How Soon Is Now

A fairly depressing song – from a fairly depressing band – and certainly a lead singer with somewhat questionable attitudes and beliefs. Relax. I am not going down that path. It is the thoughtfulness that this song brings out that I relate to. There is also some empathy with the background to the song and the story it tells (the challenges of an extremely shy individual) even though it is not really shyness that is trapping me within myself – more like a general loss of confidence and belief. It is also, a tremendous piece of music that I listen to often as it constantly challenges my emotions and thought processes – which is something I really enjoy from music.

I think that some of my challenges have become, to quote Morrissey, “criminally vulgar”. I have thought about this a lot over the last week or so, that the best way to explain my current mood is that my brain is stopping me from living my life. It sounds like a stupid thing to say given that it is your brain that makes you function – but the brain is such a powerful piece of matter that when it is out of control, it has an ability to send you down so many internal rabbit holes that you essentially freeze and cannot move. I mentioned last time that I am living my life with my autopilot being on autopilot – and I firmly believe it is my brain that is locking me there.

The best way to visualise this is to imagine one of those kids mazes you see on menus or in puzzle books. Where the lost cat has to get back to its family or something – and you have to draw the journey that reunites them. Well, at the moment, my head is like that. Except when you draw the lines there is no re-uniting at any stage. Just a thought process that leads to a dead end. So for example: “I am feeling inadequate and incapable at work – that everything I do is wrong”. So I go through the thought process – look at anything I might have achieved, how I did it, what went well. But as soon as I do that and start to get a glimmer of hope – the thoughts kick in. “It was luck”. “You got lucky”. “It wasn’t down to you” So then the dead end is reached. It is a constant process at the moment and dead ends are being reached every single day – several times over. Most days at the moment it takes all my energy to get out of bed and face the day. And it has to stop.

I am combatting this in a number of ways. I have spoken before about the value of having a coach to speak to on a regular basis – that is certainly key. In addition to that, learning about the power of the brain and how to work with it is a huge step – that certainly takes a lot of work. But one of the most important elements is finding time to relax – which is something I find really hard. People who know me – see me as someone who struggles to sit still – never mind switch off. Over the years I have developed some very bad habits which need breaking. So, I have taken the first steps in terms of taking control – and trying to create healthier, more positive habits. I have found a decent app called Done – which allows me to set goals and reminders around multiple areas. Now, I am pretty crap at setting myself goals – they are normally unrealistic and something I would never be able to achieve. This time, I have thought long and hard about what I want to change – and what will help me do that. I have broken the goals down into a few categories such as healthy eating and hydration, relaxation, exercise and “self”. Healthy eating includes a goal of fruit and veg per day, enough water and a calorie cap; exercise is a step goal for the week as well as a weekly target number of minutes of more vigorous exercise , relaxation is ensuring I do something in a morning and in an evening that switches my brain off – including meditation or reading and “self” is reading 10 attestations to myself several times a day to ensure I have some positive thoughts entering my head along with listening to helpful audiobooks such as The Power of Now or The Man Who Mistook His Job For His Life. Now, it is early days (a week or so in) and I haven’t ticked every box every day – but I can feel some tiny tiny steps forward. The Attestations are hard. I haven’t written them yet. I have tried to write them a few times but I just cannot get it done. I find it very very hard right now to think anything positive about myself – but I need to get over that. Having the app with reminders doesn’t make it tense either – I know that setting goals and not hitting them brings tension and a sense of failure – but the feeling here is slightly different. I look at it as a gentle nudge in the right direction. I think it will help.

To summarise – I am for sure in a black hole right now. It is deep and I have been in it longer than every before. My feelings of inadequacy, failure – that everything in every situation is my fault – are stronger than ever. But. I am clawing my way out. I have taken some form of control. I am taking steps in the right direction. It is a fight – but it is a fight well worth taking on and I am determined that I will win. Holding myself accountable to myself is key. I only need my validation. That is where I need to get to. And I will.

Thanks for being there and reading.

Truest

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