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Wellness Wednesday for January 18, 2023

The Wednesday Wellness threads are meant to encourage users to ask for and provide advice and motivation to improve their lives. It isn't intended as a 'containment thread' and any content which could go here could instead be posted in its own thread. You could post:

  • Requests for advice and / or encouragement. On basically any topic and for any scale of problem.

  • Updates to let us know how you are doing. This provides valuable feedback on past advice / encouragement and will hopefully make people feel a little more motivated to follow through. If you want to be reminded to post your update, see the post titled 'update reminders', below.

  • Advice. This can be in response to a request for advice or just something that you think could be generally useful for many people here.

  • Encouragement. Probably best directed at specific users, but if you feel like just encouraging people in general I don't think anyone is going to object. I don't think I really need to say this, but just to be clear; encouragement should have a generally positive tone and not shame people (if people feel that shame might be an effective tool for motivating people, please discuss this so we can form a group consensus on how to use it rather than just trying it).

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Does anyone know any secular alternatives to mantra meditation besides Acem, Benson's Relaxation Response, the Respiratory One Method (ROM), or Clinically Standardized Meditation (CSM)?

I recently attended a few Hare Krishna kirtans, and greatly enjoyed them, but as an atheist, I'm fairly convinced that what's happening is psychological not religious. I don't want to go too much deeper with ISKCON, and I was curious if there are any good generators for fake mantras consisting of nonsense words and syllables that work well for the dance-style mantra meditation they use? Or, barring that, repetitive songs consisting of nonsense words that could serve as the basis for such meditation?

The Whale, the most important men’s health movie you haven’t seen yet

The Whale is a 2022 drama film written by Samuel D. Hunter, based on his play of the same title, and directed by Darren Aronofsky. The story follows Charlie (Brendan Fraser), a reclusive writing teacher attempting to reconnect with his daughter Ellie.

I bought a ticket to The Whale last night because I want Fraser’s career to flourish. He had some rough years there because of sexual assault by a powerful man in Hollywood. He’s doing better emotionally, and has starred in a three-season remake of Six Days of the Condor and four seasons of DC’s Doom Patrol.

This film is, quite simply, powerful. The characters are all fully fleshed out by the ending, the relationships are realistically dramatic and fraught, and the situations are terrifyingly common.

But why am I posting this here instead of the CW thread (for the missionary character) or the Friday Fun thread (for being a film recommendation)? It’s the best damn movie about codependency ever.

Fraser’s Charlie is a morbidly obese food addict awash with guilt, despair, and self-delusion. His life is one of the most pathetic ever put to film, chronicled in excruciatingly ugly detail. Everyone in his orbit is affected by his immobility and his sorrow for his lost lover. They are in his life because everyone in this film is codependent, unable to form relationships in which neither person is trying to save the other.

At first it feels exploitative, because you know people actually live like this: growing so fat they can never leave their home without assistance, compulsively eating, slowly dying of heart problems, while those who love them wish somehow something could be different but don’t know how to change anything. It becomes moving, but just when you get sympathy for one of the characters, they do something ugly.

I watched this the very day I bought a YMCA gym membership, and it hasn’t been out of my mind for more than a few minutes.

I too have gained more weight than I wanted, because of what I can now call food addiction. I’ve been in recovery from codependency for ten years this March, and I’m grateful I can say I’m healthier than I’ve ever been emotionally. I’ve attended a couple of overeaters meetings and applied the lessons I learned from the codependency group; at this last one, something changed deeply, and I feel free, finally, of what drove me to food, in addition to what drove me to make bad friends.

The name codependency comes from a common pattern of behavior: when one person in a relationship is an addict, the other tries to rescue them, to save them from themselves. The addict is substance dependent; the partner is co-dependent.

Over the years, the definition has been expanded to include compulsive behavior and thought patterns of low self-esteem, control/manipulation, avoidance, denial of reality, and abnormal compliance. Co-Dependents Anonymous, a twelve-step goup, has compiled a four-page list of codependent tendencies and choices (PDF link) that everyone owes it to themselves to read at least once.

The lesson I get out of the film is that I can’t save anyone from themselves, I can’t save anyone who isn’t pulling their own weight in seeking help, and I can’t save people while getting something from the relationship.

And I can’t keep eating like I have or bad things will happen to me. Getting a genuine plan is my only sane option.

The Whale, the most important men’s health movie you haven’t seen yet

Looked up the plot synopsis. I can't help but think these sort of misery-porn movies backfire, if the goal is to get people healthier. You'll notice PSAs about drugs, drinking, and smoking stopped showing the worst consequences of those addictions in the past ten years, instead focusing on whimsical downsides like "If you smoke, your skin will look older!" or "If you get caught drinking and driving, you'll live at mom's for longer and will be embarrassed in front of your hot date!"

When you tell people they will SUFFER and DIE ALONE in HORRIBLE PAIN they inevitably seek comfort.... which for addicts means going on a binge.

