Posted by fxckfeelings on March 29, 2016Share This Post
Some people assume that “fuck feelings,” aside from an excellent book title, is a statement intended to devalue or eliminate feelings, like an emotional “shazam.” In reality, of course, feelings have their own way of telling you that they’re very important, no matter what you chant at them, and that the only way to feel better is to air or obey them. Your best tactic then isn’t to look for a magic word or pill to keep your thoughts or feelings in check but to constantly remind yourself that they aren’t as important as your values and knowledge of right and wrong. Even though you can’t control your feelings, you shouldn’t always believe what they tell you or do what they want you to do (but you should buy and believe books that give advice like this).
I’ve been reading your book and I’ve made some very positive strides towards accepting myself. However, I have Schizoaffective and Bipolar Disorder and I am wondering why I continue to do weird wacky things, even after I accept that I should f*ck my feelings, they don’t totally go away. My goal is to eventually get better control of my behavior by coming to terms with my illness.
The tough thing about schizoaffective or bipolar illness is that you can’t help having feelings and urges that push you to do “weird wacky things,” and sometimes you just don’t have the perspective or strength to stop yourself. That’s why those illnesses can be devastating and put you into dangerous, humiliating situations, and why you can’t just say “fuck feelings” and be cured, but have to learn to push yourself to tell these unwanted feelings to fuck off over and over again, no matter how hard it is or frustrating it gets.
Like everyone else, you can’t control having whatever feelings you happen to feel, but coming to terms with severe mental illness means accepting the fact that you can never be sure of controlling your illness, and the unwanted feelings it causes, all the time. In addition, illness will sometimes disrupt your control over those feelings and cause you to do things you regret.
Remember, many people with mental illness have relapses even when they get treatment, take prescribed medications, eat right, exercise, and are perfect patients overall. We don’t currently have any treatments that are guaranteed to work all the time, or even any of the time, for any disease, mental or no. So if you expect to achieve complete control, you’ll wind up feeling like a failure when a bad flare-up makes you sick, even though you won’t have done anything wrong.
Your goal, then, is not to get complete control of your illness, though that’s what everyone wishes; it’s to try to manage it as much as possible, even when doing so requires treatments that may have risks and side effects, and demands an ability to tell your irrational feelings to go fuck themselves like a mantra. Fortunately, it sounds like you are dedicated to doing just that— trying to control your symptoms as much as possible, even when it requires an unreasonable amount of work, patience, and difficult treatment.
Beating mental illness doesn’t mean making it go away or even preventing relapse, but going on with your life in spite of relapse and all the burdens of symptoms and treatment. You’ll always have unwanted thoughts and impulses, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have the life you want and can be proud of.
“I do my best to disregard crazy feelings but they don’t go away. In spite of that, I do my best to work, make friends, and live an independent life. It isn’t easy, but I do it anyway.”
More advice from Dr. Lastname