The Talking Cure

Or CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and as much as I would love to explain what it is or the pros or cons, all I understand about it is you talk and they suggest stuff and it helps… So far it’s made me feel worse. I feel more depressed. I mean the problem with CBT is, I’m not going to have major break throughs because I already know what bad/unhealthy things I do and I don’t want to change them. I like how I am. I like the way I act. I like the choice I make (most of the time), I may complain a lot but I am happy with how I am. The main point of the first CBT appointment is what I was doing about school.

Both Miss D and my dad believe “I am a bright girl and I shouldn’t waste that”… I don’t believe in God so I believe I wasn’t gifted with this brightness, I got it myself through hard work so if I want to waste it, shouldn’t I be able to?

I told Miss D I didn’t want to go back to school and she told me to go to connexions which for people outside of the UK is a place where teenagers, mainly can go and get advice on help on post 16 options such as apprenticeships, jobs and foundation courses which I’m not entirely sure what they are and to find out you have to actually go into connexions, which I would definitely have done if  connexions was still 3 miles away but that one closed down and the nearest one is… further than 3 miles away, probably about 20 miles which involves going on a bus which wouldn’t usually cause that much anxiety but I have yet to use my new bus pass so I don’t know if I can get from where I live to where I need to be or if it even works.

But I realised, it is June soon and I will have to decide whether I want to go back to school. So I talked to my dad about it and he got all pissed off because I was bringing it up and he says “well you have two months to decide” like no. I have to decide next month and I know he makes decisions (bad ones) in the space of a minute; even important ones and then spends all night worrying about it because those decisions usually blow up in his face.

My usual thing is to talk to people, write about it, get advice so that I can make a fully informed, formed decision. But since my dad and Miss D won’t let me talk through my options, I know how the next few months are going to play out.

Before I start, let me just tell you this: I don’t like medication, to quote what I said in CBT today, “I have no ambition, no skills, no goals. If I don’t have bipolar, what do I have left?” which is partly my reasoning. Now considering the fact my dad still keeps pills out of reach from me and still keeps a tight grasp on money, he obviously knows how bad the episodes are, yet he is perfectly willing to let me stop medication. No arguing, no trying to persuade, just agreement and that annoys me. Like why do all this stuff to make me better and then not give a fuck if I stop?

Anyway, what I’m going to do: I will say I’m going back to school, I will do the four easiest A levels, do the bare minimum work, generally not give a fuck just because I don’t want to be there, I’m not happy. But this also involves going off my medication because I am happier that way and plus it’s easier to lose your mind at school.

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2 thoughts on “The Talking Cure

  1. I have to say that for someone who appears to have the hallmarks of intelligence – there is a lot of really crappy, half-baked thinking here. Further to that, abdicating responsibility for your mental state to your dad and therapist is a big mistake. They don’t have to live with your brain, you do. Your dad and Miss D CANNOT stop you from talking through your options, it’s impossible. They might decide to not listen, but there are ALWAYS those of us out here who will. There are more and more resources in the U.K for support too. If you’re interested I can put you onto some.

    I recognise the learned helplessness and nihilism but this is something that you HAVE TO break free from. You’re in a position to be able to better deal with the symptoms of your illness. You ARE in a position to determine your future. It might not feel like it, but that is because sadly you have a disease of feelings and moods. Trust the logic of things before you trust your emotions. ‘Feeling’ as though you can’t positively direct your future isn’t the same as actually not being able to do it. We have an illness that messes with our feelings, we have to rely on more than emotions in our decision making processes. A lot of thoughts and moods are purely symptoms for us, they’re not genuine feelings or thoughts at all. The truth is you’re the ONLY person who can determine what happens in your future.

    “I’m not going to have major break throughs because I already know what bad/unhealthy things I do and I don’t want to change them. I like how I am”

    Fearing being ‘ordinary’ without your Bipolar symptoms isn’t the same as liking how you are. I can tell you the following about being largely asymptomatic:

    1) Life isn’t quite as confusing (and this is good). You stop looking at other people and thinking “How the hell do they find life so much easier than me?!”, “Why can’t I do what that stupid person there is doing when I’m smarter than they are?”.

