5-22-19 unhappy emotions

Not feeling great emotionally today. The workout was fine and starting rucking last night was good too. But all these things I’m working towards…health…mental fitness… financial stability…art… I realize I’m doing them alone. I realize my greatest gains have been when I accept that change and improvement only happen through the force of my will. It is my journey.

But the thing is that even though I am an introvert, I don’t truly want to be alone. These are the paths I need to take and I won’t veer from them. My journey is a hard one. For a little while my wife seemed to want to tag along. But I don’t feel that is the case anymore. If she does join, it feels like it is out of obligation or atonement…not because she genuinely wants to travel on this metaphorical journey with me.

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5-16-19 therapy

Topics discussed in no particular order

  • Shame cycles and how they interact with partners shame spirals
  • Alpha, beta, theta waves. Ideal to be operating at alpha with short shifts into beta. Extended operation at high beta leads to crash (depression)…makes particular sense with last year extended anxiety leading to depression
  • Financial advisor recommendation to find a balance between working towards financial goals and still enjoying life

4-19-19 lighter

This is the first night I’ve had a full night of sleep in a while. It definitely helps. Hopefully I can keep the home environment ideal towards that goal of consistent sleep. Tuesday and Wednesday are going to be problematic with my wife coming home late and starting the dog barking panic. I’m internally debating if I should have her pay for bark collars since it is her Tuesday night dating partner setup that is going to cause sleep issues for me. I can’t count on her to get home for normal sleeping times.

Reminds me, I still need to review our expected combined expenditures and analyze what the percentage total I’m paying for those shared expenses. While I am aware she has limitations because of her debts, the goal should be to reach a more even split on those costs. This is one of the reasons I am supporting her through school. I should not always be financially carrying that extra weight. There are plenty of things I would like to do but can’t because I give more of my time and money just to give her a shot. That should not be taken advantage of.

In other news, it looks like I am cutting things off with one potential partner. My standards are too high [JackieChanface.jpg]. This is okay. I was already feeling like there were too many people in my life. It also helped me better confirm what relationship I want to add to my life in the context of my limited time.

My reason for getting into poly was to find a way to fill in the home Stephy left behind. There were quite a few special qualities she had. One of them was how she functioned as an emotional check for me. I respected her intelliect and I felt she had a good understanding of who I was and where I was trying to get to, emotionally speaking. Sometimes those checks weren’t in my favor, but I knew they always came from a place of love. I do not get the sense this person can fill this role. Sure I’m asking for a lot and it is ok to not want to fill that role (Steph didn’t ask for it, but that was what our dynamic became… always trying to help each other find our way).

I should retool my profile to better reflect what I offer and what I’m looking for.

4-2-19 life update

I feel that I am in some awkward limbo state in life currently. I suppose that is better than the shitstorm of 2017.

On the finance front I was green for the first time in a long time…by a whole $35…woo. granted 2 sizable quarterly bills hit at the same time. Still, long slog ahead. I think I need to start putting serious time into my father’s coin collection. A couple other fun things caught us by surprise. Turns out our taxes somehow got put in wrong for 2016, but the letter about this issue went to our old apartment and was never forwarded to our current address. So the amount we actually owed grew. We found out this year when our entire refund got eaten with about 1300 leftover that we still owe. Our couples therapy sessions also made us feel the power of our deductible…so that’s another 500 to sort out. And my wife still has to deal with her school bills, and her loan was supposed to be deferred while she was going back to school but somehow that got restarted. She missed the email heads up. Maybe I can help with her getting that mail more organized. In general the home needs to be more organized. That does cause extra stress.

So yeah, my hopes of easily getting my CC debt cleared this year has been dashed. Maybe serious time on the coins might help.

