Westward Ho! Day 12

Golden Valley, AZ (9:00 AM Pacific) to Durango, CO (6:30 PM Mountain).  469 miles.
Notables: (for singing loud) Wailin’ Jennys Live

IMG_0264 (1)So much for good intentions.

Melanie, my host in Golden Valley, lassoed me as I was loading the car, and we ended up gabbing for an hour in a sort of open-air living room;  old couch, recliner, and side table under a trellis in the front yard.  Magnificent view and another magical connection.

I cut loose before she could give me a tour of the property, though.  Like Mr. Frost, I had promises to keep.  And miles to go before I sleep.  Miles to go before I sleep.

So off I went across Arizona, through Hopi, Navajo and Ute land. There, buttes and mesas dominate; brick-red sedimentary formations.  Sometimes ponies pastured on top of them, which made for an unbelievably cinematic silhouette against the cloudy sky.

MV_dramatic_sky_jan_2011I spent most of the day on a two-lane highway with no rest stops and long patches of nothing between gas stations.  We women of a certain age don’t do well without regular “rest” stops.  Luckily, I grew up on a farm and knew how to duck into a cow path off the road.  Some skills never die.

I had texted my friend, Robert, and my Durango hosts about being late.  Robert said not to worry.  I never heard back from my hosts.  So, when I got to their drive, and the gate was chained and locked, I fretted.  Soon, Ginger drove down the lane toward me.  They thought I was coming the next night.  What worried me even more was that Robert said the same thing; he thought I was coming the next day and couldn’t have dinner with me tonight.

Did I get my dates mixed up?  It would have been so easy to do with all these B&Bs to keep straight.  I had a text exchange with my sister earlier in the day, and she noted that I didn’t give myself much down-time or slack in my schedule.  True.  And no place for fuck-ups.

All this really threw me.  Even though Robert and I made plans to meet for coffee tomorrow morning, even though Ginger apologized and said they’d looked at their AirBNB calendar wrong, I had to sit in my car for a while and bawl.

I know I’m tired, which makes me more reactive.  It also makes me more rigid (Go With The Flow went).  I felt choked by disappointment and embarrassed by weeping in front of strangers.  And really bipolar.

A teensy part of me watched all of it happen.  That part cooked Ramen noodles.  That part talked to Ginger and Phil about their old dog, Zeke.  That part took a deep breath and held the exhaustion tenderly.  That part of me is okay.

It’s getting bigger by the minute, that teensy part.  Pretty soon, all of me will be okay.

Again.

And still.

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The Hot Itch

Say Hi to the PopeLast week I met my new primary care provider.  I’ve been searching for a doc for a couple of years since the Best Doctor in the Whole World retired.  I try not to hold everyone to his standard.  I got spoiled.

So, everyone who’s anyone has recommended this OB/GYN nurse practitioner.  Great, I thought.  I was a nurse.  We can relate.

And, indeed, she was vivacious, and friendly, and practical (gotta love that).  Then, we took a sharp turn into The Twilight Zone.

I would characterize this NP as an evangelical Christian, which would normally be a non-issue for me.  As a self-proclaimed mystical atheist, I’m always interested in what other people believe.  I told her that.  She laughed and said she wouldn’t try to convert me.  I laughed and said it wasn’t possible.

So, with that bit of self-disclosure out of the way, she asked if I ever had thoughts of harming myself.  I gave my standard Psych History answer—”I tried to kill myself once.  I still have suicidal thoughts, but I recognize them as symptoms and a signal to get help.”

She said, “We all have bad thoughts, and most people go through some period of depression.”

(Okay, I thought.  She’s not a psychiatric nurse practitioner.  She may not know the difference between clinical and situational depression.  Just go with it.)

“Where do those bad thoughts come from?” she asked (rhetorically).  “If you believe in God, then you have to believe in the Devil…”

I must have gotten a LOOK on my face, because she stuttered to a stop and started talking about vaginal health.  Was I imagining things, or was this educated, medical professional about to tell me mental illness was caused by the Devil?  I was so shocked, I don’t remember what else she said, just that we wrapped it up pretty quick, and I was shuffling to my car in a daze.

The daze turned to anger before I left the parking lot.  Are we in the Middle Ages, I fumed.  What was next?  Burning at the stake?  Dousing?

