Saturday, February 22, 2014

Writers, Know Thyself


I don't have any success as a writer yet. I do as an aspiring, sane writer, though. The last couple weeks or so has tested both my sanity and self-assigned status of writer. My seasonal allergies had crept up on me to alter the base of my being (again!!!).

On the surface, my seasonal allergies come off as a superficial challenge. That statement has an ounce of truth as long as I have the presence of mind to take my OTC meds. Nonetheless, my latest initiation to the allergy inconvenience has taught me, once again: Know thyself.

I didn't discover until my late twenties that I had seasonal allergies, let alone debilitating ones. Symptoms beforehand included: frequent bloody noses, stuffy nose and post-nasal drip. I can also now add oversleeping to the list. It took expelling colorless mucus and sleeping for days without improvement to reach my diagnosis and take loratadine (generic Claritin).

Learning to navigate the allergy meds has taken a little time. I took it so regularly at one point that I developed a tolerance. Same thing occurred when I moved onto other medicines.

I've also taken to honey and stinging nettles. I can't say how much effectiveness the last two have except I believe they help.

I end up going on and off the OTC meds. I even drink grapefruit juice to extend the life of the medicine in my body. I don't have any exact science or anything for it, but I have to go through the cycling to remain cognizant and capable.

Apparently the meds fend off the allergy depression. I get depressed and hopeless. Over the last couple weeks I've entertained the idea of giving up writing, say screw trying to save and invest for financial independence and just give up doing anything substantial. I could just continue working the day job, pay the bills and just accept that my lifestyle today will remain my lifestyle forever.

Rationally, like voters not going to the polls, I asked what has all this done for me in the past.

Luckily I have a stubborn disposition to remain positive. This recent experience has shown me. I can't provide any other explanation for how I mustered the motivation to continue researching and working on my writing despite the extreme funk.

My stubborness probably played a big part in realizing allergies make me depressed (at least indirectly, lack of breathing well while sleeping prevented me from getting enough oxygen). How could I want to try so hard to maintain my current course of accomplishing little while aiming so high? I could sell out to courses of action that would bring quicker material success.

I haven't known myself well enough when it comes to my allergies. My thoughts don't jump to allergies when I start descending into them. I tend to ask myself things like:

  • Have I been getting enough sleep (ideally, I'm not)?
  • Have I been getting enough exercise (ideally, I'm not)?
  • Have I been eating right (most likely am, but I always find new ways to tweek my diet for better health and efficiency)?
  • Have I gotten a cold and should I take the right meds to prevent it from getting worse (probably the trickiest one to figure out since cold meds could mask allergy symptoms, too)?

Going through this cycle of possibilities doesn't help. My productivity and enjoyment of life spirals down. Taking the allergy meds too regularly doesn't do the trick, either. It reduces their effectiveness.

I seem to know when to discontinue the allergy meds. It could easily have to do with them building up in my system enough to keep working for awhile.

I need to adopt the habit of using the meds at the first sign of feeling crappy, depressed and tired. Loratidine doesn't mask symptoms of a cold or of being unhealthy. Treating allergies as a first line of defense looks like the most logical thing to do. Allergies have the highest chance of causing me difficulty.

If the meds don't fix it in a day or two, I probably have another problem. Nothing much lost for the possibility of big gains.

The last couple weeks have taught me the above lessons. My seasonal allergies can debilitate, both physically and emotionally. They can prevent me from engaging in my writing and other things I do to try improving life. I have to take my allergies seriously.

Whenever I think about the phrase "Know thyself," I generally think about knowing your emotions, good and bad habits, motivations, disposition, beliefs, etc. etc. From a quick look at Wikipedia, one of the original meanings has to do with not becoming arrogant, not losing yourself in the multitudes giving you unrealistic phrase and not getting full of yourself.

Our physical well beings and the silly ways our bodies can affect our minds (and vice versa) can fool us into not knowing ourselves. Our bodies don't fit our intuitions all the time, much like many things in existence. Our bodies also change throughout our lives.

Not knowing our bodies or losing track of them are ways that we don't know ourselves, like me with my allergies. We lose touch with ourselves. We end up falling apart, going in directions that we don't want and working against ourselves.

With that in mind, writers and pretty much everyone else, too, know thyself and don't fight yourself. You will find yourself happier and working towards your goals and dreams. Who doesn't want that?

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