Pretty sure it’s around here somewhere.
I’ve been trying to teach myself to cope lately. To internalize a list of steps I can take when I feel terrible that stand a good chance of fixing the problem, or at least lessening the agony for a spell.
It started last night. I was feeling really wretched, but somehow I got it together enough to get up and get myself some water.
Then, once I took a drink, I realized just how thuirsty I was, and drank the rest pretty fast. And in a little while later, I was feeling so much better that I did the same again.
This will seem simple to healthy people, but for me it’s revolutionary because my deeply ingrained emotional response to pain is to retreat into myself and endure.
It’s like despair is my basic coping mechanism.
So the idea that there are positive steps I can take to actually fix the situation is a novel and exciting one from an emotional point of view.
Logically, of course, it’s blindingly obvious.
But I am a very sick man, and what makes sense does not always work for me. That’s the nature of mental illness. By its very nature, it leads to illogical actions based on distortedr perceptions and deranged thought processes.
It’s weird how logical and crazy I am at the same time. Weird, and amusing.
Was reading some stuff about us INTJ types recently. It’s something I do on a regular-ish basis in order to remind myself that I am not the only person like me in the world, at least on that level.
The feeling of connection I get when I read sometghing written by a total stranger that describes me so perfectly, and in ways I have never seen anywhere but writing about INTJs, does my strange alien heart a lot of good.
And yet, I am so much more than that. And I am glad for that. When you read about us INTJ types it makes it sound like we’re all emotionally repressed scholars and scientists who are brilliant about everything but emotions and who approach relationships with good intentions but clinical methodologies.
I am glad, therefore, that I am a sensitive and dynamic kind of guy with an overflowing creativity and a wacky and weird sense of humour. A lot of the writing about us INTJs goes on at length about how relationships are our Achilles’ heel and, while I can’t claim to be brilliant at them, at least I don’t approach them as puzzles alone.
The archetypical INTJ does not spend hours pretending to be a cute little fox every day.
It’s part of that useful but false dichotomy between my massive mental machine and the rest of me. It’s false in that there is no real divison, it’s all me, But useful in that by thinking about it through that filter, I can make progress in unifying those different aspects of myself.
When I think about my warm side. I think of the joy I get from connecting with people and undersanding them and offering them my wamrth and wit and loving understanding. It’s the side of me that desperately wants to help people and make them happy. The part that feels so very right when I can help peopkle by listening to them, truly listening, and understanding them in a way only possible when you open yourself up to their truth and their perspective.
The cold said’s joys are more about feeling swift and powerful and masterful. It’s where my strength lies. When my mind is ticking oiver rapidly and I am “in the zone” in an INTJ way, I feel strong and decisive and activated. And it leads to such a dizzying capacity for insight and deduction that sometimes I am in awe of my own capacities.
This started off as being about fixing myself when I feel bad, didn’t it?
I’ve been assembling a checklist of steps to take. So far, I have :
- Clear my lungs. My sleep apnea leads to a buildup of CO2 in my lungs, and that CO2 sits there in the bottom of my lungs taking up lung capacity and reducing the amount of oxygen I am getting with each breath. So I have learned to fix that by breathing out the usual amount and then just keeping going until there is nothing left in my lungs, period. It’s an unnatural feeling act and it makes the most awful sounds – like some kind of extended death rattle. And the benefits are not immediately felt. But before long I feel a lot better because, waddaya know, I am getting enough oxygen.
- Hydrate. AKA remembering that there’s worse things than having to pee once an hour or so. My diabetes needs lots of water to work with when my blood sugar is too high, which is often. So I will learn to obey my thirst and keep on drinking water until my body tells me it’s had enough. Dehydration ruins everything.
- Clean my skin. My pores clog easily. So it’s worth my while to see if the problem I am facing is that my skin can’t breathe and my sweat isn’t making it to the surface of my skin. Gross, I know, but that’s life in this body of mine.
- Check my ears for clogging. An oldie but a goodie. My sinus issues lead to clogged ears, which in turn leads to enormous sinus pressure as the sinal fluid no longer can escape. So it’s always worth checking to see if I need to cleanse.
- Move and stretch. At least a little. My sedentary lifestyle coupled with playing mentally engaging video games(s) all day means I build up muscular and emoltional tension. Getting up and getting something done, or even just pacing till I don’t feel so wound up, can do me a lot of good.
Ideally, I will internalize these steps to the point where theyh feel natural, even instinctual, to me. Feel bad, take steps, no need to think it over. Like scratching an itch or brushing the hair pout of my eyes. Voluntary, and subject to situational appropriateness, but still very close to a reflex.
More important than any checklist, though, is the idea that when I feel bad, I can do things to fix it.
All I have to do is learn to take responsibility for my own care instead of withdrawing into myself and my distractions and ignoring the situation.
And I am… getting there.
I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.