Friday, November 21, 2014

Day 104: Personality Shift

I have to begin this with a bit of a disclaimer:  I am manic today.  I've been in what's called a "mixed state" for over a week now.  That means I'm both manic and depressed at the same time.  Which means it's just the miserable parts of mania going on.  I feel miserably down, hate myself, and can't sit still or calm down.  And I'm really angry and irritable.

Pretty much all things awesome.

But, today, I've left the depression behind and I've just got the mania.  Before you go feeling all sorry for me--Don't.

Being manic has its upsides.  Today I just feel really happy.  And excited.  About life.  About my future.  About my date with HH tonight.  It is really easy to get angry when I'm manic though, so I've had to reign myself in when my kids were not listening and obeying this morning.

But, I did.  For the most part.

And now, I'm back to being happy.

The problem with being manic and attempting a post, however, is that my mind is kind of all over the place and it's difficult to follow one train of thought to its completion.  But, you were all very kind in overlooking the numerous typos in my last post, so I'm trusting you will do the same if this post is a bit jumpy.

I just hope it makes sense.

The thing is, I think I've noticed some fairly significant positive changes in myself as I've started to "come back to life" since ending my ECT treatments.

You know I've always been a perfectionist.  To the extreme.  How I would go to any lengths to be perfectly in shape, have a perfectly clean house, be the perfect wife and mom, live my religion perfectly, and so on.  Or, at least to appear to be perfect in each of those areas.

And then I'd hate myself for falling short.  And for being a fake and a hypocrite.

So, a friend gave me an audio book just before I moved, called Daring Greatly.  I'd only just begun listening to it shortly before ECT began.  Which of course means that I completely forgot everything I'd read.

So, I picked it up again this past week and just started over at the beginning.  While I don't really remember having read it before, I do remember the feeling I had while listening to it.  Mostly, I just remember cringing with shame and fear as I listened to it the first time.

The author talks all about the value of being vulnerable.  And of letting go of the feeling of "not being _____ enough".

It was like she had been watching me go about my life and she was talking straight to me.

What she said made sense.  I knew she was right.  And that my life would be better if I made the changes she was talking about.

And it terrified me.

And then I went through ECT and completely forgot everything.  But, as I've been listening to it over again this week, I'm remembering those feelings and discovering that they aren't there this time.

Last week, while I was out for a run, I had a little epiphany.  It was as cars were driving past me while I ran at my current about-45-seconds-slower-than-before pace and I realized that I didn't feel the desperate need to speed up, so they would know how fast I can be.  I mean, the thought to do so briefly popped into my head, but then I had this little conversation with myself:

"If they stopped and I told them what I've been through over the last month and a half, they would not only not judge me for being slow, but they would think I am totally awesome for all that I am doing."

A little conceited?  Perhaps.  But, it's actually a conversation I've had with myself numerous times before and since that moment.

But, it was while I was running that I gave pause to acknowledge how incredibly out of character that is for me, and then to ponder why it's happening and why I am okay with all of this.  And the truth is, I haven't really come up with a satisfactory answer yet.

But, I think a part of it is this--for one reason or another, I've found myself opening up and being honest about how I'm doing and what's going on with me since we decided to do ECT.  I think that is in part because we had to tell so many people what was happening because it required so much help.  And then my friend asked me to write this post for her website, and suddenly, it seemed like everyone knew.

And not one person judged me poorly.

No one came to me with any negative feedback.  No one questioned why I was so messed up.  No one told me I was wrong in any way.  No one was mean.

Not one person.

Instead, I received this overwhelming outpouring of love and kindness and support.  And, this is something that still baffles me, I received an overwhelming expression of admiration and even appreciation.


And I think that (plus, the epiphany shared in my last post) is a big part of why I'm finding it easier to be kind to myself.  And to let go of the need to constantly impress everyone.

And now that I've begun being honest and everyone knows that my life is not perfect, I feel like I have to continue being honest.  Because no one is going to believe that all of the sudden my life is magically okay and I am doing everything perfectly again.  So, it's kind of like I'm being forced into this vulnerability.  And I'm not going to lie to you and tell you that being vulnerable is awesome all of the time.  It's still scary.  I still come away from most social situations questioning much of what I said and did.  But then the feedback comes in, and it's still positive.

So, my plan is to just keep on keeping on.  Because, even though it's still scary (I'm hopeful that it won't always be), it's also still easier.  I get to spend my time focusing on the things that I need to be doing, that are most important in my recovery, or for my family.  I used to have to spend my time working on all of those surface issues, so that it would appear to everyone else that everything was perfect with perfect me.

I have to tell you that this way of living is so much more comfortable.  And I am pretty sure it also leaves a lot more room for finding happiness and for sharing that happiness with the people I love the most.

I like this personality shift.  Wherever it came from, I'm grateful for it.  Maybe ECT didn't work the way it's supposed to, but it would appear that it's made a difference in my life for the better anyway.

A difference that is good enough, it's even worth losing the last several months of my life to amnesia.

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