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Where wild minds come to rest

Most of the elements of my identity are not bad, I just don't connect with them because I spend most of my life in fantasy or life avoidance activities.

I think I disconnected from myself as a child due to feeling like I couldn't fit into the world. I was a very shy/anxious child and my mind was the only place I could be myself and be "connected". Even as things got better I continued to shy away from life and hide in my mind.

First steps: Connecting with my life/career as a researcher (research degree)
1. Talk to to people about what I do.
I feel that opening up about what I do will help me connect with this part of my identity. Last year I would procrastinate for weeks at a time. The literature review process took forever because some weeks I would literally do nothing. I mean nothing, not one paper read, not one word written. And then I would feel terrible. I feel like I am wasting a grad student spot. Wasting funds and so on. Last year I achieved very little, so this year has to be different.
2. I mostly work from home and only go in to tutor or for meetings. I have a home office which means a lot of procrastination. I procrastinate so much I even forget I am student until I get an email from my supervisor about a meeting to discuss my progress. Yea...then it's a mad rush to come up with something to justify what I've been doing for three to four weeks. Which for most of last year was not much. The rule is to spend the first half an hour on work as soon as I get up. This helps me remember that I actually have work to do. Then I can go eat, get dressed and do other stuff.
3. Hang up my degrees! Not sure how this will help, but maybe seeing that I actually managed to graduate despite my problems may boost my confidence when I feel disconnected. Of course I know I graduated, but maybe having it up there will serve as a reminder as actors and musicians display their awards. I don't know. I framed them but I am for some reason resisting putting them up.
4. Avoid youtube/pop music/articles related to pop music altogether. I've done this before and it's worked. Basically avoid the stuff of my old fantasy life. Especially the music. I actually also don't watch tv or movies anymore.

5. Write about my daily activities. Maybe every few hours, account for what I've done in a journal (for a little while, doubt I could keep this up for too long). It will hopefully help avoid one word answers when I chat with people. "How have you been doing?" My brains just jumps to "good". "What have you been up to?" "Not much". If I could replace "not much" with what I have been doing, maybe I would connect with myself and life better.

Maybe this sounds silly but in general I am connected to my fantasy self/life/events/career more than the real. I barely think about the real aspects. Actually I usually don't think about them until I am forced to. In undergrad I had no natural passion for my studies. I could actually forget I was a student for weeks (even as I was attending classes) until the day/two days before a test/exam then I would get connected with the work and usually actually enjoyed that study for those hours. But after the test I was back to life in my head.

I will need to connect with other parts of my identity over time as well. So fixed attributes like my family history, personality traits (even the ones I don't like), national identity, etc and some choice based such as health, spiritual, hobbies, passionate beliefs, just what I stand for I'm a general sense. I don't want to do this all at once but I think it will help me to be a real person existing in the real world.

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Comment by Ivy White on April 2, 2015 at 2:27am

Don't beat yourself up too much (easier said than done). This is like learning to walk again, you can't expect to get up and run a marathon if you've been bed-bound for years. Tiny steps are still steps in the good directions, and relapses are part of the healing process.

Comment by Amanda Lewone on March 27, 2015 at 8:57am

Hey! Well, yes and no.

1. I haven't been doing any talking! 

2. On the days I did work for the the first 30 minutes it worked. I was definitely more focused and did something (which is always better than nothing!). But then some days I didn't follow through with this morning routine. I just went straight online or did something else and of course the day spiralled in the wrong direction. So I guess change is up to me at this point. 

3. I finally hung them up. Not sure this is helping to be honest. 

4 and5. Avoiding youtube and writing is also working. Again, WHEN I do it!!!!!!

I know what I need to do, I have the resources and know what's worked before but I am the one sabotaging my own success. So frustrating! 

Thanks for asking Ivy. I think overall I am on the right path, but I am not putting in the kind of effort that is needed. 

Comment by Ivy White on March 27, 2015 at 2:15am

Hey Amanda, how is it going? Do you manage to connect a bit?

Comment by Ivy White on March 24, 2015 at 5:34am

I saw someone, they gave me stimulants and I got more shit done than ever but I developped heart rythm issues so I stopped taking them. :( Also it made me too anxious and I had panic attacks after a while. 

The show-watching sounds like me. You do everything but the work and then numb yourself so you don't realize how much time you loose.

Comment by Amanda Lewone on March 21, 2015 at 4:00am

That's a possibility! Did seeing someone help with ADD? Did they give you medication or just working on techniques to mitigate the issues? 

I did some work. But near the end when I was supposed to compile the research and write a section of the report it just got really bad. I did everything but the work. I ended up watching some show on YouTube, like 4 straight episodes and sleeping at 7am! 

Comment by Ivy White on March 20, 2015 at 6:08am

Amanda, also, do not hesitate to see a counselor or a psychiatrist if you are having more of those "agitated" experiences. It could be you also have AD(H)D. I know sitting for long periods of time can feel physically or energetically painful for me too and I have ADD.

Comment by Amanda Lewone on March 20, 2015 at 3:37am
@Ivy, I thought an office outside home would help but I guess the procrastination process follows one everywhere if not dealt with. I made a to do list yesterday..and a time limit for each. Just so I do a bit of each project everyday and then spend the bulk of the day on the most important task. It went okay. I did start to feel very distracted and agitated after about two hours.
@Abber, yea I think it will. Triggers are strong forces; even when you deal with fundamental drivers of behaviour, triggers are still able to triggger old behaviour patterns. That used to happen with me and music.
Comment by The1andonlyAbber on March 17, 2015 at 8:50pm
Yes, I definitely think connecting with yourself will help. Last year I daydreamed a lot more than usual because I started to realize I had certain traits I didn't want to acknowledge. However, after I finally learned to accept myself I actually started daydreaming a lot less for a while. But then of course stupid Netflix triggered me into starting a whole new facet of my daydream storyline and now I'm back to daydreaming as much as I used to. :-b
Comment by Ivy White on March 17, 2015 at 12:59pm

That's very much the same way as I work. It's a bit better now I have an actual office but I can still stpend weeks not doing shit. The only thing that helps me is supervision. If your tutor would be willing to, and you want to work more, it's better to see him a bit more often. 

I found to do lists useful up to a degree, and working more with "things done" constraint than time constraint. Tell me I need to work x hours and I am more likely to procrastinate than if you tell me I need to do this, this and that and then I am free.

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