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The ebb and flow of my self-perception

(Isn't that what LJ is all about, really?)

I've been reading a book about sleep lately, and it has verified what I already suspected: I should try to get more of it, and the health consequences of not getting enough are hugely serious, not just a mild inconvenience. Mood is the first thing to plummet when you don't have enough sleep. Reaction time and sharpness of thinking suffer too—basically, you get stupid when you're sleep-deprived. And your immune system takes a grievous hit as well, opening you up to all kinds of problems.

But let's just look at mood for now.

I found myself wondering this morning, as I stumbled around getting ready for work when I wasn't quite awake, "Does everything seem so stressful in my daily life lately because I'm not getting enough sleep? Or am I not getting enough sleep because everything is so stressful?" The book hasn't said yet whether we actually need more sleep when we have stressful situations going on, but it has said that we feel stress a lot more acutely when we're sleep-deprived. So, I suppose it follows that more sleep would ease stress.

Or maybe it's all in my head. I'm a firm believer in the notion that the brain can screw you up any which way. Question is, how much can you actually do about it, even if you know it's just in your head?

I've wondered a similar thing before, years ago, when lying in bed with an upset stomach: "Does the world seem so nightmarish because I'm sick? Or am I sick because the world is so nightmarish?" Some days, probably just the former. Other days, it's got to be the latter. Most of the time, though, it's hard to tell.

Lately, with the changes at work, my stress has led me into my usual dichotomy: low self-esteem and the certainty that I suck on the one hand, countered by narcissism and the belief that everyone is being unfair to me on the other. Which is truer? How can I tell in any given situation?

Recently, I've decided most of what I write is stupid, my intelligence is severely overrated, my attempts at humor are pathetic, and my social skills are appalling. I've also decided I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to do, am being unjustly condescended to, and am perfectly normal in being quiet and introspective to the point of isolation. No, I don't think I'm bipolar. I just think I'm full of conflicts and am always questioning whether my actions are "right". Perhaps I over-question and simply need to relax.

I have no point to this, except to hope it explains my personality a little better to those who don't quite get me. Several times in my life I've been told I'm mysterious. I'm not trying to be; I'm just not sure what I think of myself, so I'm standing over here quietly musing over the subject, when I probably should be doing something productive.

Maybe the constant conflict is good for me, as a writer. No story without conflict, right? Then, hey, I'm your gal!

But I know there are two things I must keep at the top of my list of priorities: one is sleep. The other is humor. It's life-threatening to skimp on the former, and a cardinal sin (in my book) to skimp on the latter. That goes for all the rest of you, too.

No, make that three things. Chocolate. Yes.


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 29th, 2004 03:28 pm (UTC)
Pleased to meet you, and thank you muchly. :)

Yes, setting aside the problems for the night is necessary, as is being sure we do take care of ourselves at stressful times.

I've also noticed people tend to throw parties for us at the times in our lives when we're the busiest and therefore are least available to go to parties: when we're moving, changing jobs, getting married, having kids, etc. What are they thinking? ;)
Jun. 29th, 2004 12:21 pm (UTC)
I always seem more agitated and that any kind of disturbance is a large hassle when I don't get enough sleep. I worry far more about what people think and about how I'm coming across. Strangely enough when I get some good sleep I'm more outgoing, and the world could be falling down around my head and I'd be "Oh well, it happens." I really wish I could get a lot more sleep than I do, I guess I'll have to start grabbing a couple hours when I come home from work.
Jun. 29th, 2004 03:30 pm (UTC)
Yes, sleep is hugely important, even more so than I suspected. The trouble is getting other people to understand that you *need* it, and you're not just being lazy or indulgent!
Jun. 29th, 2004 02:55 pm (UTC)
Four: sleep, humor, chocolate and hobbits. Yes.

It might not do anything for your state of mind, but allow me to say I think you're brilliantly funny. Not to mention gorgeous, but you mentioned on your site no love poetry, so this is where I sign off.

*big hobbit hug*
Jun. 29th, 2004 03:31 pm (UTC)
Heheh. Oh, well, odes to me are actually fine. :D (I just don't usually understand poetry, so I avoid it and disparage it and am generally unfair to it.)

Hobbits! Of course! Luckily hobbits can be combined with the other three things quite nicely. Mmm...chocolate-covered hobbits... ahem.

*hugs back* Thank you, m'dear!
Jun. 29th, 2004 04:46 pm (UTC)
I've also decided I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to do, am being unjustly condescended to, and am perfectly normal in being quiet and introspective to the point of isolation.
Several times in my life I've been told I'm mysterious. I'm not trying to be; I'm just not sure what I think of myself, so I'm standing over here quietly musing over the subject, when I probably should be doing something productive.

See, there you go. What you should be doing is jumping off of perfectly good bridges with a rubberband tied to your leg, jumping out of perfectly good airplanes with a backpack full of linen or, say, climbing Mount Everest and snowboarding back down. Muy productive, like a good, healthy, normal extrovert. Oh, and, 'why don't you talk'?

Do I sound bitter?
Jun. 29th, 2004 04:51 pm (UTC)
Holy crap.

*pounces on tiggs*

Long time no see, darlin'. Bitter introverts welcome here anytime. :D
Jun. 29th, 2004 08:09 pm (UTC)
I think the dichotomies you present within yourself are actually quite healthy, as they aren't really dichotomies about you, but rather, dichotomies in your perception of yourself. The fact that at times you find yourself unwitty/unintelligent, and at others finds yourself quite at the other end of the spectrum -- namely, more witty and intelligent than most, shows that you are not full of yourself, but also that you do not have unhealthily low self-esteem, respectively.

