No Conflicts and Aspirations

Genuine curiosity could beat my depression.
It could beat my procrastination and depression.
How do i tap into it?
The elements of freedom below help.
Paying attention whilst not criticizing falling into the lava stream.. acknowledging it and letting go; allowing myself to let go.
This is how I will study, this is how i will become somebody.
Every moment is an opportunity to train.

‘No conflict’ is a feeling. It is supported by calm bandwidth.
Calm bandwidth includes nonjudgemental awareness of thoughts and feelings.
This is done by understanding my mind and being non-reactive.

No conflict is a feeling.
The feeling of urgency is a conflict with the present moment.
Depression is a hinderance;
recognise the hinderances.
In life, much more is part of my meditation.
Every moment is an opportunity to sculpt the mind.

Since returning to this, I feel I can use this writing as the key to a happier, more content mind.  I’ve been on the verge of it for some time.  Going the extra mile has not been so easily seen.  Breaking through the fog is happening. Going the extra mile.

Here’s another excerpt from my imaginary book entitled No Conflict, this chapter is called ‘Jobs and Career Kerfuffle’:

Jobs and career kerfuffle

Just like I held on to education hanging off a cliff, I also have attempted many jobs. I think I counted fourteen. But after Uni, the first job I had was that of a ‘customer service engineer’, which could have been great fun as you get to plan your jobs to a certain extent. However, as you can imagine, even at this later time, it was too difficult and opened my eyes to something that was a delusion but I am going to treat it as an obsession because there was some debate, and it does not really matter now what it was. Fresh perspectives here. It was something prominent at that time which was in no way new but predominantly surfaced. It deescalated after I left the job, and then I had another well paid job, as a ‘technical author’ for a building firm, which could’ve been amazing too, I could’ve saved, but my condition and paranoia were on an intrusive level for that one too. Right now, I have chosen to study for a masters in neuroscience, so there’s some justice as the rewards are going to be fruitful. Rewind a minute.

I first recall being overly distressed by a particular idea around age thirteen. It was different from derealisation from my OCD and opposite to the organic spontaneity any philosophers or scientists would feel. What on earth am I on about? I already mentioned it but because it is interesting, without further ado, here is what initially I thought it was;

As a question:

‘How is there something but not nothing at all?’

Outside of the feeling (of mental illness), it is an interesting question. I have looked into the science, religion and philosophy, but still, it remained. What do I mean by this? Surely it’s just an interesting question, right? No, what it always felt like was a disturbing conflict. No amount of anything helped it. If I think about it now away from the feeling, the science takes you into quantum physics and the philosophy is existential cognitive reasoning like Descartes ‘I think therefore I am’ which I have his book of meditations about. However, none of this searching helped my ‘problem’. What it was, is the delusional assumption that 

‘Everything should be nothing’. 

Due to the disturbing feelings it caused, my torment was eventually recognized, and I was prescribed antipsychotics. Even though that word sounds all scary, it was accurate. Words can’t describe how it would make me feel, and that is what mental illness is. However, right now and toward the future, I am going to treat it as an obsession, because that’s all it is now. Like I say no amount of philosophy, science or religion helps solve my disturbing conflict. No amount of my ERP made it lessen but you know what, it does now, I have called it an ‘existential phenomenon’ before, I frequently call it a disturbing conflict which is accurate. I deal with it now by delegitimising it like any other obsession. So as I have been building neuronal connections it is not so overpowering, but the feeling does still arise from time to time. I used to avoid certain situations, people, and ‘sit on the fence’ because of it, yes compadres, this is why, and I notably remember it stopping me in those jobs like that I speak of once I finished University six years ago. I remember as the field engineer, I was attempting to learn on the job, which should’ve been fun, but I was so preoccupied in a somewhat disturbing way, by this, (not so much the other obsessions anymore as I learnt to manage them), and I simply could not retain information or pay attention in a way that would have seen me succeed. Kudos for the positivity, Walks still. So, may we continue to delegitamize this existential phenomenon.

