I keep mulling over and over a poster I once saw someone post. It read, ‘Don’t let your mind bully your body’, and I really did not like it. Let… it’s such a passive word, and kind of insulting to those of us waging the mental war. Yes, we let our minds tell us to kill ourselves, to sabotage our relationships, to ruin our lives. It’s such a gas, after all, to already feel incredibly isolated, and then… let?! Maybe it’s encouraging to some, but it makes me feel increasingly isolated by implying that I’m giving my brain permission to do these things, rather than fighting tooth and nail for sanity and stability.
As you can probably surmise, I don’t much appreciate the suggestion that I’m not trying. And that’s what ‘let’ makes me feel – that people think that I’m just sitting back going, ‘I can’t!’ rather than trying to find out how to stop the clubby ninja. I’m talking about boundaries, as the subject suggests. In knowing what my current limits are, I am better equipped to mount a siege, to send in the sappers and undermine the foundation of whatever part of the mind war frontier I’m trying to breach! There’s a lot of work to be done in preparation, you see – one must identify the problem, think up many different ways to come at it, try them, fail, drag oneself back up to try again; if pure will could break through to the other side, I’m pretty sure everyone I know with a mental health issue would already be completely hale. You have to be strong to keep going; knowing that you’re going to be fighting that battle for the rest of your life is emphatically disheartening.
That isn’t to say that physical issues aren’t just as much suffering – if not for my generally good health, I probably would have found a way to off myself years ago. Or well, if my physical ailments had been any worse; long years of endometriosis left me very nauseous and unable to do anything for more than a few minutes at a time. It was vastly improved by getting pregnant with my daughter, but three years after that and the slide back down to blobdom is picking up speed again. Not letting my mind bully me did help me drag myself through life in this regard… sort of. I don’t know if managing to do the dishes without passing out is really a victory, but it was something. In that regard, I guess I could find the poster mentioned earlier as something to steel me to force myself into action; it probably works very well for those whose battle is mainly with their body.
So in short – I think that there are different ways to approach the battle for the body, and the battle for the mind. For the mind, you must be like a master thief, capable of stealing your own pants before your brain realizes that you’ve managed to make inroads on whatever your current battle may be. You must be able to accept that you won’t always win, and that accepting that doesn’t mean you’ve given up. It merely means you’ve stopped to take stock, to marshal your resources yet again (yet again (yet again)) – all the will in the world will not magically fix the issues at hand. You can tell your brain to shut it, but if it were that easy, there wouldn’t be so many substance dependency issues and sadness. As for the body… well. I know I’m not the best judge of what works there, but I thoroughly cheer those who manage to make the most of optimism to get them through the agony. It’s definitely admirable, whatever the viewpoint.