or, How to De-fuse from Unhelpful Thoughts.
I have just typed up a long a grim tale about my crappy day, and then erased it. It made me depressed reading it, so I thought you could do without it. You’re welcome.
Instead I will tell you about the stuff my health psychologist helped me with today. I arrived at her rooms so full up that my inside thoughts were spilling over the top of my metaphorical cup. My cup runneth over alright, but not with joy. Anna is an expert tea maker, so she brought me in a real cup, and we began. I blurted out some stuff that is happening for me. I am grieving the loss of my differential diagnosis hopes. No channelopathy diagnosis for me. Both my immunologist and endocrinologist don’t think it is an adequate explanation for my symptoms. I had really hoped, you know? And hope was a kind of freedom. I was letting myself dream. My mind took me there and I liked it. But now there is a big hole where the hopes fell through.
Anna explained that when I am going through stuff, my mind goes into judgement mode. It’s a very ancient script, one that I’ve been reciting, in variations, all my life. I can’t control my situation, so I turn on myself and try to control me. All the judgement of myself that might just make me pull my socks up, turn the other cheek, push through, fix it. Turns out my mind has some nasty things to say to me. It plays them on repeat just in case I haven’t been listening. It’s painful. Does your mind sometimes sound like this, too?
I hate this script. So I fight back. I employ my rational thinking, I answer those statements. I try to refute them. I look at them and see if they are reasonable and I argue with myself. I defend myself. I get angrier, I fly into protection mode and I scream at my mind to shut up. I spend my energies resisting those thoughts, all the while getting caught up in the very thoughts I am fighting against. I am still in their thrall, batting them away from my mind’s eye. Fighting. In my fight, I am giving them even more power than they already have. I’m the one giving them more airtime.
They will never ever go away. But today I learned to do something else with them.
I learned to use my scientific, observing mind. Step back, notice them, name them. Accept that I have those thoughts and let them exist, not as truth, but just as part of what my mind does to try to fix my problems. My mind isnt always helpful. Those statements appear as truth, I’ve been hearing them for so long they must be truth? But. they. are. not. truth. They’re just part of my software. My glitch. I can ground myself with some exercises in mindfulness. Be more aware of who I am with, where I am, all of my senses. Breathe, deeply. Tap into the love I feel for my family. Let myself rest.
It’s a new day and as usual, I have woken playing the script. Like a radio station blaring on in the background, playing some stupid daytime drama I hate. But I remember what to do. I am relieved.
I see you, unhelpful thoughts. I see you. I notice that I am thinking things that aren’t going to help me today. And I begin to observe my mind like a scientist observes the squirmy things in a petrie dish. Poking at those thoughts objectively, they look kind of foolish. I’m not going to let them decide my day for me today. They can sit there and squirm away if they want.
I’m going to listen to some Neil Diamond instead. Do you have a self judgement script that needs to be slapped onto the petrie dish and categorised for what it really is? Bad background noise. It’s not truth.
I hope you enjoy this rendition of Paul McCartney’s ‘Blackbird’, by one of my all time favourite singers, and from his album titled ‘Dreams’.