Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Of Two Minds

Daisy and Toby

I am recovering from a kick-my-ass flu.  I rarely get sick, and this time, my body decided it was time for me to be knocked down, so that I might get some real rest.

It is no wonder that I caught this bug.  My stress levels have been at all time highs.  All my own doing.

Struggling with chronic depression and anxiety disorders can get ugly, obviously, but lately, it has been the ugliest.  I am only writing now, because I am definitely seeing the light at the end of this very dark tunnel.

And, of course, I have learned so much, but...I do not wish to go back -- ever -- to this particular school.

Here's something BIG that I have figured out:  If you suffer from chronic mental health issues, you are of two minds.  There is Sick Mind, a deeply embedded set of patterns and habits.

If you are still alive, though, somewhere in there is Healthy Mind, constantly trying to get your attention, constantly begging to be chosen over Sick Mind.

Dancing, yoga, eating right, getting enough sleep...all of it...the real reason for it is to feed this Healthy Mind, to make her strong enough to finally eclipse Sick Mind.

Here's the really hard part and this will piss some people off (just a couple weeks ago, that would have included me): This is all a choice.

A speaker from a local mental health organization came to the library once.  He and a patient both discussed the fact that no matter how "crazy" someone seems, somewhere in there, they are making choices about their behavior.

It's hard to admit this about ourselves: we are choosing.

Lying in bed all day, crying, instead of getting up to take a walk?  That is a choice.

Yelling at your loved one instead of simply discussing your pain?  That is a choice.

Not living the beautiful, gift-filled, love-filled life you are meant for?  A choice.

Always there is a choice to be made.

There are reasons, for sure, that we have made bad choices.  We were hurt; our inner resources were not nurtured; love was not a priority.

But once you see these Two Minds, there is no longer any excuse.  Healthy Mind is calling, yelling, begging.

Time to get moving...


Vanessa said...

great post :) thank you for this - I needed this. Really speaks to me right now.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes with mental illness it's not at all a choice. Something can just take over you and you find yourself doing and saying things that aren't you, but the illness speaking. As you start figuring out solutions, you find there are methods to help with this. Mostly spiritual ones like meditation. But there are still days when I find myself unable to control things. I am working to eliminate this. The hard part is for other people to understand that it isn't me, but my illness. Not that I use it as an excuse. I just know my real self wouldn't do those things.

Christine Claire Reed said...

A "sick self" is still part of you and thus part of your "real self." Dividing ourselves like this is part of the problem.

And a HUGE point that the mental health speaker and patient were trying to make -- you do know what you are doing. We all do. If we take responsibility for that, we can find health a lot faster and easier. It is not blame -- but responsibility.

Unless, of course, we are talking about psychotic episodes and I am not, obviously, addressing those.

Anonymous said...

It's in making that division that I've been able to make things work better. Maybe for you and others, it's part of your real self. But for me, it is absolutely without a doubt not me. It's uncovering my authentic self, which only was able to happen with health and spiritual methods, that I was able to see this. I'm very different from others, so maybe it's only the case in my situation. If I would've known it wasn't my true self, I would've progressed much quicker. I should mention that likely I was born sick, so while life situations/people/health played a role to some degree in making things worse, everything would've been different if I was well. I understand most people develop mental issues because of childhood and other circumstances. While those didn't help me, I don't think I was well prior to that. Anyhow all that matters is what works for each individual. Could be what you believe or what I believe, as long as it's helping the person.

amy said...

you nailed it again, christine!
thank you for baring and sharing. i always feel less like a freak after reading your posts and associated comments from readers, knowing that i am not alone.
i hope you are feeling better.
you are loved!

Allysa said...

I think it need highlighting that it is the behaviours that are the choice, not the feelings. We don't choose to be sick, but we can choose what to do next. I love the image that no matter what my healthy mind is here inside of me and that I have the power to choose it. Even when I am drawn into my sick mind there is still a chance to choose healing.

Christine Claire Reed said...

Alyssa, EXACTLY my point. Thank you for highlighting that. Yes. It needed to be stated very explicitly. We choose better DESPITE the feelings or the sick mind that wants otherwise from us.

Brenda said...

post and comments all good food for thought.
It is so difficult to be an adult who experienced trauma early on in life.
blogs like yours help.