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Clinton

Lost your marbles yet??

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I have been quarantined, lost my job (refinery kicked our engineering company out the door), and wife left me and took the kids  8+ weeks ago ...

Can anyone relate??

 

Edited by Clinton

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The only way to attempt to get ahold of your mental health, is to try to keep perspective. It's not easy, and many people can't do it.

I find "being grateful" is very helpful. For example, I have a life-changing professional opportunity, something I've been working on all my life. It finally came - but it was absolutely necessary that I travel to Europe during the summer, beginning of July at the latest. At this point, it looks very unlikely that I'll be able to do it. There goes my whole opportunity and in fact, now far from getting massively ahead, I'll fall massively behind - committments and money I put on the line. It will be devastating. I cannot tell you the hours I've spent thinking what I could have done differently. But the truth is, this was something that was unpredictable and struck in a way that I could have done nothing about. And yet, I blame myself - even though it's completely irrational. 

When the incentive is strong enough, the human mind becomes very distorted. I've tried to be rational all my life, but faced with something like this, it's a struggle. I find myself having irrational thoughts like "they MUST OPEN THE ECONOMY", and when I analyze my feelings, I realize a lot of it is "motivated" reasoning, not pure - because I so strongly want to be able to travel, it causes my subconscious to come up with arguments in favor of such an outcome. In the end, I can still see how my feelings are distorting things, so I can go back to baseline, but I now appreciate even more the power of "motivated reasoning" - if you're an atheist, perhaps you can cut theists some slack, because you can appreciate the enormous pressure under which they're laboring when they come up with these (to you) "absurd" arguments in favor of "god". I get it. It takes all I've got to resist my biased reasoning, and the religious probably face even greater pressure.

What I am facing, is essentially the destruction of my ambition - I had a chance of breaking out to a top level, something that happens *at best* once in a lifetime to a lucky few. Now it looks gone. It's as if you had a huge winning lottery ticket and now it's been snatched away. My life would have changed immensely - I had all sorts of plans and was already mapping out what I was going to do... counting my chickens. It's very, very tough to overcome psychologically. To know, you'll now never reach that potential.

What can I do? It's force majeure. I have to adjust. It can only be done by wrenching psychological control. I'm still struggling, but I am slowly adjusting. 

This is a long-@$$ way of saying: when the external circumstances cannot be adjusted, you MUST adjust psychologically. If you don't - well, that way lies madness, or at least frustration and unhealthy behaviors.

And one can use all kinds of psychological tricks to help the adjustment process. I mentioned one that helped me the most - being conscious of expressing gratitude. I'm grateful that my wife is willing to come along with me on this journey. We were both planning on how our lives were going to change. Now it's all massively scaled down. And she's OK with it, she doesn't call me a failure and supports me psychologically. Many a woman would have left. I know that for a fact - I've had girlfriends who get to know you in one stage of life, when f.ex. I was on an upward trajectory, and if you don't manage to lauch or fulfill your potential on the schedule, they leave - and I DON'T BLAME THEM, because they signed up for the "successful you by the time X" not the "sadly failed in this timeframe". You don't appreciate the "for better or worse", until you experience it. I am so lucky! Thinking this helps me.

And you have to play the game: if f.ex. your relationship fails, you fall back on "I STILL HAVE MY HEALTH" and the other way around if your health fails, with f.ex. cancer, fall back on "I STILL HAVE A LOVING FAMILY" or any other thing. Basically, there's always something to be grateful about. 

That gratitude puts things in perspective. When bad things happen to you, it is easy to get psychologically trapped in a chamber of negativity that prevents you from seeing any other perspective, and you start spiralling down. It's vital to arrest that process. And you do it by gaining perspective from outside of the negative bubble.

You don't lie to yourself - yeah, shitting things happened. That's reality. But how you react to it is up to you - and I know it's a cliche, but it's true nonetheless.

You must try to find the silver lining. Honestly there's always one. I'm speaking a bit abstractly, because I don't know you or your family, so forgive me for just shooting in the dark, but painful as it is, maybe you can find a silver lining. Maybe. I'd think - well, I was with my wife, and she was never all that in my corner, but I only found that out once our relationship was stress-tested, and she broke. Better to find that out now, than later, when perhaps I'm less able to pick up the pieces. There's someone out there for me, who might be an even better match - I might actually trade up! I'm glad to have lost that which was never truly for me anyway, she wasn't for me - glad to find out. Obviously, that's just totally free-styling and may not apply to you at all, it's just an example of how you can always search for the silver lining.

