Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A few of my rules of life


I haven't assembled them all yet, some are even subconscious, but I'm going to try and put them on paper for the very first time.

I've been highly prone to depression all my life, several of my doctors in the good old days would refer to me as "high-strung". I've no idea what the modern equivalent of this phrase is. I always translated this label internally as "don't come too near this one, she might hurt you.". I'm also highly addictive by nature, anything to take the pain - psychic, emotional or physical - away.

I know I've always felt slights, perceived or real, far too intensely than others. Also criticism. It is only in the last five or six years that I don't personalize being criticised. Writing workshops have done that for me. I'm also overly sensitive to shouting of any kind. And if shouting is directed at me specifically I just about curl up into a foetal ball.

That's the way it is. My instrinsic nature. And rather than condemn it, I embrace it today because there are many upsides.

I think when we feel things too intensely, as I do, we attract like-minded individuals to us. And by sharing, we learn how to cope a little better in a world that seems fraught with emotional land-mines and indifference.

RULE #1

DO THE OPPOSITE TO WHAT I'VE DONE BEFORE

This one is invaluable to me. I'll give a recent example. I was at a small gathering last week and as we were getting up to leave there was much talk of a BBQ that coming weekend with a band and flowers for the mothers. I might as well have been wallpaper, no one deigned to invite me or mention it directly to me. Being the extremely sensitive person that I am (that has never changed) I left feeling ignored, unimportant and resentful. My plans were to continue in this vein, read some books, maybe knit, write, walk, but overall immerse myself in a pity party.

What was "do the opposite"?

Well, I picked up the two-ton telephone and called a friend in another outport, just to chat, to get out of myself, to ask after her and her family. At the end of the conversation she said, oh, by the way: she and her family then invited me to the BBQ as their guest and I had a ball, enjoying the music, even dancing. I was then invited to a Mother's Day dinner (midday) the following day, for a bunch of mothers whose children were all "away". As a result of that, I met a new friend who invited me to her house 'in town' to get further acquainted and to meet her friends.

Invariably, this 'do the opposite' has been like a magic wand for me. It doesn't come naturally, ever, but when I practise it, it opens up both my life and my heart.

18 comments:

  1. I've never been prone to depression, if things aren't going my way I just shrug my shoulders and amuse myself until they go a bit better. If high-strung means nervous or over-sensitive, I'm not really that either, I usually give people the benefit of the doubt if they've said something odd. I don't like shouting though, particularly men shouting, it really unsettles me.

    The "do the opposite" trick sounds good, I must try that. As you say, one's habitual reaction to something can sometimes make things worse, so that's a good way of breaking the pattern.

    Wow, we're both baring our souls today!

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  2. Your description of your ultra- sensitivity, WWW yells astrological Cancer loudly - I know because I have Cancer rising. Your Leo Sun is nextdoor to Cancer and I'd bet that you have some emphasis there, maybe even Cancer rising like myself. I think I recogise the signs. :-)

    I'm happy for you that you enjoyed your socialising at the weekend. Good on ya for "doing the opposite" - Leo coming to the fore! (Definitely not my cup o' tea though - I'd run a few miles to avoid those kind of scenes.)

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  3. Bravo for posting this. If it helps, I still find the things that scared me when I was small, still do - entering a room full of people I don't know, which knife and fork to use, how to socialise with strangers. I'm always two glasses of wine below par socially, which does mean my window of social opportunity is quite limited - between two and four glasses, when I go to sleep. Like you I try to make a virtue of my fears - as a result I tend to rush at things too quickly (to get them over with I suppose), and going in feet first - and then rather surprised when it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I'm not sure we ever overcome these elements of out nature, but, like your "doing the opposite" we develop a few strategies to cope with them - and at the same time hope we fool people into thinking we're on top of things. Not just the scared kids we are.

