Written for A journey to healing.
One day, my sister mentioned to me that whenever she goes on her knees and she remembers to pray for her family members and she happens to think of me, she prays to God to help my “mood swings” go away. Now you might be wondering how anyone or myself (in this case) is supposed to feel about that. Considering we were in an argument before she said that I was very much offended and felt insulted. “Oh, I think it’s a harmless statement” you may say. But at that moment, I felt hurt and like every time, I started crying.
Classic me didn’t want to show I was crying so… (I don’t have the vocabulary to describe how I was feeling in useful details so let’s say I was crying inside). You could tell from how swollen I became. My chest was out, my face started turning red, my lips were quivering and as I said, Classic me, so I tried to speak, my brain worked so fast that I had a brilliant comeback for her which was “I wish you’d rather not pray for me, because clearly you are a sociopath and you didn’t even think about me before saying what you just said”. (okay, I take the part that I mentioned that was a brilliant comeback back. That makes zero sense and it’s total BS.) Thank goodness I didn’t say that.
Fast forward to a few days after a month, and that’s been my most traumatizing thought, which subtly includes me being poor (just as health is a holistic approach, me saying I’m poor is equally holistic. Spiritually, physically/financially, emotionally, intellectually, and socially, I am poor!) and how I couldn’t secure a love emoji beside my contact saved on somebody’s phone (Yes, problem child. I tell you).
I keep thinking, am I actually suffering from mood swings? Then I start to replay all the times I catch myself switching moods like a hopping monkey. But I keep thinking, it’s because someone or something was set off that’s why my mood changed, how do I control my mood when I am hurt, happy, annoyed, sick, tired, etc. I am actually feeling something and whatever shows outside is an affect. What am I supposed to do? The only thing in my power that I should be selfish about, I can’t?
Over the years nearing adulthood, I’ve made deliberate efforts to make sure my first approach to problem-solving is reasoning in depth about how all of the problems are beyond ordinary efforts to problem-solving rather than utterly leaving it for a supernatural course to take over. I was convinced to an extent coupled with how tired I was or what people perceive me to be, I outwardly declared that God would help me with this one.
I knew something was wrong but I also knew it’s just a normal reaction to what’s before me or the sequence of happenings. My psychologist, however, had her theory but I’ve been with her long enough to have made an almost accurate profiling of her and I knew she didn’t know how to help me with this one. To be honest, I’ve not been one of her easy straight forward patients. I decided however that if I keep brooding over this very statement and all the memories, I’ve resurrected, I will be unhappy for a long time until I get destructed, and for me, destructions don’t come that easily.
So, I practiced these three new habits, hoping to cleanse my mind. Plus, the others that I’ve somehow become immune to thus; journaling, seeing a therapist, meditation, medication, talking to a close friend, just to mention a few.
Literally Identifying my thoughts and doing the needful —the needful could be thinking better, finding a solution, affirming positivity, etc. Awakening to the realization that you are constantly creating your own reality and future with your thoughts and emotions alone and taking full responsibility for the fact that the quality of your life depends on the quality of your mindset is the most life-changing lesson you could ever learn. The single fact that you are a human with a beating heart gives you the power to become the person you want to be (unless of course you don’t know who you want to be which I think happens and it’s okay, Take your time). All by first identifying and noting the things you think about and doing the needful. This was what was happening to me, I desire to know a lot of things (so many things) but it’s daunting learning everything. I hate to not know something (any information at all). I know it’s impossible to know everything but if I get the chance to never say “damn I wish I knew that” I will gladly take it. So not knowing whether I was contributing to “bad relationships” with my “mood swings” was killing me. But when I started paying attention to the way I thought, the analysis I made, my judgments. I sought fruitful solutions. I wasn’t scared of the damaging ideas or bad things I thought of myself. I am actually no more scared to think I’m very incapable and stubborn.
To give you another example, a thought that I’ve been having quite often was “Other people are bothered by my presence.”
It took me a while to recognize that this was something I came up with and that it’s not actually true. For a very long time, I treated it as objective truth anytime I spotted subtle cues of annoyance in other people’s behaviour. I easily assumed that they were indeed annoyed — and that my presence was the reason. It just seemed to make sense as a part of a coherent worldview.
It’s been only recently I started questioning this notion thoroughly. And because I did, I now have a much better chance of spotting the thought as it arises.
I would have said “changing your mindset” which I think anybody at all will understand what to do if you tell them this, However, it’s not easily visible like it should be, so “beware of your thoughts” does better justice.
Silencing my mind and Speaking to myself. Now, don’t confuse this with meditation although I think it should be meditation. Or think of it as meditation but not the traditional way of meditation. I started doing this because of Rumi. It just happened that in my time of taking deliberate actions to cleanse my mind, I saw a poem by the Sufi mystic, Rumi.
Close the door of words
that the window of your heart may open.
To see what cannot be seen
turn your eyes inward
and listen, in silence.
