Saturday, January 11, 2014

Stress is not my friend

We have completed our move into town.  We've even unpacked a substantial number of the boxes.  The moving was pretty stressful for me and for the rest of the family as well.  I don't do well with stress.  It seemed like I was doing OK until I blew up and lost my temper in front of the kids.  Well, "lost my temper" is sort of an understatement.  I'm disturbed and ashamed by my behavior, but as my forgiving counselor said, "no one got hurt and you didn't get drunk" so let it go.  In retrospect, I had been getting angrier and angrier for a couple of days during the move.  I must have been just bottling it up, not sharing about it, storing it up for a blowout. 

My outburst turned into yet another catalyst for discussion and an important life lesson for the family.  Anger happens.  Even adults lose their temper sometimes.  I had kind of been looking forward to not having my behavior be the center of the family's attention for a change though.

Bipolar folks do not do well with stress.  It exacerbates the symptoms of the disorder.  In this case irritability.  I also found my "rat brain" active too.  My rat brain is what I call the part of my brain that tries to talk me into drinking again.  It tells me I'm not good enough or not lovable or not a part of...  These thoughts lead to the thought that drinking again might be a good idea.  It's never been a good idea, but why not try it one more time, right? 

On the plus side, I've really had the opportunity to reflect on some areas of my life.  Faith, vulnerability, commitment.  You'd think I'd have these things down by now, but I don't.  Vulnerability seems to be my life lesson right now.  I've been coming to the realization that there's only a certain level of vulnerability that I'm comfortable with.  Anything beyond that makes me want to "run", and my favorite way to run is by drinking and using.  I need to break through to some new level of vulnerability without having to use to escape further growth.  What the hell,  I'm ready for change.  Anything is better than the way it's been. 

I've also started to think more about gratitude.  Maybe even starting a daily gratitude list.  I have so much to be grateful for.  I feel so blessed.  I need to remember that when my rat brain says I don't have what I want or need or deserve.

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