On Mental Health

The mine-field which is mental illness and relationships (3)

 

(Continued from section 2..)

It is obviously formulaic to say that Mental illness defies reason, and initially it defies it on every conceivable level and non-conceivable level. You lose the rational part of your mind, and instead delusion and fantasy, paranoia and belief rush in.

I am aware that the last 12 years have left a kind of ridiculous mess of irrational debris in my mind. Belief systems and thought processes which are not compatible with close contact, and don’t hold up under close scrutiny because they are grounded in the unreal, instead of in the external world around me.

As I have recovered, it’s been as though my reason faculty has slowly rebooted and rebuilt itself out of the memories and concepts which were so hardwired they survived the initial onslaught of madness. I have dedicated a lot of time to making this process happen, by challenging the paranoia, and challenging the delusional preoccupations. I have had to identify the particular thought processes which would combat the paranoia effectively (those which make up a rational and viable alternative), and then I have had to reinforce them again, and again, and again.

I have had to keep drilling them into myself, and keep underlining them in my mind and my thinking. In doing so I am effectively rebuilding a rational thought schema in my mind, and then strengthening it. When I am with Ru it has been a question of being honest with myself and working out where I am creating the problem as much as being affected by it; when I am projecting my own issues onto him (which is almost every time), and then working out where the worries and issues I’m having are only based in falsehood. This is, again, a process of reinforcing and reinforcing again the arguments and thought-processes which undermine the strength of the negative feelings.

However it has taken a long long time for rational and logical arguments to take root appropriately in my mind again, and to effectively hold strong enough against the flood of irrationality and delusion which has afflicted them.

What I feel as though I’m struggling with now is being close to someone who, simply by the very act of being close to me, is putting pressure on all these newly constructed rational and logical mind constructs. This is not intentional, and is as natural as breathing; but it tests the viability of the constructs which have grown back as the mental illness has diminished, and it tests the strength of them. This is the second way, I feel, that mental illness makes emotional intimacy very difficult.

Being close to someone requires my own self to hold firm, it requires my own psychic and inner structures to function as part of a pair, and function whilst connected to another psychic/inner structure which is constantly in flux, and constantly moving. It requires my faculties to connect, react, respond, relax, etc. This close, intense interaction, puts a pressure on my ability to hold everything together in a relatively calm and easy state. Obviously Ru is the person from whom my feelings and emotions are strongest; he has a massive affect on how I feel and what I think, and this means that the emotions he creates within me are going to be the most intense, and therefore most able to affect the durability of the rational/logical thought processes I have refashioned to deal with such strong sensations.

Often, when the tic and the negative symptoms are brought on, I react so strongly because I’m aware that something is taking place in my mind which isn’t real and isn’t right, but in the intensity of the moment I don’t have the time or space to set it straight and then reinforce that rationality.  So it sends me off in a direction I don’t want to go in, but can’t prevent from happening either. I think that is often where the force of the reaction comes from; the main part of me knows whatever’s happening is not real and therefore not worth worrying about, but I cannot seem to prevent the mind spiral from happening. This is massively frustrating.

However, it occurred to me the other day that every time I buy into the urge to react negatively I am effectively self-harming; I am following thought processes which I know will only leading to pain and stress, and this is fundamentally counterintuitive. Therefore I have total certainty that if I keep pushing those thought processes back into positive pathways and systems (by rationalising and positing alternative, logical arguments), and effectively create new directions for them to take and new end points to reach, I will stop following the irrational pathways altogether, and stop getting myself into situations and dead-ends which only cause stress and pain.

And it is working, I can feel it: I am slowly reconfiguring the apparent mess of loose wires which exists somewhere in me head, and I am learning to move past the weak spots without getting too bogged down. I am retraining my brain, so to speak, and allowing myself to enjoy intimacy again.

I believe now that I am almost at a stage where I actually need to start expecting intensity and arguments (a sentiment I’m sure Ru will absolutely love)- because this is what is really going to test my ability to hold my head together. Intensity is a natural aspect relationships, and cannot and should not be escaped entirely. I have firm belief that the more I work, and the more I embrace testing situations, with Ru and on my own, the more my mind will remember that it can handle them, and it can hold together during times of stress and high pressure.

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