I feel I need to preface this with non-WTF-inducing language. I've been in intensive EMDR therapy for the past 5 months. Through this therapy, I've discovered that virtually all of my emotional problems are correlated with a single unresolved childhood issue that colors and qualifies everything I say and do in life...it is the very theme for my existence. This has led to the strong conviction that mental illness (at least mood/anxiety disorders) are in fact a symptom of a sick spirit rather than a primary disorder caused by genetics or inhaling too much Tilex as a child. Okay, that was still pretty WTF-inducing. The rest of this is the musings of my own mind on this topic...it's not written to communicate clearly but rather to express openly. I'm curious if others (particularly bipolar, depressive, OCD, etc. others) have considered this line of thinking before:
One of the most interesting things I've discovered through 5 months of intensive EMDR therapy is the fact that my bipolar mood swings are directly triggered by unresolved childhood issues. It makes me take a step back from years of believing in the random genetic oddity of bipolar mood swings...now seeing it as the human psyche's organic reaction to visceral pain or grief that has not been allowed its full expression and subsequent graceful departure from the mind.
The fact that a mood stabilizer unquestionably reduces mood swings is less because of their correcting a genetic-defect chemical imbalance and more because of the forced chemical repression of our childhood emotions...the emotions that haunt us in our subconscious all the time. We are only truly free of the mood swings when we are truly free of the pain that consumes us.
At the end of this epiphany, I'm left still believing in the aggressive use of drug treatment as a stop-gap until the emotions and the mind are healed...so one can function in day-to-day life. Once healed, however, one can be free from the constricting and lobotomizing chemicals whilst also free from the consuming pain and anguish of self-loathing and grief that stem from the immovable and sardonic mockery of our adult mind: that we are a mistake...that we are worthless garbage...that we do not deserve to live...that our very existence is the result of a broken condom or a forgotten pill.
To accept this root command in our minds...to accept its connotations and symbolic communication is to accept the other side of ourselves. It unlocks and unleashes another component of our very being whom we recall only vaguely from our early childhood. The unwanted traits and unwanted talents we've all-but purged from our conscious being continue to exist in our subconscious mind through adulthood. They rear their ugly and beautiful head when our childhood self reacts understandably and toxically to archetypes found in our adult lives...leaving our adult minds confused and disoriented at the irrational displacement we fail to recognize. They rear their ugly head in unwanted addictions, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, anger, mood swings and obsessive-compulsive tendencies. We may repress them, but they refuse to be completely ignored. Like the unloved child they represent, they are desperate for attention and they are desperate for affection and are willing to do whatever it takes to be recognized.
To reintegrate our childhood selves is to embrace our full being and to "find" ourselves...to find the things we've lost or, rather, the things we've hidden from ourselves to insulate us. It is as painful as it is freeing. Like Peter Pan, a part of us has never grown up and never will grow up. That side of us wants to be a part of our daily lives...it wants to contribute to our adult selves and be honored and recognized for what it is. The rejection of its contribution is the very thing that keeps us from being all we can be in this world.
By accepting our childhood self, we discover the capacity to love...the capacity to attach to others...the capacity to care...the capacity to feel compassion and to understand other people. Rather than react toxically to the toxic reactions of other hurting people, through our own emotional health we recognize the root of their toxicity and feel compassion for them. Rather than being lost in self-absorption and self-reproach, we now focus our attention outward and see others as damaged creatures who desperately need healing.
The world itself changes from a dangerous and hostile place from which we should withdraw to a giant mental hospital of patients who don't know they're sick...of sparrows who go on in their daily lives unaware that their wings have been clipped. The world, though still cold and dark, begins to look as a place that needs more mercy and love rather than more law and order.
First one must show mercy to one's self...then one can show mercy to others.
It ^ is what it is.