I haven’t updated in a while, mostly because I’ve been focusing on taking care of myself and accepting help.
I’ve been doing EMDR and it’s been helping me reframe my memories. At first I was doing it to recover from the trauma of being hospitalized for bipolar disorder. We’ve started working on my childhood trauma since then. This morning I was thinking about how Penelope said that the biggest impact for kids was when their moms got more support. This has been true for us because I’m able to be more regulated and present for my child, which I’ve written about before is their primary need.
One of the things that has come out of my bipolar diagnosis is being forced to focus on taking better care of myself and asking for or accepting help. I’ve been learning that ignoring my needs, such as disassociating from my pain, is one of my maladaptive strategies I’ve brought from my childhood.
One of the first stories I reframed with EMDR was about my elementary school worms.
The school I went to had one of those red dirt tracks out in the field. Whenever it rain the track would be covered in worms. During PE if it wasn’t raining, we would be told to run the track. It took me forever because I was avoiding stepping on the worms. Eventually I’d get in trouble for being squeamish. I was the only one reacting that way, so I was the wimpy freak. Re-examining it I realized that I was the only one sensitive and caring enough to want to avoid killing the worms by stepping on them. And instead of my kindness being honored it was dismissed.
I didn’t find out about the trait of high sensitivity until my late 20s or early 30s, so while I was able to do some reframing on my own, I didn’t realize how many formative memories I had with negative interpretations. And it was only recently working with my chiropractor that I realized how disassociated I was from my body and its pain signals.
I wouldn’t say I feel lucky to have bipolar, but I do feel lucky to have such a large caring network of friends and family to support me while I rewire my brain.
These will help with cognitive bias and accidentally search only for stuff that supports what you already know rather than offer you new stuff. New information might be uncomfortable, so is growth. If you are comfortable, you’re probably stagnating. Change (entropy) is always occurring, so if you aren’t actively choosing your path, then you will end up on the most familiar path (the one that has the least resistance – as in the most traveled, not the least pain),
When I notice that I’m thinking painful and likely untrue thoughts, I think of it as my brain trying to go to or already in The Bad Place (aka: negative sentiment override, assuming the worst, being pessimistic, running a maladaptive schema, bad programming, telling yourself bad stories, feeding the bad wolf, sending out negative energy, trauma response, being triggered, starting to get flooded).
When I am in the Bad Place I can still function, but only just barely. Others see it as me being rude, inconsiderate, stupid, ridiculous, mean, unkind, self-centered, selfish, stubborn, bossy, pedantic. I’m trying to get into the habit of wearing noise cancelling headphones so I can tune out other people until I’m functional again. So far just keeping my mouth shut as much as possible if I’m in the bad place is working ok.
Headphones would help, I’d need active noise cancelling headphones: Bluetooth, comfortable.
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