Brain response

People who know me (doctors and friends alike) and deal with or are affected by deep depression and/or Bi-Polar Disorder often pay me a huge compliment.  They say that I manage my condition in a highly intelligent way. I always respond with humble appreciation and yet I know they are wrong.

The truth is: I don't manage my illness/condition.  I let it manage me.

On the surface this could look like I have abandoned all self-responsibility but such a judgement would be wrong too. I haven't relinquished responsibility - I have relinquished control.  There is a BIG difference between the two. Relinquishing responsibility is only too easy. Leave everything to the medication and blame everything on the illness.

Relinquishing control is extremely hard because it:

  • Goes against my very nature.  I am a fighter and my instinctive reaction is to fight anything that 'attacks' me.  From the conversations and comments I receive regularly on my Facebook Page, I know most people react in the same way
  • Feels like defeat (at first). It feels like Batty (my Bi-Polr Disorder) has won
  • Makes me feel weak, helpless and hopeless; this is NOT a pleasant feeling
  • Takes me to a place where dark memories of the worst of my illness abound.

From what I have just written it is clear that relinquishing control feels awful, dreadful, ghastly and more. No wonder most people don't want to go there. You'd have to be a masochist to wilfully impose this on yourself!

Yet, that's exactly what I have chosen to do. I go through all these terrible feelings because in the end, I have found out that it helps. The important word here is THROUGH. I compare this experience to letting go of the edge when you know you are about to go through a long dark stench and vermin ridden sewers pipe because this is the only way your can get out of it.  Highly unpleasant but ultimately also highly effective, providing of course that I accept the multi-sewers pipe configuration that is Bi-Polar Disorder. The hardest of all is when I have just exited a pipe and breathed clean air for a day or two, only to get sucked into another pipe. That's tough!

I no longer kid myself that I am in charge: Batty is.  SHE decides what goes on and all I do is CHOOSE how to respond to what she does. Simple as that. Challenging as that.

On reflection, I suppose that choosing how to respond to my chronic condition is an intelligent way of 'managing' my situation. It certainly beats repeatedly banging my head against the Bi-Polar Wall.  It also conserves energy that is then at my disposal for me to enjoy during the days of fresh air and sunshine.

I haven't a clue what my brain is doing but whatever it does, I am ready to respond in the best possible way even if it means not responding at all. In Bi-Polar Land nothing is what it appears to be. Not responding is always the hardest action not to take  :D

Relinquishing Control

Hello Gabriel,

I am very touched by your courage in accepting the things you cannot control about your condition.   I have written extensively about the benefits of letting go of control, but not within the context of an exacting medical condition such as yours.   The commonality I find is that by letting go of control, there is considerable saved time and energy that we can devote to improving our lives.   Accepting "what is" --even extreme unpleasantness--allows us to experience the brighter side of things, or as you show beautifully say, "days of fresh air and sunshine".

 

Sincerely,

Danny

www.losingcontrolfindingserenity.com

 

Thank you Danny

I am very touched by your encouraging response.  I will get your book from amazon - I am sure I will learn from what you have written. I will keep in touch  :D xx

Gabrielle

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