Sunday, September 30, 2012

Acceptance, Part Three

Limitations.  We all have them, but sometimes illness adds new ones that we never before had to deal with.  Accepting this fact was a challenge.

When I was hit by one episode that left me psychotic, suicidal, and hospitalized I was 31 and had just been promoted to VP of Sales at the company for which I worked.  An incorrect diagnosis and my poor response to the medications prescribed, as well as my refusal to accept mental illness and my subsequent noncompliance with my doctors’ orders, left me reeling for years.  I fell into a string of small jobs, just to keep health insurance, and checked into and out of psychiatric hospitals several times.  The hole in my resume became so large, and my ability to deal with stress so frail, that it became clear that I was not going back to the executive suite, probably never.  The effect that stress had on my moods, and the moods themselves, severely limited the amount of responsibility I could handle in any job.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Acceptance, Part Two

I wrote in part one how my father and I were both sick, each with a poor prognosis.  It was our refusals to accept likely outcomes that laid the groundwork for our healing.  Or was it?

While it is true that I chose not to accept the likelihood of a dismal future, it was the acceptance of things that I had no choice about that began my healing.  In mindfulness, to accept is to acknowledge the truth of an immediate experience.  So yes, I was sick, unable to work, broke, and broken.  Those things were simple facts that needed to be accepted.  Only then could I begin to move forward and change my situation.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Acceptance, Part One

I’m starting to sound like an evangelist.  “Meditate and you’ll manage your mental illness.”  “Be mindful and you’ll stay present, even as your mind pulls at you, trying to take you toward the abyss.”  Well, for years this has worked, most of the time.  But it’s not always so simple.

For weeks I’ve been slipping.  I’ve had physical sensations- tingling, agitation, sweating, poor sleep- that read like the side effect profile of the two medicines I take.  But I’ve been taking them for years without issue.  So I worry about what will be the long-term effects of taking such powerful CNS altering drugs.  I’ve also been terribly depressed, interspersed with spikes of hypomania.  It’s as if I feel the earth move against my steps.  The sky is heavy, the air humid and oppressive, and I can’t get comfortable anywhere.  My thoughts are dark and confusing, I have social anxiety, and subtle impulses not to go on.