How Long Can This Take?

It’s very sad. I have watched it happen for years but it continues to haunt me, just a little bit. She quit. She had been coming for just over two months and she was frustrated. The change that she was promised has not happened and probably never will. Something inside of her suspected this would happen but she thought she owed it to herself to at least give counseling “a shot”. Two and a half months.

So close.

I’m very weird. When I want to unwind I love to strap on my ear buds and listen to cosmology or physics or history. Atoms fascinate me. So does the universe. Like most of us who endured Physics in high school I learned that Physics is boring; and the only people who became physicists were the kind of people who would never have to worry about things like having a girlfriend or being popular. Physics was cylinders and math and Bill Bryson was the guy who introduced me to this alternate reality. There was a book I once read about a journalist who was on an airplane flight and he realized that he didn’t know why the airplane was in the air, didn’t know anything about geography or science or the stars so wrote a book about a bunch of cool things I had never really taken the time to appreciate. I can’t remember the name of that book but if anyone has read it, let me know.

It was Bill Bryson’s book “A Short History Of Nearly Everything” that really rocked my world. I have read it cover to cover four times and will probably destroy it when I eventually read it again and again. Bryson helped me imagine 10,000 billion billion stars. He wrote about how on the very smallest level, far tinier than atoms, the basis of life is music. I am naturally a storyteller and this book has provided hours of fodder. It has helped me understand how precarious and unlikely life is, while showing me that there could possibly be a million worlds that could support intelligent life, though probably nothing like us for many reasons that I have learned from books like this. I met people like Michio Kaku and actually read Hawking. I am listening to “The Magic Of Reality” by Richard Dawkins but he is bitter and is killing my fascination with the magic of reality so I may listen to the original BBC radio dramas of Sherlock Holmes next to cleanse my palate.

So what do trilobites and neutrons and anxiety have to do with each other? I almost forgot… quitting.

I never took that second Physics class that Bryson talks about, the one that introduced you to real physics – the universe, the atom, the amazing. I was stuck with the volume of a cylinder and boredom and the pledge to never read physics again the rest of my life, so help me God. So close.

Apparently the next year you were introduced to the meaning of life, the beginnings of the universe and the mysteries of existence, so all-in-all I probably didn’t miss much.

I have mentioned in other articles here, here, and here that most people do not really change, especially if they are dealing with anxiety or trauma, because change is very hard and takes a long time. We have been sold the lies that promise to transform us with little or no effort. We are in love with shortcuts and our brain in neurochemically wired from an amygdala level on up for novelty. Many of us have also helped evolution along through our excessive use of drugs or alcohol, maybe our parents drank a bit when we were in the womb, perhaps we have inherited the douche bag gene, etc. Whatever the situation you can bet your 1984 Klondike Days Commemorative Coin Collection that you won’t be over your mental health issues in two months… or six months… or probably a year or two. It just takes however long it takes. There is no epiphany day for most of us. After three months of intense introspection (literally a few weeks after she quit) most people begin to notice something happening, though they are hard-pressed to describe it or even understand what “it” is.

We meet and something about you is different. Maybe you decided to go for a walk this week after ten years of depression and guilt because your psychiatrist, who never took the time to meet you, told you that you needed to walk for an hour, every day. What an idiot. Don’t even get me started…

Don’t quit. You only have one shot at this and contrary to what I really, really really want I probably won’t find a time machine so that I can go back to high school with all I know now and rule! Being free of those demons that haunt us is something that must be earned, and comes at a terrible price for some. All I can say is, I know personally that it is worth any price. I’m not there yet, but to paraphrase Martin, I can see the mountain top.

Some of you know what i mean.

8 thoughts on “How Long Can This Take?

  1. I am 7 1/2 years out from my diagnosis of Bipolar 1 and Postpartum Depression, and I’m JUST getting to a good and stable mindset. I went into all of my therapies knowing it would take time, and medication (blasted enemy) but I didn’t go in with a false sense of self or reason. I went 9 months med free without any complications. Then my marriage imploded. It’s the best thing that has happened for my mental wellness. I know that this will not be-and is has not been-and easy road to travel. I told my therapist, whom has been with me from the beginning-“I feel like I’m sitting at the cross-roads, and I don’t know which way to go!” I was like that for 18 months. Now, I’m standing next to two paths, no longer roads, and it’s still a struggle every day. I have started stretching and walking 2 laps of my parents addition every morning. Today is the first day I’ve had tea in over a week. But I had to make these changes for my mind-it’s still chaotic, but I don’t want the meds. I’m trying to write on paper, but it’s just not satisfactory enough. So i started my blog, and it’s helping more than I ever thought it would. It’s a process I know I must go through, a road I must travel. I’ll never be the person I was before Bipolar, or before my marriage. I will be a different, radiant star in someone else’s universe.

  2. I know exactly what you mean. The urge to flee from counseling/treatment/change is so great, yet in direct opposition to our pleas of “wanting to feel better”. I guess the old saying “The enemy you know is better than the one you don’t” could apply to some people. Normal is miserable, but to make normal something else, it would require a commitment to make the change. Our society (in general) is hardwired for a quick fix and that brings to mind something my father used to tell me “Anything worth having isn’t going to come easily”. So true.

  3. Counseling isn’t all bad. I looked at it more as the ‘wonderful, terrible time’, rather than the ‘terrible, horrible, no good, very bad time.’ (both kids books with great titles!) No question about the time it takes though.

  4. I know this isn’t the exactly what you are talking about, or maybe it is, but I am going to respond anyway LOL and I am going to use you as my sounding board, sorry. 🙂 I have been frustrated lately with the impatience of people who come to my blog, Don’t get me wrong, I started my blog to help others by sharing my struggles (and I don’t kid myself it was to help me also) getting over domestic abuse. It has been a 3 year long struggle that i an now able to say I am basically recovered from, I don’t believe you ever go back to the person you were, I feel I am a better person for it but you can’t sleep with the devil and not be changed. I have written over 600 posts on recovery, narcissism, psychopaths and their traits, the effect of the abuse, how I dealt with things etc. I have my email on my blog in case for some reason someone does find what they need they can contact me instead of doing something like commit suicide but i often get emails from people who have been split for 2 weeks and want to know how I stopped the pain. They want the cliff notes version. When I tell them it took me 3 years to recover they say “Yeah, so how do I stop the pain?” They think i have a secret formula now, that I did the nasty work and now I should be able to pass along the secret to stopping the pain.
    The saying “growing pains” holds true for emotional grow as well as physical growth and that doesn’t happen over night, it takes however long it takes and you can have support and help but it is a lot of personal work, there are no short cuts.

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