Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 829446

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This may be as good as it gets (Too long)

Posted by Dinah on May 16, 2008, at 11:50:36

No need to read really. It's way too long. But I am trying to work something out for myself, and I often find Babbling is a good way to do that. And babblers sometimes set me straight if I'm wrong about something. But that doesn't mean I'm asking anyone to read this self indulgent tome.

I think I'm doing about as well as I ever will.

For the most part I feel connected to my family (as in husband and son). We all love and respect each other. There are the usual rubs that come when people with some fundamental differences live together. I think my husband will always scare my son and me by his crackling anger and quick controlled movements when he's angry. But he's not actually doing anything wrong. He doesn't hurt us physically ever. He doesn't hit below the belt in verbal arguments. He doesn't yell. For the most part he respects us. He'll always find me scattered and irresponsible, and I'll grant him that. I can be irresponsible and definitely I've always been absent minded. And I'll toss in self indulgent, though he doesn't seem to mind that so much. I think as marriages go, we have a really good one. I can't imagine anyone else I'd want to live my life with. I love my husband, and more importantly I like and respect him as a person. I adore my son, and I can't think of anyone I like and respect more than I like and respect him. We definitely produced someone who is fundamentally nicer than we are.

I've got some decisions to make in my life. But that will probably be a constant with me. Decisions terrify me. However I might think I'd like another path more than this one, leaving this path is such a scary prospect that I'm unlikely to ever do it. I know this path. And the possibility for change is everpresent. While it's impossible to go back to a path you've left.

Mostly I feel relatively good. They talk about happiness setpoints, and I think I agree with the idea. I've never had a real talent for happiness and I don't think I ever will. I'll never be exuberant, bubbly, or excited about life. I'll have only the most fleeting moments of joy. But I feel content and philosophical (if philosophical can be a feeling?). I see things realistically, I think. I accept what *is* for the most part. Not about decisions maybe, because those aren't really unchangeable. But I understand that I am who I am, my husband is who he is, my therapist is who he is, my mother is who she is, my relationships are what they are, etc. I don't bang my head against the wall making myself miserable by hoping anything will be other than what it is. I don't think I'm cynical precisely. I always hold open the possibility for improvement. I just don't lean on the possibility or invest a whole lot in it. Pragmatism. I believe a lot in being pragmatic.

I'm feeling sad in the mornings. It wears off during the day. Sometimes I wake up with thoughts of harming myself. But I understand that I will feel better as the day go on. And I can mostly accept that the thoughts just are, and I don't need to either fight them or give in to them. I think this might be a natural biorhythm thing for me. I can rarely eat until nearly noon, and this was always true. My mother used to pack a midmorning snack for me, because I just couldn't eat in the mornings.

I'm interpersonally sensitive. Perceived slights hurt me and make me withdraw and feel tearful. Old feelings of being socially unacceptable are everpresent. But I am getting better at distracting myself and getting myself back on even keel faster.

I have a *major* problem with procrastination. And many crises caused by the procrastination. This is something I really need to work on. It causes problems in my life that are totally optional.

I need to work on my priorities. My family and home is my priority. I've wanted to be a homemaker since I was a little girl. Yet my actual time and emotional energy too often go into work or the internet or reading books. I need to invest my time and energy where my heart is.

There are some upcoming problems with my mother. I can't decide if I'm being avoidant by not thinking about them. Or if I'm being wise to not think about something I have no control over.

I'm not as integrated as some might think healthy. But I think for the most part I've come to terms with who I am, and usually I value all of me.

I still have meltdowns. I always will. My central nervous system is finely tuned, and I strongly suspect there are some crossed wires in there too. But I've gotten better at taking Risperdal as needed at the earliest signs. I've done a pretty good job of internalizing my therapist. And having him there in person also helps me self regulate. Except when he is the cause of the meltdown. :)

I have pockets of issues. Social anxiety, sexual issues, and my brain works in odd ways sometimes. I'm overly dependent on my therapist and my husband (and my father before his death and maybe even after his death). I'm not altogether sure how much I want to work on these. I keep having the idea that fixing those problems will lead me to do things more often that I don't really want to do at all. And my brains works oddly. Ok, that's not entirely bad. My therapist charitably tells me that maybe my purpose in life is to present things in ways that people aren't used to thinking of them.

