For me, the hardest part about being consistently mentally healthy has been knowing what to do with my huge feelings. I used to get overwhelmed and triggered into acting on them, which almost never had a positive result. I made the mistake of basing lots of decisions on very impulsive emotions in my previous relationships. I think this tendency was a huge part of why Jax and I divorced, and Jennifer too. Both those women were also not in control of themselves, so the combination proved explosive. Time and time again we would have such rapidly deteriorating arguments. Trauma was inevitable.
I know I made too many of those incendiary feelings become action, and I regret that. It is a lesson I have learned, and one that I have fully embraced. I will admit that a large part of my stability in this area is because Amanda is a rock, and she takes no pleasure from fighting. She and I have had a few passionate discussions, but not one fight in the 8 months that we have been together. The other part of the equation is me, and my ability to recognize a volatile thought as it is occurring, examine it, and move it somewhere other than the place where I would be inclined to act on it. I have found the relief from the pain caused by this to be indescribable. But how?
Introspection. I have become a keen observer of my mental state, and I take an unprecedented level of responsibility for all my thoughts. My mind has become more ordered than ever before. Whims do not control me. I do not act on impulses. I ponder, ruminate and process slowly. What’s the rush? Is the house on fire? Your mind might be trying to slip one past you with a bad decision wrapped up in panic. This process can be stopped by applying the mental brakes on rapidly accelerating thoughts. I ask myself: where is this feeling coming from? What significance does it have? Why does it want me to feel this way?Questions along that line tend to stop the feeling dead in its path to action, as the mind evaluates the merits of it. The system isn’t perfect, but the practice is the valuable skill. The more evaluative your process becomes, the more control you will be able to exercise over outcomes.
I just finished yet another wonderful chat with Amanda in which we discussed my desires to organize my life. I do this to a degree that is abrasive to her because she is VERY laid back and relaxed by comparison. I told her that I had been (back in early adolescence) a much less regimented person, but ever since I became mentally ill, I could not afford to be that way anymore. A lackadaisical mentality had allowed bipolar depression to completely destroy my life on more than one occasion. Since the last time, I have stepped up my game to a new level, and have been rewarded with unprecedented stability. I reassured her that just because things deviate from “the plan,” does not imply a crisis has begun. I just have to exercise “constant vigilance” over my mental playground. Once we had talked she said that she understood better why I am the way I am, and I told her that I would make an effort to loosen up my scheduled existence as it pertains to trivial issues (which is where the friction was occurring).
So blog, I hope you can see the value of slowing down impulses and exacting some control over your thoughts. We mentally ill can not generally afford to just let things happen as they will. Disarray is the venue for depression. We must try and prevent chaos from taking control of the fragile balance that exists within our minds; a tranquility must be established in order to prevent things from falling to pieces.