Saturday, May 12, 2018

Experiencing a Shift in Perception #SelfAwareness #MentalHealth

Yesterday was a rough day. It began with a migraine as soon as I woke up that by afternoon morphed into the worst one I have ever had in my entire life. That is saying something since I have chronic migraines.

I found myself laying on the couch with a pillow resting over most of my head to provide a blocker for light, and some pressure for my forehead. With nausea and pain building it's way into a vortex of spinning hell, despite trying all meds I had at my disposal I was reduced to laying still as a stone. This is the kind of sickness that renders a person unable to breathe without increasing one's pain. There's nothing to do but lay there and deal. I couldn't even watch TV, and so much of my energy was going toward not vomiting that it was a serious challenge.

There's something kind of dismally sweet about not being able to do any activity besides think for hours on end. When you're laying in a puddle of pain and illness for hours there is nothing else to separate you from your thoughts. Not that I am one to run away from my inner thoughts, but it's entirely different for me when there is nothing to distract my mind from wandering in every which direction it wants. At least for me, these are the times that my inner world becomes exceptionally vivid with thoughts of the past dancing across my mind's eye, and thoughts of the present as well. I suppose due to the heaviness of my emotional state those thoughts aren't always the most pleasant, or the most happy. Small issues that nudge me during usual mind frames that would get pushed away come at me full color with no escape. As I laid there in misery I realized a lot of hard truths that I had been avoiding.

In this place I met some of my fears
and some of my worst characteristics. There were some situations that I looked at from a different point of view. It was not just a linear, myopic perception, but an overall perception of how these situations define, and shape my life. Some of my OCD behaviors, for instance, looked different from this mind space. I mean, did I really have to feel this powerless to my thoughts? Am I really doing all that I can to make these issues not impact my life as much as they do? The truthful answer was no. When looked at everything through a lens of forests and not the trees I could see how I could do more. I could see how I needed to be stronger in my resolve to not let the behaviors define my life, and steal away my time.

It was these hours that allowed me to see how my life is mostly made up of how I chose to see it.  Stay with me here. I'm not trying to go all new agey on ya'll, life is what you make it, nature, and leaves, and crystals...blah...blah. No. That's not me. I am all about science, but I am also all about self-awareness. This was quite an epiphany for me in the realm of self-awareness. I also feel like this was such a private, personal experience that it's almost impossible to describe it to anyone else,  or for anyone to even care, for that matter.

I guess the reason I am sharing all of this is because I do like to write, as it helps me sort things out that otherwise lay tangled in my brain. Writing makes it easier to comprehend for me in a sort of tangible way. Also, the reason I'm sharing in this public space is for others that maybe struggle with some of these same things. Sometimes as we grow older we look back at situations only to see that there were other sides, and different dimensions to our experience that possibly we've never considered before. Vivid shades of gray come forth that we were never aware existed suddenly appear giving old memories a new shade of truth.  If we're open to growing life often has a way of showing us that we're not always as right as we think we are, and we don't know as much as we think we do. Everything is complicated, and influencing everything else, and little of it it really about us personally, at least as a stand alone agent. There's always a push pull between us and other people that influences every situation. There's always more going on than what's at the surface.

The only perception I can control is my own. I think a lot of what has made me miserable not only taking other people's perceptions personally, but trying to control them. I can't. I want to feel others agree with me, to validate me, and would feel upset when they didn't. It's probably pretty normal of a human behavior to do this, but it's not one that is very conducive to feeling comfortable in our own skin.

Mostly what finally sunk in for me fully was that every day I make literally hundreds of minute decisions which impact my life. My decisions dictate my mood, behavior, and outcome of my overall actions. Within this thought process I have decided to eliminate some of my smaller behaviors that lead to bigger situations that make me unhappy. This feels threatening. It feels like I can just do this or that one thing, because ..you know, it's not a big deal. Right? But,  when I am being honest with myself I know it is. I know it leads to a chain of thoughts, a chain of behaviors that contribute to maladaptive  coping strategies that I have been lying to myself for eons about how they're not bad for me.  Some of them are and I need to face that if I'm going to reduce some of my anxiety, depression and suffering.

I'll end with the old, tired cliche that life is less about what happens to us, but more about how we deal with it, because there's more truth in it than I'd like to admit.

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