The dreams that should’ve died; the ones that kept you lying awake when you should’ve been all right

When I were a lad, in our senior year we got to write up little profiles for ourselves along with our photos for the high school yearbook. These commonly included a favorite quote, and the one I used was “When in difficult country, do not encamp.”

Ha! Good one, brain! Did you know that I was only a couple of years away from fixing to encamp like a motherfucker, psychologically speaking, for the next decade or so? Perhaps you did. You do enjoy irony.

The depressive’s habit is to be an extrapolation fiend. There are no mere phenomena; everything’s a synecdoche for some deeper truth, and those deeper truths are always bad. Did I break up with a girl this one time? I am incapable of relationships, and probably unlovable. Do I write only sporadically on my blog? I will never be able to finish school, and am probably a shitty writer and not too bright. And so on. Why move, if there’s nowhere to go, and even if there was, you’re not good enough to get there?

The project to replace that kind of thinking with something more like, “Hey, this is some shit that happened,” is an awful lot like what Joel Johnson’s talking about in this 43 Folders post, called The Economy of the Heart.

Also, from the comments, I’m thinking I might want to look into the work of Pema Chodron.

…and here’s a related idea: personal retconning.

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4 thoughts on “The dreams that should’ve died; the ones that kept you lying awake when you should’ve been all right

  1. Steve

    Would that be a person whose douchebaggery can be used as a figurative representation of the larger douchebaggery of some group or institution?

  2. Tom

    No no no, it’d be a douchey synecdoche (notice how I spelled it correctly?), like saying, “San Fran” for San Francisco. It’s very capricious and up to my whim, as “the ‘rents” is still technically ok when discussing parents, though, “Amstel” for “Amstel Light” will speedily usher you towards synecdouchebaggery, as would, “Dude, let’s go get some burgers at (Ruby) Tuesdays!”

  3. Steve

    (notice how I spelled it correctly?)

    DAMMIT! I changed that! Firefox told me I had it spelled incorrectly, and I looked it up! Friggin’… Screw it, I’m going to edit the post.

    And it’s not just abbreviation. It would be more like calling Amstel Light “suds,” or something.

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