Throwback Thursday (Disconnected)

*Wrote this back in November of 2013, more apt than ever…

Have you ever met a person whose reality just didn’t click with the majority of others? They are in their own little world and completely unable or unwilling to notice that what they are saying makes no sense to anyone else. I have discussed before how perception is reality and I am starting to wonder if the trend towards individual realities is contributing to the societal disconnect that has spread like a poison throughout much of the world.

Husband has a friend who, more and more, I am starting to dread having to interact with. He has no regard for the rules of my house. When he visits he constantly drinks all our beverages (bottles of alcohol/entire boxes of K-cup coffee), eats all our food, hogs the computer, leaves the toilet seat up after getting piss all over the floor and has even lit cigarettes inside knowing full well this is a smoke free household. I woke up at 6 am because I heard someone in the kitchen and it ended up being him helping himself to several peanut butter sandwiches in the dark. He dominates the conversations but never makes any sense and isn’t willing to listen to any input from others. When I hear he is coming my first instinct is to hide my coffee and make plans to be out of the house for the duration of his visit. If you ask him he will tell you there is nothing wrong with him and it is the rest of the world that is wrong.

He is just one of the people husband or I know that are really disconnected from general society. There is another guy who spends all his time holed up in his apartment watching questionable documentaries and playing Xbox…his ability to socialize with others without conflict has dramatically decreased over the years. One lady I know drifts through life naively refusing to see the world for what it is and won’t listen to anyone unless they are devoutly religious or famous in some way. There is no way to have an educated discussion with her without getting so frustrated that you just have to walk away. They both are absolutely positive they are perfectly fine and it is everyone else that has a problem.

Even within my family people raised by the same people took completely different views on the same lessons. Some of us practice responsible lifestyles where we don’t spend outside of our means, exercise regularly and eat a relatively healthy diet. We are always willing to help out others and are always there for our family members in need. Others went the opposite direction. They think there is nothing wrong with maxing their credit cards and then begging the rest of us for money. They bitch about how they feel like shit but have no interest in exercise or eating healthy and we should just be sympathetic to their complaining. They are always busy if we need something but we need to drop everything if they need help.

Their reality is so different from ours and it causes a disconnect between us. The further the divide, the shakier the bridges between us becomes. I foresee a time in the future where I won’t be willing to meet them halfway on a dangerously fragile bridge and it will be set on fire in a sweet release that leaves me with less stress but possibly more guilt. I wonder if this is the same feeling many other people have when they encounter someone whose reality is so far away from theirs. I wonder if the same questions run through their heads. Is it worth building a bridge to cross the divide? Do you have the time and patience you need to build and maintain a connection? Is the other side going to put any effort into it too?

As less and less people are willing to put forth the effort to make those connections the realities pull even further apart. It is a ripple effect that is turning into a wave of disconnect.

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Throwback Thursday (Not a Post For The Bleeding Hearts)

Base needs, primal fears and the society we have created that caters to one and denies the other. That is the topic of thought that has been swirling around in my head for the past couple of days. I have been pondering about the correlation between the way we live our modern lives and the increase in mental/emotional issues/drug addictions as it relates to the laws of nature. We often use the phrases “survival of the fittest” and “the will to live” when we discuss the tenacity of humans against adversities. If we are bound by a will to live yet also bound by the premise that only the strongest will survive than what happens if a species takes away the constant threat of disease and famine, reduces the threat of war and increases the average lifespan by more than double? There must be a balance and currently we have tipped the scales with overpopulation which has allowed an accelerated destruction of multiple other species and the very environments we actually depend on for life. At a certain point disease, famine & war will once again knock the quantity of man back down to a more manageable level but in the meantime I think nature has devised some new standards on which to judge our ability to survive this new world we have created. I hypothesize that thanks to a combination of lowered social expectations and an increase in technology nature has found a way to correct for our new inclinations to breed genetic weakness into our population. Where once you literally had to be strong to survive in a world full of disease, hard labor and little resources to go around we now have to be mentally strong to survive in a world full of temptation, lies and constant tests of character. If you manage to be born into a family that actually has the financial resources to provide you with clothing, food and shelter are you lucky enough to also be provided love, support and encouragement? Are you taught right from wrong as defined by the general public and not by your specific neighborhood or gang, or are you left to fend for yourself in a dysfunctional environment? Was your educational development nurtured and were you given the attention needed to fully utilize your own natural skills? Did anyone bother to say no to you so you would learn that you can’t always get what you want? Was any emphasis placed on making healthy choices for your body? Were you taught social skills so that you could make friends? Was the concept of balance reiterated over and over again until you understood that nothing is permanent and it can’t rain all the time? In these nice ideal circumstances you would probably have the strength to easily shrug off petty insults by others who were obviously insecure, to say no when weaker friends offered you life-destroying drugs and to stand firm against others who would try to manipulate and connive against you. However, if you were denied love as a child, abused, ignored and/or raised to be guarded and selfish than it would take much more strength to rise above the new trials that life throws at us. More so now than ever before we have people addicted to drugs/alcohol, taking prescription drugs, stuffing their bodies with unhealthy processed crap, squandering their talent while they suffer in silence, continuing the cycle of selfishness/violence/abuse they were born into, taking their own life or taking their rage out on innocent people in horrific killing sprees. I feel that the proclivity towards succumbing to the new pressures of life is just an indication that the will to live isn’t strong enough in some people to ensure their survival. I can’t count how many times a little voice in my head has said that this is all so hard and what is the point of going on…that this world isn’t worth living in and nothing will ever change. I can’t count how many times I have been overwhelmed with sadness and hopelessness, with pain and loss and violent frustration. The thing is though, even in my darkest moments, I have never even come close to giving in. No matter how loud that negative voice has been, my will to survive has been louder. I questioned before if the new way to survive this world was to give in to the current philosophy that standards aren’t important and hard work is to be punished, but now I think that perhaps that line of thinking is just an indicator of the weak. Our world is the one we have made it. By changing the standards by which nature grants us survival we have created a world of weak people trying desperately to find a way to drown out the will to live. If we want to change the world we need to start by fostering mental strength into the next generation. If their base needs are met they won’t be tempted by drugs, won’t suffer depression/anxiety and won’t want to lash out at others. They will have the will to live which includes the motivation to lead healthy lives and create positive innovations that benefit society instead of being slaves to fear and greed. It can be done, but are there enough strong people left to make it happen? What do you think?

