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The Journey Within


Pierce
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@Dannigan As a fellow healthcare worker I've seen all to well the effects of a full moon (or maybe it's a superstition limited to Emergency Medicine). For me, though, I've noticed the cycles I go through for a while. I'll be unproductive for a few days, feel really guilty each night until I can't take it anymore, start being productive and feel amazing the next day, get tired and stressed out by life, look to electronics for comfort, relapse, repeat. 

It's interesting you bring up stress. When I feel stress I have a natural tendency to do something to relieve it immediately or repress it. This is great for crisis situations, but can lead to lazy behavior in everyday life. Psychologist Carl Jung speaks of the "shadow self", a manifestation of our repressed desires. I was thinking today that maybe my compulsive electronic use comes from a desire to play and have fun, but since I am trying to force myself to do work it comes out in a negative manner. If I choose a psotive way to play it would manifest as exercise, drawing, writing, reading, and most importantly socializing. It's a theory, but maybe when I feel a need to go use an electronic device unproductively I should rest for as long as I need to doing something else, even if I don't get anything done all day.

Also,  to be honest, I still haven't emailed the advisor to the writing club. I'd been putting it off, so this morning I drafted an email for her and the advisor in charge of the drawing club (I just discovered it as well), but became preoccupied. Now I don't want to send them. A small part of this is shyness, but I've done far bolder things before (public speaking, ballroom dancing in front of a crowds of people, convincing patients to let me stick a needle in their arm, etc). I think the main reason is I don't want to start something and then drop it, like I've done with so many other things in my life. I can tell that this would be the first thing to go if I get overwhelmed again. I'm hoping this isn't cowardice disguising itself as the voice of reason, but I'm going to hold off until my life is a bit more stable.

And thank you for the kind words and empathy. They help a lot.

 

 

The act of going to school forces productivity, and thus garners endorphins and positive thinking to deal with the task at hand. Class was pretty standard, and after lunch we would be borrowing the nursing program's obstetrics lab. There was no way of tracking who went, so half of my class skipped, but I knew that going would be good for me (and it just felt like the right thing to do). It was good to refresh on how to assist live births in the field, and the nurse who voiced the dummy representing the mother was hilarious (lots of dirty jokes and cussing ensued). When I got home I felt focused. It feels strange to talk about self acceptance and self love as a guy (which I know may seem silly from an outside view), but I believe they are the root of enlightenment. More importantly, they are one of the most important pursuits one can engage in his life. So during this time at school and the car ride home I chose to accept both my flaws and positives. This is not a one time and done action. It was just one further step of many, but it was in the right direction.

At home I was tired, and a little voice in my mind said I'd feel better if I watched some youtube videos, and then I'd be able to work. So I sidetracked myself for a little bit on there and felt better. Then I pulled out a book to read, but wanted a little more. I took a nap while doing so and when I woke up I saw it was 7pm. This time was exactly when my patient care data would be closed off for last thursday's shift, and I had forgotten to do it. My heart sunk for a moment: I had planned on working on this afternoon, but had forgotten. I pulled myself together and composed an email to my clinical director. I was honest and direct about the issue. The chance he'll reopen it for me is unlikely, but I wanted to try. Worst case scenario is that I'll have to do another 12 hour ER shift. At the time this was a very stressful thought, and I couldn't think straight to do any school work or read so I decided to run to the gym to lift weights. Great choice. Pushing myself physically made my negative thoughts appear as an annoyance that I could flick away. I even bumped into a good acquaintance I hadn't seen in forever on the way home, and had an annimated conversation for over half an hour.

 

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Hey @Pierce, I read some of your earlier journal entries and you seemed to have a similar goal that I currently have - to minimize or even quit watching videos that are not necessary for any development/education purpose. Since you don't really mention it anymore, I was wondering what's the status on that? Did you experience a permanent improvement? Good luck on the journey! :)

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@JustTom That's my primary goal right now, aside from school. I now find gaming boring and soul-sucking, but in my year of quitting it I found my root addiction that led to gaming is far more toxic in my life. That addiction primarily manifests in watching unproductive videos, but I see it as any time spent in front of a screen that wasn't intentionally set aside for my growth (I say intentionally because I could justify how watching anime and eating popcorn all day are beneficial for growth otherwise). I've used that crutch to hide from life for too long, so I've been systematically trying to root it out. 

