Month: May 2019

Depression is not a joke – a poem

They think you are insane
They think you have a choice
They think you can voice your pain
They think you can get a better solution

They think you are a rich spoilt kid
They see you as an immature kid who don’t know what life holds
They feel like you are out there seeking attention
They don’t think you need help

So they just sit and watch
As you fall deep into depression
As you continue to tear your skin apart
As your life falls into tiny myriad pieces
Waiting for you to get a solution
Waiting for you to suck it up
Waiting for you to move on like an adult

But how can you move on?
If you stuck in the oceans of depression?
When cutting is the only solution you have?
When overdosing is the only thing that ease the pain?
When smoking your lungs out is the only art you know?

How can you move on if your eyes are blinded by tears?
How can you heal if you got cancerous wounds?
How can you listen to the voice of hope when sadness have deafened your ears?
How people?
How can you pray for help if you don’t even know how to pray?
How can you ask for help if you forgot how to voice your voice?
How can you dance to healing if your legs are stiff?

So you just opt to hurt in silence
Hide the scars beneath your jeans
Smile with your eyes and laugh with your mouth closed
Wear a plastic happy face for all to see
And wait for the devil to save you from the demons inside

©magi
Words from my soul

Dealing with time shortage

At times, 168 hours are not enough to accomplish all the things on the “weekly” list. A great deal about mental health and self care is recognizing and accepting time limitation as the stress trigger it is. And then taking control of time to make it work for us, not stress us.

This week, we could not put together a planned post because…time. My first reaction after I realized that I wouldn’t be able to put the post together, was disappointment in myself. I beat myselft up for some hours before I realized the foolishness of my thoughts. The 2nd reaction was to ask for help from our GC members and team. “Can anyone else do this?” In management studies, we were taught that the most important skill in time and people management is DELEGATING. Let someone else do the things you can’t reach and the things you are not good at.

The answer was no, no one could write this week. All of us have had a busy and exhausting April (school holidays). For us, May is just starting to settle as it ends. Additionally, it is not easy to write about our innermost thoughts and feelings. It takes courage, time and energy.

I am travelling, working, learning new things, meeting new people, seeing a new place – and all this needs time to engage; plus time for rest – because getting used to something new, to change – takes energy. Mental energy and emotional energy.

Bear with us!

New post coming next Wednesday as usual! Stay tuned


Just a reminder, until next week, keep Your Mind focused on the things that matter.

Sometimes…

Sometimes you try to do the right things for yourself and they turn out to be the wrong things. Later, you try to make amends for screwing up and you end up in a deeper hole than you were before.

Sometimes change feels impossible.

There are days you have to walk because cannot afford public transportation. You bust your ass trying, and then you realize that the right you tried to make was actually a wrong.

Sometimes you love your job until you can’t get along with a co-worker. Then you suddenly realize how much you wish that you didn’t have a trainee’s job. You realize how mentally unstable you are when your manager won’t even consider you for a promotion because she’s seen you fall apart. Sometimes mental illness is your reward at work.

Sometimes you can’t finish your education because you have no idea what you want to be. By the time you figure it out, your loans are in default and the people in charge of deferring them won’t even pick up the phone to answer your call. Because they’re so busy they can’t be bothered.

Sometimes you can’t say no to going out to lunch with a friend because they look forward to hanging out with you. So you spend the last penny of the money you don’t have. You even pretend like you can afford Uber rides. Other times you say yes to a roommate because it should be your responsibility to help with household supplies and then you end up walking because you had to pay unexpectedly for said household supplies.

Sometimes you have to lie to your parents and pretend like you’re not walking an hour just to get home. You don’t want to annoy them by asking for money because you were insistent on changing your life. Insistent on moving out believing it would change you and help you grow. Instead, you can’t even ask your roommate for a ride because then she will know that you can barely afford rent.

Sometimes you quit drinking, you start working out, you try to make changes, and things still go wrong. Other times you wish you could get your abusive husband back, even though you know you are safer alone. At least he took care of you when he saw you were down. He lied how much he loved you and sometimes it can feel better to be lied to by an abuser than to be alone.

Sometimes you wish you wouldn’t have moved out so you didn’t have to pretend to smile and act like everything was okay. Other days you wish you could just be alone, so you didn’t have to explain the feelings that you had that were so rotten. Eating you up inside so if you had to explain them to someone they would think that it was you who was rotten.

Sometimes you wish you wouldn’t have aborted that baby. You wonder what it would be like to have a child of your own. Except that you know you’d be jealous of her, jealous of the life you would give up to give her a chance at her own life. Especially knowing that no one gave up their life to give you any kind of chance. You would resent her and be unkind, which would make you feel like a shit person. You already feel shitty.

Sometimes, no matter how much you call out for God, it’s like he doesn’t even hear you. Life doesn’t hear you and there is only defeat.