Many jobs I have had, one after the other. Many times I have quit not for want or lack of confidence more so debilitation and confusion. Kudos for the dedication. So you see, the disturbing conflict, as well as my OCD, is my illness. I’ve never fished for a diagnosis even though I welcomed one. I only welcomed one because it was a huge relief to find out there may be a way out. What now? Like I say I can immerse myself into neuroscience. I do have work to do of a mental health kind, though. This is part of it. Rewind.

I figured, relatively recently, there must be reasons why I still cannot pay attention as anyone does to not just studies and work, but past times too. Therefore, I acknowledge that ‘mental review’ as a compulsion is still prevalent; I overlooked this in a sense, that ‘little’ compulsions can still be as problematic as ‘big’ themes and such. I appear to have done enough work now with the disturbing conflict, that I can sink into focus and feel a lot more immersion. I have the opportunity to study now, so things are going to work out, alongside sharing this journey. But let me explain something; OCD cannot turn into psychosis, so to let you know, please don’t panic about that. I am aware that schizophrenia OCD is a common obsession so please do not think in any way that it is possible to ‘go mad’ from your condition. It doesn’t happen. Can I now treat it as an obsession? Was there some debate as to whether it could have been still? Absolutely, and I am looking at my condition in its entirety from a fresh perspective here. ‘Everything should be nothing’. Boy oh boy, I am somewhat free of it now, but I remember how isolating and disturbing it was, it seriously disrupted my life.  

As I already touched upon I must delegitimize it, notably realise that reality can be the axiom. An axiom is an innate fact in mathematics I believe, I won’t bother looking that up (but it’s a cool bit of vocab). I remember when I first started telling the nurses about it, most said ‘don’t think like that’ but I couldn’t express enough how I had no choice. However, a good psychiatrist and my most recent therapist totally understood how it was for me. I must realise now how good freedom from it is, keep writing and meditating, and remember. It is bliss compared to what it was. Free of the conflict means that I can focus all my ERP efforts on my condition and continue to do what I want to do.  

When the first psychiatrist that listened to me properly understood it, she said ‘how can I deny that I am something.’ That is what it does. It is disturbing. It was a relief when someone finally understood how it was for me. Anyway, back to the present. It is gone now mostly. Although, what I want to do now is I want to feel it, I want to keep healing, as soon as I start to fight the feeling, start to argue with it in any way, the disturbing feeling comes back. Feeling it like this again makes me wonder how I managed so much. I want to feel it though, bring it on. I no longer fight by way of argument causing torment, more so I fight by way of allowing and not responding, but seeking it out and applying calm bandwidth to do this.

As I hit the gym today, obsessions popped up and made me want to retreat, it’s not to do with lack of concentration, it’s a genuine feeling of compulsion. The feelings involved at the moment are guilt, doubt and depression. They always were. These types of feelings are so overwhelming but I managed to separate myself from them (there’s a word for this, which I won’t bother looking up I forget. (There’s a lack of vocab for ya), and choose not to respond to them essentially choosing not to ruminate. Realising their illegitimacy, took some work but I got there. I love working out. You see I have to create head space for the doubt stream, but delegitamize it also. Now that I have done a lot of meditation I will speak of later, I am ready to proceed with the athleticism, which is something I want, alongside study. I held onto education from the edge of my cliff, and attempted over fourteen jobs. Walks, man, have compassion for this, for yourself. I am unique, but special. The mental health work I mentioned I need to do now, is in part visiting art galleries and being a hermit in a tree. More on this later.

 ”All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost. The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadow shall spring. Renewed shall the blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be King.” – J.R.R. Tolkein

Even if the rumination is ‘real’ in theme, self-sabotage is not acceptable.

Post War

Realising what causes my mental blocks, which are, upon summary, conflict without a comprehensible source.

I am so used to the compulsion of mental review, that I can’t always catch myself doing it.

Its harder and darker than the rumination of the non-sufferer.

There’s a lot of conflict involved and a lot of self analysis.

This post will be brief but concise.

I’ve begun my course of study now, I’ll let you know what it is once I graduate.

Perfect timing.

I find it as hard to pay attention to peppa pig, as I do quantum physics, when the mental blocks are heavier than the Earth.

I do not have obsessions anymore like they were years and years ago, that is, total preoccupation with chronic anxiety + depression alongside..

However, the blocks are a motherfucking beast of an enemy.

