Sunday, March 8, 2009

Reading What isn't there - Figuratively and Literally

I should mention that I actually got the material I was looking for, thanks Becca.....

Before I go very far, I am hoping for some help. I really need an article out of a journal that is not part of the databases I have access to. Because I am uncertain I will actually want to use it, I don't want to buy it. So if you have access to the journal Psychology of Men and Masculinity I would really appreciate it if you would email me. If I actually end up using the article I am looking for, I don't mind buying it. But if I'm not, I'd rather not spend the money.

So I stuck foot in mouth a bit yesterday. Being in a strange state of focus lately, I rather read an awful lot into some comments at Greg Laden's blog. What annoys me about this is not the embarrassment of having to admit to my mistake and apologize. Being rather egotistical, I appreciate having the opportunity to be humbled. I am annoyed, because I just don't do this - reading in things that are not actually there. I get really irritated when people do it to me, being one who tends to mean very specifically what I actually say.

I much prefer to have to admit I was wrong about something, because someone else convinces me that my reasoning was flawed or my evidence is wrong. I really hate admitting I was wrong, because I jumped to conclusions by inference. The fact that most of the time the conclusions are correct, does not make it any less obnoxious or sloppy.

Having been somewhat focused on this line of thinking, I realized that I have been guilty of this a lot lately. While this is the first time it's really come to bite me, I am doing a lot of reflecting on how I have developed this habit. Stress is at least a part of it, but I tend to think that there is something more going on that I need to delve into. This is not the only "not DuWayne" issue that has arisen in the last few months.

The problem with this is there are so many factors involved, that it's really hard to differentiate and sort through it all. And it is really important that I sort through a lot of it, because I am finally trying to really deal with the negative aspects of my neurological make-up. It is critically important to me that I maintain the best balance possible between functionality and retaining who I am. But at the same time it has become increasingly apparent that my neurochemistry needs more help than Ritalin and the occasional Xanax are providing now.

Going much beyond the minimal constrictions of my current regimen really scares me. It hurts like hell to be me, quite a lot of the time. It's hard sometimes to sort through the constant barrage of ideas, words and music that inundate my mind. It's frustrating to get sent on tangents that distract from what I am trying to accomplish at a given moment. But it's me. It's who I am, what I am. I don't know how to be not me.

But I also don't know how to be me and succeed in the ways that I must.


Becca said...

1) "But I also don't know how to be me and succeed in the ways that I must."
Honestly, it sounds to me like you might be being too hard on yourself to conclude this from that incident. Nonetheless, the basic feeling is very familiar to me and so I sympathize a good deal (although I tend to worry about my intrinsic tempermental/physiological/psychological makeup being unsuitable for different reasons than you, I think).
If it helps, remember there are a multitude of routes to any given success.
2) I emailed you about the journal article.

DuWayne Brayton said...

Oh, it's far from just that incident. I'm dealing with a lot of shit at the moment and finding that I am becoming prone to behaviors that I just don't generally engage in. This was a mere symptom of a much larger picture.

It does help to keep in mind the multitude of routes to success. The problem is that I have issues that are pretty much problems across the board. And one of the things that my therapist and I are concluding is that at the core they are likely chemical in nature.

Stephanie Zvan said...

DuWayne, I obviously can't speak to your concerns about what you might lose by changing. I can speak a little to the thought that getting your neurochemistry to a better place will make you not you.

I've talked here and there about being majorly depressed and anxious as a child and teenager. I've talked about some fundamental changes that I've experienced over time, some of them through changing my body chemistry. In terms of day-to-day functioning, I'm a very different person than I was then.

However, I had occasion recently to dig into a couple of folders of things I'd saved from that period. I remembered almost nothing in them, but that stuff couldn't have been more me if I'd collected it today. Same thing with running into old high school friends recently. They don't say I haven't changed. What they do tell me is how I was always funny or sarcastic or whatever--the things that define me.

I won't tell you that finding a better means of coping through neurochemistry won't change you. That's what it's there for. I will say that you've spent a lot of time figuring out who you are and what you want. That you is much more than one neurochemical imbalance, and fixing that imbalance is unlikely to shake your fundaments. It's much more likely to give you one more perspective on who you are and how to effectively be that person.

Comrade PhysioProf said...

Dude, what Stephanie said.

DuWayne Brayton said...

Thanks Stephanie, that does help a little. I'm just very wary of altering much of anything, because I tend to think that there is as much good as bad in my neurochemical proclivities. At the same time, I am also realizing that just going on the Ritalin only stemmed the tide of ADHD induced brain racing, so it is unlikely that other compensatory pharmaceuticals are going to be too much of a problem.

gregladen said...


Interesting post. I think Stephanie is right on, and would expand on the point about self a little.

You know, it's all chemicals all the time. These other chemicals .. the ones that are not already in your brain ... are just more of them, and are not fundamentally different. Yes, they can have powerful effects but you as a person can also have powerful effects.

Regarding the issue of jumping to conclusions, etc... I'm sorry if I was a bit harsh, but I was also actually being comfortable with you. I see you as a person who is fundamentally honest, good, and non-judgmental. Therefore, I trust you. I'm not saying I'd trust you with my MONEY or anything crazy like that (I hardly know you!). What I mean is I trust you to be thoughtful (as in empathetic and willing to communicate honestly). That is the kind of person you obviously are and that is all you need other people's trust and love. In that sense you are rare. Glad to know you.

gregladen said...

--------------to earn
...all you need ^ other people's trust ...