In the last week I have not felt like posting, in fact, I have even begun turning the TV on, something I have rarely done since I began blogging. My life used to include a lot of TV watching, it was a way for me to channel my brain activity and escape the flurry of thoughts spinning through my head. When I began blogging I was able to wrangle those thoughts by posting them, and then there would be one less thought spinning through my head, and I could tackle the next one.
My mental health has improved enormously since I have begun blogging. One reason, as I wrote above, is that I have learned a method to manage my brain activity. Another reason my health has improved is that each brain activity management method has side effects, and the side effects of blogging are far superior to the side effects of TV watching. When I turn to the TV to manage my brain activity I am putting my thoughts aside, and instead following the story presented to me on the TV. This solves nothing. It only puts the feelings and thoughts on the backburner, to be dealt with later.
The TV method is like a drug, numbing my brain, it puts it in an inactive state. And like a drug, it has effects worse than a benign stall. The TV is the number one medium for advertizers to reach us. The advertizers have had decades of practice to develop sophisticated and subtle ways to sell us more. The very successful tool is creating an ideal, that is a little out of reach for everyone, and then making it appear accessible through purchaces. This is why models have gotten so skinny that only a few people can look that way. They want the look to be inaccessible through a healthy lifestyle, so the only way you can hope to achieve the ideal look is by purchacing the clothes or makeup that they are wearing. Watching TV not only stalls my brain activity it adds to it, by injecting messages that I am not good enough, unless I lose weight and buy these clothes.
Blogging has completely different effects. Instead of numbing and avoiding my thoughts it engages them. The action of taking a thought, examining it, evaluating and recording it, makes me smarter. It soothes me, not by avoiding the thought but by facing and learning from it. Blogging, or perhaps more specifically writing, has saved me, transforming my overactive brain with too many thoughts into an intelligent brain with an abundance of thoughts. And by dealing with my thoughts using writing I have taken myself away from the television, which has the intentional side effect of making me feel not good enough.
So if I have found this far superior tool for dealing with my thoughts then why, in god's name, have I been turning to the inferior tool this week? Because my writing leads to progress, and if I progress any further it means I will make a profound change.
I realize that I need to begin to live my life. Even though I am overweight. Even though I am a bad housekeeper. Even though my social skills could use some help. I have been waiting until I am the person I want to be, deciding to wait "until I..." but thats not healthy, and it's time I start living "even though I..." I have had the "until I..." attitude at least since my dad started drinking, but it got especially pronounced after 2002 when I got close to killing myself. Like a hibernating bear I shut down all but the most basic functions. I only needed to feed and shelter myself, work for the money to feed and shelter myself, maintain the friendships I already had, and not kill myself. That was all I expected of myself and it was a good thing. I took all unnecessary pressure off of myself so I could stay alive, and it worked. But now I am not suicidal. I am not even depressed, so it is time to shift out of hibernation mode, which is a scary thought since I have been in this mode for 3 years, so I have wanted to avoid the blog, which will inevitably lead to this progress of re-starting my life, which is scary.
But I got this far, I turned off the TV and am here, writing. I am going to be patient and gentle with myself in this process, I am not going to expect myself to go out on the town every week and make myself have hundreds of friends, I am going to let myself move slowly, and forgive myself for alot of mistakes, but I am not going to let myself slide backwards.
mood: nice. not scared.