On Consistency and Acceptance

So, I’ve sucked at writing lately! I have, like, three drafts of blogs on different topics started and saved, but it just doesn’t seem like the right time to post any of them yet. (However, things for you to look forward to – if you look forward to my posts – include such exciting topics as dealing with a devastating loss and what it’s like to check yourself in to a psych unit!)

Tonight, though, I just wanted to write a little bit about consistency. Consistency is a constant struggle for me. Most people don’t see it. I’m perceived as reliable and dependable and all those other things that one may equate to “consistent,” but the fact of the matter is, schedules and steady production of content (of any form) are decidedly not my strong points. This is one of the reasons it took me a while to start this blog.

Creativity and expressive outlets come in waves for me. Initially, I’m the sun scorched sand soaking up the incoming tide, but eventually I’m over saturated and the tide is on it’s way out anyway, so I just watch it go. Maybe that’s a Bipolar thing, maybe it’s a product of never having the ability to stick with extracurricular hobbies for too long due to familial obligations, I don’t know. But it’s how I seem to be wired.

A few months of intensive poetry writing, a few months of photography, a few months of playing guitar, a few months of writing fiction, a few months of writing non-fiction, a few months of keeping a journal (yeah, even when the end result is completely private, I suck at sticking with it.)

But the thing is, the best way to manage my situation is with a certain degree of schedule-following and consistency. It’s a learning curve for sure. A steep one at that. For someone who is perfectly happy staying up until 4 am and getting 3 hours of sleep a night for a few weeks in a row and then sleeping 12 hours a night with naps during the day for a few weeks and then bouncing between the two extremes day by day for a while, scheduling is not a strength. This is something about myself which I need to accept and work around.

There’s a lot of acceptance that comes with a substantial mental health diagnosis, actually. Acceptance that is not easy to reach. When I was first hit with PTSD symptoms, it was like a five story brick wall collapsed on me. 28 years of shit all at once. And it very nearly crushed me. When I first found out I’d inherited what, it turns out, is the very prevalent family trait of Bipolar, it felt like some deadly projectile shattered my windshield while I was driving 80 down the interstate. My entire perception of myself and my situation changed. See, even when I was in the waiting room at the emergency department, I was cracking self-deprecating jokes to the friend who took me there – saying things like, “Well, we always knew one of us would end up in the psych ward.” To a certain extent, humor is a really good coping mechanism; however, it’s also frequently a method of minimizing the severity of a situation. It’s a form of denial. When I was going into the psych unit, as far as I knew, I wasn’t Bipolar. I was just having an acute moment of difficulty in my life. And adjustment to a traumatic past that would pass. I was going to leave the hospital in three days, go back to work and school, and be completely fine. I honestly believed that. Now, I’ve got this metric shit-ton of crap that I want absolutely nothing to do with.

I don’t want PTSD or Bipolar-whichever-number-I-actually-have. I don’t want to still need so much support two months after leaving the hospital. I don’t want to need to call my friend from the side of the road because I’m on the verge of dissociating for no fucking reason and I need help grounding myself before I can finish driving home. I don’t want to take meds. I don’t want to follow a schedule. I don’t want to have to dig deep into my past and all the ways it fucked me up. I don’t want to have to integrate the feelings I dissociated from when I was a kid. I don’t want any of it. But I’ve got it. I’ve got all of it. And now I have to face it and work on it and feel it and deal with it.

And a big part of that, for me, is wanting to be consistent with this blog. Even if no one reads it, it’s important to me. It’s important that I verbalize this stuff and get it out there and it’s important that I stick with it. I want a tangible, measurable story of my progress and setbacks. I want something to look back on. And I want to put something out there that, just maybe, can help one or two other people.

So, continuing this blog with as much consistency as I can muster is what I’m going to do. If I miss a day or two, it’s not a reason for me to blow off the next 4 days (which is kind of what just happened.) If you’ve been following so far, sorry for the lack of posting. It may happen again, but I’m going to try really hard to make sure it doesn’t. It’s not only a part of my schedule, it’s a part of my journey to acceptance. And that’s more important, I think, than anything else I could be working on right now.

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