Tag: depression

Ad Blockers And Boundaries

In the last few years, I’ve learned about ad blockers for my internet browser. It’s not just been ad blockers, I’ve recently learned that you can add all sorts of add-ons to Chrome. Laugh if you want, it’s one of those things that’s keyed me in on the fact that I’m starting to move to the official “old lady” age of my internet experience.  

BetaFish Incorporated

So now that I have these wonderful little programs that counterbalance the ads, I keep getting these windows asking me to disable them to support the sites I visit. I understand (roughly) about ads and monetization. Money math is a tricky thing for me. While I do want to support the sites I visit the purpose of the ad blockers are to block the swarm of ads that are overtaking the spaces I’m trying to read on. Sometimes I don’t want to see commercials for shit, I just want to fucking read. I just want to get to the core of the issue without having all these things in the way. 

There are some sites that guilt trip the user about having ad blockers in place. There are some that don’t allow the user to read any further until the site is placed on an exemption list. While this is just a necessary evil of playing the ad blocker game, it got me thinking. How much of this interaction would benefit real life? What if, and stick with me here this might get loopy, you could treat your emotional self like an internet browser? What if you could put ad-ons in place that blocked “ads” or “pop-ups” of people or ideas that were negative for you? 

Normal people call these boundaries, but for those of us who either have emotional traumas, are Empaths, or are beset by damaged or toxic people we call those FANTASY THINGS THAT OMG I WISH EXISTED! 

Emotional boundaries can be thought of as the property line that separates your thoughts and feelings from those of another person. Think of it like this: 

You and I both have pasture land that’s side by side. On my side of the fence, I keep sheep. On your side of the fence, you keep lions. If the fence is strong and well taken care of, everything is fine. If the fence is weak and flimsy, if it battered by storms and not cared for, if it is often driven over by ATVs taking a short cut, it fails. And then the lions get out and devour the sheep. 

Boundaries work the same way. When they fail, the person they fail for suffers the same fate as those proverbial sheep. It’s not bloody or gruesome in the physical sense, but it’s still tragic. And even worse, it becomes a habit. It becomes a learned mannerism. The sheep learn that they are lion food and just wait for the end. 

I’ve done both. I’ve been the lion’s food and I’ve built walls out of Adamantium. Security feels much better than being fodder, but I promise you, it won’t make you popular. Those that depend on your allegiance and support will expect you to place them on a list when you roll our your rules of engagement. When you start exercising your “no more”s they will start expecting special passes. Their special treatment and VIP status to your new, often life-saving, rules will determine how much you are allowed from them. They’ll try to choke the stream of information, emotion, attention, and affection you get until they’re giving you what they think you’re worthy of. Be prepared, this revolution will rock your world and show you just who values you. 

That’s why when you live without boundaries in place, it’s like browsing the internet (are kids still calling it “the net” these days?) without ad-blockers. Constantly you’re faced with calls for your attention, demands for your time, and things that want to suck your stream of thought right from your body. Every task you try to set out on is met with something begging for just a moment of your time. And after being the person that always answers, you become the one that can be counted on. You become old reliable who would never shut down the neon ads. No matter the hour, or the weight of your baggage, you are the one that will be there to mend wounds, open doors, and hold gates while they keep crossing over.

That’s because when you don’t live with boundaries, people expect you to stay that way. 

So please, build your walls.

And re-enforce your fences.

And deadbolt all your gates.

Set your boundaries so hard and firm that no matter how much it causes rifts, and how hard it makes them revolt, you don’t waver. You deserve it. You are not just food for the lions. You are not just a target audience meant for the betterment of others. You are your own experience. 

You are yours. 

And for the love of the gods, install some damn ad blockers. 

The Little Redwood Buddha

Somewhere along the way my little book on Buddhism got lost and with it my little red Buddha.

But that little red Buddha didn’t stay lost.

In fact, he has a funny little way of popping up right when I need him.

It’s been a while…

I really hate that so much time has passed between postings here Dear Readers. I’m sorry for the unintended break. 

As Fall has slipped deliciously into Winter, it seems the Holiday season has hit full force and covered my everyday activities with the stickiness of maple syrup.

