Therapy

I’m really feeling a little mixed right now.  I don’t mean a mixed manic-depressive episode, I mean that my feelings are a little uncertain.  I went to therapy today.  I remember having a lot to write about therapy last week, but I’ve since forgotten and because I didn’t get it down into words while it was fresh, I’ve forgotten.  Other than this: my therapist has read a few of my personal posts.  I sent her to A Canvas of the Minds because I think there is good stuff there that people are sharing, but she somehow got connected to this blog.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.  She hasn’t mentioned anything this week, but I haven’t written anything much that’s personal lately.  (I’ve got all these posts rattling around in my head, the ideas slowly slipping away before they pass through my fingertips to the keyboard.)  I didn’t bring it up because I didn’t even think about it.  I’ll have to think some more about it before I bring it up next week.

My therapist is wicked sharp – she picks up on things both in what you say and how you act.  She is a master at reading body language. She points out when I’ve crossed my arms or a look on my face or if I start tapping a foot.  Things that even I don’t notice. One day she commented on how I was dressed in brighter colors and my nails weren’t painted in this black (actually, a really deep plum) color and how it was indicative of my mood.  Well, the next week I wore black just to mess with her and she got that.  I don’t like having ‘tells’.  We all have them, but I don’t like having them.  Usually my clothes aren’t much of a tell these days because it mostly depends on what’s clean and what fits.  (Most of my clothes are too small now 😦 )

Back to therapy… sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but I guess it’s supposed to be uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to have these things pointed out to you.  We talked about therapy being uncomfortable.  If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t get anywhere.  (So if PT stands for Physical Torture, does MT stand for Mental Torture?)  We are trying to work on mindfulness.  She’s been photocopying stuff from books for me.  The latest one is from Mind Over Mood.  I HATE self-help books.  I feel like I am being talked down to and that everything in there is so cheesy.  But I told her to present things to me as research results instead of just whatever – therapy talk, I guess.  So does this book qualify as research based because it’s got copyrights stamped all over the pictures and worksheets?

NOT MINE – See copyright

No, it’s still a self-help book.  I can buy it on Amazon for $16.47.  Maybe I should give her the benefit of the doubt – perhaps she is photocopying the clinician’s guide version of it.  Oh wait, I just checked that out on Amazon and it looks to be identical.

The basic theory makes sense: everything impacts everything else.  I’ll go so far as to agree that thought affects moods, behaviors, and physical reactions, but I have a hard time with the vice versa.  When I am feeling down, not even a walk is going to rattle me out of the blues.  It just doesn’t work for me.  Just like the magic ‘fake it ’til you make it’ doesn’t work for me either.  If that were the case, then I’d have self-esteem by now.  But apparently (based on my therapy session), I am being too pessimistic and that’s why it’s not working for me.  Just because I’m in a semi-stable mood, does that mean that all the psych tricks are going to work?  And if they work so well, why doesn’t everyone do them?

So maybe I am simply a pessimist and doomed to be miserable.  I don’t see how this is going to help me deal with difficult people or lift my recurring depression.  DH recommended a couple of chapters in one of his old psych books.  Maybe that’s more my speed.  I’ll try it.  That’s all I’m going to commit to.

 
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Stability

I saw my pdoc earlier this week.  I told her that I was reluctant to say this, but I think I might be stable at the moment.  Why am I reluctant?  Because I didn’t want to jinx myself.  I’m still reluctant to post this subject.  Stability is weird.  It feels foreign to me.  I can be happy and laugh, without going overboard.  I can think at a quiet pace, without my thoughts rushing ahead of me.  I can be sad without being immobilized.

My doctor is also treating me with Straterra for ADD.  This also appears to be helping with my focus.  I don’t get up and do other things four or five times in a two paragraph email message.  My thoughts are slow, compared to what I am used to. But I feel like I can finish this post without running and doing a dozen other things at the same time.  Maybe that’s just called multi-tasking, but that has always been beyond me.  And honestly, I don’t think multi-tasking is good for anyone.  You do a dozen things at once, but do they all get done right?  Doesn’t it take some focus to complete a task well?  I’m so used to hyperfocusing, that I don’t even know the correct answer for those questions.

Maybe this is the time to work on me.  Time to work on more core issues.  Things that are too hot to touch when in an extreme state.  I need to come to terms with my past, my childhood, and my mistakes.  I need to learn but not mourn.  This is the perfect time for CBT.  I need to dig deeper into my psyche while I have the opportunity to do so without it blowing up in my face.

I am afraid.  I am afraid that this plateau won’t last.  Stability has only come to me in spurts: a week or two here and there.  I don’t predict it lasting, although that would be nice. Or would it?  I once had a therapist tell me that I have so much drama in my life because I seek drama. I never thought that I seek drama, but it always seemed to me that drama finds me.  But is there a kernel of truth in there?  Maybe when I was younger but I am too old for that crap now.  But I do wonder… Do I know what to do with myself on a daily basis if I’m not fighting depression or mania?

I don’t call myself in recovery though, because I will never fully recover from bipolar disorder.  I think of bipolar as a relapsing/remitting illness.  And right now, I appear to be in remission.  I don’t know how long it will last, but hopefully long enough that I don’t feel so foreign to myself.  Some part of me worries – who am I without my bipolar?  Am I still an interesting person?  Will my friends still like me?  Will I like me?

So many philosophical questions, things that can only be answered by time.  I hope I don’t become so mellow as to be boring.  I hate boring.  But I guess it’s time to find out who I am beneath this layer of illness called bipolar.