Could they be autism? It’s possible cos eye contact and social interation is exceedingly awkward when im not feeling right.

I am very happy with my first few posts, I hope they entertain and help.

Helping others very much so helps ourselves. I am working things out on the outskirts, in the suburbs of my condition.

Wisdom has been stumbled upon, like acceptance I mentioned.

Zen Buddhism is a philosophy.

I am not too interested in religion, apart from this zen philosophy.

So.. a few notes from my imaginary book today:

No ego, no urgency, no conflict.

Doubt and delusion. I experienced the psychotic episode, refer to this when I do.

Five hinderances. (a video I watched about a shaolin monk and some very wise teachings)

Understanding the mind and being non-reactive is for healing.

Enjoying the quality of things. No conflict in any form, including doubt, insecurity and ego.

If I do not enjoy the current thing, the current task, then it is likely the same will always occur in future tasks.

All the clouds and the lava stream are not real, they are a part of me but are brain-random stuff. They only hold meaning I give to them.

Feelings are subjective, but gotta’ feel fully.

As soon as I examine, I need to let it be, not ‘answer’ or fight.

Make room for the mental illness, but I can speed up when I do not engage them, the volcano or lava stream, by way of calm bandwidth.

Mindfulness means opening up, but not engagining especially obsessing.

No forcing.

No conflict by being nonjudgemental, fully, with the object of meditation. Even smaller doubts… everything.

And finally…

Never any urgency.

Handle With Love

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will NEVER forget how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou

I find that quote absolutely true for every good and bad situation, event and person in my life. When I think of my first good memories, I remember my Grandpa Meyers. I do not remember many of his words and even if I do, I remember how those words made me feel. I remember some of the fun, kind and caring things he did for me and my gang of friends at the time, but most importantly I remember how he made me feel. My Grandpa Meyers always made me feel like I was special and loved deeply by him.

Feeling special + Feeling loved = HAPPINESS

Of course, my children provide most of my positive memories since the second I first found out I was pregnant. It is mostly loving them unconditionally forever from the instant I conceived and being loved back by them that gives me the most joy and purpose in my life.

On the flip side, my most vivid negative memories are associated with feelings of shame, anger and sadness. For example, when I was punished for wetting the bed nearly every day until I was twelve years old, I remember the negative shameful words because of how those words made me feel. I cannot remember the physical pain caused by the spankings, but I still unfortunately feel deep rooted shame and anger towards my father for causing it to happen. I was punished and shamed for a behavior I had no control over. I continue to recover and heal from the painful emotional wounds I have now learned affected every aspect of my life.

The most traumatic memories are remembered most vividly and are impossible to forget. We cannot forget them, but we can learn to live with them in a healthy and safe manner. This of course takes time and work. Mindfulness has greatly helped me and continues to.

Other people in your life may have experienced or witnessed the same event but may not remember it the same way or at all, because it was not traumatic to them. You on the other hand remember every detail of the event.

When looking back at your life, what are the memories you remember the most and how did they make you feel?

My negative memories are filled with feelings of anger, shame, and fear.

My positive memories are filled with the emotions of joy, pride and love–loving others and/or feeling loved.

In everything we do with others, I think we should always remember the quote by Maya Angelou,

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will NEVER forget how you made them feel.”

To make a positive difference in the lives of others always listen, love deeply and make them feel like you care about them. Make them feel special. Let them know they matter and have a great purpose in this lifetime.

I think I always tried to treat people the way I wished I would have been treated. Growing up I had little to no self-esteem. Honestly, deep down I was ashamed of myself. My parents instilled that in me from a young age. I wished I felt good about myself, so I wanted to help others feel good about themselves. I guess I treated people how I wanted to be treated and feel. I never wanted others to feel the way I did.

Helping others helped me feel better about myself. It was and is a win win situation.

In the process of helping and loving others, eventually I learned to help and love myself.

Self actualization and loving myself are lifelong lessons I continue to take and experience. I am currently being home schooled every day by the faculty of myself, my family and everyone around me. I also learn from books, blogs, social media, television and movies–I learn a lot from documentaries. These all continue to be a big part of my curriculum for my lifelong lessons on love and the meaning of life.