With the official end of The Husband’s employment and all the ensuing doctors appointments and paperwork that followed falling right before Halloween/Samhain, then my birthday and Veteran’s Day being followed by Thanksgiving, it really has been hard just to find time to have a normal day. Especially when our normal days aren’t even that normal. It feels like everything is overlapping and requiring so much of my attention that after I try to attend to it all, I’m left with nothing but cold sticky oatmeal for brains.

That’s left me with the capacity for nothing much but mindless Facebook and Instagram scrolling. I haven’t even been posting or interacting there much, just scrolling by, slightly amazed at the colors as they bleed down my phone or monitor screen. I have contributed to a friend’s Facebook-based newspaper, The Chronicle Star.  Each Friday I drop a short column there. (If you don’t mind crude and often offensive humor like Iron Shiek impersonations and horoscopes that are knowingly wrong, you should totally give it a follow) But even that has become something I have to force myself to write. The ability I had a few months ago to make words just fall from my fingertips like a leaky faucet feels long gone.

It’s not that I think the well has run dry. I’m 34 now. I know my ebb and flow. I burn hot on things for a while and then I cool off. Part of me feels it could be that. But a larger part of me doesn’t really buy it. This doesn’t quite feel like I’ve lost interest in writing. I have pieces I make up in my head that I really do want to peak out at the keyboard. Sometimes it’s just the act of getting to said keyboard and having the mental energy to make myself function. Even using an app on my phone sometimes is too consuming. It’s so much easier to be lazy and just gawk at already created content than to make my own.

I’ve seen my dear friends who struggle with disabilities and illness talk about the Spoon Theory. The Spoon Theory says that each day you x number of spoons to use, and each activity you do in that day requires energy (physical, mental, or emotional) costs a certain amount of spoons. You may have 10 spoons on a good day, but washing your hair takes away 2 of them. But on a bad day, when your illness or disability is really kicking, you only have 5 spoons. The same activity from your good day could still cost you 2 spoons but it would be a greater hit to your energy supply on your bad day. So somedays you are able to achieve all your usual activities with ease. But some days you hit empty long before you reach the finish line.

This theory intrigues me because it makes so much sense. While I do not consider myself in the same world as my friends who suffer from chronic illnesses and disabilities, I do struggle. I’m a caregiver to three children. I struggle with migraines and depression. And I am married to someone who has an autoimmune disorder and all that goes with that. There are times when I am the battery that powers the family machine. (And I don’t say that to boast. I’ve been around too many people who put stock in being the “matriarch” of their family. It ain’t like that here.)

We are a machine that works together. Sometimes though, it’s not an equal 50/50 slip and some parts work more than others. In our case, it’s not because someone is lazy or neglectful, it’s because that’s how the cards fall. There are things that are just outside our control. So when someone needs to step up and wear the crown and control the kingdom, sometimes it has to be me. But while that sounds glamorous, in reality, it’s not. It’s cleaning the litter box and meeting with school officials. It’s checking to make sure bills are paid and phone calls are returned. It’s making sure everyone has clean clothes and has eaten and taken their medicine. So maybe my troubles in getting things created come from my percentage being greater than my spoons can handle? Maybe I’ve used up out too many spoons so now I have none left in my “create cool things” reserve? It’s an interesting concept that I think has some truth to it. 

One of the contributing factors to this piece getting written right now is that I’ve been forced to take it easy for a few days and relax. I hurt my knee while taking the dog out the other morning and have orders from The Husband to stay off of it as much as possible. So instead of my factory setting of “Chicken Little”, I’ve been set to “Couch Potato” or “Propped In Front of the Computer”. There is a nagging voice in the back of my head that keeps saying this is a painful reminder from the Universe to slow my ass down and focus on myself for a little bit. I have a feeling that it’s right. Maybe by allowing myself to write this up, I am acknowledging that voice and honoring it with the reclamation of a few more spoons.

Thank you for sticking around, even thought the sporadic postings. This blog is a project that I very much love and want to continue. I really want this to succeed. And by that , I guess I mean, I want myself to succeed in keeping it up to date and alive with content, thought, and connection. It seems that the biggest hurdles I face are always the ones I put up myself. 

I hope the Holidays and all their madness have found you well and continue to treat you well Dear Readers.