So....

Maybe this is as good as it gets.

Maybe my lack of happiness over that is due to my low happiness set point.

The Psychology aspect of this is that I am taking stock of where I'm at, with the idea of thinking about where I need to go from here. In therapy and out.

 

Re: This may be as good as it gets (Too long) Dinah

Posted by Happyflower on May 16, 2008, at 12:10:53

In reply to This may be as good as it gets (Too long), posted by Dinah on May 16, 2008, at 11:50:36

Hi Dinah,

You sure have been thinking a lot about your life and that is great. It sounds like you are comfortable with who you are, the positive the negative. We all have both sides, and the fact that you accept that in others and yourself is huge I think.

I think a lot of us go through our lives, take stock inventory. I think life is a journey, not a destination. We all have things to work on, and when we work on them, we will have new things to work on. Kinda like dusting the house, you dust one day and it appears again and again. It isn't that you are not a failure at dusting, it is just the way things are.
Maybe try to list all the things you are grateful for and I bet your list doesn't look so shabby.
You have a good marriage, a good son who both love you so much. Even that is more than what others might have. Sure some things you can improve on, but somehow if you manged to do everything, you would probably die, because there wouldn't be much to life for and life would be really dull.
Dinah,
you are a wonderful person and maybe too hard on yourself.
My doctor told me this the other day, he said this is your life and it is only so long, then it is over. Make your life to be what you want it to be because in the end it only matters how you feel about it.
I thing I am free associating right now, but I hope it makes some sense. But what you are going through is a common dilemma most of us go through because to the nature of being a human being.

 

Re: This may be as good as it gets (Too long) Happyflower

Posted by Dinah on May 16, 2008, at 12:20:25

In reply to Re: This may be as good as it gets (Too long) Dinah, posted by Happyflower on May 16, 2008, at 12:10:53

Was that post being hard on myself?

I was actually thinking of it as being maybe too positive. :)

I know I have many fine and useful qualities. I know that to some people, but by no means all or even most, I am love-able. I find myself love-able. If anything, perhaps a bit too much so. (grin)

I manage to believe that while also believing I'm socially unacceptable. And while these things sound contradictory, I don't think they can be since both things are actually true.

The gift of having two parents who no matter their flaws loved me very very much and let me know it in their own ways.

And I know that I am so blessed. The things I am grateful for would fill a book. Sometimes it just astonishes me. I can't say it was this grand plan. I met my husband in my junior year of high school, started dating him as a senior, and have been with him since. The fact that it has proved such a felicitous choice was purely chance. Although my therapist assures me I have an uncanny skill for finding what I need.

 

Re: This may be as good as it gets (Too long) Happyflower

Posted by raisinb on May 16, 2008, at 12:28:25

In reply to Re: This may be as good as it gets (Too long) Dinah, posted by Happyflower on May 16, 2008, at 12:10:53

Hi Dinah,

I think it sounds as if you're in a wonderful place. I hear you wondering if you should be happier, as happy as others (however happy that may be? and who knows?). But I don't know that anyone is "happy" all the time, and I think striving for that is false. We all have random moments of transcendent joy, and we all fall into despair occasionally. But both positive and negative emotions pass; they aren't states of being.

What you are describing is a level of self-knowledge and comfort with yourself that goes far beyond an emotion like happiness, and I think that's ultimately so much more important.

According to E.M. Forster, "Most of life is so dull that there is nothing to be said about it. There are periods in the most thrilling day during which nothing happens, and though we continue to exclaim, 'I do enjoy myself,' or 'I am horrified,' we are insincere--'As far as I feel anything, it is enjoyment, horror'--it's no more than that, really." Another line I like is, "Adventures do occur, but not punctually."

I don't know if that relates, but I thought of these passages when I was reading your post.


 

Re: This may be as good as it gets (Too long)

Posted by Dinah on May 16, 2008, at 12:29:16

In reply to Re: This may be as good as it gets (Too long) Happyflower, posted by Dinah on May 16, 2008, at 12:20:25

Hmmm... Maybe it's similar to the sort of fight my therapist and I had. It might sound odd that I can say things like...

I care very much about myself, and I am ugly and fat.

I care very much about myself, and I am socially unacceptable.

I care very much about myself, and I am often self indulgent and thoughtless.

