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|Thursday, April 5th, 2012|
|Back on track
Finally got my meds dialed in by a real psychiatrist.
Life is much better now.
It's truly amazing how merely a dosage adjustment to a medication that I was already taking could make such a huge difference. It was like a switch getting flipped.
For now, anyway, the morning horrors are a thing of the past.
I'm able to work again without crippling anxiety, and getting interested in it and in hobbies as well.
|Sunday, February 5th, 2012|
|Cheri Huber quote
So we are constantly looking for what is wrong,
constantly creating new crises so we can rise to
the occasion. To ego, that's survival.
It is very important
that something be wrong
so we can continue to survive it.from There is Nothing Wrong With You
|Friday, February 3rd, 2012|
|Thursday, January 26th, 2012|
|Where we are now
So it's pretty clear that I have been in a major depressive episode since at least mid-November. Never been in such depths for so long. Incredible pain, nothing I would wish on my worst enemy. But it has lifted a notch or two in the past week. Relief can never come quickly enough, but it's creeping up at least.
I have been given a new med to try, by my GP. I've been on it for 8 days now, and have seen some improvement, but am still in antidepressant start-up mode. Things can get kind of weird during that phase when your system is getting used to the new chemistry.
Other things I am doing that help move my progress along are:
Writing in my journal, the paper one that is. Really good for quelling rumination. If I have something I am ruminating on, I write it down in the journal. Seems to excuse my brain from having to grind on it.
Seeing a talk therapist for the first time since 2005. This guy is at Earth Circles in Oakland, which is in a cool old sprawling Craftsman style house in Piedmont. Lots of plants and a Buddha statue on the porch.
Meditating, both in the BPI "running energy" style and in simple Zen deep breathing style. Also been listening to guided meditations on various media players. Jon Kabat-Zinn's body scan from the CD included with his book is a favorite, although it often puts me to sleep, but that is not a bad thing.
I've found lots of wisdom in books. Unstuck
by James Gordon was recommended by my therapist and has lots of good depression maintenance tips. He's kind of knee-jerky about meds, but the suggestions are good.The Depression Book
by Cheri Huber kind of leaped off the shelf at me at Rocket Reuse. It's about using the depressive episode as a catalyst for spiritual growth.How To Survive The Loss Of A Love
is something I picked up just this evening. Good advice and poetry. Funny retro '70's cover design on the Bantam Books edition I got, but I see they updated it a while back.
Mom and I put our heads together and came up with better wording for the rental unit ad, and the results have been pretty encouraging. One guy I liked has applied, and I showed it to a nice young couple today. More people are on the way Saturday. Looks like we might have a market rate tenant lined up by the end of the month after all.
|Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012|
|Hell in the Hallway
"You know how they‘re always saying ‘when God closes one door, He opens another one?' Well, no one ever talks about the hell in the hallway while you're waiting for that other door to open."
-Katharine Brooks, on rejection
|Sunday, January 1st, 2012|
|The typical AEDP client
Reading an American Psychology Association description of AEDP and came across this description of the typical client for whom AEDP works.
Holy shit. I'm the fucking poster child:
"The typical client with whom AEDP has shown to be highly affective is someone who has (a) a history of trauma or loss, (b) an ability to function, despite his or her considerable difficulties, and (c) some capacity for reflection. Often, through a crisis (such as loss of a loved one, job difficulties, or relationship problems) and the desperation, helplessness, and unhappiness that the crisis brings to the forefront, such people become aware of what they are missing or what is wrong in their lives, which often precipitates the person's decision to seek treatment.
The client with whom a 45 to 60-minute single session of work is most likely to illustrate the quintessential aspects of AEDP at work is someone whose problems and difficulties are the result of the overregulation, rather than the underregulation, of an emotional experience. Such a person tends to put others before him- or herself, his or her self-care takes a back seat to taking care of others; and his or her functioning and responsibilities are at the expense of his or her inner life and personal well-being. Typical AEDP clients can be hyperresponsible and have the identity of being "a trooper" or a "caregiver."
