March has been a significant month for me this year. There have been a lot of insights and/or epiphanies that I have had both during therapy and outside of therapy. Things that have rocked the foundation of my personality. How I perceived things that I believed with all of my being, that may or may not have been based in real, objective reality rather in my own subjective world.
The thing is, that is a normal experience for any human if they are honest with themselves and are truly attempting to be the best variation of themselves that they can be. But, it requires an honesty with one’s Self that few people are actually willing to do.
It’s far easier to blame other people for the things that are wrong in your life. That way, you can tell yourself that you have neither control of the situation nor that you are just as responsible for its continuation.
For example, as the person who primarily was responsible for the financial end of things while I was married, it was quite easy for my ex to blame our financial situation on me. That way he didn’t have to take responsibility for the fact that he often manipulated me into paying for things we just didn’t have the income to support. I would rob Peter to pay Paul, simply to keep the peace at home. Now, obviously, I bear accountability for not looking him straight in the eyes and telling him, “we don’t have the ability to do that.” But as a fully matured adult, he bore the same responsibility to deny himself instant gratification for things he wanted so that we had the money for things we actually needed as a family.
No situation is ever truly clearly delineated, particularly in interpersonal ones.
It’s one of the main reasons I have repeatedly said that although I was abused, I bear partial responsibility for the situation in which I found myself. I chose not to leave him. I chose to enable his behaviors and his instant gratification of desires. I chose to screw up my life completely simply because it was “too hard” or I was “afraid” of life without him around. I had connected my self-worth to his emotional state – the better his emotional state, the more self-worth I could lie to myself that I had.
But, part of what has been going on this month is that I recently cleared a lot of the air between myself and my parents. I was able to speak things I could never say to them when I was younger, and not be defensive about their responses. And they were able to speak to me without their own emotional defenses necessarily getting in the way. Since the root of my issues with my ex was involved with my issues with my parents (particularly my father), it gave me a much deeper insight into why I chose some of the paths in my life that I had.
Part of it was sitting with the situation about my neuropsychological testing, and being finally able to communicate exactly what my problem was with the testing I have already received. In fact, that epiphany and the resultant ability to communicate it happened during today’s therapy session.
Because I have also felt victimized by the medical industry and the mental health industry, I have developed a somewhat huge chip on my shoulder. And, when I can’t seem to communicate my issue clearly to whatever professional I’m dealing with, I become very resentful if I believe my concerns are being ignored or dismissed.
What it comes down to is that, regardless of whether it is my physical health or my mental health, I want to be able to develop a plan to be at the best health I possibly can be. In the situation with my neuropsychological testing, the fact that a) the tests I was given were low level, somewhat superficial; and b) someone with chronic pain is consistently likely to test invalid (making the diagnosis immediately becoming somatic symptom disorder [which many people tend to equate to hypochondria, which it may or may not actually be]), the answers of essentially that I was depressed, anxious and experiencing a good portion of my mental issues as physical pain gave me absolutely no foundation to plan upon.
The reality is, I will always have the depression and anxiety, because I always have. It is simply whether I can manage it, and thereby live a better life. I can work on the psychological stuff I like, but if I cannot find tools to manage the pain (whether it is truly caused by the psychological situation or not), then there is no ability to plan for the future. It becomes simply an experience in fatalism.
Explaining that to my therapist was a very freeing experience.
And being able to express it to my sister as well also was very freeing, because from her own past experience as a psychologist she had told me that she didn’t think any testing (including a more in-depth set of testing done by a specialist in neuropsychology) would be able to give me a “concrete answer.” But because of my inability to communicate what I wanted in a clear, unambiguous manner the discussions with her and the tester were rather useless. In fact, there were emotional overtones to the tester’s response to my request for a referral to the specialist that I took to be irritation and a WTF attitude. That I am somehow looking for a magic bean to cure me.
I’m not looking for a miracle cure. If I was, the Internet is FULL of those particular kind of answers, and they are all usually pretty much worthless.
I simply want a foundation upon which to evaluate what defines “best” for me, and whether there are things I can do to regain some of which I have lost or if I need to know that my health, as it is, is as good as it ever will be. Given that I have noticed a cognitive loss continuing, and two of my nephews have visibly responded that I am not as sharp as I used to be, I need to find out if there is something in my current lifestyle that I should be avoiding or doing more of to stop the loss from getting worse.
While when those epiphanies strike, I tend to have at least a partial depression spiral, after that reasonable grieving for past choices, I eventually recognize that yet another tie that has immobilized me has been cut. And that, dear friends, is why I feel my life is getting better even if my financial state continues to suck. The reality is, until I can figure out a plan of care, I won’t be able to financially support myself. I just don’t have the physical or mental ability to do so at this exact moment in time. I’ve been in this place before, and forced myself to deplete myself to barely stay 1 step away from total incapacity. For once in my life, I’m actually taking care of me – and not everyone else.