Over the past several years, I’ve been locked in battle with myself. A vicious fight to reclaim my mental health, after being stricken with severe social anxiety and depression. Through this journey I have learned many things. Various tools, tips, techniques and coping strategies to help me heal and recover. None of these things I ever questioned as being bogus or inappropriate. Everything always made sense in what it was designed to do, to help me “reprogram” my brain, thus finding relief and ultimately attaining freedom from my own neverending cycle of negativity and pessimism, especially in regards to my recovery. As anyone dealing with issues of mental health are likely to tell you, its a long road, where even simple strategies can take years to develop, appreciate and implement. Of course we want to get better as quickly as possible, but we’re fighting with our own brain chemistry, and physiologically, that just takes a long time to change.
Ironically, amidst all that mental chaos, one of the strategies that I have just not really begun to implement, is to stop the fighting.
What does this mean?
Its simple really. When dealing with mental health issues, and thus not feeling “normal,” we often sabotage our progress in recovery by doing a lot of complaining. Its not something we intentionally set out to do, but its something hard-wired into our condition. Its also a way for us to attempt to explain the way we feel to others, as we frequently feel like no one really understands the pain of what we’re going through.
As a result, we tend to develop a very negative world view, and tend to see the worst in situations and people. We also tend to beat ourselves up for mistakes we’ve made, regardless of how trivial. The danger in all this is that all these negative words and emotions can have real consequences in our lives, and cause us to actually make serious mistakes by way of hurting/alienating people, losing relationship and career opportunities, and so on.
Beyond all that, whenever we make a claim, whether in our heads or out loud, such as “Everyone hates me!”, “I suck at everything!” or “I’ll never get better!”, we give these things power. What ultimately may not be true at all becomes real in our minds, and thus we begin to view everything through the lens of those irrational beliefs. Its a vicious cycle; a self-fulfilling prophecy of gloom and despair, that keeps us stuck, and unable to progress in our recovery.
As such, one of the first things one tends to learn in recovery is to cease the negative thoughts. To catch, stop and label them, and then replace them with thoughts that are true, positive and rational. This all seems kinda hokey at first, but after finally getting the hang of it after four years, I’m tellin’ ya…this is a vital part of recovery. Its difficult, because we have so much guilt related to our condition, when the truth is, we’re often not responsible for it at all, as theres usually a genetic or environmental compenent involved that explains why we are the way we are, though that may take time to figure out. If we’re going to really begin to heal and recover, we must stop giving so much power to negative words, thoughts and actions, and start giving power to things that will empower us to rise up and be the best version of ourselves.
In closing, if anyone hasn’t told you today, you’re wonderful. You are special, gifted and loved, and regardless of what you may think now, you are so much more than your condition. Know that the simple act of desiring to get better makes you a good person, and start believing in miracles again. You CAN get better. You WILL get better. It all starts though, with you believing it. Until then, I’ll believe for you. 🙂
Thanks as always for reading, and be sure to check out my full blog for more articles on this and similar content.
Be blessed, and have a good one.