Go Toward Mental Illness and Take It To The Floor

Sean and Cheryl: Drama on the dance floor

Image by gwilmore via Flickr

Self-Care Tip #155 – Go toward the real issue.  Be a friend to yourself.

Little woman, she had pinched toes in her four-inch heals and wonder what her size has done for her.  Mindy was anxious.  Even though I wonder about her stressors, like possibly her height and the history she is telling me, I know something else.  Even though I wonder about her parenting and marital stressors, and about growing up in a small town but now living with giants, I don’t wonder what she thinks.  Mindy describes these giants as people with large accomplishments, things she would not try herself and that means something to her, but not what she thinks it does.  Mindy wanted to see how things went.  Apparently six months of this wasn’t long enough.

We could spend the next five years breaking all this up and apart and tossing it like a cranberry salad.  But Mindy’s anxiety is mostly not about the salad of life.  Mindy’s feelings are a bit about the stressors and a lot about her brain.

Mental illness is not a small thing.  We trim it down when we say otherwise.  The unfavored sister, Mental Illness isn’t spoken to much at the table.  Her more popular sisters, Stress and Life-Triggers, get a lot of the attention.

With some effort, people who once worked around Mental Illness like it was barely there take a chance and go straight at it, full charge, and swing that woman onto the ballroom floor.

I went for that dance with Mindy.  And she wasn’t talking about waiting and seeing how things went for long.  I told her, like I’ve told you, that how we feel and interpret our stressors comes from our brain.  I told her that mental illness gets worse if it isn’t treated and treated to as full a response as possible.

We weren’t talking about life stressors at that point.  We were talking about her medical condition.  Once treated, Mindy will continue to have life stressors.  We will hopefully also see however, that she responds to life stressors differently.

Question:  How do you make sense of the seemingly meaningfulness of how stress affects us with the seemingly less meaningful concept that we feel that way because of our brain and not because of the stress?  Please tell me your story.

9 thoughts on “Go Toward Mental Illness and Take It To The Floor

  1. having a mental condition is not the end of the world its not the end of your life last year it took me to the floor the cleaners but this is becayse i let it win i let it win over my own sanity thats not worth mutch but you cant give in and you have to grow up give yourself a shake and say im going to be normal as best i can where i aint going to be accepted i am going to avoid this year tihngs are going very well im working on my head ive only had one really bad time september ot there about when i swallowed nail varnish i had no controll and i let it take me down but i had had a drink witch i new was going to end in a nightmare so far ive had four good mounths a record and i did have a day when i was happy yer thats a weird one for me but i remember it well also i was droped out of uni last lear due to being in a blck hole and inbalanced alltogether i have even fort back at that this year i am getting more support directly off the university this time round a lot of other things are going on around me to nothing has ever really beaten me i have a very strong fighter inside me a little old saying in computers if theres a system it can be broke doesnt matter what sytem it can be broke bpd is a bit the same let it have you it will bring you down but if you fight it and the more years you fight it the better you become at fighting it before you can take it down and send it to be put it on a pice of papaer rip it up and bin it goodby im not quite ready for that quite yet mind

    • wow kevin. that was really helpful. on so many accounts. for example, “grow up,” “i can be normal as best i can,” and more. i’m grateful that u didn’t succeed on that horrible suicide attempt. keep on mr. kevin.

  2. I used to feel “it depends how you look at it” was a silly axiom. I mean if your house burns down, how else can you perceive that? As you point out, however, mental illness distorts those realities and influences our perceptions and therefore inappropriate or at least unreasonable reactions. So I now see that “it depends on how you look at it” really is a very scientific and empirically accurate statement.

  3. I’ve often heard that stress is normal and that the way we feel about it and react to it determines whether or not we cope and maintain a positive attitude toward life. Changing the way we feel and react requires more than desire, even more than determination. It requires training oneself new thought patterns. I think. Have my thought patterns changed? Yes, slowly, but yes. Even a small change can make a difference. God is good. His Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Blessings to you…

  4. As I was saying in my response to the Dave Barry post, I have just come home, close to tears, from an annoying, frustrating meeting at church. It was just between me and the minister and it was about designs that I have been asked to do for several sets of banners. My designs are complete but I’m not doing the sewing. That was the deal. I design – someone else appliques. So far it’s been a disaster (for this perfectionist, who I know shouldn’t be one, but there you go…) and today I was told “How it’s finished doesn’t really matter. At least we’ll have them up and you can tweek them later.” But it DOES matter!! It matters to me. And the old feelings of being hurt and misunderstood and taken advantage of came flooding back and I, again, felt the need to have someone say something or give me something to make me feel better. My brain took a fairly minor stressor and turned it into a huge big deal which was, without a doubt, based on my reactions to so many things I dealt with growing up. The good thing is that I’m well enough to know that now and to understand. The bad thing is that I still react that strongly to something fairly insignificant and I still kick myself for not being capable of handling it like a grown up.

    My tempoary solution was to push through and not call anyone and to have a serendipity healing with Dave Barry (and Sana, of course). My other solution is to run away at the end of the month and spend nine weeks or so in California, where stress, for me, is never an issue. But neither solution takes my emotional issues “to the floor”. I think I’ve grown up – lived almost 70 years – not being able to separate daily stress from some form of mental illness, and, to be perfectly honest, thinking that they, for me, are one-in-the-same terrifies me!

Leave a Reply