Occupy Your Mind

Knowledge is power. We all know this, in many cases based on a simple understanding: the more informed a choice, the greater the freedom attached. If you want to scare someone, a page of dry commentary on an oncoming water-fuelled Armageddon is not the answer. You want pictures, and if there were ever a more compelling demonstration of why you get the fuck out of the way of a Hurricane, then this video is it. 

My daughter this morning prompted a conversation around honesty, and how learning when to use it can become a useful tool when dealing with confrontational situations. Allowing both kids a freedom with information which is clearly not the norm around their peers has bought consequences, but a parental decision remains sound. Discussing issues that cause anxiety or fear, dealing with concerns… all these allow a mind to find optimal means by which knowledge can be processed.

Yup, I’ll admit I never grasped that Red and Yellow Peppers were just Green Peppers that had been ripened until VERY recently. Why would this need to be something I knew? It is a perfect example of how new knowledge is applied to old experience, showing that if those two concepts aren’t forced to interface from time to time, mind can end up almost wilfully ignorant… typifying an attitude that means that no good music was ever recorded after the death of Elvis, or that the only good car is the one with the biggest engine.

Knowledge, however, is as only as good as your ability to process it effectively.

More’s been learnt about myself in the last two years than ever happened in the previous twenty. Not only must there be a desire to learn, but comprehension of how others perceive the same process, because undoubtedly you will encounter those for whom the journey isn’t about self-improvement. Often, those simply managing to stay stable won’t want or need your outlook, or indeed take kindly to any assertion they could do more.

Education of any kind is often a state many people simply never want to return to, because of bad memories from childhood, but remaining in a place where your knowledge never grows or is added to seems… well, an awful waste of life. I’m not advocating that everybody goes back to school, but even an occasional push out of comfort zones to look at bigger pictures could have massive long-term benefits to mental longevity.

However, you have to want this, and it is apparent many people are simply happier not knowing.

You May Be Right

What if everything you’ve ever done has been leading to this point?

A lot of time is spent contemplating our navels, like it or not. Imagination and role play as children allow vital opportunities to escape beyond the confines of self and stare forward to the future, with all the myriad of possibilities it presents. However, telling kids they’ll have it all sussed out by the time they reach eighteen and need to plan for a career is the biggest joke in the history of mankind (apart from the whole ‘everybody is equal’ thing, obviously ^^) Sometimes, it takes a bit longer to arrive at your chosen destination.

For some of us, a lot longer is needed to allow reality to finally register as significant.

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My favourite metaphor right now when trying to explain to people how I’m coping mentally with everything comes from the cartoon my kids loved as toddlers, and still enjoy now. There’s an episode of Spongebob Squartepants where he’s forced to help his frenemy Squidward Tentacles convince his snobby friend he owns an expensive restaurant. The titular sponge is forced to throw out of his head all the stuff that won’t help him focus on fine dining and breathing, and inside his sponge brain hundreds of tiny Spongebobs run around in anxiety and terror, shredding files full of memories of anything that’s not relevant to the task in hand.

For a long time, that was how it felt for me: ignore the bad stuff, don’t worry about the expectations of others and simply focus on what matters, which right now is cycling and writing… except, of course, this kind of approach is fatally flawed. Then you have nowhere else to send the stress, because all the other places it could have been siphoned off too are ignored. This weekend needs to be one where I don’t fixate on what could go wrong, and do my best to mentally relax, whilst simultaneously keeping up the training. I think there’s a Velo Park trip possible on Sunday too, which (if true) I’m already looking forward to.

It’s not going away, I can’t bottle and not do this. I have sponsors and a charity that is relying on to get the job done. The eternal questions of the Universe will have to wait, but they’ll help find the right mental balance going forward.

Time to get serious.

In a Different Place

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Yesterday, a consultant psychiatrist confirmed what I’ve suspected for quite some time.

I’m autistic.

The complexity and layers to ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) are pretty hard to grasp. It is easy to see why some people find this process traumatic in their formative years. Coming to it at this point, after a lifetime of coping, hiding and ignoring certain signs is, however, a massive relief. It confirms so much about existence to this point, and allows an opportunity to start looking for more targeted and focused means of dealing with confrontation, conflict and anxiety.

I could start throwing words about like ‘mild’ and ‘high function’ but at this point I see no point. Waving my diagnosis around as some kind of revelation is also largely redundant. Apart from the three letters in my Twitter biography, nothing has changed. Well, at least not yet. Until there’s the ability to work out what is now needed, and act on this as a force for positive change, there’s no real desire to discus this publicly at all. Therefore, this is all there is to say for the foreseeable future.

I need time to process, away from the Internet, and that’s what’s now happening.

Normal Service will be maintained as that takes place.