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Should one strive against one's limitations, or accept them?

nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran

As I have mentioned in other posts, I have a severe mental illness. Thanks to the miracle of modern medicine, I have a somewhat clearer mind. However, the same medication causes an unusually high amount of lethargy. In spite of that, I manage to hold down a decently paying and somewhat meaningful job.

Unfortunately, my personal life is a bit of a wasteland. I don't have much energy for socializing, and I find being in crowds extremely draining. Simple tasks like cleaning and cooking seem to take considerable effort. I literally have to take a rest after taking a bath. Most people don't understand why I don't do a better job of managing my personal life, even those few family members who know about my illness.

My spiritual journey began almost 20 years when my father almost casually remarked that I was selfish. I pondered this, and decided he wasn't exactly right. I was, however, quite self-absorbed. (I'm still in my own head too much, but that's another discussion.) So I began pursuing Buddhist spiritual practice, and I think I've made some progress, though in fits and starts.

But that was a struggle against my limitations. Is this lethargy and apathy something I should strive against? Or should I accept that I have to deal with a disability and medication side effects, even if others can't understand those limits?

Comments

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I think what you need to establish for sure, is whether this lethargy and apathy are side-effects of the medication you are obliged to take, or not.
    It may not be as simple a thing to either accept it or strive against it, you see....

    nakazcid
  • nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran
    edited November 18

    Seems like it's a pretty common side effect: https://www.druginformer.com/search/side_effect_details/Risperidone/lethargy.html

    Of course severity can vary. Other than quitting my medication (which would be a really bad idea, since I have a history of relapse) I don't have any other way to verify the side effect and severity.

  • I have similar things with medications. I think you could experiment. Try exerting more and see how it goes but don't say "it is the medicine I can't do that" or "It is not the medicine I should do that".

    So what I am saying is not to take a rigid idea like "it is the medicine" or "I should do more" and instead just experiment.

    I respect that you are doing a meaningful job. I would like to get to do that at some stage but currently just doing volunteer work and housework.

    nakazcidfedericapersonBuddhadragon
  • nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran

    @Jeffrey said:
    I respect that you are doing a meaningful job. I would like to get to do that at some stage but currently just doing volunteer work and housework.

    Thanks @Jeffrey. I'm not sure it's respect-worthy; I'm just really lucky that medication clears my mind enough to hold down a job.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @nakazcid said:

    @Jeffrey said:
    I respect that you are doing a meaningful job. I would like to get to do that at some stage but currently just doing volunteer work and housework.

    Thanks @Jeffrey. I'm not sure it's respect-worthy; I'm just really lucky that medication clears my mind enough to hold down a job.

    You're also lucky to have an employer that is considerate and "Compassionate" enough to employ you.
    I don't mean that disparagingly; people with issues such as yours have enough to contend with, without being victimised or excluded from gainful employment.
    Well done you.

    I honestly think you put yourself down too much.
    You've been through an awful lot lately. I really think you should give yourself far more credit than you do.

    Instead of wondering whether something needs amending, I think you should congratulate yourself for even considering your attitude.
    Not sure I'd have the same Mindful consciousness, in your shoes.

    nakazcid
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I think a certain amount of striving against lethargy and apathy is unavoidable, it’s part of what you’re having to deal with in order to do other parts of your practice. But it would probably be best to try and maintain a balanced practice, with vigour against the lethargy and apathy of the medicine.

    I applaud your striving to practice the dharma despite such difficulties.

    nakazcid
  • nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran

    Thanks for the kind words. I think part of my ‘attitude problem’ is that I don’t hear similar comments often enough. But honestly I do have a problem with being too hard on myself.

    My employer has no idea about my difficulties. I’ve only told one co-worker about my illness, only because his mother had the same ailment. Of course I can’t read minds, but I think most of them think of me as an odd loner with low energy.

    I will try to adopt a balanced perspective about trying to get things done. I have trouble balancing that sort of thing without being too easy (or too hard) on myself. Gotta find the middle way, I guess.

  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Ehipassiko & Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    Middle Path.
    In most cases, limitations limit us when we buy into them or when we allow them to.
    Should we accept them or strive against them?
    It depends on how much control we have over the situation.
    In your case, @nakazcid, you may need to take your medication and learn to live with the side effects.
    Or not.
    My brother is psychotic and decided to give up on the medication because he could not stand living in a numbed daze all day.
    Incredibly enough, down the years, he has been able to strike a balance and been able to handle his pathology pretty well.
    But a friend of mine who is bipolar simply cannot afford to be without her medication.
    Can you afford to do some trial and error and see how it works for you?

    person
  • nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran

    @Buddhadragon said:
    Can you afford to do some trial and error and see how it works for you?

    Unfortunately I can’t. If I became psychotic on the job it could put lives at risk. It could also jeapordize my job and security clearance if I became “non-compliant” with my treatment regimen. My employer doesn’t know about my condition, but the firm they use for background checks might.

    If for whatever reason I lose my job maybe I could experiment with going off medication, but frankly I’d be afraid to. I don’t really have a “support network” in this city.

    Kerome
  • Should one strive against one's limitations, or accept them?

    Accepting limitations is a lifting of the burden of circumstance. Most of us have a list of strengths and tempered unfolding based on the very hard forging in life itself ...

    You are doing fine. Well done 👍🏾

    It is in the realm of cognitive reframing most valuable to 'right concentrate' on our better being parts. For example few of us can put up our hands to being selfless. We can however work on supporting, befriending, advising, benefitting ourselves and others.

    I'll try!

    JeffreypersonBuddhadragon
  • nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran

    @lobster said:
    You are doing fine. Well done 👍🏾

    Ah, but I'm not doing fine. At least it doesn't feel like it. Yes, I've managed to hang on to my job through the chaos, but my personal life is a mess. My house is falling down and something of a health hazard, I have no close friends, and I have the energy of a slug on Valium. I'll grant you, it could be worse. I could be living on the street, or in Syria. And to add to my list of accomplishments, I'm disappointed in myself for not being able to live up to society's (and my family's) expectations.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited November 20

    it could be worse

    Indeed.

    It could be better too.

    What in reality could make it better and more importantly feel better?
    Nothing?
    https://www.stopbreathethink.com
    You can read more about reframing. You could ask for people to dedicate healing from their practices. And you might try ... everything ...

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @nakazcid have you tried accessing a support network through social work, local projects, charities, religious communities, volunteers and so on? It sounds like you could use some practical help, and there are various instances that can provide it.

  • nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran

    @Kerome I'm not quite sure what you mean by practical help. Help with house repairs and cleaning? Psychotherapy?

    The region I live in is strongly opposed to taxation and "big government", so social services are severely lacking. The state of my house is due to the long term financial drain of my fiancee's illness, and my lack of energy. My finances are slowly recovering, and I can afford some therapy and am starting to get estimates from tradesmen to fix the place up. But it will need to be done in stages.

    There is a sangha that I previously attended, but have not been back in a while due to feeling awkward and out of place. Most of them strongly believe in the supernatural elements of Buddhism, whereas I am agnostic about rebirth, hell realms, the bardo, etc. Even so, it was a very small group and I feel like I have no right to impose on them when I've been absent for so long and have contributed relatively little.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Oh... around here there are all kinds of local government agencies you can appeal to for help, with social services as kind of the hub of the wheel.

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