Monday, February 2, 2015

Acceptance, Reality, and Perspective

These are the concepts that have been mulling around inside my head of late.

Several weeks ago my therapist was trying to convince me of the merits of "Radical Acceptance".  In dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), this method is used to just sort of determine that where you are right now is okay.

And I actually started writing this post a couple days later to try and sort out my feelings.  Because mostly my feelings were all involving a lot of anger.  A LOT.

This is how my post continued:

"That may be oversimplifying things for a bit, but as far as I am concerned, that sums it up.

And I recognize the merits of such thinking.

I mean, how else can I find peace in my situation?  If I am constantly feeling the need for something better, how can I be happy?

I get it.

The problem is, as far as I can see it, my current circumstances are inherently devoid of peace.

It doesn't matter if I accept that things are the way they are and they are just going to be this way.  Because things are pretty awful right now.  I'm constantly battling dark thoughts and desires.  And the idea of accepting that this is just "who I am" now, is even more depressing!

But, I think my therapist was suggesting that if I accept this as "who I am", those dark thoughts will dissipate.  That perhaps, they are a result of my constant fight to get back to who I once was.  That if I accept this as my new reality, I will find peace.

The problem is, I'm not sure how much of all of this I'm supposed to accept.

I feel like I've accepted that I have Bipolar II pretty well.  And I know that means that I won't always be happy."

And that's where I quit because I was just too frustrated and annoyed and frustrated.

And I ended up in the hospital a few days later because those dark thoughts wouldn't leave me alone and HH couldn't stay home to keep a constant watch on me and I told him I didn't think I had it in me to keep myself safe any longer.

The hospital stay had its pluses and minuses, as they always do.  Way too much to write about, really.  The main thing is that they actually agreed that most of my meds haven't helped and took me off of all but one.  It's a mood stabilizer and the ones that I think have really been bothering me are in a class called "atypical antipsychotics".  That's a fun one to throw out there.

So anyway, about two days after they took me off my last one of those, it was like my head cleared for the first time in longer than I can remember.  I'd just had a really upsetting phone conversation with someone I love and the dark thoughts started coming fast and I could feel them piling up and all of the sudden, I had the strength and the motivation to stop it.  I knew where that path leads and I didn't want to take it.  So, I stopped those thoughts and replaced them with rational, more positive thoughts.

It's not like I haven't tried that before.  But, for the last long while, I couldn't.  I just couldn't.  I don't know how to explain the inner workings of my mind better than that, sorry.

But now I could.

I can.

I've been home for a little over two weeks.  And they haven't been perfect.  I had a significant crash last Monday.  And a few bad days following.

But, I've been able to stay above that line.  Where the dark thoughts rarely come.  And when they do, I can stop them and move on.

And that's a pretty big deal.

But, I'm still stuck on this idea of acceptance.  And what my reality is.  Because I don't really know.

HH and I are feeling optimistic.  I'm making some significant changes in my life (more on that to come) that are supposed to really make a difference.  I fighting hard to stay happy.  I'm making myself smile every chance I get.  Even while typing a post on my computer.

But last week my therapist made sure to remind us that the thing about Bipolar II is that it goes in cycles.  3% of the time in hypomania, 50% of the time in depression, and he didn't specify the rest, but I think it must just be in stability.

So, I've been second-guessing all my happiness and my hard work at finding it and keeping it.  Maybe I'm just in a good phase of my "bipolar cycle" and my "hard work" really isn't all that hard.  Like when I tried hypno birthing with my last baby and I thought I was rocking it and at least dilated to a 6 or 7, but when I got to the hospital I was really only at a 3.  And then when the real contractions hit, I about gave up on the whole natural birth thing.

But, those second-guessing thoughts are part of the thoughts I'm trying to keep myself away from.  They don't really help.

Except that I am just trying to figure out how much of all of this I need to accept.  Am I really going to just have to endure the cycles of this illness?  Or, do I have the power to make things better in one way or another?  I have to believe that I do.  I can't accept that I'm going to just be depressed 50% of my life.  Especially not when that depression brings such scary and disastrous thoughts.

Now I just have to see if I have the stamina to make the big changes I'm working on and to maintain them.


Lisa Carlson said...

I love you. I think about you and pray for you all the time. Thanks for the update. I sure hope you can find peace.

Linda said...

I appreciate your honesty, Cheryl. I admire you. My advice would be to quit second guessing because I can't think of anything good that comes from it. Every time I pray for you, I feel peace and hope and optimism. And I know that God doesn't lie. I don't know what the future holds, but he does. I love you.