The pursuit of Normal. Pressing on after depression and into…mania? Then into…depression?
As I try to navigate the path of swinging moods versus normalcy, I long to identify ‘my’ normal. I realize it’s my normal I seek and not anyone else’s (since neither of us are exactly the same), still I feel the need to consult others for whom the search is similar.
I recognize also that we have differing personalities and therefore, trying to converge on a common normal might be idealistic and not at all realistic. However, for those who share with me, a mental disorder, it might just be worth the time and effort.
We have had to learn to cope with and ultimately manage ourselves in light of an illness that more often than not has caused us to lose sight of our bearings- a great deal. Some of us remember ourselves before we started experiencing symptoms of mental disorder and as such, have somewhat of a frame of reference by which we understand normalcy to be. For others, it hasn’t been as ‘simple’, as we have always had symptoms which have merely evolved with each stage of life.
With treatment, therapy, exercise, dietary adjustments and other ‘normal’ everyday situations, have come: battles with being medicated, then rejecting them because of side effects and the need to try and adjust to new combinations of medications; harrowing hospitalization (for some); the juggling of damage control and success in the various spheres of personal, social and professional life, while all along experiencing, at times, overwhelming hopelessness and at others intoxicating exuberance.
Can you relate?
Often, I catch myself having been holding my breath for how long I don’t know- I guess I breathe in just enough air to get through the next moment. So then I release it carefully and take a deep breath in and then I have to consciously let it out again…all of it!
Yes, I literally push it out and then, if I am not carried away by a passing thought or feeling, I inhale again, very deeply and as slowly as I can.
My father has always encouraged me to practice deep breathing. Needless to say, I never paid it much attention- i.e. until now.
These days, it’s as though I am learning to breathe all over again, except I don’t remember when I first learned.
- Of course I was too young, what were you thinking?
– You don’t remember learning to take your first breath do you?
On a more serious note, it seems, this dilemma “all boils down to” anxiety.
Gosh, it’s heavy.
I mean, I love knowing that anxiety pills are available for the taking but who wants to take another pill? I know…not you!
– Not me either.
So, what’s the long term solution? Or, to speak in a more eco-friendly manner:
– What is the sustainable solution?
Regular exercise, dietary change, a whole lot of prayer and, well, moments of deep breathing.