Good luck. I've found it to be hardest thing I've ever tried to do in my life. That said, that rewards you can reap are much higher than the difficulty. I'd be curious to hear what you believe the root of your addiction is, and what's been working for you.

Day 1

Last summer there was a day I was lifting weights with a friend at his gym. He loaded weights on the bench press for me as I went through a grueling set of many reps with minimal rest. He would count each rep before I would get to the top, and eventually I asked him why he did that. He said he fully believed I would make the rep, so he counted it as if I already did. That's what I'm doing for today. I'm typing this out in some free time I've eked out in my last ER rotation for the semester (cue confetti and party horns), and I feel confident that tonight will be as positive as the rest of today has been. Also, I know the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over expecting change, but so is the definition of tenacity. In my book tenacity is a virtue, so I'll take being a little crazy as well. I believe that April 14, 2019 I'll have made it one year without electronic entertainment (not counting reading and writing online, which are entertaining for me), and be that much better of a person for it.

Yesterday I watched a lot of anime and waited until the late night to take my quizzes due that day. I don't consider myself a naturally lazy person, but the addicted version of me is the textbook definition of it. It's partly why I was conspicuous from posting here yesterday. On the flip side, the positives of that day include: doing hill sprints first-thing in the morning, getting a call from a friend I hadn't spoken to in almost a year (the girl I texted last Friday night), and getting an email from my clinical coordinator that he'll extend my patient care report deadline (which was very generous of him). Celebrating that last fact, this afternoon I finally emailed the two clubs I've been wanting to check out. The social interaction will be good for me, and honing my writing and drawing skills will be even better.

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19 hours ago, Pierce said:

Good luck. I've found it to be hardest thing I've ever tried to do in my life. That said, that rewards you can reap are much higher than the difficulty. I'd be curious to hear what you believe the root of your addiction is, and what's been working for you.

I would narrow down the problem into two main factors: 

  • Negative habit loop
    • Our mind associates places, people or even objects with feelings and actions that we took previously. Quite literally in the brain, the same connections between the same structure of neurons are strengthened whenever we repeat a pattern such as 'open laptop -> open reddit'. If we do this for years it is very hard to break the negative habit loop as it reinforces itself. Repeating the same pattern gives you a sense of sense of certainty, which is one of basic psychological needs. 
  • Fear
    • Fear of change, of the unknown. In a very abstract and unconscious way of course. There is a certain self-esteem or identity that every person gives/associates with themselves. If we do certain activities in a certain pattern for long enough, they subconsciously become our identity. "I am the guy who procrastinates a lot", "I am the gamer". "I have addictive personality". "I don't want to waste time on youtube but that's just what I do all the time". If we then become conscious of this and want to change, what we actually want to change is our identity. The 'letting go of our previous self' kinda thing. That's why I believe it's so difficult. Because it's not just changing a habit pattern. It goes much deeper as subconsciously we associate long-term behaviors to our personality and ego. Changing or getting rid of our identity/ego is one of the most difficult things in life.

This is how I personally think 'privilege' works. I believe what makes a person successful(whatever their definition of success is) is not the resources(money, social benefits), but rather resourcefulness(knowledge and confidence how to obtain these). And I believe every person has the same potential and ability to suceed at literally anything they want(not considering physical disabilities). The difference is that people are born into different environments, come into contact with different teachers and content and develop different identities that include resourcefulness and self-esteem. It is then up to the person to recognize that and change accordingly - some have it more difficult, some less. Anyways just rambling. 

I'm not sure what the best way to change this is. Probably some combination of productivity systems(detox, time management, reward systems etc.) and deep introspection(meditation, visualization, contemplation..). I think I got the right strategy for me personally, slowly working my way through the detox and a little habit-building system. As my pessimistic friend always says: "Life is hard man". 

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I'm exhausted right now, so I'll respond to your comments above tomorrow. Thanks for leaving them.

Day 2

Today was a tough battle, but I did well. This morning I was getting strong cravings to watch anime. They hit me as I was entering in patient care reports, which are very tedious. These urges hit me throughout the day, and I used weight lifting and running as much needed breaks when they became too distracting. I hypothesize that I've been using electronic entertainment as a form of self-medication for my ADD, which I've struggled with all my life. Instead of facing the pain of focusing on a task I could zip off to somewhere where my imagination could run wild. To further back this up, when I was thinking about the types of animes I wanted to watch one of the main factors I was looking for was how long each series lasted. I wanted a drug that could keep me away from my problems for long periods of time.

