Monday, 10 December 2012

The purpose of being Isabella.....

a period of reflection.

Over the past year, I have quickly descended the steps of what could be termed 'normal' behaviour and attitudes, into what is termed as mental illness or psychologically damaged . I am interested in this, but choose now to look forward and not to go back, this to the point where I will not re-read my previous posts in this blog.

I have been fortunate enough to live in a part of the country where I have been taken care of by mental health services, the NHS, and on occasions the Police Force. Not all of this care has been the way I feel it should be and you all know of my fight to change this. Big news I have now been invited to discuss the changes I have suggested and have been invited to meetings to form the Operational Policies, and look at the refurbishment of the Place of Safety suite in the City.

During the past year, I have been lucky enough to come into contact with some pretty amazing psychologists, psychiatrists, and of course my CPN, Nick.
During one of the sessions, it was pointed out to me that perhaps the 'healthy adult' Isabella was not who I thought it was. I had been told in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) that the teacher me, was the persona which was the one which was the strongest, and was infact the strong and healthy 'adult' me. The dithering, helpless, victim which was the persona which came through more often, could be helped if the 'teacher' me looked after her. Sounds kinda simple when put like this, however, when I choose to cut myself up, drink huge amounts of alcohol and overdose, the 'teacher' me is not about, not there to say, 'if you do that you will be in a lot of trouble, will have to stay behind after school and do a hundred lines, "I will not try to hurt myself, I will not try to hurt myself....'

That teacher Isabella is an act. It is a part I play in the theatrical performance of a school day. Every school day, I put on my costume, I play to a different audience each hour, same set, different script. I played it damn well, so well I won awards, given responsibility for curriculum, key stages, departments. But at three o'clock when it was over, I was nothing. I did not know what to do, where to go, who to be. Outside in the world of reality, not governed by school rules, regulations, lesson plans etc, I simply had no identity. I had no identity to the point where I wore my id badge to the supermarket, so that I was still a teacher.

I had tried to be the best daughter, not allowing reality to shade what was really happening. I tried to be the best wife, again, reality was that it was in an appalling situation. I tried to be the best mum, and I thought I did good at that. But these roles are again, as with teaching, just acts, UNLESS..... you know who you are and are confident and comfortable with what that is. 

So now, stepping back up the steps towards, what is at the moment just a period of stability, I dare not hope for more right now; I am choosing a different flight of stairs.

An extremely clever man pointed out to me that these were just roles I was playing, and that Isabella was in fact an empty shell. If one always tries to be what one thinks others want her to be, then infact she is nothing, at least nothing in herself.

This was a huge revelation, a massive relief. I was empty.... that meant that I could be anything I wanted to be. I could be a fascist, or anything else ending in ist. I could be ANYTHING....even a florist!

But it isn't like that, not really.

It is difficult to explain what it is like really, I can't quite find the right words. 
However, for instance I have posted about an old acquaintance wanting me to re-ignite a friendship with her. It was an unhealthy relationship, and I choose not to go back there, bit of a no brainer to be frank. But in the past I would have felt compelled to allow that relationship to continue, to allow myself to feel uncomfortable, victimised and sad. Not now. Is that the teacher Isabella making boundaries, making sure that behaviour is safe for me? No, I don't think so. I choose  not to surround myself with people who make me feel anything less than 'good enough'.

Good enough just to be me.


Laura said...

Hi Isabella - What a post! I know you say you can't find the words but I think you have found them beautifully, elegantly, eloquently and truthfully. You are all the people you describe and ONE more - just you and that person is perfect - no more, no less. Stay safe Isabella, with love, Laura xx

Carrie said...

Thank you for this, it helps me so much. I am 'empty' with no idea of who I am - a very sad place to be at the age of 61, and a result of a lifetime of verbal and emotional abuse - from my mum, my husband and now my daughter.
Now that I am no longer a people pleaser I don't know how to behave and I feel very lost. It's difficult to keep faith with myself, but I try each and every day. Some days I am just too exhausted to bother. Some days I find help from unexpected sources. Than you for today's bright spark of help.
I wish you well in finding your purpose.