Thursday, June 21, 2018

All this family-separation stuff is draining. And then today I learn of Koko the gorilla, of Koko's Kitten fame, has died. Last night I distinctly remember thinking about internet cats, and how the first famous cat I can remember was Koko's kitten. Living cat, I should say; not the Garfields and the Lion-Os.

A talking gorilla was pretty neat also.

I've been working harder lately. Not sure why. Pushing on through my usual break time, skipping the minimal daily writing time I allot myself. I don't know. Maybe catching my stride with these new brain meds. They let me dream, but will they let me express myself? Or is the opposite happening and that I see what I'm trying to express isn't necessary. Maybe I should spend a little time understanding what I'm saying before I say it.

Perhaps it's the weight of all the things I'm not saying. I feel keenly aware of the way the world crushes a person. And how dwelling on it can be mentally crippling. I feel I am facing an army. I feel like I am a good fighter, but I'm not nearly as good as I would need to be if that army attacked. Being a pugnacious brawler is useful against individual opponents, not organized groups.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Hammer along, hammer along. Amusingly, I managed to hurt my right heel on a day I didn't do my usual walking. It makes sense; my left heel has been feeling really good. Pain doesn't go away so much as it migrates.

The nephews are turning 12 tomorrow. We should watch "Iron Man'.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Edges feel a little dull. "Everyone is the wrong shape," as the ghost character from Shadowstone Park might say. The ghost does not elaborate on what is the right shape.

Perhaps I need to stretch. Or maybe I'm emotionally drained from dreaming about yelling at my mom. In my dream I got so mad I refused to come over for breakfast anymore. I spent a few groggy moments in the morning trying to figure out if it was real. I felt bad about it.

Sleep-Anger Issues.

Foreshadowing the coming time when I won't be coming over for breakfast every day. It's soon. I'm considering moving earlier, since I have my monitor stands to move. That will be obnoxious.

I used to have a schedule. What was it? No real breakfast, but some watered-down coffee and an apple at break time. Then some kind of food bar for lunch.

I'm sure it will come to me. I used to do it all the time. And I'll have more time in the afternoon again. Some things will be easier to accomplish. And to be awake earlier than the dang dogs. Blasted hounds start creeping around at 6 am hoping I'll get up and feed them.

Monday, June 11, 2018

The following is a personal hypothesis; not anything I can back up with any studies at the moment. It's just a hunch, really, and I'm only half-awake right now. With that in mind, I'll muse about out loud. Maybe there's something like a "suicide switch" in our brains that gets flipped on somehow. We all have moments where we've had something we wanted to do and then suddenly not wanted to do it anymore. Our brains have the ability to recognize something is important, and still completely disregard that information. Cognitive dissonance, I think, the ability to believe conflicting ideas. Like when I'm late getting up in the morning but I hit the snooze button one more time.

Our minds are often in a state where the next action we take is determined solely by how we feel at that exact moment, not by how we think we might feel later. The all-you-can-eat buffet comes to mind. Starving when I start eating, then several plates later I can't even remember what it was like to be hungry, and so full I can't even imagine that I'll ever be hungry again.

Humans have two superpowers:

1. The ability to imagine (forming thoughts, ideas, and even feelings *independently* of current external input).

2. Theory of Mind, (the ability to understand that other humans have their own thoughts and feelings, and that again, this occurs independently of whatever's going on in our own minds).

We also have thumbs, but I'm not talking traits exclusive to humans; just a couple of things that humans in particular do insanely well.

We take these abilities for granted, I think, but the loss of one or the both, for even a few moments, could easily lead to taking an action that would seem incomprehensible to other humans who have never experienced the loss of their own superpowers.

So that's one line of reasoning, one possible set of conditions that could trigger the suicide switch. For an individual, anyway. But why are suicides in the US specifically, going up?

There's another scenario that's more disturbing to me: that our superpowers are still working. That this trend in the United States, this pandemic of people ending their own lives, at rates that are rising rapidly and steadily, isn't some abstract loss of reasoning. Maybe it's a direct result of the culture.

More people who can't imagine their lives ever getting better.
More people examining how the culture values them as an individual and coming to the conclusion that it's very little, if at all.

More Americans who see that whatever horrible thing happens to them, the rest of us will shrug and say "Well, if only they'd done this instead of that."

Which is how I imagine this will play out. Our culture will decide that there's absolutely no reason more and more Americans are choosing to end their lives, and if there was a reason, that reason certainly has nothing to do with living in the greatest country in the world.

And maybe it doesn't. I'd personally like to know for sure. But now it's time for my afternoon nap.

Friday, June 08, 2018

US Suicide Rates Rise

Seems crazy, but not that crazy. Welcome to the meat-grinder. The culture creates a standard of success and then hamstrings the ability to achieve it. Wealth has become morality, and the measure of individual importance.

Works us until we have no more to give, or until it has no use for us. A person reaches the endgame, and realizes it's only the endgame for them, and that the game wasn't even a game. They've been pushing a millstone attached to nothing, and they only made money for the person who sold it to them.

I'm not sure knowing this early on will insulate me from the despair. Suicide isn't something I think I can understand by itself; it seems to be tied to a lot of not-feeling of certain emotions. I understand despair, and I understand self-loathing. I suppose if I lost my sense of self, the idea that I exist, then ending a non-existent state might seem a rational thing to do.

It must seem rational, I think. Knowing that I am often irrational is a bleak comfort. Two layers of defense against a culture that is eating itself alive.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Took my car to the shop in anticipation of my upcoming commute. The brakes were fine; still going strong after 120,000 miles. My serpentine belt had been slipping all over the place, squealing in protest every time I started the car. It always settled after a minute, so I kept putting off replacing it. 

The serpentine belt is pretty important, I learned. The whole car just runs better now. 

Next up I have to replace my cracked windshield. I've put that repair off out of mostly bitterness; I had just replaced it and then it cracked again two weeks later. Next paycheck.

Or was it new glasses next paycheck? AC might be due for a recharge....

If only I didn't ever have to drive anywhere or be able to see things; I'd have a lot more money.

Monday, June 04, 2018

What doesn't make sense. Most things. What does make sense is not being so attached to material possessions. Loving them is okay; loving anything is okay. My concern is the when the idea of the self extends to the objects. Ownership requires some kind of investment, and objects persist in a way that may outlast the original motivation.

I'm thinking of how depression is often marked by rumination; constant reliving of sorrow. Isn't it possible to ruminate on joyful things? Aren't there times when it's appropriate to feel unease? Unbiased reflection may not be possible, and it make sense to me to seize every opportunity to evaluate the self, one's circumstances, and desires. Still biased by the particular emotional state, but given a large sample size it becomes easier to identify outliers. Like if I'm angry and suddenly some action seems like a good idea, I can maybe think to find out why it seems like that in this state, but not in other states.

Molding the mind like a stubborn clay. For fun and profit?