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Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

For sharing your experiences and feelings about mental illness
andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1716
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:23 am

My mood has been really down for a while now. I keep going through the motions but nothing seems to have meaning. I have lost hope, I need to find it again.

Still got well over a year before my target date to make a decision on if it is worth carrying on.
I suppose what I really want is for my brain to give me peace. Back to Mindfulness I go.

andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1716
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Thu Apr 16, 2020 11:30 pm

Some random thoughts from the last few days.

Re-parenting ourselves equals accepting, comforting, supporting and consoling ourselves with empathy, warmth and respect. Warmth and respect for who we are now as well as who we were then. I am not something broken that needs to be fixed, I am someone who can choose to improve his experience of life by giving himself what he gives to others.

Humanity likes predictability and therefore order. We interpret the world by categorising it and us. We create boxes for ourselves, our thoughts, our behaviours and our lives because this feels safe, in the same way that living in a cave made our ancestors feel safe from predators. We can choose to step outside those boxes.

My above thoughts are related to the concept of agency, free will and choice.

I learned not to beat myself up by thinking about how much was beyond my control, my genes, my childhood family, social class and neighbourhood. Those things created so many of the experiences and beliefs that add up to me, that prompt my actions and inactions. There is a lot of truth in that and accepting it was a very necessary and helpful step in improving my life.

It is also a seductive path, allowing me to reject all responsibility, to reject my own agency, reinforcing learned helplessness. Today, I am a grown adult, my own responsibility. My choices are mine to make. I have that power, that right, that responsibility.

Of course, my decisions are the product of my genes, experiences, environment and whatever random connections the brain makes but that is simply an overly verbal description of what makes up me. It is still me making the decisions. If I made the wrong decisions in the past, so what? The reasons why are understandable, making mistakes doesn't reduce my worth as a person.

There is no need to consider whether I believe if either of the concepts of a deterministic universe or free will are true. It simply doesn't matter. What is the difference to me, now? Why not act as if my choices are my own? That I have agency? The alternative is passivity and ennui. I have agency, my choices matter. It feels good to know that.

Wanting to do something and acting on it, that is the definition of agency. I think that many of my past actions were based on things other than wanting.

andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1716
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Thu Apr 16, 2020 11:31 pm

So, following my last post, I have decided to be more organised, that counter-intuitively, a sense of freedom may come from self discipline. I will see how it goes.

I was thinking of ending counselling when lockdown is lifted. I have gone over and come to terms with as much as my childhood as I could uncover. I've felt real benefits from that. Now I realise I want to emotionally connect with some of the childhood memories where that connection has escaped me (one or two sessions) and then go through the next stage of troubling memories, teenage life (maybe five or six sessions). There remains some childhood stuff around sexual abuse that I cannot bring out but I think that sleeping dog should be left to lie.

I will turn 4x this year. That is weighing on my mind. So many boats have sailed. I want to learn to accept that fully and focus on making the best use of the second part of my life.

andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1716
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Sun May 10, 2020 3:00 pm

Diary Entry 1 May 2020

So, anxiety is playing its games. I didn't sleep Weds night, had a couple of naps between clearing urgent work on Thursday (benefit of working from home :) ) but I've now not slept since 2pm Thursday afternoon. Admittedly, I've had a hell of a lot of caffeine in the same period, so you know, but this really isn't good.

On the plus side, I am managing to function. Completed a complex job today, it was slow going because of the tiredness, kept having to redo stuff, but I got there in the end :)

The thing is, it is not that I can't sleep, I know how to make myself go to sleep and I am so tired right now that all I have to do is lay down and close my eyes. The problem is the part of me that does not want to go to sleep. Is it hyper-vigilance and the fear of being vulnerable? Is it the fear of the nightmares that will surely come? Probably a bit of both. My heart is thumping with anxiety, all my being is screaming that this is no time to let my guard down, this is no time to close my eyes.

andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1716
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Sun May 10, 2020 3:00 pm

Diary Entry 1 May 2020

... BUT, I promised a friend I would do something important for her tomorrow, something I need my brain for. If I won't go to sleep for me, I think I may to avoid letting down a friend.

andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1716
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Sun May 10, 2020 3:01 pm

Diary Entry 2/05/2020

I can confirm that the thought of my friend needing me allowed me to lay down and go to sleep, pretty much as soon as I finished my last post. If I can learn to value myself as much then I am on a winner.

andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1716
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Sun May 10, 2020 3:01 pm

Diary Entry 9 May 2020

I am really proud of myself for stepping away from a friend's troubles yesterday. I wanted to help and I was helping but I realised I have been spending all of my free time doing so, I was feeling all the stress second hand. I told her I couldn't do any more. I'm good with that and excited that I was able to put myself first, because I wanted to.

andthistoomustpass
Posts: 1716
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:02 pm

Re: Emotional resilience and the impact of its lack

Postby andthistoomustpass » Tue May 12, 2020 2:24 am

2am and don't want to sleep, Too scared of the nightmares. Slept for a few hours this afternoon, after a bad night Sunday, and had horrible dreams. Those ones that jerk you awake but the sleep paralysis is still active, you are terrified but can't move, slip back into sleep despite your best efforts only to jerk awake again, rinse and repeat. Urgh!

So much of this fear stems from those most formative early years. Give me a child until he is seven, and I will show you the man. I cannot escape the past, maybe I can learn to accept it.

At least I know what is going on, I am so much more in touch with my feelings. If you can name something then you can address it. I also made a good move on Sunday, allowed myself to be genuinely vulnerable to a friend. That is a massive step for me. Even in therapy, I never talk about stuff that I would not be content for the world to know, just in case I can't trust my therapist. I trust no one. Me against the world, always has been, but maybe some cracks are appearing in that self-destructive mindset now.

Work is going to be hell tomorrow. I will start at 6am and get a bit done, my boss knows I have been struggling, I will have a think about taking a few days or at least only doing the essentials.

Still got over a year until my next decision day about whether to keep persevering or whether to end it. I hope I have the courage to end it if that is the best option, the rational choice.


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