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Comment by john_spickes on Open thread, August 26 - September 1, 2013 · 2013-08-28T20:44:12.745Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Point well taken! However, this still seems like a potentially useful skill to have when you must interact with someone but wish to defend yourself emotionally.

Comment by john_spickes on Open thread, August 26 - September 1, 2013 · 2013-08-28T20:11:42.594Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Another managed to learn to detach himself emotionally from whatever is going on at the meetings, by treating his family as low-level NPCs . . .

Do you know where I might find information about implementing this technique? It sounds really useful. Did your friend follow some methodology for accomplishing this?

Comment by john_spickes on Open thread, August 26 - September 1, 2013 · 2013-08-28T19:46:34.862Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

My wife has similar-sounding pain. She was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (which, as far as I can tell so far, appears to be in many cases a diagnosis of exclusion - we don't know what causes this, so we'll put it in the Fibromyalgia bucket) and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which makes her connective tissues weaker than normal.

We have tried quite a few things with varying degrees of success.

  • Trigger Point Therapy - A type of massage therapy that focuses on treating a muscular phenomenon named (poorly, in my opinion) "trigger points". In brief, these are small regions of muscle that become constantly contracted and unable to relax. I'm not aware of the specific mechanism that causes this. Trigger points can have strange effects, including pain appearing in different parts of the body than where the muscular problem exists. The best resource we have found on this is this work by Travell and Simons. Here is the volume for the lower extremeties. We have had good success with this sort of treatment, but we have to keep treating. It's worth investigating, even if the problems seem like joint or nerve pain. Many of the referred pain patterns appear in joints, for example. I don't know how well-researched this phenomenon is - many doctors seem to be unaware of it's existence.
  • Other forms of massage therapy give her some temporary relief.
  • Aquatic physical therapy - This involved exercises and stretching in a pool kept at about 80F, and it seemed to have a large positive effect. I'm not certain of the exact exercises done, but if you're interested I can find out.
  • We have explored possible dietary factors, and have found that removing wheat has some effects on other conditions, but we can't correlate it strongly to pain.
  • Stress reduction - Stressful events cause her pain levels to rise quite a lot, and it takes quite some effort to bring the pain back down after an event. It appears that the pain and stress work in a positive-feedback loop to make things worse.
  • Alcohol - We've discovered that she hurts much less when mildly inebriated. Obviously this isn't a good solution, but it does offer some temporary escape from the pain.
Comment by john_spickes on Open Thread: How much strategic thinking have you done recently? · 2013-08-28T18:15:20.944Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

May I suggest "zooming in" on one or more of your goals?

Take, for example, being a good father. There's quite a lot of uncertainty in the broader community about exactly what that entails. One could spend a lot of time just figuring out what "be a good father" means. You may decide, as I have for myself, that being a good father means embarking on significant self-improvement efforts.

Comment by john_spickes on Welcome to Less Wrong! (6th thread, July 2013) · 2013-08-14T11:30:57.072Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Hi LWers!

I'm a 37 year old male. I work from home as an engineer, primarily focusing on FPGA digital logic work and related C++, with a smattering of other things. I'm a father to two young children, and I live with my little family on a small farm in central Delaware. I've always been a cerebral sort of guy.

I can't remember exactly how I came to LW - I may have heard it mentioned in a YouTube video - but finding it felt somehow like coming home. The core sequences have become some of my favorite reading material. LW was my first exposure to many of the disciplines discussed here: cognitive psychology, evolutionary psychology, Bayesian reasoning, and so on.

I feel like I've discovered a treasure. I'd like to thank everyone who has participated in building this content - it has been extremely enriching to me. Thank you.

My kids are still very young, but I am already starting to think about how I can help them learn to think rationally. I see it as part of my job to help them become better than I am, and I can't help but think I would have benefited quite a lot if I had been exposed to the concepts that are discussed here much earlier in life. I'd like to figure out how to help, say, a five-year-old start on the path. This is something I expect to be putting a lot of thought and research into, and if I come up with something post-worthy I would be delighted to share it here.

I'm also a novice meditator. I have found Chade-Meng Tan's treatment in Search Inside Yourself to be a good fit for me. It seems to me that building mindfulness is likely to be very useful in improving my agency, among other things. Thus far I have been only marginally successful, with the largest gains coming in parenting, and particularly in the area of self-control.

I have been lurking for quite a while, but I hope to participate more in the conversation.