I heard back from the drawing club and they have a student exhibition next Wednesday. I'm thinking of whipping something up so I can enter it. To help replace my anime fix, I'm recreating a drawing from Parastye, attached below. It'll definitely take some new skills to pull it off, but I'm excited about it starting on it tomorrow.

Parasyte.jpg.b5d01620f186559ddd259f96e122c859.jpg

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@JustTom Interesting. I fully believe you are right about habit loops and subconscious affirmations, I've just had trouble applying that information practically. Your last two paragraphs resonated a lot more. Your thoughts on resourcefulness are especially something I can be on board with. I've started reading How to Make Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and it illustrates your point well. Carnegie was a poor farmer's son who had to ride a horse just to get to college. It was through his hard work on the debate team, and later the daunting risks and hard work he put into his world famous public speaking courses that made him one of the most important people of the last century.

The activities that have been helping me in my detox have been exercise and creative pursuits. Exercise let's you get out of your brain and focus on the exertion your body feels during the task at hand. Creative endeavors (such as writing, reading, drawing, music, etc) replace the sense of flow from electronics and allow you to create rather than consume.

As for meditation, it's something I'm a big proponent of, but struggle to do. It's hard to for me to meditate for more than five minutes. The best I've done has been when I visited a nearby Buddhist meditation center and set in during a couple of those sessions. As you said, though, slowly building habits is the best way to do it so I'm going to focus on exercise, school work, and other activities I find to be fun before tackling meditation again.

@BigOlBeartic Thanks! I'm looking forward to unveiling my next work tomorrow night. 

It'd be cool to see what you're working on in Java at some point.

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44 minutes ago, Pierce said:

've started reading How to Make Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and it illustrates your point well.

One of the best books I've read by far!

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Day 3

I'm posting right now to clear my head so that I can complete my last two big tasks for the night. I've been working on a paper for class this afternoon and was feeling lonely since I've been at home for the past two days (and will be tomorrow as well), so after dinner I called two of my friends and texted a few others. The two I called made it clear I was calling at a bad time and they would get back to me tomorrow. The texting wasn't very fruitful either. Journaling is a tool that usually helps in times like these, and I am grateful that I do not want to turn to electronics like I usually do when I want to hide from my loneliness. 

This is why being an introvert is so confusing. I've revelled at being at home and being able to control my own schedule. On the flip side, it's made me stir crazy. It's funny because there's not anywhere I'd like to go anyway since they would all make the feeling worse. Just processing the feeling and then getting back to what I need to do at home really is the most productive solution here. I guess I just need to be more cognizant of my thoughts. I've been ruminating over negative friendships in the past, and over all the positive one's I've lost. I should enjoy the company of myself, as I am my favorite person to be around (love-hate relationship, though).

As I've said before, this is my journey. The path is what I need to set my eyes on, my pace my only worry; sometimes to speed up to get to a certain destination in time, sometimes to slow down and rest, but never to stop to walk on a divergent path. I know this is a harsh attitude, but I need it to temper my people-pleasing tendencies: fuck everyone that makes me stumble off my path.

I feel better now. I'll finish my paper and start working on my art project soon. And overall, it's been a good day. Many productive things done, and I didn't allow my emotions to derail me.

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On 4/15/2018 at 2:30 PM, BigOlBeartic said:

I loved the drawings you posted Pierce! I do hope you end up joining the club. This journal is the definition of tenacity :)

@BigOlBeartic  You are  a very encouraging presence, you know?  Always nice to read your responses to people.  That's something I am going to work on.  : )

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49 minutes ago, Pierce said:

Day 3

I'm posting right now to clear my head so that I can complete my last two big tasks for the night. I've been working on a paper for class this afternoon and was feeling lonely since I've been at home for the past two days (and will be tomorrow as well), so after dinner I called two of my friends and texted a few others. The two I called made it clear I was calling at a bad time and they would get back to me tomorrow. The texting wasn't very fruitful either. Journaling is a tool that usually helps in times like these, and I am grateful that I do not want to turn to electronics like I usually do when I want to hide from my loneliness. 

