The 'normal' me

Today I feel 'normal'.  In other words I don't feel there is anything wrong with me.  My brain and my body are functioning as I would expect them to.  This feeling is intoxicating.

It is even dangerous because these are the days when I am tempted to get off my medication even if I know only too well that I am feeling the way I am BECAUSE I take the meds.

All this prompted me to read the chapter entitled Recovery (1) in my ebook 'Conversations with Batty -how talking to myself kept me sane'.  Here is the chapter in question (as always Batty - my Bi-Polar Disorder - speaks in italics):

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For a long time I thought that ‘recovery’ meant going back to business as usual.

What do you think now?

I think ‘recovery’ means discovering a new way of being myself and an aligned way of doing who I am.

“Doing who I am” – I like that.

It’s a phrase I coined when I discovered coaching. I used to say that when I was a consultant, I used to be what I did whereas as a coach I did who I was. Unfortunately it turned out who I was needed some revision.

In what way?

Well, doing who I was contributed to bringing me to these awful last four years when I thought at one time you were going to kill me. I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it.

I know. I remember.

That’s been my biggest challenge: how can I be true to myself whilst at the same time changing the parts of me that are…. I suppose I have to call them destructive.

SELF-destructive to be exact.

Yes.

Your challenge is one of self-definition and self-image. If your self-image is warped then your doing who you are must also be warped.  A self-image is like glass – if you warp it too much for too long it will distort and break under the strain.

Hmm. I feel I have not changed at all and I also feel I am an entirely new version of myself.

Well, it’s possible to have an entirely new version of a solid self, isn’t it?

I like your ‘solid self’ – it helps me realise that the core of who I am is still there, perhaps even stronger than before.

You haven’t changed your nature but you have changed your behaviour, and in order to change your behaviour you needed to change your perception, and in order to change your perception you needed to change your point of view in its most literal sense, and in order to change your point of view you had to shift your position, and in order to shift your position you had to admit you might have been wrong in the past.

So I didn’t change ME, I changed where I stood and that inevitably led me to also look at how I stood.

I would not hesitate to say that you have climbed higher on the mountain of who you are – hence your broader perception and your expanded consciousness.

We’re back to expanded consciousness again!

How could we not? Your consciousness is all encompassing: it holds who you are as well as where and how you stand. Of course, it also holds what you see and feel from your new vantage point.

I am the same person and yet I am a different person because I am no longer in the same place.

That’s right. Human beings cannot be separated from their environment.

The old nature vs nurture debate.

Indeed. It is a foolish and pointless debate because separating nature from nurture amounts to wanting to separate the yarn from the garment made from it: inevitably, the garment unravels.

Ha! I like the garment and the yarn idea. I am not entirely convinced it is not an outrageous simplification though.

Thinking that you can separate nature from nurture IS an outrageous simplification!

I suppose you’re right. Anyway, back to recovery. I have said that I now understand recovery is not a point of arrival but rather a daily journey. I am in recovery and my challenge is to stay in recovery.

I agree with that AND I would add something else. You sound like a cancer patient who is in remission but you are missing a point: being in remission is measurable by the absence of cancer. In other words remission is a negative indicator. Recovery is a positive indicator. It can be strengthened, solidified, supported, etc.

Yes but a cancer patient in remission can help his remission by adopting a healthy lifestyle and a positive attitude.

True, but remission remains static. It is the overall health of the patient that is strengthened by what you suggest – not the remission itself. Recovery on the other can be ‘grown’.

Are you saying that remission is the absence of growth (of cancer cells) whereas recovery is the renewed presence of growth?

Yes – that’s not a bad way of putting it. Remission is often measured in time only – recovery is measured in time AND in magnitude. I am concerned that you might overlook the dynamic aspect of recovery when you speak of ‘staying’ in recovery. By all means stay in it AND also move forward to stretch it, to make it bigger and stronger.

I see. I am not entirely convinced you are not splitting hairs when you consider remission and recovery to be different.

They are not different in the sense that both benefit enormously from the sustained adoption of healthy habits. They ARE different in what they measure: remission measures absence whereas recovery measures presence.

I get your point.

When you say recovery is not a point of arrival but a journey, you already acknowledge its dynamic aspect. I am not disagreeing with you. I am just reminding you that the journey you speak of isn’t a flat path. It can go places, it can soar.

I feel moved by what you have just said. I love the thought that my journey of recovery can ‘soar’. I have often described my current ‘stable’ situation (however grateful I may be for it) as being like an eagle who wakes up one morning clucking amongst chickens in a chicken coop. It’s an awful feeling.

That’s precisely why I am reminding you that recovery is a journey that can soar. It’s not about burning yourself out as you have done in the past but it is about raising your sight to the sky. This is the wonder of expanded consciousness: you don’t have to fly so close to the sun that you burn your wings to see the light. You can live in the light with your feet firmly on the ground of your recovery.

Oh… it feels so good to hear you say that.

Good. And of course, as you have already said yourself, you have learnt to appreciate the chicken in you.

You mean that the chicken is the one that sustains me because nobody eats eagle-egg omelettes or eagle roast for dinner.

That’s the one.  The chicken is also very good at scratching the soil for food – it wastes no ‘earthly’ opportunities.

I hadn’t thought of that.

It takes a flightless bird to truly appreciate the wonder of soil.

(Laughing) – yes, I guess so.

You my dear badly needed grounding. You have always been good at flying but not so good at rooting yourself deeply into your physical nature. Because of it, you have a long history of paying far too little attention to what your body was telling you. Your recovery is firmly rooted in your body. I think you really understand that now.

I do.  I just wish there wasn’t so much of me to root. I find my excess weight difficult to bear. I don’t like the way it looks but, even more importantly, I don’t like the way it feels.

Leaving aside the side effects of the medication you take, I have a feeling your current weight is your body’s way of forcing you to stay grounded. When your body can really trust you to stay firmly grounded, it will naturally start to shift the extra weight you are carrying.

My body is literally ‘weighing me down’?

Yes – I think so.

That’s a completely new way of looking at it!

Are you truly 100% convinced that if you were suddenly back to your ‘normal’ weight you wouldn’t start ‘taking off’ again?

You mean would I start rushing around and doing too much?

Yep.

I am not sure….

Well, neither is your body. To use your own language, your current weight is keeping you anchored ‘in recovery’, until such time as you have mastered the art of moving forward without floating upwards.

That makes sense to me.

Your body always makes sense.

I am beginning to recognise that.

Better late than never!

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As always Batty speaks a lot of sense.  It's good for me to re-read these conversations that I wrote as they came to me without any censorship.  I often forget to listen to myself properly and without judgement.  Don't we all :D


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