Thursday, February 07, 2008

Just do it? Does not compute..

Little news. I've just almost finished with the army (I only need to visit the army camp once again in 20th of February to receive the resignment paper). I am free and I think it's better that I rest for a while before I dwelve deeper into the question of what comes next. It's ironic that inside the army at least I didn't have to think about real life. The real burden is about to come soon and it's quite overwhelming to think about it right now. But it's the next step to take since I have finished with university and the army thus I have to get a job soon or start taking any steps that could make me happier and not stress me. There was a plan in the go even months before but today I learned that something unexpected happened and I missed the train. So I have to make new plans or decide what I am gonna do from now on..

..but something blocks me. It blocks me from taking new decisions. I am afraid of something that is not there. Though since I don't have another excuse I believe that something is going to happen sooner or later. I am just afraid that I will sit there and do nothing for sometime and it might be painful to see myself in this condition.

I was thinking about plans I made in my life that I never fullfilled at the end. I am a dreamer. I dream on how to improve my life and make me happier (from being more productive in the demoscene to getting a job, starting a diet or trying to make contact with a girl) and while I feel that it's not too hard to achieve something, but when I decide to start taking the steps, bad emotions stun me into an endless loop and I get back to my habits that make me forget everything. Habits like being entertained in my computer, writting something in my blog, eating, sleeping, taking lonely walks and heading to the next netcafe, being lazy in general and not starting doing the other things I'd always dream to acomplish.

They say that the only solution is to stop whinning and just do it! If I spent my miserable time into working on those activities I am always dreaming of, instead of being sucked by my destructive habits (self-pity is a clasic habit in such cases) then I wouldn't be here whinning all day at the first place. I hate this even if it might be a solution. But how does it still not work with me? Am I too stuborn? I hate this because it assumes that everything is so simple and it's just me who still make things complex even if I do understand it's logic.

The most strange is that I already know all the reasonable answers/explanations to all my burden yet regardless this fact, I still can't seem to be able to change anything. Matters are supposed to be too obvious. If they are obvious then why some things never change? Why are there still problems in people's lives if things are obvious? Are they really so or is there something else about human psychology we haven't understood yet?

One example. Depression: Someone is acting way too ..emo, and then they tell him "If you keep thinking negatively, your life will be miserable. Think possitively and just do it! (meaning to start taking care of the wounded aspects of his life)". Is it that simple? Is that guy too stupid to understand? Of course not! And then he wonders "But I do understand the logical meaning of this, yet I can't stop feeling miserable..". And feeling miserable drains his energy, not letting him act in a way that might break the ice and help him overcome his problem. A vicious circle.

The same is happening with my anxiety. I do say to myself that I won't get anxious, yet when I feel anxiety I think I have failed and so I become even more anxious. Of course a way to avoid this would be to just stop trying to stay cool and accept/live with my anxiety when it happens. I know it and I am already trying to apply this one, yet what I want to say is different. When I didn't know about the posibility of a biological aspect in my case, I felt that it was my fault that I still couldn't fight anxiety since I thought that it's logical to stay cool and yet I couldn't manage it. But what if it was all about chemical inbalance in the brain and not just my faulty logic? Today, taking in account the biological aspect of my case (I have not proven it, I just assume it) I understand that maybe it's not my fault and there is no reason to loose self esteem for this fact anymore. But see that no matter the "logical" aspect (Which is in fact taking in account only the psychological and not the neurological side. This would be illogical though if a chemical imbalance in my case would be proven..) there might be something that most people can't see.

Something else concerning my anxiety is that it starts ..a priori. What I mean with this is that if there is a reason to be anxious about an event that happens tomorrow, I will get anxious from the beginning of the realisation about it, this means today. But what's the point to be anxious about anything that is possible in this universe hours/days before it actually occures? Only by the thought of some unwanted future possibility I get overwhelmed, trapped into endless thoughts and that has a negative effect of killing my self esteem and not letting me go for the "just do it" approach. It doesn't even let me start considering of taking action! What do I want to say with that?