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Thank you for reading. I have been so busy, I have not had time to write for a while but I always miss it and need it. Writing has always been very therapeutic for me. Plus, I miss all the amazing people in this fabulous blogging community that actually helped save my life. I hope you are all doing well and staying safe during this difficult time of Covid-19 and the United States election. I was thinking of taking a long nap until the election was over. Just kidding, but I am looking forward to when the election is finally over. Please VOTE. I know I will.

Much love always,
Sue

© Copyright 2020 by Susan Walz of My Loud Whispers of Hope 

Photo Credit: Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash,com

Truly Calm

…its not all nonsense, the clouds and the lava stream, although, it is best to observe without judgement, rather than ruminate.

Changing my brain has taken a good couple years of regular therapy and subsequently meditation practice. Last time I was going in rather deep with regard the compulsive part of my grey nut, so I’d like now to post something lighter and uplifting. Here’s some notes i wrote for an imaginary book of mine, regarding mindfulness and acceptance;

Non-judgemental and radical acceptance

Whilst noting during meditation (when i label whatever is going on as a ‘thought’ or ‘feeling’), one of my steps is examining judgements around the subject, once this is in play I can see if there are any judgements I want to change.

So, does this even happen? I have found that it does with acceptance. Its radical acceptance. Recognising the judgemental feelings, which are somewhat involuntary at first, it then helps to let go of judgemental feelings towards ourselves, if we first accept others. I can’t remember where I
read this, but it’s a good shout. So, as I recognise whatever is popping up or taking me away – be it a
thought, emotion or sensation, I can then examine, which is becoming much more fluid, and
then allow it to be there or go if it wants to. Breathe…

Accepting oneself unconditionally is liberating, likewise comparing with or judging others
only creates difficult feelings such as resentment or envy. Sometimes I notice the judgemental feelings in others and sometimes I am correct, but still, what I am doing is the equivalent of feeding obsessions. Or in most people: resisting difficult emotions. Seeking these things out is my own exposure, it helps me feed difficult feelings less, and sit with my feelings. Right now, I can write in my journal, all the thoughts that are popping up, including intense ones from the tsunami, but I don’t need to chase a response. I want to sit with difficult feelings, i want to feel them fully, for as long as it takes to reach acceptance and calm.

Feelings are subjective no matter how real they feel. Am I right? It is likely. For life in general, I do now strive to have a clear sight of my values, and organically create goals that support those values. As recent as this may be, this is something that is consistent with acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT);
“..Even the most privileged of human life inevitably involves significant pain” -Russ Harris


Depending on the situation, ‘positive thinking’ can be somewhat tedious in my opinion, because
it may involve living in denial of your real experiences, coming from my own experiences
with this. Thoughts and feelings are things that happen to you, but they are not you. (I wonder
what Thich Nhat Hanh’s take is on this). Nevertheless, we have to feel them fully because we
cannot control what pops up in our heads: good, bad, unpleasant, judgemental, violent,
pleasurable, insane. What do I mean exactly, what I am touching upon, i believe is unconditional self-
acceptance. 
 ‘’To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to
accept yourself.’’ 
– Thich Nhat Hanh


How do we ‘accept’ then? Well, we ‘recognise resistance’; This is recommended by things such as the Headspace meditation platform by Puddicombe. It is difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first. Therefore, what I am talking about is we have to acknowledge the core feelings. In episodes of severe doubt, you may find yourself wanting to perform compulsions for temporary relief. Sorry, I’m mentioning OCD here which I wasn’t going to in this one, but hey its OK I just wish to explain how difficult feelings make us feel. So for everyone else, this is similar to the feeling of needing a cigarette notably because something is making you feel depressed or anxious.

Once unconditional self acceptance is going on, then, everything can fall to a riverbed, we can reflect clearly, and understanding can prevail.

Sometimes I am conflicted and trying to figure out how to get past my mental blocks. There are quotes I write out too. I recite 10 mindfulness teachings I found useful. It’s easier to understand them if I first do a some meditation, as the mind naturally calms and quietens creating more space for understanding. I take my alone time seriously now, besides, my new meditation chair is neat.

