23 January 2015

I'm PISSED About My Illness


I've had a really bad week.  I couldn't put my finger on it, so I was grateful to have a therapy appointment last night.  I have to say, doing therapy on my own couch isn't too shabby.  Sometimes I even wear pajama pants because my appointments are at 10:00 at night and my therapist can only see the top half of me on his computer.

“You have an illness.” He said to me.

I do have an illness.  My illness is a broken brain. Faulty ways of thinking.  Misleading beliefs.  Its symptoms are a compulsive urge to control, lousy self-esteem, persistent self-doubt and bouts of anxiety.  I learned two important things about my illness while talking with my therapist last night.

1- I’m mad that I’m sick.  I’m PISSED actually.  I’m angry that I am perpetually plagued with feelings of inadequacy. I’m ticked that I feel so emotionally fragile. And I’m so damn frustrated that I can’t stop trying to control people and things.

2- My illness is not my fault.  But it seems to me like it is.  It seems to me that if I were better at recovery, if I were more clever, if I were less needy – then I wouldn't be so sick.  But no.

“You’re illness came with you.” He tells me.

It’s as much a part of me as my blue eyes and my long toes.  My illness was influenced by my upbringing just like my personality and sense of humor have been influenced.  But I didn't earn my illness.  Which means I can’t un-earn it by being more clever and less needy.

It also means that my illness wasn't caused by Pete’s addiction.  My illness is no more his fault, than his addiction is my fault.  Yes, his addiction has exasperated my symptoms.  But just as certainly, my illness has exasperated his symptoms too.

It’s like getting strep for the third time in the same winter and being so pissed about it.  But it’s there nonetheless.  And all you can do is see a professional and take care of yourself.  So that’s my game plan.

I have an illness.  I’m pissed about it.  But it’s not my fault.

******************

Disclaimer:  I understand that this language may not resonate with everyone.  And that’s okay.  I use the word illness at the very least, as a metaphorical convenience, at most- a statement of fact. An unhealthy condition of the body or mind. I don’t mean to sound critical of myself, or make it seem like I am damaged or inferior. Rather, I feel like this perspective is a liberating and compassionate way of viewing my messy self.  And the first step in accepting my messy self.  I imagine it is a similar experience for someone acknowledging the presence of chronic depression.  It sucks.  But it’s there. And depression doesn't make anyone damaged or inferior, because depression is an illness too.

9 comments:


  1. Health is one of the many aspect in our life that we should take good care because if we are sick , we became useless and unimportant. We loose hope and everything became stagnant. Visit my site for more information. Thanks.

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  2. Jane -- I agree with this post and can commiserate. It is really hard to realize and come to terms with these faulty beliefs about ourselves that need to be addressed. Blaming him is so much easier! Besides self-care and therapy, what would you say have been your best recovery tools? When you get triggered, do you address it every time, and if so, how? -- June B

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    1. Recovery tools? Hmm. Sometimes I need to talk to someone, just to get out of my own head. Sometimes I need to NOT talk to people, because I often use validation as a crutch. Yoga is a great recovery tool. (And believe me, I'm not "good" at yoga.) But yeah self-care and therapy are a big deal. I'm starting to view self-care differently though. I used to think of self-care as a romantic comedy and a chocolate candy bar, but now self-care is more like good exercise, reading an uplifting book or even - dare I say it- keeping my house clean, because that brings me peace.

      As far as triggers, the one thing that really triggers me is having a conversation with Pete where I feel like I'm being blamed. And the best thing for me to do in that situation is gently end the conversation, tell him I need to walk away, and then walk away.

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  3. I really like this post. Something I admire about you is how honest you are about where you are... that's really refreshing. I think there's a section in the AA Book about treating those around us as sick people (realizing they have struggles and are mortal) to help keep us from internalizing their behavior as our fault. I've felt the truth of my own sickness lately, and I feel less alone knowing everyone is, in their own way, sick.

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  4. Thank you. Realizing that I am sick, too, has helped me. I need to take care of myself.

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  5. It's been awhile since I've connected with my WOPA friends. I went to check my blog after months of inactivity and I saw your post on my sidebar. I am so glad I clicked on it. I am spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally sick! I have been for years!! Depression, anxiety, and control have taken there ugly toll. I blame myself for so many things. It's good to know I am not alone. ((HUGS)) Thank you for your thoughts.

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