This is why being an introvert is so confusing. I've revelled at being at home and being able to control my own schedule. On the flip side, it's made me stir crazy. It's funny because there's not anywhere I'd like to go anyway since they would all make the feeling worse. Just processing the feeling and then getting back to what I need to do at home really is the most productive solution here. I guess I just need to be more cognizant of my thoughts. I've been ruminating over negative friendships in the past, and over all the positive one's I've lost. I should enjoy the company of myself, as I am my favorite person to be around (love-hate relationship, though).

As I've said before, this is my journey. The path is what I need to set my eyes on, my pace my only worry; sometimes to speed up to get to a certain destination in time, sometimes to slow down and rest, but never to stop to walk on a divergent path. I know this is a harsh attitude, but I need it to temper my people-pleasing tendencies: fuck everyone that makes me stumble off my path.

I feel better now. I'll finish my paper and start working on my art project soon. And overall, it's been a good day. Many productive things done, and I didn't allow my emotions to derail me.

Loneliness is a strange creature.  It creeps up on us at any time.   I asked this forum about how people handled loneliness.  I received varying responses.  Loneliness is just part of being human.  Nothing to be ashamed of either.  You can even feel lonely among your friends!  Or even family!  Or your partner!  That's how creepy loneliness is....lol.  But it's a feeling that will pass.  Sometimes loneliness brings his friends;  anxiety and depression.  They have a little party together in your honor.  I digress.  I think what you did to counteract the loneliness by calling or texting your friends, is a good thing to do.  You're reaching out.  It's when you start isolating yourself for too long, that's when Loneliness, Anxiety, and Depression start partying HARD. 

Keep yourself busy, think of a few small goals or tasks that can distract you.  :)  You already see the advantage of writing about what you're going through.  Well done, @Pierce!  I don't think Loneliness has much reason to stick around tonight.  Seems he's disappeared.

 

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@Dannigan definitely agree with your description of loneliness. It appears at unexpected times and can totally scramble you up if you don't handle that emotion properly. Especially if you also suffer from other stuff like anxiety, or are on a new experience such as this detox. Just as you said though, small tasks help and this journal has been so helpul.

Thank you very much for that really nice compliment btw :) It really made me smile :)

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@Dannigan You have a very wise and calming presence, like the wind on a serene day. And I agree, @BigOlBeartic has a warming presence, like the sun's rays as it rises and washes the cold of night away.

As for your thoughts on loneliness... I don't know. My gut feeling disagrees. I'm trying to introspect carefully to see if this is true, but this is how I feel as of now: reaching out just leaves me empty and hungrier. The times when I am happy alone, and when I am happy with others, are when I am happy with myself. Reaching out Sunday just made it evident that my friends were too busy for me. The only good that came from it was that I texted a friend who I hadn't spoken to in a while. Ironically she was dealing with loneliness as well, and likewise struggled with that feeling conflicting with just wanting to be left alone. It's still a theory, but I'm feeling more and more confident that the key to overcoming loneliness is within.

Day 1

I didn't post yesterday because I felt like a chump for failing after hyping that new start so much. Today I see how that it really is a non-issue. Every time I try I will believe it will be the time I succeed. I'm not going to be ashamed of that.

I had my paper to work on with only a small amount already done. I got another small chunk done, and then I just felt worn out. I worked more on my drawing some. Then I tried to find other things to do. Eventually I was just so tired of the fatigue and mental pain and thought that starting over would be worth it if it would just go away. Then I could finally do something with my day. And watching anime after holding off those days before felt amazing. Dopamine coursed through my body as raw power. The problem was I couldn't control it. If I had the ability to focus it I would have worked more on my paper, but instead I kept on watching and watching until finally it was past my bed time and I knew I wasn't going to get anything more done.

My body woke me up an hour early this morning, as it usually does when it knows I have something I need to get done. I cranked out a bit more on the paper, then went to class. The paper was due tonight so I had time. In class I saw some people had copies of their paper on their desk. I thought it was strange and that they just wanted to turn in a physical copy early. Then I heard my instructor say something about an email, and when I looked it up I saw that earlier in the weekend he said that the schedule was being changed and to bring a finished paper copy to class. "Crap! Crap! CRAP!" I said out loud. He sent the rest of us to the computer lab to print out our papers. I frantically jammed out a conclusion and printed it.

English has always been a strong suit of mine, and after being on the debate team in high school public speaking is second nature. I gave my presentation fourth and it was by far the best in the class as far as the presentation itself went, and one of the top three in regards to informativeness. So I bet I got a good grade, but that fact that made such a noob mistake and had to do all of this in the 11th hour wasn't cool. It's why there's always a price for relapsing.

