I feel that the old proverb that Ignorance is bliss has a fairly solid foundation in real life. I can only judge this by observation since it can only rarely be applied to myself, but feel convinced of its vailidity.

Observe that ignorance is a weakness of awareness. Many a builder is content to cement brick after brick into place, seemingly oblivious to the tedium of the work.

Compare such a person to a severely autistic person. They are bombarded on a minute by minute basis by sensory awareness of details of their surroundings. Details that wash over normal people, simply by the expedient that they are mostly not relevant.

For myself, I have a different kind of overload – a tendency to overreact to events. I obsess when the weather is very bad. I feel instantly angry when I hear someone sneeze. I cry when I am criticised. I am so moved by the beauty in the apperance of some people that I can sustain a living as a Wedding photographer. And artist.

I often do not know when I will get a severe emotional reaction to something. I really do not ask or want to be reactive like this. Those around my put the blame on my conscious decision to get worked up about something. And this matter (or not) of choice, is what I want to focus on here, along with the conesequences of emotional overload.

And I do know what it is like to be unreactive. After vigorous exercise, this is how I am. Things gently wash over me and it is so profoundly relaxing. By contrast, my daily life is like a kind of fight against a stream of reactions to many things.

Let me look at the strange situation where something apparently innocuous like a sneeze can drive me mad. I can be happily engrossed in a book at a railway station, oblivious to my surroundings. 2 seconds later, after the person next to me has sneezed loudly, I am dragged out of my book and forced by my brain to feel angry – I get to feel the angry type sound of the sneeze entirely against my wishes.

And this is part of the problem with overreactions – they happen involuntarily. Once started, the conscious effort required to suppress them is so huge that it wears you out.

And here we het a cascade of problems. The frequent emotional overloads drain your adrenal system so that you can suddenly hit a brick wall of tiredness. This then mkes you extra vulnerable to any more emotional situations until you are too tired to react. This is itself at least the source of some relief.

But the night may bring nightmares as you relive and try to rationalise the unrationisable reactions of the day.

So you awake tired and more vulnerable.

And wary of the kinds of situations that might affect you.

So you develop two distinct coping strategies.

First, avoidance of potential overload situations. For example, you may play the peace maker rather than get into an argument.

Second, you may try to change the World so that these events cannot happen so often. For example, you tell people to eat  noisy food in another room.

Both of these strategies are doomed to failure, but what else can you do? Humans are designed to seek optimum route through life. So you read lots of self help books. And wade through many many techniques, often contradicting each other. For example, “You only have one life, so ditch those friends who are not so good to you.” is at odds to with the concept of facing up to people.

All sorts of phobias and emotional baggage are accrued as a person on an emotional rollercoaster traverses life. Additionally, the extent of your rollercoaster ride is rarely understood simply because there is always something wrong with you. As if the more problems you have, the less justified you are to sympathy!

Meanwhile, compare with the builder type. Someone who is easy going, where things wash over him. He accrues very little baggage, acquires lots of friends who enjoy his easy going nature, and sails through life. Mostly – easy going people are likely to get in debt, miss appointments, and so on.

But it is sad that easy going people are admired for this characteristic that they have always had, and which, virtually by definition, they do not work at.

However, you try to get an easy going person to act fast and decisively in a time of great urgency and you’ll end up doing it yourself.

 What do you think?