When difficult life events happen our emotional barometre wavers. This happens to all of us, and if we are tired, intellectually challenged and stressed already, it gets exacerbated. None of us are exempt. Imagine standing in front of a punch ball, you know the ones that stick on the ground with a bendy pole with the ball on top. You hit it, and it boings back and forth in little arcs depending on the force you hit it with. That's kind of how our emotions reverberate. They have an immediate expansion where the reactions are large, then they ease down in little, gradually reducing to a normal level where it all feels manageable.
The last few weeks have felt like my punch ball of emotions has taken quite a few knocks and has been (not so) merrily bouncing back and forth with abandon. What I have to be mindful of is whether or not my arcs of flux are within the normal remit of emotional response in relation to the situations at hand, or, am I sailing off into over emotionalism or unbridled fluctuations resulting in a depressed mood or mania. Sometimes I wish I could just let it all cascade out with total abandon and not give a monkeys whether I'll be OK or not. Sadly, it's a luxury I cannot afford. I'm a finely tuned organism don't you know.
Being a responsible mentally ill person can be a hideous drag. I feel like the grey local government officer of my mind, implementing rules and regulations for the greater good. It's all very regimented and dull but makes things run smoothly and with little drama.
Sleep hygiene ✔
Meds taken ✔
No alcohol or drugs ✔
Financial spending control ✔
Mood monitoring ✔
Letting go of resentment ✔
Letting go of anger ✔
Quite time ✔
Avoiding conflict ✔
Understanding triggers ✔
Reducing stress ✔
Reducing caffeine ✔
Taking positive risks ✔
Asking for help ✔
Really what I want to do sometimes is set fire to everything and joyfully dance around whilst it burns to the ground, smashing plates and doing a massive moony at all the arseholes who've totally pissed me off. I'd also love to do all the things I know are really bad for me just because. Ignorance is bliss I tell you. The thought of running around doing anything you want, denying responsibility and feeling emancipated afterwards is deceptively alluring.
Sadly for me I would experience hideous guilt, major mood chaos and then have to pay up for the damage I'd caused and spend months apologising! The naughtiest thing I do these days is eat dry crackers at 2 a.m in the morning, use sarcasm and occasionally use the C word. God I'm boring!
But my point is this. The last 6 weeks some pretty tough stuff has happened. A major incident in my street, 2 funerals, a trip to London involving intellectual work and lots of driving, the possibility of having to appear in court as a witness, my husband travelling away for work a few times and going away for cycling fun, a football tournament weekend away. And although it probably sounds not overly challenging, for me this stuff has a major impact. I do feel well but the last few days I have felt very tired. Tired in my bones tired. I have also felt rather emotional and yelled at my husband at the services on the A34 whilst standing in the road refusing to enter the car. We were both tired. It was ridiculous.
I am grateful for the level of insight I have, the tools I have been given by recovery college, psychiatric services and church, the support and love of family and friends and the ability to manage my illness in all circumstances. It's incredibly hard work. I wish there was an easier softer way. (Wry smile). There isn't. I either do the work or give in to being ill all the time and live in chaos. I am aiming for more of a balance where I am less rigid in my policing of self, and able to relax a bit more and enjoy being well. It's a tricky balance to strike. I imagine that my local government officer of mental wellness would still be boring, but be able to act out a little without fear of relapse. I'll get there in the end! I'd like to think he'd be like Sam Lowry from Brazil!