In the evening I went to the art club's exhibition. The paintings were already selected from a previous time, so I knew it wouldn't do me any good to bring mine (it wasn't finished at the time anyway). It was a surreal experience. On the one hand, the art was amazing. High schoolers and college students alike, and even the less talented paintings were out of my scope. I took that as a good thing; gave me a standard to set for myself. I spoke to a couple people, including the faculty advisor, but found it difficult to socialize, especially since I was one of the few people (maybe only person) that came knowing absolutely no one. Overall, it was a pretty good experience. I'm not really interested in joining a club about promoting art, though. I want to draw. This may sound solipsistic, but all artforms I produce are for me. If I can't enjoy it without the praise of anyone else, I don't want to make it. It's unfortunate that the writing club advisor said they weren't able to get enough people for this semester, either.

So I came home, again, feeling kind of lonely. I chose to finish my drawing and then run. And as I did both I reaffirmed what I have said before: this journey is about coming to terms with the self. If I can't accept myself and enjoy my own company, I'm not worthy of leaving my cage. I have the key after all.

Attached below is my latest picture. It's of the picture above from Parasyte, but I swapped the protagonsits face with my own. The body turned out great, but since the face required more improvisation to put on a 2d model it has a lot of defomities, especially the eyes and nose. I guess this is a literal representation of the metaphorical idea of acceptance I described above, haha. 

I'm incredibly tired, but I'm looking forward to reading and posting in other journals tomorrow.

000073_001_zpslhzpde5n.JPG.e36219fdc385ba6a2297f4d77eaf79e7.JPG

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Congratulations on conquering that speech, even though you weren't completely finished... imo, amazing. Which reminds me, we had impromptu speaking in my public speech class today, where everyone drew a prompt from a bag and got up to speak about it for one minute. I did a little better than I thought I would :P

I'm not sure you've tried this already but maybe what would work is if you split this challenge into smaller pieces. go as long as you can, say maybe around a few days or a week. If you relapse then that's fine, and don't think of it as a failure- just from the next day, try to last just a little longer than last time, maybe by a day. I really like that drawing, (and, edit: I love parasyte, I've watched the whole anime twice i think :) it really tried to say some big things about humanity) and I might have missed it but what's your painting of? :o

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18 hours ago, Pierce said:

It's still a theory, but I'm feeling more and more confident that the key to overcoming loneliness is within.

Can confirm. It’s just about the attitude. It really takes no effort to meet people, in fact everyone meets new people almost on a daily basis. It may be the guy that sits next to you at the library or the girl that works at your favourite cafè. They will say “hi” and how you answer will make all the difference. For example, I usually just answer “hi” and walk away. But when I stay there and talk just for a little bit... it’s very easy to get intimate, just be honest with yourself and with the other person. I know it’s hard when you’re not used to it, I struggle a lot too with social anxiety and other related stuff, but I see people around me doing it all the time and it’s just as easy as it looks. Of course, after you meet someone you must nourish that relationship if you want it to bloom :)

I also want to tell you other things:

- SEND THOSE EMAILS! I do that mistake all the time, there’s nothing to gain and a lot to lose. Just send them. I see that you already talked with people for info about the courses you’re interested in so maybe you don’t need to send the mails anymore, but if you still need to send them “just do it”.

-I fully support your decision of getting rid of youtube and videos and anime and so on (it’s always a good idea to get rid of an ADDICTION), but just as a short tip (and it’s always the same old story) try to fill that time with things that interest you! That way it’ll be easier! I know you already do that and I think you’re very good at it, so please just take this paragraph as a friendly reminder

-Edit and almost forgot: that last-minute presentation thing was amazing

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@BigOlBeartic Good job on the imprompteau speaking! That was always my strong point. Going back to what I said before, my challenge for you this semester is to make at least one speech with multiple jokes in it.

I think I understand what you mean by splitting the challenge up. I go day by day, any smaller than that seems trivial. Right now I'm trying to make it to a week.

Go a few posts up and you'll see a picture from Parasyte I got from the internet. I copied it with a face swap (I always wanted a Migi of my own). In many ways I saw Parasyte as autobiographical, meaning that minus the science fiction bits the evolution of the protagonist is something I can really relate to. What attracted you to the show?

