When you live with depression and anxiety to be or not to be is less important than to run or not to run!
So far, the past few months have involved a significant transition. Not the least of which is that I’ve lost about 20kg of excess me! Secondly, I seem to have found some of my inner self. (Possibly buried all this time under a layer of cream buns and wine!) So there’s a new fight about take place as I avoid meaningless busy work in favour of a project I’ve had on the back burner for a number of years.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve always had a tendency to be more than a little introspective. An aspect of life with depression and anxiety can keep us in a pattern of self-examination and rumination that merely strokes our need to sit in inactivity. We blame the world for not accepting our illness and thereby ensuring our self-hatred becomes a self-fulfilling mindset based on our perception of how others see us.
It’s human nature to look at the world through glasses shaded by our own knowledge and experience.
I think all families are just like mine until I’m mature enough to recognise the nuances that occur in human behaviour. My inability to perceive differences make it easy to think there is only one answer to all of life’s problems.
It’s similar to the belief that cancer is just one disease. Whereas, in reality there are many ‘cancer’ diseases each one needing to be treated in accordance with that particular ‘cancer’s’ nuance.
So, when I look at the world, there’s a significant risk I’ll believe all problems can be fixed by the appropriation of the correct medication!! Interestingly, I’ve come to realise that not all of life’s problems are initiated by the impact of emotional illnesses. The knowledge that not all my problems are caused by depression and anxiety means I have the freedom to understand and separate ME from my illness.
That freedom however, has a price!
In the midst of my more desperate moments (usually experienced in private) I have prayed for any other illness. For something that would let others understand the pain I was experiencing was real. But then, how does one create a physical illness that can go unchallenged in the same way as emotional illnesses.
The fact is, that for everything I’ve failed at, I can make a reasonable argument that my illness created the circumstances that led to failure. In truth, some of my failures can quite clearly be explained by my controlling nature or my lack of meaningful intelligence (to name a couple). The fact that I’ve been able to create some spectacular achievements is rarely attributed to my illness. Those achievements of course, came from my astounding skill and determination!!!
It’s true that I hold on to failure a lot longer than I do success. I’ve had many discussions (with people far more qualified than I) where I have attempted to argue my success has been driven by luck rather than ability. Whilst any failures I’ve experienced have been my own sweet fault and I have only myself to blame! It would seem I’d developed a success philosophy of luck that does not extend to failure.
Put simply if luck can create success then the lack of (or bad) luck must be able to create failure for the philosophy to work!
It’s true that my determination and skill still have a lot of fuel in the tank. It’s also true that I have times when the symptoms of my illness make day-to-day activities difficult, but not impossible. The thing is that I don’t need to be sick to have an excuse for failing. Like the rest of the population there are times when with all the best intentions, things turn to crap. At other times (most of them in fact) everything turns up roses.
So, what am I to say about myself? I’m normal? I’m ordinary? I’m usual? I’m lucky?
In reality, I’m an outstanding wife, mother, grandmother, friend, partner and businesswoman who’s managed to achieve a great deal of success and recognition. Yep, I have an illness. An illness that can be managed and which at times causes me to stumble. However it’s never beaten me and I guess it never will.
From songwriter Tom Paxton and performed by Peter, Paul and Mary.
It went “Zip” when it moved
And “Bop” when it stopped
And “Whirrr” when it stood still
I never knew just what it was and I guess I never will.
Click the link to see Peter Paul and Mary perform The Marvellous Toy on YouTube