Monday, February 27, 2012

Is it Live or is it Memorex?

One of the oddball things I've noticed about AgCC is that we can instantaneously appear to be two different people.  My best friend and roommate "T" has often laughingly commented that she'll be reading a post that I am writing, or some email, or something on a group posting, and then we'll talk up and down the stairs at home in person.  She's noticed (as have I) that my mode of expression is 100% different in "written form" than it is "live."  And it has always been this way for me.  The fun part about it (sort of) is that this is all occurring at the same time. 

It isn't that, now I'm this, then I'm that...No, its as if two strikingly similar but very different people are communicating at the same time....Aaaah the joys of speaking out of two side of the brain at once!

I love to write, somehow, it gives me the ability to solidify my thoughts into a form that I can "hold" and further reflect on.  My verbal life, my "live" life is something that I have tremendous difficulty doing that with.  Not surprising.  I understand now, that unlike most others, my experience of social learning has never come from a live deductive experience...but learning by rote what is "expected of me."  I'm certainly capable of learning social skills, and in recent years I have grown leaps and bounds, frankly beyond anything I thought possible.  Yet, having said this I know that the implications of my words and actions "live" don't usually register.  Perhaps that's why I enjoy "Memorex" so much, I can record and reflect.

Dr. Lynn Paul on the TV show The Mind Brain Machine interviews a 20 year old man named Tony.  I can really relate to him.  While observations show skills and aptitude all over the map, something consistent with his experience and mine, is learning new behavior through social interaction alone is tremendously difficult.  He would be happy staying home, not relating, watching TV and avoiding the social milieu, and OH GOD I can sure relate.  However there are numerous other ways that slowly help people like he and I gain skills needed to be social in the world.  Whereas insight based therapies have been known to be largely unsuccessful with us, very solid instruction, like in Skinner's Behavioral Therapy, and C.B.T. (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and Dialectical Therapy help us to become far more successful.

I personal came across Dialectical therapy a few years ago.  It is successful where many therapies aren't, and with a variety of issues, not just AgCC.  Dialectical therapy for the most part deals with learning skills that promote emotional regulation, and uncover and help work with cognitive disconnects.  When I began to understand that much of my run away brain was made worse by my lack of ability in regulating my emotions, this alone went a long way in improving my day to day life.

I never just felt emotion, I felt it!  I thought I "was" the emotions, not that they were simply occuring...again, I believed I was my thoughts, that I was my emotions, not that I had thoughts and emotions.  Even today, while I have great difficulty with emotional flooding, it is nothing like in years past.  Although I'd practiced meditation (still do, on a daily basis) for many years, it was only with difficulty that I was able to "migrate" that experience into real life scenarios.  This has begun to change, and I'm so amazed, and (yep, tooting my own horn) am so proud of myself.  Its debatable, and has been for millennia if we ultimately have control, or if this is illusory.  I think it is both, at least this is so in my experience.  (Byron) Katie says that there are three kinds of business, yours, mine and God's...and if we are dabbling in any other than our own we create misery and suffering for ourselves.  I've pretty much made that a mantra lately, and it serves me well.
~Just Joe   

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