Thursday, March 29, 2007

Riding That Vicious Cycle

Dear Agony Aunt of Mines,

As all of your letters start I shall begin with the same:

The time you’ve took to read this letter I cannot give back to you, nor do

I have something of any interest to give in return, or anything I can do

for a reply but say that a stranger is sitting on the other side of the

world in a room by himself, at 01:30 in the morning writing a letter;

looking for help.

I'll begin back in Scotland just over three years ago after finishing

University I went through a stage of mild depression (self diagnosis).

since a young age I had worked towards my current status as a qualified

Kayaking instructor, qualified abseiling instructor, British European and

World champion bagpipe player, loads of friends, I was in great physical

shape as well. I even applied to get in to the Royal Air Force (RAF)...I

had it all going for me.

Then all of a sudden, something changed. First the bagpipes kinda lost

interest when I was teaching (I just put it down to, I’d conquered the

tournaments and the challenge had disappeared), I thought it was just

because I’d gotten so far and wasn’t going to get any I quit.

Soon after gradually the kayaking and the outdoor side of me lost its

interest too. Over a period of a year my whole social outlook in life

faded. Mood swings and loss of a steady sleeping pattern became apparent

over time too.

I had nothing. No hobbies like I used to, to career aspect and the pilots

training I decided wasn’t for me, and soon enough I wasn’t quite the

muscular person I used to be... I was in a rut just like I am now. I even

got myself into a little debt trying out new things to put that spark

back into my life, with no avail. Time passed and somehow Kevin (who was

a distant friend at the time) invited me over to Denmark. 3 years later I’m

still trying to fill the gap that was my life before I lost interest in

everything. As it stands now; I’m (slightly) overweight, I have a shit

job. I haven’t had a girlfriend in over 4 years because I’m boring and I

know it. And I have 40,000 kroner debt. (4000GBP)

The saddest part to the whole thing, is if even if I fight all my short

term problems: get rid of the debt, get into good shape again, etc etc...

I have nothing to look forward to, nothing.

I want nothing, I have no interest in any job aspect, and I’ve even given

up on trying to find a girl/girlfriend. I just don’t know what to do. I’m in

a rut, a big deep rut.

So I ask of you, what’s the secret to putting the spark back into life when

You’ve tried everything you liked/wanted for and lost it all? When there’s

no light at the end of the tunnel and something inside you asks why isn’t

it there? Please help me.

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Well Darlin’, you’ve captured my heart with the Bagpipes. I love them and for me, they hold a rich sense of history. My family is Irish/Scot and I am Indian. My heart is held by the sound of bagpipes.

From what I gather, you are an extremist. You are the kind of guy who lives on the edge, jumps out of airplanes, lives for the adrenaline. If you are not doing something extreme, you don't feel alive. It sounds like you've maxed out though, huh?

My initial reaction is that you are battling depression. This coupled with your lack of sleep can cause a significant change in your complete make-up and how you view your life, your love and things in general. This situation seems a bit complex. I would suggest counseling but somehow, I have the impression, that you are not the "Going to Counseling" type? Since I believe this is the case, all I have to offer is a bit of perspective.

Depression is a tricky bugger. It's like a Spanner, peeking in on your life and it can hold you hostage. You then sit there and wonder just how the hell it got in?(Take this test, from the post prior to this)

Let me offer a couple of suggestions here; Sleep is so important, get it, do it, make it. If you don't want to take sleeping pills from your Doctor, you can get some Benadryl, OTC.
The key ingredient in Tylenol PM is Diphenhydramine HCl, which is also the generic name for Benadryl's ingredients. In other words, you can buy a generic form and look for the active ingredient, "Diphenhydramine." This may get you back in that sleep loop. You may begin to feel better, even from a good nights sleep.

