Thursday, May 21, 2015

delineating extrinsic from intrinsic

It is strange, to think about my last post, my assertion that I'm doing much better.  I may need to explain how I personally understand the difference between how I'm doing, and what the world is doing to me.  I get the feeling it might not be quite self explanatory.

I'm not going to get into how there really is no difference.  How it's a delusion inherent to humanity to think otherwise, and all that.  For now, I'm more concerned with how it feels important to draw the line somewhere.  Maybe the pretense helps my brain figure out what we should do next, I don't know.

I'm referring to these distinctions we make, based on our experience and expectations.  Arbitrary benchmarks of good and bad.  Long and short define each other, as Lao Tzu put it.  Another illusion, it's all relative to these other things that are relative, but I'm glossing over that, too.

I'm thinking about how I'm doing, relative to how I was doing a year ago, five years ago, ten or even twenty years ago.  I'm thinking about how much of it is a natural outcome of immediate circumstances, and how much of it is a sign of improvement, psychologically, or physiologically.

I've been running 6-8 miles a week, for a while now.  Until a few months ago, it was something that I wasn't doing much of.  Not for lack of trying, as I've been running sporadically for years.  Very sporadically, but now it's like clockwork.  I've been writing more, and doing various other little things.

I've been looking into this Zen center that's in the area.  I've been working on volunteering at a soup kitchen.  I'm terrified, but I know that I need to start doing more, connecting with people.  I'm actually taking steps in these directions that I couldn't even deal with thinking about, before.  I have more energy to do this with, to push through some of the anxiety with.  I'm an angsty wreck a lot of the time, but I think this is some kind of progress.

There are things I don't have, though.  These are extrinsic factors.  Circumstances that feel beyond my illusory control.  I am very alone in this world.  I would seem almost inhuman not to be weighed down by that.  I have an income that falls well below local cost-of-living.  I don't know where I'm going to live, and yet, I'm the one who's supposed to figure it out. This is something I've never had to figure out for myself, before.

These are circumstances that are worse for me now, and I'm not feeling so much better that I can handle it all that well.  A lot of these improvements are just the immediate effects of the adjustment to my endocrine system, while a lot of my problems are still going to be wired into my brain, from decades of coping.  Patterns that aren't going to shift all that quickly.  As well as some remaining imbalance, because there is no reliable way to test somatropin levels directly, and it's much safer (and cheaper) to err on the side of undertreating, than overtreating.

So, I'm doing better on one level, but not on another, and it isn't depression, when one has good reason to be depressed.  That I feel like I'm hanging on by a thread here might actually be pretty damn normal, even if the path I've taken to get here is not.  So this is why I say I'm doing better, but not exactly cheering about it.

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