468: Extremes lead to Happiness

I center naturally and instinctually by going to extremes. I tend to make huge changes in radical fashion with haste. This is my way.

The change is dynamic, akin to a wildfire brought on by drought—drought of the spirit, the psyche, the body, etc. As humans, we all naturally address and confront the need for change when we feel we can no longer tolerate the state we are experiencing. There gets to be a point where the energy spent to maintain a constant place of discomfort is more exhausting than the energy required to take steps towards change.

I know my mind well enough to recognize that when I instigate change, I become partially blinded to the past. I have the tendency to drop all of what I was a part of in order to move on. Only to return, once recovered in a state of balance, to pick up some of the pieces. There is no doubt that when I am undergoing transition, I become increasingly more stubborn about maintaining any pieces or parts that resemble or bring up what I am, in essence, escaping. I move on, but I don’t move on with casualness or a sense of ease, and I certainly don’t move on without shaking up my world a bit.

When I reach the point of misery about anything, I don’t like to sit in it. I don’t like to take an extended amount of effort and time to weigh all my options either. I don’t take months to make up my mind. And I generally know when it’s time to move on. And I do. This isn’t to say I don’t logically theorize and contemplate my options. I just do things at hyper-speed, partially when I am asleep and partially when I am awake. I am continually processing and digesting ideas. I have some sort of back burner in my brain where I can place unfinished ideas and decisions, and the mental items simmer there until they reach a boil. And then, with a splatter, the conclusions spill over in my mind. And then I know. So perhaps it seems like I am moving quickly or not taking a lot of time to process, but truly I have been contemplating and theorizing beyond the realms of obvious observation.

I reached an extreme point of discomfort about a month ago. I’d gone through a very traumatic, life-changing illness that left me clinging to fear. I jumped full force into some old habits, kind of jumped back a couple of decades into over-obsessive behavior, codependent tendencies, withdrawal from life, and more. Part of this was definitely biological, as my body recovered from lack of nutrients. Part of it was my psyche recovering from the drama that had been my life.

I found myself having magnified obsessive compulsive behaviors. I justified this by claiming I was self-soothing and self-stemming; and most of my brain believed me. I know now that my actions were a necessary part of my healing process. Cognitively and emotionally, and even physically, I didn’t have the strength to be strong. I didn’t have the strength to do much of anything. So I retreated. I retreated into my home, into my self, and into my mind. Until there finally came a day where I’d had enough of me. I started to disgust myself. Not in a low-self-worth-way, but in a what-the-heck-am-I-doing-way? It was time for change.

Within a minute, I’d had enough. And within another minute, I knew what to do to affect change. I knew what action to take, because part of me had already been planning and deciding (on the back burner), without my conscious recognition.

A part of me had already contemplated that with my recent trauma my online interaction had become way out of balance in comparison to the rest of my life. For months I had partaken in obsessive image/quote searching and posting, obsessive researching and searching for songs and song lyrics, obsessive observation of others’ postings on a social network site, obsessive analysis of my own thoughts, obsessive dependency on certain friendships, and the obsessive need to check and recheck patterns, messages, and comments on various venues online. To justify my obsessive behaviors, I had convinced myself I was a hermit afraid to go out of the house and that the only solution was online interaction.

I had swung my pendulum of self-balance to the far right. And I was close to swinging right out of the “sane” arena. I knew by observing my own emotional state, I’d hit a sort of bottom. I knew I needed to clean up my act.

With this realization came some tough decisions. I had to let go of a lot I’d been holding onto. I had to let go of what I thought was keeping me afloat. This action of release required much courage on my part. However, I’d reached that point of personal discomfort where the angst outweighed the fear of change.

My immediate decisions and actions surprised some. I dropped almost everything. I made changes literally overnight. With life changes came various states of emotional pain. I went through a mourning period of missing my ‘old’ ways. I went through a state of not understanding my own identity. I went through self-doubt about my own choices. But the pain quickly passed and the reward was clarity of mind and a renewed sense of energy.