Or at least, I hope that's what it shows, because I find myself having similar thoughts.

Jun. 29th, 2004 11:22 pm (UTC)
First, as a person who came down with chronic fatigue/immune deficiency about 12 years ago after wearing myself to a frazzle working two jobs and getting about 4 hrs. sleep/night, I feel that I am uniquely qualified to preach the gospel of sleep, and to proselytize to the point of annoying everyone else. It's not worth losing your health. TRUST ME on this one.

Second: Your self-doubt/self-reassurance dichotomy reminds me so very much of a good friend of mine, who is easily one of the most brilliant B&W medium-format photographers in the world today. She'll have several works ready for a show or a project, and she will have developed them flawlessly and presented them exquisitely. Then, without fail, about a week before the show opens she decides, in her words, that all her work is shit and isn't good enough to be seen by the light of day. :-) (Fortunately, contractual obligations usually prevent her setting a torch to the lot.) According to her, all artists/creatives apparently go through these spells of loathing their own work (and often, by extension, themselves), but it's useful for keeping one's standards high.

I think you have a deliciously wicked sense of humor; your LJ shows a gifted intelligence; and you are very pretty into the bargain (and while physical attractiveness isn't necessary for self-esteem or success, it usually doesn't hurt). :-) Your friends think you're pretty special. Truly, what the hell else matters? (Except, of course, getting enough sleep.)
Jul. 5th, 2004 06:40 pm (UTC)
Sorry it took me so long to get back to answering this, but I did want to say thank you for your lovely words. :)

I do hope these periods of self-doubt help me keep my standards high, at least! That's probably desirable in anyone, not just "artists"...
Jul. 3rd, 2004 12:44 am (UTC)
Jul. 5th, 2004 06:41 pm (UTC)
Link doesn't seem to work for me... what is it?
Jul. 5th, 2004 09:45 pm (UTC)

It's some artwork I thought you might like to look at, I think there may have beena space in the address when I tried to post it. Sorry about that.

Blessed Be
Jul. 4th, 2004 10:16 am (UTC)
Hey, I've been trawling the rest of your pages after getting hooked on the LOTR parodies (and you make a really good Frodo the Cute teehee. Perhaps you're worrying too much, or maybe speaking in abstract generalizations for privacy towards the things that are truly worrying you. All your little scribblings are a lot of fun and indicate you're
incredibly self-aware and multi-talented, so just enjoy it, mang.
You've got this enormous cyber following which could feel pretty cool sometimes, or pretty embarrassing, depending, especially in those socially weird moments (when it's not translating well to real life).

I would friend you, but I keep losing my livejournal Buria's info,
but my regular blog for the past few years has been under Buria on Xanga. I'd really like it if you dropped by!

:D Buria
Jul. 5th, 2004 06:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Buria
Thank you for these sentiments. Indeed, it feels weird a lot of the time, and I can only hope I'm not offending too many people on any given day, since that's not what I got into this joint for. (Or boring them, or annoying them, or so on...) You're definitely right that I need to enjoy things more! I'll endeavor to do that.

I don't know my way around Xanga, but feel free to leave a link, and I'll check it out. :)

Jul. 8th, 2004 09:04 am (UTC)
Re: Buria

:D My recent entries mostly whine and moon and mope about writer's block (haven't written in the past year, going berserk) but i've some silly stuff a ways back, like stories and (mostly) sarcastic/bemused musings.
Jul. 5th, 2004 07:48 pm (UTC)
I know you took off the option to comment on your most recent post about Michael Moore (don't worry, I'm not going to flame), but there's another site I've been reading about Fahrenheit 9/11 here in case you're interested. I haven't read the one you posted, but will do so now.
Jul. 5th, 2004 08:13 pm (UTC)
Well, I know you wouldn't flame me over this. :)

That looks like a good site. I'm not particularly angry that Moore made this film--hell, he's allowed to, and in some ways it's actually useful for making people look up the truth. But it does anger me how many people are buying it hook, line, and sinker. Ugh!

Thank goodness for you and the other RightFangirls. I feel slightly less alone in the LJ-sphere knowing you're out there.
Jul. 5th, 2004 08:26 pm (UTC)
That is my problem with the movie as well, people just take his word for it and don't bother looking up the issues or the other side at all. It's not a good idea to take the opinion of an extremist (which is what Michael Moore is) from either side because of the fact that they are extremists.

I feel the same way, even though I have one RightGirl for every 5 Lefties, it's good to know there are others with the same attitude and opinions. =0)
Jul. 6th, 2004 07:56 am (UTC)
Ok, so I'm a 19 year old college girl that, like every girl in America is struggling with self esteem...I find myself too this, too that, too quiet, too off key, too introverted, too reflective, too cynical. I came across your LJ a couple of years ago and I come to it whenever im in a people-dont-get-me-i-hate-life-im-sick-of-everything kind of mood. And it just makes me feel a million times better to read your LJ and remember there are intelligent, sharp, sarcastic, fiery women like you out there. So this may be mildy creepy coming from some anonymous random person over, but I genuinely think you're awesome.
Jul. 6th, 2004 11:58 am (UTC)
Actually, that makes me feel considerably better. Thank you!

I don't know why so many people claim college is the best time of one's life. It contains a hell of a lot of crap that you will never again have to put up with. I was all too happy to graduate, both times. The real world awaits you, and it's a lot more reasonable on the whole. Hang in there!
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )