Exposing my unkind brain

My best friend, Ladyface E, tells me she wishes there was a button in my head I could simply push to make unnecessary worries go away, or that there was a negative chip which could just be removed.

I have been inspired by a post over at Sofa and the City to be honest today. My brain, at its best, is quick, alert, imaginative and innovative. At worst, it kicks the shit out of me.

I put myself through such utter turmoil. Often I simply cannot enjoy the present moment because I am worrying it might be taken away or ruined somehow, or I’ve just done or said something wrong or bad to ruin it myself! And I am so super scared of getting hurt. Being lied to, or cheated on, or abandoned. Scared that I’ll lose the things that make me happy.

I’ve had my fair share of bad stuff, and having had depression last year I am uber-protective of myself now, but sometimes it is completely unnecessary. My brain scans any meaningful experience or relationship for any possible negative outcome or hurtful scenario so that I cannot be taken by surprise if something bad happens. I will at least be able to say “I saw you coming, you didn’t take me for a fool”.

So I put a dampener on things from the start. And when life is being really sucky, I can feel myself slip into hopelessness, all my good efforts become undone, my grip on my equilibrium becomes shaky and quick as a flash out come the insecurities stronger than ever to taunt me and suddenly there’s clues all around me that indeed I am being lied to, or that I am going to get hurt.

And then, as though that’s not enough, I bully myself. I call myself stupid for doing it, I clobber myself with guilt that anyone else may have suffered from my actions, because I am not a stronger person, and I torture myself with paranoia that said others may just about have had enough of me this time.

Recognition is the first leap in the road to recovery and once you know what your silly brain is up to, you can work on taking ownership for your thoughts. You can catch the unhelpful thought in the act, and then refuse to give it credence. Often when you sit down with a bad thought and ask it where it comes from and whether it would care to justify itself, it looks a bit embarrassed and woefully admits that actually it has no basis in logic or fact but is either totally imagined, or a defence mechanism from a long-ago event which it has been clinging onto for lack of reevaluation.

But if you’re going to eradicate these bad thoughts, you need to do it genuinely. Not, as I sometimes do, just bottle it up and hope it wanders off on its own accord. My emotions read all over my face so pretending I’m fine when I have a bad thought or anxiety in my head never, ever works. It is hard to change the way you think, and it frustrates me how quick my brain is and how slow I am to catch it.

But it takes as long as it takes. The key is understanding where it comes from, then questioning whether it is actually true or relevant, and then giving yourself added support in the area that feels lacking so the ill-guided defense mechanism is no longer needed.

In writing all this, while I am still wishing I didn’t have such a powerful force to grapple with, I can also see the good it has accomplished and the knowledge I have acquired in a year. I have become a friend to myself. My self esteem has improved. I have made myself a priority. I have made big steps towards trusting others.

And my goals going forward? To trust more. To stop expecting the world to shit on me. But to realise that I am strong enough if it does.

This entry was posted in Depression, Fears, Life, Naughty Brain, Self Development, Thinking. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Exposing my unkind brain

  1. Nanola says:

    Very insightful. As you said, insight is the first step to changing anything. You know HOW you’d like to think to feel happy but just need to take the right steps to get there. Also, being able to acknowledge your positive qualities is key. One thing that is helping me a lot is Eastern Philosophy, teaching about living in the moment and compassion. By the way, what a beautiful picture on your post!

    • justbtheblog says:

      Hi Nanola. Thank you very much for your comment, I am so pleased you thought my post was insightful. It is a lifelong process: either an adventure you are exploring or a bog you are dragging yourself through, depending on your mood! I will look into your suggestion of Eastern Philosophy, it sounds as though the teachings would be really beneficial for me to immerse myself in. Oh and yours is my very first comment 🙂 So thank you!

  2. Karen says:

    Hi Bethany
    I am so honoured that you would quote my blog as inspiration – that inspires me. Which seems like some kind of positive loop of thoughts. How wonderful is that.

    This is so beautifully written. I particularly love the idea that a thought can be embarrassed, that has tickled me. I also admire that you are becoming a compassionate friend to yourself, I try and do this too and I KNOW it helps.

    I have had some experience with depression so I have an insight into how awful it can be. And I am very familiar with crazy thoughts in general! I use a lot of NLP techniques to try and stop the negative thinking patterns and re introduce more positive ones. And I agree with Nanola (great name) about the benefit of Eastern Philosophy.

    Good luck on nipping those thoughts in the bud Bethany…xx

    • justbtheblog says:

      Hi Karen. It is a wonderful loop! Especially that you inspired my post and now here you are commenting on mine, I am honoured too. Your blog gave me confidence to be honest and share with people, because I realised from your writing that it is ok to do so.

      I am glad I am not alone with the crazy thoughts 🙂 Imagination is a wonderful gift, except when our brains use it for evil lol. I did research NLP a little last year and was a bit intimidated by the lingo, but I think it would be well worth my giving it another shot now I have more knowledge behind me.

      Thank you again for the inspiration, and your kind comment x

  3. Maria says:

    Reading your blog was like i had written it myself. This is exactly the way i feel and my constant daily battle with my emotions and crazy brain. I have made a big change in my life recently and i have gained much strength but i still fall off the wagon sometimes.

    Its good to know im not alone in how im feeling.

    All the best, keep fighting

    Maria x

    • justbtheblog says:

      Hi Maria. Reading your comment I was hit by a ‘wow’ moment. To see someone else say “I can relate”, to know that is another brain out there which can be as silly as mine, makes me feel worlds less alone.

      I often think “No-one else seems to have these struggles and these nonsensical thought patterns. People just seem to glide through life, all well-adjusted and rational, how do they do it?!”. That’s the self-bullying creeping in, it’s so sneaky!

      You are definitely not alone. I wish you all the best as well, we should be very proud of ourselves for the changes we have made. x

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