"'Normal' people don't hear voices." Eleanor talks about her experience with a diagnosis of Schizophrenia. She talks about her journey: the day "the voice" arrived, the first time she shared about it - all the way through getting to the "other side."
There is so much of what she talks about that I can relate to. I remember once speaking with a therapist who told me something to the effect that only crazy people talk to themselves. I didn't really like that. There have been times in my life that I have done just that. They haven't been long, extensive conversations, but just times that I would speak out loud what I was thinking. I have no idea why I have done it, but I seriously doubt it makes me "crazy," at least no crazier than anyone else I know ;)
It is interesting writing that after what I wrote yesterday. I am not sure that I needed help/that something was wrong with me - but others thought I did, so I believed it and went. In the end, I am not sure how helpful it really was - if it was at all.
I didn't really like her, either. It took a while, but I stopped going. In time, the person who referred me to her had had issues with her, and stopped going as well and even seemed to agree with the assessments of things I had been reluctant to share at first.
So many times in my life I let myself be swayed. I remember moments of being so reluctant and chalking it up to something other than what it probably was - me, on some level knowing that it wasn't the thing for me.
I love many things that Eleanor shares, but there were two other things that stood out. The first was how she said that a therapist should ask, "what happened to you?" instead of "what is wrong with you?" I think that statement says a lot about the framework in which a person is working. If you think something is wrong, you will seek to fix it. What if you are seeking to fix something that isn't broken in the first place? What if you seek to fix the wrong thing? Neither fix will ultimately be effective. As Eleanor related what happened to her, it was apparent that the attempt at a fix only made things worse. How often does that happen?
The other was how she concluded her talk. She was talking about a conversation with a therapist in which the therapist said to her that she should tell him about herself - not about who others would say she was. How often do we become who others think we are in the process of being what we think is ourselves? I think happens all too often, which is difficult enough. But it is much more challenging when we don't even realize how seamlessly it is done, and how it affects us on every level.
Looking back, a part of me sees things as if there is a blueprint overlaying my life, pointing to the times I didn't listen to myself, to the times I let others tell me who I was, how insufficient and how wrong I was. It makes me really sad, and I think there is some anger in there, too. But the perspective is so fresh, it is hard for me to know exactly where I am. It simultaneously sucks and is good: sucks because of the pain and disappointment I feel, and good because I see possibilities in the perspective.
I recently found out my thyroid may not be in the best place. The last time I was at the doctor's it was so casually said that my treatment could affect it. Equally casually, it was suggested that I might get on medicine that I would have to be on the rest of my life. I saw something today about how an MRI/Radiation could affect it - all the more reason I am hesitant to be jumping at more scans sooner than I need to.
In the world of mind/body connection, it is said that the thyroid is about expression. I can only hope that if there is credence to the idea that the two are connected, then my willingness to uncover things and express myself will help.
Some would say diet is an issue. I heard someone talking today about how vitally important meat in the diet is for the thyroid, and that a vegan diet doesn't really work in that regard. That is at odds with what others say about meat and cancer. Some think that for the best health, one should stay away from meat. Then there is the topic of fish. Apparently there is a new study that talks about the level of Mercury in our seas, and therefore in our fish. Our bodies don't like Mercury, and it can be a huge counter weight to any perceived benefit of eating whatever has it in it. Even info about raw foods is problematic. Because many farms are over-farmed, the nutrients one would think was in a food are minimized. So even when someone is thinking they are eating in a healthy way, it might not be as good as they think.
It seems to me that in all ways we have to discover what is best for us. I really don't think there is any one-sized-fits all answer for anything. And the times that we try to have one can be detrimental to those who that one size doesn't fit - and never will fit. If you think about it, even the one-size-fits-all item doesn't. I even now see advertising that says "one size fits most." Apparently someone took issue with the fact that the label wasn't accurate - as it did not include them.
The thing is, most labels aren't accurate. They're an approximation, based on a what a person perceives to be the truth. That is why so many times we will see a disclaimer attached, "your results may vary."
Being human seems to require the ability to walk the line between understanding and respecting and appreciating one's self and uniqueness and understanding and respecting and appreciating one's self as a part of the greater whole. And somehow I think that likely applies to both our internal and external worlds. Each piece and part counts on its own and within the context of a greater whole within the context of an even greater whole.
So once again, I find myself all over the place. So many things float through my mind. When I was doing ehemo, my mind was in some ways quieter, and at times even felt like it was almost empty. For someone who bounces all over the place, there were times it was almost welcome. But the thing is that this is the me that I know and appreciate, and without it, there were times I did feel a bit lost. There were times I was scared I may never again know this me.
