Thursday, February 27, 2014


I'm ostensibly, big on taking personal responsibility. Avoid writing in the passive tense. Take ownership, apologise all that shit. One of the things that made it luxuriously easy for me to do, was that I've generally avoided being responsible for anything. Thus it was only on occasion I'd have to take responsibility for screwing up something with some friend.

Now though, I manage a band and so taking responsibility has finally become confronting for me, for the first time I feel the temptation to dodge responsibility where I can. See I wrote to the band members this:

first I'm going to put myself on the hook for how you can expect me to react to issues though.

I have been taught (and taught to recognize) that there are 4 ways people avoid responsibility:

1. Denial - The simplest and most common 'No that's not a problem'
2. Excuses - The next most common 'Yeah that problem has to be that way though and this is why...'
3. Blaming - Also quite common 'Yeah that's a problem, but it's Matt's fault.'
4. Changing the subject/Telling a Story - Least common and requires a degree of artistry that most people don't have 'Yes, I see, that reminds me of the first Gulf War, not the most recent which is fascinating because...' 

The only acceptable way to respond to somebody raising an issue is to say 'What can I do?' 

I probably need to print it out and put it somewhere I will notice it until it becomes a habit - the habit being to respond to issues raised with 'what can I do?', not the habits of denying problems exist, making excuses, blaming or changing the subject.

In my job I'm in the privileged position to observe the 4 ways of avoiding responsibility take place all the time. Because I'm cold calling, you wouldn't believe how rare it is for somebody to just say 'I don't want to do the survey' or 'not interested' both these responses take responsibility. Over time it becomes far more insulting (and not to mention time wasting) to hear 'I'm busy' or 'But I don't travel' or 'I'm just heading out' or 'I have guests' or 'I'll tell you what I think of the government'.

Perhaps worst of all is 'I'll let you call somebody else' literally 'please become somebody else's problem' it's one thing to not take responsibility for not doing an understandably boring and tedious and time consuming survey, it's another thing to wish that boredom and tedium on somebody else.

What becomes perplexing is why the skill of taking responsibility isn't innate. Or if it is innate, how we got trained out of it.

I guess we can look to our political 'leaders' whom generally make statements containing no information, and take credit for nothing.

Also perhaps is the society wide Japan-style demerit system we adopt, most visable on bullshit shows like the apprentice where one only gets punished for failure, rather than a merit system where people are rewarded for successes, and failure becomes inconsequential.

Of course, life is a mix some failure is so catastrophic in consequence I can hardly blame people for wanting to wriggle off the hook. There are few noble captains willing to go down with the ship. Such responsibility taking may be admirable but it's also terminal. The person who learns from their mistakes has no future in which to apply such learnings.

But much failure is ultimately inconsequential, IF you take responsibility for it.

The point of the legitimate response 'what can I do?' is that when told what you can do, you presumably will follow up with action - some kind of action, people coming to you with a problem may not be rational, nor propose legitimate solutions, the aim though through good will is to achieve a reasonable discourse.

Apologies are also meaningless unless followed up by action (or rather ceasing whatever action necessitated the apology).

Talk is cheap. Even the acknowledgement that you were in the wrong needs to be acknowledged in action.

I believe in taking responsibility because the payoffs are there. I'm a consequentialist, not a Kantian categorical imperitive type dude. I think people respect and appreciate you taking responsibility - it builds trust and attachment.

I think our aversion to responsibility may at core be similar to our attraction to fast food. The immediate short term impact of taking responsibility is that it requires effort of us. But problems and issues get resolved, relationships get lastingly easier.

But we are suckers for short term gains, our aversion to taking responsibility need not come from some deep dark sinister place, it's generally just good old fashioned laziness.

So like everything worth doing, I advocate asking 'what can I do?' because the gains generally outweigh the costs.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Trying to Hear a Plea

My friend Leah wrote this, which I can say if you are strapped for time, what you should read instead of what I shall write here. I guess also that I am writing this post because Leah responded to my question 'what can I do' with 'thoughts?' so really this article, is the context of what I will write here.

I also tread with trepidation of saying the wrong thing, when sharing my thoughts, and I guess much of depression itself must be discussed in the more accurate but less understood dimension of feelings as well.

Here is my clearest thought as to the Plea itself: 'speaking out about depression is an important battle against the debilitating stigma surrounding depression and mental health issues. It is not the cure to depression and mental health issues, speaking out sadly can make this issues worse for the speaker, those hearing the speakers need to not just hear, but listen.'

And so I find it odd, to be invited by Leah to share my thoughts. What I felt immediately on reading Leah's plea and this other piece she wrote 'from inside the illness' was shock. I had no idea until yesterday that Leah suffered from major depression. I also felt scared, perhaps terrified.

But to be clear, and fearing that I am in danger of saying the wrong thing. It's because depression is a terrifying concept to me that I cannot relate to in any of my conscious experiences. I am NOT scared OF Leah, I am NOT scared or terrified FOR myself.

I am scared by the idea that depression can afflict people, debilitate to the point of paralysis, cause them pain to the point were no experience at all can seem preferable to the experience of their day to day life, seemingly unconnected to environmental factors. But I am on the outside, the fear I feel is akin to the fear I feel watching a slasher film, were Leah is not even the actress, but the role of the person who has to creep through the psycho's house. I am a mere spectator trying to identify with Leah.

And that's where it is hard, I have never, ever, experienced depression. The closest I have come akin to depression is grief. I have had the moment of introspection to marvel at how hard it was when grieving to find the energy to shave my face. Yet Leah writes about a paralyzing state where she can't actually get out of bed to go to the bathroom.

Grief is clearly driven by one's environment. Environmental factors, and with the exception of the effects of denial, it's really easy to identify what is causing one grief. When I think about how bad I have felt while grieving, how difficult things become - the magnitude of actual depression is quickly beyond my ability to imagine. I cannot imagine a state of mind that saps more energy than grief, not one I feel I could survive. I already need shock, anger, denial just to survive the pain of grief.

Depression itself then, is thus far beyond any understanding for me that is not cognitive. On the same day that I read Leah's account of having to lower herself out of bed on her knees and then crawl across her living room only to fail and have to crawl back to bed, I had already been up and run an 800m and later that day ran 14km with a friend. I thus returned to my bed exhausted, but in my life exhaustion marks a good day, it is the end of a good day.

To wake exhausted, unable to leave bed is the opposite of my existence. The self defeat felt when one stops on a run must again be nothing compared to the self defeat when one fails to make it to their kitchen or bathroom.

Which means, deprived of personal experience to relate myself to Leah, I have literally no insight to offer, no advice or counsel (as opposed to when a friend is grieving). What I needs must do, is learn what to do. One of the most painful parts to read for me was:

At my weakest and in intense distress I need to find energy in order to downplay and act to make sure friends are comfortable. (This is why people with depression may decline invitations from well-meaning friends to catch up or chat. We don’t have the energy to moderate symptoms.)
I am so glad Leah wrote these pieces, and linked to so many other accounts. I had no idea. But I do feel strongly that nobody has ever really been served by not understanding. I think I/we non-sufferers, our dumb-lucky minority of people free from mental health issues, are always inclined to look for an environmental factor, something to be addressed, fixed - so we can move on. Why beyond blue does such good work and why I think this excerpt from one of the documents on Stigma Leah linked is really important to keep in mind:

There are different types of stigma associated with depression and anxiety, which include: 
 personal stigma – a person’s stigmatising attitudes and beliefs about other people 
(“People with depression should snap out of it.”) 
 perceived stigma – a person’s beliefs about the negative and stigmatising views 
that other people hold (“Most people believe that a person with depression should 
snap out of it.”) 
 self-stigma – the stigmatising views that individuals hold about themselves (“I 
should be able to snap out of my depression.”) 
 structural stigma – the policies of private and governmental institutions that restrict 
the opportunities of people with depression and anxiety (“Mental health services 
and research don’t deserve as much funding as other health problems.”). Structural 
stigma may be either intentional or unintentional. 
When one's mood, emotions and energy levels become detached from the environment, it is unsettling, it is unnatural in the Darwinian sense - every individuals survival actually depends on getting pleasure from eating high calorie foods, feeling secure in one's own home/shelter, satisfied by the attachment one gives/recieves from their partner. Without this reinforcement depression is in very alien territory to me, probably everyone including the sufferers.

So it must feel very very wrong and be very very painful. I shall endeavor to watch Malencholia, but I imagine to the limits of my imagination that this is why Kirsten Dunst bursts in to tears when the meatloaf tastes like ashes. A world in which we can't feel simple pleasures is a world now trying to kill us.

That last statement is a speculative armchair-evolutionary biologist speaking, not somebody who has experienced anhedonia or anything.

I believe Dr Gordon Livingston said 'Mental Health Requires Freedom of Choice' a key and vital distinction I feel in this conversation. For one, the very word 'depression' is bastardized, people say 'I'm so depressed' in a callous and trivial matter, eg. 'I have four assignments due next week I'm so depressed' when in fact you are not experiencing depression at all. But the other side hardest for me to comprehend, is that people just get depressed, and they can't 'perk up' as Ruby Wax was most annoyed by, and they can't just go for a run and clear their head and feel better, and unlike grief there's no reasonable guarantee that the episode will pass with time. People in other words can't choose to be depressed or not, they perhaps (because environments are complex and I feel nobody knows the answers) can't even make the indirect choices eg. eating healthy and exercising to actually bring about some relief from the symptoms. And for somebody struggling to get out of bed, suggesting a 10km jog seems stupid to me.

I do think though, that it's important to understand this shit. I feel very strongly about destigmatising mental health. As a non sufferer, I am not immune to the effects of depression. Clinical depression has cost me a relationship - My first sexual partner dumped me because I ceased to be able to make her happy, I was a misidentified environmental factor prior to her diagnosis. She is now married, and self medicates through long distance running, but it was sobering for me to find out that despite every visible evidence of a happy life - meaningful work, loving partner, passionate hobby... she still suffers from severe depression.

I've also in my life, while been a victim of sexual repression driven by homophobic stigma, despite myself being hetero normative.

My point being, that I am not the real victim, but I am a victim. Don't simply think because an issue isn't your personal one, doesn't mean it's not personal. You are being naive if you think that depression will never effect you, because you don't have depression, or how LGBTQ's are treated won't effect you because you are straight, or that racial discrimination won't effect you, because you are white. You owe it even to your potential friends and partners and family, that these issues get dealt with. That the changes occur.

My sister told me the stats run up to 60% of women suffer from anxiety or depression by adolescence. These issues are virtually guaranteed to affect you.

What I think about now though, is the next time I see Leah, or her boyfriend through whom I met her (on their first date I believe), and what I'm supposed to say or talk about, or whether to not say anything at all. Again Dr Gordon Livingstone cautioned that the longer an illness persists the more it becomes a part of a person's identity, and I'm sure Leah no more wants every conversation to be about depression even while she champions it's understanding and destigmatisation. I'm really glad and proud and relieved and inspired that Leah did share her experience with me and everyone who wishes to know about it, but I'm sure she wishes she didn't have this illness, and wants her identity to consist of what she chooses to do.

Leah is a talented and professional artist, a hero assuming the downside risk for others unable or unwilling to speak, stunning, a friend, an excellent party host and I for one am not shocked or scared enough by depression to forget these things that draw me to her.

Nor is Leah my only friend afflicted by major depression, but she is one of the few to extend to myself/us the credit that 'I don't understand' is not the same thing as 'I can't understand' so I'm going to keep reading and watching and try and make the most of this opportunity.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Heuristic #2

This one I gots from Dr. Gordon Livingston:

"How do they make you feel?"

It's a decision rule for whom you allocate time to. It's how you assess the quality of your relationships. Keep it simple - better/worse.

