Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Making Time

I have been recently losing time again. A few seconds here. Two or three minutes there. Nothing major, and nothing that I’m exactly worried about, but it’s a thing, and not really a pleasant thing. It’s disconcerting to be standing in the kitchen and have to take a minute to remember why you’re there, but it’s nothing like standing in a field and having no memory of how you got there. It’s more a reminder than anything - funny as that may sound - and sometimes we need reminders. Sometimes I need reminders, that’s for sure, even beyond the occasional memory loss issue.

There are, of course, any number of causes for minor memory loss and disorientation, and yes, I can hear the jokes about my age even as I am typing this, but, in my case, it’s a negative coping measure for stress and depression. I say negative because it’s not helpful, by any means. It doesn’t deal with the problem at all - it is, in fact, quite specifically trying to not deal with the problem - but it’s part of the coping process in the same way that a painkiller can be part of the injury coping process. It doesn’t help with healing, but it tries to numb the pain so that other things can be done while the healing is happening. It is very inexact, but pain relief always is. “Take two aspirin and call me in the morning,” is more about letting some time pass so that things might work themselves out, and hoping for the best. The pills are more so you think you’re doing something than anything else.

Time is the great equalizer. It’s the one thing we all have, and it’s the one thing we need for every other thing that we want to have. Time does not heal all wounds - that is a remarkably foolish aphorism - but time can put most wounds into perspective. In time, we can learn to do almost anything, and that includes learning how to cope with wounds that we thought were fatal. It is interesting to note that a common expression for memory loss - especially the kind of memory loss associated with fugue states - is “losing time”. Time is something we have in only a finite quantity, and there is no known way to get more. Losing it is expensive. Using it, though, is what it’s all about.

I lose time because my depression and anxiety pile up and my brain tries to deal with the mounting pressure by not dealing with it. Some people drink to forget. I forget to forget. Just like with drinking, though, there are better ways to handle the situation, and these small memory lapses can serve as a reminder that I may not be using those better ways as well as I could. I can’t give you a roadmap for navigating these kinds of issues, because it’s different from person to person, but I can give you some general ideas. That is one of the main purposes for this blog. Another main purpose is that writing this blog, or something like it, is one of the general ideas. You need to give voice to what you’re feeling and to what you’re thinking, and then you need to give voice to your solutions. Don’t let one side of your mind monopolize your time, but don’t cut it off either. Let it have its say. Just make sure you get a rebuttal.

It’s all about making time. Make time to listen. Make time to speak. Make time to act. Active participation is the key. When you’re dealing with depressive issues, just letting things be will usually result in things going downhill, in losing time. You may not lose time the same way that I do - the symptoms are different from person to person as well - but you’ll lose time just the same. You won’t be able to use your time productively or to your benefit, which amounts to losing it. Entropy is the natural progression of all things, and this is no different. If you want things to get better, you have to take steps.

That is not to say that you have to take all of the steps at once, or even all of the steps at all. You have to act, but you don’t have to overdo it. Keep walking forward, but stop and smell the roses along the way. That, too, is part of the active process. By taking breaks, you are reminding yourself that you can take breaks. By smelling the roses, you are reminding yourself that there are roses to smell. These are critical parts of the healing process. You have to know that it’s okay to not be perfect, and you have to remember that there are good reasons to get better.

In the end, you need to remember that your time is your time. It’s yours to spend, it’s yours to live, and it’s yours to enjoy. It’s also yours to manage. When it starts slipping away from you, it’s up to you to get it back. Take a walk, listen to a song, meditate, pray, visit family. Your inner self knows what it needs. You just have to quiet the roar long enough to hear it. That’s not always easy, and it may never get easy, but it can get easier with practice. Time is the key and the lock. Sort that out and it gets a little easier to manage.

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