The Thoughts of a Frumpy Professor

............................................ ............................................ A blog devoted to the ramblings of a small town, middle aged college professor as he experiences life and all its strange variances.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

What Purpose?

Brief report on my physical and emotional levels.... Physically, I feel about a B+.  I still have remnants of the cold/flu/respiratory infection from last week, but the two residuals are relatively minor.... a general sense of tiredness and still a fair amount of phlegm from my nasal cavity and my chest, but both are becoming progressively more clear and smaller in quantity.... Emotionally, I would say I am still hovering around a "C" which is not where I want to be, but is ok for now as I keep working on improving.

A part of what I think happens when I go into a bad mood is that I often have a few things happen at once that I believe I do not respond well to.  One of the things I (somewhat grudgingly and surprisingly) do not think I respond well to is open-ended, unfocused time.  When I do not have a plan or a goal in mind, my mind will begin to wander and I have a tendency to ruminate over things.... and it appears that nine times out of ten, those ruminations are about fears, worries, past hurts, past hardships, etc.  When I start to focus on those things, it sours my mood considerably.  I think this has caused a conundrum of sorts for me over the years, and I intuitively realized I am happier when I am busy, but this has developed into me taking on too damn many tasks to fill the time and then I can become overwhelmed with too many deadlines.  I think this has been happening for a while now at work.   I kept piling on new things to keep myself occupied, but then would have so many different "pans in the fire" that I would have to be a magician of sorts to keep them all going adequately and avoid scorching (ruining) something.

What does this mean for me?  What purpose does this nugget of realization serve for me?  I think what I am realizing is that I a) need a variety of purposes/goals/tasks to do in order to have direction to my life and to decrease (perhaps negate?) the negative "rumination" time, b) but I need to have these purposes/goals/tasks be well selected so that I have things to "do" that are both valuable and enjoyable to me across all aspects of my life (work life, family life, individual self), c) and I need to resist (strongly) the desire to "grab onto" every new "opportunity" that comes my way, and be more selective.  I think I have a tendency to do this because I fear "missing out" on something and also because I am much more comfortable starting a project (rather than finishing a project) and also because again I have had reinforcement (feeling better) within myself by starting all these projects that keep me busy and away from ruminating. 

So, how will that work for me today?  I think I am going to continue to pare down and reduce my "projects" and responsibilities as I have been doing this year, but I am also going to do this with the mindset that I *WANT* some projects (that are meaningful and valuable to me) that I will focus on to help me feel a purpose.

I know at some level, the above probably sounds rather obvious and perhaps even a bit stupid to have to reason out like I have.  But, I think that for me at least, it is a realization that has been difficult for me to understand.  Finding a balance is a challenge, but if I can do so, I think it will bear great fruit.


(P.S.  The image on this essay is purposeful (porpiseful?) in that I was playing off the idea of the word purpose and how it would sound with an exaggerated Brooklyn/New Jersey type accent.)  


Blogger BBC said...

Maybe you should get busy building a cabin in the woods?

Wednesday, 09 May, 2012  
Blogger BBC said...

I like idle time, for one thing it's not as hard on mother earth than other things I could be doing.

I spend a lot of time watching the big picture and pondering on all the stupid shit.

Oh well, nothing I can do about any of it.

Wednesday, 09 May, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello? I'm beginning to think I'm talking to a brick wall. TALK to your doctor about an antidepressant. GET some counseling to sort out the confusion. You are not handling this, despite your best intentions. It is time to seek help. Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

Wednesday, 09 May, 2012  
Blogger PipeTobacco said...

Hello "Anonymous...Egypt":

I have been thinking about what you said. I have not tried to reply to you before this time because the "anonymous" designation was a bit challenging because a) anonymous can be a myriad of people, so I purposefully try to not think of the responses as part of a series from one person and also b) without a name/nickname, I feel rather flummoxed in how or what moniker to use in response (hence the chimeric salutation I adopted).

I am not sure if I need an anti-depressant or not. It is a difficult situation on several levels.... a) am I really "depressed" or am I temporairly "situationally depressed/sad" that will dissipate of its own accord if I work at it, and b) a medication such as a standard SRUI (such as Prozac) has an 4-6 week administration span prior to an appreciable effect is noticed. As an endocrinologist with strong neural emphasis, I can fully understand this delayed effect, but worry about if my mood improves in that span, would it be because of the medication or would it be more a situational effect?

There are many questions to weigh and ponder in reference to your suggestion.


Wednesday, 09 May, 2012  
Blogger BBC said...

Maybe you should just smoke a joint and chill out, piss on prescription drugs. And not put so many demands on your time.

Wednesday, 09 May, 2012  
Blogger amelia said...

You can make your blog not accept anonymous comments but then you'd miss out on some good advice!

I like Billys last comment and I wish there was a 'like' button on blogs!

Thursday, 10 May, 2012  
Blogger BBC said...

Actually, I've seen some blogs with like buttons, at least relating to the post, but not the comments.

Thursday, 10 May, 2012  
Blogger austere said...

Nothing significant to add, let me watch instead.

Thursday, 10 May, 2012  
Anonymous Cleopatra said...

Egypt will do nicely if you like, or perhaps Cleopatra? And remember that physicians do not treat themselves nor their families as you consider antidepressants. You know a great deal clinically about them, but don't let that get in your way. One of the hardest things about taking psych meds is that no two people react alike to the same meds and dosages. And honestly, if you feel better, does it REALLY make a difference how you got there? As regards situational depression: when you have sorted things through and can think more clearly and feel better, then you can taper off (with your doctor's advice). But you have had depression ever since I began reading you some two years ago. It's time to treat it. And its underlying situation through some counseling appointments. You gotta get the garbage out before you can begin to heal the wounds.

Thursday, 10 May, 2012  

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