Friday, March 25, 2011

Survival Mode

  This morning my wife and I had a conversation bout my post-Depakote identity.  Many of my established routines came about as self-medicating measures against mania or depression.  I need now to sift through the various things I do regularly to see what and who I want to be now that I'm more emotionally stable.
  It's time to redefine myself now that I am no longer defined by my disorder.  My doc and I talked about how much of my personality developed as a defense mechanism against the negative environment of growing up with my family.
  Kayla pointed out that I was less structured when I was on the sub and for a little while after I got off it.  We think that's because I was on what we call 'survival mode' when I was on the submarine.  That meant that I was in a stressful situation and was therefore, more acutely aware of my surroundings.  I was ready for anything at any time.  I was more flexible because I didn't know what to expect from moment to moment.
  We think that now that work isn't stressful anymore, I've become complacent.  I've allowed myself to establish routines and have come to expect to live by them.  Problem is that I still have a family to take care of.  It would be unfair of me to expect them to conform to my comfortable routines.  They have needs that don't fit my rigid patterns.
  It's easy for me to see it's not them who have to change, but myself.  I can't continue to live as a slave to my disorder.  I definitely can't keep my family in a bipolar cage when I've been given the key to free them.  I love them enough to let them out from the clutches of the bipolar bear.
  Another thing I need to work on is calmly assessing a surprising situation.  Instead of getting mad I should look at it from the other person's perspective and see what they need.  If I don't just limit myself to what my eyes can see, I will have more empathy and compassion.

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