Rage fueled a deep hopelessness.  I missed my old doctor.  Did I have to choose between the cold, condescending woman who took over his practice or this kind-hearted religioso?  Did I have to start the search all over again?

I met with my meditation group later in the day and felt righteous satisfaction in their outrage as I told the story.  It’s a hot itch, indignation.  It gets under the skin and festers.

AbsinthineSo, as we sat together in silence, I took a step back from what I was feeling.  I called up the part of me that observes my thrashing around with gentle curiosity.  What happened?

I saw that I’m not as tolerant as I like to believe.  I don’t like people pushing their religion at me.  I don’t like the blank stares when I say I’m an atheist.  As the pastor at the First Unitarian Church in Des Moines said on Sunday, I’m more than willing to share my faith with people who are genuinely interested, curious and open-minded.  But, that happens rarely.  It’s just easier to keep my mouth shut.

What does it matter anyway?  I tried to look a little deeper.

My ego hates to be misunderstood.  It hates to be dismissed or categorized.  And it really hates to be discredited.  I’m proud of how hard I’ve worked to regain some functioning in the world.  Proud.

Ah.

I looked at my choices again.  Cold, Condescending Beeyatch or Evangelist?  I tried CCB the last time I got bronchitis, so I knew what to expect.  I had a feeling the Evangelist would be kind and thorough.  I suspected she would take very good care of my body.  And that’s what I needed her to do.  I might have to set some boundaries.  If I could nudge my ego aside, there might even be A Teaching Moment.

Coming home from meditation with my friends, I turned up the music and sang down the highway.  The ego is a stubborn little cuss.  Mine can be paranoid and hysterical if the mood is right.  Anything can offend it, and it defends itself with teeth and claws.  But, like a mediocre poker player, it has a tell—that hot itch of indignation.  When I feel that under my skin, I know it’s time to back up and look again.

I’m glad for that signal, and I’m glad I know what to do with it.

Thanks, Ego-Girl.  Keep raging.

 

 

Radio Station KFKD

handmade greeting card, collage art, HitchcockI had a difficult day yesterday.

The floor fell out of my little stable platform and the bipolar elevator rocketed into the basement.  Wham!  Just like that, in the middle of doing laps at the pool, I turned my head for air and nearly choked on a sob.  I had to stop and clear my goggles before I could go on.

It happens like that sometimes.  With rapid cycling, a person never knows how the next episode will present itself.  I’m always surprised.

I’m living an antithetical life, the twist in my brain said.  All my energy is focused on negativity—not doing things instead of living and doing.  What kind of a shit-hole existence is this?

I couldn’t shake this nihilistic mindset.  I spent most of the day in bed.

Change is hard for anyone.  Geneen Roth in her book Women, Food and God says this about change:

The biggest obstacle to any kind of transformation is the voice that tells you it’s impossible.  It says:  You’ve always been like this, you’ll always be like this, what’s the point.  No one ever really changes.  Might as well eat [or spend money, or do whatever it is you’re trying to change].  By the way, have you taken a look at your arms recently?   And excuse me, did you forget to put on makeup or is that what you look like when it’s already on?  Why do you even bother?  And did you just say what I think you said to your boss?  Who are you, Queen of the Universe?  How many times do you have to fall flat on your face before you learn to keep your mouth shut?

Anne Lamott calls it Radio Station KFKD.  [Geneen Roth] calls it The Voice…. The Voice feels and sounds so much like you that you believe it is you.  You think you are telling yourself the truth.

RadioAnd if Radio KFKD is loud for neuro-normals, imagine how loud it gets for us neuro-diverse folk as we try to address compulsive behavior or add healthier activities into our routine.  Even when I recognize the propaganda coming across those air waves as doo-doo, that doesn’t stop the transmission.  When I’m brain-sick, more transcievers pop out of my mental landscape and boost the signal.  The genius of propaganda is that even when it’s identified, it can still sniff out the tiniest crack and infiltrate like smoke.  Or DDT.  And like Geneen Roth said, pretty soon I think I’m telling myself the truth.

I still get suckered.  That’s part of mental illness.  But, I’ve also developed a pretty good doo-doo filter.  It might take a while to sift out the choicer pellets, but eventually they show themselves for what they are.

