Mindfulness. in Mental Health

  • Sept. 10, 2019, 8:44 a.m.
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  • Public

So, what feels like a really horrible thing happened today, a thing I’m not sure can be repaired. But some really important things are happening now, since the thing that feels like the worst thing that’s ever happened. I’m looking really, really hard at myself. Don’t like a bit of what I see, not in the areas I’m focusing on, anyway.

I feel so far behind. I feel like I should be “better.” I should be “more.” And that’s ridiculous. I am where I am. I am who I am, right now, today. I’m aware of pretty much all of the why of the ways I am, or the how I got here to being this me I am today. I know the hows and whys but I need to work on the not anymores. If that makes sense. I need to not keep being the me I’ve been. I need to make room for the me I should be, now that I know all, (or a lot of, at least), the hows and whys. Because, really? Fuck the hows and whys. They shouldn’t still have a voice here. The past shouldn’t get to dictate the present or the future.

So, I started digging into an idea and watching some videos (you may or may not have seen the ones I posted on Facebook) and reading some articles about some things. The first article I read, (Would You Rather Be Right or Would You Rather Be Happy?), really made me think about my own idea of what “being right” means. And does being-right mean being-happy to me? I’ve had some pretty skewed ideas of right and wrong instilled in me throughout my life, ideas that I either never actually agreed with or don’t agree with anymore.

From the article: ““When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” ~Lao Tzu

Internally, deep down, many people have the experience that they are damaged, broken, “not good enough,” or simply “not enough.” Such thoughts and the beliefs that fuel them usually have their origins in the messages received from others starting early in life. How we react in the present is strongly influenced by childhood experiences and internalized beliefs.

These beliefs and the resultant feelings are often so distressing that we protect ourselves by keeping them unconscious. Occasionally, there may be some vague awareness of their existence, but due to the discomfort they generate they tend to remain hidden—from oneself, as well as from everyone else. They also affect (or perhaps infect) most all ongoing relationships.

This is exactly what I have been trying to convey, with one exception: I am fully aware. This is not internal, deep down, for me. In the last 6 months alone, a hundred different things, at least, that I had buried in some way have risen to the surface, been processed, and moved on from. The evidence of most of that is right here in this journal, or in chat logs. Fuck, just, what? Two days ago? I realized/admitted to myself and to you that I think I have an eating disorder? Like, that’s a huge fucking thing, you know. I’m getting smacked almost daily, for months, with massive realizations, life-altering epiphanies. I don’t even share all of them! With anyone!

And the most difficult ones, the ones I just can’t seem to process and work my way around, well. I chose to share those with you. Because you have been the most incredibly helpful influence in my life ever. Because you have healed me in ways I didn’t even know needed healing and you weren’t even trying, you don’t even have to try. Who you are as a person, the way you interact with me, treat me, love me, accept me… it’s been life-changing.

So, as you can see from the article, psychology agrees with me. The things about me, they infect you. Sure, the good things infect you in a good way, but my most difficult things infect you in a very negative way.

The other article I read, (Mind Full or Mindful?), struck me in much the same way.

These paragraphs resonated with me in a particular way:

Our thoughts often take us away from the here and now, diverting us into the past or the future. Whenever we aren’t paying conscious attention to the present moment, within as well as around us―we are effectively sleepwalking, even when we are wide awake. Usually, it takes the form of being caught up in thinking about what happened in the past or what may possibly happen in the future. This occurs unconsciously; for most people it’s an auto-pilot mode of operating that we default into easily and habitually. We were here, in the present, and without being aware of when we slipped away, we’re thinking intensely about things that happened yesterday, last month, or perhaps even years ago or something that might happen later today, next week, or two months from now.

When we’re focused on the past or the future, it is impossible to respond consciously and skillfully in the here and now. We are cut off from the possibilities inherent in the present moment—unable to see it and experience it for what it is, and disconnected from the opportunities for learning, growing, and healing that it may contain. During these episodes, no matter where we are and who we are with physically―mentally and emotionally we are somewhere else.

And when we are in this default unconscious auto-pilot mode, we can mentally manufacture impressive stories about what might/could happen, having nothing whatsoever to do with the present moment. These narratives are usually worse (sometimes much worse) then what actually happens. In the words of Mark Twain, “I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”

Clearly, this is a thing I do. I allow my mind to wander (or I don’t have much control over it wandering?) and it wanders to terrible places, almost as if by default, or drawn to the terrible thoughts like metal to a magnet. Can I stop this? Is this a thing that, now that I’m aware of it, I can stop it? I sure hope so. I thought this was just a thing my mind does. I have been trying to deal with the individual thoughts instead of the root of the problem, which is giving the thoughts power by attempting to address them at all. Now I know, or have an idea, of where they are coming from and why, can I stop them? Can I practice this mindfulness thing?

Only one way to find out.

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Last updated September 10, 2019

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