It is a tradition in my family that this is the time of year that we all have emotional meltdowns. I grew up knowing that the last week of July/First week of August was going to be pretty traumatic. My dad would have a spectacular meltdown every year and usually end up throwing huge tantrums and quite often losing his job. In fact, his very last meltdown happened at the end of July, that one ended with him in hospital and dead by August 9th. Sadly, I find that this is one of the traditions that I seem to have been unable to escape.
There have been a few theories proffered over the years as to why we have such a hard time at the same time every year, my current theory involves a complex equation that takes into account the increased and prolonged heat coupled with a full moon and possibly aggravated by increased gravitational pull from being closer to the sun somehow during the summer… but who is to say what the actual calculation is, and does it really matter?
This year I’m pretty proud that I am handling it much better than usual, especially given the fact that I am currently unmedicated. Of course, that is not to say that the past couple of weeks have been easy or even pretty… in fact they have been far from graceful. One thing that I have noticed is that, while I do possess a much larger collection of coping skills and strategies, I am finding it very hard to put any of these into practice. Basically, I’ve just been holding out from doing anything destructive while I have not actually been doing any of the things that I know will make my life better. I am not really sure why it is so hard.
I realized though that I am not alone in this. We all know about things that would be “good for us” and some of these things we think we actually “want” to do, and yet there is a huge industry built around attempting to help us find ways to trick ourselves into doing the things that we know we “should” do but that we never get around to it.
This is not even a ‘new’ problem! Around 2000 years ago a writer who went by Paul wrote in a very famous book something I like to refer to as “the dodo passage” which I will quote here:
15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Romans 7:15-24 New International Version (NIV)
The thing is that whether you believe his assertions that it is “sin living in us” and that “only god can save me from it” or not, you have to agree that despite the abundance of “DODO” in this passage, it pretty much sums up how we all feel like we know what we should do but that there is some sort of force within us that is somehow beyond our control which is forcing us to not do the things we know will help.
What is the answer? Well, perhaps when we feel this wretched we could actually take Paul’s advice and look to a higher power, a force greater than ourselves, maybe that force is God, maybe that force is a friend or a therapist, maybe that force is an inspirational book or movie, maybe that force is just the majesty of nature. What I have found is that when I can’t find the strength to do the things I need to do, I can often borrow that strength from somewhere else.
I am not alone, and neither are you! We are all in this mess together so let’s help each other get through it. Never be too afraid to reach out, because when you do, you may just find that someone will be there to pull you back onto the right track.
~ Elena <3