Everything is Moving

05/02

As of right now, I am staying up too late. I do realize that I probably don’t always need 8 hours of sleep and that sometimes 6 is much better.  So, maybe I am not staying up too late. The other morning, yesterday I think it was, I was thinking about how – darn it – I just can’t seem to write a simple essay for a volunteer contribution to an academic journal catalyzed by a social-professional connection with a person I’ve barely been in contact with for – oh, now – about two years.

I do know the social-political-ethical reasons why I might be held up, though I don’t always consciously agree with everything I believe.  If there is one thing that going to graduate school and cobbing together some sort of thesis taught me it’s that I really don’t  care much for the dominant modes of knowledge production in the modern Western world. At times, I am mildly interested in the various ways that academic production and authentication of knowledge is deeply problematic as the cultures and economies that the academy exists within become entrenched in methodologies and reporting. Yet, these are – alas – a part of the current production of knowledge, and so efforts to participate in the creation of dialog and inquiry are…*sigh*…important.

Ugh. I just realized that I had no intent to write about this. The issue of –ism in the academy and its modalities of teaching, learning, and defining reality is not the only dissonance producing barrier to me just sitting down and writing out the essay – the topic of which does feel important to me, relevant to me…even deeply important to me…and not just to me…possibly in the lives of other people. I have a reflexive resistance to this idea – that something I have to share might be important in the lives of other people, in the outcome of their lives. I don’t think that what I experience as a resistance (in the form of a tightening in my chest and a minor mental pushback, in specific doubt and sheepishness, wavering, putting myself back in my place) is humility. I think it is…gee, I don’t know.

I really don’t.

However, from what I can observe – it seems like what I might be trying to say might be of use to some people…people who are trying to figure out their realities, how to live within their experiences and to improve their experiences in ways that matter to them and are meaningful…and people who meet clinical criteria for a psychotic disorder of some sort…survivors…

I feel like I am being arrogant and foolish. An intensified humility, edging into humiliation, an urge to apologize.

{As an addendum, 05/03, if it weren’t for my sense of ethical responsibility to do whatever I might be able to do to support reconciliation and potential in the realm of human and planetary life, I wouldn’t be feeling a pressure to write an article, to try to articulate complex possibilities in a way that is accessible and yet eloquent. Astute, yet vernacular.  Ugh. I think about why I would want to write an article for a journal, all the lives that cross my path, the struggles people have…and this idea, this understanding, that helps, but that people don’t have access to, because so few of the people producing knowledge about why people struggle in baffling yet critical ways are operating from a paradigm of intersectionality and integrated traumagenesis of self and experience in a fucked up beautiful world, terror and wonder. It’s not as complicated as I make it sound when I try to talk about it in a way that lends the air of these phenomena being a real and actual thing. I am now noticing that tonight, like so many nights, I am running out of time.}

I think it might be helpful for people who have been told they have disorders of the brain to better understand what brains are, and what a nervous system is, how those parts of our selves work.

People seriously do not know this stuff.

I didn’t know this stuff – and I had been at least ½ heartedly actually trying to figure it out, at least a little. I did once order a DVD course on the brain, but I still haven’t watched it, because it features a white man talking about the brain and thus does not make me feel excited about the brain, or even curious about it. Such a presentation of information makes it all seem so bloody dull, billions of neurons, all those flashes of light in computerized graphic, a rotating walnut, seeming naked, exposed.

Yesterday, as I was saying, I had the thought that I really ought to just do more of what I enjoy and want to do, like – genuinely – not because I think I should want to do the thing, whatever it may be.

I just spent an hour doing service documentation of the day’s work, as per required by funding entities.

That was not exactly what I wanted to do, but it was okay.

For the past few weeks, I have been waking up early and going to work early, sometimes leaving the house as early 6:45am. Because I have so much extra time in the morning, I have taken to pulling off at the big grocery store in the town at the halfway point and taking a picture of this stretch of road that has – on many occasions – seemed pretty to me. It is not so pretty in these pictures, because one loses the effect of driving in between fields flanked by mountains, and sees – instead – other people driving in between fields, perhaps variably aware that they are doing so or that the landscape that surrounds them is “pretty.”