Typical scenarios that bring these clients to treatment are impending crisis; threat of loss (because of illness, death, or the deterioration of a relationship); relationship difficulties; being stuck or dissatisfied in a profession; depression; anxiety; a deep sense of something missing or being wrong in one's life; a sense of malaise, futility, meaninglessness, or being ill-at-ease; or knowing about one's problems and problematic patterns and being unable to change. A history of trauma is not to be ruled out, as it is often a significant aspect of these clients' earlier history. Patients with disorders of the self are ideal for AEDP treatment."
|Saturday, December 31st, 2011|
|Attachment theory in adult relationships
Every once in a while, I'll stumble across a psychology concept that really resonates with me.
10 years ago, it was the work of Carl Jung, via the book The Manticore
by Robertson Davies.
This time around, the discovery is Attachment Theory.
It was originally developed around infant and child psychology to characterize the way children related to their primary caregiver(s) (and some unfortunate "therapies" emerged in its name), but about 30 years ago, some geniuses decided to extend it and apply similar concepts to adult romantic relationships. I think they got it pretty dead on.Attachment theories applied to adult relationships
If you, as I have, find yourself repeatedly enmeshed in romantic relationships that become unsatisfying (or even start that way), you may be fascinated by the descriptions of attachment styles in adult relationships
and seeing where you and your partner(s) fit in.
For instance, in my relationships, I tend to model a pretty perfect anxious-preoccupied
attachment style, and the lasses with whom I most often hook up tend to fit the fearful-avoidant
In my last relationship, holy shit was it ever that way, especially in the last couple of years.
I am particularly interested in therapies that are based on Adult Attachment Theory. I found a therapist with training in one flavor, Accelerated Experiential-Dynamic Psychotherapy
, and will be starting with him on Monday evening. Current Mood: geeky
|Sunday, December 25th, 2011|
|Monday, December 19th, 2011|
|Tonight's crying jag brought to you by....
The Yoga Wall Pelvic Swing.
Well, this evening I went out to the rental cottage to attach an outlet cover, a small detail that had been lingering for years due to not having the correct length of screws.
This dead outlet happened to be adjacent to the still-mounted eyebolts I used years ago to attach the Christmas present I got N in, I'd guess, 2007, which was a yoga swing like the one her mentor put me in at the studio where she was teaching at the time, Yogasita San Francisco.
Just one of those things I did to try to make her feel welcome, to help her to feel that this place was her home.
Anyway, I looked up at those eyebolts, which are still there because it was a lot of work to put them up and I expoxied them in place and it would be a major pain in the ass to pull them down, and I remembered how toward the end the room got so cluttered with my office crap that I don't think she ever even went back there any more to use it. When she moved out, she offered it to me, but I told her emphatically that I wanted her to keep it.
Really symbolic to me right now of my failed attempt(s) to connect with her, of how great I wanted things to be for us and how grubby they wound up being in the last year.
Man it hurts to write this; the idea is as always to get catharsis. Write it out, cry it out.
|Friday, December 16th, 2011|
|I want it back
Wednesday evening my quest for nutritional supplements took me to Pharmaca in the Rockridge district of Oakland.
This was the neighborhood where N was living when we first started seeing each other.
She was a senior server at Oliveto, a fancy-ish place that was kind of a center of some things.
Of course it made me very wistful to be back in that neighborhood after so long and all the things that have happened since she moved from there to live with me in my house.
There is an urge that comes and goes, but it cries out within me that I want to go back. Wherever, for us to go back to wherever the turning point was, the fork in the road that led to "I have to go." I want us to go back and take the other fork. Not drift apart, not become complacent, not allow the contempt to grow.
Was there such a time? Or was what has come to pass ordained from the beginning? As recently as 2 years ago she was working with a good therapist, but stopped for reasons that I was never clear on.
I'm this way with stories I already know: I want Isildur to throw the goddamn ring into the fire, I want Gandalf to run a little faster, I want Jack Vincennes to finish his drink and get over to the motel so that Matt Reynolds won't be murdered. Each time I read the book or see the movie, some part of me roots for it to turn out differently this time.
In any case, I have been terribly lonely for her presence the past few days. I'm due over at the JFK University Counseling Center at 8 tonight and I wonder if I'm going to be able to talk about anything else. But "adjustment disorder" is categorized with the "anxiety disorders," so I should be good to go.
|Sunday, December 11th, 2011|
Today it strikes me that how I feel is what it would feel like to be a ghost.