My mental blocks, they seem to be caused by conflict. Perhaps it is where my illness was. Whatever the blocks were, I seem to be falling into reality a bit more, a bit more with it and a bit more
affected by things, in a wholesome way as opposed to a panicky or at times disturbing way.
Welcome, this will make more sense as we go. Light me up a victory dance.

So this acceptance i speak of, it seems to take time to realise and feel, as does relief from anxiety. The brain won’t change overnight. But what i want is to realise i can be totally at peace, at times, on my own, whatever i am doing. Acceptance must play a big role in this. Never feel conflicted again, which is one way of viewing everything. I hope i can continue to cultivate this kind of mind, changing my mind, and go about my day. No conflicts. This is the perfect time for me to write this, as i am on the outskirts of recovery (I have been for some time, with the odd relapse).

If we think about it, what I call ‘no conflict(s)’ is part of what’s involved in cultivating a non-judgemental mind, which, is what mindfulness is all about. So let’s pretend I am ruminating on the most disastrous disaster ever and beating myself up for it. I chose to say ‘OK, maybe its true, maybe I’m a terrible person and all of these bad things have happened’, but you know what, I’m not going to live my life in constant conflict, I’m going to be at peace with myself unconditionally. This is the only way i can branch out and be calm. It’s a limitless journey but one that will be fulfilling.



Just a Feeling

Alright, sooo in my first ever post last week I mentioned that I found ‘antidotes to core feelings’.  I’d like to share just some of these feelings and see where it takes us.

I first recognised a ‘core’ ten years ago before diagnosis when at the same time could barely tell what day it was. I would call anxiety things like ‘the core of my mind’. So, I had a glimpse of awareness. Right now, ten years on rather than hanging off my diagnosis of OCD and depression saying well that’s that, I am looking at things from a fresh perspective, with non-judgemental awareness, to see if I can get closer to where I need to be before preparing for my course of study.

Upon review, I’m feeling a bit lost this morning, a few months on since I started writing. Why do I procrastinate today though – the compulsive urge that is mostly always there? Is it linked to laziness though? Could it be linked to ADHD symptoms? No, I don’t think so, not for me. All I want to do is dance in the rain. But let us rewind before we move forward, some core feelings I recognized ten years ago, and to acknowledge today are:

–    Delusional/depression

This feeling sparks an idea that ‘everything should be nothing’. Whether or not it was a delusion, (when I was controlled by it, I thought it was and one psychiatrist thought it was) it doesn’t matter anymore, I can treat it as if it were existential OCD. This can be tricky because even in the real world there’s no answers, so the need for certainty feels even worse. The feeling is that of a disturbing conflict and detachment making reality foggy. So, I relieve myself from its’ grasp by realising that reality can be the ‘axiom’: which is the whole truth.

Despite the difficulty I had with this particular feeling, different to anxiety I got with other obsessions like harm, I can treat it as an obsession now, paying attention and acknowledging, and not responding. Once upon a time I couldn’t let it go, depression from it was just one of my struggles, but now through training, I can. With existential OCD, I would read scientific articles that are in anyway related to the idea, I suppose things that trigger it, but choose not to respond whilst getting a better knowledge of the mental argument or finding of ‘answers’ being compulsions. Phew… deep breath. I remember what it was like, and my brain has changed. Let’s move onto less intense but troublesome feelings to dance in the rain with:

–    Conflict of letting go (and remembering).

This proves quite exciting to work out. The more I pay attention with trust, the more I can let go of whatever it is I am paying attention to, but subsequently the more I let go the more I ultimately remember. Confused? I hope not too much. This, it seems is about my mental blocks, which may be autism as I am not a stranger to, or simply where my mental illness always was.

Alternatively it could be down to being so used to mental argument and review. For instance, once reading, it takes time to sit through the confusion this kind of thing creates. The fog and the replay. Perhaps many have the sort of barrier I speak of, and it is just a little different and exacerbated for me.

I have to let go of conflict more fully now than I have done in the past, to be able to read, study, have fun, fight healthily, eat well and dance. I note many feelings as ‘conflict’ now, it’s a fresh perspective and one way of observing.

