Saturday, March 10

Engineering my life out of a musical coma.

Again, I really don't like to discuss my troubles, but I hope this will be useful to someone.

In at least one previous post, I mentioned that my pains can happen to pretty much anyone and that they are mostly due to preventable causes. Here is the part that is not for everyone, for which prevention is not known, and I really don't wish it on anyone.

mythical_phoenixI was really excited to go to a concert this evening featuring a fantastic oboist. But as supper time rolled around, I was overtaken by a fatigue of the kind that makes it hard to watch TV. Compare it to drinking too much beer or wine, when you get to that point where it seems your mind is fully engaged but the body just collapses on the couch, barely able to sit up straight. (On the bright side, this fatigue has no drunken sickness or throwing up the morning after! Rolling on the floor laughing) I decided that driving 30-45 minutes to get there and then the same later at night to get back was too risky for me either falling asleep at the wheel or just doing a really bad manoeuvre.

I had been diagnosed with chronic fatigue near the age of 14 and I remember suffering from it as young as the age of 7. One classmate from college had it: he started a course of diet and physical fitness and he became a new man in a matter of weeks. For me, nothing has ever worked except that vitamins help against depression. I think this is at the root of an easily ignited anger in my 20s.  With the passing years, it is getting worse, but in a way that I don't have the strength to get angry anymore. It seems to react strongly to weather changes... this spring, the temperature has been changing by as much as 20*C in just one day... and then changing back as much the next.

Mind Over Matter – Divine Guidance

The single best treatment for me is anything that increases self-esteem and feeling victorious or meritorious in any way. Pursuing computer engineering was a double-whammy because:

  1. phoenixFromTheAshes_cropit broke through walls of despair from empty prospects after quitting music and realizing teaching was not for me
  2. the mathematical skills and systematic mind-frame were very difficult for me to adopt, but I soldiered-through and succeeded where I predictably should have failed.... you cannot imagine my pride at getting a B+ in multivariate calculus (triple integrals, MacLaurin equivalences etc.)!

There is no overestimating the sense of accomplishment at my having obtained a Master's degree in Engineering! Nonetheless, I felt like a defining part of me was in a coma; so when my wife bought me our digital piano, it felt like a full pardon given to a prisoner about to be executed - I had tears in my eyes for a week! Now, reviving the oboe life is just as important as the engineering degree. This makes my physical obstacles all the more frustrating.

This is where directing me to software engineering is Providence in action: my job is walking distance from home and I am still mentally capable of performing complex tasks... it's mostly my body that becomes listless: to say wet rag is no exaggeration. My fingers and feet tingle as if blood flow slowed in half. So sitting in an office chair, performing computer work is about the best thing I can do.

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