I get it. It’s the stressors in life. It’s the little crazy details that keep us thinking. Or better yet, this is what keeps us awake. Am I right?
One thought leads to two and then two to four, four to sixteen and then sixteen to oblivion.
Next thing we know; there we are, lying in bed with a mind filled with various thoughts, overthinking life and over-complicating the factors we face; as if we have to fix it; as if we are responsible for fixing the national debt, solving unemployment, curing cancer, stopping pain and suffering, and having conversations in our head when in fact, we should really be asleep.
It goes this way. Life has its stressors. We think too much and our mind interprets the energy of our thinking to elevate our senses. Our energy levels go up and, of course, this makes it impossible to relax.
There are facts in life. One of which is if you can’t rest or relax – or if you can’t calm down, it’s hard to think clearly. It’s hard to find peace when your mind has run across the universe, a thousand times; meanwhile, you know you should be asleep.
You know that you want to sleep. You know that tomorrow is coming and the numbers on the clock are glaring at you. The time hits you as if to insinuate the impending doom of an upcoming day. And of course, there are hundreds of suggestions. There’s a list of helpful ideas that tell us how to avoid insomnia. There are countless suggestions that teach us how to calm down. Yet, all of these suggestions and all of the advice means nothing when you’re in the thick of it.
(Or, at least it seems that way.)
Your thoughts betray your ideas to relax. One symptom leads to another. Memories arise and with each memory, there’s emotion and our relationship with the past, which adjusts our chemistry and prevents us from calming down or falling asleep.
There’s bouts with physical and emotional pains that keep us awake at night. Not to mention, there are basic worries that we have that keep us on guard. There are relationship stressors and workplace stressors. There are social stressors plus the news and social media come with stressors of their own.
There are times when we are on edge and we want relief. We want to calm down. We want the edge to go away, we want to stop feeling and we want to stop the flood of energy that surges beneath our skin. When this happens, all we want to do is breathe. But how? We want to be rid of our thoughts and rid of our anxiety. In this case, how do we recover?
How do people find rest when there is no other way to relax?
Is this why depression is so high?
Is this why people drink themselves to bed or use pills or other drugs?
Is this why the opiate epidemic takes more lives in spite of our awareness programs?
If you can’t calm down or find rest, how can you find ways to ease the math in your head?
If you can’t stop this then how can we stop the wheels from turning in the thought machine?
(Know what I mean?)
It’s hard to switch the focus. It’s hard to stop the wheels of our imagination. It’s hard to stop the tragic movies from playing out in our heads and worse, all we want is relief.
All we want is peace but the presence of our unrest is unrelenting and fast – thoughts of impending situations gain momentum – and then it’s like now what?
We’re stuck on a ride that we can’t get off.
All we can do is wait until the tragedy hits. All we can do is wait until the roller coaster comes to an end. Then we have to endure. Then we have to face the pain or the strains of our emotion, which of course; puts us on another ride (or emotional death trap) because, oftentimes, it’s the anticipation of what’s to come that kills us.
Stress . . .
It’s a killer.
Self-deprecating speech and behavior, self-destruction and self-sabotage is part of this too. Because we can’t understand “Why?”
Why do we feel this way?
Why am I thinking like this?
Why does it seem like everyone else in the world has it together . . . “except for me?”
The mind is moving too quickly and too many scenarios come up at once. There’s too many influences. There’s too much to think about and too much to decide.
The mind is always calculating, always adding, always multiplying, always wishing that the ride would stop and that somehow, we wish that we could hit a switch and just like that the machine would quiet – at least, for a little while.
In part, this is depression. In part, this is the thought process of anxiety. In part, this relates to a confusing conversation with a nurse practitioner who once told me, “You’re not depressed. You’re stressed out.”
Then the practitioner said that I was depressed because of my stress, which led me to wonder, which came first; the chicken or the egg?
Or in my case, was I anxious because I was depressed or was I depressed because I was anxious? Either way, my question became how do I solve either side of this equation? How do I rest?
How do I stop the self-driven problems and behavioral patterns?
How do I address the problem itself so that the symptoms are no longer an issue for me?
Put in the simplest of ways: How can we feel better and let all of the unwanted practices go?
It is clear for most of us that our flaws and defects of character will always connect us to our downfalls. Some flaws are linked to behaviors in which we, otherwise, can’t see a different way of living.
So, we stick with the poison that we know.
Some of our symptoms are less intense or serious. However, other downfalls and repetitive behaviors are linked to a reactive matter in the mind.
The question becomes how do I think before I react?
Or, how do I avoid these violations of my thinking and prevent them from becoming an ongoing problem with the same forms of reaction or activity?
I have been part of suicide prevention programs as well as recovery and opiate related programs and to be clear, the common theme was thoughts, anxiety and depression. The common problem was the inability to relax or decompress. The popular question became, “What else can I do if I can’t calm down?”
(Or feel better.)
By the way, compulsion defies the logic of sanity and while even though the outcomes of our compulsions are temporarily gratifying – even if for only a second, then at least there was a second of relief or euphoria. At least there was a second of gratification – even if the lies computed to more destruction – at least there was a minute of reprieve.
And it’s not that anyone wants to die or hurt anyone. It’s not this as much as they want the thoughts to stop. They want the shame to go away. But it doesn’t. Instead, everything is daisy-chained to a length of misery. Most people want their thinking to become easy and their heartbeat to slow down. Otherwise, there’s a whole lot of “Boom! Boom! Boom!” and everything moves too fast. So, then what?
It’s not that people want to die. But more, the stress levels are too high. You want to relax but nothing else seems to work – you chose the high (or the relief) but the results only last a second. Nothing really works at least not on a more permanent basis. Hence; this is why people look towards the misfortune of a permanent solution for a temporary problem.
This builds up inside and the mind becomes an engine that has been pushed to full-throttle until finally – the motor blows.
And it doesn’t matter who’s around us sometimes. No one talks about this but it’s true. Loneliness doesn’t always mean the lack of company. In fact, many people feel the loneliest of all when they’re in a crowd. This is more of an internal loneliness – isolated and lost; meanwhile, everyone else around seems happy; as if they have an answer; as if they have “someone” or “something” that helps them make sense.
But, to the internal loner, all this does is leave a person light-years away, almost like they are meant to be in the underbelly of life, always in distress, never happy, and even if happiness is found, the moment is only fleeting because sooner or later, “I know that I’ll just do something stupid to fuck everything up again!”
If you’ve thought or felt this way, please don’t go at this alone.
Our thinking can lead us to make unusual decisions but this is only a symptom.
So, reach out to someone because figuratively speaking – we have to stop treating the heart attack after it happens. To save a life, we have to start paying attention to the symptoms before a heart attack exists. Otherwise, it can be too late. And there we are, awake and alone, uncomfortable with our outcomes, slaved to a life, slaved to poor decisions and uncomfortable in the skin we can’t get out of.