–    Overwhelmed when searching for information, or shopping

I recall this since I was very young. Severe indecision and yes, even anxiety when shopping. What a memory, could symptomatic indecision be linked to my mental blocks? Yes, but potentially all of these feelings are. Visiting an art gallery the other day was ripe for this kind of feeling, it sparked this kind of anxiety due to the vast amounts of information on display. Learning to let go in this kind of place is important. Book shops and art galleries could be my past-times for a while in order to provoke these kind of feelings, learning to let go of conflict and navigate through the storm.

–    The compulsive urge

Now then, this little number pops up especially when responding to the urgency one next. However, I have realised that it is present a lot more than I thought, probably because my OCD used to be almost constant. I will understand this more in time. To recap -A compulsion, as well as overtly physical, is covertly: an anxiety response to the doubt stream; fighting with the thoughts, some becoming obsessions, notably trying to answer them. Mental blocks: this is a feeling of conflict which provokes it, and the compulsive urge is often in response to unreasonable feelings of responsibility. Let’s take a breather;

Healthy guilt: learning opportunity

Unhealthy guilt: unreasonable responsibility

There is an inflated sense of responsibility with this sh*t. The compulsive urge also loved my addiction which happened to be gambling. It was just ideal for it because there was no stopping, no break. This feeling of compulsion; it is not the same as addiction, whether or not professors want to disagree with me or not. I believe this from my experiences, because with addiction, some sort of desire is being fulfilled whereas compulsive responses are totally involuntary, a desperate attempt at fleeing obsessions. It would try to get me to answer obsessions, find answers and engage in mental argument, in many ways all day.

Phew… deep breath. I remember how it was. Therefore this compulsive urge did not cause my addiction, and addiction is a separate issue, however the compulsive urge alongside the compulsive aspect of my addiction made me more vulnerable to its’ extremities.

–    Urgency and ‘needing to be somewhere else’

Indeed, as general as it may sound, is an example of when, in its most obvious, when I am waiting in a queue or if I am out simply walking or exercising. The urge to ‘be somewhere else’ is incredibly strong. This type of ‘procrastination’ must be common, but this, I suppose, is linked to the blown-up emotions and exacerbated everything.

For instance, another everyday feeling like ‘approval seeking’; a feeling many with emotional problems or even non sufferers get but it is certainly exacerbated with these core feelings floating about. This feeling of urgency is not to be underestimated, it is powerful.

These last two core feelings, the compulsive urge and urgency, are certainly sparked before or after my OCD comes along. On the other hand, maybe coupled they are my OCD, alongside the doubt stream. The doubt stream isn’t a core feeling, the urgency is, but I’ll acknowledge it throughout because it takes up full bandwidth when it is triggered. By this I mean it uses up my full attention. The doubt stream is more of a compulsion, because part of it is the searching for answers and endless doubts. The ‘feeling of compulsion’ is what I call both these feelings nowadays, if I do not wish to examine them.

Journal excerpt:

A few months on and the calm is here more so, there is an improvement. Whether this is down to quitting addictions and focusing on mental health more so… 

A self-help ramble, a conversation with myself…. What the bloody hell is this, a treaty with my mental illness? The core feelings are like a fast-flowing lava eruption surrounded by a ferocious storm, where thoughts are catapulted at it like lightning.

These are not all the feelings and emotions from my mind, but they are some which I have learnt to dance with. Let’s examine some more:

Feelings of severe insecurity, possibly doubt

This occurs sometimes on its own, an overwhelming feeling of insecurity, especially in the morning and why I used to chain smoke. The antidote is something I have recognised from the start, I will get to, but realising it is an antidote is empowering now. I’ll move on to some of these antidotes in a later article. Perhaps this insecure feeling is cheeky and actually triggers the doubt stream.

 –         Depression

More generalised depression, certainly a core feeling, gets me staying in bed for days or a lack of interest in anything. Sometimes caused by all these feelings, and the exhaustion. There’s no denying it. With the core feelings, like thoughts, I can acknowledge them then allow conflict to go. But like I will come to explain, I must apply calm bandwidth, because the doubt stream takes up full bandwidth. Calm bandwidth is how I treat the attention taken away by the doubt stream, in effect I make space for it.

I am learning to pay attention with trust, (the opposite of doubt), calm (even if it isn’t here yet), and genuine curiosity (which helps overcome my depression). ‘Be curious’ as Stephen Hawking would say.