I inhabit a once-familiar environment. My connection to it seems weak, frayed, fragile.
A strong longing is inside me to reach out, grasp, connect, hang on to what remains, but it feels further and further away. Slipping through weakening fingers.
Ghosts in literature are sometimes said to be the spirits of the dead who don't know they are dead yet, and/or who have unfinished business with the world of the living.
That's kind of how I feel, like the world of the living is moving on without me. People are watching football games, TV shows, listening to their favorite band's new record, reading novels, going to the movies.
I haven't been able to watch a movie since N moved out. Nor have I read any fiction. I've read self-help books about grief, relationship loss, recovery from depression, but that's it. I've gone to see a few friends' bands play live.
One of the reasons people like fiction and sports is because it pulls our attention away from mundane life for awhile. We get caught up in these stories.
I feel so hypervigilant right now that I don't feel like I can let go enough to put my attention to a movie or a game. I feel like I have such a tenuous grasp on this world that if I immerse myself in a film or a book, I might lose my grip. I don't know what would happen if I lost my grip, but that is the fear.
I've done some things to try to connect socially, like Thanksgiving dinner, and Friday night I went to the studios over on Blanding that opened for Estuary Art Attack. I seem to be able to connect with others briefly, but when I get back home by myself, or everyone goes home, I plunge back into this isolated misery.
I know intellectually that states like the one I am in do not last forever, that chances are that I will eventually come back to life. But each day that I wake up feeling like this, I seriously wonder how much more I can take. It feels like my brain is being injured. Current Mood: anxious
|Friday, December 2nd, 2011|
|My house was a home, what is it now?
Having N here did, as in the song, turn my house into a home.
Now that she has gone, what is my house?
It's surely the place where I live (such as living is for me these days), and where I work as well. My dog is here, but I think we're both kind of confused.
Today, walking around the place, every room seemed to have a mocking quality; all I could do was remember happier times. Each memory just something that I had once had and then fucked up and lost. My own house, making fun of me for getting dumped by my girlfriend.
I made a pledge to Kittery this afternoon that I would fill the house with life again if I possibly could. We'll see how I do.
Losing the comfort of N's presence in my life was and is awful. Being N's significant other was a part of my identity that I actively cultivated. I was so proud to be with her, always so pleased when I met someone who knew her.
My sense of purpose, sense of identity, sense of belonging to a community, they've all taken serious damage.
|Sunday, November 27th, 2011|
|Question for today
I have long believed that the noblest pursuit is connection with another human being. Trying to reach their spirit, to know them as much as we can possibly know others. To provide their soul with comfort.
Why do I feel so punished
as the result of following this? Did I do something wrong?
I know it hurts to lose someone you care about. I know it especially hurts to be rejected by the person you care the most about.
But this....seems unfathomable. I look at my surroundings, the home where I have lived for a dozen years, and there is no comfort.
The price I am now paying seems unfairly high. Current Mood: crushed
|Friday, November 25th, 2011|
|What Do I Want Now
For eight years or maybe more
I have wanted one thing above all others
Put it before all other desires
Given it priority greater than any other ambition
Such that now, all other desires
All other ambitions
Seem hopelessly reduced, relegated to mere trivia
Since it is becoming clear that I can no longer want that thing
I lost my answer to that very important question
"What do I want?"
(which had left a still difficult, but altogether more pleasant question "how do I get what I want?")
And my whole self feels lost without that answer
Was it the wrong answer?
Is the emptiness and fear I feel the Universe sounding the "wrong answer" buzzer?
Do I go in search of a new answer?
Perhaps refurbish one of the remaining lesser ambitions
Or do I discover a new one?
One less dependent on another human being's fragile psyche
Or maybe root around in the memories of the old answer (painful that may be)
And perhaps salvage another from within its ruins Current Mood: numb
|Saturday, November 19th, 2011|
|Three and a half years later
So it goes.
In 2008 the biggest news was the hot tub I had just refurbished.
