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Past and present

I was looking through some of the old posts, deleting ones I didn’t like and editing others, as per usual, and spotted something worth noting.

Two or three years ago, I had hope and optimism. I was suffering from a bad case of anxiety disorder, but I had dreams, you know. I had hope that one day life would work out just fine. I see those years as the worst of my life up to date, but there was also hope. Now, I don’t suffer from a bad case of anxiety disorder, but I don’t have hope. What lesson can we learn from this?

It’s one bad choice over the other now.

More thoughts on past and present selves: I also noticed that the quest for greater authenticity has been a success so far. I’m quite a bit blunter than I used to be (and I was blunt to begin with), which may be good or bad, depends on who I talk to and how well they can handle bluntness.

And this too: I don’t feel ashamed to say I didn’t like some great classics or that I adored some works which aren’t considered literature. I’m very much freer and unashamed. The love of a thing continues to be important. So, with all my inconsistencies and inability to carry things through, this is not a bad outcome. This is some good development.

Things photographed in 2018

The time of ice departing is always quite photogenic at the seaside.

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Spring was early and very warm. I spent it romancing this book.

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I also discovered a solitary daffodil at the seaside.

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….and had an all-around good time there. They hadn’t fenced the meadow in yet for the cows, in spite of it being early May, so there was ample space and practically no one else there. I got to run barefoot and all.

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Then came summer. It was very hot and uncomfortable.

I stayed in this old-fashioned room.

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Then came the best autumn my eyes have seen. It was the warmest. I went exploring the woods and discovered an egg up the tree. It’s not chicken. DSC03090

Then I made this composition with my forest finds.

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Some creature liked me.

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Some creature had died at sea and been washed to the shore.

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Then it finally stopped being very warm.

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When November came, I was very cheerful about it. So much warmth and sun made dreariness a novelty.

Also, my cat did some modelling for pet products.

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The unmentionable

I can’t believe how I’ve been deceived by my moods. You grow up, as a teenager, reading 19th century and early 20th century psychologists, you think subconscious is terribly important. Then you graduate into adulthood and modern-day psychology and think reason is everything and mind is mouldable. But then wham, subconscious strikes back.

I have been feeling quite well this autumn. I don’t have any anxiety or stress. I have money again and don’t have to deal with not being able to afford soap, like this time last year. Today, I even experienced a totally mad impulse of offering financial aid to a person who I only know by reading her blog. She seemed to need it for a greater cause than I could ever find. I resisted the impulse this time around. The buffer is not yet strong enough. I guess I was just fancying myself to be Jean Valjean and wanted to feel more like I’ve done something good to other people too.

I found November enchanting in its early days. There had been so much sunshine this summer and autumn that when darkness came, it was romantic. One warm evening, I went for an unplanned stroll by the seaside and it was magical, the darkness, the belt of stars, the distant murmur of waves. A little eerie too as you could not see where the sea actually begun. So – too brave steps and splash, your feet would be in it. That was pretty glorious.

I knew my ability to deal with winter darkness could be a bit poor, so in September, I planned many activities for myself to keep the bad moods and anxiety at bay. I haven’t needed them. I don’t think I’ve felt as mentally strong as I do now at any point in the last three years.

Side by side to it, I have not done anything at all outside of work and my programming course. I’ve put life on hold and have recently developed strong avoidant tendencies regarding conflict and disruption. I put things off because the pause in life is better than the certain disruption/misery. And in the waiting room, it’s okay.

But it seems that, as I feel I don’t need anything, I have, unbeknownst to myself, ran out of life energy. That I’m actually deeply depressed. I may have shut myself into my cosy, soft-music-and-warm-blankets waiting room, but my subconscious is fully aware, in spite of my attempts to guide my brain to think otherwise or not think about it at all, that behind both doors is misery. I do know I cannot stay in the waiting room but opening either door, knowing full well I will be unhappy either way, it’s understandable I delay in the only place that feels good.

But the point is that I totally managed to deceive myself. I thought that I was doing really well for someone with my life, I had never had such a stress- and anxiety-free autumn in recent years. I had many days of glee and most days seemed neutral. Nothing bad happened. So you know, one thinks this is good.

PS. I’ve re-assessed my depression and come to the conclusion that this autumn was after all a fairly good time for me. Sometimes one errs with diagnosis. The lack of energy seemed alarming, but then I got a massive mood slump in January that made it clear to me autumn was good in comparison, autumn was very good.

Berries

Yesterday on my bike ride, I smelt apples. Then I got some tiny apples at home from my great-aunt’s garden and sniffed them like an addict. The first of the many smells of autumn.