You Definitely Have A Problem

I’ve occasionally mentioned my brother. He has been riding that grief train pretty hardcore since his daughter died back in 2014. He won’t get off and he won’t admit that his refusal to deal with it has created an opportunity for depression and addiction to slide on in and take up permanent residence. He drinks, he smokes, he gambles, he pops pills, he lost his job from a dui, he smashed his truck driving in a blackout state totaling it, he trashes our mother’s house, he rarely showers and apparently now can’t be bothered to walk the 20ft over to the bathroom so he pees in empty plastic bottles which he then leaves sitting around. Yeah this is all pretty standard behavior right? He’ll keep telling you he doesn’t have a  problem. I wish that there was a way to force him into treatment. Right now I feel like I don’t have a brother anymore, just a guy who looks like an unhealthy version of someone who was my brother.

He won’t change until he wants to change and he doesn’t want to change. I feel bad for my mom who won’t kick him out.

Depression alone is a terrible thing to live with, depression coupled with addiction…I hope I never have to experience that first hand, it’s hard enough just to watch him take the slow path of suicide he’s on.

Wish there was an easy solution to this.

 

The Pit

Taking that trip down to Florida to spread the ashes of my late ex-husband along various southern Atlantic beaches had a much larger and longer impact than I had anticipated.

I didn’t expect to cry when I did it. I cried. I didn’t expect to feel sad. I felt really sad. I thought I would enjoy being in Florida, I couldn’t wait to get home. I thought I would feel better when I did get home. I felt worse.

I can normally stave off depression and I keep the majority of the negative emotions and grief tightly walled off so that I can function from day to day. If I do get overwhelmed with low feelings I acknowledge them, allow them some time (usually no more than 2 days) and then I work on bringing my mood back up by focusing on all the positive things that happen and spending time with my amazing support network. This time the effort needed was more than I had. I couldn’t pull myself up and I watched the days tick by feeling trapped down in that awful pit that I hate.

I didn’t want to hang out with people (even though I forced myself to) and I didn’t want to clean, run errands, update WP, read, eat or generally anything other than sleep. I was quiet and withdrawn and it was frustrating to not be able to counter it so anxiety got added to depression and soon 3 days had passed, then 4 and 5 and before I knew it the weekend had come round again with beautiful weather and I could barely bring myself to get out of bed and attend a massage therapy appointment I had scheduled. My friend came over and I couldn’t think of things to talk about, could barely make dinner and all the time a part of me was screaming “snap out of this!!!!! you know why you’re sad, you don’t need to feel like this” all to no avail. It’s the first time in a long time that I couldn’t turn things around within a couple days and I didn’t like it one bit.

The stress of grief and certain setbacks, coupled with one too many people in my life casually making references to killing themselves, knocked me down and it took until last night before I could rally. I’m grateful I could rally though, even if it took longer than I anticipated. Depression sucks. I’m lucky that I can deal with it without needing medications. I try not to think about a day where I can’t rally, where I lose the ability to override those voices that try to tell me I don’t matter. I’d like to think that day will never come. This past week makes it harder to believe that though.

I hope you’ve all had a much better week than I did.

 

Recap

This last week has been a rollercoaster.

I got a 5:30am wake up call late last week from my mom who was freaking out because my brother had just arrived home in a black out state. He’d driven his truck back minus a front tire and with the air bag deployed, somehow managing to get there without attracting the attention of law enforcement despite the sparks and shards of discarded metal trailing behind his vehicle.

