Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Another good question

This time our question is from a new reader, Lurid, who has a wonderful ability to put thoughts into words.  As she notes this isn't a cussing blog and hers is but I still recommend it.  And also, you all may not know this, but this IS a cussing blog at times.  When I am manic one of the first signs is I notice I'm swearing in my thoughts, soon in my words, and eventually while writing.  I just edit carefully.  If I weren't bipolar I wouldn't swear I don't think, but I am and I do. I've never asked Dr. Mind the 1st if he remembers this, but his first impression of me couldn't have been good.  I was at my strict, conservative Christian college and had gone to my first appointment only to have the door I thought I was to go in stick and I had no idea what to do.  I was walking away swearing only kind of slightly because going there was hard enough when he opened the door, explained that it stuck and "Are you Jennifer?".  I wanted to die.  So just know my language is not always so perfect........The blog was originally partly written to let college students from my alma mater read about life with bipolar so I was more careful then to not get blocked from their server.  But anyway, I don't think anyone is going to leave in offense.  (If you do feel that strongly please email me and we'll talk).  But anyway, what she said:

Anyway. This post also made me think about the American approach to life as something to win or lose at, as a path leading to a definitive destination, whereas other world views might suggest life is something to be lived in each moment, without a goal at the end of it. While I like that second view a lot better because hot dang does it take the pressure off, I think the first-world POV is pounded way too hard into our heads for us to be able to live more in the moment without the constant threat of "should" in our heads. I should be able to work, I should be able to get up in the morning without wanting to smash my fist into the bathroom mirror, I should recycle, I should care about x, y, z. Whatever. Like life's one big means to an end. 

I don't know where I'm going with this, probably nowhere, but your post made me think about how the experience of living with a mental illness can really turn up the volume on "should," and that makes the struggle that much harder.
And in 2 paragraphs you've said what Dr. Mind has laboriously tried to get me to understand for 6 years.  From day one he has tried to get me to work within my limitations.  But it's really hard to face not working a lot of hours, running around on a crazy schedule that makes it hard to even pee or drink enough water or eat meals.  Living a much slower life is not much of a choice right now unless I want to be back on the psych unit, and I do not.  But even then I'm learning how ingrained prejudicial comments about people who need food stamps or medicaid or whatever are.  Today I called and got all the information to apply for Medicaid.  I have to spend my 401k and some tax money but that's easy enough.  I'll keep COBRA through April to have time to do that and then state funded $2 prescriptions here I come.  There is very likely going to be a period of time that I am uninsured down the line but we'll deal with that then.  I just don't have the funds to pay $425 for insurance that makes me pay 20% of everything and has a deductible I can't reach.  I'm putting off labs and things because of money and that's not good.  But it's really hard to not feel weird needing these things.  I've had one person sigh loudly because my check-out took an extra 30 seconds because I had to run the food stamp card and then the regular debit card.  Boo hoo.  But the SHOULD thing comes heavily in.  We SHOULD be able to buy insurance.  We SHOULD be able to buy food.  Let me just emphasize exactly how much the food stamps help me.  When I'm able to cook more safely I'll get even more from it when I need less prepared foods, and soon the farmer's market will open and take it.

One thing that I do not miss about work is that I always felt I needed to keep up.  It just didn't work for me.  I worked so very hard to keep up when I wasn't well, and quite hard even when I was doing better.  Trying to appear not-bipolar was practically an obsession and that has had direct consequences called refusing to admit I had a suicide plan because that would not be normal sounding.  I am I think starting to let myself be who I am a bit more and that makes it a little easier to get through a day.  Even then I have to be so careful to keep myself from being goal-oriented with everything.  If I happen to shower two days running that is huge.  But I have to force myself to not make demands on myself because I can't control enough to meet those goals.  But goals have been the foundation of my life, not just because I was always working on my own goals, Dr. Mind's goals, Dr. Brain's goals, but I was always setting goals with/for my patients.\

Changing to one day at a time, let it happen as it happens and don't think too hard are some of the extremely hard lessons I've had to learn of late.  Or that I am learning, to be realistic.  I honestly think part of why I am so incredibly tired and hate leaving this room so much is that this is part of learning to let go and if I start looking around I feel guilty because I can't do this or that.

Lurid, I'll answer the questions about coordination tomorrow.  My meds are kicking in now and I will start to make no sense soon.  If I am lucky that is.

Copyright 2006 www.masterofirony.blogspot.com

1 comment:

Lurid said...

Well heavens to betsy, you are making me blush! This is incredibly validating, especially after the day I had yesterday. Thank you so much.

I definitely do way more swearing when I'm up. There is talk of implementing a cuss cup at home, ha ha. Funny story about your appointment and the stuck door, although I'm sure it didn't seem so at the time.

I know all too well the struggle you talk about with giving yourself permission to slow down, and to try so hard to not show the bipolar, not only in the workplace but with family and friends. Blogging is a good way to start to deal with those issues. Some goals are definitely good, but the ones that involve the word "should" tend to be bad (rather than ones that are more like, "I'd like to work toward "x", not "I should be able to do "x"). A therapist once told me that one of the worst things you can feel is shame. Shame that you've failed, that you have something wrong with you you should be able to control, shame for failing to do the things you think you "should" do in the first place. I agree with that sentiment.

Thank you again. This means a lot to me.