Wednesday, July 3, 2013
The thing I am loving about this book.... is her humor. And her honesty. But really, who writes about these topics and uses humor?! This author does and it is so refreshing! While injecting good doses of hilarity she talks about seriously serious issues (if you have lived with them, you know what I am saying) and shares real solutions that have worked for her. She is not cured. She talks about the daily work, the self care, the maintenance she must tend to in order to stay even and healthy and on stable footing, both mentally and physically.
I of course think of my girl through the whole book...
She quotes Daniel Goleman, then a science writer for the New York Times:
"For several years, scientists have suspected that at least some drug addicts suffer imbalances in brain chemistry that made them vulnerable to depression, anxiety, or intense restlessness. For such people, addiction becomes a kind of self medication in which drugs correct the chemical imbalance and bring a sort of relief."
Until they don't.
And then this from Colette Dowling who wrote You Mean I don't Have to Feel This Way Anymore?
"Scientists think that in predisposed humans the production of endorphins and enkaphalins in the brain is abnormally low from birth. Low levels of these mood-regulating chemicals result in anxiety and a feeling of need that is extremely uncomfortable. It is this bad feeling that makes people susceptible to the brief mood-lifts provided by drinking and drug taking. They are not really looking for euphoria. What they long for, what their bodies are trying to achieve, is the state of chemical balance that those of us enjoy whoa re fortunate to have enough neurotransmitters in the first place. "
I can't tell you how many times I have heard my girl say that drugs help her feel normal. Help her get up and exist each day. It is such an impossible balancing act though....a granule (or whatever they call it) too much and you can't keep your eyes open. A granule too little and you are sick.
I also see glimpses of myself. My own need for perfection, my own bouts of depression, obsessing, worry and fear.
Therese talks about her first born who wouldn't sleep and how this threw her into a tailspin. The "other mothers" told her he didn't sleep because she hadn't trained him to sleep. (can you feel the guilt and the condemnation and self loathing for being so stupid and inept?) She needed to do the 5, 10, 15 minute method. Let him cry for 5 minutes, go in, pat his back, then give him 10 more minutes, repeat, and at 15 minutes he will be sound asleep. She said her experience was more like 5, 10, 7 hours. She writes of looking back and wondering why she didn't trust her own instincts more. Why she let her baby cry in the crib alone. It ends up he had ear infections, tummy upsets, etc.
It reminded me of when I had our first baby and I was determined, as you have heard, to "do it right." Someone along the way had told me to never let baby sleep in your bed with you, let them cry it out in the crib and they will learn that the crib means sleep time.
Uhhhhh, not always true.
My son, my firstborn little prince, was one of those who screamed for hours. I know. We tried it.... for 2 nights. Those two nights were prepared for ahead of time by us going to the neighbors (we lived in a duplex with an attached wall) to let them know what we were doing..."if you hear him crying, we aren't neglecting him. We are *teaching* him to sleep in his own bed." I can just imagine them smirking as they closed their door to go back inside.
So we began.....plan firmly in place, our resolve was set. 2 hours later, sheets covered in snot....babies, not mine, sobbing hysterically, we gave up. Night #2 was a replay of night #1 until the dad, bless his heart, came up behind me as I stood crying outside babies bedroom door, and said, "Who says we HAVE to do it this way?" That was one of the few times I conceded to his wisdom in our early years of marriage and did what he was suggesting. I went and got baby, I took him into our bed and nursed him and THAT was the beginning of us sleeping each night, with baby tucked between us, nursing on demand and us NOT feeling wiped out with exhaustion.
We are all such complex beings. It is a good thing that I am a firm believer that all of our complexities and "issues" make us into beautiful, compassionate people as we learn how to love ourselves and others in all of our imperfect glory. If not, I would have given up a long time ago.
I highly recommend this read to those of us who love someone or who are mentally ill ourselves. Oh wait.....I think that might be all of us!
Love to all.....