Eight Thirty Eight

Eight years of uneven ground is threescore and ten miles afoot with me.

For nearly eight years (or maybe a little less; the gods forbid it be more) I have carried a pager in some form or another.

And in a couple of weeks, that will no longer be true.

Pager(self) := false. It seems so final. Fortunately, Job(self) := true.

It’s going to be very, very weird to exist without a tether to the job that goes BWREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP BWREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP BWREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP

So let’s talk about the time I pulled out my iPhone to refer to Wikipedia during a session with my bartender. Because this is what iPhones are for.

You see, I was depressed about the interviews—if you follow me on Twitter, you know how depressed over the weekend I got—because of a little thing called confirmation bias. Basically, as you process evidence, you only pay attention to that which confirms your hypothesis; a rotten route to reasoning about reality, as it were.

My starting hypothesis is pretty much that I don’t deserve good things and that I’m a horrible human being. You can probably see the issues with that. I had only paid attention to the parts of the interviews that went horribly wrong… and even so, they only seemed horribly wrong in isolation from everything good.

It’s not that my bartender didn’t know what confirmation bias was—he knew it, just under a different name. I wanted to make sure we were sharing the same screen. Or on the same page.

We mostly talked about the job, the new job, my confirmation bias for terrible things about myself, My need to remember that is the sort of thing that colors my view of the world and myself.

I spent most of today thinking about all that in the background while being on-call.

Now that things are moving forwards decidedly, I am more resolved to have a life that doesn’t suck.

We didn’t talk about how work defined how I see myself. Better work, better (marginally) person. Worse work, worse (and evil) person. I really need to change that.

I have also been thinking about little things like free will. I saw someone on Twitter outright say that the disease—bipolar—makes all the decisions, and aren’t bipolar sufferers just the most tragic people because they can’t think for themselves.

Yeah, because we can’t make decisions like seeking help and whatnot! And we can’t start monitoring ourselves and adjusting our behavior! Honestly, I’ve run into this opinion enough times that I’ve fucking had it. Yes, being bipolar is awful. Yes, it means the deck is shaved, the dice are loaded, when it comes time for us to take our turn at the game we call Life. But you can learn to play with marked cards—you’re always at a disadvantage, but if you’re aware of it, you’ll gradually learn when to fold ’em and when to play ’em.

Of course, this means that at times you’ll be dealt a bum hand that everyone will know. This is just how it is; you can at least make sure you don’t lose too much in the pot.

I think this is the hardest thing for people who aren’t bipolar to get. We aren’t demons, and at the same time we cant’t will ourselves into being saints. We try our best, as people do, to get by.


7 thoughts on “Eight Thirty Eight

  1. Congratulations on the new job – may it work better for you to get regular sleep (as it does for so many of us). You will have the werewithal to make even bigger and better contributions to your new team because you aren’t so frazzled (I’m assuming).

  2. This reminds so much of both my self-talk as a pre-recovery addict and other people’s talk about addicts. Nggggghhhhh (sound of frustration)

    Here’s hoping the new job will help you have a new life. No-one deserves it more.

  3. a lot of people see obstacles as an end instead of something to work around. good luck with your new position. :)

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