Monday, April 27, 2009

Not the post I planned on

Last night as I went to bed I thought I might really be ready to starting writing my post on parenting. But today did not go as planned, so I'm writing about procrastination instead. It crept up on me, and I just sort of tweeted it without much thought, but it's actually a bit of a break through, to be able to concisely identify the problem. The tweet:

a) doing things for pure enjoyment = guilt; b) doing things b/c I 'should' = rebel/not do. a + b = "procrastination" or "paralysis"?

And this is really the crux. I think of something to do. If its something that I just really want to do, with no productivity/health value, then I'm guilted right out of it. So I either just don't do it, or try to think of ways it's productive. Then I don't want to do it because it's a 'should'. Example : sometimes I really feel like doing yoga. Then my brain starts going "yeah, you really should. You should do it every day." Then it becomes a 'should' and a life-long commitment. So it's overwhelming and makes me want to rebel. Why I rebel against things that are good for me is another issue, I may get to it tonight, maybe not. Ok then there are things that are just plain shoulds so I just plain don't want to do them. Then there are things that I just hate doing, but must be done - the MUSTs, like dishes and laundry. Eventually I get to those, when I get so fed up with the dump I'm living in. I actually avoided going outside this week, partially because I had no clean clothes. But that didn't get me to do laundry until I actually had some energy. I tweeted how relieved I was that I could do dishes and laundry again, and I had somebody respond that it really changes perspective, because he spends all week trying to get his kids to do those things. Here I am fighting with my illness AND my self-defeating tendencies, as well as the fact that those things are just not great fun. When I write it out, the anger I feel towards myself starts to fade as I realize that most people don't have the same huge obstacles I do. I'm just used to judging myself by healthy people's standards, because that way I know how they might judge me. Yeah they don't know how sick I am, but sometimes they judge anyway, and that negative thought bothers me. [Here we are back to why I can't stand having people hate or dislike me]. I've spent my whole life trying to be perfect and it's never enough, mostly because the people who are judging my perfection don't have the whole picture, and they never will, and I can't expect them to. So, I should (ha) just be okay with what they think? with being misunderstood and having negative energy sent my way? I'm not so good at keeping negative energy out. I'm only just learning how not to keep creating it within myself.

So guilt. I'm just going to brainstorm reasons why I might feel guilty for doing something for pure enjoyment, to just make myself feel good etc.
  • obviously, enjoyment and feeling good are not high on my priority list. Which is ridiculous because feeling good would mean less stress and thus less symptoms. But getting better apparently isn't high on my priority list either, though you'd never know it by the way I talk.
  • i don't feel like I deserve to feel good or enjoy things
  • doing things for fun is a waste of time that could be better spent
  • fun isn't allowed until everything is clean and put away and in order - only that never happens because I don't have enough energy for that so =>
  • the limited energy I have should be spent on cleaning/chores/other people first
  • basically everything is a derivative of "I should be doing something else, something better or more important)
  • fun isn't important - intellectually I don't believe this
  • i haven't EARNED the right to enjoyment
  • free time should be spent paying back what I owe
  • I'm afraid of losing myself in the moment and missing something - safety & security issues, hypervigilence, control, might forget something - e.g. appointments, calling friends i.e. obligations
  • I don't feel allowed to be that happy. Happy in spite of is okay, happy because is not.
  • self-actualization needs are on the top of the heirarchy (Maslow's) and I don't feel my basic needs are being met yet, so those take priority
  • the unfinished projects hanging over my head should be finished before starting anything new, but I don't enjoy the finishing process
  • expectations of others - can I show them what I've done with my time? is my living situation (apartment cleanliness etc.) acceptable to them? are they going to think me lazy, selfish, self-indulgent?

I also turn "play" into "work" by making commitments to people - offering & promising to make them stuff, or do other things for them. Then I feel it's a "should" and it takes the fun out of the idea of it (I enjoy the doing, if I can get myself there). This also prevents me from doing something completely 'me' - allowing complete creativity and artistic process.

So I need to work on not feeling guilty by 'indulging' in activities for pure enjoyment, to get it into my cells that these things are necessary too, and deserve a place higher on my priority list. Replacing a set of core beliefs like this is a long, difficult process (most of the time). I wish for an epiphany like the one that changed my belief that I was a bad person.

Well I want to write more but my back is crying out for prone position. Damn back.

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I sometimes write things that I don't really mean or believe. These are not to be taken literally, nor as definitive statements about me or my beliefs. Thoughts and emotions are transient, and I reserve the right to change my mind, generalize, exaggerate, give strong opinions, or write other possibly offensive statements. I don't lie, but I may say something that's not true to check whether I believe it or not, or to make a point. Call it creative license. This is my blog, and do have the right to say what I want. I'm using it in creatively therapeutic ways. Whatever the reader may think of me and my words, please believe that my core intentions are always good and I never willingly hurt anyone.