Now, there's no data to support this, that I have found but I have a theory about,
"Extreme Behaviorists." I am an extremist myself and so is my ex-husband. It can actually be, somewhat of an addiction. You live for the thrill, of your behavior and once you become an extremist, it's understandably hard, to break old habits. Some people, who are extremists, create chaos in their life, when they are not, "On the edge." They may become argumentative, just for the sake, of the chaos it brings. Once you've behaved in an extreme manner, it's hard to find consolation, with the mundane. It seems dull and unrewarding. Believe it or not, the data and text, concerning addiction, shows similar behaviors. Once you've "jazzed up" your life with drugs, when you are not high, things just don't catch your interest. Now, I am not implying, that you and a drug addict, are one and the same, let me make that clear. You did not even mention any form of addiction, or the lot. I simply point this out because you may benefit from some of the Recovery tricks and tweaks. If you research it and some of the advice from professionals, you'd find that the key, to overcoming addiction, is in making yourself aware of some of your own quirks and behaviors. They use an example or acronym referred to as, "H.A.L.T.,"which stands for, *Hungry...Angry...Lonely...Tired
it encourages us not to become too:
HUNGRY: When we dislike ourselves, we neglect and deprive our bodies of the balanced diet we need.
Food is a source of nurturing. Our bodies are ours to keep and care for so that we may understand
and carry out God’s will for us. When our bodies cry for attention, we no longer have time
for the spiritual program necessary for recovery.
ANGRY: When we choose not to deal with a situation immediately, there is a possibility that those feelings we are afraid to express will become resentments that we may later use as an excuse to drink or use drugs.
LONELY: When we believe that we are either better or worse than other people, we dig ourselves into a
hole of self-pity, feeling unique in our differences. We soon begin to feel the loneliness of such
isolation, and we tell ourselves that it is a good reason to drink or use drugs.
TIRED: When we can’t make sense out of anything and life overwhelms us, it is possible we have run
ourselves into a screeching HALT. We have filled our lives with so many activities that we have no
time for reflection.

I do not imply this acronym, to you in a sense of addiction to drugs but an addiction to extreme behavior.
Sex is another issue or situation, that can become humdrum, if you are used to pornography, fetish, S & M and the likes. I say this for perspective but if you have been doing a lot of kinky stuff, on a continual basis, going back to the missionary style, may seem boring. Do you see the correlation, I am making here? If we do things, all through life in an extreme manner, it's sure as hell not going to get you excited to sit on the couch, is it? On the other hand, I think what has happened, is you topped out. You burnt your candles at both ends, did it all, per say and feel there's nothing left. But is this really true? Is there nothing left?

I think you burned out and then fell into depression. Depression will cause sleep problems. It's a vicious cycle and one feeds off the other. But I think you know this, right? So, we need to find a way to climb out and put things into perspective, correct?

To start, let's look at things realistically. You are now older, this is a fact. I don't know your age but I'd be willing to bet, you are having a hard time getting older. We don't have to let go of dreams and desires, as we grow older but we often have to modify them. In your 30's, no matter what you do, you may never be that spry, spunky monkey you were in your 20's. But you can keep in shape. My first suggestion is to start to work out again. I don't mean go hog wild but a moderate amount of exercise is going to make a man, like you, feel better. Once you begin to feel better about yourself, you will begin to "wear" that persona on the inside and out. Right now, you don't feel good about you but I can tell at some point you were a man to be reckoned with. You can get that edge back and begin to feel better, by getting out and working out again. When you were in better shape, you felt better about yourself and how you looked. Start a little every day, walking and build up your exercise regimen. I guarantee, you will begin to feel better.

