The truth is life is a journey. Along the way, we are going to find new discoveries. We are going to learn, change our mind and update our thinking.
We are going to meet people and see new things. We are going to live each day being a new chance at a new life. This is true for all of us. However, perspectives will vary and so will our levels of optimism.
Not everyone will see the light at the end of the tunnel and not everyone will come to the understanding that life is always unraveling. Life is a lesson and a mix of experience and actions.
However, not everyone sees life as a streaming form of grand opportunities.
I understand that life can take on a robotic appeal. Maybe it’s work. Maybe it’s a routine. Maybe it’s a lack of drive or purpose. Maybe life can seem pointless; as if there’s nothing big or bright; as if the glimmer to all the flashiness becomes dull or faded.
I understand the difference between living and existing as well as the difference between living and being lifeless. Sometimes, there is an invisible barrier between us and the world. It’s like there’s something in the way and nothing seems so bright or vibrant.
This may not be so for all people; but for the most part, we all know what depression is or what depressive thinking means. Everyone has had their share of hardships and hard times. Life comes with heartbreak and for some, this is more intense or dysphoric which means difficult to live with. However, somewhere in the conduits of our mind, I know there’s something there.
I know there’s something in us. I know there’s a glimmer of hope and there’s a light, just trying to beam its brightest.
It’s not easy to see or find; But still, I know it’s there.
I know that depression and anxiety is our brain and our body revolting against what we see and what we feel.
“I don’t like it.”
I know that our thoughts tend to move through a certain pathway and that our assumptions are based on ideas, fears, feelings, worries and insecurities. I understand the depths of emotional thinking and problematic assumptions.
I understand that life doesn’t always make sense and neither do people. I can say this for sure.
People do not always make sense. If we’re being honest, neither do I and neither do you,
There was a time when I’d asked people who lived with moderate to severe anxiety to reach out to me. This was my own personal focus group. Nothing professional, just personal.
I wanted to hear what they went through. I wanted to know what their thoughts were.
What was their driving force?
What were their fears?
What were they thinking?
Where did they find relief and how?
Or, was relief possible?
And yes, I know that there are some people who live in the clinical hells of unrelenting anxiety. I have spoken with those whose anxiety was too thick or too great for them to even function. I have spoken with people who have surrendered their lives to an institutional lifestyle because life any other way was simply unmanageable.
I wanted to learn more about what depression means to those who live with it.
What would I find?
Would I find out anything about myself?
Would I find some great commonality that was helpful to me?
Would I learn enough to understand more about my thinking and my behavior?
The answer to all of the above is yes.
I did learn more about myself. I learned that behaviors and moods are directly tied to my thinking.
I learned that rewiring my thinking habits can relieve the stressors of anxiety and depression.
I learned that cognitive behavioral therapy helps with cognitive relief and that my thinking errors were faulty and linked to unfortunate historic events in my life. Therefore, rather than address symptoms or symptomatic behaviors, I decided to get to the roots to stop the weeds from spreading in my mind.
Also, I learned that anticipation can be a tremendous enemy.
Worse than the process of shame or letdowns is the anticipation of the impending doom.
Worse than the problems are the ideas and the thoughts that center around our problems. Worse than all of this are the shame-based or irrationally fear-based ideas that come with our catastrophic thinking.
This is one of our biggest killers. It’s no wonder why overdose deaths and crutch related deaths such as overeating or suicide, self-harm deaths are on the rise
Worse than any enemy is the enemy in our mind. This is what causes the thought machine to tilt and next, we have these bells and whistles in this little command station in our head. The alarm goes off. RED ALERT, RED ALERT!
We have this little person in a control booth pushing buttons, releasing switches and changing gears just to keep ourselves alive.
How do we stop the alarms?
All we want to be is safe and for those of us who understand the mixture of impending doom and depressive ideas, the fear is that we are unsafe.
What does it mean to be unsafe?
Is this limited to physical danger?
How about emotional danger?
Or, what about the fears of shame or the worries about being exploited and humiliated?
Someone once told me about an acronym for fear: False Evidence Appearing Real
I can relate to this. I can relate to falling through the potholes of the mind, worrying and thinking that the bottom of my life is about to drop out. I can relate to the idea that somehow my embarrassing truths will make it to the surface and that my mistakes or my moments of weakness will come to the surface. I can relate to the shame of believing I am just an imposter, that nothing about me is “enough” or efficient.
What do I mean by moments of weakness?
Well, we all have them.
