I implore you fight the isolation that anxiety and depression so often drives us towards because that isolation means that you have only your own over-critical, over-analytical, overly negative view of yourself and your situation.
The last few days I have been plagued by worry. It’s ironic actually because Thursday I was thinking that it’s been several weeks since I have had issues with my mind seemingly doing something different than what it is I’m trying to get it to do. Depression and anxiety have an, lets call it, interesting effect on the mind. Thoughts begin as very small, insignificant thoughts that we have everyday and then before you realize what you’re doing you’ve created a world centered around that thought that has every possible scenario in which everything has turned against you. It’s about the only way I know how to describe it. In your mind you are isolated, out of luck, and without options.
It’s not really anything more than the typical things that we face in life that can create these issues, largely because it’s not about the issues themselves but rather how our minds handle them. Concerns over schedule, budget, and other minute things that we all face on a day-to-day basis.
It’s odd really because I simultaneously feel the urge to get up and take drastic measures and yet be overwhelmed and do nothing at all. By drastic I mean take drastic measures to try to correct some of the issues that I may be feeling. I feel the urge to try to make more money to alleviate financial issues (because it’s apparently just that easy) and simultaneously slash what we spend. Even items that are reasonable and necessary fall in the crosshairs of anxiety.
I have the urge to remove prudent things from our lives solely for the sake of alleviating the stress that I feel at the moment. It’s weird because it feels like I’m willing to sacrifice important things just so that this feeling will go away. My entire life, past, present, and future are all at the mercy of the things that grip my mind at this very instant.
And yet, at the same time, I am overwhelmed with thought and worry to such a degree that, despite the urge to get up and fix everything all at once, I have no urge at all. Inertia has taken hold of me and my mind has intensified it so that it locks me to my chair. Unable to move, willing and yet unwilling all at the same time. The tension caused by dichotomy only intensifies what I feel and brings it to the forefront. I feel simultaneously lost, in control, and spiraling out of control all at the same time.
Inertia has taken hold of me and my mind has intensified it so that it locks me to my chair.
It’s at this point that memory becomes very important. Memories of where we have been, how we fared, how we have handled similar situations and come out ok, where we are going, what our goals are, all the tools at our disposal, the people willing to help, and on, and on, and on. Unfortunately, as I’ve taught many times, memory is something that is too often incorrectly trained. An incorrectly trained memory is a memory that remembers things that we don’t need to immediately recall and looks past those vital moments of success, of lessons learned, and of outside help that are the very core of our calm. It’s a memory that runs wild and reminds us of all of our failures, all of our stumbles, all of our stresses. It denies our victories and accentuates our losses.
I have to remind myself about fallacies in my thinking. That’s something I’ve been working on quite a bit lately. So much of my issues, and I believe so many people’s issues, revolve around faulty thinking. My tendency to is focus only on negative thoughts and deny the positives that come in these situations. Specifically my mind locks into my inadequacies and brushes past my strengths. I tend to focus on the negativity that surrounds my thinking about myself and my self image-I lay criticisms on myself that no one else sees as prudent, but they are real to me.
It’s like trying to walk through a mirage. Everything I feel and I think I see seems so real. It all makes sense and all adds up. At the very center of what is going wrong in my life is: me. It’s plain to see. Isn’t it? Only it’s not. What’s going on in my mind is a creation of faulty thinking and faulty remembering. What I see doesn’t actually exist. I’ve started to make a habit of asking questions of those close to me and believing what they tell (perhaps even harder than asking) about the situations in my life-the causes, remedies, and affects. The mirage begins to fade as I listen to their opinions about what I’m facing, how I’m facing it, and where I move from here. They tell me stories of myself that sound like I’m listening about someone else. The strength they tell me about is strength that feels like it’s about someone else. I know I went through what they are telling me, I know I handled it the way they are telling me, but it doesn’t feel like it was me. My memory chose to focus on something else, so I rely on the memories of those I trust.
Everything I feel and I think I see seems so real. It all makes sense and all adds up. At the very center of what is going wrong in my life is: me. It’s plain to see. Isn’t it?
I also remind myself of my faith. Faith is important in remembering rightly because it is such a large part of my identity. I remind myself of the fact that I worship a God that loves. A God that cares. Not the uncaring God that he is accused of, but a God who loves, a God who sacrifices, and a God who even when I seem to not have enough, consistently provides. He doesn’t provide in the terms of an extra hour or two in the day or of a lotto ticket or an unexplained stranger walking up and giving me $1000. My mind seeks something that shallow; God seeks to shape my heart and my mind to his. He provides in terms of help from those around me, and unexpected word of encouragement, a reshaping and refocusing of my mind in terms of wealth and in terms of budgets and numbers.
Anxiety and depression may not be memory disorders, but they certainly cause issues in our memory. I implore you fight the isolation that anxiety and depression so often drives us towards because that isolation means that you have only your own over-critical, over-analytical, overly negative view of yourself and your situation. A friend once told me to let your friends be your friends. Their memory and perspective of you is better than yours.