I will take the example about my absence from searching for a girlfriend. Someone would claim that I was always lazy and never really tried to approach a girl, ask her to go out together or anything. I did tried and struggled with that but my "actions" took place inside my mind. People say that I should quit theory and just move into real action and that's the reasonable solution, yet I wish it was just so simple. I do understand that a priori anxiety (being anxious about something, before it even takes place) keeps me from "just doing it" and the only way to break the ice is to ignore my anxiety and just do it. I truly understand the logic behind this idea but I still can't get over it. Only by the thought of action I am overwhelmed by negative feelings. It also applies in other aspects like dreaming of being active in the demoscene but when I suddenly decide to start actually working on it I feel a hard burden in my chest that makes me quit. It's a serious problem and blocks me from several activities I would like to start but never did. The a priori anxiety of some activity I dream about starting blocks me from starting and then I am so scared to thing about it that I prefer to stick to my old lazy habits and forget it.

Still, in such a serious condition, reason would tell me that it's essential that I ignore the whole scheme and just do it. Or else I will be always a dreamer. But somehow I am still mad when they tell me that things are simple or I should just stop whinning and do something. Am I stuborn? Is it so hard for me to change? What blocks me so hard that even if I can now perceive some of the reasons, I still can't find a solution, a strong motivation to break the ice?

I am deeply wounded I think. The more I understand this a priori anxiety and how it blocks me from even doing anything, the more I feel miserable and loose my already low self-esteem. The more I am missing self-esteem, the more I know what to expect from myself (that I am "not gonna do it" for yet another time), the more I feel miserable and just quit. My energy is drained and I am more negative today than years ago. It's a vicious circle that only gets worse. There must be a different way to escape from this dead end and this might not be the rational obvious way but maybe something else I can't see yet. At least I want to believe this. There must be something else that most people (and me) don't see.

Not seeing in the past that there could be a neurochemical aspect in some of my feelings made me feel stupid of being unable to control them. But now I know that it's not my fault and I gained self-esteem concerning this matter. Most people would argue that insisting in the neurological aspect of disorders rather than the pure psychological would mean that we have less control but I discovered that it's not the case. I would assume the opposite (and I have said that before). Maybe there is something similar concerning the emotion that blocks me from acting in various situations.

But remember, there is reason and there is motivation. Most people speak about reason and believe that if they tell us the logical solution for a human problem then it should obviously apply to everyone's case and people should act according that. They think that we are simply misguided or stuborn when the solution is in front of our eyes. How mistaken!

That's when people suffering from mental disorders recite the classical phrase "You don't understand me! Nobody does :P". I do understand that I can't understand them. Nobody does. Not even those suffering people. They can understand the presence of a labyrinth inside their minds. But not a total explanation/solution about it. Nobody tells us anyways :(

Sometimes they call me an emo because of writting such dark and long texts, although I haven't changed my haircut yet :P


Någon said...

If feel just as if you were talking about my own life. I can even say that in some sense I have regained my freedom in the recent days. I have passed the exams (or at least the most important ones ;)), there are no immediate obligations weighing me down and I can start the new term from scratch hoping that this time I won't screw it up.

"Most people would argue that insisting in the neurological aspect of disorders rather than the pure psychological would mean that we have less control but I discovered that it's not the case"

Do you have medications on your mind? I have thought about it a few times and maybe this could really help. I haven't tried to do anything about this though. Maybe that's because I have very strong impression that all this mess is only something psychological that I could easily overcome if only my will was strong enough. I admit, however, that I was not able to succeed this way and you may be right.

"The most strange is that I already know all the reasonable answers/explanations to all my burden yet regardless this fact, I still can't seem to be able to change anything."

I have the same feeling that I have all the knowledge necessary to succeed but I fail anyway. And I still have hope I can do it so I keep trying.

I've found something interesting today:
Probably this won't be anything new to you, but such articles always remind me of something that at some point I considered a crucial piece necessary to succeed and often give new ideas of how to implement it. In this one the concept of 'timeboxing' seems familiar, but combining it with immediate reward is worth trying out. I am going to try it now... or maybe I am just going to sleep. Good night ;)

nitro2k01 said...