We’ve all done something to feel better; even if we know the action is wrong or selfish. We’ve all done something to trick our thinking. We’ve all acted hastefully. We’ve said things we didn’t mean. We’ve all allowed the mask to slip or we’ve failed to honor our best interests because at the time, we weren’t at our best.
Everyone has something shameful in their minds and although our relation to shame and behavior might be different and while we do not all share the same moral compass; still, there are times when our thinking betrays us and leads us into troubled territories.
I know that in my effort to improve I have learned a great deal about myself. I have discovered truths about myself that allowed me to understand the birthplace of my behaviors. I have learned to understand more about my mental control booth and the conduits of the mind.
I’ve also learned more about my inner-self and the person in my mental control booth.
I have come to the understanding that my attention-seeking thinking was modeled from old instances in my life and that while intellectually I understand the past is gone, emotionally there is a piece of me that still lingers in my past life.
I understand the needs and the wants for attention. I understand the needs and the wants for validation. More, I completely understand the void and the emptiness which lies in fear that there is no validation nor acceptance. Therefore, I understand the personal rejection that goes on because (and let’s face it) rejection is a state of mind.
This is me judging myself because all else is really unimportant. Other people’s thoughts or judgments and opinions are really inapplicable. They mean nothing. At best, to find a sense of balance, we have to toss away these inaccurate judgments to place them elsewhere or to be otherwise nothing more than unobjectionable.
The clutter in our mind is the challenge.
What was I thinking at my worst?
I suppose my biggest fear is social humiliation. Another fear that I have is not being accepted. I suppose my best analogy is being in a room and being the last one to get the joke – or worse, it’s being in a room and finding out the joke is on me.
I never trusted people’s compliments. I never had faith or value when people would congratulate me because, at best, my internal judgment was so harsh and critical that in my assumption of myself; I thought someone applauding my efforts was the same as applauding a child for finally learning how to go to the bathroom instead of soiling their own pants.
I saw myself as socially and emotionally slow and somehow clinically unfortunate. However, is any of this true?
Were any of my predictions or assumptions true?
To answer this is simple. Everything is true if you believe in it.
Even if something is untrue, if you believe in it, then so be it.
When at my worst, I did not believe that I could be better or think better. I saw little to now worth or value in myself. I saw no benefit to me being part of the world because, due to my judgments, there was always something so painfully awkward and different.
Insecurity is the biggest enemy on earth.
This is the cause of our downfalls.
This is the distraction that keeps us from moving ahead.
This is part of the biggest theft of all which is the theft of our personal services because this is where false evidence appears real.
I have lived with secrets and mistakes. Wholeheartedly, I have done regretful things. I have made regretful choices. I have acted selfishly because narcissism is a byproduct or an incidental effect of my historical mapping.
I am someone who wants to be free yet part of my challenges in life were due to the constant imprisonment of my thinking.
I will say this: if you cannot rest or calm down or if you cannot find ease or shelter from the so-called storm, the mind can only take so much. We can only hold so much anxiety before we come to a breaking point.
I remember the first time I ever met a life coach.
I remember thinking that it is literally impossible to be that positive all the time. I remember thinking “this guy goes home and kicks the dog” or maybe he has some kind of secret fetish and the world is going to read about him being found in a hotel room somewhere, dressed in some little fetish attire who died from autoerotic asphyxiation (just kidding . . . but not by much).
I decided that if I am going to embark on this journey and learn new things or find new discoveries that I will do this openly and be human.
If nothing else, I will be me. Simply put, if I am to be a person who decides to join in the fight against our thinking and our own worst enemy, (also known as insecurity) then I have to start by being comfortable with my own uncomfortable truths.
I want to learn more too. I want to understand more about the way we think. Rather than judge the symptoms of our behavior, I want to understand the prime motivators and the actual incentives that push people or lead us to make our decisions.
This is why I always tell people: I’m no better than anyone else.
I am me. Just like you are you. Together, we both have the right to be our own unique selves.
I go back to that description I mentioned earlier about the little person in the control booth of our mind. I go back to the buttons and switches that you’d find in a control booth with different channels and different monitors. I go back to this idea as a main conduit which, in fact, is our main conduit. Inside of us is the adult brain and the child brain. Sometimes, the control booth is overloaded and the bells and whistles go off.
My aim is to create a smoother system.
Does this mean we won’t ever freak out again?
No . . .
But maybe we can freak out less or gain a better recoil.
Otherwise, the anxiety will always be high and the two of us will always be on the run, afraid of the dark and frantic to find shelter from the storm.
I just listened to a really interesting talk on similar themes by Eckhart Tolle. We are our own jailers and insecurity sadly can steal so much life and opportunity from us.