 

Re: This may be as good as it gets (Too long) Dinah

Posted by Phillipa on May 16, 2008, at 12:53:51

In reply to This may be as good as it gets (Too long), posted by Dinah on May 16, 2008, at 11:50:36

Dinah haven't read the other responses but you sound like you truly accept yourself and understand youself and are truly happy which is accepting ourselves and others for who they are. Love Phillipa

 

Re: This may be as good as it gets (Too long) Dinah

Posted by Happyflower on May 16, 2008, at 13:18:19

In reply to Re: This may be as good as it gets (Too long) Happyflower, posted by Dinah on May 16, 2008, at 12:20:25

Dinah,

I think you are still hard on yourself partly but I am happy to hear the good stuff.

 

Re: This may be as good as it gets (Too long) raisinb

Posted by Dinah on May 16, 2008, at 19:18:47

In reply to Re: This may be as good as it gets (Too long) Happyflower, posted by raisinb on May 16, 2008, at 12:28:25

I think your thoughts are on target.

I guess it's a hard realization to make. That after all this time, and all this work, and things going relatively well, that this is pretty much "life". :)

I did think of a few things that do make me happier though. Maybe I can try harder to incorporate a few of them.

Feeling smart and competent makes me happy. I could try to challenge my brain just enough that I can feel a sense of mastery.

Connecting to others makes me happy. This is a bit harder, since being around people too much makes me unhappy. But I could try to balance that out a bit more.

I miss my daydreams. I was happier when I had daydreams. But I'm not sure how to get them back.

I'd probably feel happier if I felt more energy. And if I were thinner. But exercising and dieting would make me very very unhappy. Another balancing act.

I'll give it some thought.

No need to entirely give up. :)

 

Re: This may be as good as it gets (Too long) Phillipa

Posted by Dinah on May 16, 2008, at 19:22:58

In reply to Re: This may be as good as it gets (Too long) Dinah, posted by Phillipa on May 16, 2008, at 12:53:51

Thanks, Phillipa.

What's very odd is that I started this post because I felt really rotten this morning, and was considering what antidepressants I hadn't yet tried. Many mornings, including this one, I feel sad, melancholy, and leaden, as if mental thought or even minor physical activity (like reaching my hand up to brush my hair) is done with heavy heavy weights making it so much harder than it should be.

I was thinking to myself "I'm just going to have to acknowledge that I'm depressed" when I answered myself "Except I'm not". And realized I was right. I thought about it and realized that as the day wore on I'd feel better, and actually feel positive about my life.

So I sat down to think about it.

 

:-) (nm) Happyflower

Posted by Dinah on May 16, 2008, at 19:24:00

In reply to Re: This may be as good as it gets (Too long) Dinah, posted by Happyflower on May 16, 2008, at 13:18:19

 

I think it can be even better....Dinah

Posted by twinleaf on May 16, 2008, at 22:26:51

In reply to Re: This may be as good as it gets (Too long) Dinah, posted by Happyflower on May 16, 2008, at 13:18:19

It seems as if you are making a thoughtful summing up of where you feel you are in mid-life, perhaps in part because of your present uncertainty about your therapist's emotional availability.

I think it's going to get better- even better than it is now, and there are certainly a LOT of good things about "now". I think that if you are able to remain emotionally connected to your therapist (and I realize that that is not a given), you will gradually feel more, and longer, periods of joy, your satisfying times with other people will grow longer, and you may not have to suffer from morning depression (this sounds like atypical depression).

It's kind of terrifying how much our well-being depends on our personal relationships, and, especially, on the relationships we develop with our therapists. It's so scary because we have to keep on trying to trust and take chances.....and we are the more vulnerable half of the dyad.

 

Re: I think it can be even better....Dinah twinleaf

Posted by Dinah on May 17, 2008, at 10:05:41

In reply to I think it can be even better....Dinah, posted by twinleaf on May 16, 2008, at 22:26:51

I hope so.

And I don't discount the idea that my concern about therapy might be affecting how I feel under the surface.

He's been terrific about being present the last two sessions. The first session he seemed a bit stiff and maybe angry. Still, angry is emotionally present.