Toward evening, the lead weight of the depression lifted enough for me to realize that Radio KFKD had taken over my thinking.  I am not spending all my time not eating.  I’m working on a practice my therapist gave me for increasing mindfulness.  The mantra is Start with One Serving.  Prepare one serving.  Enjoy one serving.  If I want more, I can have it.  But, again, just one serving.  This makes me pause.  It makes me wake up a little from my normal food-haze.  Pausing and waking up are the only ways I’m ever going to change this behavior.  And it’s hard.

I’m not using all my energy to not spend money.  I am paying off my debts.  This is a fine and responsible goal.  I have less discretionary funds now in order to reach that goal, but eventually those debts will be gone.  I will have done something amazing, and new, and difficult.  And then I’ll have a little more money to work with again.

I had a difficult day yesterday.  But just as fast as the elevator plummeted, it rose.  That’s also the deal with rapid cycling—Radio KFKD switches off like magic sometimes.  I was back in the pool this morning, doing my laps.  And I didn’t need to clear my goggles once.

Radical Acceptance

handmade greeting cards, collage artI knew I’d come to the right place when my new therapist went to her stuffed bookshelf and pulled down When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron.

“That’s one of my favorite books,” I told her, craning my neck to see what other jewels she had.

Unphased, she rifled through a few more.  “Then, you’ll like this one, I think,” she said.

I stuffed it in my bag and forgot about it in the wake of bronchitis and $500 spend on medicines that didn’t help much.  Yesterday, I decided I was done being sick—not physically, I’m a long way from well, but mentally.  I threw my book bag over my shoulder, took a slow stroll over the railroad yard to the Starbucks at HyVee, and settled into a cafe booth to journal.  And I found the book Megan loaned me.  Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach.

By the end of Chapter 2, I had to close my eyes and sit quietly while all the doors inside opened.

I could see how my fear of repeating last year (bronchitis—depression—hospitalization) pushed me into going to the doctor and obscured what I knew to be true.  Medicine has never helped me recover from my chronic respiratory infections and only drains my resources.  But Fear drowned out that quiet voice, the one that understands it just takes time, patience and healthy practices to get well.

radicalRadical Acceptance talks about waking up from the trance of unworthiness and accepting all our immediate experience offers.  From that perspective, I could see how I might work with my fear differently next time.  There’s nothing new in this approach—it’s as old as Buddhism—but coming face-to-face with the perfect example always slams home the Teaching.

To simply see that fear is in play is the first and hardest hurdle.  It acts as an underground driver, pushing, directing, demanding action.  So to be able to wake up in that agitation and See what stirs it takes practice.  Then, the task is to observe the fear, hold it gently, watch the stories it generates, feel the push and pull, and listen carefully to the quiet voice on the other side of it.  That quiet voice is my own Wisdom, something I don’t trust anymore, something that got lost in the sea of delusion my bipolar disorder created.  But, in accepting my fear I begin to Remember.  I remember that I do have a wiser self that isn’t delusional or lying.  I’ve ignored it a long time.  I’m out of practice finding it.

I sat in my booth and listened.  This wise part of me is so quiet, so gentle.  It offers suggestions that are kind and sensible, not the wild plans of my delusions.

I smiled, grateful for the doors opening, grateful for a new way to Practice, grateful for finding my new therapist and her glorious bookshelf.

I have enough.

I am enough.

All will be well.

Zzzzz…

handmade greeting card, collage artMmmfrph.  This is my first morning after my first night on a sleeping pill in over three years.  Erg.  Still didn’t sleep through the night, but part of my brain seems to be unaware of this fact.

Speaking of drugs, my conversation with the hospital shrink was quite satisfactory.  She was the one three years ago who told me pharmacology had nothing more to offer me, which set me on my Bipolar Bad-Ass course.  I thanked her for that, which caused some wide-eyed blinking and mention of new meds I might try.  Thanks, but no.  But after two more nights of only three hours of sleep and no opportunity for a nap during the day, I agreed that a sleeping aid was in order.

Changes is one’s sleep pattern is an early warning sign of mental distress, but I wasn’t paying attention.  It’s too easy for me to just take a nap during the day if I’m tired.  I’d been doing this for so long, I forgot it wasn’t healthy.  So now I have to retrain my body and brain to the required eight consecutive hours.  It will take a little time and tolerance for the morning hangover.