It wasn’t a great morning…he eventually passed out and when he woke up tried to claim someone must have hit his truck when it was in the parking lot of a local gambling establishment. We all know it’s a lie and just went to prove he wasn’t willing to acknowledge his addictions and the downward spiral he’s on.

My mom has been calling me, crying and depressed, pretty much every day since. My brother showed up at my house over the weekend with the sole intent on stealing from me. I hid my wallet and anything else I thought he’d try to take and just faced the reality that I will have to cut him out of my life soon if he remains unwilling to admit he has a problem.

Sunday I had a revolving full house of people stop by, some of my favorite people really so it was a good day. I remember being happy on Sunday, and grateful, plus there was a pretty tasty meal thrown in there somewhere too.

Then over the past couple of days I have received letters telling me my property refund was seized to pay ex husband’s jail and court fees. I let myself, just for a couple minutes, peek behind the wall I keep all my negative emotions stored and that reduced me to a sobbing shaking mess on my kitchen floor, the couple glasses of wine I downed after probably wasn’t the best idea so I feel like I also possibly ruined the mousakka I was in the process of making. I was a dead-tired ghost of myself the next day at work but forced myself to go out and have dinner with a friend after which moderately perked me up. I was on track to have a fantastic Thursday till I got home to find a letter from the insurance company trying to tell me some obscure MN law revoked my beneficiary rights upon divorce. I refuse to panic and I refuse to accept their attempts to get out of paying.

Now I am trying to stay calm under the knowledge that I have to spend the next couple of days with my mom and brother at another family wedding. I may or may not have “stories” by the end of this weekend.

I hope you are all having better weeks than I did.

Nailed It

So I’m nostalgic watching Neverending Story and I’d like to share a quote from this 1984 movie I find very applicable to western culture. “Why is fantasia dying? Because people have begun to lose their hopes and forget their dreams so the nothing grows stronger. What is the nothing? It’s the emptiness that’s left. It is like a dispair destroying this world…Because people who have no hopes are easy to control and whoever has the control has the power”

Big Brother Is Watching

In the current building that I work we have unassigned mobile workspaces so that teams can move around and work more collaboratively in their constantly changing dynamics. Unfortunately there are far more people than there are workstations. This design was set up by and for non-agile teams and so each workstation is expected to provide a working space for 2-3 employees with the understanding that people would be off in meetings, using the single chair common spaces, spending an hour or two in a small huddle room or working from home several days a week and it wouldn’t be a problem.

It’s a problem. This team, this very large team, is in the office every day. They may have a meeting for 30 minutes here or there but for the most part they need their workstations to, gasp, work. They are developers and they require constant power supply and 2-3 monitors in order to be effective at their jobs. They can’t sit at a communal table and try to code away on their tiny laptop screen and be anywhere near as efficient as they would be with the multiple large monitors. The space is full of common areas that are never used and if those common spaces were converted to workstations it would help alleviate the overcrowding issue that the team currently faces.

Except, no matter how this issue is explained to decision makers on high, they can’t seem to grasp the concept that this team is different from the rest of the teams in the building. This team is in the office working every day, not wandering around from conference room to conference room or spending half their week sitting at home working in their PJs. All logical justifications have been ignored and now that there is literally nowhere to put new hires and we’re having to shove them into common area conference rooms and un-occupied offices they’ve decided that they are going to put up cameras and monitor us for a month to prove what we’ve been telling them since April.

I’ve worked in buildings that have security cameras and I’ve made my peace with it. However the idea that for a whole month someone is going to be watching everything I do at work for such a silly reason just creeps me out. Just us, no other area of the building will have cameras monitoring them, it makes me uneasy and I haven’t been able to quite put my finger on why. I know I do my job and I’m not worried about that, but it just reminded me of 1984 a bit and  with everything that’s going on in the world right now I feel slightly paranoid.

Just for a month I keep telling myself, just 30 measly days of which you won’t be here for many of them. Except what happens when those 30 days come and go, will they find a new reason to keep the cameras? I don’t work well in heavily controlled environments where I feel like I am not trusted. I need freedom and flexibility and I suspect the majority of this team is the same way.

I joined this team to get away from the micro-managed incompetence of my past team. A team who many now have keystroke monitoring software installed on their laptops and if their mouse is still for more than 5 minutes they get flagged because the director of that section of the company doesn’t trust a single employee to be an adult and do the job they are being paid for. I really can’t handle the thought that mentality like that is permeating this section as well. What do you think, am I just over-reacting or is there a legitimate reason to think this is indicative of a slippery slope?

*update

We were all told the monitoring devices would be installed this weekend.  They went around late Friday and put motion detectors in every office and common space.  I feel much much better knowing this was a communication error and the monitoring devices are not cameras. I’m totally ok with autonomous motion sensors.