Sucking Goodness

June 1, 2009 at 1:37 am (Mental illness) ()

Officially I have a social anxiety disorder (with side serves of obssessive-compulsive behaviour and hypergraphia). This was technically diagnosed by a friend of mine, and then whenever I went to a medical or psychological professional I’d open by saying, “I reckon it’s this – what do you reckon?” After five minutes of conversation, they’d agree.

In my opinion, however, my problem is that I’m an empath (it’s worth noting here that I don’t believe I actually have magical powers, just that I observe body language etc). I’m an empath in the Star Trek sense, where I can be badly crippled by strong negative emotions nearby.

Unfortunately my empathic talents have a strong negative bent – which means I’m constantly picking up insecurity, misery, and other people’s mental illnesses (yuck!). One of my personal strategies for coping is to try to tune in to positive emotions. And it does work. When I know and respect people enough, I can deal with almost any negative emotions because I have faith in them – whether or not they believe that they’ll get through it, I do.

Children are good for positive emotions (and living in the moment, which I really suck at presently), and so are certain friends. (My husband is the calmest person I know, so I can deal with a lot of bad emotions by clinging to his hand and consciously tuning into how mercifully oblivious he generally is).

Also really excellent TV. TV really does dull the mind, which is a good thing (I think anxiety disorders are basically physical – you’re just massively overstimulated, as if someone’s constantly pointing a gun at you. Your mind rationalises that overstimulation into real threats, and voila! Going to the shops is terrifying). Last night the SO and I went and saw, “The Boat that Rocked” – an overwhelmingly positive (and of course funny) film. For a little while, I believed that life was FUN.

Other oddly beneficial TV includes Spicks and Specks (the relationships between the three main people are just so positive – Adam Hills has described Myf as being like a sister, and that certainly comes across in the way they all work together so well), the Cook and the Chef (same), and Mythbusters (because they fight a lot but always make peace and stay friends – great for someone who lives in fear of making someone mad). I also have a theory that Adam has ADD and Jamie has asperges. But that’s another story…

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