So, as I said in my previous post I went to group therapy and there was a speaker called Demi Schneider who talked about depression, beating depression and promoted her book. More information is available on her on http://demischneider.com/
She breaks down the brain (well, like everyone else, and that’s how it is) to two parts: the intellectual parts, called the Palace of Happiness and the Survival part (ok, she might not use these exact expressions but that’s the meaning of it but I can’t remember everything word by word). Oh, and there’s YOU. Palace of Happiness is your intellectual part, where you smartly think, you have positive thoughts and you solve problems. In your survival part there are the rats. Rat den. It’s where you behave like a caveman, not putting too much thought into things and just focusing on survival. Pretty much you’re repeating the same things every day. You go out, hunt for mammoth, eat the mammoth, sleep. Then you wake up, go out to hunt for mammoth, etc… You do what you did the day before yesterday as you survived yesterday so that must be good for you. Like yesterday I smoked 10 cigarettes, I’m still alive, so I have 10 again today because I survive that. That’s how basic that behaviour is. That’s where your negative thoughts are the same way as your habits. All the basic things you learn in your life. It pretty much creates a blueprint of your personality by the time you hit 4 and those repetitive actions make a part of your personality. The forever surviving cave(wo)man.
In a ‘normal’ person’s case it’s fairly easy to move to the Palace of Happiness but if you’re suffering from depression or anxiety you can easily stuck in rat den, feeding them with your negativity and every time you try to move to your palace they keep sucking you back, back to basics and then you can’t leave.
I also learnt we have 60,000-90,000 thoughts a day. Which is pretty much having a thought per second. 24/7. Amazing. Our brain is an amazing system. Utterly incredible. (Although I’m fairly sure there are people with less thoughts…)
Sleeping is very important in life and to have a good health you have to give your system time to relax. During sleeping hours we have roughly 20% REM mode and that’s when we transit the negative, stressful and anxious thoughts to our intellectual part so we can solve and process them in an intelligent way. If you’re suffering from anxiety you use this 20% too quickly as you have so many thoughts so you wake up early and you’re already high on the spot because you were still in the middle of transitioning. However if you’re suffering from depression you’re not that interested or worried, you just want to hide from the world and you keep hiding under your duvet and you’re eventually sleeping too much because it’s safer to survive under the warm duvet than go out and face the woolly mammoth and the cold winter world. Based on my sleeping pattern I’m suffering from anxiety on the weekdays and I’m depressed on the weekends. I rock. Not one but two issues at the same time!
But pretty much my anxiety explains why I can’t fall asleep again and why my brain is loading new and new data and scenarios and processing so many things.
One of the most important things to believe is I am worthy. Everyone in this world was born to be loved, being worthy and valuable. You can’t say a single baby who is not valuable and worthy and good. You were a baby once. You were born to be worthy. On the other hand the universe doesn’t differentiate good from bad in basics. Let’s take a law of gravity. If a very good and a very bad person jump off from the Empire State Building at the same time they will hit the ground pretty much at the same time. No miracles will happen and the very good/very evil person won’t develop quickly a wing to fly away. They’re treated equal. They are both human. (what happens to their soul is a different matter and different belief and that’s not the topic of this post). Just like we were equal when we were born: all lovely and adorable babies.
Sometimes something goes wrong in our lives but it doesn’t mean we are no longer worthy. It is our decision to live in Palace Happiness. We are in charge of our minds. I AM IN CHARGE. YOU ARE IN CHARGE. (that was the point where I wanted to start arguing that I’m definitely not in charge and I don’t know who is in charge in my mind if anyone at all. But it’s definitely not me. NOT ME! Although I decided to keep it shut.)
As she was talking my mind started rushing all over the place and I tried to define myself again and it turns out I have always seen myself a warrior, a fighter. Ever since I remember I had to fight against my father. He was such a dictator and I was so different from him. OK, it wasn’t that bad and there are people living in far worse conditions than me, worse background, worse family and compared to that I had a pretty normal life. Yes, I’ve been beaten but most of the times I knew why and although I didn’t deserve such a huge punishment I deserved punishment. I rarely remember cases when I was punished for something I didn’t do. So there was justice in the system and have I not been a fighter I could have had a pretty normal childhood. But I always had to say if I didn’t agree with something, hence all the conflicts and obviously after a while I became resistant. So, bottom line I defined myself a fighter and I had him to fight against but with my father’s death I no longer had to fight and it raises a few issues. What if me as a fighter never existed? If I’m not a fighter who am I? Who am I? Have I ever existed? Have I ever had a personality? Or was it just acting for twenty-something years? Is there any purpose in my life? Have I been supposed to stop existing the moment my father died? Have I turned this fight against myself? (Highly likely!)
There was another lady at the therapy. I think she’s got the same issues I do in some ways. She knows she’s a good person but she can’t feel it and she doesn’t believe it. I didn’t have the chance to talk to her but maybe next time. There was a strange sadness around her. Agony. She was smiling and she was nice but something didn’t feel ok with her. She missed her belief. I’ve never known it is that visible. When your soul is in pain it radiates around you and others can feel that deep down something is not alright. You look ok, you smile, you laugh, you act normal but your soul is not there. Your heart is missing it. It was an interesting observation. It is noticeable.
There was another moment when my mind just wandered around and that’s about perfectionism. Nobody is perfect. Fact. But perfect is the ideal and perfect is loved. Another fact. (hence we all try to achieve it on our own level) I know I’m not perfect. And I’m not sure if I were to be perfect I would be worthy of love. I started thinking about it. If I believe that people love perfect how come I do NOT believe they’d love me if I were perfect? It’s huge contradiction and it doesn’t even make sense. Maybe my perfect is less perfect than others’ perfect? How can you compare perfect? How can you measure perfect? Perfect must be on the top of the scale and if I reach perfect that’s it. There’s no perfect and perfecter. There’s nothing beyond perfect. 10 is 10 out of 10. Or a 100. Or whatever measure you use. Yet I don’t truly believe I can be loved with my perfect being although I believe perfect is the achievable, most desirable best. (not to mention the fact I’m not perfect) Paradigms. Mammoths of my life.