N and Kittery had been living here for a couple of years, Euthymia Electronics had been occupying the living room area of the cottage for the same period of time, and N's niece L was staying in the bedroom of the cottage.
I don't know why I stopped posting to this journal. Did other forms of social media take over? MySpace or something?
What put LiveJournal back on my radar was that I spotted the current tenant of the cottage, Sam, aka http://www.livejournal.com/users/silentplaces/
posting to his LiveJournal on the old G4 tower I loaned him when his Dell notebook burned up. Oh yeah, LiveJournal!
Things are different now.
N moved out at the end of August. Faced with the financial component of this loss, I decided to move the business back into the front house and fix the cottage up in preparation for market rate rental. Sam is staying there while I do that, and helped with the painting. There's not much left to do, just carpet installation, which is mostly a financial issue.
For now, I have primary custody of Kittery. N's new home is a converted warehouse space in Jingletown that is not as doggy friendly as my place with its huge fenced back yard and the visiting musicians dropping off their amps who Kittery loves to meet.
I don't know who, if anyone, would still be reading this. I participate in a members-only forum where I have been writing extensively about my feelings about N's departure. Writing seems to do me good, so I'm writing some more here.
Cheers if you're reading this!
The spa is still up and running; it became the place of bonding for N and me that I had hoped it would. I couldn't bring myself to soak in it for a while after she left, but I'm back up to a few times a week.
I designed a new tube amp with Bryan Sanborn, my tube supplier. He's working out the final issues around getting it into production. Any week now, as they say.
Euthymia pedals are back in production after about a 9 month hiatus. The dealers are mostly re-upped. Actually picked up a new dealer about a month ago.
I'm working through the program in The Grief Recovery Handbook with splicer. N's departure let loose a tidal wave of grief. I carry a lot of it around.
Take care. Current Mood: lonely
|Thursday, July 17th, 2008|
|Spa and pool lore
Okay, so it's been a while since that last post about the spa.
I have learned a great deal since then.
First, if you have a spa or pool, the
forum to check out is Trouble Free Pool
. Those folks know their stuff, and unlike most pool/spa forums on the web, there is plenty of traffic, and just about all questions will be responded to promptly.
While draining the spa this time (only the second full drain down), I discovered that the conduit fitting in the light niche had been corroding. When the water level got down to the niche and it started draining, thick rusty water started coming out. I pulled the light, and a LOT of thick, opaque orange water came out.
So that changed things a bit.
First, it explained the iron contamination of my water. The clarifier and metal sequesterant I was pouring in were just barely staying ahead of it.
Second, I now believe that it was responsible for the fast depletion of bromine residual, and with the bromine being eaten up, other stuff was going wrong, too.
So I decided to postpone experimenting with other sanitizers, and give the 2-part bromine another chance. All bets are really off if you have something rusting away in your spa.
I repaired some more grout, just using the latex grout-in-a-tube that seemed to work fine last time.
Found a nylon conduit fitting to replace the steel one.
Nancy and I went over the rust stains on the inside with ascorbic acid and oxalic acid.
Upon refill, it was instantly apparent how bad the water had gotten. Since it had developed a tint rather than cloudiness, and it did it over a long period of time, we had gotten used to it.
I put in one packet of HTH Brom-Start, and a couple of ounces of MPS to get it started. Couple of cups of baking soda for TA, cup and a half of borax, and an ounce of dry acid to bring the pH back down.
I had installed a skimmer sock to keep podicarpus leaves from getting to the pump basket, and it turned orange from the rust that was still stuck to the walls, so I added one dose of sequesterant.
The water looks gorgeous. Very little bromine odor, too. The dry skin seems to have been related to lower pH, so I keep the pH up. Wanted it on the lower end for a while to free up any remaining rust, but it usually sits around 7.6. Current Mood: accomplished
|Thursday, June 26th, 2008|
|My vintage Beachport spa
So the big home improvement project around here has been finally getting my Craig's List freebie vintage octagonal spa operational.
It's an old school commercial-style setup, with a freestanding gas heater, pump, and filter, rather than the newer kind that has all of its guts (including electric heater) stuffed under the skirt.
It sat for years next to the cottage that houses Euthymia Labs, and I finally decided that now was the time.
