Monday, September 21, 2015

Zen and the Art of Squirrel - Introduction

Thoughts and meditation for the hyperactive mind

I spend a lot of time thinking about the issues that I have
with thinking.  It is not so much that my brain has any
issue coming up with ideas, solving problems, being creative
or innovative.  The problem is that I have issues
translating my thoughts to a form that normal people can
understand.

When I was growing up I spent a lot of my time thinking. 
The imaginary world that I lived is was far more interesting
and involved than my relationships with actual people.  I
could talk to adults, although a lot of it was, I am sure,
just tolerating a precocious child.  But in the imaginary
world I could accomplish things, people understood me.  I
could use facts and figures, I could attempt to build
things, solve problems, create new problems, see how the
people who had to live in my imaginary world would react.

Now I am technically an adult and I still spend most of my
time as an observer.  I watch as situations develop and then
observe how people react to them.  The end result is that I
can observe how things SHOULD be occurring, this is, or
course, not always the way that things actually happen.

If I were to involve myself in the situations that would
change variables and then I would have to recalculate what
kind of response would result from this variation.  As you
can imagine it is therefore exhausting to actually attempt
to participate in any form of conflict resolution, or social
manipulation.

Over the years I have figured out certain ways of coping
with my difficulties in communication, some of which I will
outline further in later portions of this writing.  But in a
very general sense, default conversations, default subjects,
and default puns.  Very simply stated, if you know the
approximate response you will get to a certain behavior then
the response you will get is not going to be as much of a
surprise.  This makes the starting of a conversation easier
and getting past the initial awkwardness a little more
tolerable.

This is not a cure all, but it helps.  I am still largely
incapable of doing "cold calls", that is talking to people I
do not know, unless you count loosely directed gibberish. 
At the same time I also have done a very good job of
learning the way of the email, and also avoiding employment
situations that involve calling people where there is not
some form of established relationship.

I will never be a sales person.

For those of you who don't know me, I am an interesting
character.  The purpose of this writing is to make it so
that people who are dealing with some of the same issues may
have an interesting starting point, and may be able to grab
a few pieces of this that may make some sense to apply to
their own situations.

I am one of those people who took forty years to figure out
the art of stilted awkward conversation, unless you hit one
of my strong points, in which case I apologize in advance. 
I spent a lot of time when I was trying to determine how
best to adapt into my awkward adulthood attempting to deal
with various forms of the so called mental services that get
provided.

The end result of my interactions with these services is
that I would not wish them upon my enemies and I had to
figure it out for myself as the interest of the mental
health services was not in my best interest.  Once again,
there will be a tirade coming in a later portion of this
dissertation.

As best I can determine after being diagnosed, at various
times and through various cycles as having mild long term
depression, ADHD, ADD, Bi-Polar, Insomnia, ad naseum.  They
attempted to give me an IQ test once.  Turns out when they
tell you that you have 10 minutes to take a section of the
test they have difficulty scoring it when you finish in six.
 Although the scoring is quasi-irrelevant above a certain
point anyway.

When I was growing up I was generally ignore by my teachers
as I would generally not talk a lot, not pay a lot of
attention, and only do enough to pass.  I was assumed to be
just another student doomed to a life of burger flipping and
lacking motivation until I started taking some of the
standardized college entrance exams.

I did not study for the ACT.  I fell asleep half way through
each section because I had already written down the answers
I was going to go with and had nothing better to do.  I have
difficulty with reading comprehension, it does not sink in,
and as a result I was not much for reading until I
discovered that if I am chomping on sunflower seeds and
giving my brain something to work on while reading I can
remember what I just read.  I scored about average in
reading, and despite that still ended up with one of the
highest cumulative scores in the school.

After I failed Pre-calculus, mostly because I was bored
stiff and forgot to turn in the final exam (no really).  I
was accepted into the regular Calculus class on the
condition that I joined the math team.  I ended up tied for
7th place in the region, despite (as was par for the course)
falling asleep during every competition.

I finally got out of high school and failed miserably with
college.  I did not understand the structure and not being
able to effectively converse with professors did not make
the situation any easier.

Oddly, I got married.

There were many issues involved in this, but it seemed like
the logical thing to do and the path that was part of
adulthood.  Much to the chagrin of the spouse I did not like
the concept of children, I still don't.  Somehow it still
took five years to implode.

At this point I decided to try to go back to school.

I was older, I was gradually learning how communication
theoretically worked.  I was still not quite understanding
how schools worked.  I also still had no idea what I wanted
to be when I grew up.  I was still not positive that I
wanted to.

It should also be mentioned that I was raging through the
wonders of attempting to be functional with what was
referred to as adult ADHD, although I would place myself
more accurately on the autism spectrum.  I am pretty sure
that they did not want to approach that diagnoses mostly for
the reason that they did not have any drugs for that.

As for the drugs, well, I was prescribed most of them at one
time or another.  It would be quicker if I was just given a
check list than trying to list them all off.  They may help
a symptom temporarily, but would result in a different
symptom and created a cycle of more visits, more problems,
more cycles.

I refuse to see a psychologist ever again.  I don't care
what the sheet of paper on your wall reads, the Hippocratic
oath says to do no harm.  Do any of you actually read that
or is it a side thought as you prescribe more medications
that you don't really understand the side effects of, (but
someone was convincing when they sold them to you), then
Doctor Mengele would have felt comfortable with?

But I will come back to that tirade later.

I dropped out of school again, did more work like stuff.

I got a decent job, they did not really understand that when
they asked my why I looked distracted I stated that I was
pondering differential equations I was telling the truth,
but as soon as they determined that I could fix things they
were fine with it.

I continued to work on communication.  I understand how some
portions work now, and have figured out some strategies for
the rest.  

Eventually I went back to school.  Not everything was smooth
sailing, not everyone understands the nature of my sense of
humor, much of which reads like a XKCD cartoon.  The end
result is that I finished.  Not in a spectacular form, but
in a completeness form.

Of course the next step in the biggest because I hate new
things.  New things scare me, and I am really unsure about
how to proceed.

But that is one of the purposes for doing this writing
project.  I want to see where the concept of Zen, and the
way of the Squirrel leads.  I want to see if I have any
strategies that I can use that I just have never bother to
verbalize and memorize as of yet.

I am curious what thinking about this for more than fifteen
minutes will get me.

Last night I had a conversation and I suggested a few things
for a friend of mine and then suggested that she try reading
up on the subject of Zen.  I went through my bookshelf and
found it lacking.  Since I could not find what I was looking
for I figured the next best thing was just to write it.  I
have thirteen more sections planned out already.

Lets get this party started, lets see where this leads.

If any of you have ever tried to talk to me you will find
that when I say that I have random access memory I am
telling the truth.  This will jump around, and may only be
considered to be on subject in the loosest possible sense. 
But there will be brain nuggets.

Some of those brain nuggets may be useful.

Thanks, Jeff

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