Thursday, 3 April 2014
I realise that my last post might have sounded rather miserable. I'm not miserable. I'm actually feeling quite light-hearted and energetic. It's just that there are only so many times you can go through the same cycle without recognising that something needs to change.
Because it works like this - my mood lifts, I start to feel positive and hopeful and as though everything is possible. There are hundreds of things I want to do and I want to throw myself into them as though to make up for all the time I feel I've wasted being unwell, I come up with all sorts of plans, I feel excited about the future. Then things escalate out of control, or become difficult in some other way, and I end up achieving none of them. And every time, every single time, I am convinced that this time will be different, and won't end up that way.
But the conclusion I have come to is that the shifting pattern of my moods and perceptions is not going to dramatically alter. I may be more stable than I have been in the past, but it seems unlikely after so many years of living with this mind of mine that I am going to become stable enough to consistently pursue complex goals, that I am going to be able to magically make myself fundamentally different. I think I need to accept this, to stop feeling despondent about it, and to turn my attention to the many little things in my day-to-day life that make me happy. To accept that there will be times when I can do more, times when I can do less, and that I have limitations, that I am in some sense disabled by my disorder. And people with disabilities aren't expected to recover from them the way you might recover from an episode of illness. Which might go some way to explaining my discomfort with describing myself as mentally ill.
And of course services also increasingly have this approach that I am starting to identify as unhelpful, with their emphasis on Recovery, this idea that I can be seen by a Reablement worker for 12 weeks, or have however many sessions of therapy I'm allocated, or I can read some self-help books, or I can improve my diet and do more exercise or practise Mindfulness more often or whatever and then I can sail triumphantly forwards into a future where I "fulfill my potential" and never need help again. And complete a university course, or find a relationship,or more likely hold down a job, since that seems to the way Recovery is measured.
It's very very tempting to believe such a transformation is possible, but I am coming to think it is a myth. For me at least, maybe not for everyone. And I think I need to accept that. I need to remember, when I am filled with excessive confidence, that the self I feel myself to be at those times isn't my whole self, isn't my only self. That the darker, more difficult times aren't an aberration, aren't due to an error I made that I can simply avoid entirely in the future, but are part of the totality of my experience on this earth, and are no more likely to disappear than winter, or rain, no more likely to be conquered and eliminated than death.