Monday, November 5, 2018

Putting out fires is ALWAYS the highest priority!

OK, yes, it has been well over a year since I last posted. I wish that I could say that my reasons for holding off so long are that I no longer have this condition or a need to promote its awareness, but today of all days, it is important to make sure that my message is not lost amidst important elections occurring tomorrow and other crises around the United States and the world.
Although I understand and empathize with those who feel the need to focus and promote things like the "Me Too" movement and "Black Lives Matter," when your own life is in personal crisis--for example, you have a debilitating pain disorder that causes you to be in constant, moderate to severe to excruciating pain--the important of nearly everything else is diminished.
As best as I can explain it, I think it is something like you are in danger of being terminated at work or perhaps failing a course in school. Now as critically important as that is, and important as it may be to address that matter right away, now imagine that you suddenly discover that your home is on fire or a pipe has burst and is flooding the lower level in your home. This distinction is what Stephen Covey categorized as "Quadrant 1" matters that are both important and urgent versus "Quadrant 2" matters that are important, but not urgent. Most social and political matters fall into that latter category, and for me, the pain I feel can so dominate my senses that other than deliberately distracting myself with work-related tasks or issues involving my wife, children, or immediate circle of friends, even some things that I would normally consider important turn instantly trivial.
For those who have felt offended by me or even friends who have felt abused or neglected at any point over the past 15 years, I can only partially explain my selfishness in this way. It has to do with something now affectionately referred to around the Internet at the "Spoon Theory." It is well explained at this site but I don't know whether someone who does not themselves suffer from some kind of chronic pain can really understand. In many ways, I think it is very much like Blacks telling Whites that they could never understand how it feels to be Black, or women (particularly those who may have been raped or assaulted) telling men that they could never understand how it feels to be a woman. While it is true that everyone knows what it is like to experience pain, to experience the worse pain imaginable and to have it persist over weeks to months to years... you just can't know what it is.
Now, I don't say it for the potential sympathy or pity that it may elicit, but rather just to point out that I have a perspective on life that most cannot understand and that it colors my view of everything--especially my future, but also my present, especially when emotions are involved. It has been easier for me to simply shut myself down emotionally, and it took some long and blunt discussions with Stacey for me to understand how being emotionless with those who care about you can be as bad as being mean or hateful with the things you say or do.
So I am sorry if you are among what I am sure is a large host of individuals to whom I could (or should) have paid more attention or given more of myself. The way I see it, that kind of thing is often difficult for some and missteps occur even among those who consider themselves outgoing and engaging personality types.
I will not ask for forgiveness per se because I do not think I need to from anyone, but I will ask for your understanding, and if our friendship has ever had any meaning for or importance to you, then perhaps you could reconsider the significance of whatever perceived offense you feel excuses you for being mad at me or not talking to me?