It's a valuable rule of thumb for me, because my mind makes so much noise to confuse the signal. Don't worry about who someone is, or why they do what they do, keep focused on how they make you feel.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

On Paper

On paper, I am indistinguishable from a loser, and in many regards, that makes me a loser. Until things change.

Change perspective, and I'm currently ascending a peak of the grand trio - mental, emotional and physical health. All interconnected and inseparable of course.

Yet just before the weekend, my Dad voiced his concerns to me, and asked me if I 'was alright' and my immediate reaction was - 'boy are we on different pages'

I was blindsided. I would have thought that if there was any moment in my life to put myself in the 'least risk' category of whatever, it would be now. Yet my dad can't distinguish me from a junkie.

And on paper, I must admit, I am identical, the only difference is that I'm exposed to some future upside, whereas the future upside of substance abuse is merely the cessation of substance abuse. I could I guess commence the cessation of being an artist (the true subject of the conversation) but that is a very different possible upside to being an artist.

One trouble, that we are actually all faced with, is what we can demonstrate about our well being. It's easy to demonstrate financial capital, hard to demonstrate social capital. It's easy to demonstrate home ownership, it's hard to demonstrate ones exposure to a future successful art career.

And yet, people with savings and deeds to houses commit suicide, get divorced and snort things up their nose as much as people who don't. Happiness alludes us all to more or less the same extent. 40 year olds with beautiful children manage to have extramarital affairs and lose those children. People with full time contracts accept (on a right now, daily basis) severence packages.

People lose their houses, or plunge into negative equity, the great upside for them is that things look great until they go wrong. The exact opposite if you will of my lifestyle.

The price, I guess of being an artist is the willingness to look terrible on paper, and be prepared for that picture to remain the reality into the future.

An artist dies a death by a thousand cuts until eventually they expire. But occasionally they are going to score big time and be set for keeps. Truth be told, our parents will always be much more comfortable with the reverse.

People have received more damaging talks from their parents over the years, but still I was filled with disappointment and sadness. I almost ate refined sugar.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Flipside Upside

Okay, so today it really hit home, what the fuck I can't eat in my abstinence only approach to beating addiction. Particularly annoying since I'm really only quitting all these addictions to experience trying to beat addictions and not over any actual health concerns.

So after lunch with a delightful friend, and lunch was easy. What next? No caffeine, no chocolate, no icecream, no soft drink, no alcohol and perhaps most cripplingly - no pornography.

It's really the first challenge I've faced, at all. No coffee and cake. None for tohm.

But this is what I've discovered. Quitting addictions is a good idea, because you find almost naturally yourself being forced to actually do and eat what you are supposed to be doing and eating.

Because one of the first things you notice, is that you are often at a loss. Once you take all the refined sugar and caffeinated beverages out of my diet, you are pretty much left with a lump of protein. So without it even being part of the plan, I motherfucken started eating fruit and vegetables again.

Same same, once checking tumblr for more nubile pictures was no longer part of my daily routine, I actually started writing the emails I never got around to before. And I've picked up running, am slowly getting back into drawing and drumming. It's great.

The ability for one decision to cascade into a whole bunch of positive outcomes. This I guess is the common sense that outsiders can see when they naively urge somebody to quit their addictions. But the social factor is unavoidable. If after lunch, instead of coffee and cake, the done thing was a bucket of the Colonel's finest chicken, my task would be that much harder. Thankfully, I've never drunk coffee. Or as I said to friend Ann today 'Coca-Cola is pretty much how I like my coffee' so my task is not impossible. But after a big salty bowl of Ramen, it is still fucking hard not to eat something packed with pure columbian sugar.

I managed it though.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Osprey & Lyre Bird

Osprey = Sea Eagle.

Yes the Eagle, charismatic predator. Have I ever confessed this before, but that I am incredibly superstitious?

Seems crazy I know for somebody most sympathetic to deterministic, rational, materialist, anarchist view of the u.n.i.v.e.r.e, but yes, it's true! like most explosive athletes, I am highly superstitious.