Sadly, fat chance. Heat wave persists. I’m glad that weathers with temperatures between 27-33 C are not an absolute staple on our latitude. I cannot imagine living in a country where all days of summer where like this: too hot to go out between 10 AM and 8 PM. I don’t enjoy temperatures over 25. My cat is suffering too because her fur is very thick for a regular domestic cat.

The complaints won’t end here.

I normally love anything local nature can bestow – berries, cherries and plum alike, but too much is too much.  This week every meal has had berries in some form with it and I’m entirely sick of berries by now.  There’s two cups of black currant and raspberry smoothie waiting in the fridge. This black currant variety is particularly tasty too. Rich, not watery, but I just can’t eat more berries and enjoy it.

Sample menu this week:

Breakfast: cheese sandwich, berry cake, small bowl of gooseberries, raspberry smoothie, tea

Lunch: celery cream soup, plate of red currant

Dinner: egg sandwich, black currant smoothie, plate of raspberries.

This picture is from some years back, but that’s the sort of quantities we are talking of. Current menu in the fridge includes black currant, raspberry and gooseberry.

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Yes, I’ve put many in the freezer, but it seems a shame because some do lose their qualities through it. I wish I wasn’t such a creature of variety and could eat the same thing for a long period of time. Oh well. I do eat. I just feel enthusiasm is not there, the emotional enjoyment.

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It works. Something actually works on me. God be praised it’s a miracle.

I’m notoriously resistant to most medicines and supplements. Only few things that I’ve tried seem to do anything for me. Painkillers work, which is a good thing, but other than that it’s one useless thing after another. Doctors have tried, I have tried on my own, but nothing worth a try yields results. Over the years, I’ve had to learn to live with my body’s little imperfect functionings.

And now something works. I got rid of an ailment I have had for ever, and ever and ever O_O

I’m almost put out actually. I got into a kind of routine with it, it was predictable and familiar. I really had recently come to terms with it. And now – it isn’t there.

That goes to show how easily people can adapt to discomfort and the first impulse upon release also includes an element of regret. Now I have to learn to live in a new way. This post can’t have enough of the surprised smiley: O_O. A new way of living after…..I don’t know what, 15 years?

Fingers crossed the results will last.

 

Meanderings

Birds are singing! I can’t believe this.

Since there is no winter any more in my country, they figured they might as well skip straight to March. If only the weather would follow suit and give us an early spring, an early May, with blossoms and things.

I almost want to go out for a walk in the forest to see if there are any signs of this false early spring other than birdsong.

When I haven’t been melancholy, I’ve been very nostalgic lately.

Even my nightdreams are filled with nostalgia. Sports, school days, the people I knew once, checking what they are up to now. Then watching videos of life in the 1930s. Haymaking and summer camps.

Much that has happened in my twenties has been a mistake. Sometimes I feel hot flashes of shame running from heart to head when I think of the stupidity of myself. But then there are some redeeming factors, like the discovery of beauty and poetry, and that there were people like me in the world, though extremely few. It wasn’t a happy time. Happy times stopped at 18. I just tried to do the best I could given the circumstances I was in. It wasn’t very good, but I’m a lenient person on shortcomings if they result from weakness and stupidity, not malice. I was lost and immature, like a lot of young people. I had no confidence.

But I rather like to hurl abuse at life and circumstance, instead of being humble and wallowing in the misery of my bad fortune. I find it somehow satisfying to say “I’ve had a rotten life/youth”. The anger and passion I put in that statement feels good. I have very high internal locus of control, but this statement incorporates the acknowledgement that at least in this, circumstances were to blame. As in: you are dealt a rotten hand at cards, but you try your best to make something of it. That would be the best metaphor to describe my life.

Life is almost a personification to me. With a leprechaun’s temperament. Or any mythical creature from European folklore who can be both generous and very mean. I see myself as forever battling against Life. I think not yielding to misfortune in spirit is important. If Life gives me some horrible disease, I want to be able to laugh in its (Life’s) face and continue hurling abuse at it.

I’m being very weird now, I guess. I don’t suppose a lot of people have personified life. Some have a god, but it would be inappropriate to shake your fist at a god. Life, on the other hand….Oh yes.

Laziness

The truth is,

laziness is my undoing.

 

I’ve never had to, never learnt to put in a lot of effort to acquire knowledge and understand things at school. In primary school, I deliberately lowered my grades and studied less so to be more equal to my classmates. Not tower above them like a genius (which I am not, but the average level was dismal in my class). I didn’t understand people who learnt for maths or English tests. I only ever learnt for tests where you had to memorize rather than understand, such as history or biology.

