10 July 2017 @ 07:22 am
thinky thoughts  
I was in Chicago this weekend, which was, for me, an exercise in seeing many, many things I wanted to buy and buying none of them (because, in most cases, they were beyond my means, but in other cases because I knew it would be a bad financial choice). It was a fascinating process to take a step back from and observe. I noticed that with every item I was drawn to, there was a corresponding narrative about how it would make my life better / me more attractive / my home prettier, and it's that narrative that's super hard to walk away from. I guess we all do that - put together a narrative in our heads about why we need a thing - but for me there is this dread certainty attached that says without the thing my life will be boring / uninspired / bleak. I was thinking about this last night and realized that in part that comes from growing up poor, where a lack of income really did make things uninspired and bleak. That was good to figure out, because I've long known there was some connection between being poor and spending too much, and while I could understand part of that (the part where no one modeled good spending or saving habits to me until I was an adult) that didn't explain the whole. I feel like I'm getting closer with this realization, and better armed to confront that "need" to spend.

Jan and I also did some EMDR work on Friday about the bankruptcy, and while I can't begin to tell you all the twists and turns my brain took me through (it was such a messy web) the end result was that I realized the bankruptcy has left me feeling exposed and vulnerable. I feel like it's revealed a terrible flaw in me for everyone to see. But where that's become poisonous is that it's hooked itself up to an old, old story in me about my abuse being because of some terrible flaw in me. That the two are not to do with one another doesn't seem to matter to my brain - the one happened, the second followed, and so I've been experiencing hyper-vigilance and shame and all kinds of other PTSD symptoms. So now I need to program in reverse - the abuse was not about me, and was not my fault. Likewise the bankruptcy does not expose some terrible flaw at my heart, but rather a process of learning. And the best thing I can possibly do is to keep talking about it so that I don't give in to that impulse toward shame.

We always talk about my general health and whether I'm sleeping etc at the beginning of session, and I told Jan this time that my sleep has been poor because either I have the windows open and I'm too hot to sleep well, or I turn on the a/c unit and can't sleep because it's so loud. She pointed out that it's likely not the loudness alone that's making me sleep poorly, but the fact that I can't hear what's going on in the rest of the house. When I can hear everything, my hyper-vigilance is satisfied that I will wake up with a threat, but when I can't hear anything but the a/c, it remains revved up. So that explains an awful lot.

I also came to another conclusion this weekend - that I need to put progress on my new book project on the back burner. I've been looking at these summer months as a time to work primarily on that project, and then do everything else between times, but it's not doable. I need to reverse that - work on all my other things and then work on the book project when I have the time. I'm sort of bummed that the writing has to take a back seat, but on the other hand I'm so relieved to know that I now have time to get everything else done that it feels good. If only there were more hours in the day, you know?

I hope everything is well with all of you! I'm off to the eye doctor this morning, with the hopes that they will figure out why my one progressive lens has been useless for reading for the last 15 months. It would be lovely to read without things blurring!

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lexstar29[personal profile] lexstar29 on July 10th, 2017 01:15 pm (UTC)
As always, I applaud how you witness your own life and note these things and what they mean to you. Your feelings around the need to spend echo mine, so I see a lot of correlation in your thoughts here with my perspectives on my own spending. Thank you, as always for sharing. For what it is worth, I don't see any shame in your circumstances. I see that things have happened, and that you've taken control to handle them, as well as looking deeply into why this has happened, so that you can move forward with deeper understanding and break the old patterns. Those are all good things. You've stepped up to handle it.

I'm glad you're feeling good about being able to get everything else done. At least with this reverse thinking, it makes working on the book more of a thing to anticipate. I do that when I want to do some writing. I promise myself that if I focus on getting X and Y done, then I can write. Rarely do I get tasks done more quickly than then!

I hope you have a wonderful week ahead.
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kass[personal profile] kass on July 10th, 2017 02:20 pm (UTC)
Oh, honey. All of this makes sense. Intellectually you know that the abuse was not your fault ever in any way and that the bankruptcy does not reveal a flaw in you, but it's one thing to know that in your head and another thing entirely to feel it in your heart and in your bones. I hug you up and I send love.

I've been noticing lately a similar tendency in myself to want to acquire things to spiff up my house -- really what I'm feeling is continuing grief about the life I no longer have (and the life my ex continues to enjoy, now with bonus new girlfriend!) but it is so tempting to imagine that if I only bought more things for my condo I would have the glamorous, contented life of my imaginings. I've been going to tag sales to try to assuage that internal stuff -- I found an end table for $15, which is well within my budget, and while it's a bit banged up, it does the trick and the fact of finding it and nabbing it felt good. But you are wise to note that the desire to acquire things isn't actually about the things. Thank you for writing that.
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celli[personal profile] celli on July 11th, 2017 02:16 am (UTC)
Do you have time one of these days to talk to me more about EMDR? My therapist and I are discussing it as a potential Thing To Try.

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sheafrotherdon[personal profile] sheafrotherdon on July 11th, 2017 01:03 pm (UTC)
Of course! I would love to! Do you have a google hangouts handle, by any chance?
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celli[personal profile] celli on July 11th, 2017 01:22 pm (UTC)
Yep! numbergeek!
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sheafrotherdon[personal profile] sheafrotherdon on July 11th, 2017 01:33 pm (UTC)
It will only let me search for you by email address, apparently - what is it? Or you could search for me at cate dot writes at gmail dot com
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margec01[personal profile] margec01 on July 14th, 2017 06:31 pm (UTC)
My sister suggested a shopping trick years ago, which I have used over the years. When she sees something she wants but possibly shouldn't get, she make a mental note of it but doesn't buy. If she's still thinking about that item a few days later--it would fit perfectly here, it would be very useful right here--THEN she decided to get it. She says she realizes how few things she really has wanted to buy later, but the fact that she will allow herself to make a purchase eventually gets her away from the item(s) in the first place.

I've tried to use this trick with food I should not eat and it works--sometimes, for a while. Unfortunately, I seem to want to eat EVERYTHING! Sigh.

As for sleeping in hot weather, I have used the following trick for years, because I wake up with a stuffed nose and bad headaches if I sleep with the AC on. A couple hours before bedtime I close up the house and run the AC like crazy--even to the point of being cold. Then the very last thing I do before I crawl into bed is shut it off (or turn the thermostat up several degrees). You will start to feel warm, but the temp only actually goes up one or perhaps two degrees before the next morning. And I live in St. Louis, so it's still pretty hot outside. It's amazing how well the house holds in the cool air--or at least that has worked for the various houses I've lived in. Unfortunately, if you live in a brick house this doesn't work as well because the bricks will hold that heat in. And other things could make it not work too, so YMMV.

Good luck with your progressive lenses. It can be a pain to get them right.

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