And I've been feeling predatory for the last I dunno 6-8 months? Like I've had my teeth back the fuck in, and I remember an interview with Earthworm Jim designer guy talking about how he had one level where Jim is out of his suit and a really helpless worm character having to just avoid obstacles. Then you get your suit and machine gun back, and how in testing players go ballistic with the machine gun.

Like that.

You know, just like the good old days for me, in Ballafornia where I played 'who defers to who' on the footpath. I only had to defer to one Senor Ash Coates whom due to superior genetics and attending a school with more liberal rules regarding facial hair, had a full beard. But man when two adolescent kids pass each other on the footpath of Ballifornia's 'street' it was an exhilarating game of chicken every fucking time.

But anyway, I've had a bunch of important revelations, sort of thematically clustered, and that generally is good enough for my mind I don't need a coherent concise theory of everything.

The first came via Enneagraph, a personality test a friend posted to facebook, where I discovered I was 'Type 8' - Aggressive. It also described me as 'healthy' and this kind of fucking reaffirmed Gabor Mate's 'When the body says no' type message.

And then you know, I read a lot of One Piece, and Monkey D Luffy is you know just the latest most popular reincarnation of a very enduring archetype. And shit like One Piece is kind of a relic, in terms of being the same story as when I was a kid, and going back to the fairytales and shit of brothers grim.

What I mean by that, is that I realised Luffy actually helps people, saves the day, by fighting.

Here's the distilled thought all this lead me to: "I can't save you, you need to save yourself, but I can help you. I can blow everything up, so you have to save yourself."

Much in the same way, that it took me so long to overcome my existential crisis by realising that I'd known what to do with my life when I was but a child, I had realised that the conflict I introduced had had an intuitive sense to it, an intuitive altruism all along.

Aggression without anger, Phil Jackson called it. Just as predators can play a vital role in keeping eco systems healthy, so too does conflict play a role in keeping our society healthy.

Take a short walk from there to this video:

Being assertive, and aggressive is all well and good, but life is not binary, there's a food chain of aggression, and while it may feel pretty good to be a wolf among sheep, or a fox among hens, life needs it's Golden Eagles hunting the wolves and foxes of the Mongolian steppes. And just so, while the Golden Eagle may be king predator their, it's jumping off the wrist of a Hunter, the king predator of all. Yes, it is the hunter that takes the lions share of the presumably delicious wolf meat.

The comic vagabond, might refer to this food chain, as the spiral of death and killing. But the point largely is, that by being aggressive one doesn't necessarily prey upon the weak, but can with training and practice prey upon the predators.

And I guess also, to identify with the poor poor wolves, if I or anybody get too preoccupied with being a predator, and beating up on the weak, chances are we can forget our places, or more importantly our potential to be in the middle of a predator-prey continuum.

It was the remembering of this video, and it's many portents, auspices and ill omens that had me pause for thought about the predator I was spreading my glorious wings.

Then I went on holiday. I badly wanted to see a sea eagle, to observe it's majesty, sea eagles hunt the much more realistic prey of fish and eels. One year there was this massive old eel on it's deathbed stranded in the sandy shallows of the river of my soul and this Sea Eagle was hanging around watching and waiting for it's chance to grab a huge meal.

And the sea eagle this time round was sighted, it in fact dropped one of it's catches onto the bonnet of the ranger's car, to retrieve it's now dead kill. But it was not sighted by me. It alluded me.

But on the last day, around dusk, I was walking my meditative trail, and I came across a lyre bird. Here, here was my spirit animal. That bird the indigenous rated as 'the most beautiful bird in creation' a mimic, a chameleon of sound.

And I realised, in this place of snakes and lace monitors and eagles and insects and all manner of predators, this lyre bird survives. And is beautiful. And that more than their courage and aggression, these freedom fighters, these Luffy's and Musashi Miyamoto's and Phil Jackson, and Golden Eagles... they are beautiful. They are beautiful at heart and that is a common thread.

A thread I need to keep hold of.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Pretty Little Addictions

Gabor Mate said we are at our most judgemental and least compassionate of addicts when we are addicted ourselves. And our whole society is addicted, in one way or another. If I read the papers I'm fairly sure I'd see reports of societies compulsive addictive behavior.