You're healthy - THINK ABOUT THAT. It's what I think. As long as you're healthy, hope remains. Once that's gone, it's all over. It's not likely that I'll win the lottery twice, so it will probably never happen for me again, but I'm still alive and healthy and well, never say never, however remote.

You can re-invent yourself. What if you died now? Everything would be gone. But being so displaced as you are - job, family, circumstance, you are in a perfect position to re-invent yourself. It's as if you've been given a new life, a new hand in the card game of life. Now play those cards the best you can! Think of possibilities you never thought of before! Be creative.

Whatever you do - LOOK OUTSIDE OF YOUR NEGATIVITY BUBBLE. Not by lying to yourself, but by taking the full reality of the perspective life offers you. Hope this helps.

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Thanks Tom, I just wanted to hear from someone - and of course I also wish you complete success and happiness also.

I appreciate all that you have said.

Edited by Clinton

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When I feel sad, I remind myself what I am grateful for.  I also try to remember I am a good person, that I care, and though I do not always succeed, I try my best, and that is all one can do.

Making plans for something positive I can do - for the situation, for renewal, and especially for others also helps.  Listening to and supporting and offering kindness in another’s troubles can provide perspective, gratitude, meaning,  a sense of purpose and a positive direction.  Sometimes space or distraction and getting through is what is needed - and is enough.

I am sorry about your losses.  You are capable and worthy, and deserve happiness which will come.  You are not alone.  The human condition is rough.  We are in this together.

Edited by Mechanism

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I don't want to get into details, but think "major part owner of a TV cable company" plus whole owner of two TV series all translating into much bigger further developments. The series which I generated would have allowed me to finance the cable ownership and up into the stars from there - as far as luck would take me! But hey, no use crying over spilled milk. I try to cheer myself up by thinking that it wasn't all 100% my failure, as two other key people would've had to be able to make the meeting, and were also prevented, so... I take whatever solace I can find that I'm not 100% responsible.  

It's a wacky world we live in. I worked for this opportunity for close to 20 years and the stars aligned just last year - until this disaster struck. I did a ton of work, but I also recognize that a ton of luck worked in my favor too, and it's not going to be possible to re-create this situation. Sometimes timing is everything. I put all my resources in, the careful work of so many years, and I didn't realize that it was putting all my eggs in the basket, because I never even saw this as a basket that might be broken - who thinks "hey, world travel will be suspended for months"... inconceivable in 2019. But these kinds of "once in a century" or very rare events do seem to happen - Trump getting elected - rare doesn't mean impossible. 

The most important thing is not to dwell on losses and what-may-have-been. I learned this lesson early on, in my late 20's. I devoted all my money and effort to a collector hobby, and then lost it all in a burglary. Literally years of effort and resources and almost identity, who I thought of as myself, down the drain. When I realized what happend I had a lightening bolt of insight - I knew with extreme clarity, that I can either let it go, or it will destroy me psychologically. And so I turned my back on all that, as if that part of life simply happened to somebody else. I was instantly free. When people would commiserate and express grief about it, I could honestly say "that's OK, I'm completely 100% over it" - I felt no loss, no regret, nothing but a clean future that I could chart as I wished.

That has been very useful to me. Now, no matter what tragedy, I think I can sweep it all clean and leave it behind. At the moment it's a bit more difficult, because I'm older and I don't have quite the stretch of time to start over again... this is it. So there is a finality about it - no great clean future to look forward to, just a closing of not a chapter, but the whole shebang. That's not a setback you recover from. But you can still say - ZEN, life is but a dream. And go from there - beats dying from bitterness. I can still enjoy whatever life and time that is left.

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Tom - thanks beyond the words that I type.

The lighting and the clarity is what I am experiencing right now.  

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Sorry for everything you've been going through, @Clinton.

I have been going through some stuff recently (not the same stuff as you - more the realisation, in my early 30s, that I have messed up my health through my own mindlessness and stupidity, and may live a much shorter life than the one I had expected on the basis of my long-lived grandparents, unless I can get my health under control - hence my appearance on this forum).

Three things I have found helped me to cope mentally (not to be fully OK, but somewhat better than I might have been otherwise).