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  4. Wow:
    Thanks for the comments, I was a bit nervous about this post, putting more of me out there. I should add I don't get the depressions like I used to and have never taken any long term medication for it.
    Nick:
    I seem to be in sync with you on some of our last posts. You seem very balanced from what I read of you.
    T:
    16th August is my birthday, I had never thought of Cancer's influence before, but I do avoid relationships with Cancers, we seem to drown each other ;^)
    OF:
    Very good point. I find the old habits fade very, very hard and never quite die off. I still react in a childish fashion to certain triggers.
    Alcohol helped me to cope for a time but I had to give it up as I developed a problem.
    XO
    WWW

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  5. WWW - I like the drawing. Naked, scared and vulnerable. Is it yours?

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  6. Oh, I wish, OF, no just something I picked off the web.
    XO
    WWW

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  7. I was once shy and timid. Now I'm just plain antisocial. I reached a point, somewhere along the latter half of life's highway, when I realized most of my fears derived from a feeling of having to do things I didn't want to do. So, I stopped doing them. There are rare occasions when it's unavoidable, but I've developed a great expertise for ducking out of anything too traumatic. Like Twilight, I move quickly in the opposite direction.

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  8. Well, you know all about me, WWW, and I am also one of those highly sensitive persons, who has developed an "I don't care" attitude about things, but it has not made me all that tough, really. I still get hurt, and I always think it is because people won't accept me for whom I am, and somehow I have come to live with that, but it isn't right, of course, to think so little of myself.

    I always pretend to be a tough broad, that is just an attitude. Underneath it all, there is somebody all together different...

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  9. RJA:
    Along the way, though I am a natural loner too, I realized that community was what life was all about (for me anyway). The happiest people I observed were the ones who had a rich social life (and I'm not talking the frivolous and superficial). And I am amazed at how many natural loners are out there socializing, just like me. It's good for a laugh.
    Irene: I, too, never presented the real me. Now I do. I was exactly like you, exhibiting an "I don't care" attitude. Of course I care, far too deeply. Life is an ever ending lesson.
    XO
    WWW

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  10. Wow - WWW, what a great post.
    You could have been writing from my head - I tend to find myself being 'oversensitive' to situations (getting overly upset and wanting to hide at any stressful situation). I find that my way of coping (aside from the alcoholic one...) is 'playing a part' - I pretend that I am someone else who has the confidence, ability and popularity that I know that I don't. It usually works till I'm on my own, then I can crumble again.

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  11. Thanks for your comment WWW . Loved your Rule#1 and may borrow it one of these days if I can keep it in the front of my mind.
    Loved the photo of the lupins in one of your previous posts - I have many memories of driving home to Cape Breton along the lupin-lined hightways of NB and NS.
    Glad you liked the motel - it was real - the carpets were stiff with age and who-knows-what. One wall was exposed brick, and it had nothing to do with decoration!

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  12. Jo:
    "Act as if" is a good one and I've often employed it. I hate being marooned in a room with no one to talk to or even recognize. Almost a panic attack for me.
    Pondside:
    I forgot you come from this side of the country. How long has it been since you came home?
    XO
    WWW

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  13. WWW, it is a privilege to read of your vulnerability and resourcefulness. I feel I know you better now. Thank you for sharing.

    H
    xx

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  14. Thank you H from one free spirit to another. I get the sense that you've had quite a journey to get to your good space of today!
    XO
    WWW

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  15. I have not been home much in the last few days. I hope to catch up at the w/end. I really want to read these posts.

    I'll comment more then.

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  16. Now that I know you're over at Nick's, GM, take all the time you want. Maintaining that head of hair of yours, must take up your entire day. I don't know about the nights, tho......h'mmmm
    XO
    WWW

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  17. Tuesday night and I am only catching up with you now. I want to read all your posts in order.

    Blogging is a great way to release our hidden thoughts and feelings and from the comments above I'd say you are helping others.

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  18. GM:
    Yes I'm amazed at how many people have taken to emailing me privately with what's ailing them. And we all hold our own key to our solutions.
    XO
    WWW

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