Instead of spending a ½ hour uploading individual images, I made an animation of all the morning pictures of the stretch of road. I guess I have been pausing to do that for a while now. The other day, I didn’t stop, because it seemed like stopping might be a perfunctory act, something automatic. Habitual. Then, I started stopping again, because it is a good place to pause. My camera doesn’t always focus well with that particular landscape. There is just too much to account for. Some pictures are blurry. They look like paintings to me.

When I think about painting, my heart seriously clenches…a sort of longing, familiar and dull, still there.

Some mornings, it has been very grey lately. The clear days feel exultant.

I will need to wake up in 6 hours. I am tired now.

I didn’t finish what I wanted to say about wanting to do things that I want to do, and what it is like to begin to experience wanting again, after not strongly wanting in a deep felt way much at all over these past few years. I wanted to write some about wanting.

I think that if I trust my wanting, the felt sense of it, not the idea of what I think I ought to do or think I ought to enjoy, or think I ought to be excited about…well, if I trust my wanting, and trust myself, things will work out alright. They are already working out alright.

I am only part feigning a baffled humility when I present the question: Is it a terrible idea to do a podcast, or a vlog, or a series of vernacular education about the brain and human experiences of life dysregulation and derailment in the context of the, sigh, modern world?

I don’t really care much about whether or not anyone else thinks it is a good or a bad idea.

It may not ever come to fruition. Many of my ideas don’t. I should do a vlog about all the ideas I have never carried out.

*Yawn*

Oh, please…go to bed.

These are clouds from today, 05/03, in the afternoon. It was a nice afternoon. There was a time that I would’ve freaked out about such fine compositions in the sky…but, now I just notice and still believe that the clouds look really weird.

Apr 25 (6 days ago)

to me

There was that morning, with the wolves on the radio and the sun breaking through onto all of the fields that spilled down from the mountains

The first time in days

(And this pause, this blank space, this blinding light of everything all at once, a sugar encrusted bear on a two inch screen…shining just light that, emanating and absorbing, caught in a slow growth and pulling inward…there is that, too…and didn’t I just think about the river, just this afternoon, driving home a green eyed girl, a rutted road, a striking orange calico in the tall grass by the ditch that had become, after these three days of rain, a stream…didn’t I mention the river, the place where I grew up…yes, yes I did…and saw it for a moment, the look of that place, could smell it even…for a moment…and, yes, there is that pause, this pause…)

A slamming door. A text notification. They say it takes five positive things to mitigate the effects of negative experiences. I don’t think it’s quite so simple as that . . . nonetheless, we went bowling and ate pizza, because that’s what people do for fun.

Apr 25 (6 days ago)

to me

And there was that time, that golden time, when she really did think that if she was open and kind to the people that walked up and down the sidewalk in front of her house on the little hill rise now almost hidden in the hedge trees…it used to be so open, with grass and flowers, and…oh, shit, there might be a nuclear war…oh, nightmare, nightmare, the very worst nightmare…much, much worse than the time someone broke into her house and stole her computer and it felt totally unjust, because she was a good person and – dammit – what about karma? She only thinks about these things to avoid thinking about the bigger truth of all the joy and beauty and purely terrible things and truly boring, pointless things…of which there are maybe…three?

Like feeling like the workings of the world somehow owe you…maybe that’s not totally boring . . . but, it is pretty fuckin’ pointless.

Sent: April 25, 2017 9:21 PM

Apr 26 (5 days ago)

to me

The urge to sleep more a habit than anything else, any real tiredness.

So much to do that I can’t do anything . . . so, do something. Just start moving things around. Make a short list of things you’ll try to do for just the hour. Vacuum, tidy dining room. Step foot in upstairs spare room, move one thing in that space. See what happens. Accept limitations. Savor small accomplishments, minor improvements. Aim for minor improvements. Keep moving.

The gravity of this house is absolutely stunning.

Apr 27 (4 days ago)

to me

I didn’t even notice the dogwoods trees in the field next door as they were blooming this year. Oh, small sorrow. I only noticed, tonight as I walking home the downhill slope, with the dog pulling and lunging at some phantom smell of Squirrel unseen, that the trees had bloomed and were now browning, the once-cream bracts gone wilted and singed at the ends.