Fatigue makes me irritable and intolerant.  Concentration splinters and I lose my sense of humor.  Sitting in group all day with other people jangles all those weary nerves.  I try to watch as my irritability bubbles up, take a deep breath, and wait for the froth to settle before speaking.  So far, so good.

It helps to be working with interesting material.  Tuesday we spent the day on self-esteem.  Yesterday we started on boundaries and anger management.  More on those topics today.

Here’s part of a video we watched from Jack Canfield, the author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. I managed to stay awake for this one.

In and Out

hand made cards, collage art

♦ ♦ ♦

Awake at 4:00.  Panic and sinking despair.  Read email and blogs to calm, calm, calm. But the discomfort like gravel under the skin, ants in the brain.  Go! Go! Go!  Dash water on our face and find clean underwear.  Enough grooming.  Go!  Will jump in the truck and Drive.  To the Forbidden City.  Starbucks.  A movie later.

Another voice.  So quiet.  *wait.

Check billfold.  $45 to last two more weeks.  Not enough.  Check movies and times.  Ah, one we haven’t seen.  Print out the free soda coupon.  Check bank account.  Balance on the Visa is HighHighHigh.  Nothing left in checking.

*don’t do this today.

We lay on the floor to listen better to the quiet voice.  Want to bolt.  Need to bolt.  But can’t squeeze past the facts.  Have to.  Have to.  Can’t stay in town.  No proper coffee in town anymore.  No proper writing place.  Can’t come back to the apartment-prison.  Can’tCan’tCan’t.  Go now.

*wait.  can you hold the tension?

No.  Too much.  Drowning.

*think of it like an experiment.  try, and see what happens.  try one thing.

On the floor with Henry watching from the chair.  We can go to the Y.  Ride the recumbent bike.  Walk.

*yes, then what?

Then, we’ll see.

*good.

We walk to the Y.  Ride the bike.  Moving through syrup.  Pain.  Exhausted before starting.  Stumbling tired after.

*what now?

Experimenting and holding the tension of flight or fight.

*can you stay?  *can you keep from spending money today?

We will stay in town.  We have a gift card for the movies here.  Maybe go later.  Forget going to the inadequate cafe.  Make our own chai.  Need almond milk.  Forget going to the grocery store.  Too tired.  Too much pain.  Make a meal from what we have.  Healthy, but too much.  Staying, but eating.  Can only hold so much tension.  Drop into eating and watching a movie.  Then, drop into full sleep.  For hours.

Wake up like a drunk.  Out on the sidewalk with the iPod and an apple.  Walk.  Eat a proper snack.  Feel the breeze—sun-warm on the top, October-cool on the bottom.  Shuffle through drifts of leaves.  Plodding, plodding.  Still, the gravel under the skin.  Still, the ants in the brain.  Feet are platters, swollen and sore.  Body feels huge, bloated.  FeelFeelFeel.  But, the urgent voice is quiet.  Only the Other voice is here.

*breathe.  turn your face to the sun.  yes…

We miss our street concentrating on putting one platter in front of the other.  Funny.  At home, we pound a nail and hang a picture.  We need a companion for this picture.  TensionTensionTension.  Online we find one.  Not too expensive.  And we need double-sided tape.  And…and…and…  Tension stretches and snaps.  Running free.  Almost.  Remove items from the shopping cart.  DeleteDeleteDelete. $35 spent.  Not too bad.

*come back to holding the tension. be curious.  can you keep coming back?

Daylight fades.  Henry sits at the window watching the street go dark.  Time to shroud the TV.  Time to write.  Time to breathe.  In and out.  Like the tension.  Like the experiment.  In and out.

In and out.

Anger and Compulsive Eating

Part of the pledge we say every week in TOPS is “I am an intelligent person.  I will control my emotions and not let my emotions control me.”  Emotional eating, compulsive eating, is an enormous problem for most people in our group.  It is an issue we all struggle with and support one another to address.  But, as someone with bipolar disorder, I knew I would be lying if I said the pledge as written.  My moods are uncontrollable.  Emotions often erupt out of thin air.  I edited my version of the pledge to say “I will observe my emotions and not let my thoughts control me.”  I felt this put the TOPS pledge in alignment with my practice.  If I could observe my thoughts and emotions, I could discern which pieces might be out of my control and which ones I might be able to work with.

