By Lois Caniglia
“It’s not your job to like me, it’s mine.” ~Byron Katie~
I’m writing this filled with my high dose of Seroquel. You have been forewarned.
This past week I have once again traveled down that resistant rabbit hole of depression. Yes, I am still compliant with my medications. I guess a situational depression and not the bipolar type. My trigger started by running into a coworker heading home and still dressed in her scrubs. Although, I admit that I would’ve rather had my choice in professions and not my parents, I still was proud of what I’ve accomplished. This was what kicked me down the hole. Let me rephrase that, since my last therapy session, it is I who actually kicked myself down the hole.
I know I have written about failure in a previous blog. Yet, it’s an issue that I struggle with most through my recovery. Perhaps, there are others who struggle with ineffective coping. The inadequate choice that resist accessing our useful resources for repair. There are a number of reasons that I can justify my sorrow but this message isn’t about my woes. It’s about picking myself back up again and finding the right tools for a quick access in my box of coping skills.
It wasn’t so easy for my counselor and I to peel away the layers that brought me to the core that I call being a failure. Most of this stems from what I define as the superficial self-based on social status. Meaning, that upon greeting another with the introduction of name often follows profession, a number of stereotyping opens up for extended conversation. By identifying myself as a nurse, immediately a number of characteristics flow through our synapsis. She’s caring, nurturing, militant, hard, most of all, acclaimed in medicine. Well, there was a time a nurse was acclaimed for her expertise. Whereas, an introduction that identifies me as disabled, leaving my mental illness out entirely, and suddenly the picture becomes distorted. Way back when in my college course of Western Art History, I recall learning famous portraits and the painting beneath the picture. So do we have created portrait on top of portrait that actual identifies my true self.
My daily mental health task runs a bit deeper than most. Or, maybe, probably, you find the challenge of picking your own bootstraps when moving forward day after day. I walked out of my latest therapy session with several suggestions. None of which come as any surprise. It’s elementary to access the ability that best describes me being resilient. It’s so much easier to be recalcitrant, obsessive, and impractical. That’s my “bingo seat” (if you will) and you will not take it from me. I know that chair, its discomforts, its location and its view.
I really can’t linger on my trite interventions. So, my message will be short and bittersweet. What I am looking for are ideas, life experiences and a general conversation for my own enlightenment. I don’t have all the answers. I much prefer, as most do, the knowledge from those living with our illness. I look forward to the replies, reading your journeys towards recovery. I’m a late diagnosed bipolar although, I’ve lived with it most of my life. I didn’t get the early treatment in my youth that could have minimized the destructive path I’ve taken. We have the wealth of interventions to apply in our day to day. Our paths as different as they may be are what bring awareness to our cultural attitudes. I know that we are what will bring forth the cure and change the political minds. Our afflictions will be our recovery. I just need a little convincing that is true.