Learning some balance
I haven’t been spending much time in front of the keyboard lately, and it ties in with the subject of this post. Part of it has been from continuing to feel swamped and trying to push myself too hard through the musculoskeletal problems, so that I haven’t had much time to sit down. At least by this point I can tell that this is not an entirely sane approach, and have been trying not to feel so compelled to push my physical limits.
More of the hiatus has come from trying not to push my emotional limits. I get worked up very easily, and have been deliberately avoiding situations proven to aggravate this while I work on learning better emotional regulation so that I can handle them better. In other words, I’m temporarily trying to stay away from known triggers while I work toward duyukta. Over at Bipolar Recovery, Jane describes a similar recovery process very well in multiple posts and related videos. Some people would pathologize this approach (and have) as unhealthy avoidance, but it only seems smart to me.
Getting some physical distance from destabilizing situations–and people–has already helped me recognize that (a) they were destabilizing me in the first place, and (b) what I really need is to develop better balance and work through some continuing triggers.
I have also realized that I never learned much in the way of emotional regulation, as mentioned in my last post. Excitability was actually rewarded in my family, growing up. My maternal grandmother is a really poor choice to teach people how to develop some emotional balance, my mother learned from her, and so on. A hospice social worker offered an observation which greatly relieved some of my mother’s regrets: if you have not been taught to make good decisions, you can’t be expected to magically do so–that’s something we all have to learn. The same applies to finding emotional balance and peace in your life.
After I crashed out of college–due to rape/stalking-aggravated PTSD, unrecognized learning disabilities/autism, and agitation from antidepressants–I got a bipolar diagnosis. I spent the better part of ten years doped to the gills, and barely able to leave the house. (Some of the complications warrant a post of their own.) It’s only a few years now that I’ve realized that the entire problem was situational, and have been off medications–so that I am able to think better about my life circumstances, much less make some changes for the better. A number of my relatives have also been diagnosed and heavily medicated for bipolar disorder, including my mom, and one cousin’s son who is still in elementary school and on both neuroleptics and anticonvulsants.* The common thread? We never learned to cultivate any inner calm, nor mediate our emotional responses. It’s taken a while, but now I’m finally learning to do that.
This explanation has run longer than I’d planned, so the more general stuff about duyukta and health can wait for a separate post. In short, I don’t want other people to think that I’m just not interested in what’s going on with them!
* His father, who is my age, also received lots of “treatment” when he was younger. At last check, he was no longer homeless (while working as an EMT), but had joined the army and purposely gotten sent to Afghanistan–with plenty of comments about “if I don’t come back”. Yep, getting pathologized and “treated” has done him loads of good. There’s not much I can do to help either one of them, which hurts.