I received an opportunity to Observe this week.  For the past few days, I have been enraged, and I watched myself eat everything in sight.  This sounds like I was conscious.  I was not.  I was given moments, flashes, where awareness occurred in spite of the boiling rage.  These were gifts borne of Practice.  In those moments, I could see I was suffering and making the suffering worse.  I tried to hold my anger gently.  Then, the anger would wash over me, and I would go back to sleep.

Anger is part of my illness.  It is also part of being Human.  Rage does not make me a monster or a lunatic, but it pulls me from the path I want to travel.  This morning I knew I must find a different way to work with this particular manifestation of anger if I was to continue on my chosen path.  I needed a practice.  Admitting that made me remember a book I’d not touched in a long time, a book by someone I consider my Teacher—Thich Nhat Hanh.

What a shock to open his book and find the first chapter devoted to consumption.

We all need to know how to handle and take care of our anger.  To do this, we must pay more attention to the biochemical aspect of anger, because anger has its roots in our body as well as our mind.  When we analyze our anger, we can see its physiological elements.  We have to look deeply at how we eat, how we drink, how we consume, and how we handle our body in our daily life.

I expected my Teacher to offer me a way to take care of my anger so I could stop compulsively eating.  How ironic, how very Buddhist, to discover that Mindful Eating is the way.  At least, the first step of the Way.  So, today I will start.  I will follow the Mindfulness Training on consumption…

…to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming.  I vow to ingest only items that preserve peace, well-being, and joy in my body, in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society.  I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest food or other items that contain toxins, such as certain TV programs, magazines, books, films, and conversations…

Today I will slow down and try to stay conscious about what I take in, not feeding the anger, not building more energy for my anger to use.  I will breathe, and practice, and try to be open to what rises in me.  The path is before me.  This is the first step.

Excerpts from Anger—Wisdom for Cooling the Flames by Thich Nhat Hahn.

A Cautious Step

Collage art, greeting card artA cautious optimism seems to be creeping up on me.  The last couple of days moved through with less frenetic, spastic energy; less explosive mood changes; more moments of quiet joy; more tolerance.  It’s too early to tell if this is a shift out of the mixed state rapid cycling I’ve been experiencing, or just another variation of it.  When all the bipolar symptoms get thrown in a bag and shaken up, moments of relief are bound to stick together once in a while, too.  So, the practice is not to name it, not to grasp it, but simply Observe.  And then take appropriate action.

“Appropriate” is a moving target, just like my symptoms.  What I’m capable of doing changes with each shift.  So, just when I sit down to make cards, I’m suddenly unable to tolerate being in my apartment.  Or when the urge to eat bends me over the bakery goods at Panera, I feel the compulsion vanish in an instant.  I guess it’s not surprising that I’m experiencing a lot of vertigo.  These jumps from one state to another to something combined make me a little loopy.  Lots of starting and stopping.  Lots of whipping around and muttering, “What?”

Even in this weird, stuttering place a few constants remain.  I can always exercise.  The pain that comes with the depressive symptoms may make weight-baring exercise more difficult, but there’s always water and my new friend, the recumbent bike.  And there’s always writing.  No matter how crazy I get, I can always write. It may be crap, but I’ve learned that crappy writing is a gift.  It starts the trek to the real story.  A crappy first draft or hideous turn of phrase marks where the story isn’t.  It’s a pushpin in a map.  With enough pushpins, I can see just where the path leads.  Even if I’m crazy, I can still read a map.

Exercise and writing give me a little foundation.  Whatever else I try to do with my day starts and ends there.  So, today I’ll stand on my foundation and cautiously pick up my Bad-Ass Training, knowing I may have to drop it if this moment of relief ends.  I’ll check to see where I’m leaking energy or money.  I’ll reach out to my support network.  I’ll take care of chores that have been abandoned.  I’ll shroud my TV.  I’ll do what I can in each moment to get ready for that moment to shift.

And while I’m getting ready, I’ll listen to my music.  Because that makes everything easier—like Eurythmics’ Miracle of Love.

Haunted Houses

It’s here.  The next episode.

The elevator doors opened, and I rode it down into that familiar darkness.  Time to see how the training, and planning, and digging in play out when all the rules change, and I turn from Jekyll to Hyde.

