Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I thank you all for your encouragement, and support. Please, keep it coming. My brains are still scrambled. One relaxing weekend is evidently not enough to undo months of stress. No big suprise there, I guess.

I have heard that repetition of certain behaviours or situations actually carves physical pathways into the brain. There is a neural equivalent to "a rut", and it's easy to fall into it. My rut is anxiety, hypervigilance, and self-effacement.

I learned it when I was young, through all the years I lived with my mom and step-dad. Be quiet. Stay out of the way. Don't do anything that might make someone else upset. For example: My mom used to become enraged when she had to do laundry. Therefore, I hardly ever put anything other than my socks and underwear into the hamper to be washed, lest I be the target of one of her rages. My efforts to be careful and not disturb the status quo were that detailed.

(And yes, even though I'm naturally not a sweaty person, my clothes weren't as clean as they should have been.)

It's something I always did, so I tend not to notice when I've slipped back into my old habits. It feels natural and normal to me. Always ask what the other person wants to do first. Don't have an opinion of my own. There seems to be a subconscious mechanism that kicks in, preventing any of my own feelings or preferences from showing up in my consciousness, when I'm in that state. It's a lot easier not to cause trouble when you don't have any preferences. They all go underground, and then I get writer's block, because it's tough to write a snappy blog post when you don't have an opinion on anything.

I can drift along in a fog of varying density for quite some time. I haven't kept track of the durations. I'd like to say that it gets shorter every time; that I'm getting better at coming back to myself. I don't know if that's true.

Anyway, that's where I've been, and even though I'm conscious of it now, I'm still automatically slipping back into those behaviours. It's my natural, unconscious reaction to stress. Once the fear is in me, it's not easy to let it go. I'm not convinced that I'm safe, yet. I wish I could just snap out of it. Trust me, if I could, I would. I need more time.


Warped Mind of Ron said...

Which to you prefer Paper or plastic?! Donny or Marie? American Idol or So You Think You Can Dance? Blue Cheese or Ranch?!! Make decisions!!! LOL.... or just take some time to relax.

San said...

I have some catching up to do at your blog, Spark. I'm sorry to hear things have been bad, but I completely relate to the brain ruts. Sometimes they're my comfort zone. In an odd, ineffective way.

Vanessa (DarcsFalcon) said...

I know what you mean about sometimes not having an opinion on something. Sometimes you just don't care, and it's hard for other people to understand that.

I also know I do have strong opinions on other things, and it's harder still to not voice those because you don't want to offend someone. I don't bite my tongue, but I do press my lips together to keep from speaking out.

That old familiar pattern IS very hard to break, but it can be done, with lots of practice, and new rut-making patterns. I always ask myself now, "so someone will get pissed off ... and?" The consequences are different now that I'm an adult. It can be hard to remember that, but with practice, you'll soon be a pro. :)

SoMi's Nilsa said...

I think the first step in making a change is recognizing your own patterns. My guess is, if you've been in this rut before, you've also figured out how to get out of it. Dig deep for those steps to get out of your rut and hopefully brighter times are ahead.

unsigned said...

Frankie says "Relax."

Jenski said...

Arg. It's frustrating when you can recognize what is happening and can't figure out how to snap out of it at the same time. Good luck and I hope you get more than a 2-day mental break in the near future!!

Sparkling Red said...

Ron: When it comes to cutlery, I prefer plastic to paper. The spoons tend to be more resilient in hot soup.

San: Thanks. I hear you. There is something comfortable about being in a rut. That's why we end up stuck there, I guess.

Vanessa: Truly, it's a matter of awareness. I'm miles ahead now that I've figured out what I'm doing, instead of just blindly doing it. Now I can make a different choice.

Nilsa: I do believe I'm on my way out of the rut. It's not instant, but I'll get there.

Unsigned: You put a lot of faith in Frankie.

Jenski: Thanks! It is frustrating, but I can handle it a lot better now that I'm conscious of what I'm up to. Sometimes I'm my own worst enemy.

LL Cool Joe said...

I can relate so well to what you were saying about learning to not rock the boat with family. Anything to keep the peace. My mother was violent and a control freak.

I'm just sorry you are stressed. Things will get better for you again, but that doesn't help you now.

I admire you for writing this post. My prayers are with you. And I mean that, I'm not just saying it, to sound all pukey.

Sparkling Red said...

Joe: Truly, thanks. That's sweet. Not pukey at all :-)

Aurora said...

I like Vanessa's comment.
The other day I met someone who I think really didn't like me. I annoyed them. And it really, really bugged me, until I thought for a while about and realized--it doesn't matter! I don't have to see them regularly; I don't have to see them at all! So--as adults I think we forget ... we are much more in control of our environment than we were ask kids. People who don't like us generally don't have much real power over us.