Thoughts and feelings are subjective, and less intimidating in a more healthy brain. I genuinely need to sit with them until they allow themselves to go. Good feelings await? It’s very possible as I have experienced freedom during meditation.

Anxiety

Anxiety is a symptom of every single one of these feelings. And sometimes it’s just there, floating. Sometimes its tension, like restlessness. This anxiety, it is easier somewhat to sit with than the core feelings I have examined, but on the other hand, it can arise more frequently and more diligently when attempting to do things such as write or even talk.

When I literally couldn’t talk as a teen, it was because my anxiety levels were high enough to make me sound incredibly strange so I engaged in selective mutism. This was an issue that played out in many scenarios in my past especially once intoxicated.

Anxiety is a completely natural experience, but some of us have perhaps overclocked motherboards. We have a zest for life but at the same time, crippling anxiety can affect our attempts at a wholesome life. I do want to stay strong and befriend it, seek it out. If I feel anxious, well that’s good. It is an opportunity to sit with and I often did, but wish I explained it was why I couldn’t speak properly when I was young. What I have experienced now from the other side, it is worth the labour to seek anxiety out, alongside seeking out uncertainty to help with doubts and the chasing  (certainty).

As I let go of an addiction fully, I can realise how it is different to my illness. Addiction can be viewed as an illness, but it is still different, it just makes us more vulnerable: if we have an illness we are more vulnerable to things like addictions in my opinion. But never again will I ignore what’s going on in my grey nut. And never will I respond to shame, depression or any other exacerbated emotion in a negative way.

Since I have now worked through a few core feelings by now, I am able to sit with the depression. I have to give it time, no forcing, time to go, breathing with it. My brain throws a number of thoughts at it I gotta’ just dance with.

I’ve stumbled upon acceptance, at least I hope. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) explores ways to go for our goals whilst feeling our feelings. I am sculpting my mind, because I hope to be ready to do my course of study. I could talk more about my history in another article, but what’s important are the things I’ve touched upon here, and finding some peace of mind in the weeks to come. 

For The First Time

                As I join this blog I am going through a relatively good time with my mental illness, I am learning what it takes to nurture mental health as I prepare for a course of study. Self-care is important, and so is understanding what is going on up there in my grey nut.

So I want to feel feelings fully and choose not to respond, then they need not stick around. What am I on about, how do we feel fully? I am not sure it is possible to explain… we can give them a location, we can note them, we can ‘hold them in awareness’, perhaps all of these; it is something that has improved with time.

Constant themes are not my obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) anymore, more so every doubt or emotion is exacerbated. Usually a sufferer has one of around thirteen themes, such as sexuality, harm, relationship, inappropriate or disgusting ideas (which are not a reflection of our true self – the opposite), existential, contamination… you may have read about some of them before. Compulsions on their own is possible, that is what non-sufferers think OCD is; counting, checking, tapping, becoming obsessional for no reason right? But that is not so common, having compulsions on their own. A compulsion is usually an immediate response to the constant distress and torment caused by obsessions. I had a few of these obsessions. But all I get now are periods of intense doubt, where any doubt can take over and ‘guilt’ gets sprayed around in the storm.  

A compulsion for me is a ‘mental argument’ and less intensely ‘rumination’: the chasing of an uncertainty or a response to the exacerbated guilt (the emotion of guilt being a red herring in this disorder). 

Happiness only comes about when we are not chasing it. As I write I am slightly less overpowered than usual, slightly less blocked, and slightly excited in this. If I feel feelings as if it were the first time, every time, then I will likely let go of judgemental feelings that fly around everything. Learning through experience that if we chase pleasure or even happiness, the process is in fact not a happy one, and we become locked in a never-ending pursuit.  Happiness is for the journey, it is something that arises itself from calm, and not chasing. I found antidotes to core feelings, through meditation, which will prove useful, if I recite them in a non-compulsive way, for the first time every time. 

When a thought or idea preoccupies the mind constantly for more than an hour a day in a way that causes constant distress and anxiety, it is called an obsession. Compulsions are the brains’ attempt at relief, but the relief is short lived, and they push us deeper into a contradiction, and deeper into the lava stream. Exposure-response prevention (ERP) therapy is what desensitises us to obsessions by formulating exposures to purposefully trigger ourselves whilst learning not to respond with a compulsion.