How to handle the damaging cycle of Shame

We all feel some level of shame for something – either something from the past or something in our current lives. The danger with shame is that we can mistake feeling sorry for a mistake – guilt, repentance, remorse, regret etc – with shame. On the other side, we need to feel something when we really have made a mess, something that motivates or pushes us into correcting our mistakes, and doing better. Imagine this:

(a) some people have so much shame, they are totally paralyzed by shame

(b) other people have so little shame, they have no capacity for empathy or deep human connections

The middle ground is where we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, feel less ashamed, without being totally shameless:

  • we accept that we have been shamed for some things all our lives, and it has affected us
  • recognize that we cannot live in a state of shame, because it is painful and lonely
  • start owning the things that we have been shamed for, and re-writing the script on them

My favourite researcher, Brené Brown, researches shame and vulnerability. Brené puts words, feelings and reactions to those small responses and short phrases that people respond to you with that make you feel guilty, ashamed, anxious, stressed and/or humiliated. In the The Call to Courage, Brené says that Shame is such a formidable foe, because it keeps us terrified of speaking it; which gives shame time and space to grow in silence. So, shame needs silence and silencing in order for it to thrive and negatively affect our lives. As soon as you can start putting words into the things that make you feel shame, shame loses a lot of its power.

Shame and the Brain

Our brain has 2 parts:

(1) the prefrontal cortex, where we think, organize, rationalize our experiences and thoughts – for example, we have met a girl/boy we like; can we trust them? shall we follow up and ask for a date? wait and see if they ask us first? pretend we are not interested to avoid being hurt? or shall we send a friend to investigate if our love interest is committed to someone else?

(2) the limbic system, where we make quick decisions – for example if we are attacked, we have to make a quick decision; shall we fight? Shall we run? Or just freeze so the attacker thinks we are dead and leaves us alone?

Too much Shame hijacks (2) the limbic system, making us react with our emotions and feelings before we have had time to think through our reactions and the consequences of our reactions. People who have experienced persistent exposure to shame in their childhood, experience shame as trauma. If something shaming happens to us, we are unable to stay in the rational part of our mind which means we react with our feelings as they unfold.

Shame as Childhood Trauma

For children, shame is the threat of being unlovable, which is a real physical trauma because we feel rejection physically. The constant threat of being unloved leaves us eternally afraid of rejection. Remember when you were sad, weeping and wanted a hug from your mother or father and did not receive it? Remember the physical stress you felt?

As we get to teenage years and start to explore who we are, and where we fit in the world; if we are otherwise surrounded by a society and institutions that continually tell us that we are worthless because of something we are, or something we did, or something that happened to us – then we grow up with the trauma of being worthless. Even if we are brought up in the most supportive, loving family of origin.

Example:

Imagine a simple scenario where you were often compared to a sibling who was smarter, quieter, stabler, more considerate etc than you. What happens is; although you love your sibling, you start to resent them for being the one that reflects your weaknesses. You also feel anger against your parents for failing to see you as enough. Just the way you are. You know that you are expected to love your siblings and parents, so, you do not want anyone to know how you really feel. You pretend to love them, just as the neighbours love each other. So you feel ashamed for:

(i) being worse than your sibling (that is what you have been told)

(ii) feeling anger and resentment for your sibling and parents – who you love most of the time

(iii) not being able to say exactly what you feel, when you feel it, because you are afraid that if you say what you feel; you will be rejected.

(ii) pretending to feel something you are not feeling (our inner selves hate when we are feeling one thing, and being forced to pretend to feel something else.)

Now, imagine you meet a spouse that loves you. Everyone can see that your spouse loves you, except you. You keep wondering:

  • why would she love me?
  • when is my spouse going to find out that I am not good enough (what we were told as children, when we were being compared)
  • why is my spouse pretending to love me? I am unlovable! ( being negatively compared to someone makes us feel unseen and unloved.)

The perceived attack

So one day, your spouse innocently jokes about how bad you are at something minor, like doing the dishes.

“Oh honey, you are so bad at doing the dishes..!” they laugh.

You feel anger rising, blinding you – and before you know it, you reply that if your spouse is the dishwashing-master of the village, they can do the dishes themselves. You match out. At the door, you observe yourself turn around; and you hear yourself shouting

by-the-way, you are a terrible driver! But do I ever tell you that? Noooo because I am kind bla bla bla…”

which ends with

“…if you are the Greatest Of All Time at all things, you can drive yourself to the hospital appointment that I had promised to drive you to. I cannot be near you right now!..”

You hear the door slam behind you.

See how quickly that escalated.

In an hour, you are wondering what the hell is wrong with you? Why you reacted the way you did? How to take it all back and speak to your spouse? If your spouse really loves you, coz you are such a mess?

In above example, your mind recognized the pattern of comparison that hurt you as a child and your limbic system reacted on your behalf – to protect you, it screamt

“danger! danger! we are being compared again! it hurts! it’s going to hurt! run! run! Run!”

The shame-cycle closes into itself

Because you cannot just turn around and walk out without a word, your mouth said the words you were thinking in your fear and shame.

Later, you are ashamed that you did not handle that situation better. You are angry at yourself. Also, you have just confirmed to yourself that the childhood comparisons were right – your are not good enough. You are not worthy. It is a damaging cycle.