I am ‘supposed ‘ to be writing an article, for free, about psychosis, to be published in an edition of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology…and, so far, my basic gist can be summed up in these notes:

(Sigh.)

[Brace for typos and rambling sentences, cluttered syntax. I wrote this on my phone.]

I have to acknowledge that although a traumagenic model of psychosis makes a lot of sense to me, on the basis of what I know about fear and how it distorts the functions of the brain and mediates experience in such a way that perception is skewed, meaning-making processes and cognition are altered, senses are heightened. It makes sense to me that what is thought fleetingly may be experienced as real, and the facts of one’s life and self become altered. The only thing that could, in my understanding, disrupt the hippocampus in such a way that the processes of memory encoding become bungled and the felt sense of what is real and happening is muddled and haphazard…well, the only thing that could cause such dysregulation of the mechanisms of memory and perception of immediate reality, could so thoroughly muck up our understanding of ourselves, about what is real about who we are and what is happening in the world is…the only thing that could do that would be what? Some sort of abject terror? A heightened keenness to threat, for so many different reasons?

Gosh, I really don’t know much about the brain at all.

I heard an interesting radio cast about brain cell clusters, which sounds like a breakfast cereal to me…about how they form and function, originating in the regions of the brain where new neurons are developed, like the hippocampus. I know the hippocampus is one of the brain structures that they say is altered in size in people who have diagnoses of schizophrenia and people who have experienced adverse childhood events.

There are reports of diminished grey matter in the brains of people diagnosed with schizophrenia. It makes sense to me that if a part or parts of the brain is/are under active due to, for example, being chronically afraid and trying to survive…well, yeah, you may have reduced grey matter in the more thinking and problem solving part of the brain, and – I think, too – has found that use of neurological drugs can cause “brain shrinkage.” I read an interesting article about ultramarathoners on extremely long boring runs having less grey matter at the end of a run than at the beginning. Researchers concluded that it was because the scenery was so terrifically dull that the runners became mentally unstimulated. I think it’s more complicated than that and might even have to do acute malnourishment and physiological stress or diminished hydration, or simply having brain activity in a sustained my-body-is-running state, a flow state in certain regions. Fortunately, the brain – reduced runners regained their pre-race volumes of grey matter in several months.

Yes. That’s correct. Their brains recovered and adapted after the long run.

Similarly, participants in a short-term experiment involving the effects of meditation on the size and activity of the amygdala, which is integral to our stress response system and implicated emotions/states such as anxiety, fear, and anger. After 8 weeks, the volume of the amygdala decreased and activity was diminished.

So, yeah…these things can change…

What I was about to say was that I don’t feel that excited about writing an article for an Academic journal…for a lot reasons, some of the likely based in fear or apprehension at the thought of trying to be focused and coherent, palatable to an academic audience, even if they are an academic audience that is mostly from the West Coast. That is an assumption.

Like the brain, I don’t know much about that whole world.

In my little worldwide have to go to sleep in 17 minutes if I am going to get 8 hours of sleep. I have been running reasonably well on 6, but that is not sustainable for me.

One thought I have had is around reconciling my understanding of psychosis being, in part, a traumagenic phenomenon…and the intersection of psychosis and spirituality…because if I can boil it all down to the brain and body, the ideas and sensations of mind, then where is God…? Does this mean that the experiences of God are the work of a terrified brain and body? That terror in experience activates some endogenous opioid or DMT salvation state, a biochemical mercy?

I still believe in God.

I saw this squirrel on a nearby house. It appeared to be trying, desperately, to figure out how to get back up to the roof of the house, where it may be living based on a recent sighting of a squirrel tucked on a ledge up under the eaves. It didn’t seem to know what to do. It took the squirrel 20 minutes to figure out that it could just jump onto the big light pole and climb back up. I wonder if that’s what happens to young squirrels if they grow up in a roof instead of a tree.

There is also, of course, the possibility that it is rabid.

 

Is there really anything to say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s