In high school, I was surrounded by somewhat brighter students. Likewise at university, but even a lot of my BA courses were cruising (from an intellectual perspective). I did have to study for them (to memorize), and some sort of motivation to study for exams I do have, but outside that – I just can’t be bothered to systematically work towards improving myself. The rewards are not concrete enough. I wonder if it’s the early years of being so used to doing very little to obtain good results that this has become ingrained. I’m really just naturally lazy too, of course, no doubt about that.

I’ve spent years at a point from which I don’t develop further intellectually. It’s snug here. I’m smart enough. Just enough. I can write tolerably enough. My English is decent enough. Everything is enough. Not great, but enough.

I’ve put no effort into being here intellectually, but I would have to if I wanted to progress further from this point.

But the laziness and self-satisfaction.

I’ve been thinking that I’d like to live like the moomins really. Their family dynamics are delightful. And if you want to be a moomin, there is no reason to become very intelligent, but you would need to have an open mind and an intelligence for living. As a moomin, I can have strawberries on the veranda and stars in the sky bright enough to get a stiff neck from staring. I can build a tree house with the kids and water my husband from the watering can when he is napping (and I’m not).

But it’d take a few years until then. These days, I have to content myself with threatening to water the cat.

And meanwhile, my laziness does frustrate me.

So there. Hoping against hope to conquer it.

Complaining

This month work has been a mixed bag. On the one hand, I have had month-long contracts lately, so I have no deadlines, can work at any hour of the day, take two weeks off and do 12 hour days the other two. It is all up to me and I’ve enjoyed the liberty.

On the other hand, the current assignment is so painfully dull I’ve likened it to scrubbing the same spot on the floor for 3 hours. Imagine that! Could anyone scrub the same spot meticulously for 3 hours without abandoning it in hopeless boredom? I manage it for 10 minutes until my mind wanders elsewhere or I open some other website, watch a film or indulge in my one filthy habit of reading sub-par content. This post here is just another result of that mind-numbing scrubbing I couldn’t take any more.

I don’t have ADHD. This translation would put anyone’s attention span to the test.

To pass the time, I took this social intelligence test, where you are supposed to tell by a person’s eyes what mood they are in. And my score was so pathetic I will go hide under the blanket and reflect on my delusions. Test can be done on this link.

People this bad at reading others shouldn’t be wanting to be psychologists. I got 26.

Witnessing dementia

There was this old gentleman who seemed gentle and shy. I didn’t register more at first, because I had things of my own to think of. It wasn’t a people watching moment. Later I saw him again in an unsettling situation.

He must have had dementia. Somewhat prematurely. He looked 75 at most.

There was a woman accompanying this man. She was one of those types children’s literature is full of – the strict aunt who knows best what’s proper conduct and goes about trying to shape everyone accordingly. No resistance, no nonsense and very little gentleness.

The old man wanted to use the bus toilet. He had opened the door and was about to enter it, but his companion lady interfered and told him that the bus is stopping now so he can use the toilet in the petrol station (like all the other people with the same need had). He resisted, he feared he would miss the bus if he goes there. The woman said the bus will wait. They argued. Briefly verbally. Then, as he continued resisting, like a child rather than an adult,  she started to forcefully pull him out of the bus, shake him and attempt to drag him to the petrol station toilet. In response, he clung to the door handle of the bus. She was very angry and frustrated, and he was resistant and scared like a little boy. It was….disturbing and unjust.

I wanted to interfere. It was very hard not to interfere. Only my shyness stopped me.

Melancholy vs depression

When you type “melancholy” into Wikipedia, it redirects you to “depression”, but for me, these two states have always been clearly distinct.

Melancholy has an element of beauty to it. It is like autumn or how one might feel in autumn when observing the decay and dying of another summer. It is the emotion a person might feel when pondering their old dreams and realising none of them came true. But it is not an emotion that paralyses and sends you into apathy and despair. Melancholy is about acceptance of your circumstances, of knowing that indeed, none of your dreams came true, but at least you dreamt. And life is beautiful, even with its sorrows and losses. This is how I feel melancholy. Melancholy is like a poem to me.

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Depression, on the other hand, I see as an enemy. I cannot accept it or what it can do to a human being. It is no longer about a half-pleasant wallowing in sadness akin to a Romantic poet, it is an unwelcome problem. It can be debilitating, it is about despair and sorrow combined. It is about feeling trapped and “knowing” life will never work out. Or that you haven’t the strength to make it work out. To use the example of dreams that never came true: a melancholic accepts it and writes a sad poem about it, a depressive no longer considers life worth living, withdraws from trying and in very severe circumstances may attempt suicide. Because, if none of your dreams came true, and your depression makes you feel that they never will either, what’s the point of living? For other people?

I for one, will never see suicide as weak or foolish. It’s a cliché to claim that there are solutions to all problems. There are not.