The new lolcats is awkward family photos.
I saw 'Star Trek.' They really went for broke, right? I am into it.
"As Wallace noted at a 2005 commencement speech at Kenyon College, true freedom 'means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed.'"- from the profile of David Foster Wallace in the March 2009 New Yorker.
A little earlier in the week I was intrigued by the idea of 'Post Traumatic Embitterment Disorder' mainly because that would be a nice label for 3 years of my life. What some psychiatrists propose is that after a traumatic event some people get locked into being angry bitter haters, and that that should be considered a syndrome the way post traumatic stress disorder is.
I like it because naming something a disorder removes judgment and responsibility from the person for their nutso, and if there is one thing I think is helpful for achieving an emotional consistency that resembles sanity it would be eschewing responsibility for your emotions. The worst part of being angry is wanting the angry to be over. Good people feel angry momentarily and get the hell over it, and the rest of us miserable freaks cannot seem to lose our knapsack of grudges. Good people make life unbearable for the rest of us.
Sometime this winter I stopped being an angry bitter hater about one particular grudge, and I'm not sure why. I had been desperately trying to shake it for awhile. If you have a grudge which is wrecking you, I have no advice for how to make it go away. Maybe it's just about giving it enough time, maybe it's about finding new people to hold grudges against, maybe it's about 'building a fulfilling life,' (but I really don't think that's it- what does that even mean?) maybe it's about blogging about your grudges, maybe it's about trying therapy, stopping therapy, trying therapy, stopping therapy, etc. I have the impression it was completely out of my control. I was locked into bitterness and that felt totally out of my control, and now I am not and that was also not a choice of mine. The brain chemicals reordered themselves.
And that's why I'm inclined to call it a disorder. But I was not 'treatment resistant' when I was in it. I knew the way I felt about how unfair the world is was messed up. I knew I was pummeling myself and acting out in all kinds of ways that didn't make me happier. I was really desperate for treatment. Oh the self help books I read! Oh the theories about mental health and self-actualization I had!
The only advice I have is for the people who are not currently trapped in being bitter haters. It's not helpful to tell people to buck up. It is helpful to say, "Of course you are so angry! That was unfair and awful what happened to you! Of course you can't get over it!" That frames Pissed McBitter as a reasonable person instead of a crazy person, and reasonable people have choices for how they manifest their emotions, and crazy people do not have choices- they just act and act and act.
If you are currently suffering Post Traumatic Embitterment Disorder, I am sorry to hear that. You got some rough times ahead still. Whew.