I have been very much content and at peace now. I have adapted ways of being that have proven beneficial to my sense of serenity and wellness. I have made adjustments to my routine and to my thinking-patterns. Mostly, I have decided to be courageous, to stop being a victim to my own self and thought processes, and to take risks daily. I am being all I can be through changes in the way I talk, the way I carry my body, the way I choose to spend my days and nights. I am not doing this with any inkling of self-punishment, self-cohersion or ‘must/should’ voices. I just am.

I reached that life-altering point where enough was enough. I was ready. Ready to take control of my life by releasing all of what was weighing me down and causing affliction to spirit. I embraced physical movement (walking, cleaning, leaving the house), social interactions, and the desire to become free of anxiety. I immersed myself in comedy, live entertainment and the rekindling and building of friendships. I put all the energy I’d been using towards obsessive online behavior into a plan: obsessively escaping obsessiveness.

In essence, along with my ability to obsess, I took all of my character traits, and put them to work for my betterment. I roped in my acute focus and keen intelligence, and used my attributes to produce purposeful and powerful self-metamorphis. In a way, I faked it until I made it. I tricked my own self into being happy, and I didn’t give me a choice. I used the inherent tools that had once imprisoned me to free myself from the constricts of mental-affliction. I decided I was done. And I was.

My whole life I have had the capacity to be the best at whatever I choose to be. So why not be the best at being content?

Present day I have maintained a state of equilibrium. Now I am ready to go back to retrieve parts of what I freely let go of for self-survival. I can dip my foot back into some of my old behaviors without going overboard into self-abuse. I am taking away some of the rigid rules I established of what I could and could not do when I first instigated change.

I don’t think I am a miracle worker; I do know I am a hard worker. I am also optimistic and hopeful. I carry a strong faith in people and in the world. I see the good. I always have and always will. I see the good in me now. I think because I have never given up on myself, through all the trials and tribulations I have encountered, that I shall also never give up on others. I know the capacity we carry for growth.

I forgive myself entirely for trespasses into discomfort. I forgive myself entirely for the lessons I learn and relearn. I am a constant student. I accept where I am. I suspect I will swing on the pendulum again, far to the left or right; and I suspect I will return, right where I am: Happy.

*********
I am the stillness
The gentle breeze asleep
Before the dawn
Beneath the night
Attuned destiny
Unraveled
Ribboned time undone
A cousin to history
The ancient scholar
Atop the mountain high
Who calls out
To awaken the calm
I am
Without choice
Adrift
In the wake of absence
Falling before reaching
Into the whistle of forgotten
A melody harmonized
Within the intricate lining
Of our conjoined souls
~ Sam

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6 thoughts on “468: Extremes lead to Happiness

  1. Yay, so glad to hear you are feeling more content lately, and feeling more balanced in certain areas.

    I love reading about your process. While we are probably very different, I see a lot of myself in you. I love reading about how you see where you need to go and then you go and you grow. It’s a fascinating space that I am fascinated about within myself as well as within other people 🙂

  2. PS: I also love how you know that you need to swing from one end to the other to be in the middle, and that sometimes you won’t be in the middle, and that that’s okay even when it doesn’t feel okay.

    Swinging is good 🙂

  3. I blog once a week. When it’s in season, I write about NASCAR, which I love. Other NASCAR girls (female NASCAR fans) do that. The other three months, I write about other interests or my Aspie life. This week, I’m writing about personalities, as in melancholic, choleric, phlegmatic and sanguine. I cover the blends. The other part’s because of other Aspie girls (people like us), you included.

  4. Thank you for this, it is rare to read about a process that another follows and see myself so clearly in there.

    I definitely go from one extreme to another before I find a centre road. It has caused others to be very confused and has ended a marriage as well.

    However as I have got older and kinder to myself, I have found that being happy requires a definite state of mind and that for the last few years, that is the place in which I chose to live.

    I have made life changes to facilitate that happening, and absolutely know that I am a far easier person to be with, from not only my point of view but from those who care for me.

    Thank you again, you write wonderfully well.

Thank you for your comments :)

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