Thursday, May 24, 2012

Self Analysis: Overcharged

A lot of things just clicked into place in my head.  There are a number of negative habits I have (fidgeting, picking at/destroying things, paranoia, anxiety, being pathologically unable to do homework unless isolated and sleep deprived) all of which seemed like disparate things, but I think they're all rooted in a single cause.  Built up energy.  The sensation of all of these negative behaviors can be described in terms of being overcharged, on edge, or that strange sensation of feeling that I may at any moment undergo a violent electric discharge and fire a bolt of lightening at something.  The symptoms are likewise manic and suggest that I have too much energy.  For a period of around two months I stopped all caffeine consumption in an effort to reduce social anxiety, and it worked to some degree.  I abandoned this prohibition in order to tackle the increasingly hectic workload that occurs at the end of the quarter, but I think it should be undertaken again.  More to the point I need to make an effort to burn off this energy.  It seems that once again the solution to a mental health issue is physical.  Sleep and diet help to rid me of depression.  I think completing the trifecta with exercise will help to cleanse the anxiety/mania issues.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


There are a number of habits I've picked up that make me happier and make my life simpler while simultaneously making me resemble a 70 year old man.  The biggest one of these is not rushing anything, but right now I want to discuss sleep.  I tend to go to bed at around 10 and wake up somewhere around 6:30.  This time of year that means going to bed just after sunset. This leads to a lot of little conflicts with my peers, some of whom are routinely up until 1 a.m.  I used to argue in favor of sleepy, but I'm slowly giving up on advocating my views and moving towards modeling them so now when I insist on doing things early I credit it to my "reverse-vampirism."  A condition which requires me to be inside by sundown, lest the night burn me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Most of the problems in my life can be fixed by addressing certain behaviors.  Those behaviors tend to be the result of long accumulated negative patterns.  Because of this I follow a model of improvement that was first shown to me during my crisis clinic training.

Unconscious Incompetence -> Conscious Incompetence -> Conscious Competence -> Unconscious Competence.

It's interesting to consider, and it lines up well with my pre-existing views and philosophies which emphasize the importance of consciousness. 

The most visible issue in my life and the one about which I have the most tangled emotional issues is weight, by which I mean food.  I have this theory that you can find people's issues by measuring how many views they have about a subject.  With no qualitative analysis at all just look at how many thoughts they have about something.  That will show you something that matters to them, and something about them that matters. 

Anyway, as I've been considering the nature of consciousness more I've come to realize how much of what I do is unconscious, or semi-conscious.  Semi-conscious is a term I had to make up to describe something that happens not fully outside of the realm of awareness, but also without clear consideration or thought.  Something you do automatically because of emotional drives and desires. 

So this brings us back to food, and my particular nemesis Fast Food.  It's weird to say this but I'm never really aware of how often I go until I'm cleaning up bags and trying to remember where all of them came from.  A lot of my automatic processes include fast food, and the thing I order is what I've always ordered, and I'm just doing what I always do, and that's the real problem, but now I know that.  Conscious incompetence.

The thing the chart never mentioned is how awkward conscious competence is.  On my way back from the clinic this afternoon I swung through Wendy's as I often do intent on chipping away at old patterns.  This idea had been formulated out days ago, and it's been put into play essentially as often as I think of it which is much less often than you'd think.  Driving up was fine and I found the words on my tongue before I thought about it, but they weren't the words I wanted, they were the ones I'm used to giving.  I stumbled over myself before I even began to speak, and as I ordered a single chicken sandwich from the dollar menu, as per my conscious intent, I found that the words were clunky and came out phrased almost as a question.

It's moments like these that make you understand just how little time we actually spend fully aware.  It shouldn't be hard, and perhaps it wasn't, but when I deviated even a little from the script it was awkward, and I think that awkwardness the hallmark of change.  Conscious actions taken to correct a negative pattern are novel, they're unfamiliar, and they can be a bit uncomfortable.  This is the unfortunate truth of the matter.  It's easier to keep failing, but that is not enough.