I am grateful that "she" is coming back. There are some things that still aren't quite right, but I am so grateful for the things that have returned to the "old normal," a/k/a "me."
It fascinates me a bit that I never truly recognized or realized or appreciate parts of myself until I was threatened with losing them. Even more fascinating is the fact that the parts that I now appreciate and recognize are the parts previously I may have thought needed to be altered in some way or were in some way insufficient or unwanted.
I love the fact that I am finding myself loving who I am without guilt or a pang of what am I doing wrong? I wish I could feel like I "fit" better into the world in which I live, but see how doing that would be at a greater cost than I am willing to pay. I see the detriment of being someone I am not, and of seeing who I am as a person who somehow needs to be fixed or made better.
I am who and how I am. Period. It is all I ever will be right this very moment. It is all I can be. It makes zero sense for me to sit here and try to figure out what a "better" version of me would be like. Maybe all the hiccups and blips and upsets and frustrations of life are exactly as they are meant to be. Maybe I am exactly how I am meant to be today in the same way that I was exactly who I was meant to be 10 years ago today.
Maybe it is time we stopped buying into the idea that we need to be someone else, somewhere else, something else. Maybe if we live more fully here and now we will choose exactly what we need to to be exactly who we need to be in the next moment, too. Maybe life has everything to do with truly embracing this moment and engaging ourselves in it - not in trying to figure out how to make our next moment's self better.
Even though we seem to do it, maybe there is no way to truly compare. Who we are in this moment is a culmination of all things that came before. The next me is not going to be the same one as the one that came before it. The comparison is an unreasonable one to make.
You are the best you will ever be in this moment. How does it feel to consider that? I am guessing some minds are going to argue that point. For some there may be disappointment, sadness.
When I think about it, it is difficult in some ways to comprehend. So much of my life has been conditioned to hinge on the past or the future. To truly embrace who I am in this very moment, to love her, to accept her and to acknowledge the completeness of who I am...well, that is pretty dang powerful, actually - in some ways because of how mind-blowing in some ways it is.
I have heard people talk about these kinds of things before, but it has never sat with me the way it does now. I think the difference has to do with my being much more accepting of who I am. Other times I not only probably didn't know who I was to claim her, the parts I might have claimed, I might not have liked. There was no foundation for this idea to truly sink in.
Before I might not have been able to love myself if I didn't feel like I was the kind of person others loved. I wasn't lovable if others didn't love me. There had to be something wrong with me if others didn't accept and appreciate and love me. What could I change? What did I need to change to make myself lovable?
All of these things, by the way, weren't things I was necessarily conscious of although I think it is possible that the thoughts did wander through my mind a time or two. But, as with many things, it is easy to get caught up or lost in the maze that emotions and circumstances can create, and without having a strong, core sense of who I was, it would be difficult as the me I was back then to see things as I do now.
I now understand that whether or not someone likes or loves me has nothing to do with whether I am likable or lovable. I happen to think I am both. Not everyone will agree, and perhaps many won't. But that doesn't have to mean I have to believe that I am anything other than what I claim myself to be. By accepting the way others think, believe, act, I am accepting a version of me that is an illusion created by an external experience. Who I am is not created through my external circumstances. It is created through who I am at the core. It is created by who I choose to be within the circumstances. If I am reactive, then I might even seem to be someone or something I am not.
Can I tell you something? My head is spinning. I seem to be heading into pretty deep waters these days. So much of what I am sharing is nothing new. Not in the least. At least not the words. What is new is how I am interacting with them, and how I am absorbing them. In some ways, it is like the first time I heard them. It occurs to me to be a bit like learning a language. The first time you hear "gracias," if you aren't a Spanish speaker, you have no idea what it means, so in some ways it means nothing. But when you learn that it means "Thank you," and you know what thank you means, you now know how to interact with it.
Maybe life is about giving us opportunities for translation. Maybe it's like being in Mexico without a translator. Maybe you have to hear a word a few times in different contexts to understand what it means since there is no one there to interpret for you. And maybe it is best that way because you could have a translator tell you that "gracias" means "please." In which case you could be interacting with it in a whole different way than was meant. Imagine how different things would be for you once you realized what the "real" meaning was?
I am not sure this is the best metaphor, but it strikes me as one that definitely has potential. Maybe you could see how it might work for you, or maybe it is as though I am speaking a different language, LOL. Any which way, I am certain that you are exactly where and how you are meant to be at the moment.
My unsolicited advice to you?
PS If you are seeing this Monday, August 12 before 4 PM Eastern, please consider joining me at WorldofPerspectiveRadio.com for my weekly radio show. You are welcome to call in and join the conversation. Show is from 4:00-4:50.
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