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My brain is the lizard king and it can do anything - Tactical Ninja

Jan. 6th, 2012

10:38 am - My brain is the lizard king and it can do anything

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Last night we ate a lot of steak in honour of how my brother is old. It was brought home to me yet again how awesome it is to be able to wander home from anywhere in town in less than 10 minutes. And in other good things from yesterday, my car passed its warrant with just a new set of wiper blades. Sweet!

In not so good things, I managed to exit-without-saving from all the work I did yesterday. This is the first time I've done that in about 3 years. Luckily, the work I did is based on having spent the last 4 months reading stuff, so I can do it again from memory fairly quickly.


I seem to be having a series of dreams that involve my son's father in various ways - mostly in ways where his behaviour makes my life difficult or he lets me down in some way. I've had about four of these in the last week and I have no clue what brought them on - I have spent the last 15 years since I left him ensuring that absolutely nothing in my life depends on him at all. The second the Youth of Today turns 18 I can stop acknowledging his existence, and meanwhile the worst he can do is fail to pay Child Support, without which I am still doing just fine thanks very much.

So why the sudden influx of subconscious references to him? Last night it was about a giant mess in my bedroom, caused by him (in some unspecified way), that I was trying to get on top of in a limited time and couldn't because he kept bringing more stuff in. The night before it was trying to find a stallion to serve a mare I had, but failing because he kept going off in the car to get drunk and leaving me to walk everywhere. Etc.

Actually, I think I do know what's up. Dr Wheel and I are about to move in together and my previous experiences of cohabitation with a partner have been filled with being let down and having my shit messed up by other people's lack of consideration. When I lived with Trevor, I did spend a lot of time trying to keep on top of messes created by him, and because I'm naturally a bit obsessive about tidiness (my OCD* is a lot calmer if I keep my environment uncluttered) the ongoing shitfight for a tidy serene home affected my mental state quite badly on an ongoing basis. And yes, he would waltz off with the car and leave me to walk places without warning, as well as failing to turn up in time for us to get to appointments, not coming up with his share of the bills, and generally making it so my life felt as if it wasn't in my control.

In the intervening years, I've worked very hard to be completely independent - I learned hard and early that the only person I could truly rely on to take care of me is me, and I'm now a little bit afraid of placing my control of my life (and thus my mental wellbeing) anywhere near someone else's care.

Dr Wheel is not like this. He has been taking care of his own shit for as long as I've known him, and doing it well. I've seen a variety of places he's lived in and they've always been tidy enough to keep my OCD happy. He turns up on time for things, calls when he's held up, is considerate, thoughtful, reliable and pretty damn independent himself. We have talked about our various needs in terms of home environment, and contemplated ways of sharing a home that will ensure both of our needs are met. We've a three year relationship history of amazingly good communication and problem-solving without nastiness. We have engaged in many many risky (to our persons and/or to the relationship) activities together and he has NEVER let me down. When asked the other day if there was anything about him I found annoying, I could not come up with anything even after 5 minutes of thinking. If I am going to dive into interdependence with someone, he's pretty much the ideal level of low-key reliable for someone like me.

So, why the weird dreams? I suspect my lizard brain doesn't do a lot of rational thinking, it just remembers the times in my life when I lived with a partner and how stressful that was for me, and is sending me messages of fear to make sure I have thought this through and will keep myself safe. Shut up, lizard brain, I have and I will, mmk?

* On the OCD thing - I know a lot of people joke about having OCD when really they are just neat freaks, and that people who really do have OCD can find this offensive. My deal is this - when I was a teenager I used to have a terrible fear of getting a disfiguring disease, and this unspecified disease would hit me if I did any one of a number of things - standing on cracks, passing through doorways without thinking the right thoughts, reading a paragraph and finishing while thinking bad thoughts, getting dressed while thinking bad thoughts, etc etc. If I did it 'wrong', I would have to repeat what I was doing until I got it 'right', or else - DISEASE! I had little seven-syllable mantras that I could chant to myself that would ward off the bad thoughts and keep me safe. Imagine going through life chanting to yourself while studying, eating, dressing, or repeating the same behaviour over and over again for no rational reason, in order to avoid getting an imaginary (but terrifying) disease. And I never told anyone. My parents noticed something weird and sent me to a counsellor, but I didn't let on to him either because I figured everyone would think I was crazy. Rationally I knew it was all a bit silly but if I stopped, I'd get sick. Right?