Complacency Breeds Complacency

You have not done it all, let me point this out. You need to challenge yourself and start with the exercise. Rome was not built in one day, so you need to start somewhere, right? Start by looking in the mirror. You obviously are not happy with you. It's clear to me, that you are very hard, on yourself. It's even clearer, that there's a reason, you feel the need to "Perform." A man is not measured by his feats but by how good-hearted he is. Your systems, values and beliefs need to be put under a microscope. I want you to realize that you were only doing yourself harm, if you believed, that a man, is only respected, by how hard he is, body and mind. I respect your feelings of wanting to be the very best, let me make that known. But there comes a time, when you have to realize that you do not have to win constantly and you sure don't have to be the best at everything, to be respected. It's commendable, to be good, at all the things you have done but I want you to begin to be good at just being you. Relax your thinking a little and your assessment of your own self-worth. I think you are really tired of trying so hard, just to be you. Maybe it's time to re-invent yourself?
Someone you respect, taught you that you have to excel and win. These are really good qualities, if you know where the cut off point is, where you can relax. You gave up, instead of just relaxing some of your beliefs and then you became disgusted with yourself. You need a half-way point here.
  1. Start with getting a good nights sleep. This plays a huge role in how we perceive all things and how we feel. Some people are proud of the fact that they don't sleep. They're usually cranky bastards too! So, get some sleep on a regular basis.
  2. Begin to exercise, even if it's to go to the park and walk. You may not remember how good it feels to work up a sweat but I'm willing to bet that once you do, you'll feel refreshed.
  3. Relax and stop holding yourself to such high expectations. Enjoy life and go with the flow. You'll begin to breathe differently.
  4. Just be you, not the Lion after the prey, on guard and ready to pounce. When you feel that anxiety, like you need to be doing something extreme and feeling guilty because you are not doing it, put on your favorite music and just relax.
  5. Stop believing that you have to live an extreme lifestyle to measure up.
I think once you implement these 5 things, you'll stop that vicious cycle that's got you hobbled. Each thing will fall into place and when you begin to feel better, you'll look better. As we get older, we must often accept that our body does not cooperate as it once did. This you must come to terms with and accept. You can however get comfortable in your own skin. I encourage you not to be so superficial and accept you for who you are. Begin to love yourself again and in turn, you'll be able to love another. Did you realize that you may be putting off negative energy, that people, specifically women can sense? Who wants to go out with a ball of bad energy? Stop it and start just being you. Become aware of this possibility and you will see the difference if you change it. Oh, and stop being such a perfectionist. I can feel it. Now, just do it!


Xmichra said...

I totally agree with you Babs. And to your five i would add:

It's hard to fill your plate.. stack it up.. and still keep stacking. You know what happens? You break the plate.

Your plate is broken dear reader, and you are trying to glue it back together. But ou know what happens don't you? You put something to hot on it, and the plate breaks again. You put something cold on it.. again, the plate breaks.

Just forget about that plate. Forget about your 'past pleasures'. finding something that intrests you doesn't need to be big and earth shattering. It jsut needs to put a smile on your face when you do it.

And you don't need a big huge purpose. You know what your purpose is? You are living it. LIFE. Life is the gift granted to us all so that we may experience great things. Of course with that comes dissapointment and heartache.. but that's just the ying with the yang.

To find your center, i would start small. Make yourself get up each morning to an alarm clock. Even if you don't have to work that day. Sit up, and take your time getting out of bed. Make a cup of tea (or what hav eyou) and read a paper , sit on the front porch, type on the computer.. what ever to kick start your brain. Just start your day on your terms, because if you are only waking up for the soul purpose of going to work.. you are starting off badly. And that can effect your whole day, week, and life.

Do something you didn't plan on doing every day. Something small or big. Watcha show you have never watched. Go out for drinks with a co-worker. Pick up a new blog to rift through. something that will let you think something new then what you have been doing.

But always remember not to push to hard. You saw what the happened to that overloaded plate. And you want to stay in one piece.

Anonymous said...

Hi and Thanks for the reply Aunt B (and Xmichra).

After taking some time to fully absorb the advice that was given things are progressing....slowly but surely :)

Ive recently took up going to the gym and running with a friend of mines as an attempt to ruffle myself back into shape, its early days now but every step is one closer than i was before. Sleep still is a problem but maybe the exercise might help overcome that.

As for the relationship side of things ive given up for the time being, as you said:
' Who wants to go out with a ball of bad energy?'
maybe when i start to feel sure of myself again ill be able to 'get right back on the saddle' If she's worth it ill find her, sometime.

And im not a perfectionist! i just like having my whites white,every inch of my bathroom sparkling and coffee cup holsters people c'mon! they arent there for display!

You reply shocked me to say the least, but it opened new possabilities in the way i think about myself and where i go for here on in and the best thank you i could come up with was:

Keep doing what youre doing Aunt B.
people need you.


Ask Aunt B said...

Will, I don't know why I didn't get notification that there was a comment here. I seem to have a glitch here and I apologize.
I am more than pleased and can already feel a bit of difference, in you. I guess I am a bit intuitive, you might say. But I think your approach is marvelous. You seem on a positive path, come what may.What more can you ask for in life, than a slice of happiness. When we try to live in a positive manner, all others things fall into place. No, life is never gravy but when we can appreciate that good coffee and slice of peace, that's what it's all about. I wish you the very best and I just adore your compliment. Keep me posted, I do like to know how things go. You are going to be just fine,I know this for certain, I just want to hear you say it.
Big Love!