    2) You miss mania, it’s true, it’s a shit thing to have to live without it. The sooner you do this though the less experience of mania you have to miss.

    3) Your life starts a-new and you re-learn a lot of things to do with your thinking and moods. This FEELS great and IS great. Your illness doesn’t have to define you.

    4) The people who replace their personality with symptoms of an illness are BORING as hell. Seriously. Don’t opt to become a tedious trope, if you do then you’re banishing yourself to the realm of uninteresting people.

    You either want to be well or you don’t. If this is Fear of Failure and you don’t want to make (or be seen to be making) an effort to be well in-case it falls on its arse – get past it, seriously. I’ve been there and I live with the consequences of following the path you’re laying out for yourself. I’m not going to tell you your school years are the best you’ll ever have because it’s mostly bullshit. The truth is though that you’ll never have them twice, make of that what you will. You might as well make the effort now, you can always give up later.

    If you don’t have Bipolar what do you have left? – Whatever you want. The illness isn’t your personality and as you get through life you’ll realise these illnesses aren’t even that unusual, but that they’re kept private a lot of the time.

    The simple truth is that for an intelligent person in a first world country, there are options. I’m from England, I know how SHITTY the job market feels (again that ‘feels’ word) and I know how vague and ambiguous the pathways to decent employment feel when you’re doing A-levels. It feels as though everyone else knows what they’re doing and where they’re going, they don’t. It frustrated me that other people were able to take the decisions that I found baffling. Again, it’s all window-dressing. No reasonably intelligent person can take such ambiguous information as is made available by schools around A-levels and make solid decisions – most people are guessing.

    It’s obvious that your dad is not equipped to support you in the way that you need him to. There isn’t anything wrong with that – find the support elsewhere and it will be one less thing to stop you from getting on with each other.

    The last thing I’ll say is – you don’t have to stay in England. Get your A-Levels done and you can travel, work and/or study at university if you decide to ANYWHERE in the world. A British passport is a pretty good thing to be born to. This isn’t bullshit – university in Finland is free. University in Norway right now is free I think. There are Scholarships all around the planet. There are places that aren’t as cynical and grim as the UK. Even if you decide to give education up – there is nothing wrong with that. I would do the A-levels purely because they DO help prove to potential employers that you’re bright and you need them to give you a chance sometimes.

    Honestly, this will sound cheesy but dare to dream. You’re not stupid. If you decided to do a gap-year there isn’t a limit as to where you could go and what you could do. Have a look at http://www.workaway.info/. Stud farm in spain? Fine. Sled Dog Farm in Lapland? Fine. Working on permaculture resorts in the Daintree Rainforest? Fine.

    Start planning your backpacking trip around the world as your reward for the A-levels and slog your guts out knowing that you’ve got an amazing rest afterwards.

    You’ve got our attention here and I wouldn’t have written all this if I thought it was a waste of time or that you’re beyond any kind of hope of sensible discussion. If you want to talk about your A-levels with someone who is outside of the whole equation – you’ve got anyone on WordPress who reads this in the comments section or I’d be happy to talk privately to you if you e-mail me through the contact form on my blog (www.thebipolarbum.com).

    If not me, there is someone out there willing to listen because we remember how hard it was. If you don’t WANT to talk about these things, that’s a decision for you to make. Having read this though you can no longer say that no one is willing to listen. I don’t see brightness as something you need to waste or make the most of. It’s just another tool to help you live a life you enjoy, whether that’s working at the local ASDA, travelling around the world for thirty years, becoming a doctor or working as a curator in an art gallery. Your move.

    I sincerely wish you all the best,
    H&J

    • I was going to write some great, fully formed answer. But you have got half baked, misinterpreted, abusive opinions and ideas. I have no idea who you are and trust your opinion 0%. Please stay away from me and my blog. You are genuinely awful.

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