Depression and anxiety lie to you.
This is probably the greatest personal knowledge I have ever gained.
Not believing every single one of your own thoughts can take some getting used to. Not owning every idea or opinion that sweeps through your mind certainly tests the most switched on of people and yet, us humans don’t always make it easy for ourselves.
As I have mentioned in my previous posts, it is 5 years since I decided to make huge lifestyle changes, or to be more honest, 5 years since life whacked me upside the head with the message that my life was a driverless car veering towards a cliff edge and that I needed to jump in and grab the steering wheel and fast.
In 2014, after taking heed of that message, I sought out a therapist and began to differentiate between the thoughts that served me and the ones whose only purpose were to keep me from achieving happiness.
Fear is innate. Just like a Sat Nav can be programmed to warn you about delays on the road up ahead, we are programmed to sense danger and then act accordingly. Bloody brilliant bit of kit for when there were sabre tooth tigers roaming around looking for tasty humans to snack on, but maybe slightly too sensitively activated in today’s more evolved world.
It was all very new to me. I’d been on auto pilot for a long time and so tuning into my own head was not only alien but scary. With the guidance of an incredible therapist, the more I did it, the less scary it became and the more I could make changes to prove the depression wrong, the better my daily life got.
I was a few months into this new approach and vividly recall the first moment I actively heard how nasty my inner voice could be. I was painting the inside of a wardrobe, a simple enough task, and suddenly, the voice began to have a field day.
‘Who do you think you are? You can’t paint.’
‘Look at the state of the wall now, you shouldn’t have bothered.’
‘You’re doing a shit job, you may as well stop now, you’ve ruined it and are only going to make it worse.’
I was dumbfounded. I had no idea I could talk to myself like that. I wouldn’t dream of saying those things to anyone else and yet, here I was, having a go at myself with no justification at all. I mean, I’m not a qualified decorator but that didn’t mean I couldn’t have a go. Alongside the tools therapy was teaching me, meditation was helping me to gain the strength to be positive and so my teacher brain began to kick in and override this bully in my head.
‘I’ll keep going.’ I told myself, ‘Looks a bit of a mess but it’s the first time I’ve done this. I’ve only just started so can fix it as I go.’
In the past, would I have listened to that bully and stopped painting? Probably.
Would I have even started painting? Probably not.
The best thing about hearing those thoughts and then proving them wrong is the ability to say ‘Look, I did it. No, its not perfect but nothing is and I am proud of what I did.’
I understand why I avoided tuning into that voice of doom for so long; it’s powerful, nasty and quite frankly, evil, however by bravely tuning into the things it had to say, rather than take away my power, it gave me back the power to say. ‘I hear you, thanks for your input but I am going to keep painting because you are 100% wrong. Now, Kindly f*ck off.’
Depression and anxiety lie to you and it’s bloody brilliant when you prove them wrong.
I will leave you with this quote from the incredible writer, Liz Gilbert who says to her fear: “You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice. But you are not allowed to have a vote. You’re not allowed to touch the road maps, or suggest detours. You’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. Dude, you’re not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.”
From now on, I’m driving and enjoying the ride as much as