So while I was never diagnosed and I did eventually get to the point where I can function without fear, it wasn't until I was in my late 20s that I found out this thing had a name and was a recognised disorder. I still remember the mantras and sometimes they still run through my head. I no longer live in fear of disfiguring diseases and can do anything I want without being ruled by the need to think the right thoughts. But - I still have the need to control my environment probably more than is strictly 'normal' and this manifests most easily by obsessive tidiness. When things are not tidy, they sit in my awareness and make me edgy and I can't relax until I've made my environment tidy and serene again. I consider myself lucky that this is the worst I suffer these days, but it does make me fear losing control of the tidiness of my home.

I suspect OCD is about control in the same way that eating disorders are about control. But I'm not any kind of an expert and I accept that this side of myself is probably here to stay, and am thankful it's fairly mild and not debilitating as it once was.


I'm alone in the office for the day. I am tempted to make a bunch of tiny tents and occupy someone's desk, but I'm afraid it will make it look like I haven't been working. Gosh I am such a dork.

And I will be going to Fidels tonight after work. All you layabouts that are still on holiday should take time out from your sunbathing and pina coladas to come join me. Dr Wheel will be there too, the last time before he leaves for his final three-week stint in Hong Kong. You should come say hi.

Comments:

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From:myrrhmade
Date:January 5th, 2012 10:07 pm (UTC)
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Mmmm... steak.
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From:tatjna
Date:January 5th, 2012 10:11 pm (UTC)
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There is a steakhouse in Wellington that has been around since forever. It's not fancy, more of a cheap and cheerful kind of place, but they make the most awesome sirloin. *NOM*
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From:myrrhmade
Date:January 5th, 2012 10:21 pm (UTC)
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Oh yum!
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From:bekitty
Date:January 6th, 2012 12:55 am (UTC)
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Would that be the Green Parrot, by any chance?
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From:tatjna
Date:January 6th, 2012 12:57 am (UTC)
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Indeed it would.

I particularly love the highly classy roman numerals they use to show the age of the restaurant: "EST. I.IX.II.VI."

But their steak is consistently the best in town. Crazy Horse is not bad, but Green Parrot is more consistent.
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From:bekitty
Date:January 6th, 2012 01:43 am (UTC)
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I usually go to Floridita's if I want a steak meal. :)
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From:t_c_da
Date:January 6th, 2012 02:57 am (UTC)
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But that should be "EST MCMXXVI"...

Just to be the raving pedant on the block....

And it is indeed a nice retaraunt - but we'll see more of Winston now he's back in parliarment!
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From:tatjna
Date:January 6th, 2012 03:00 am (UTC)
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Well, yes. I looked at it for a while before I figured out what was wrong with it - the MCMetc was missing. Then I figured out what they'd done and went "Um.."
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From:t_c_da
Date:January 6th, 2012 08:45 pm (UTC)
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They're probably making the assumption that most folk aren't familiar with the intricacies of Roman Numerals but are sufficiently familiar (sober?/un-drunk??) to work out one to ten...

Have you noticed that most movies are now using arabic numerals instead of roman numerals for their copyright notices? Or don't you watch the credits right to the end...
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From:poor_toms_acold
Date:January 7th, 2012 07:11 am (UTC)
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Crazy Horse no longer do their tempura onion rings. They are dead to me.
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From:thesecondcircle
Date:January 5th, 2012 10:26 pm (UTC)
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I've both seen and directly experienced this response before from stress related to previous unpleasantness. Like "OCD," I want to be careful using the term PTDS, but when someone's been through a really stressful experience in the past, even remote similarities can bring on the same stress responses from a very deep place inside. You are correct that rational thought has nothing to do with it. You are wise enough to recognize the signals your brain is sending you, now just keep a calm eye out for stress reactions where none are necessary. Because once you are stressed and panicky, your brain is even less amenable to reason. I'm certain that you and your good doctor have discussed this as well, so enlist his help (like if your reactions seem off, ask him to let you know).

Damn that lizard brain -- so useful for escaping Savannah predators, so helpless in the modern world!
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From:whatifitworks
Date:January 6th, 2012 03:24 am (UTC)
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Surely occupying a desk is The Definition of working :p
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From:t_c_da
Date:January 6th, 2012 08:46 pm (UTC)
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or "Fulfilling the legal requirements for drawing a salary" perhaps?
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