On the poly front, I’m not sure what is going on there. The friends I’ve made are nice. My ex is still around the corner dealing with her chronic medical issues and emergencies. I did almost break down and give in to talking about the Fwb thing. I don’t miss the drama, and I don’t ever see quality companionship from her with all of her issues. But I do miss the intensity of the sex. I don’t know if that is necessarily unique to her. I liked being physically challenged. Multi session nights with being encouraged to go all out was definitely a workout in itself. I’m fairly confident I was able to break through that plateau in part because of that. When I think back to Mel, there was some of that too. The sessions weren’t immediately back to back… but there were still frequent and I never felt I had to hold back or hurry up.

I guess I still struggle with my Catholic upbringing. Catholism basically tried to ingrain the dogma that sex is bad except for procreation…and even then you shouldn’t enjoy it! I’m always feeling that background shame, coupled with a damaged self-worth that inhibits me from wanting to reach out and be affectionate.

I guess I miss expressing that part of myself.

One more thought to explore later

With my understanding of locus of control, I better realize the depth of the problems I faced last year.  I strongly lean towards an internal locus of control.  The pro of this is that I can be very driven in going after a goal I’m interested in and I take responsibility for my actions readily.  The problem is I also tend to “inflict” responsibility on myself for others’ actions/responses (internalize negative responses).

I also have a bit of a fear of conflict, possibly related to this same issue.  Things got really challenging last year because I found myself in a situation where I had lost control, and the only way I could get it back was via confrontation.  I was afraid of conflict, because a probable negative response would have become internalized as a comment on myself…and so I choose to abstain, which only made the whole situation worse.  I then started approaching the external locus of control, which in the extreme can lead to depression from feeling helpless.

It is no wonder I had such a hard time.  This is why I have to face more situations in which there will be a negative response.  I need to balance out my drive on being responsible for my actions against not taking responsibility for things out of my control.  This will help me with facing conflict, and not beating myself up if things go wrong (and yet somehow still be able to learn what I can better from those interactions).

Being human is tough.

Recognizing and respecting anxiety

So I finished the game Celeste today. Well, not counting the free dlc anyway. It was a beautiful experience and one I’ll write about in more detail later. The main point the game makes is that anxiety and/or depression (insecurity) is an important aspect of yourself that is there for a good reason and shouldn’t be ignored just because it might be getting in the way of the thing you want (or the event you fear coming to pass).

In the game, due to the special properties of the mountain the protagonist is trying to climb, that insecurity gets a body and can communicate the way people do.

Real anxiety can’t talk to you. It has trouble understanding what you are doing. It lives in that primal part of the brain that considers your survival the first priority. Since it can’t talk, it uses your emotion to communicate it senses danger. That emotion translates to physical responses in your body. It varies from person to person just how that manifests.

In my case, one of those responses is feeling my body start to become cold. I remember talking about that before in an emotional intelligence class…

I got cut off while I was working on this post. Part of that whole trying to be social despite my anxiety…and somehow trying to find a way to work with it.

So in addition to that cold sensation, I have started to understand the tension I feel building up in my muscles. Like a coil getting ready to be unleashed. It gets bad when I’m in group situations with a bunch of people I don’t know. I understand better where it comes from. I was picked on and exiled from groups as a kid often. That stuff was traumatizing. That “part of me” is just trying to protect me. It is not an unfounded fear either. People in groups tend to be dicks. I mean just look at the political environment. Tribal political for the lose.

Somehow I need to figure out how to be ok with that anxiety. Maybe I just need to continue to build my self-effiacy in those social scenarios. I need to believe I can survive those situations, and even benefit from them. Small bits of exposure may be the best way. It’ll be slow going, and there will be some bad moments. But I can do this.

2-28-19 therapist

Talked about my wife, health, my fears of her falling into the same end my mother did. Trying to find a balance between my measure of control and how the situation effects me. Locus of control…I tend towards internal locus…heavy on thinking I am responsible for what happens, causes anxiety (the opposite would be no influence, no control which leads to depression… which I definitely experienced last summer with the Natalie situation).

The trick, it seems, is how much do I allow external events or decisions effect how I feel about myself. The answer is not necessarily to be straight in the middle.

