… “not even know her own feelings?”

Does being positive mean you have to be super psyched 24/7 or can it be calm and soothing?
And what if what I think is fear is excitement?
How can you tell the difference?

Does it even matter?

I became aware during my teens of the concept that “my red is your blue” thanks to a grey pencil case I had. Everyone else said it was purple.
The class quickly found itself in a #thedress situation. Except I was the only one who saw it as grey – everyone else in the class of 18 pupils found it to be purple (to be honest I was annoyed, as purple is one of my fave colours – I’d have far preferred to see purple). Eventually the physics teacher took me away into a cupboard and gave me a colour blindness test, which left him more puzzled than me and suggesting to my parents I see a specialist. The specialist diagnosed me as colour dyslexic – I see a colour, but my brain calls it something different was what I think he was trying to say; I didn’t really understand it at the time. None of it sounded right, but I swallowed this as just ANOTHER subject in life I felt at odds with. I learnt that my “something” is not always someone elses “something”. It left me with all kinds of existential questions about colour and the human perception of it if it were possible to have such HUGE variations. Who was right? How do we know they are right? Who made the decision on what was right? And actually……what the hell else is subject to this kind of variation?

I started to suspect that emotions were the feeling version of colours.
It’s interesting, isn’t it, that the two subjects are highly interlinked?
Feeling blue, a red mist, green with envy, and so on.

Like all awkward teens I was feeling horribly nervous about doing things in front of people – especially things I enjoyed because criticism about that hurt more. I got very confused about whether I was feeling excited about my favourite thing, or scared I’d fuck it up and be told I suck at it.
My Mum was reading “Feel the Fear and do it anyway”. She was trying to get me to read it, but I felt it was unnecessary – the title alone was a lesson in itself.
I liked the concept because, as I was already aware of the correlation between fear and excitement, I figured that maybe they were interchangable. My only issue with that, was if they are interchangable, kind of what’s the point in them? They are polar opposites, but can feel the same? How unhelpful.

I think in general the human race makes way too much of feelings and emotions. We are told to explore them, to relive them, to talk about them, and sometimes I feel that if you are not extremely emotional about everything then you are seen as repressed. There’s lots of trains of thought, and advice out there that all seem to end in tears – not because it goes badly, but because that’s the point of it. It’s like people aren’t really sure if they are happy or sad until it’s making them cry. I also can’t help but notice another two polar opposite feelings having the same outcome. How unhelpful.

I mean what are tears? really? What use are they? Apart from eye cleaning fluid what’s the purpose? I know that an infant cries so it’s parents come and pick it up and don’t leave it behind to be eaten by wolves or dinosaurs, or urban foxes etc, but why do adults cry? I know they happen when we are overwhelmingly happy or sad, but I just don’t know if they are helpful?
I’ve seen people brought to tears about small issues, seemingly because they think it’s appropriate or will invoke a reaction from others around them, but they didn’t seem very happy or sad – just needy. I’ve heard people tell tales about how things made them cry as if it is a good thing, as if they should be admired for how sad or happy they felt in that moment. They wear their emotional extremes as a badge of honour.
This is weird for me. I mean I’m not unemotional. I’m not heartless. I do have and talk about my feelings, and I DO cry, but I don’t get any validation from it being seen. I don’t think people who are crying need more praise or consoling, than someone who is being honest and unemotional. If I am arguing with someone I don’t feel bursting into tears is ever going to get me what I want. I feel like it will just escalate things because I will be seen as being manipulative. If tears are the “final word” then first to cry wins. How easy.

The reason I find “identifying” and “exploring” to be unhelpful is like this –  what does yesterdays rain have to do with today’s sun? It’s about the here and now, the moment. The feelings I have NOW, not ten years ago when something sad happened. You can’t look back or you’ll get bogged down on the HWoT and never get a real understanding of how to make the decision to be happy because you’re too engrossed in everything that has made you sad. How will feeling old emotions, with their inter-changeability, and variations bring about a change in tomorrow’s? It is training your brain to remain in that sad state – but if you want to be happy you have to train happy thoughts.

