Saturday, May 24, 2008

Two Wolves

Last Sunday I went with two friends to a local Community Centre to participate in something called "The Remarkable Women's Poster Project". We each brought a photo of someone we considered to be a remarkable woman and made a poster of that woman. These poster's will be on display at the Community Centre to celebrate National Woman's Month in October. I did one of my Mom.

If you can believe it my best friend did one of me. It was so beautiful. With my permission she "outed" me as a person with a mental illness. Her caption below my photo read: "My Name. Still living. Yeah!" I felt honoured that she chose me as a remarkable woman. Thanks "H".

At the Community Centre there was a poster pinned to the wall with a fable written on it. I do not really subscribe to the pejorative nature of the descriptions of evil in the poster. I am not even certain I believe in "good" or "evil".

I also recognize that Major Depression is the instigator of many of the "evil" symptoms below, but I also think that despite being severely depressed I can push a tiny bit to rid myself of ego and it's soul impairing accoutrements.

Given my propensity to dream about wolves and to cross paths with coyotes the poster captured my eye. This is what it said:

"Two Wolves:

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all.

One is Evil.
It is anger, envy, jealousy, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

The other is Good.
It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,"Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee replied, "The one you feed". "

I am so afraid my improved mood and my new found capacity to participate in life will be taken from me; that my mood will disappear into anguish, like it always does. I am trying so hard to feed the "good" wolf, but am terrified that the "evil" wolf gently slips back into my mind unnoticed. I am trying hard to remain vigilant and push forward while I feel well. The thought of returning to the place from whence I came terrifies me.


Polar Bear said...

What a great story!

I can certainly understand your fears about losing the "good feelings". Sometimes I think I obsess too much over when it will all come to an end. V often tells me to just "live in the moment" - use my mindfulness skills to accept and live fully in the good moments and not worry too much about when the darkness will return.

Im glad that you are out doing things and generally feeling better. I hope you continue to feel this way.

(by the way, in answer to your question about V)
V has told me that the work she and I do are based on DBT. She's not offering me "supportive" therapy which can sometimes last a lifetime. With DBT, at some point, she would have taught me everything I need to know to be able to cope with my illness.

Yes, BPD is a chronic illness, and will possibly affect the rest of my life, and yes, I will probably be under the care of the Community Mental Health Team for the rest of my life, but the therapy that I do with V is different. At some point, that has to end. I have argued that I may not be ready, but how do I know when I am ready? That is still a point of contention.

V drew this analogy - like a bird sometimes has to push it's baby chick out of the nest. The baby chick may not feel ready to fly, but the mother bird sometimes has to push it out of the nest to get it to learn to fly.

Obviously, I personally don't like this analogy at all.

But what can I do?

Aqua said...

Polar Bear,
I feel so much for you and your situation with V. I am glad to hear you will still have support available. I get that some types of therapy are set-up to have an end. However, I disagree that that is the right thing to do for people with chronic conditions.

Maybe you can find another therapist who practices supportive therapy before your therapeutic alliance with V there is no disruption in your support line. I would love for you to find someone who supports you like V...miracles happen!

Polar Bear said...

The session with V today didn't go too badly. I'll probably blog about it, but I'm not sure about the level of detail I'm going to get into in my public blog.

I have a private blog, and I've already written a post on what happened today.

If you are interested, I'd be more than happy to email you the post - see what you think, as I know you are interested in all things about therapy, and that you really do understand becuase you've been through it yourself and have similar battles.

I'll need your email tho. If you don't want to make it public, just email me:

Polar B.

Annie said...

This post touched me so and I appeciate you sharing it. I am a Cherokee but had not heard the "Two Wolves" but loved the message. I enjoy your site! Annie