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. 

11 thoughts on “Contained

  1. Disarray is also a ladder to mania. I do quite agree with Professor Moody. I have always been a flower child in the way I live life-take it as it comes, not really a planner, spontaneous and make decisions based on feelings. Though there are times when I am the Nazi Mom and rigid as fuck. I am a walking contradiction, chaos wrapped up in a pretty red headed blue eyed package.
    Since having the right med combo, I have returned to my more flower child essence, but I have clarity and I’m able to THINK about my feelings-where is it coming from, describing it in detail with vi rainy words, what may or may not happen if I act on them. I only wish I had someone to share the journey with in my growth. I have burned a lot of bridges-and most needed to be burnt-but that leaves me with very few people in my life I can honestly call a friend. I don’t trust because of past betrayals, so it’s easy to not make close friends or even acquaintances. I am learning from my past, it doesn’t define me, and I’m moving on. :)

    • Such honest words. I appreciate that. You have a great deal that you struggle with, but if there’s one thing I have learned about you it is that you do not back down from a challenge.

      I see your goodness, and your intentions. We both have hard roads, but I incision us being able to help each other cope through our running commentary. I can’t be there to be your friend in person, but I want to be your cyber-sympathizer. I think we could benefit from sticking together in this crazy world.

      • Thank you so much for your kind words. I learned from my mom and Gramma to fight no matter what. It’s a trait I am passing on to my heathens ;)
        It’s so wonderful and oddly comforting to know that there are people out there to help us cope through our crazy roller coaster lives. Thanks for being a cyber-sympathizer-it sounds like we are starting an under ground political party and/or government orginization. Hehehe! Yes, I think the more of us that stick together through all of this, the better chance we have to survive.

      • It’s really about one’s will to survive that determines how and why we fight. After having been so close to death, I have a newfound appreciation for my desire to continue on in this life. We all have different motivations but the goal is ultimately the same.

        Haha, we do sound like an underground movement. An honestly frank assessment, as the mentally ill are cast into society’s underground of misunderstanding and loathing. We must unite to survive, or be devoured by hungry tunnel-dwelling rats.

        I have an everyday presence on my blog because it is a huge part of my mental health journey and personal maintenance. So I will be here whenever you need someone to scream with, or laugh at, depending on the day. I have been on this blog since 2012 and I have seen people come and go as the tides roll in and out. Such is the way.

      • I think that is a honest and real way to look at life. Too many take it for granted.
        It sounds like we are the Factionless in Insurgent!! I LOVE it! I’ll be Divergent and fight-you too!!
        I think it’s great you are on every day. This is where I’m inconsistent-when I feel calm and zen, I feel no need to dump or vent. I am glad I have WP and I’ve found such great friends that are my virtual family. I have so many people that follow me but I don’t follow all of them back. Just a handful of the important ones. :)

      • Concur. I don’t follow many people, and some of the ones I still follow have gone dormant. There is no expectation to be a regular WP junkie as I am (975 posts say it all); I generally admire people who are doing whatever it takes to stay sane. I don’t post every day either, but fairly often, and especially in times of turmoil. Get me on a good-streak and I will partially disappear from this place. Who wants to hear some dude nattering on about how good he has it? A crisis is far more compelling, and it is useful to expose it because that is the only way people can understand what is happening, and offer their aid.

      • Yes who wants to hear about how good we are in stable times? BORING!
        I had a 5 month hiatus and then posted the shit outta my life. Now, I just lurk, comment when it strikes my fancy, and support those in need/distress.
        Now I’ve been called to make hamburger patties. The joys of living with my parents when dad grills :)

      • I think it’s sad that good times don’t generate near the same level of attention, but the facts are the facts. Sound like you have an excellent if not tasty evening ahead. I am going to ponder my next post. Met with my psych doc today.

      • Yes it is sad as trait rating. We should celebrate the good with others, not hang on their every word to see how despaired they are like some trashy tv show. Blah Ick Ick Ick.
        Dinner was yummy, but interrupted by my son who wanted to talk to me alone. I must say that I am quite worried about some of the things he talked to me about, but I am so very proud that he came to me and was able to talk about things. I am also proud that when handed a negative situation he didn’t react to it the way he would have 4 months ago. He handled it in a very correct and adult manner and I am so impressed by that.
        Read your post other post. Will comment on that one next.

      • Talking with your kids is so critical. I don’t have any facts on it but I doubt that today’s parents know their kids as well as my parent’s generation knew theirs.

      • No most parents don’t know their kids because they’re all too busy with electronics or work or some other thing on the calendar. I’ve always told my kids I’ll do whatever it takes for them, because they are first and most important.

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