My Experience Only. YMMV.

Posts tagged ‘armadillos’

In Defense of the Armadillo

Let’s consider the armadillo. Better yet, let’s consider this brief video. Take note of the armadillo’s defense mechanisms, if you will.

I have always identified with the armadillo, for a variety of reasons. It is the symbol of Texas music, which I love. I have a purse shaped like an armadillo. I also have toy armadillos, crocheted armadillos, wooden, stone, cement, armadillo jewelry, you name it. My uncle and I have a catch-phrase: El armadillo amarillo de mi tía es sobre la mesa.

What does all this have to do with bipolar disorder? I’m glad you asked.

Most of all, I admire the armadillo for its defense mechanisms, which resemble some of mine. For those of you who skipped the video, here’s a recap.

The armadillo has armor (obviously). I have tried to construct a similar impervious shell. When I have been even partially successful, it has proved counterproductive. When you wall off feelings, you wall off the good ones too.

The armadillo rolls up in a tight ball. I isolate. This has also proved counterproductive. If sorrow shared is halved and joy shared is doubled, then isolation – well, you do the math.

The armadillo leaps vertically when threatened. My anxiety makes me jump and release fight-or-flight hormones. This defense is also counterproductive, both for the armadillo and for me. One of the armadillo’s main predators is the automobile; the armadillo jumps straight up to bumper height. I waste energy on panicky behaviors even when I’m not threatened.

The armadillo has a low body temperature and is therefore useful for research on leprosy. This is not a defense mechanism, but it is a Fun Fact to Know and Tell. I have never had leprosy.

All things considered, the armadillo is not a good role model for a person (me) with bipolar disorder. But I like them anyway. They remind me that I need to check whether my defenses are doing me harm rather than good.

Plus, with my armadillo handbag I get lots of practice in the social skill of making light conversation strangers – and even children!

Erma

Erma

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