In fairness, I never thought I would ever possibly word my history this way. I never thought I would see a mental or emotional challenge as a benefit. However, and in fairness to me and others that experienced similar things, the fact that people can and do recover is an ability that belongs to us all. This is absolutely true. It’s not easy by any stretch. But it’s still true . . .
And here we are now. This is the part where life overlaps and reminds us of the stories from our past. This is the part where yesterday sneaks in and ruins the here and now with ideas of something that can never be changed. This is what happens when we live in the past.
“Just stop it,” right?
“Just don’t think that way,” right?
Sure. because it’s just that easy.
This is what happens when we play the movies in our head, like old tragedies that come to the same conclusion, but yet, here we are, right back to where we started and reliving moments that refuse to go away with hopes we can somehow change them by rehearsing them differently.
Ever been here before?
Ever relive a conversation that took place, verbatim, and tried to correct the things you said in your mind? Ever talk to yourself while this happens?
How does this feel to you?
Ever see what this does to your energy level?
If your answer is no to the above, then sit back for a minute and I’ll be more than happy to explain.
The mind is a sponge. We know this. We absorb information on a daily basis. Even if we don’t seem to recall something, don’t worry, the information is stored in this thing we call our subconscious mind.
This is where we keep our arrows and our swords and shields. This is where we store our memories and where we come to connect them to new and upcoming situations. This is where we come up with our predictions and this is where we keep the springboard, which we use to spring upon when we jump to conclusions.
Ever get a sneaky suspicion that is clearly irrational and won’t go away?
Ever feel an urge, as if something unsafe is about to come your way?
Ever predict wrong or have you ever assumed a fight was about to happen? Meanwhile, the fight was self-fulfilled. Or, wait no, have you ever looked in the mirror and asked yourself, “Why does this always happen to me?”
The truth is there is a reason for all the above.
Energy is always constant. We are made from energy. Thought takes energy. Movement requires energy. So does love, joy, passion, and fulfillment. Everything we do, think, or feel is fed by a fuel that comes from our levels of energy.
Sometimes our thoughts betray us. Thinking can be the worst drain of energy. We can think about an old conversation and literally pick this apart until we reach the point of exhaustion. One thought leads to two and then to three, four, and next, this dovetails into countless more. Next, the anxiety machine starts rolling. Next, the heart rate pumps and the fear receptors in the mind begin to overreact and overproduce calcium, which is what happens when we have an anxiety attack.
Then comes the idea of rejection and imperfection. Then comes the ego, which is worried that people will see us as we are, which is flawed and imperfect. Then the fears of humiliation come. Then the thought machine trips to a different level as we move to a heightened sense of red-alert!
This takes time to work through. The problem with anxiety disorders or rejection sensitive-dysphoria, personality disorder, depression, or mental illness of any kind is they show up when you least expect them (or want them to).
There is a quote from the movie, “Joker,” that says:
“The worst part about having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t.”
I’ve had to think about both the accuracy and the inaccuracy of this quote. There is something truthful to this. There is something paralyzing about ideas, feelings, and thoughts, which take on a direction and navigate us away from what we can only presume would be a sense of normalcy.
This is the mind. This is where the thoughts generate. This is where the acronym for F.E.A.R. comes from (False Evidence Appearing Real).
Even when fears do not appear to be at the forefront of our thinking this doesn’t mean our fears no longer exist.
By the way, anxiety is normal. It is understandable to be anxious. Bills are due and the bank account isn’t what we wish? This is an understandable reason to be anxious. There’s a deadline at work and we’re so far from finished that we haven’t even started? This is an understandable cause for anxiety.
Worried about someone? Worried about something that is out of your control? This is when fear levels rise. Is something out of your control?
This is when we dig deeply into the storage bins we keep in the subconscious sector. This is when our connections begin to click. Next, we jump to a conclusion. We prepare for an argument or an accident, or something because we swear, “Something is up!”
The energy it takes away is immeasurable. In fact, to write this section to you is draining enough. I can literally feel the blood rushing through my body because yes, this is me. This is part of something I have lived with throughout my entire life. This is the itch I could never scratch. This is where my predictions of failure come in and yes, this is where I relive my unresolved tensions from my past. This is where my rejections live and my fears, regrets and shame.
I expose this with a sense of honesty (and not a sense of weakness) because by humanizing this and by normalizing the ideas that yes, we are not always at our best, and yes, our thinking has the ability to take on a tragic direction, and yes, by explaining this and showing my true self; furthermore, I weaken the dysfunction that steals my energy and leads me to self-destructive beliefs.
No one ever asks to feel poorly or think poorly about themselves. Certainly no one asks for the paranoia that comes with mental illness and the discomfort that comes with the inward ideas that everything is about to fall apart and of course, “It’s all my fault.”
Imagine a canister.
This is you.
This is your energy at 100%.
Add fear and the energy goes down. Add resentment and deduct even more. Add the normal daily routines that take away from us and like a sponge, the fuel in the canister is reduced to even less.
Add depression. Add personality disorder. Add rejection-sensitive or anxiety disorders and add regret or shame, guilt, and the need to find fault or blame and let me ask; how much fuel is left in the canister?
The answer is not much.
I view it this way to be helpful. Remember when we were kids and our folks used to yell at us for leaving the lights on in the house? They used to say we’re wasting electricity.
We’re wasting energy the same way.
Imagine our subconscious. Imagine our mind and our thoughts and ideas. Our thinking is like a huge mansion with a thousand rooms.
Each room represents something to us.
Each room can be a current dilemma or an unresolved tension. Some rooms are filled with the echoes of our past. Some are rooms that represent our previous mistakes and some are filled with our regrets.
In our mind are all these rooms which currently have the lights on and burn energy. Imagine how much energy we would have if we were able to shut at least 10% of those burning lights. Imagine what it would be like to allow ourselves to shut the lights in those rooms so they don’t burn so brightly anymore. Imagine how freeing it would be to learn a new pathway to navigate away from those ideas, to find freedom, and to remove the heaviness of all the things that weigh us down.
I used to see myself as helpless. I used to believe all the lies about my ideas and my challenges. Not anymore. The idea that I cannot recover is not true. We are all able to recover. As a young boy, I lived with learning disabilities. To me, this meant that I was stupid. But no. I was never stupid. I just needed a different way to relate to the material. This way I could retain what I learned. This way I could improve. But more than anything, I could disprove the lies I believed which said that someone like me would never be any better than who I was.
We can be anything we want to be. This includes free, by the way. We just need to find a stronger way to relate to the information we store . . .