The shell is a fiberglass/gelcoat Beachport from the early '80's, the heater is a Raypak 155B, the pump is a 1HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas (plenty for the 4 jets in the spa), and the filter is a 100sq. ft. Posi-Flo. All top-of-the-line shit; you could run a decent size in-ground pool with that support system. I found an old Len Gordon air switch controller/timer for free on Craig's List and that's what runs it.
During the recent heat, we've let the spa drop down to 90 degrees, using it as a cool plunge. The Raypak can bring it up to 105 in about 15 minutes, so we don't bother to run the heater between hot soaks.
So. My question for those of you who have pools and or spas: how do you take care of your water?
I've started out with 2-part bromine, putting bromine salts in the water and shocking with potassium monoxypersulphate after each soak (I'm in the thing about twice a day at this point).
I'm not totally happy with this. Bromine does have an odor and can dry the skin, although it's not as susceptible to those effects as chlorine (after being traumatized by poorly-maintained chlorine pools in childhood, I can't stand the smell of the stuff-also, it is said not to like heat).
Also, my water has clouded up a few times, despite maintaining about a 7.6 to 7.8 pH and 100-ish TA according to my 4-in-1 test kit. No stale smell, just cloudiness. I've dribbled in some of that polymeric clarifier stuff and it went away.
I battled the pH and TA for a while, bouncing between too high pH and too low TA until I figured out that I just needed to bring up the TA with baking soda and then drop the pH with sodium bisulfate and keep doing that until it settled down.
There seems to be iron in our fill water, so I put some Metal Gon sequestering agent in yesterday.
I've been thinking of trying to switch over to Pristine Blue next drain-down.
All of the sanitizer systems seem to work great for some and poorly for others. Some folks swear by Baquicil, others scoff at anything other than good ol' chlorine, there are some bromine haters, and others whose tubs practically gave their families leprosy until they tried (insert name of favorite system here) after which they merely had to toss in a capful of stuff once a week and otherwise forget about it.
So what have you used? What do you like? Do you know someone who's had particularly good luck with this or that system?
Rockin' the Steven Segal hairdo, checking the temperature, air button in hand: Current Mood: calm
|Friday, September 28th, 2007|
|A man, a Strat, and 3 Sharpies
I was going to call it "The Pollockaster," for Jackson Pollock, but then I realized that I had the colors of coleslaw on there, so it's "The Slawcaster."
The purple is in honor of Prince, and the orange was Nancy's idea. Green went well with them.
|Thursday, August 30th, 2007|
Over the course of my career, I've coined a couple of sayings, and I've been told some wise things that I have never heard anywhere else.
One refers to what I call "Allison's Ratio," in honor of Kevin Allison, the guy who first explained it to me by saying:
"When the shit-to-money ratio gets too high, you bail."
I have since come to realize that all employment has an accompanying shit-to-money ratio. So perhaps we'll call that "Miller's Elaboration on Allison's Ratio."
"All gainful employment carries a shit-to-money ratio."
The next is one that I came up with myself, although with input from a number of bosses and companies:
It's called "Miller's Reminder" and it states that "The company is not your friend."
I first remember stating it one holiday season while watching coworkers spit bullets about how in past years, they got cash bonuses in the thousands of dollars, but that year, they each got an umbrella with the company logo silkscreened on it (nice umbrella, I still use mine 12 years later). They had worked overtime, skipped lunch hours, etc. all with the expectation that each December, the company would give them the financial pat-on-the back. It was unfair, said they, they felt deceived and cheated.
What they seemed to be forgetting is that their relationship with the company was a business one, and that the company would always do what was best for it as a whole, not them as individuals. When the company gave them generous cash bonuses, it was not because they "deserved" them for working so hard, it was because the company wanted them to continue to work hard and feel good about doing so. Workers who feel good about what they do tend to do better work.
An addendum to Miller's Reminder states that the company will act in a friendly manner in order to get you to do things that it wants you to do, but its acting in such a manner should not be mistaken for any kind of altruism. Some bosses will indeed pretend that the company is your friend; perhaps they even believe it themselves. Individuals within the company, even the owner(s) may actually indeed be your friend(s), but this, too should not be confused with the company as an entity being your friend.