@info-gatherer True about those social interactions. I just find those relationships empty, like munching on chips. If I can't talk about deep philosophical subjects, or at least about raw emotions, I'm not motivated to maintain that relationship unless there are extrinsic benefits involved. Again, a theory, but I think we're trying to find others to satisfy us when we're lonely, when we really need to learn to find that satisfaction within ourselves. So in that vein, I sent the emails and even visited one of the clubs yesterday (found it mildly boring). The other club isn't meeting this semester. 

And you're right, I need to start replacing better. I'm trying to replace fun unhealthy things with boring healthy things (i.e. school work). Reading, writing, drawing, etc. need a higher value put on them.

 

I felt really tired after all that went on yesterday. Watched anime. Going to get more done tomorrow. I lifted weights tonight and planned what I'm going to do tomorrow. I'm not going to beat myself up too much about it, and am glad I feel pretty content right now. Contentedness leads to healthier behaviors, whereas tiredness and stress lead to negative ones.

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3 hours ago, Pierce said:

If I can't talk about deep philosophical subjects, or at least about raw emotions, I'm not motivated to maintain that relationship unless there are extrinsic benefits involved.

I used to do this mistake a lot three of four years ago. I thought thay every second of conversation HAD to be related to what I judged “important”, be it literature, cinema, philosophy, art, music, and so on... and that I was wasting my time and breath when I had lighter conversation or small talk.

Now I see it very differently. I don’t want to tell you what you should or shouldn’t be looking for, you’re your own person, but I can tell you my experience: sometimes a conversation about the weather gives me more than one about postmodernism. Conversation doesn’t necessarily have to be profound, it can be relaxing too. Be careful, stupid and relaxing are two very different matters. I hate stupid conversation (shaming someone, just an example) but am very willing to have a relaxing conversation (“Do you prefer to sit in an armchair or on the sofa?”/“I really miss going to the seaside”/ “My examples are terrible”). Also, small talk is always painful, but many times it’s a required step when you’re meeting someone, it’s the only way to break the ice. Then of course you need to find people that are similar to you, but often, as someone mentioned (was it you?) just yesterday on this website, “looks can be deceiving” (which iirc is also a LoL quote, by the way xD)

Just my 2 cents, needed to write this because my past self could really relate with what you said.

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@info-gatherer Sounds like you enjoy getting to know people better is what you enjoy about casual conversation. I'm at a point in my life where I'm skeptical about meeting new people, so maybe that's why I've been just trying to avoid people altogether. I'm still not at the point where I can convince myself it's the wrong strategy.

 

I really didn't want to post here today. I've been in a state of just screwing around the past few days. I enjoy more productive things, but they are expensive and their currency is one I've been low on: energy. I've been devoting what energy I have to working out at least every other day and getting last minute school work done.

Some things I'm trying to think through:

-What I should do to make this detox actually work.

-Whether my paring down of social activities is productive or toxic. I guess it's from feeling like I'm in emergency mode and just don't want to deal with other people right now.

-How I'm going to start pushing myself to get this last stretch of studying/school work done for the end of the semester.

-Whether I should keep my job or not (I haven't chosen to take on a shift in a month). It's not furthering my medical skills like I thought it would and it's often aggravating, but it does give structure when I go in. I'm thinking of finding a way so that I can start running emergency calls and sharpen my skills.

 

That first thought bears the most merit for this journal. I lose all confidence in myself when I am stuck in a state of weakness like this. The only time I feel strong anymore is when I'm working out, and I can only find the energy to do that once I day. I can envision a stronger version of myself, and even though I don't believe in me I believe in him. I can't quit on him.

Edit: I hate ending anything on a negative note. I know I'm going to create a reputation for myself of being a giant otaku (japanese word for obsessive youngster, usually derogatory) bringing up an anime example again, but it's all I've got right now. The show Yuri on Ice is about a Japanese figure skater that is very talented, but fails because he has no confidence in himself. The champion skater of his division takes notice of him and decides to coach him for a year. Through his training and encouragement the protagonist blossoms into a formidable skater. This is a lesson worth learning.

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6 hours ago, Pierce said:

That first thought bears the most merit for this journal. I lose all confidence in myself when I am stuck in a state of weakness like this. The only time I feel strong anymore is when I'm working out, and I can only find the energy to do that once I day. I can envision a stronger version of myself, and even though I don't believe in me I believe in him. I can't quit on him.