Being Vulnerability is How to deal with shame

The solution is as mentioned in the beginning – a little vulnerability and a willingness to speak out about your shame, guilt or pain. To train yourself to use your rational mind (1) in situations such as the one above.

Your rational mind would have thought in slow motion:

“wow! I’m feeling compared, but to whom? It scares me that my spouse may not love me if I am not better at doing dishes. I am feeling as I felt when I was a child.. I am afraid.”

If you have understood your shame and are working at healing, you would probably inform your spouse of your feelings, thoughts and reactions. From a place of trust – where you believe in the love your spouse has for you, and the potential your relationship has, if you would just speak up.

“That felt like a comparison and it made me feel [whatever you are feeling]. I am not good at doing dishes, because I never did it that much when I was growing up. I was not allowed to do it, because my parents felt that my brother/sister did it better. But I thought that I can learn to so I can help you out…”

Or something in similar words, that opens up any relationship, for both of you to share and heal.

I believe that life is much more fun, if you have someone loving your faults, that it is when you are alone, hiding your faults in your empty house.

Have you dealt with something that used to shame you into anger, sadness or other negative feelings and reactions? How did you deal with the shame?

The paradox of a peaceful, harmonious life

How do you define Harmony? How do you define Peace-of-mind?

Harmony is defined as forming a pleasing or consistent whole. To be free from disagreement or dissent. Which in its essence requires us to consciously reduce the chaos and messes in our lives.

Peace of mind is the feeling of being safe or protected. It can be physical safety, or it can be emotional safety.

Physical and Emotional safety

I always though that we all understand physical safety, but sometimes I wonder. Some people seem to run towards trouble with their mobile phones filming or taking photos. Althout, we have all been taught to run when chased, to duck when someone tries to punch our face, to scream when we are threatened. Fight back if we cannot run and hide and be extra careful when we use sharp tools, when we walk/drive on slippery roads. Even more careful when we climb trees or buildings.

For women, physical safety extends to sexual safety.

Whereas emotional safety is about feeling safe to be vulnerable – to expose and share your deepest feelings, fears and thoughts with someone. Someone who does not use your thoughts and vulnerabilities against you, who does not judge you and one who does not share your secrets with others. Your own person who does not mock your fears.

The Paradox of Harmony and Peace-of-Mind

Therefore, harmony and peace of mind are achieved by those who are at peace with the world around them. Those who feel physically and emotionally safe in their daily lives.

I believe that the reason we all long for harmony and peace-of-mind is because we instictively know that it is hard to build stable, rich lives if we are not in harmony with ourselves and with the world around us. It’s like building a city while a war is ongoing. Impossible.

The paradox is, our need for harmony and peace of mind does not seem to translate into habits or choices that maintain harmony and peace of mind.

Have you noticed how we say “I need peace of mind” or something similar and then go right ahead to create chaos? How we succeed, by the grace or by effort, to create quiet, harmonious lives and then get bored with the harmony? Leading us to actively seek excitement, even when the excitement ruins our lives in the long-term.

We all know friends or relatives who got bored with their lives and went out to seek some excitement. Excitement that escalated into chaos, into pain, into ruin.

And all the time, they were ruining their lives, they were also telling everyone who cared to listen –

“all I want is peace of mind. Some quiet.”

How could you achieve peace of mind if you add unnecessary complications to your life?

Self-sabotage

Some very clever people say that what we are doing is self-sabotage. Behavior is defined as self-sabotaging when it starts to create problems in our lives and interferes with long-standing goals. Some of the most common self-sabotaging behaviors are procrastination, self-medication with drugs or alcohol, un-protected meaningless sex with people we don’t care about, comfort eating, and other forms of self-injury. Many of these acts may seem helpful in the moment, because they provide temporary relief. However, these acts eventually undermine us, especially when we engage in them repeatedly and over a long period of time.

Unfortunately, we aren’t always aware of our own self-sabotage, or the damage it is causing. This is basically because the effects of our behavior may not show up immediately. We all know how alcohol and drugs can ruin a whole family over time. Although drinking can be such fun in the beginning – before we start taking every cent left in our pockets to the bar.

Even worse, connecting a behavior to it’s self-defeating consequences is no guarantee that a person will stop repeating the behavior.

To create and maintain wealth, one needs a lot of peace-of-mind, and time. A chaotic life will suddenly and destructively break ties with people, situations, organizations and thoughts that are settled and reaching into goals

That being said, how do you answer the questions below?

  1. How do you create a harmonious state or to maintain your peace of mind?
  2. What do you need in order to feel harmonious?
  3. Do you know what disturbs your peace of mind?
  4. What kind of people do you need around you for you to be at peace?
  5. If you find harmony and peace, do you really enjoy it or do you long for some excitement?
  6. Can you have harmony, peace of mind and excitement in the same life?
  7. Are you aware what type or level of excitement you need – that you cannot get from a harmonious, peaceful life?

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