I dunno. There's lots of advice out there for losing weight, but the common aspect of the successful strategies is that they teach adherants to (a) be mindful (b) treat their diet, body, and cravings like a science experiment, not a moral struggle to be "good" at all times.

The lesson I get out of the film is that I can’t save anyone from themselves, I can’t save anyone who isn’t pulling their own weight in seeking help, and I can’t save people while getting something from the relationship.

Yeah, that's the rub, ain't it. Everyone want to live out Good Will Hunting but people only change on their own, when they're good and ready.

I wouldn’t call it misery porn, any more than I’d call 2016’s Hacksaw Ridge war porn. They’re both deeply disturbing films, and I don’t expect to watch either one again, but I’m better for having seen them.

The eating scenes and the binge scene are more akin to a horror film in which the victim is also the masked killer.

Dialysis Diaries Week 2:

Last week was pretty okay. I went trad climbing in Belgium. Which is an odd statement. Because Belgium is not known for its trad climbing (ie placing your own protection). Belgium has some work class limestone sport climbing. But currently I am very careful about taking sport falls. The reason being that the catheder that is placed in to my abdomen is somewhat low down. So upon a lead fall the climbing harness tugs up on to it which causes some pain. It's also not a great idea to disturb the region as it is essentially an open wound in to my body. So the name of the game is to not fall, which is the perfect motto for trad climbing on sketchy limestone anyways! So had a cold day out over marginal gear which as a beginner felt quite close to soloing at times. But it did make me feel somewhat whole again. On the 3rd pitch may hands started cramping in protest, this is quite common for me right now, any endurance exercise quite closely pushes my very poorly regulated body out of bounds. Regardless I could bond a bit with my old PhD friend, I hope to take him to the Alps after my surgery.

Last week I said it was pretty big that I could still urinate. Well I still can but I think the flow is getting less which is concerning. My blood pressure this evening was 170/110 I will call the dialysis clinic tomorrow. This is probably because I am "too wet". I feel like I have limited my fluid intake these past few days but perhaps I am not a reliable narrator of my own fluid consumption, a bit like a fat person on a diet of kellogs and whipped cream. In either case it is somewhat concerning.

As for my releationship that is going well. The disease does place unique burden on things. For instance I used to sleep round her house which is 5 minutes down the road. But right now the machine is in my house, so I cannot. A part of me does not even want to with the machine pumping away. But that part is small, generally I enjoy the company. She spends some night at mine, but a lot, particularly weekdays at hers. She says that she does not enjoy having things part here and there and her morning feels rushed when she has slept at my place. I understand this. Yet I feel at times she is dictating the cadence of things. But then again I think she is also making a lot of sacrifices and I know that she cares. I guess the situation is just a bit hard that's all. I also feel a bit more sensitive about things than I would normally be.

There is a thread of narrative that is constantly running through my mind. Its a little devil that says, just stop the dialysis. There is a psychological burden associated with being dependent on a machine and a whole logistics network, to have the mark of disease follow you at all times. The little voice says, just stop, pass away and perhaps you'll roll again and be more fortunate. Ofcourse I don't know whether I will roll again, or that I will be more fortunate, there are plenty a worse lives. Regardless I don't head this voice right now, I still feel like I have much to explore and to do. I pray the voice never becomes too commanding.

The little voice says, just stop, pass away and perhaps you'll roll again and be more fortunate.

Yeah, idk. Depending on how you figure the rolls are weighted, it seems extraordinarily unlikely you'll do better. This statement kind of fascinates me because it is making me think: what would the re-rolling process look like, and how would you weight it? What are the range of possibilities? All humans? All sentient life? All life? Are we throwing in +∞ and -∞ possibilities for monotheistic heavens and hells? How do we weight the possibility of nonexistence? What about time periods: are reincarnations time-progressing such that from here I will wait 90 days and come back, or what if they are time-independent? It's a hell of a Rawlsian Veil of Ignorance to worry about piercing.

I suppose your suffering really needs to be great to make that leap of faith. That or your priors on one thing or another must be quite high and that thing quiet preferrable. For instance, I would rate inexistence to somewhere between neutral to positive.

I find it hard to formulate but intuitively one can be out of existence for eons until at the very least, some different universe births the right configuration of atoms that is you. In which case those eons might as well have not passed.

I find it hard to formulate but intuitively one can be out of existence for eons until at the very least, some different universe births the right configuration of atoms that is you. In which case those eons might as well have not passed.

But crucially, "the right configuration of atoms" doesn't imply "continuation of one's own consciousness." But then again I take the McCoy route that the Star Trek transporter is a death machine, and my views of personal identity have everything to do with future expectation of conscious existence and nothing to do with memory or even personality. In this fascinating game I'm sure to reward Body-Person A, because he is and always was me. I'm weird like that.

I do wonder if this has something to do with my views on gender identity.

I went trad climbing in Belgium ... The reason being that the catheder that is placed in to my abdomen is somewhat low down. So upon a lead fall the climbing harness tugs up on to it which causes some pain.

It is ... notably badass to do it regardless.

Aw, man. Don't have too much to say, but you have my sympathy. Hope things go well for you.