Friday, October 15, 2010
Oh dear, navel gazing
This is the man, the guru, Aaron Beck MD from the Beck Brain Institute. He is reputed to have developed Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for use in clinical depression and other manjor mental illnesses. Like any therapy it takes years of practice, and typical me... when I know I am heading downwards on the Bi-polar express, it is so difficult to dredge up the will to do the thought auditing required, let alone connect the analytical with the emotional and mobilise action. I am very good at staying above intellectualle and knowing the effect of my thinking, but I am very very bad at translating the 'common sense' across to what always feels like an overwhelming swarm of self-hatred.
It is so hard to put these things into words, for fear of being judged. To be seen as self-indulgent. If one has suffered from situational depression then you have an idea of just how debilitating the condition is... but when you add the constant pull towards clinical depression wrought by my illness, it is almost unbearable. Of all the people who should (oh dear just used the no, no word),
be able to call up an inner strength and harness my intellectual capacities it should be me. But at the start of this blog, I promised to be honest and take any readers through the Bi-polar express from a safe distance.
Well, as you can see from the many gaps and lack of daily posts, whenever I felt in the 'grey zone' or what people call 'normal', I forget to blog. I just get on with life in all its 'grey mundaneness'
But when the colours are brighter, the sounds orchestral, the aromas gastronomic then there is a pull to the keyboard. To capture this moment. A fear that if I do not capture these emotions and ward off the inevitable fall down to grey again. And similarly, when the mood swings towards the black pit, with the 'dog' nipping at my heels again I refuse to sit and type for fear that I empower the blackness and am drawn irrevocably into the abyss.
Yep, for the priliveleged well people this sounds so overly dramatic, but simple words are so powerless in describing the intensity of the swings. So for well over 30 years now I have happily worn the description of drama-queen, what other choice do I have but self-acceptance? I have made the ultimate promise to myself that I will never act on any suicidal ideations so I ust have to wear the negative labels. This is a small price to pay for the sacred life I have been given, that my parents strugdled to nurture, and the life that pushed so many loving people away when they felt so powerless to stop my spirals.
I guess this is the reason I am so sad when new friends run a mile in fear when they learn of my illness. They fear this sense of responsibility or the confrontation of raw emotion on this scale. I wish they could trust me that the 54 year old woman is no longer the self-centred, hurt the world type who woud act on her anger and pain.
At the core of my downward spiral would have to be the saddness of being alone. And I do not just mean partnerless. I mean alone... intrinsically devoid of any kindred spirits to walk my journey with me. Who could expect anyone to voluntarily choose this path? I wouldn't. I fell alone because you can never expect even the best friends to be there all the time. It is so draining for me, let alone someone else. Above all I feel very sad that my illness also conjures memories of pain for other friends who have lived and loved someone with Bi-polar and have never recovered from that pain and dissppointment that the relationships were inherently doomed from the start.
It is for this reason that I run away from relationships and put on so much excess weight to fend off any intimate relationships. I did it when I left the workforce to stay home with my son and now that I am at home again, on my supposed three month leave of absence (to attend to my mental health swings), the weight demon is calling my name.
When working as a salaried employee I feel intrinsically valuable and my self-esteem rockets. The more people expect the more I strive to produce and live up to their (and my own expectations), I feel good, I begin to look good and I am happy, for that wonderous prolongedperiod of time. But of how tenuous it is to attach self-esteem to employment status. I know this thanks to CBT and Dr Beck and Co... but I seem unable to ward off the feelings of worthlessness when I am not employed and am in receipt of welfare sickness or diability benefits. Yet I am disabled... so totally disabled that I am under seige. The pull of self-destruction is so intense. Ido not sleep. I cannot concentrate.
The smallest professional task takes Herculean effort, as does the dredging up of the 'party-face' to keep small linkages with my colleagues and possible future employers.
Party-Face.... so tiring. I am so over it. If only I could strive for acceptance, warts and all. But the 'outisde world' is not ready for this. So... the self-esteem plummets, the call of alcohol to ease the pain is assuaged with chocolate... for those supposed endorphins of whatever. After all fat is a battle I am prepared to wage over again, but alcoholism is my one of my gravest fears... to lose even more self-control and willpower, I doubt I could survive it.
Well dear reader/s, this is the thinking at minus three on the mood scale. The tilt to minus four is even scarier. It is coming and I will write about it. Yet I also ask for forgiveness and acceptance when this cess pit of loathing curdles on the screen.