Anyway! So I'm no exemption, so this year I started kicking my addictions to see basically if I could. It started with KFC, which I ate around 3 times a week. I ate it for the last time on December 31st, 2013. At first I merely compensated for the lost saturated animal fats and salt by eating McDonalds more frequently (I can't recall the last time I ate at HJ's) but this increased my experiences of shame, and with all fast food eatariums one never wants to need to be there as often as the kids behind the counter need to be there to pay their rent/cigarettes. So about three weeks later, I kicked McDonalds as well.

And that was basically it for junk food.

Prior to kicking McDonalds, I also abandoned pornography. I'd posted previously that Porno had become too hardcore for me, the way people were treated in porno videos had stepped up to a level that it was becoming impossible to depersonalise. But then I discovered that tumblr is basically full of butts, very attractive butts, in still photographic images and it was kind of a return to the good old pre-internet days where you hoped to get in the dorm on school camp with the kid who had managed to snatch a Playboy or Hustler. That except thanks to the internet it's like having 10,000 hustler magazines delivered every day. But I just dropped it, from my daily routine. Tumblr is gone. Pornography, nixed.

Australia Day was the last day I drank, and although I've never really been able to handle drinking, I don't really include it among my vices because I'm pretty indifferent to drinking. It's not a compulsion, I seem to randomly go 4 months at a time without drinking, and people I see quite frequently often remark that they've never seen me drink, or never known me to drink. So it don't really count, except in so far as I quit it now, I say no rather than merely not drinking without any conscious reason.*

Then I went camping, and had a good opportunity to kick what I felt was the hardest one for me - caffeine, particulary my sugar filled caffeine delivery system - Coca Cola and Mountain Dew. I had one week to get over the withdrawal then like someone exiting rehab back into their regular environment I was tested by the sudden availability of coke, mountain dew all around me. I have actually declined a free bottle of coke proffered to me by a friend.

It wasn't that hard. This is the concerning thing. I just made a decision, and then my vices are all falling like dominos. I experienced almost no withdrawels, felt better really quickly, esteem keeps picking up. It's been really really easy, to the point that I'm almost getting addicted to quitting stuff.

But you may notice, all my addictions are pretty lame. How is this exercise meant to make me compassionate towards those struggling with addictions to alcohol, painkillers, mdma, heroin, crystal meth... less judgemental.

The hardest thing has been when the thought enters 'well surely I'm not never going to drink Coke again in my life. There'll be some occasion like trekking through South America where a refreshing coke becomes the trustworthy option over tap water or something and it'll be no big deal...' because when I try to contemplate that I have quit something for good the exercise seems nonsensical, ridiculous. It's made me understand why the mindset almost has to be 'one day at a time'

The second thing is, that I'm sure I was only able to quit caffeine because I had the opportunity to remove myself from my environment. I was kind of leaving it till last, but saw an opportunity to be done with it, and did it. But had I not basically left society behind for a week, would I have had the will power to kick a drug ingested by 80% of the worlds population on a daily basis? I can't say, but I could at least guess: not by now.

The other thing, I have to consider is why I'm an unfair comparison to other people's addictions? Why in other words has it been so easy for me? These are my two best guesses:

1. Lack of stressors. Basically since the live exhibition, my life has been free of it's two leading sources of stress. Even so, both my 'major headaches' I viewed as net-positive on me, they stressed me the fuck out, but promoted a lot of growth, perhaps in the same way that drinking non-lethal doses of poison can make a body immune to poison. But by disassociating myself from my most stressful relationship (and hence graduating from psychotherapy) and putting the live exhibition behind me, I simply don't have any stress or anxiousness in my life, therefore, seeking the comfort of refined sugar, saturated fats, caffeine, and the mastarbutory aid of pornography has all been quite unnecessary in a stress management regime. In fact, a stress management regime has been unnecessary.