 

Except the obvious things you've surely heard before - I'll suggest trying changing your body language. My body language is pretty shit because I'm focusing on other things right now, but whenever I get to employ this concept, I immediately see improvement in my energy and confidence levels. I'm not going to rant this time, rather, check out this TED talk :6_smile:

 

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On 4/19/2018 at 10:00 PM, Pierce said:

@BigOlBeartic Good job on the imprompteau speaking! That was always my strong point. Going back to what I said before, my challenge for you this semester is to make at least one speech with multiple jokes in it.

I think I understand what you mean by splitting the challenge up. I go day by day, any smaller than that seems trivial. Right now I'm trying to make it to a week.

Go a few posts up and you'll see a picture from Parasyte I got from the internet. I copied it with a face swap (I always wanted a Migi of my own). In many ways I saw Parasyte as autobiographical, meaning that minus the science fiction bits the evolution of the protagonist is something I can really relate to. What attracted you to the show?

I remember that drawing! :D Can't wait to see the painting of it :) Unfortunately that was my last speech this semester XD All that's left is the public speaking final. I started watching because I think after Death Note, I was looking for another anime with a premise that set it apart from other animes. I heard good things about it, so I started, and obviously it had a lo of impact on me. Think the writers made a great plot and characters. Except his girlfriend, who if I remember correctly, annoyed me xD

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@JustTom Good point. We frame our realities. I remember a story from a friend who would sing as he ran on the treadmill at his gym. One day someone else ran next to him and he felt too self-conscious to do it. It took him a few hours longer in his day before he felt the energized and happy state he usually began in. I appreciate the advice and will see how applying it goes.

@BigOlBeartic I hope your speech class really boosted your confidence. It's a good skill. And I have to agree that some of the characters were bland in Parasyte. There was so much going on in the plot that the writers didn't flesh all of them out properly.

@Dannigan You hit the nail on the head. Being very introverted leads to closing the metaphorical gates to the castle and not letting visitors back in until all repairs have been made. I'm choosing to enjoy this solitude. I'll follow your insights and be sure to meet up with other people only after finals are done and my work situation has cleared up. Thanks, and enjoy your vacation for one.

 

Electronic entertainment today: Spent less than 10 mins on game related sites, and finished a movie with my dad.

It's been a very rainy day. I ran early in preparation for that, which was a fantastic energy boost. I've taken one online quiz for school and plan to take one more after this. When I finished the first quiz I wanted to wander off into the darkness of the internet, but decided to start writing instead. I've had a work of fiction in my head for a while and it was fun rattling out it's first page. 

Once the rain started getting really bad I decided that I wanted to run down to the library that my dad works out to check out a book and further stave off watching anime. In the torrential rainfall I ran down there and looked like a wet rat when I arrived. I zipped up my jacket, rolled up my sleeves, and changed my appearance into more of a hipster to offset the soaked look. I spoke with one of my dad's coworkers for a while about books and other miscellaneous things, which was much needed social interaction. My dad found me and messed with me for a little bit, and I decided to ride home with him so my books wouldn't get wet. I skimmed through one of them right there in the library, about how adults can handle ADHD. It was pretty unhelpful, but more than anything it was a good reminder that I should be more cognizant of the fact that I never really got rid of the ADD I had as a kid. The other book I got was on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars from a US diplomat's perspective. He's an excellent writer and I spent much of the afternoon on that.

When I got home my dad and I enjoyed finishing Bladerunner 2020 from last night. I decided to do a few things for work tomorrow and wednesday.

Edited by Pierce
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Electronic entertainment today: lots. Flash games and anime.

Since I work for the ambulance service we have semi-yearly protocol updates that are mandatory to attend. I chose the one today since it worked best for my schedule. This led me to working out early in the morning. I pushed myself when lifting weights, and during my run afterwards I ran with intensity since I had a timeline. I felt great when I put on my uniform and got in the car. I was lost finding the meeting place since I had never been to this base before, and made it just before they started. They introduced a few new paramedic level drugs being added to the arsenal, and spoke of new regulations on who can be entered into the trauma system.

I couldn't believe how much I had gotten done before 11am. I cooked a big, nutritious lunch, then settled in to read my book about the Iraq/Afghan wars. I read it for quite a while until I fell asleep on the floor. When I woke up I read a little bit more, and thought of getting to work. This thought triggered stress, and I started thinking it would be better to go to games or anime. It was in that moment that I looked back on the seven year fight I've been trying quit, and realize that the reason it's still going on is that ultimately I don't want to give up my crutch. So the rest of the day I spent in front of a screen.