Can I just sit back and not care? In light of my health fear? How likely is that situation? Can I more involved elsewhere for that not to matter? Is that even congruent with my values?

Also, I need to take more stock on what positive things my wife has contributed to my life. Moreover, does she feel like she contributes to my overall well being at all? Does anyone? How much of an effect does this have?

2-27-19 pre-therapy thoughts

With the reduction of crisises in my life and a shift to an evening workout schedule, I haven’t been posting as much. In the morning I have the will to write, but all the noteworthy activities tend to happen later…and by then I’m not enough of a place of solace to write (standing at the back of a metro train is effective isolating).

I’m going to try to recall the signficant events since my last session.

Had the one argument (maybe more like frustration venting) with my wife maybe 3 weeks ago now when she tried to get out of a Sunday workout session for a side gig by allowing a reschedule in top of her class time.

Started being active on OKC and poly after talking it over with my wife. Had one date. Or Maybe it was a Meetup? It was a whole afternoon in DC visiting a museum followed by dinner at a restaurant. It seemed to go alright but I’m already getting the feeling it won’t go anywhere as messaging has died down, even with me making another contact attempt.

I am talking with one other person but I don’t see it going anywhere but pen pals. Which is totally fine.

Scheduling has made it difficult to find an improv class my wife and I can both make. While I could do one on my own, the idea was to do it with my wife so she could see me place myself outside of my comfort zone in the interest of self development, and hope that helps her confidence when going to soldierfit. We’re looking at a class on Sunday afternoon starting mid march

I’m looking at getting back into kenpo next Monday afte sifu Joe asked me directly about it. I was going to go this week but I was very sore from the Sunday strength training session and had very bad sleep.

I’ve started 1 on 1 pt sessions. I’ve learned a lot about the nuances of barbell work…with so much more to learn.

1-24-19 solo therapy

Focused on dealing with my inhibitions in social scenarios. Looking into getting more comfortable with the unpredictable. Improv classes would be good practice. Value in the small interactions. Builds towards the bigger interactions. Akwardness is just discomfort from the unknown. Become more familiar with the scenarios via more practice/exposure. Becomes less awkward.

Positive traits 2019

These are in no particular order.

  • I have an iron will
  • I’m intelligent
  • I am a Slytherin in that I’m focused, do not let obstacles stop me, and I’m deeply loyal to my close friends.
  • I’m “really good at fucking”
  • 5/5 pornstar rating
  • I have a ton of physical endurance
  • I’m learn from my mistakes
  • I’m a good listener
  • I make people feel safe
  • The “glue” of my family
  • Patient
  • Resourceful
  • I’ve been equated to a swiss army knife
  • I can surprise people with how passionate I can be in face to my usual quiet reserved demeanor
  • Insightful
  • respectful of others’ feelings
  • Soulful eyes
  • Attractive shoulders
  • Looks good in black
  • I am detail oriented
  • I am clever
  • I am good at goal setting
  • I am good at creating evocative imagery through my writing.
  • I’m known as the person who can find answers to almost anything
  • I’m still pretty good at video games
  • I’m a decent shield fighter when larping
  • I have “good battlefield awareness”
  • I have been a professional mentor
  • Open minded
  • Analytical
  • Good planner
  • Self-Driven
  • Independent
  • Has grit
  • Great problem solver
  • Fast reaction speed
  • Persistent*
  • Supportive of those close to me
  • Humble to a fault (I write as I try play up my strengths)
  • I smell nice.
  • I appreciate constructive critism
  • I generally have a positive outlook on life.
  • I workout regularly.
  • I eat healthy by cooking my own meals and prepping food for the week.
  • I enjoy stories that explore the moral grey
  • I love playing D&D
  • I enjoy Ren Faires
  • I don’t care for most sports (but I do enjoy watching UFC fights when the situation presents itself)
  • My chest hair resembles the Batman signal