Tuesday, March 11, 2008

and now for something completely different.

I have to admit when I am blue some things just cheer me up. The little things that remind me of childhood. Watching half an hour of Spongebob Square Pants in my bunny slippers. A cup of hot chocolate in the wintertime, with little marshmallows. Playing in the snow. I really love this time of year.

One of my guilty TV pleasures is a British Comedy called
“Red Dwarf”, and another is an Adam Sandler comedy movies. Both these things take me away for a bit out of the present and into a funny place where I can laugh and feel safe.

So this weekend I rented the new Adam Sandler movie that just came out on DVD. A year ago.I had wanted to see it when it came out in theatres, but never got around to it. The story in a nutshell is nothing new, stressed man gets a universal remote control that makes him fast forward the boring parts of his life. Unfortunately, he also used it to fast forward the good parts of life, like the entire weekend, so he could work on a project and get that promotion. So while he is working in real time on the promotion, he is living his life on fast forward. Stick with me, the movie does work!

Of course there is the standard epiphany, straight out of something an angel like Clarence would give- Adam Sandler realizes he has fast forwarded 30 or 40 years of his adult life up to the moment when he dies. (you cannot fast forward that!). And he realizes he has missed out on his children growing up, his wife becoming dissatisfied and subsequently divorcing him. (In hindsight, maybe it’s a GOOD thing not to recall your divorce!).

His dying words to his son, who has become just like him, another work-aholic, is “Family comes first”.

Of course, there is a twist, and I don’t want to ruin this for anyone, but this movie, much like my favorite holiday movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”, is that something happens to you to show you that you really do have a good life and are valuable.

But believing it is another thing. And realizing that your family does come first again, is another thing.

Over the years I have whinged at psychiatrists, therapists and support groups that I wish I had an angel like Clarence who would show me I had a wonderful life. That every time I was on the brink of ending it all, Clarence would say “Sophy, don’t! You have a wonderful life!”

Have I?

This illness has robbed me of one thing- parts of my life. Like the Adam Sandler movie, I have chosen to fast forward when my life has gotten to hard for me to handle. My fast forward is called SLEEP. I have been guilty of hyper sleep, and when I don’t know what to do, I will seek the comfort of a good 4-hour nap. And by doing this, I believe I have slept more than the standard 1/3rd of my life away. I think I am up to a higher fraction. Maybe 40-45 percent. Life I cannot get back, life I have lost by not living it. Time I did not spend with my parents. Time I could have been doing volunteer work, going for walks to loose weight, reading or taking adult ed courses to keep my brain active. Even a second job when the money was tight. I chose the easy way out, by sleeping.

Don’t get me wrong. Sleep is important. But not when you don’t need it, not as a mean as escaping, not when it is taken over spending time with your family because you don’t want to.

One of the things mu ex husband has decided that is important, is once the meds help us feel better to take control of our lives, we MUST work on recovery. We cannot think the meds are going to do all the work. I am a member of AA- with a 10th anniversary sobriety date as of this past September. I know every day I must work at this, and recovery from my bipolar is just the same. I cannot wait for Clarence to stop me and say I have a wonderful life. I have to eliminate the middleman, and live it myself.


jessi said...

I tend to think that many people think life is only wonderful or worth living if some requirements are met.

We feel we have a right to good health, wellbeing, pleasant relationships, a reasonable income. We feel we have a right to be angry or upset if we don't have these things.

I think one thing BP disorder taught me is that na-ah. Life is that you are alive and breathe. Just that is something to be thankful for. All the rest is gifts, extra.
The illness took away a LOT of my perspectives when I was first diagnosed. I was told that I was not to have children and to forget about a job, and that I'd need to spend the rest of life looking for early manic or depressive symptoms. The stupid thing is that even if you feel all has been taken from you, you may still find yourself enjoying a moment of peace, or laughing about something, or sharing friendship.

For me it was a source of strength to realize that I can still be conscious and even happy and still mean something to others ALSO if I have this illness and also if I don't have all these things my neighbours have.

We may call our lives ruined, or wasted, or worthless. In that you are passing by that one gift and that is that you have this body and it breathes and allows you to experience all sorts of things.
And we DO have choice up to some degree as to WHAT experiences we have, or how to judge them.

My idea is that one's thoughts cause a lot of the emotions we have. If they're unpleasant emotions we may try to get away from them by over-sleeping or over-eating or taking drugs or whatever. Still we do have some power over what thoughts we have, or maybe what thoughts we choose to pay attention to and believe in.

The mind just keeps creating thoughts. It's up to you which ones you pick up and decide to believe. I am NOT saying this is a cure to something like BP disorder. But it IS part of recovery... in my eyes...

love, jessi

jessi said...

Found another quote... "Whatever you give your attention to, is the thing that governs your life.
Attention is the key.
Our free will lies in the direction of our attention.
Whatever we steadfastedly direct our attention to, will come into our life, and dominate it."

(Living heaven on Earth, Emmet Fox)

Susan, in the meantime my thoughts are with you and I'm hoping you will regain some vitality soon.

love, jessi

Stephany said...

for myself, i find me wanting all of it all now and i think when we stop it will come to us.

hang in there, you can do it. i agree, getting off of some meds prob will help the sleeping, and am glad you advocated for yourself w your pdoc on removing one.

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