It's funny... I'm in therapy and I talked to my therapist about this today. Some of the topics in någons länk were even the exact things we talked about today.
And since I started with that I've set up three rules for myself.

*No stimulants. This includes caffeine (Coca Cola, coffee, tea) and excessive amounts of sugar/candy. This makes me feel more concentrated on average. (Not so many peaks and dips) This point should probably include alcohol/beer as well, but I don't drink any alcohol already, so this doesn't affect me.
*Excercise. To force myself to take a fastpaced walk of 30-60 minutes every day. This gives a sense of fullfillment after I've done it, and my head feels sort of cleaned out.

These two points will hopefully lead to the third one:
*Better sleep. I'm trying to set a goal of going to bed no later than 1 AM, and sleeping uninterrupted for 7-8 hours. Today I've obviously failed, but I've slept well some days and I already feel a difference.

The only problem is to stick to the plan. I've tried things like this before, but always gotten off track. Hopefully I will be able to stick with it for at least a few months, especially when I have support.
You should try it too.

Optimus said...

Hey, that's an interesting site (even though when I read some suggestions I still have the "it still doesn't work with me" feeling). I was reading several articles and the procrastination article has some suggestion I don't feel. Instead I always had an urge for an attitude that asks a lot from myself and forces me to revolt and be lazy, all the "have to", "finish it", "perfectionism" defined how I urged to work on demomaking for example having negative results as being fed up with. And while I did know it, I couldn't easily change this emotion of not being satisfied if my work wasn't complete and thus being fed up and quit. But I will read the points again and see about time boxing too. Maybe I will write my next blog article on what still blocks me regardless these facts, soon.

In the army, the doctor gave me La'Dose. Since I knew about my OCD condition slightly before and became intersted in learning more, my first motive to start taking the medicine was curiosity. Curiosity about whether they will have significant effects/results upon my anxiety, if and how I will perceive this change and what my conclusions will be. They take some time to show effects and still the effect wasn't so strong to be sure how it did affect me, though there was an interesting change in how anxious thoughts felt/passed away, a change that also gave me insight on how people without anxiety disorder react to their negative feelings. I still felt the little signal of struggle as a negative thought concerning a specific event occured but this passed so quickly, it was like it touched me lightly, I could understand the negative feelings and their sources but this time they didn't make me go berserk or something but they had much lighter affection. It's like letting them pass away, but not just by reason, they really felt like small problems that I didn't gave them a second thought.

In fact, I do believe that medication do not solve the problem but it's an accepted way if their is too much struggle at times. Though this doesn't disproove the neurological aspect. The psychological aspect alone (e.g. trying to find the source of my anxiety purely in a possible trauma in the past or my upbringing, etc.) I believe would confuse things even more for people whose burden also comes from a chemical imbalance in the brain. But knowing the neurological aspect, accepting it and living further based upon the realization of that knowledge was very helpful for my case. I try to adapt to some new behavior rules now based on this knowledge, e.g. different ways/philosophy to react to my anxiety. Some of these rules might be popular or known in psychology, yet I needed the neurological explanation before I would go back to psychological reasoning, accepting who I am, changing my attitude towards my emotions. I could be only persuaded to move on after this knowledge was revealed to me.

eye said...


Tried simple things that don't take any preparation?

First, break the sleeping/eating/entertainment routine. Go to sauna. Or to another city for a day. Just do it. Don't care whether you have EVERYTHING you might need with you, you will get whatever you forgot at the spot.

Then, start doing daily sports. Take a 10-minute run about the block, but do it EVERY day, independant on weather or anything else. If you don't manage to run during the day, then run in the night. If you feel like you are ill, caught cold or anything, replace running by sauna. Naturally, this takes much longer and costs some money, so you won't be evading from running to often. :D

Btw, running comes with its own competitions you know... Yeah, i have some experience on that one, so get back on me.

Anonymous said...

I was doing some searches on how to overcome procrastination and I found a site that sells an ebook on it: Stop Procrastinating.
Has anyone else purchased this product? Is it any good?

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