  • Meditation (I already did that before, but I started spending more time on it)
  • Reading about the philosophy of the Stoics (especially books and audiobooks by Donald Robertson).
    • One thing I realised from Donald Robertson's book about Marcus Aurelius is just how much more difficult life was for everyone at the time of the stoics. Marcus Aurelius was the emperor of Rome, but he lived to see 9 of his 13 children die. A philosophy that let him meet life with equanimity has to be something powerful in my view.
  • I know it sounds odd that this would be comforting, but just thinking about how insignificant my life is. 50 years or 90 years, it makes no difference on the scale of the universe. Billions of humans have been through everything I have, and worse. Loss and suffering are universal. Human life is absurd, but its nothing personal. (I know this attempt at wisdom from someone who may be quite a bit younger than yourself may come across as stupid, and it probably is. All I can say is that it helps me to think like this.)

I don't know if that helps, but I hope so.

Edited by elatedsquirrel

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Sorry you are going though such tough times right now.  Hang in there.

As far as the job goes, it seems a lot of companies will be doing what they can to reduce costs.  Blue collar was first, but white collar is under pressure now and probably will remain so for the next 2 years honestly (even as blue collar gets back to work).  Maybe you can directly approach that company about becoming a full time employee assuming you didn't sign something that forbids that?  I would also point out that sometimes a marriage can be saved/improved with work if both partners are open to that - counseling or other programs to work things out and develop a better understanding of expectations and wants/needs, I know couples who have come out the other side of that and they are far better off today as a result.  

At any rate, I'm wishing you healing and better sleep (without drugs) brother!

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On 5/19/2020 at 1:45 AM, Clinton said:

I have been quarantined, lost my job (refinery kicked our engineering company out the door), and wife left me and took the kids  8+ weeks ago ...

Can anyone relate??

Clinton, I think you got some pretty good suggestions above. I take it that engineering jobs in America, as everywhere else, still are the most requested, and an engineer is a versatile profession. Future is not so grim as it may seem in the immediate. Health is a very important asset since it gives you the capability to start again with renewed energy after the readjustement. Pragmatistic thinking and taking care of immediate necessities will probably distract your mind from negative thoughts.

Wife leaving with kids... That's very sad, but if that's the result of the pressure of having lost a job and been confined at home, I think, like Gordo implies, that reconciliation is a real possibility, once things have calmed down. Putting apart one's ego is a requirement in these instances.

Have the financial aids from government reached the single individuals who lost a job like yourself? Here in Italy the aids have been promised, but many people complain that they didn't see any money yet. Hard as it actually is, the first rule in these cases is to wrench oneself out of the naturally pessimistic and totally useless moods the mind automatically enters. Physical exercise can be a very good tool in this regard as you know.

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Wow. I just noticed this thread and you guys are breaking my heart. So sorry for your adversities Clinton and Tom.

Tom I'm incredibly impressed with your apparent equanimity in the face of such a setback. Do you think your long-term CR practice is a contributing factor to your psychological resiliency? I've long thought that it does, as we discussed in this thread from a few years ago. 

I don't have much to add beyond the good pragmatic and more philosophical advice you folks have already exchanged. I'm just wishing you both the best in finding the silver lining as Tom suggests, or at least a viable alternative way to move forward.

--Dean

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It's hard to say, Dean. It may be just getting older, or it might be CR, but I've lost my "competitive" instinct - I don't care to compare myself to others, as I did when I was younger and looked to see how my progress compared to my coevals. I am much more even-keeled too, emotionally. Maybe CR - or I flatter myself, maybe I've gotten wiser with the years? Who knows.

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Oh, so sorry, Clinton. And Tom, too :(

We live in "interesting times," as the Chinese proverb goes....  But we all have much to be grateful for and must remember it, especially in difficult times.  Most of us are at least generally healthy, which is more than many others can say.

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YouTube recommended this vid to me and it reminded me of this thread (only in the sense that it discusses losing ones marbles).

 

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Funniest f-ing part at 6 minutes ... "I went crazy, shit my pants, threw my dog through a window ... " lmao

Interesting when he talks about how many people need to 'come out of the closet' - whatever closet that might be:

"It is better to be an honest street sweeper than a dishonest king" Bhagavad Gita - 

Thanks Rogan; you can't help but feel 100% sane after looking at these pics:

image.png.7581ea6382ea092d27841167442145e1.png

image.png.49880a08315c09471cf44413187f922d.png

image.png.4d17fcb080f8e296279c5f15551679c2.png

 

Edited by Clinton

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