The desire for a quiet mind is related to the fact that, for many people, thoughts are a continuous source of mental torment. We spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about the future, ruminating upon our past, or otherwise dealing with the strange, internal weirdness our psyche throws at any given moment.
Talking to “oneself” is a sure-fire method of being awarded the “weirdo” badge. Aynho, the point I’m trying to make is that talking aloud to oneself is somehow tied up with what society thinks of as crazy. You can see why, then, I was hesitant when it came to indulging my desire to speak aloud to myself — it seemed counterintuitive to my understanding of meditation as a means of quieting the mind.
It didn’t help that a lot of my out-loud-ramblings related to this weird, new-age spirituality mumbo-jumbo I’d been exploring, and so I often wondered whether this habit was, in fact, insanity creeping up on me in some sort of slow-burn fashion. My own paranoia was getting the better of me. Of course, I sounded a bit crazy when I first started to talk to myself, just like someone who begins writing blog posts with little to no prior experience is going to produce sloppy writing in which the points don’t necessarily connect very well, leaving the readers disjointed. The point is to get better at it through deliberate, continued practice. That’s what I’m trying to do every day — get better at thinking.
A large part of the reason I had such a difficult time figuring out whether I should allow this habit to develop also had to do with some of the things I’d been exploring pertaining to spirituality, meditation, and self-help.
I’ve finally started to see talking to myself as just another tool in the kit. And so, these days, nothing feels quite as sane as letting my thoughts flow out — spontaneous, and uninterrupted. In fact, it’s begun to feel like maybe I really am my own best friend.
Running: My mum never fails to mention how much the sport running never makes sense to her, she makes this hilarious joke about running when no one is chasing you and at the end, people clap for you. It’s a joke but it made absolute sense to me. So, whenever my friends tell me about running (no matter what they say about running) I find a way to put that joke in there and we all laugh about it. Little did I know I was actually believing it. Ironically, the only sport I was good at is running until I started college and my mum also started telling me that joke, and to no one’s surprise at this point, I stopped running.
Honestly anytime I feel overwhelmed with anything at all, I feel like running. But because at this point, I have lost all respect for running, I just throw the idea under the bus, until recently, I was entangled in some serious drama (it wasn’t even my drama, my friends’ drama) and I was so out of it coupled with an interview I badly wanted to nail but not confident enough, I said fuck it and went on the streets in my very short dress, no bra on, no shoes but flipflops on and started running. It wasn’t jogging nor a sprint but I was fast enough. As you already predicted, for someone who hasn’t run in a long time I was tired after a minute or two and I started breathing heavily. It felt painful but good at the same time.
Suffice it to say, everybody’s body is different and many of us are not well suited to this type of physical exercise. That said, I do think there’s an argument to be made for combating mental illness with some form of physical exertion. The head is inseparable from the rest of the human body, and what’s good for the body is invariably good for the head.
In my experience, no medication even comes close to strenuous physical exercise when it comes to fostering psychological equanimity. Clearly, the most powerful medicine lives within me.
Now here is the plot twist. Like I said I exhaust all the ways I think fit to solving a problem before I leave it to a supernatural course. You’d think everything I did should by now help me or cure me somewhat but Ahn Ahn. I wasn’t exactly feeling myself. I mean I wasn’t exactly happy—Everyone does want to be happy (whatever happy means) because really there is no straightforward definition of what happiness is— I needed more, so that’s when I sought a miracle or magic. I prayed!
Praying. The word “praying” is unnecessarily constraining if you ask me but that’s something I will talk about someday.
A relationship with “someone or something” not necessarily God can boost your mental health even if you don’t believe. Now, praying to “something” not necessarily God is like your brain on hope, and being hopeful alone is healing enough than being paralyzed in anguish and confusion. In my case, I find myself babbling to God anytime I feel overwhelmed with my thoughts on what my sister said (mind you; her statement alone wasn’t my only problem but I somehow felt it resurrected so much about/within me that I’ve been avoiding for so long. Related or unrelated) I babbled anywhere I was without a second thought as to what strangers might think. I’ve grown to believe that there is no “holy place to pray” and my babbles and ramblings without wearing a particular cloth, creating a particular atmosphere nor putting in a request to another human were exactly how I wanted to talk to God. How’s prayer helping me? Sometimes I think there’s no difference between this and talking to myself.
But the difference is my focus at the time of both actions. For prayer, I focus on something (GOD) far greater than me and I believe has more power than I do, while talking to myself is like, you know!
For me, I don’t think I will ever forget that statement, and although I’ve come to accept that it’s not my sole problem and that there are more, I need to…
Five pages?? My ending/conclusion paragraph no need (you still have an ending paragraph after five pages? sha), I fit end this thing here jor. All the ranting I rant sef may have been overdone. I hope at least I made one single sense to each and every one of you who read thoroughly to the end.
What was the point of this article again? I asked God (although I’m not a die-hard follower of Him) to heal me and it’s working so far. So, everyone should equally seek a mystical intervention if they find this ideology sensible.
For the longest write-up here; ⤵ but very relevant. Thanks for reading to this point.
Thank you, girl. I love this.