It’s odd that we train humans to let out bottled up feelings- most modern animal trainers are doing the opposite, training horses and dogs to have a level headed sense of balance about their work. You wouldn’t expect to train a horse that’s scared of going into the horse box to get into one if you told it to go back over all it’s memories and feel the fear of every scary trip it’s made, reliving it and “letting that fear out”. It’s about making this time, and every time following it pleasant and positive, and letting the horse explore the box – not the feelings – and see that really there’s nothing to fear.
(FYI that’s exactly where the term “level headed ” comes from – If you were a cowboy back in the day of inventing sayings, you wouldn’t ride a horse that had its head up in the air fearfully scanning the horizon, you waited until it had relaxed and dropped its head and neck to be level with the body because that is an outward sign it’s calm, balanced and thinking clearly). We’re all mammals at the end of the day, and I wonder how all this exercising our emotions is going to keep us balanced? Is bottling it up really bad? What if you don’t let bottled up feelings out, but just chose not to feel them again? If you just replaced the sensation with something more positive?

“Feelings are just energy” Says Morgan Norma Roche of Keystone Healing. “If you give them a name you give them way more power than they should have”.

 

I understood exactly what she meant when she said this – if they are so interchangeable, they are almost already redundant by the time you recognise you are having a feeling meaning identifying them might not be the key either. So what are we meant to do with feelings? ……..
Morgan went on to explain to me that in her healing treatments and workshops that help people to improve themselves, she gets everyone to recognise the feeling, but not give it a name.  “I say “right, let’s not give this a name, it’s not important, feel it for a moment, then thank it and send it love” and the feeling immediately leaves”. In doing this she feels it empowers the individual to take control without overextending the feeling, leaving them in a positive state of mind. There is a lot of research out there to show the heart is directly linked to emotions – not just on Valentines cards – but in the rhythm it beats. The most perfect state for your heart to be in is when you are feeling the emotion of gratitude/thanks. This is probably why Morgan also teaches her students to “Live an Attitude of Gratitude”.

In life we seem to value an awful lot of behaviours labelled as “positive” that are associated with buoyant, or extroverted personalities. As a society we do little to reward a calm and placid nature in a human. It’s the difference between feeling psyched and feeling peaceful I’m talking about. We encourage extroverted behaviour, put over active and reactive humans on pedestals, admire enormous power, and view the peace makers and the thoughtful introverts who are quietly working away in labs making all our technological advances as, weaker, or geekier, than those who might smite us down. That’s ok – that’s just normal pack animal behaviour – we’re either looking for a leader to follow, or looking for a leader to take over from. We can’t help it as we’re predators by nature, especially those who are extroverted, so it’s no wonder they have risen to the top of the pack and are telling us all we need to be just like them to do well in life.
I can’t help feel though that it must be excrutiating for introverts to be forced to be extroverted on that level – it can only lead to feelings of imbalance. I also imagine that calming some of today’s extroverts down could only be a good thing!
I think I see parts of society questioning the legitimacy of extroversion as “the best way to live”. It  is not really helpful today, on an over populated and politically inflamed planet and the confusion about where all this fits in with the enormous leaps forward our species makes daily, are causing a lot of us a lot of tears. It’s not a surprise that we tell people to feel emotional rather than deal effectively with emotion, because really we are having problems recognising TRULY positive emotions in the first place.

Look at pain – another of the body’s communications – it’s nothing more than a message to the brain that something’s not right. It can be disproportionate to the problem, and it can continue long after the problem has healed. How unhelpful.

