Joy lies in the fight, in the attempt, in the suffering involved, not in the victory itself


Friday, April 24, 2009

From The Margin

I had one of those Free To Be Me days, where I was fully aware I inhabited the margins of society and was happy to be there. It's a long weekend here, for Anzac Day (war service commemoration), and so I went to the grocery store to do the family shop (as the stores will be closed tomorrow, the usual grocery day). Before that I visited the library and spent about an hour poking around the "Tell Me Why", "Tell Me When", "Tell Me WTF" sections - AKA biography, health, psych. Grabbed a coffee, generally wandered.

It's times like this that make me the most scared of unemployment. Times when it's comfortable, when it's enjoyable, when the sun shines and all the "normal" folk are working. I think "Why would I WANT to find a job?" I think I read somewhere that Borderline patients have a tendency to find comfort in institutionalised worlds, like the armed forces or a cult. I was briefly in a cult, way back in the early 90s, but my indoctrination was more romantic than religious, as typically I joined to impress a hyperattachment/crush object, Steve. I was also an inmate of a particularly lax and loose boarding school during my teen years, until I was asked to leave. In both these instances, I found the rituals and routines to be hynotically soothing, and the discipline provided a heady counterpoint to my haphazard parenting.

My point, and yes, I do have one, is that I can already see myself falling into a state of comfy marginalization. I'm finding joy in the simplicity that comes from this type of lifestyle. I know I could restructure my life so that I can financially survive (tho' perhaps not thrive) on disability. I have a lot of positive things to occupy my time, which helps me to "justify" the not working. I think the only thing that fights the desire to become permanently disabled, or semi-so, is the knowledge that I'm really NOT. I am well enough -- to live in the world, rather than on the edges, and to work (at least part-time). I have to try and resist the "black and white" BPD thinking, to see my world as having two options, and two options only -- a) Psychiatric patient, permanently disabled and unemployed OR b) Worker Bee "A" type person, ambitious and driven to succeed. I have to work on finding middle ground, and that's why I have to resist settling into a rut.

Comfortable in my own skin, with my self and my existence - yes. But complacent - no.


Anonymous said...

I am petrified of full time employment. I've done it before and it made me wretched. I rarely find fulfilment in institutional settings. I like to do my own thing,my own way and at my own pace! I've kept going for a long time on part-time employment and part-time state subsidy but the latter is due to end soon and I face the horror of returning to the daily grind!
I think you're right to seek out the middle ground and, if it's sustainable, remain there! Good luck and in the meantime, indulge in your 'Me' days!

Anonymous said...

If the day ever comes that I can read one of your posts without nodding my head in agreement all the way to the end I guess that will mean one of us is getting better. Somehow I don't think it will be me.

Anonymous Drifter said...

I can really relate to this post. I struggle with my position of being on disabiltiy. In my case I know that my financial survival is dependent on my ability to rejoin the work force. I work part-time now but the pay is so low that it doesn't affect my disability pension. I often wonder if I'll ever be ready to rejoin the rest of the working world.

Elizabeth B. Alexander said...

Yeah, I could also write a post on how torn I am about working sometimes and then I think about how medicated I would have to be to keep up with a 40 hour workload, which isn't conducive to a marriage, and I'll never, ever make as much as my husband makes in like six months. I'm just going to go to the grocery store now.

Wandering Coyote said...

Interesting. I've been off work and on disability for 2.5 years and just got comfortable with it recently. Now that I'm stable, I find I can slowly - and I mean, very slowly - start finding some very part time work to start giving me some confidence, some structure, and keep my waning skills in tact. It's a luxury to have have this kind of time and to not have to be pressured into finding work so I can feed myself. I'm grateful for it, actually. It's a very healthy thing for someone as chronically ill as I've been. My long term disability gets reassessed in October 2011, and until then, dammit, I am going to make the most of this.