Working with a psychologist and psychiatrist on recovering, and fortifying myself from, my mental illness has been quite an experience. I almost said ‘journey’, but I loathe that cliche. Thankfully I didn’t say it 🙂
My psychologist, in particular, has been so challenging, rewarding, and empowering all at once.
Challenging because I’ve confronted many demons I had ignored and suppressed, in some cases going back a couple of decades and more. We’re working through the backlog of darker demons and assessing them, slaying them where we can, and learning how to live with them where that’s the best practical option.
There have been so many tears, so many cries of frustration and anger, many declarations of “it’s all too much and I’ve had enough”, but plenty of smiles as well. Most of those come when we unlock an insight or key to tackling another demon. This is the rewarding part; finding out how to take the darkness away from one demon or more, and turn on the light and navigate a path beyond it.
Empowerment is perhaps the biggest and most important component for me. For so many years I was able to recognise many of my weaknesses and faults without too much trouble. Not all, but many. Knowing how I was fallible and weak, but without a way to acknowledge it and step forward, was a dangerous position to be in. But I am learning many tools and ways to try to do just that.
The single most empowering tool, one which can and will form the means by which I assess and view my place in the world, is to strip back everything I hold dear, as well as that I am repelled by, and discard all the rubbish to find the gold nuggets of core values in the usually silt-filled pan that is my head. As a lucky strike-seeker eliminates the dirt and mud and deceptive rock, I too am removing and looking past the things that cover over, muddy, and deceive.
My core values (those things important to me above all else,), are:
- A strong and close relationship with my children
- My health, both mental and physical (in order of what needs the most work most urgently)
- Creative stimulation and challenge
- Personal growth: intellectual, emotional, and creative
- Living simply and with contentment.
These five core values of mine are the new foundation of a life that will be rich in enjoyment and balanced in focus. Everything else will come from my focus on these values. They also form the pillars of a decision-making matrix my psychologist and I are working on, which will enable me to assess future options and challenges through a lens that reflects (refracts?) how I want my place and role in the world to be.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, Can’t Fight The Moonlight has come on my shuffled playlist and I simply must dance like a goose in my kitchen. Try it some time, it’s so much fun! [but don’t spout the “dance like nobody’s watching” line; that too is an abominable cliche.]
Shine on, beautiful diamonds xx