Emotions are just signals from the emotional body. Feelings like this are part of instincts. Instincts were there to keep us alive, like pain, back when we were cave men – you felt nervous, or fearful, or hurt, and you knew to leg it or hide. If you were happy or felt safe you knew to make more out of that, settle within the environment you found it in, and when it changed, move on again. Most of us don’t need these in daily life – we’re not at risk on the same level as a caveman. However some of us seem to have these feelings turned on, amped up, unable to shut off again, tuned in disproportionately to everything- we feel like we’re dying but all that’s really wrong is that we might miss the bus, for instance. The task of travelling becomes confused with the instinct to flee and we feel danger.

It appears, that in modern times, the purpose of feelings to relay messages to the individual has been misused to relay messages to the masses – to use that part of the parent in all of us to respond to the crying child. Give it what it wants, make it feel safe. Once you’re an adult I’m not sure that’s anyone else’s responsibility though – how unsafe are you? Obviously there are people out there who are, or have known, real danger and I am not including them in this – they absolutely need the help of the society they live in, but I am talking about the over stressed, the over worked, the unmotivated, unhappy masses on antidepressants and group therapy. Is it people not taking responsibility for their own mindset and emotions that is leaving us with an epidemic of depression right now?  Are people believing that pills and groups will fix them, when really they might need to decide that modern life, and achieving success as we define today, is not really for them?

The pressure of having eternal beauty, a sports car, massive salary, and perfect home in the perfect location, the ever smiling family in activity day selfies, with perfectly dressed, immaculate children, is all over social media; but just not available to some of us. For others they are not in possession of the skills to maintain it even if they got it. The worst thing is when  you DO get it and you still don’t feel like you’re “there” yet. It doesn’t fill the holes in your life. It doesn’t get you the validation you thought it would – so now you have a baby you can be in the “mum” group, except you find you are not really classed as a Mum by the Mum’s with two or more kids, and so the cycle of keeping up with the Jones’ continues. Actually it’s bloody hard work keeping it all going, and most of us don’t even know why we’re doing it.

So how about we decide not to think about how our feelings make us feel, but how we’d like them to make us feel?
When I get up in the morning and feel “down” I can ask myself – am I really “down”? Maybe I am just calm? Maybe this is what it feels like to be in perfect balance because there’s not a lot of emotion going on, it’s pretty low energy and monotone. Surely that’s what balance feels like? I am leveled out at one point, and just because I am not jumping around shouting “Hell Yeah!!!!” to every suggestion or idea that comes my way, doesn’t mean I am not happy or feeling positive. Maybe I am just happy, and calm, and maybe everyone else just needs to be satisfied with that? Maybe everyone else just needs to realise that this state of mind is a part of who I am; it’s my introverted, relaxed side – but it’s no less happy. Maybe I can consider that depressed and balanced are interchangeable? And actually – that’s pretty helpful.

………”Snap out of it”

When the least helpful sling shot statement thrown at depressed people turns out to be the best advice you’ve ever had.

This is the foundation post of my blog.
The first post of a blog has a great responsibility to set the tone for the rest of the blogging future on this tiny area of the marvelous internet. Getting it right is of absolute importance.
It is the sacred text that the future civilisation of this region of the blogging community will revert to, will base itself around, that will attract future generations of followers. It has it’s own energy, own gravity.
The subject is vital, the delivery of it’s message more so………..(Jesus, what a worry).

(is this what it felt like to be Jesus? Do you think he realised how much weight his words would carry? I’m not certain he did, but probably those who rewrote him definitely did, and look how that all turned out – crusades, and crusafictions, and a couple of millenia later we’re all still hating each other to death. No pressure…..).

That paragraph above ^ that’s me all over – overthinking. I can’t even get into a cheery “hey how’s it going? Thanks for joining me here!” without taking on a bucket load of anxiety and a God Complex. I analyse and re-analyse until I have paralysis of analysis. I get stuck in the details inside my head running what I affectionately call “The Hamster Wheel of Thought” until my mind is moving so fast that my body has to stay still. I get bogged down, literally, on the sofa, and while I carefully play chess with all of my decisions for the day, the week, the month, and the next 5 – 20 years, I actually get NOTHING physically done that day. Not all days are like this, just a lot. It’s got worse since back injuries made movement painful, and since finances restricted options. It’s also got worse since I discovered Facebook and Pinterest, and I’ll probably write a whole post on that later.

