Distress and the Conqueror of Despair

The old school of psychology back when snakes used to have legs talked about two types of stress: estress and distress. The former is positive stress caused by constructive exertion, the pressure of peak performance and being in the middle of doing something well, the expectation of success for you and yours. Distress was all the bad stuff, ranging from frustration to privation to being abused. The summary version is that estress is good for you and you need it, while distress is bad for you and you don’t.

You’ve already seen this post in which I explain that, by passing through despair and conquering it and making it my servant, I managed to achieve some semblance of serenity and begin creeping toward happiness in the complete absence of hope. The rules are different for a person with that mindset. Someone who builds their life around hope will accept distress and sometimes even seek it out in exchange for what will, hopefully, turn out to be a better future. But my future is today, because there ain’t nothin’ going to happen tomorrow that’s worth sacrificing the present for. So, to me, any distress is plain wrong, and the greatest harm that anyone can do to me is not to thwart my plans–I have none–but make me experience distress in the present moment.

I just experienced significant distress because someone managed to push my buttons. The details are not important, because I despise gossip and don’t want to be the next Perez Hilton. Quite the opposite. But, subsequently to having had my buttons pushed, I discovered that the person in question was not being genuine. Rather, they are someone who deliberately seeks to cause distress in other people because they enjoy seeing other people in distress. it brings them pleasure. Which actually reduces my distress and makes me sad for them. From a personality point of view, someone who enjoys causing distress to others is the lowest of the low, and hardly deserves to be called human. I now feel like I got upset at a donkey for braying. It’s silly to get upset at a donkey for braying, because the donkey doesn’t know any better. It’s just an animal, same as the “person” who deliberately pushed my buttons for fun.

Long story short, I have sought safety in severing all further contact with the person who is of the kind who do me the greatest harm–and it’s important, especially if you’re a Wiccan, to note that I say harm rather than hurt because, to someone living in the absence and rejection of hope, distress in the present moment is true harm in the Wiccan sense. Christians are free to tell me how they see the difference between hurt and harm and where, in their view, what I’ve described here falls.

Until next time.

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