Friday, March 25, 2011
Depression has Lifted, Now I Need Advice on Mania
Dear A. B.
Thank you for your email.
I started doing tasks here, one at a time, even before I got your message, doing my mantras at the same time.
Then I had to go out to return a book to the library and talked to some people there.
On the way home, I noticed I wasn't in my funk anymore.
Hello again A. B.
I wanted to ask you for suggestions on “mania" as that has also added to my stress lately.
Feeling in a rut, I had gone to visit a friend in the city and while there I went to buy a new lipstick. I decided to get a "Makeover" as there is no charge as long as you buy $50 worth of products. I told the make-up artist that I wanted to look pretty again, so that maybe I could attract a man. Well, she got me looking so good, I got high and spent way over $50 buying most of the items she had used on me. Then feeling so good and determined to get over my previous mate who had dumped me for the younger woman, I went to a bookstore and spent a fortune on self -help books, CD's etc.
The rush was short lived, for when I got back to my island, I realized how much money I had spent and now am worried about getting thru the summer months when there will be no paychecks.
Before reading your books,I was either manic or depressed, and the depressions resulted in hospitalizations as I would slash myself, or do other destructive things to myself.
I was so impressed with your techniques that I worked hard at them in the beginning, not letting up on my little song, until I had changed the depressive thought.'
I have never had to be hospitalized since.
I think I then got lazy with the brain switching, thinking I was cured.
Now I'm realizing I have to start the brain switching as soon as a depressive thought comes, but wondered what to do about the manic tendencies that seem to be surfacing again.
I don't mind your writing me on your blog, if I sign "M". I'm only writing you this way as I was having difficulty setting up an account. I think it's helpful for us all to share this stuff. I'm realizing that if one's brain has been wired into depressive thinking, since childhood, that it can take diligence and hard work to break out of the cycle. If we stop doing the techniques, as I did, when challenges are presented to us, the old habits seem to surface.
It's almost like we don't want to stop the thoughts, to do the song, or rhyme or whatever we use. I noticed that on my walk today. I found myself composing letters I'd like to write to my ex (but won't of course), telling him of the pain he caused me. I kept going on in my head trying to convince him that it had been wrong for his younger woman to offer him sex after his heart attack, when I was nursing him. When I found myself doing this, I started my little song, but didn't stick at it, as then a better argument came into my head and I started following it. So I realized it can be hard at times to even want to stop the thinking, which is why I want to encourage others on your blog of the necessity to work at it diligently, even if we have to keep doing it several times a day, and to stick with it, until our brain has switched out of the depressive thinking.
Yet, now I'm concerned about my mania, as I always thought I had control of that, as for years now, I haven't done the rash things I used to. I know my shopping spree was only minor, but still I was on a high. If I had of recognized it before I started the shopping, I could have made a list of the priority items I needed that fit my budget and stuck to that.
So how can one intercept the manic bout.
When you decide that you have a particular problem and want to improve yourself, be it mania, or not being able to say 'No' to people, or overeating, or lying. or controlling, or obsessiveness, or exaggerating or bragging, or whatever, the first way you see what you are doing is always in hindsight.
It might be you might recognize mania several months later, long after an episode has passed. Then it might lessen to several weeks later. Then last week, then yesterday. It is a progression until finally you "catch yourself in the act" and have the power to withdraw from your habitual reaction right there and then.
Remember that the habitual mind does not like to change from the "known" (your problem) in which you have so far "survived," to the "unknown" which the mind cannot "get a handle on" due to it's false sense of security in knowing that you have "survived" in the "known." no matter how awful that "known" might be and your mind can’t predict your “survival” in the new situation, no matter how much an improvement that might be over the “status quo” (your problem).
If you are earnest in your desire to apprehend yourself, you will wear down the defenses of the mind and sooner or later "see" yourself in action where you have the opportunity to make changes. A. B. Curtiss