I'm introspecting further on how I feel about this.

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Something great about you is you keep coming back to share your failures and successes. Journals like this have helped me become more open with my own experiences. But, it's like that cardi b song, 'Get Up 10' fall down 9 times, get up 10. Sorry for the corny reference - I hope this helps in some way.

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@BigOlBeartic That corny song lyric mirrors similar sayings that have been passed down from warrior traditions for thousands of years. It still stands today. I appreciate your optimism and am glad you feel comfortable enough to be open with us all here. It means a lot.

 

Electronic entertainment today: some anime at night

My most valuable possession is a 2 cent gray Bic pen. Let me explain.

One day when I went hiking I forgot to bring a pen to mark the path I would go down on my map. I was very frustrated, but was finally able to get one for free from a nearby gift shop. I told myself that this was a valuable reminder to stay focused in life. As time passed I put it in the medical bag I keep in the trunk of my dad's car to act as a reliable spare. This morning I retrieved it and put a piece of clear tape on it. On the tape I wrote in sharpie pen, "Nindo: Believe". Nindo is the Japanese word for one's creed among the shinobi. This creed would differ wildly from person to person, and I had an important one. My creed is to always believe in myself. The times I fail are when I lose sight of my inner strength and begin to feel like a frail and impulsive child again.

I did a set of hill sprints this morning and then had a very productive class. I caught up on many online quizzes and studied some pharmacology. When I got home I continued to study, helped cook dinner, and texted/called friends I had been ignoring since last week. After doing all of that I started having urges to game and watch shows on my laptop. I tried to fight it using sheer willpower, but I knew I was going to lose. Reading, writing, and listening to music didn't help that much. I then desperately looked for my pen, but realized I misplaced it once I changed out of my school uniform. So I caved. I started watching a lot of anime again.

And then I knew I couldn't afford to be doing this, so I redoubled my efforts and looked all through my house for that darn pen. I checked every place at least three times. I became so angry that in my head I shouted, "I'd rather die than lose this pen!"

I walked a few steps over to the couch and picked up a blanket to have the pen fall out of it. I'm not a superstitious person, but I want to believe that the universe was looking out for me. A hint at a higher purpose.

I'm keeping this pen in my lap even as I type. It is my reminder that I am strong.

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Electronic Entertainment today: one episode of anime

Today I had rescheduled a big certification exam at noon. It was for an Advanced EMT license that would allow me to run low-end emergency calls. I say rescheduled because this was my third time taking it. I studied for two months since the last one, so I knew I was ready.

I slept in for two hours and was worried I wouldn't keep up my morning workout streak. I worked on a long online quiz for one of my classes and that gave me just enough momentum to go to the gym. After weights and running I got around and put on a set of dress clothes so I would look and feel my best for the test. It was a long one and my ADD kicked in after the first 20 minutes, but I feel really good about it. The questions are randomized each attempt, and this test I finally feel like I was given questions based on what I learned in my AEMT class last semester.

When I got home I made myself a big bowl of popcorn to celebrate. I wanted to work on another quiz, but kept on getting set back by little things like needing to make salads for dinner for the family. Once I got all of those done I checked my email and found out the personnel board for the fire department sent me a date to take their written test next month. If I pass that I'll take the physical fitness one. With the amount of preparation I've put into both they should be a joke. My emergency medicine curriculum is far more difficult.

While I was reading through the requirements I decided to check an old instant messaging app I used a lot in the past to see if I had any new messages piled up. I had one from a month ago from an old friend apologizing about how our friendship ended on such a bitter note in the past (long story). It was really therapeutic to read that and I sent a sympathetic response.

After dinner I took the quiz, like planned, and then looked for my lucky pen. I had it all day and even stopped my car before leaving for the exam just to run back in the house and put it in my pocket. Somehow while decompressing at home it fell out of my pocket. I looked everywhere and finally found out that the dog was sleeping on it, haha. It helped in resisting urges that started cropping up at the end of the day, but they were becoming intense. The new season of Tokyo Ghoul is coming out with new episodes every wednesday, so I caved and decided to check out the new one tonight. I'm just glad it didn't take up too much time and I washed dishes for the first half of it.

I'm going to read and go to bed now, because I have a lot of studying and a few more online quizzes to go tomorrow.  

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