So, just to start 2015 off with a bang, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: My mind is like a bad neighborhood – no one should go in there alone. And yet I’ve lived with it and been plagued by all manner of the detrimental, destructive thinking processes and patterns that reside there almost all of my life. Kay Redfield Jamison even wrote a book about it – “An Unquiet Mind”. Yes, like a hamster on a wheel my mind never stops, and even when there’s nothing negative going on per se, it will create something for me to be negative about, just to be sure about the inevitability of it and all.
Case in point – judging people. Ever find yourself just seething over something you perceived someone to have done to you and then proceed to mentally accuse them of this, that, or the other on top of their original “offense”? No decent human being who thought anything of you would do such such dastardly deed, because, let’s face it – people can be real assholes…Only to find out – for the eleventy millionth time – it really wasn’t anything like what you thought it was?
Conversely, have you ever given your consent, trust and/or loyalty to someone or something, all while blowing past that little voice in the back of your head or the sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach telling you that you ought do something a tad differently (or at the very least consider it more carefully), and then have it blow up in your face, leaving you with a nasty case of the “What ifs and If onlys”?
Have you ever done these things enough that you’ve come to feel extremely doubtful of your worth and abilities, or wonder why you’re scared to death of other people?
This is all not to mention the main event – the judging you do of yourself, just to be completely thorough; I mean, no one beats me up like I do. For example, I’ve judged myself almost non-stop throughout the writing of this piece over every…little…detail. Oh, dear, is there a warehouse located somewhere in, say, Greenland that I might be able to store all of this in instead of my brain? Yeah, I didn’t think so…
And all that’s just the tip of the iceberg. To say these unfortunate distortions of reality are bewitching, bothersome, and bewildering is like saying Debbie’s a bit of a downer, or that wild cats have a few sharp claws. And some teeth. Oh yes, they do have teeth.
You know what else these unfortunate distortions of reality are also like, almost exactly in that they seem to occur organically and naturally and therefore I buy them as authentic and pure without question? They’re a LOT like the addict thought process, and the results are quite similar – they are cyphers designed to keep one clinging to them as a barnacle to a ship, but that get one nowhere of their own volition. Oh, and they make you feel bad.
But grinning and bearing it aside and in spite of all this, every once in a while an inspired thought grounded in truthful clarity elbows it’s way through the crowd to me, and it’s in those moments that I cling to the belief that it really doesn’t have to be this way. And I don’t know about you, but I’m damned tired of it, so I declare to you all here and now that in addition to what I hope will be helpful, inspiring and useful posts throughout the New Year, I will be concentrating a great deal of my energy on learning how to think in new, different, vastly better ways. Because if I learned one thing about myself in sobriety that I never knew before, it’s this: I can.
Hope you’ll come along for the ride and maybe even share some of your own stuff, too.