Thanks for visiting my little blog, Please note that this is my online diary, thoughts & feelings expressed on this blog are mine & mine alone. I hope that you will take the time to comment & tell me what you think about the things that I write. If you do not wish to know what I am thinking in my tiny little head then please do not read on, but I will not apoloize for my spelling (although I'm trying to be better!) or my posts!

Thanks for stopping by,
Princess Steph

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mental Illness and Grief/Mourning - A relationship that goes hand in hand

It seems that when coming to terms with living with a mental illness you also live intimately with grief and mourning.  You find that you struggle with loss of hopes and dreams that you had before mental illness, the loss of friends and relationship, the loss of goals that now are no longer attainable and most importantly the loss of your former, "pre-mental illness" self. 

I thought that I was merely struggling with the change of my life being different, until a friend of mine who is also bipolar used the term mourning and grieving to describe the process of this change from "pre-mental illness" to living with a mental illness.  He went quickly to the Elisbeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler, The Five Stages of Grief, to demonstrate that I truly was going through a grieving process.  The five stages are; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  (More information on the five stages can be found here.)  It also helped me to understand that I was going through a series of grieving processes for a number of different things.

The largest thing that I have been grieving is the loss of the old me.  The old me would have been described as someone who was funny, held a table at dinner party, was smart, quicker than the rest, worked hard, played hard, loved a good party, was always there for a friend, doing a million and two things at once, always a step and a half in front of everyone, someone who could do everything, never said no, a solutions person.....I could go on.  Needless to say, this sounds like someone who is a litte bit hypo manic, if I do say so myself, and I was.  Now, with the meds, and with a better understanding of bipolar disorder, I am lucky to do one thing a day, can somedays not string a sentence together, has trouble finding words to say things, is anti-social, hates crowds, is scared to take the subway some days, does not like going out with friends, does not call friends, can not bring herself to do elementary task....... 

So I grieve the old me.  I have been angry.  I have been in denial (although short lived, the drugs convinced me that I was always going to be the new me, as did all the research I did).  I did some bargaining (maybe if i manage what drugs I take when I want to be more "the old me", I'm still tampering here!).  And here we are in depression.  The one that envelopes me.  It is the one that I am struggling with.  I am sad.  I am sad and a bit angry at the new me.  I just don't like her very much.  She just isn't very fun. Who wants to be around the new me.  Not the old me.  No one will want to marry the new me, let alone spend any time with the new me.  So I find myself weepy and sad at the new me.  I wish i could say that I see the light at the fifth stage of Acceptance, but I don't.  I just feel sad and depressed at the new me that I really don't like all that much.  Hard to expect other to like her as well.

I will battle on, in search of the light at the end of the tunnel that is Acceptance.  I will find it, even if it is around a few corners and bends that take me around the corner and back again.  I do not have a choice.


Anonymous said...

I too grieve for the old me. Looking back, he was stupid, immature and vulnerable. But free. Now I'm secure, stable but missing something he had. Over the last couple of months, I've had a growing feeling of wanting to live the life he led once again, fixing all the problems and righting all the wrongs.

We we move on in time, issues fade away I hope. The new incarnation of me is coming through, yours will too. I beleive the next version will be super at everything i'm not and hurt will bounce off.

Chris from London

Anonymous said...

Hey Steph, what you are describing is very close to my stituation and how I feel. I googled: mourning the loss of my old self and found your blog. I don't know if it makes it easier for any of us, but at least we are not alone. I too find it the hardest, to accept. I struggled for years, dreamed to get back to my perfect life, I was always the strongest of the bunch, able to handle anything, alone. I kept holding on, in vain. I have recently had to look at my life realisticly. And I will never be the same again, have the same again. So I too mourn the loss of myself. I hope we will some day find a new great version of ourself that we can be happy with and live with. Best of luck from me.


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