Friday, June 05, 2009

Control



Me: I feel completely out of control
Dr. X: What do you have control over?
Me: (Thinking hard, but finding nothing) I feel like I have no control. My mood is out of my control, my anxiety, everything.

...so went a portion of my therapy appointment yesterday.

Most of the time I feel completely out of control, yet control; over myself, my life, and my finances, my destiny is one of the things I desire most. It is also one of those qualities I believe to be so important to my happiness.

To me control over me and my life means I am driving my life, not the other way around. It means I have both personal freedom to choose the life I want, and a responsibility to make this life the best it can be; both for myself and others. It means existentially I am responsible for creating a life I want to live.

My seeming inability to do this; my being driven and directed and thwarted by my mood disorder and its symptoms, adds elements of anger and frustration, stress and anxiety, to all the depression and mood cycling I experience.

My symptoms create intense and never ending death anxiety in me; the anxiety, sorrow, fear and anger that I will not succeed in making my life, and living my life, the way I want it to play out. I will never understand, experience, discover or live the life I am meant to live. I will stagnate in this version of purgatory or hell for the balance of my life.

I will die. I will not have accomplished anything that is real; anything I chose as opposed to activities, ways of living, occupations, and the failure to have an occupation. I will experience nothing except those things that were chosen for me. My life will have been a lesson in predetermination, rather than the freewill so many of us covet in the 21st century. That is not acceptable, desirable, or even an option for me. I want to choose my life.

So I fight, and I battle against nything that threatens to take my freewill away from me. This means I rage against my mood disorders symptoms. I battle its pull on me, its hold over me. I want so badly to believe I have a choice; to show myself I can change. I do not have to be this way. Unfortunately my belief in freewill means I must be choosing this way of life. I do not understand why I continue to be so depressed after all these years when I want so badly to change.

Do we have the power to change and direct our lives? Do our mental illnesses control us? If our mental illnesses are chronic, cycling, or always return, no matter what we do...is it worth fighting to create a life based on freewill, or is our life's path predetermined by our broken brains?

4 comments:

(Lol) Kat said...

That's a very difficult question you've posed, for which I'm not sure I have the answer. Like you, I like to think that I have the free-will to shape my life, but my illness has thwarted this for so long. I tell myself that everything will come together when I have recovered. But will I ever recover? This illness destroys the very parts of me which I need to use to recover. Your post reminded me of something David Foster Wallace, an author who suffered from chronic severe depression, said about the illness...

"Because the Bad Thing not only attacks you and makes you feel bad and puts you out of commission, it especially attacks and makes you feel bad and puts out of commission precisely those things that are necessary In order for you to fight the Bad Thing, to maybe get better, to stay alive. This is hard to understand but it’s really true. Imagine a really painful disease that, say, attacked your legs and your throat and resulted in a really bad pain and paralysis and all around agony in these areas. The disease would be bad enough, obviously, but the disease would also be open ended; you wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. Your legs would be all paralyzed and would hurt like hell but you wouldn’t be able to run for help for those poor legs, just exactly because your legs would be too sick for you to run anywhere at all. Your throat would burn like crazy and you’d think it was just going to explode but you wouldn’t be able to call out to any doctors or anyone for help, precisely because your throat would be too sick for you to do so. This is the way the Bad Thing works: it’s especially good at attacking your defense mechanisms. The way to fight against or get away from the Bad Thing is clearly just to think differently, to reason and argue with yourself, just to change the way you’re perceiving and sensing and processing stuff. But you need your mind to do this, your brain cells with their atoms and your mental powers and all that, your self, and that’s exactly what the Bad Thing has made too sick to work right. That’s exactly what it has made sick. It’s made you sick in just such a way that you can’t get better. And you start thinking about this pretty vicious situation, and you say to yourself, “Boy oh boy, how the heck is the Bad Thing able to do this?” You think about it really hard, since it’s in your best interests to do so - and then all of a sudden it sort of dawns on you that the Bad Thing is able to do this to you because you’re the Bad Thing yourself! The Bad Thing is you."

Aqua said...

Wow...your comment and the quote are powerful and so true. I am going to borrow your quote to begin my next blog post because it reminded me of something my mom used to tell me. Hope that's okay.

Just Be Real said...

Appreciate you blog, thank you for sharing!!!

Handsome B. Wonderful said...

I really relate to this part:

I battle its pull on me, its hold over me. I want so badly to believe I have a choice; to show myself I can change.

We seem to experience our illnesses in similar ways. I'm always finding that I can so relate to the experiences that you write out. And I can really relate too with HOW your write them out. Thanks friend. HUGS.