Going Beyond Sobriety
Hello blog, I appreciate having a safe place to come and talk about these things.
My sister has inherited the arthritis that runs in the family. For years she suffered with pain and debilitation in both knees as a result of it. She did not want to undergo knee replacement surgery. Instead she tried diet, exercise, extreme nutrition supplements, pain killers, etc etc. Her knees continued to deteriorate. Last year she had her knees replaced with artificial joints. She now experiences very little pain and can walk distances and up and down stairs in a manner she has not done for over 20 yrs.
She thought there was something noble in not giving in to the pain and debilitation. In not resorting to "artificial" means, but in the end no amount of prayer, diet, exercise etc could halt or reverse the effects of an actual disease. Now she kicks herself for not doing it sooner.
denial runs in many directions, and can run deep. She did not deny her arthritis, but she denied some very important things about it. Magical thinking kicked in...if I pray, diet, take bizarre nutritional supplements, offer the pain up in religious practice, then this illness will improve or disappear.
In the end, titanium knees aren't any less natural than the pain killers or extreme food supplements she was on. Thing is the titanium knees worked. They addressed the actual issue, inflamed/degraded joints. The joints were not going to heal, but they could be replaced.
Yes, of course this comes back round to me.
I think that the point of a diagnosis is so we know what we are working with and can determine the best way to address a health problem. Address the problem NOT turn to magical thinking hoping to continue to dance around the outside of the problem enough to distract our attention from it.
I can't address the large percentage of people whom do not believe that true mental illness exists. I cannot expend any more energy trying to cater to their pressure and insult. I cannot spend any more time trying to dance the steps around the edge they want me to do as a distraction, because those steps do not address the actual illness.
My sister had learned a slow painful sidestep that allowed her to climb up stairs to her bedroom once a day.
With her new knees she can go up and down the stairs as often as she needs to or cares to.
I get a lot of advice from people about how to sidestep painfully because they do not like the diagnosis of mental illness, therefore they will pretend it's not really the issue and try to teach me to dance,
But, like my sister's arthritic knees, there are times that I simply cannot dance. Not to their tune, not to their comfort, not to my own seeming benefit.
It's better to address the actual issue.
My BIL very lovingly cares for my sister, and is attentive to her still healing knees and previously to her actual real disability.
He denies my mental illness and suggests I learn to dance.
I actually know how to dance, as did my sister before her arthritis got out of hand. I even know how to dance with mental illness, cha cha cha. But sometimes dancing isn't enough.
I didn't get to where I am by NOT dancing when dancing was required. But dancing alone is not the answer.
I am exhausted of feeling like I need to justify myself, my behavior, my pain and my disability, to people who aren't comfortable with my diagnosis. The woman who sold my sister her expensive nutritional supplements would be happy to show me the wonder combinations she has for mental illness....
but my problem is not a lack of nutrients, or a lack of spiritual life, or the need for more exercise. It's mental illness.
and it scares the crap out of me, and I've been dealing with a frightening episode of it lately, and I feel my thoughts becoming more agitated, disordered, and paranoid. I feel it, I know it is happening, but I cannot stop it.
just dance, just dance, just dance.
I am sorry, I cannot dance, I don't remember the steps, my knees are buckling, I keep tripping...