But yesterday was almost playful. I think we needed that after all the angst. I asked him if we could trade places for a few minutes so I could see his view out the window. I asked him what various things were, and he answered those he knew. It was a beautiful grey misty drizzly day. I love those. That led the conversation around to seas and mountains and feeling small against the backdrop of the world. How seldom there's a chance to feel that way in New Orleans. He gave me some practical advice about how to thwart social huggers politely, including a demonstration. We talked of my intense fear of termite swarms after being caught in one. I think we really needed a not particularly personal bonding session.

There are so very many things he's really good at.

 

Re: I think it can be even better....Dinah

Posted by twinleaf on May 17, 2008, at 10:35:42

In reply to Re: I think it can be even better....Dinah twinleaf, posted by Dinah on May 17, 2008, at 10:05:41

I really like the feeling of your most recent session, as you described it. Being able to let your mind flow towards things you love means that there is a basic warmth and safety between the two of you... which you don't even have to mention; it's simply there. Sessions like that one might do more for your well-being and happiness than struggling with painful traumas from the past, because you are actually having a new, good experience now.

I'm especially impressed that you were able to do this, because of the major struggles you have both been going through. Now I know for sure that you are right...you have a wonderful relationship with him. It's so worth fighting for and keeping, as you have been doing.

 

Re: I think it can be even better....Dinah twinleaf

Posted by Dinah on May 18, 2008, at 14:17:44

In reply to Re: I think it can be even better....Dinah, posted by twinleaf on May 17, 2008, at 10:35:42

> I really like the feeling of your most recent session, as you described it. Being able to let your mind flow towards things you love means that there is a basic warmth and safety between the two of you... which you don't even have to mention; it's simply there. Sessions like that one might do more for your well-being and happiness than struggling with painful traumas from the past, because you are actually having a new, good experience now.
>
> I'm especially impressed that you were able to do this, because of the major struggles you have both been going through. Now I know for sure that you are right...you have a wonderful relationship with him. It's so worth fighting for and keeping, as you have been doing.

You're absolutely right. There is a foundation of warmth and safety in our relationship. It means so much to me.

But....

If I thought my therapist thought about these things as much as I do, I'd wonder whether he considered calling me out on my behavior, which was admittedly designed to charm and disarm. Or if he realized that allowing me to succeed made me feel safe in a way nothing else could do. It's so much a part of my relationship with parental figures.

My husband won't let me do it. He says no, I'm not going to let you charm me. It's very distressing to me, and I think it makes me more self protective with him than I might otherwise be.

While I had nothing specific in mind, I was aware from Tuesday through Friday that I needed to make some repairs, to restore some of what could have been potentially lost in our relationship. I didn't map it out, but I can see the pattern in what I did.

 

Well.... Dinah

Posted by twinleaf on May 18, 2008, at 15:57:13

In reply to Re: I think it can be even better....Dinah twinleaf, posted by Dinah on May 18, 2008, at 14:17:44

you did mention that you felt some latent anger on his part Tuesday. I would do just what you did Friday- be a bit warm and charming just to make sure everything is "OK". Once you know that, you can return to facing more difficult topics, if and as you need to. I think we all do that. My analyst is really quite remarkable in how even-tempered and yet "there" and "with me" he is able to be nearly all of the time; this gives me the freedom to really concentrate on what I really need to tell him. But even he is sometimes a little less than fully there, like two weeks ago, when I saw him just before he was about to fly to Italy to give a talk. It was noticeable that he was already partly gone! And I did feel kind of "dropped". I did just what you did when I saw him again after he returned- talked about things I love and was pleased about, and kind of generally presented my most winning self! I can't afford to lose this guy, after all! But, the way he works, I'll be back talking about the hardest things tomorrow...

 

Re: Well.... twinleaf

Posted by Dinah on May 18, 2008, at 16:30:06

In reply to Well.... Dinah, posted by twinleaf on May 18, 2008, at 15:57:13

I'm glad to know I'm not alone in that. :)

I was feeling a bit guilty about resorting to my habitual patterns. I was the kid whose job it was to tease and coax mommy and daddy into a better mood and moderate the mood of the house.

 

Re: Well....

Posted by Happyflower on May 18, 2008, at 17:38:00

In reply to Re: Well.... twinleaf, posted by Dinah on May 18, 2008, at 16:30:06

((((Dinah)))))

I can just picture you as a little girl trying to make your parents happy.


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