“I’m good, thanks,” is not the same as, “I am well, thanks.”
The latter is a physical thing; the former is more a state of mind. Most of us are adept at being able to assess our physical beings, but not all are capable of doing the same for our mental states of mind.
Hey, my knee either aches or it doesn’t; that back spasmy thing keeps surfacing, scaring the bejabbers out of me, or it has subsided, one or the other. Or, I haven’t had a headache in a month of Sundays! This stuff is all pretty perfunctory. You just check in with your body for the most current information available.
What gets challenging for a lot of people, is figuring out where they are, mentally and/or emotionally. When you are besieged by an overabundance of life’s curve balls, and you are afraid of getting smacked square in the teeth, the head can be a whirling dervish.
The ability to take that morass of upcoming challenges, like a head full of matted hair, and straighten it out into a manageable form, as you would that hair with a brush and a comb, is crucial for internal calm. Through perseverance and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, I have acquired that ability.
Having a mood spectrum disorder, what old-schoolers would call bipolarism, required that I either take Big Pharma’s answer to my mental issues, or figure out how to get a handle on them. Having a mood spectrum disorder, is God’s way of taking normal personality traits, and blowing them up using plastic explosives.
|We still have lots of Ace tomatoes.|
CBT is a fancy term for simply being able to take inventory of what is going on inside one’s head, and being able to take the results of said inventory, and apply them to what is happening any given day. How does this work?
It has to do with being able to quantify, or put a number alongside a trait or characteristic, a number that I place on a scale of one to ten. Take anxiety, for instance. How much of what is going on around me, is creating anxiety? Is my impending trip to town today, to do the farmers’ market, creating any undue stress?
Or how about my level of irritation? Does the slightest provocation make me see red? And how DO I measure these levels, as, indeed, they vary from day to day? And how does my habitual scarcity of sleep fit into all of this?
When I first went to Dr. Jill, in July of 2010, she told me she could cure my panic attack syndrome, if I were willing to do the work. The work to which she referred, dealt with being able to monitor and assess a bevy of personality characteristics one possesses, on a daily basis.
So let’s go back to irritability. At first the task was hopeless because I had no frame of reference. Yes, technology is hammering away at my peace of mind this morning, but how do I place a number on a scale, measuring it? Or better still, how do I record “off the chart” levels?
The answer is by having the continuity of assessing one’s level every day, in order to be able to make reasonable comparisons. On the first day the assigned number is arbitrary; that’s the hardest part because you are still unclear on how the whole system functions.
Once I have assigned a number, the next morning’s level has a frame of reference, because I can make a comparison between the two. Also, in the beginning, it’s hard because one has never tried to be so specific. What I found is that by examining each characteristic so particularly, every morning, that there was a difference.
Some mornings internet reception might be sketchy and I might freak out. Other mornings the same scenario presents itself and I yawn. If I am not looking for a specific discrepancy, it never occurs to me to note that it exists.
Once I started to connect the dots, it became much easier, because of that continuity. After a while, the chart itself becomes moot because the system is so ingrained. I can assess the areas of concern in a reasonably efficient-and more importantly-accurate manner, and then apply that information to my plans for the day.
I struggle any time I am in public; it’s the nature of the beast. That being said, much has to do with my reason for venturing out, as in do I have a choice, or am I on someone else’s agenda? My motivation for going to market today is diabolically simple: Annie would be going by herself if I did not accompany her.
Casey and Amber made it clear a month ago, that HappyDay Farms was shutting down the market in Laytonville, after September ended. Annie wants to keep going because we have so many tomatoes and peppers. I want to keep going because the black Arkansas apples are finally in. Most of all, I want to support Annie.
My motivation is certainly not based on something I have to do; it’s something I want to do, and therefore, my feelings are easy to analyze. So if you see me today and ask me how I’m am, I may respond, “I’m well!” Or maybe I’ll say, “I’m good.”
Or maybe I’ll just say, “It’s all well and good.”