OCD, it has been known as the ‘doubt disease’ and ‘guilt disorder’ by many a therapist.

Each time I meditate now is for the first time, every time.  Zen Buddhists call this ‘beginner’s mind’. As I adapt mindfulness principles to my own condition, I can teach the brain not to hold on to obsessions (by not responding to them with a compulsion) notably because they are new every time, and support the idea that we do not have to respond but when I do, apply non-judgemental awareness and cultivate compassion towards myself. Even if the part of the brain that is keeping things around: the thalamus, amygdala or whichever else it may be, is troublesome, it needs to be sat-with, given tea, not fed but befriended.

Mindful, a poem

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I oughta give you a piece of my
One-track
Of the same
Back of my
Presence of
Take a load off my
Bored out of my
Blow one’s
Nobody in their right
Do you
Bear in
Keep in
A frame of
Peace of
Never-
You read my
Be of two
Speak your
Change your
Out of your
With someone in
An open
If you don’t
Lose my
A lot on my

Where is my…

Chaos: My Best Friend

joshua-fuller-229095So, there is this thing called chaos.  It’s a noun that is defined as complete disorder and confusion.  And I am drawn to it like a moth to light, like bees to honey, women to shopping malls, you get my drift.  I’ve been this way for years upon years.  Only being really cognizant of it over the last few years.

Yesterday I saw my psychiatrist and I confessed my sins.  I had made the choice over a week ago to decrease my mood stabilizer medications because I was tired of the side effects, namely weight gain.  I had enough, and I took matters into my own hands, even though I knew that I should not make changes without her guidance and approval.  Knowing that my choice to mess with my medication regime could cause instability in mood and potentially a devastating setback.

Truth be told I had been doing really well.  I was happy, able to focus, productive, spirited and a pleasure to be around.  I was stable.  Life was good.  I was sleeping soundly, no disturbing dreams.  The anxiety that I was suffering from when driving was at an all-time low.  The worst-case scenario thoughts were coming less frequently and when they did appear I was able to squash them with a quick one-two punch of CBT techniques.  Most importantly, there was a lack of chaos.  So, of course, I had to change that!!  And I did just so by mucking around with things.  I feel like a witch at a cauldron when I do this:  One frog’s toe, a hair off a Deadman’s finger, two squeezes of nectar from the honeysuckle and poof, a magic formula for chaos creating by yours truly. Because how can I exist without chaos?

Is it that I can’t handle being in a good place?  That I have this need and desire to purposely self-sabotage?  That to exist I need there to be drama?  Where does this abnormal drive to ruin what good I have come from?  Why do I do this?  And most importantly, how can I stop?

And that’s a real humdinger there because I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know how to get myself to accept that life is SUPPOSED to be good.  Life is SUPPOSED to be balanced.  Life is SUPPOSED to be enjoyable.  So, why do I fight it so hard, and to the degree of making decisions that thwart my progress and overall quality of life, to make it difficult?

I know the first thing I can do is to take all my meds, and just the meds I have been prescribed, the way that they were prescribed, in the dose that they were prescribed and take them at the frequency indicated on the label of the bottle.

When the good times start to roll in, I will stop and embrace them.  I will tell the thoughts in my head that are telling me to lash out, to throw a fit, to make something out of nothing to just plain stop.  To not allow them to take hold and request that they leave me be, the same way that I would request that a bully stop harassing me.  Because, in a way, I feel like what I battle in my head is a bully.  And I am tired of getting beat up on and then going home with bruises and a bloody nose.

I will engage in self-care so I can ensure that I am taking care of all my needs.  I will limit myself from taking on too much (my real got for self-destruction).  I will learn how to just be in the moment through the art of mindfulness.

I am a warrior.  A warrior who has in the past thrived on chaos and destruction, but today I draw the line in the sand, no draw a line in the quick-drying cement, that I will not allow this to continue.  I am in control, and I can overcome this.  I am strong, capable, persistent and will persevere.  Chaos will not win.

Sprinkled Cupcakes and Fairy Dust,

~Michelle

www.bellasbabbles.com

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoTim Scharner