Being Passionate About Something

There was a period in my professional career where I heard almost every other applicant bounce into my office and tell me she was “passionate” about beauty therapy. It drove me absolutely stark-raving bonkers because how could so many people be so “passionate” about the same thing?

(As an aside, as I type this blog, I figured out that, yes, working in a beauty therapy school will tend to bring a higher ratio of people “passionate” about beauty therapy through the front door to study, well, beauty therapy, so “duh” to me being oblivious to that humdinger of a fact. As another aside, the cynic in me wants to share that some of these applicants became students to only find that they were not, in fact, “passionate” about beauty therapy, and maybe this is why that word has become tarnished in my book.)

Yesterday, my new colleague Paula and I were discussing several different things in an informal and impromptu meeting in my office. (Paula is off on vacation in Rarotonga for a week, lucky woman. So, with yesterday being her last day in the office before vacation, I thought I would try and give her a pretty cruisy day, especially since she has been working very hard since she started with us a few months ago.) Paula is really into songwriting, and I, obviously, am into writing, so we started discussing this.
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Depersonalization and Creativity: An Afterthought

Okay, so I wrote and published my whole blog yesterday about Depersonalization and Creativity, and how my creativity has been hampered by the illness, but, mulling it over in my mind last night, I realized there were exceptions to that.

What I have taken solace in, from time to time, is photography, using my iPhone mostly.

Taking a few steps backwards from that statement: what some of you may not know is that I used to draw. A lot.

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Depersonalization and Creativity

I know my blog has covered a lot about the dissociative disorder known as depersonalization, but since there are so few people who are diagnosed with it, and some people who have been diagnosed with it have reached out to talk about it, I thought it was best that I cover my experiences so others might learn from them.

Anxiety is not really fun, as probably many people can attest to, and it affects various aspects of our lives. When anxiety and depression combine to create depersonalization, this can have a profound effect on a person’s livelihood and outlook.

One of the most frustrating parts of my journey with depersonalization has been the impact it has had on my creativity.

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25 Years Ago(-ish), I Started College

Around 25 years ago, in late August 1992, I started college (erm, university for you British English speakers out there). It’s a right-of-passage many Americans go through every year when they’re 18, and I’m sure there are many stories about how that first year went for a great many people. Maybe my experience was unique, but I’m pretty sure it’s not.

What I can tell you is I remember my Mom crying when I started college at Northern Illinois University. My excitement due to my freedom was tempered by how upset she was. Being the very anxious person I was and continue to be, I wondered if I’d made the right choice. As an aside: my counselor keeps telling me I do things to please other people instead of myself, and I’m not living my life authentically if I keep doing this. On the other side of this argument, I stayed at college because it was what I wanted, even though it did hurt my mother initially (and maybe it was more of a, “Oh my God, my oldest son is 18 and leaving home and I can’t protect him any more”, which I understand but I’ve never been through so I can’t compare that experience to my own experiences).

Sorry. I digress. You should be used to that by now if you read any of my blogs.

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Living In The Here and Now

I originally wrote this blog in May 2016 but never published it. I’m not sure why I didn’t, but here it is, updated slightly.

Over the past few years I’ve written about emerging from a period of suffering from the dissociative disorder known as depersonalisation, the result of a lifetime full of anxiety and a short, rather deep bout of depression. (You can read the latest entries: “Recovering from Depersonalisation” and “Reducing Anxiety through ‘Staying Present’“, or any entry on depersonalisation through looking up the tag #depersonalisation on my blog.)

But I want to take you a step back to the 1990s as a kind of example of why living in the here and now is important.

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Remembering Oma 30 Years After Her Passing

The photo of my Oma that everyone thinks is me in drag!
The photo of my Oma that everyone thinks is me in drag!
30 years ago today (26 February), my Oma passed away from intestinal cancer, 1 month shy of her 66th birthday and about 1 month after the diagnosis. I was nearly 13 when she passed away, just shy of that age where you start appreciating the stories and history your parents and grandparents share with you, if you’re interested in family history and that sort of thing.

A few months ago, one of my cousins asked me what Oma was like, and one thing that struck me recently was that out of all my cousins on my Dad’s side of the family, probably only my brother Brian and I remember or knew Oma the best.
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6 Years After the 22 February 2011 Quake

Oi Manawa, the official New Zealand national memorial to the 185 victims of the 22 February 2011 earthquake, shown at dawn on the 6th anniversary of the quake.
Oi Manawa, the official New Zealand national memorial to the 185 victims of the 22 February 2011 earthquake, shown at dawn on the 6th anniversary of the quake. GEORGE HEARD/FAIRFAX NZ

I felt somewhat guilty that I seemingly pushed the sixth anniversary of the 22 February 2011 quake to the back of my mind.  As I mentioned in my last post, I seem to be living day-to-day lately (being “present”), and this has caused problems like, well, everything seemingly sneaking up on me.  I need to work on a better balance in that regard, the pendulum swinging a little too far the opposite way.

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