I felt the change start on Friday while I did my laundry.  I’d identified my mom’s house as an eating trigger already, so I had a plan.  While my clothes sudsed, I’d get my bike out of the garage and ride around town.  I even brought a little tire pump in case the tires were flat.  They were.  And the pump didn’t work.  I put the bike away, went back into the house, and saw the Fiddle Faddle.  The rest was a blur of food.

I broke the surface occasionally during my feeding frenzy.  I told myself, “You don’t have to do this” as I reached for the container of cookies in the freezer.  But, that voice was wee and far.  In retrospect, I had choices.  I could have taken a walk or gotten in my car—anything to get away from the house.  But, those weren’t choices then.  They would have been inconceivable.

I drove from Mom’s straight to another trigger house where I lived with my friends for two and a half years while I was at my worst.  Whenever I visit, I feel the shades of those years gather around me.  I feel that other me wanting to rise up.  When my friends go out of town, I take care of Gracie, their dog.  Again, I had a plan on how to dodge the ghosts.  Instead of “keeping Gracie company” I’d let her outside, take her for a walk, check her food and water, then get out.  No hanging around with the big screen TV and the pantry full of trigger food.  Uh uh.  Get in, take care of business, get out.

All plans flew out of my head when I walked in the back door.  All the old behaviors reared up and took over.  Yesterday, I even brought over my own food to try to keep the ghosts at bay.  They just turned out to be appetizers.

Even while I berated myself for being possessed, I could still watch with curiosity.  I watched how the exhaustion inherent in depression seemed to grease the compulsion’s skids.  I watched how all the self-talk that worked while I was stable made not a dent in the compulsion now.  I watched as the compulsion suddenly stopped, the frenzy ended, and I quit eating.  The good news was that in my own apartment, I didn’t feel the compulsion to eat.  At least for the time being, “that house is clean.”

Curiosity and information will lead to different strategies.  It seems clear I need to stay away from these haunted houses for the time being.  Perhaps I need to do my laundry at the laundromat this summer.  Maybe I can’t take care of Gracie for a while.  The eating rituals that have developed in these houses need to be broken and the ghosts exorcised.  That will be my homework.

In the meantime, I have one more day with Gracie.  Once again, I’ll try to stick to business and get out of the house before the specters find me, before depression and compulsion conjure phantoms too strong to escape.

I’m on an Adventure.

Don’t Touch that Dial!

My initial plan for living without TV was to see how it went for three days (until weigh-in at TOPS).  I realized unplugging completely would be another case of Black or White/All or Nothing thinking, a pattern of mine that is usually unrealistic and breaks down fairly quickly.

Balance has always been elusive.  Perhaps being a Libra with bipolar disorder tips the scales (so to speak), and I overcompensate to aim for that center line.  Or perhaps with so much that is unmanageable in my life, I clutch at ways to take control.  Whatever powers may be in play, pathological or cosmic, I’ve learned this about myself and try to loosen my thinking and actions from their rigid, polar leanings.

The statistics for those three days didn’t really surprise me.  I took in 1000 calories less each day and ended up losing 4 pounds for the week.

I still went to my friends’ house on Wednesday night for our Criminal Minds date.  It was the two-hour season finale, and I watched closely as my desire to eat woke up toward the end of the first hour.  My thoughts kept sliding to what I could forage from my friends’ kitchen.  As the show continued, I started planning my attack on the Kwik Stop on the way home—Cheetos or Chips?  I watched and pushed against the compulsion, fell into the dream of the show, watched the desire rise, pushed against it.  This is what Ouspensky calls strengthening the Will as opposed to exercising will power.  Tomato, tomah-to…

So, now what?  TV is definitely a portal to my compulsive eating.  Do I use it as a tool or chain it up and toss it onto oblivion?  Can I hold the awareness it would take to work with it?  What about when the next bipolar episode arrives and I need a cheap, easy form of distraction?

I journaled about this for several hours and found no easy answers.  Of course.  If it was easy, someone would have written a book about it by now.  I think I’ll leave the TV off for now, not shun it, not cast it into the Fires of Hell.  If I need it, it will be there.  Along with a little notebook to record my Observations and help me hold awareness.  Maybe that will help me push against the compulsion when it rises.  Maybe not.

In the meantime, I have a lot of my own Programming to Watch.

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