I'm not feeling well lately. I doubt I have any very compelling reason for feeling this way. The stresses I am reacting to are ordinary, and I know how to deal with them generally. I need to refine my approach a bit, and I'm having trouble with that, because I'm not feeling well, and planning for the future is difficult.
It may be difficult because I haven't examined the present closely enough. To examine the present I need to examine my feelings, since they are rather directly relevant to my plans. If I don't take account of the way I feel, I'll do things like set unrealistic objectives that seem realistic under the assumption that all my emotional problems are taken care of.
Any amount of self-reflection upon my emotional problems is going to sound very similar to self-pity. Maybe it is
self-pity. I'm not sure. Is it always called "pity" when you try to empathize with sorrow, your own or someone else's, and want to make it better? Is that condescending? Regardless, this is what I need to do. It will probably sound bad, even to myself. So I shouldn't dwell on it any longer than useful, and I shouldn't try to share it with people who aren't already interested in it.
The people who are interested in my self-pity--who empathize with it--are they pitying me as well? Is that bad? It's not pleasant. Should I appreciate the concern anyway? I don't know.
I'm feeling disappointed in myself. Not for any particular failure. There are a few that I can point to, but they're either recoverable, or they're old news. It's stupid to be disappointed that I didn't put enough effort into high school, or I shut myself off from my would-be friends. I don't even remember those experiences very well.
What to do about sorrow that is caused by things that do not warrant sorrow? My therapist has done plenty to persuade me to stop beating myself up, which is good for damage control, but doesn't seem to make the feeling that's already present go away. That requires "expression," which is what you call it when you do something that the emotion provokes, thereby putting the "emotional energy" into the action.
I don't know what emotional energy is. I don't know how it behaves in myself or others. I treat it as a kind of desire: a person who is angry wants to break something or hurt someone, although it's a vague desire that might be satisfied by doing anything that kind of feels like breaking something. The intensity of the emotion is determined by how much energy it has, I think. Intensity manifests by impairing a person in every aspect apart from what the emotion "wants", and in making the desire more "desperate," causing the person to take more risks and unseemly actions to fulfill the desire.
I guess that's a decent model. I don't know whether it corresponds to physical reality, or how, but it's got enough variables that I can probably map them each to something tangible, if and as I find it.
So. Despite knowing that I can deal with all of my present problems, and can't deal with my past ones, I persist in feeling something that wants me to deal with my past problems, and not with my present ones. Sometimes it feels like sorrow, sometimes fatigue, sometimes panic. Is it all the same emotion? Well, emotions aren't clearly delineated in any
model that I know of, so I'll assume it's all one emotion for simplicity's sake.
I can focus on the present for brief periods. Usually I do it by writing posts like this one. Lately it's been mostly on paper in private. I haven't shared most of that stuff because it wouldn't make sense to other people, much of it deals with work and might be confidential, much deals with school and thus only of interest to those who want to help with that. And because I like the idea of having some amount of organized thought that's just for me and not for you. I write it by hand so that there's an obvious physical distinction between that stuff and the blog.
When I'm doing work apart from writing about the present, I get focused on the work to the exclusion of everything else. Classic monofocus. This is rarely very helpful, because I'm unlikely to have a thorough understanding of just what I'm supposed to do. Without looking outside of the task I'm locked onto, in order to check if that's what I want
to be doing, monofocus makes me very efficient at doing the wrong thing. It helps somewhat to keep detailed notes as I go, thus taking myself out of the task for just long enough to describe it.
If I want to focus on the present more, I'll have to devote time specifically to that task. It's inconvenient. I'd prefer to learn how to do it all in my head on the fly. But that won't happen soon, if ever.
To do that is to act against the desires of this emotion I am having trouble with. It happens that acting against my emotions is obviously good for me in this case, but it makes the emotion feel worse. I might get a nice glow off a job well done, but these emotions don't cancel one another out. Productivity doesn't extinguish sorrow. Doesn't even obscure it.
Productivity can distract
me from my sorrow, but that makes both
emotions harder to deal with. I have to make the productivity interesting, rather than merely... productive, in order to make it distract myself and others; and I have to keep my point-of-focus moving, to prevent it from settling anywhere the sorrow might turn out to hide.
It hides everywhere
I need to express that sorrow somehow. I don't know how that works. I've seen some things that people do to express their sorrow, crying at funerals, setting stuff on fire, that kind of thing, and none of it really appealed to me or my sorrow. The only way that did appeal was to fix whatever the sorrow is about, and that's no longer possible. Ships have sailed.
Maybe I could fix something like
the problems that the sorrow is about? What would that be?
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- Find someone with problems similar to the ones I regret. Help them.
- Work like a historian to establish the relation that my old problems have to my new ones. Now the new problems contain the old ones, perhaps mutated.
- Talk about it a lot and hope my id is fooled.
- Write a story where a character solves the problem that I missed the chance to solve. (more generally, art therapy)
- Cry. This has never worked very well for me. When I did it I got stuck in a feedback loop and cried about crying, which was pretty useless and demeaning.
- Punch something?