Problems and complications

J- you aren’t wrong that they are problems for me. I’m not disagreeing with you. But whether something is a “problem” or just a “complication” depends largely on your perspective, mind-set, and attitude. And all of those things fluctuate for me wildly and in difficult to predict ways.

Some days I feel like I have problems. On those days they are problems. I can’t surmount dealing with many situations. I don’t know how to work around something in particular that is happening. It’s not a complication–I can’t get past it; I have a problem.

Other days I wake up seeing the web of privilege I sit in and I think, “Not much can touch me that will seriously disrupt my day.”

My ongoing mental illness is much much much more of a problem than the dishwasher breaking. And yet there is only so much I can do about my mental illness and it is hellza easy to fix the dishwasher if you have money. Perspective.

I have problems. I’m not trying to argue with that. It would be obnoxious and annoying if I tried to say I have no problems. But it is hard for me to see the dishwasher or the car breaking as problems. I think that on some level having things like that break energizes me. I get to feel extra competent because HA HA! I CAN FIX THINGS!!!

I like complications. Complications make me feel alive and competent and like I have my shit together. Complications are “problems” that are easy to solve and they won’t actually hurt me. I will feel slightly annoyed by having less money to throw at my mortgage but not that annoyed.

I am even sitting pretty on the wildly swinging mood swings about my physical problems. This morning I had the loosest stool I’ve had in eight days and it is still well within my range of acceptable poop. My body is being really nice to me even though I’m having eggs and dairy (including cream!). I’m feeling weird about egg seeming to be sometimes a problem and sometimes not. But I hear that with IBS that will be true.

The more I read about the intersections of IBS and PTSD the more the PMDD makes sense and I worry about other comorbid issues. I’m never going to be able to medicate for my physical problems. That is more clear with every book I read. Diet, exercise, stress management. Those are my options. Massage, acupuncture, chiropractic are known to help manage the pain but I will not be able to find a medication that fixes me.

I feel a tremendous amount of relief in that acknowledgment. Some people feel a lot of pain. Life works like that. It’s hard, but it’s true. I can’t ignore it.

It means that my body stuff is less a “problem” and more an ongoing complication to be managed. If I want to not hate myself. Or I can think of me as a problem with no solution but death.

Somehow trying really hard to reframe it as not-a-problem seems important?

I’m glad I sat down and read three books on IBS this week. That was a good choice. It is helping me feel less frantic. It is helping me feel resigned to the life I’m going to have.

Frankly, in the world of IBS sufferers… I’m pretty mild from what I read. I don’t have overwhelming pain most of the time. I don’t feel like I’m being stabbed in the belly with knives a lot of the time. I’m a little abashed to read that having diarrhea with few other symptoms (the joint pain might be related but it might not–I have a lot of other conflicting things that could cause that) means I’m just about as lucky as someone with IBS can be. Oh. Ok. I should… not be so pissy.

It’s kind of like getting all self-righteous that you suffered THE MOST as a poor child in America and then finding out how it goes for poor people in third world countries. Oh. I… didn’t have it as bad as I thought. Oh shit I’m totally a self-absorbed asshole.

At least I already knew that fact.

J–you are being supportive and wonderful. I appreciate your validation and concern a lot.

I’m trying to figure out how to hack my brain.

This is part of that resiliency shit I read so much about. Reframing things from problems to complications is a big part of what allows people to thrive. I read these things. Implementing them in my life is harder. I get flashes of it.

This week it is really weird how having the dishwasher and car break has snapped me out of a depression streak. I was very focused for many weeks on the things I can’t fix and can’t make better. All of a sudden I’m seeing how many things I can fix and that’s huge.

And my arm hurts a lot less today. *phew*

Perspective decides how you feel about things. I’m afraid a lot of this post sounds like strident arguing and I don’t mean it that way. I mean, your response sent a clarion call through my brain and I’m trying really hard to figure it out.

I watch a lot of repetitive tv shows and movies and I read a range of books but a few repetitively nearly to the point of religion. When a new idea causes me to feel excited I have a lot of response partially because I have consciously created such a rut in the rest of my life.

Difference is striking.

I notice that when someone expresses support for me, my main response is an almost 1000 word post (and counting) defending why I don’t really have problems and I don’t deserve support, see I’ve got it all covered.

Does that mean if more people expressed support more often I would never write about the problems because I would be locked in a haze of trying to pretend there are no problems here. I don’t know. But it is interesting to me how much I want to not want support.

J, I do appreciate the support. You are right that I do have problems. I do have situations that need to be dealt with. I’m very good at tunnel thinking. If I don’t want to believe I need support this second I will be nearly rabid in my denial that I need support ever. I bite the hand that feeds me.

Well, is this biting a hand? I’m babbling about how I have money to pay to fix some problems so I shouldn’t complain. Is this biting a hand that feeds me? It makes it less likely people will express support in the future.

When I read about suicidality there are a few key categories of things that make people off them. When I go down the lists one of the things that jumps out at me the hardest is the need to be taken care of. I don’t really let people take care of me. When they express even mild support I will rant about how I don’t need it. I’m scared.

I don’t really know how to let people be support for me. This is an ongoing issue. At this point in time my early coping methods have become toxic. I think they were appropriate when I developed them. My life is different now. I do need to have friends who will confirm that I have problems. I need that validation as I try very hard to climb under a rock labeled D-E-N-I-A-L.

There are two kinds of problems in the world. The kinds money can solve and the kinds money can’t solve. I have a lot of problems money can’t solve. That is hard. My friends try to be kind to me as I deal with them. Then a problem that can be solved pops up and all of a sudden I have a burst of feeling-competent. (Which is pretty stupid because I have money because of Noah instead of because of competency on my part. Ok, fine I could fritter more away… but I don’t earn it.)