2. Infatuation. If you haven't been up with my posts, I basically became infatuated, and that means my brain has been getting doses of it's own good drugs for a couple of months. So, put simply, the kick I get from sugar or caffeine is all pretty limp compared to the buzz and excitement that comes from infatuation. It's winding down now to where infatuation has to translate into action, lest it translate into fear and frustration so it is kind of scary to think I may get discouraged, and turn back to my vices.

So fuck, what I'm seeing clearly now, is that the general populace has it arse-backwards. People with addictions don't need to kick the drugs to get their life in order. They need to get their life in order to kick the drugs. I've spoken with those wonderful, amazing people that have beaten serious addiction, and they have to do things to do so that most of us would find unimaginable, or naively simple.

Basically, they have to ditch their entire social circle. To cease associating with other addicts, with other misery, with other pain. So pause for a second and consider who's in the room next to you and imagine having to make the decisions necessary to never see them again.

You could be naive and say that obviously ditching your partner, housemate, family is very different from ditching an addict. But it's precisely your partner, housemate, family that define your sense of normal. They are what make whatever vices or even bad habits you have okay. There's a harder road to be walked, and that's mustering up the will to basically go against the grain of your own social circle. But just imagine how your partner, housemate, family, work colleagues would react if you said 'and tomorrow I'm going to quit my job and become an artist like tohm.'

In other words, to beat addiction is to introduce conflict. Disorder. Just as I realised while away on retreat that being a vegetarian/vegan isn't just a personal decision but a social one. We live in a society really fucken averse to conflict. If somebody is trying to get over addiction, you got to have their back.

*to be fair, I did adopt a conscious rule not to drink with any of my friends that I suspect 'need' to drink for the medicinal anxiety relieving benefits of alcohol, because I am anti self-medicating. This did lead to awkward exposures because for convenience sake I would tell these friends that I had quit drinking, then get busted by them at other social events where the company were to the best of my approximations drinking recreationally.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Heuristic #1

Comes from Warren Buffett:

'Never risk something important, to gain something unimportant.'

He then proceeded to explain that if somebody offered you a revolver with 6 chambers but only one loaded, and offered you a million dollars to put it to your head and pull the trigger, most people wouldn't do it. But few people recognise situations where they are offered $1 to pull the trigger on a gun with 1 million chambers. The risk of losing your life may be much much smaller, but the gain is so trivial, you just shouldn't take that risk.

I think this is a good rule of thumb to live your life by. 

Anti-Break Up

Ima not talking about 'the hook up' but rather, what transpired today at my psychology session. See thanks to government schemes I still had sessions up my sleeve, but today after running the two BIG epiphanies I had during the Christmas breaks by her, I informed her I didn't need to see her anymore.

Which like a breakup you never know, and nobody does, it is more on principle than in practice one says 'I'll never need to see you again.' But it's done, we did it and it feels so similar to a break up except it's the exact opposite with a psyche and that's the thought I wanted to share with you.

Instead of a conclusion to a relationship being brought about by the failure of the relationship, concluding a relationship with a psychologist indicates success. It's like this joyous, happy parting of the ways. Perhaps what Matt Damon was trying to express in Good Will Hunting when Ben Affleck goes to pick Matt up for work on the construction job and he isn't home, and then Casey Affleck moves from the back seat into the front and you're all like 'he's gone and that's the best news ever'

The first time I ever saw a psychologist, it was a time when I was losing my shit, like really losing my shit and I only got three sessions because it was on an EAP. My parents offered to foot the bill for some extra sessions if I needed it, but I figured I didn't since Joe told me the same thing every session and I'd just refuse to hear it, know what I'm saying? But I remember our last session it started pouring rain, so he gave me a lift the few blocks back to where I live. And Joe said 'I'm confident you'll make a full recovery' and that meant a lot at the time because it was really hard to believe. But I did, I got my mind back together and enjoyed better times than I ever had before.

But the difference was that that while successful was a sink or swim departure, and I managed to swim. This time, you know, there's no expiration of sessions, no dropping the patient off on the last ever meeting. I let myself out the door with the blessings and good luck of my shrink. 

I'm a normal healthy individual. Now I just need to convince the world of this fact. And I will. I'm confident.