A new Community Contribution from Freed on striking a balance between what we’ve become very good at out of necessity, who we are, how we see and have seen ourselves, and fulfilling all those different potentials we have. Thanks, Freed, for bringing these questions to the forum. I can’t begin here to describe the extent to which I can identify with what you have described. My responses will be in the comments with everyone else’s.
So one of the things that has given me the most challenge to the idea of functioning is the career shift and/or complete reenvisioning of a career in response to a more complete understanding of my MI. As I think many of us do, I gravitated toward a career which capitalized on my most highly developed compensation patterns in order for me to be highly successful. Of course, this makes sense in retrospect, they are the defenses I made sure were the strongest throughout my life in order to preserve my appearance to the outside world as High Functioning. The more that they were rewarded in my career, the higher I climbed but (here’s the double-edged sword) the more I relied on them in my career the less I was able to hold the entire fabric of my functioning together. Hence, my breakdown.
Post-breakdown one thing has been clear: My career aspirations must be deconstructed and then reconstructed in order for me to succeed as a mentally stable AND professionally capable person. Has anyone else had to turn their back on a professional vision of themselves? I experience it as both exhilarating (because I am finding a better, more fulfilling fit) and grief-filled (because I mourn the loss of my former self image). Does anyone else know this teeter-totter? I am still very much in the midst of the reconstructing and I would love to hear from the forum about some of the strategies, experiences, or advice that you have for this sometimes painful, sometimes gratifying experience.