Hi, how’s it going? Hope you are doing well.
Ever feel like you’re improving at a snail’s pace? That’s how Margie felt. She had been doing everything she knew how for a long time when she came to me, completely disappointed in herself. She had made some considerable improvements over the past several years, but they had all taken a while to make.
She didn’t accomplish anything without effort, and she felt like it should be easier than it was. Wouldn’t that be nice? But, unfortunately, it’s not the way it works.
I heard something once about weight loss. This bit of wisdom said that if you lose a whole bunch of weight all at once, you’ll most likely gain it right back. But, if you lose a little at a time, then you’re much more likely to keep it off.
I think the same concept can be said about recovery. Recovery that happens in leaps and bounds is rare, and is as likely to backfire as not. But recovery that happens at a slow, steady pace will have long-lasting effects.
Have you ever heard the story about the tortoise and the hare? Well, the tortoise was slow and the hare was fast, and they got in a race together. The hare won, right? Well… The hare was irresponsible and a little irrational, too. He figured that the tortoise was so far behind him that he had time to stop and take a nap. While he was sleeping, the tortoise won. If you’ve ever heard the expression “slow and steady wins the race,” it’s from this story.
Well, maybe that’s the way we need to be looking at the race against bipolar, too. Slow and steady. Let’s look at the alternative for a moment. That is to say, let’s see what happens when a person doesn’t go slow and steady with their recovery.
This person is probably manic. They want to recover … NOW. They work on every coping skill they can possibly think of, and research a few others. Overnight. Then they make an elaborate treatment plan, probably by themselves. It’s most likely filled with goals that are unattainable. After all, they are manic.
The next morning (since they didn’t sleep much) they show their supporters what they’ve done, expecting to get praise. Instead, their supporters are horror-struck, for obvious reasons. This only serves to anger them, having them believe that their supporters don’t believe in them.
So they work at it even harder. At first, they even amaze their supporters, because they do make considerable progress. Or so it seems. But they are still manic, and they are using up all of their manic energy.
Eventually, they crash, realize their goals are unattainable, and go into a deep depression. Any new coping skill they had just “learned” went down the drain. And their supporters realize they were right all along, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.
So see, wouldn’t you rather have slow, steady progress that actually lasts? There’s nothing wrong with a snail’s pace. They get where they need to go. You will, too. What are your thoughts on that?
Well, I have to go!