing a smile more throughout each day, tried to focus on the good rather than the bad in my life, back when I was very unhappy. After a while I did start to see more of the positive in daily life, less of the negative and my life sloly changed over time simply because of that.
IF nothing you do, and you do all this, pinpointing your issues, setting up positive and productive workarounds to them, and you still do not find anything in life worth living, you may be depressed. This can be a byproduct of these kinds of things getting out of control and so you should see the help of a professional.
The thing is however, so many of us are not that dysfunctional, never do seek help and actually can help ourselves with just a little bit of understanding, education, effort and application.
Notice the next sunrise or sunset, and the next beautiful thing you run into that you wouldn't normally notice. Smile more at things (appropriately). Remember that humor can easily be described as pain + time. Don't hesitate to laugh at yourself, your situation, your life even. Put it in its place in the story of your overall life from birth to one day, death.
Apply humor or even sarcasm to yourself, but in non-threatening or positive ways.
See the clever all around you. Take the power and control away from the stupid by enjoying the humor in it all. Appreciate the interesting and fascinating in life around you. See if in doing all those things your life doesn't take a swing up from the down and dirty miserable aspects of what life can be and do to us.
And it can suck, life can. Just don't let it.
If it does, change your life. It can be painful, but sometimes, that's just want it takes. Changes in either very minor or very major ways. In the end you will appreciate it as well anyone close to you in your life.
Just about here is where some idiot will point out how some people have lives that are truly miserable, true horror stories. Like in the Middle East or Africa where some group came in and slaughtered families or something. Obviously this blog isn't about them. Those are horrible things and life like that is a truly inhumane existence and for another blog another time.
This blog today however is about those whose lives aren't that terrible, who have only minor problems or issues that they can easily apply changes to in order to evoke from themselves (and subsequently from those around them, which itself has a dynamic that is more helpful than not), in order to make their life better.
When you are happier, people around you respond to that, and you respond to them, then. Just as if you are miserable, it makes those around you miserable and you are more miserable because of them (because of you). Just be sure you aren't part of the reason you're miserable, when you don't have to be. It happens that way. It happens a lot.
As I indicated above if you have more serious issues then you really need professional help, a therapist, or an intentional intervention.
The entire point of this blog is try to under-strand that some of the things in your life, those that you can change, are normal and natural and really can be changed. YOU just have to take the time to notice and address them. Just like you may need to take the time to notice and address the wonderful in your life if you're not noticing it.
In my 20s I had a period where I was truly miserable.
A few friends told me I was doing it to myself. I thought that was rather offensive. My life SUCKED and they're telling me it's my fault?
Until one day I really took it to heart and I started trying to apply what they were telling me. Because I was sick of my life and wanted change. I finally got to a point where I would try anything.
Eventually over the course weeks and month, of that next year or so (and it remained miserable for a while and I had to force it at first, making the fix seem counter-intuitive), my life did get better.
People started to relate to me better. People who I just met liked me more that it had been going for a while up to that point. People started being attracted to me once again and the rest really, is history. And it is mostly a good history.
I found again that I had a kind of charisma. I always had had that, but I lost if for a while. Though not really because people were attracted to be around me, but at that low point in my life, they quickly realized something was wrong. So when I got back to normal, my life changed, drastically for the better.
Granted, I've made some stupid choices in life that went bad. We all do and that just happens. Sometimes because we're not paying attention, or we follow what we want more than what we need, or what we wish is there over what is really there.
But what didn't kill me did make me stronger and all along I have kept my sense of humor and fascination at the wonder all around me. It's really all up to us and how we wish to relate to the world and allow the world to relate to us. How we manage our internal for how it relates to the external.
For most of us, our lives are in our hands. Believe it or not. Look at yourself. Can you fix yourself? Can you see ways now that you can better your outlook? To trick yourself to be happy until you truly do become happy? Life is good. Or it should be. Make it so for you.
All I can say in closing therefore, is...