Reconciling the Past and Staying in the Present

Amy Gambles piece on Reconciling the Past and Staying in the Present resonated with my experience. I often feel like I have fallen down from up high, and am less of a person than I once was. But I was not a star fixed in the sky; instead, I shot high, quickly achieving goals by working extremely long hours at high intensity, then would come crashing down. Over and over.

These passages Amy Gamble wrote especially hit close to home. Her wisdom to live in the present I am continually learning.

“There are times when I can successfully take a deep breath and bring myself into the present. It also helps me to recognize sometimes I overestimate the “good times” from the past. After all my “before bipolar life” was not perfect either. Then again, when I do look back I realize bipolar disorder was affecting me from the time I was in high school, maybe even sooner…

“Once I was a dreamer and I was really good at setting goals and reaching my dreams. I still hold hope that my dreams will come true, even if those dreams consists of simple everyday living that inspires my soul and not grandiose dreams that go up in smoke after the end of a manic episode. The truth is through the proper treatment I am blessed without having mania and that is surely a plus. Now I focus on reconciling my past and staying in the present without giving too much credence to wishing my life was different.”

Thank you, Amy Gamble of Shedding Light on Mental Illness.

Shedding Light on Mental Illness

Reconciling the Past

Many spiritual teachers typical focus a great deal on “staying in the present moment.” For those who don’t live with bipolar disorder it’s still a great challenge not to hold on to the past. Because I live with bipolar disorder I feel like it might even be more difficult for me to “let go” of the past.

While I know it’s not healthy to hold on to the past and certainly even less healthy to ruminate about it, I still find it difficult not to get stuck sometimes in a time when life might have been a little easier. I also have those moments when living in the present actually triggers my thoughts and takes me back to a different time and place.

Whether it be with my current job situation or my past career I can’t help but wonder where I would be without this illness…

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6 thoughts on “Reconciling the Past and Staying in the Present

  1. emwell2 January 12, 2015 / 10:25 am

    My therapist wants me to talk about the past. I can’t make her understand that I am officially done with all that crap. I like today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley January 12, 2015 / 4:06 pm

      I have no idea whether you as an individual have to talk about your past to move forward, but if you have experienced trauma, you must somehow deal with that trauma and heal from it (perhaps with scars remaining, not all wounds heal). How you do that? I do not know. The solution may be different for different individuals. There are different approaches to healing from trauma. I wish you the best.

      Sorry for inundating you with the following questions – they are simply food for thought, ignore them if they overwhelm you.
      – Have you asked your therapist why she wants to talk about your past?
      – Is she blaming something that is a biological illness on your past experiences that may or may not be related to your illness?
      – Do you have trauma from which you need healing?
      – What is the best way for you to heal from that trauma? For some, going back and re-experiencing it is too traumatic.
      – Have other therapists given you the same feedback?
      – Have you tried attending a support group? or checking out an on-line support group?

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      • emwell2 January 13, 2015 / 7:09 am

        I’ve talked about my past enough. There have been other therapists who got to listen to all that crap. I want to focus on today and the future.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kitt O'Malley January 13, 2015 / 12:22 pm

          Perhaps you now need a therapist who has a different perspective and different approach, one who does cognitive behavioral (CBT) or dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). Both are results oriented. Or, at least some one who will offer a solution oriented and supportive approach focused on the NOW. Best of luck.

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  2. kbailey374 January 12, 2015 / 9:51 am

    ” … and not grandiose dreams that go up in smoke after the end of a manic episode.” And of those, wondering if you could have done something differently to make them happen; or is it too late to make them happen? And could I drive myself crazier thinking about it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley January 12, 2015 / 3:55 pm

      That, I suppose, is why it is so important that we live in the present, and move forward one step at a time. We can perseverate indefinitely, beating ourselves up, wondering… what if…

      Liked by 1 person

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