Feeling the Squeeze

Martian Popping ThingNot that this is news to anyone, but dealing with bipolar disorder isn’t for pansy-asses.  It takes a kind of courage I’m only beginning to comprehend.

The depression has been big these last two weeks, my internal world inhospitable and frightening.  Lies and faulty thinking I thought I’d corrected long ago are back.  Mindfulness is out of reach.  I do what I can—move through the water every morning, go someplace that smells like coffee, write in my journal, call a friend.  But I can only poke holes in the darkness.  And as my therapist and I start using the tools in Radical Acceptance, I’m catching glimpses of—something—on the periphery.

There’s a terror within me that I’ve never touched.  I’m being asked to do that now.  Intellectually, I see this as therapeutic and full of potential.  But in our first session doing this Work, so much resistance came up that my body went numb.  Everything in me wanted to run out of Megan’s office.  When she talked to me, it was as if she spoke a foreign language.  I could not comprehend what she said.

I’ve tried working with difficult aspects of my illness before—the compulsive eating and spending, the anxiety, the insatiable longing.  I’ve noticed that when I start challenging one of these pieces or bring awareness to it, the others thrash around like two-year-olds.  To me it feels like a kind of pressure valve.  When I pay attention to my feelings of loneliness and wanting, I eat everything in sight.  When I put structure to my eating, my credit card starts smoking from all the on-line shopping.  I feel like one of those rubber Martian Popper dolls.

But I’ve not really had a partner in doing this work.  My previous therapists were either traditional, ineffective, or so flaky that they never should have been practicing in the first place (I’ve had some whack-os.  That’s another story).  But now I have someone who feels safe and competent, someone who shares my view of mental illness as a spiritual path, someone who knows more than I do about this Work.  I don’t have to figure this out alone any more.

And while I’m scared, I’m also relieved.  I’m trying not to have expectations, just face whatever comes the best I can.

But I think I’ll have to find one of those Popper dolls to take with me to my next session.

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jonathan Caswell
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 20:27:10

    Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:


  2. Jonathan Caswell
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 20:28:28

    I HEAR YA!


  3. Kathryn McCullough
    Nov 22, 2013 @ 13:58:25

    Gosh, I wish I didn’t, but I know that terror. Hang in there, sweetie. I’m thinking about you. So glad you have a good therapist. That can make a significant difference.

    Hugs from Ecuador,


  4. Littlesundog
    Nov 22, 2013 @ 20:24:05

    Your writing is SO effective… I feel and visualize exactly the frustration you express, Sandy. And, unfortunately, I do understand the resistance that comes up. I am so happy you have found a kindred spirit in your therapist! I’m sending positive vibes your way!


    • Sandy Sue
      Nov 23, 2013 @ 00:06:52

      Thanks, Lori. Everything feels like crap right now. I know that’s not true. The disconnect between what I know and what I feel is hard to bridge.


  5. Servetus
    Nov 23, 2013 @ 13:33:09

    This is exactly how I feel — I don’t want my problems medicated away. I want to understand them, how to confront them, how to live with them, and how to be me.


  6. Trackback: Richard Armitage Legenda 106: Stuff worth reading | Me + Richard Armitage
  7. Marie Astra
    Nov 25, 2013 @ 19:11:19

    Love the popper doll as an illustration! I’ve felt that way many times. Just saw a new doctor and he has such a collaborative approach that I am, dare I say, HOPEFUL?? Best wishes to you, too.


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