Tuning Out Doesn’t Solve Problems

Two months removed, I thought to look back and assess what happened to me. It was a tough month. The culmination of 6 months of changes, obstacles, frustration – a lot of worldly stress, hanging problems with no solution at hand, exhausting days, a feeling of uncertainty for the near future.

Breakdown

I was pushed over the edge by a visit of a few friends, one of whom was playing a very draining psychological game of the victim,  constantly putting me in the role of the abuser. It was exhausting as she was not conscious of it, and therefore I couldn’t ask her to stop (I tried, though). I had to keep fighting or trying to avoid these confrontations – and it is quite difficult when the person doing this to you is actually staying in your apartment for 4 days.

Finally, once the guests left and I was left alone with my ongoing work, money and future related problems, I fell apart. For a whole week. I was experiencing flu-like symptoms, demotivation, fatigue, I was crying, and eventually my left eyelid started twitching. I regained my energy after about a week, but the twitching wouldn’t stop. It was really annoying and obvious that my body is expressing my mental state. My nerves were on overdrive.

The drugs don’t work

Of course, I immediately wanted to find a way to stop this – I knew I needed to relax. But how? I faced an inherent problem of mine: I haven’t  yet found a way to really relax my mind. There was a time in my life when I addressed stress with drugs, hard drugs. They do help, for the time being, but while you are asleep, your problems feel lonely and look for friends. So when you return to this realm, you realize your troubles have multiplied.

Many years ago, when I finally got out of the vicious circle of chemically tuning out and then tuning back into a world from which you just want to tune out again, I turned to meditation. But not for long. I gave it a shot, but it had never had an effect on my overall way of battling problems. Having no other ideas, I gave it a try again, but my eye kept on twitching, and I felt hopeless. My mind was keeping me in a trap. Meditation for me has the same issue as drugs: it does not solve the underlying problems. I suppose, when done regularly, it keeps the general stress levels lowered, once a person is on a steady trajectory. But that was not my case. I’ve turned the table of my life upside down and there is everything but a steady trajectory right now. So on top of all the frustration, to sit, focus and attempt to calm my mind was actually just adding another load of stress. It felt like another obstacle I could not cross, like my mind got another challenge that it’s unable to achieve. It is frustrating as hell.

And anyway, even if I had managed to tune out for a few minutes this way, when I came back from it, again, the problems were still there: playing cards at the patio of my reality construct, looking at me with a coy smile…. *twitch-twitch* “aaaaah!!!” So, no. Turning my consciousness off when I am facing existential crossroads, just doesn’t cut it.

Left is not right

It was at this point that a friend shared the following video with me. It is a beautifully fascinating and emotional story of a brain scientist who witnesses herself having a stroke, and how part of her brain was systematically shutting down.

It explained everything. My left hemisphere was overacting, and could not get the rest it so desperately needed. It was unable to hand over the control to my right hemisphere, which would just let me enjoy life as it is. The “left” was clutching the troubles, but in such a state of panic that it was unable to see the possible solutions. All it saw was a battlefield where I am alone against an army of monsters.

So you know what happened? My eye stopped twitching from the most ridiculous but, looking back, quite logical thing: I went to a burlesque cabaret with a friend. We watched half-naked gorgeous dancers, drank champagne, and laughed our hearts out for about an hour at the jokes of the lady playing the funny ‘Madame’. Finally, the logical, over-occupied, worried brain took a break. My right hemisphere took over and just switched off the volume of my left. My nerves finally had a chance to relax. I had the serenity in the coming days, the clarity, to realize what the most pressing of my problems was and what would help me resolve it. And feeling I had nothing to lose but everything to gain, I took a chance; and I succeeded.

Life is like a radio

What I have to learn is to fine-tune life, and apparently for that you need to be on the dial at all times. Tuning out for the sake of escape does not help. To resolve the problem, I needed to be ‘in’, fight it, head on, gather my courage, step up and face the frustration, get what I want. However, I also realized the importance of regularly tuning out to create some space for my mind to relax and for my consciousness to just enjoy its existence.

Problems will be there, always. Life does not give you breaks. The key is to address the issues directly in their own realm. And it is just as important to have a space, a “right” mental state, where you are one with the universe, happy, knowing all is well, because nothing is real. Laugh, dance, connect, enjoy the sunshine.

enjoy lfe.png

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