Me? Oh, I’m fine; I’m pretty good; Oh, you know, some days are better than others; I’m okay; Another day in paradise; It could be worse; Great? How are you?
The truth: I have no idea how I am. I am reluctant to talk about it because it makes absolutely no sense. If “it” makes no sense then I make no sense and this puts me at risk of being judged and dismissed. At times like this, being honest seems like too big a risk to take.
For me, these cycling thought patterns are one of the effects of living with mental illness: it can cause a lot of unsettling mood and emotional changes. Peace and clarity of mind can be suddenly replaced with a barrage of swirling and confusing thoughts. Simple, courteous questions like “How are you?” become complicated and overwhelming to answer. I often revert to old ways of thinking: if I share this mess of thoughts, you will really think I’m “crazy” and I lose all credibility. I then spend a lot of time trying to “figure it all out”, and I’ll only go forward to friends or even health care professionals, for help, when I’ve think I’ve got it all figured out including the why, a pototential diagnosis and treatment plan for what’s going on with me. No, I am not crazy but my mind does get irrational when I spend too much time there alone.
So, let’s try this again:
You: How are you?
Me: Let me get back to you on that. I’m just back from a visit in the jungle (my head) where I had a lot of new experiences and took in a lot of new information. I’ll need some quiet time for prayer and meditation and then I’m going to spend some time, out of my head, talking to a friend.
Moral of the Story: I am a work in progress and I am learning to recognize the signs when I’m not “fine”at all, when my resources are becoming depleted and I need to lean on my reserves (God and friends). Seeking support is not a sign of weakness; it is a great strength.
I’m off to walk and talk with a gal pal which I know will refresh my body, mind and spirit.
Love and blessings my friends,
Women in Recovery Everywhere