That feeling of competency makes me really want to white wash everything into being Just Fine, Damnit.

That makes it really hard to have perspective on what is a problem,what is a complication, and where is the dividing line of denial.

If I’m reacting this much to the words that someone says… I’m probably sitting on some denial. I am so ridiculous to deal with.

Today is less Zen. I feel a lot more anxious. A lot more like I’m letting “someone” (not sure who) down all the time. I can’t do anything right. I can’t even have the right feelings of gratitude when someone is nice to me. I am such a piece of shit.

I wrote thank you cards that were nearly apologies to Noah’s relatives yesterday. We are opening Christmas presents as they arrive this year. Waiting until Christmas morning has gone very badly every year so far. This year: few presents on Christmas morning. Just…….. can’t do the deluge. Overwhelming. Hysteria. Crying. No more.

I don’t want to be mad about the mess and them being unable/unwilling to pick up after their new stuff hitting all at once. They can’t sort out a huge new pile. They can find homes for one or two new things at once. They are that resourceful.

Yes, I could just write the cards now and hold them till after Christmas and mail them then and pretend we waited. I’m not really willing to present myself dishonestly to these people. They need to see what they are getting. Warts and all.

I feel like I am threatening people as I write on their Christmas cards “We are coming to your city next year….” I’m really scared about the reactions we will get. I need to not care.

Years ago I flew to New York City in large part because there was a guy I had flirted with/played with many times at large bdsm conferences and I wanted to have individual time with him. I wanted him to beat me so much I went across the fucking country to beg him to do it. I uhm, didn’t have an inspiring performance from him. He was tired and had a back injury and he wanted to sit still and have me “please him” and he didn’t want to do anything.

I’m not that kind of service bottom.

My traveling is a mixed bag. Sometimes the reception I get is stellar and sometimes it kinda sucks. (The guy in New York invited another woman over while I was there. For their first date. He played with her. He vigorously beat the shit out of her and fucked her wildly while I watched. But he “hurt too much” to play with me. Fucker.)

But I take enormous comfort from the fact that when I travel with my kids I travel with my own little reality distortion bubble. My kids are starting to sing at me, “Mom–you have to have a good attitude!” They learned it from one of the other home schooling families. I could wring that mom’s neck. (I’m totally kidding.) I get told it a lot. Pretty much any time we are on an out door adventure and I start getting grumpy they sing at me with a big cheesy smile. So I think grumbly thoughts at the mom who taught it to them. But I also close my lips on my complaints more often than not.

My kids are teaching me how to be. In some sense, my kids are showing me the difference between a problem and a complication.

J, you are right that the car being broken is a problem. It has to be routed around for many days. It will cause impact on our financial budget in ways I’ll have to deal with. This may cost thousands of dollars which kinda blows. I’m enormously grateful I have it to spend but that is kind of beside the point. It will have negative impact. You are right that it is a problem.

The dishwasher feels… more like a complication. Our dishwasher barely worked. It’s been actively, literally falling apart for years. You have to wash everything completely before the dishwasher can “wash” the dishes. And it is around $900. Given our budget… that seriously doesn’t feel like a problem.

It is hard to have perspective. It is hard to evaluate things for myself.

I need to just stop typing. Getting sore. So repetitive anyway. Yick.

One thought on “Problems and complications

  1. inflectionpoint

    I don’t feel bitten, so please don’t worry about that! I want to be of support in the ways that are available to me.

    This stuff is so damn complicated for me, and yeah, I can see some advantages to reframing some of this as not so much a “Problem” but as a Thing to be managed and dealt with. I’m not super articulate in this space myself.

    I have had people (who were kinda sucky in general) who wanted to play games with language and turn “Problems” into “Concerns” as part of their sucky way of reframing things so they didn’t actually have to say, that there is not OK and we should stop doing it NOW. When they turned it into a “Concern,” somehow it became value neutral and not urgent or important.

    I suspect I will have strong reactions for many years to watching people play controlling games with language as part of their ways to avoid having to deal with and help people. So I get scared when I see someone I care about reframing (because in my mind this means OMG, they are being pushed into that reframe by evil people, and yeah… that’s not what’s happening, but I have a big concern reaction that pops out here. Because OMG, please don’t invalidate yourself, other people are very happy to do this for all of us.)

    Inside my head there are a lot of chutes and ladders that don’t always reflect the actual landscape in front of me, it is weird finding them one by one. Adventure time!

    But to hold two totally opposite thoughts at one time, oh hell yeah reframing! I think it is a good way to allow you to decide what you can do and what you want to do about the cards that you are dealt, and it’s much more effective than some ways of looking at things. So yeah – reframing problems and holding on to their validity at the same time, yeah, that, that is what I see you doing, and it is powerful.

    I think about a dude I know at the gym when I think about problems/things to be dealt with. He has cerebral palsy. That is not going to change. Bummer. He has poor muscle strength and control in his legs. And he climbs. He has one of the most amazing upper bodies and cores I’ve ever seen, and he climbs well. There are some particular moves he can’t do, because he can’t extend a leg out, twist it precisely, and drive up off it. That – isn’t going to happen. It’s not physically possible with the body he’s got.

    But he is able to some really good climbs with the strength he’s got. And he climbs better than a lot of folks without CP, and he makes me think about working around, and managing, and dealing with things that are changeable and things that aren’t.

    And I am still envious that you have a dishwasher. I figure we are two to three years away from one, and probably by then I will forget I want one.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *