Clearly my brain didn’t get the memo from yesterday – It’s Time to Move On!
I think all of us have had the experience of being tortured by our own minds. Some profoundly upsetting external event happens to us, and our mind keeps returning to it, like a dog chewing a bone. This is much more likely to happen the stronger our emotions were surrounding the event.
In psychological terms, it’s called rumination. And people with depression seem to be experts at it.
It’s all well and good me making blog posts advocating that people just accept external circumstances which are outside of their control… but actually making yourself do it when the shit hits the fan? That’s much harder.
My heart is still heavy from the Twin Towers double friendship loss. That’s OK. It’s OK to feel sad sometimes. I want to just accept that feeling, be gentle with myself, and it’ll pass in its own time.
What I definitely want to avoid is all the debating, arguing and reasoning which I’ve been doing in my own head. I already know what external action I’m going to take – nothing – so why does my logical brain find it so irresistible to obsessively problem solve issues which don’t need to be solved?!
What’s the point of developing killer counter-arguments, explanations and justifications in your head if you’re never going to use them? It’s such a waste of energy.
This morning I came dangerously close to hitting the nuclear button again, causing Mutually Assured Destruction. My anger and bitterness were getting out of control. Thankfully, I talked myself down. My friends who did this to me – they have no idea how much I could ruin their day… their week… their lives, if I wanted to. But equally, I know that they could retaliate and destroy many things in my life which I hold dear. It’s just not worth it.
Clearly, that road leads only to Hell.
And then, when the anger leaves, a cold emptiness fills its place. There’s a hollow void where my soul should be.
The friends who inflicted this mental torture on me (well OK, I did it mostly to myself) – I bet they’re not doing these mental somersaults, over and over again. I bet they’ve moved on already, and they don’t think about me or my suffering at all.
The seem to think they’re better than me. They don’t have time for me, I’m not important to them and their glamorous lives. They have better friends who they consistently prioritise over me. They don’t respect and admire me the way I respect and admire them.
Why would they want to associate with scum like me anyway, someone with multiple mental health issues who seems determined to fuck up his own life?
Why can’t they even treat me with some basic human dignity and kindness? Why won’t they even listen to me?
Perhaps they never really thought about me, had no empathy for me, didn’t really respect me or care about me anyway…
That’s my “helpless victim” script trying to start up again. I’m not going to let it.
The Stoics believed that much of human suffering stems from us insisting the world should be different to how it actually is. In reality, nothing is good or bad… it just is.
It’s just that us humans love to invent stories to tell ourselves about the world. It’s us that adds in the “good” and “bad”. And it’s all in our heads.
Today I’m going to focus on getting back to that place of mindfulness, the calm equanimity. Feelings and thoughts will come and go. I am just their witness.
And when I’m calm, with a clear head, I can return my focus back to what I know is important:
Choose the next meaningful activity and focus tightly on it, remembering to let go of everything that’s outside my control.
That’s the essence of my Tidy Your Room graphic v2. And it’s really quite epic.
When I return to what’s meaningful, I reconnect with my Higher Power. And it fills me with love.