So this blog has been started because this is my way of running through the Hamster Wheel of Thought in one clean revolution. As I jog along the thoughts, I can type them out onto here (I’m a very fast typer) and then (hopefully) let them go.They will no longer require storage on the inside of my head as they are now stored externally on the internet.
Every day I run through my internal mind storage and reorganise it all perfectly (sometimes I do a lot of this instead of sleeping at night), meanwhile my house, croft, car, life, get messier and messier. I know the cure, and the way to feeling calm is action, but the anxiety of not paying attention to what’s coming next in life by thinking it all through carefully creates almost complete inaction – to the observer.

To the observer I appear to be lazy, or unmotivated, and there seems to be no really good reason why I just can’t go and get on with stuff. Little do they know, those in my world, that it only keeps turning because I am powering it with the Hamster Wheel of Thought. The temptation for those around me to shout “Get on with it! Pull your socks up! Snap out of it!” must be barely bearable. In my mind, however, the only reason we are not all dead or utterly destitute, is because I’m on that wheel.

Who’s right?

I think all of us.

My experiences have taught me that taking your time, and rushing into things are BOTH bad ideas. Careful consideration of facts, and making a decision, and then getting the fuck on with it are the best way to do things.
I don’t take long to consider, and I take even less time in getting on with it. This is also why I am addicted to writing lists – what I need, what order I need them, time frames, people to consult or involve, are all detailed in about 15 different notebooks strewn around the house. I personally get very frustrated by people who do not organise or commit quickly to those two aspects – consideration, and action.

However, I am insanely jealous of people who can make confident decisions. I can not make decisions easily. My anxiety makes me really worry that I have not considered all options. I ask opinions, make plans; many plans, all the possible plans, every single tiny variation seen out to the nth degree, and then can’t decide on which one. To the other people in my world this appears to be changing plans, but they seem to have a different definition of the word “plan” than I do. In fact I think their definition of “plan” is closer to the definition of “decision”.

“To decide is to cut off from ALL other options”
That’s the definition of “Decide”.

To me, “Plan” is defined as “a fluid approach to completing a task” where it is ever changing, like traffic in a traffic jam switching lanes, weaving around, sometimes going the right way, sometimes holding itself up, but eventually always getting to its destination. I don’t change plans, but my plans change. The plan is always the same – to get there, to Happiness, by whatever sensible means, as cheaply as possible, with as little stress or upset and as much savvy as I can muster. I also know that every step of the journey gives me more savvy,and I genuinely feel that if there’s a purpose for life it is that – to gain Savvy. By that I mean it is the nature of energy, which can not be created or destroyed, to go around the universe changing state and frequency and gaining as much change and experience (savvy) as it can. It seems pretty obvious to me universally and historically that when energy (including in human form) or experience are limited, held down, locked up or pushed through narrow channels that this is when real problems begin. Life or energy just wants to flow everywhere, and as much as possible return to a state of balance once it touches the extreme ends of the spectrum.

Look at the definition of “Decide” again – “to cut off” that’s the part I struggle with. I hate the idea of burning a bridge……
Perhaps it’s because in the Highlands there are so few bridges you are BOUND to have to recross one at some point in the not too distant future. I mean that literally and figuratively. How do you get back to the center point from the edges of the world if you’ve burnt all your bridges?
But until I cut off I can’t reach balance, because I am stuck on the wheel, and not taking action, and if I have learnt a few things about coping with being a bit mental, one of them is DEFINITELY that you have to get a balance between action and thought in your life. So decision making is what I am concentrating on at the moment.

I’m concentrating on it because I have an idea that I can defeat my mentalness without use of drugs if I follow one simple step, and that is the step, everyday, towards never ending self improvement. I want to end each day a 1% better version of myself than I started it – then maybe I can sleep. (FYI, I often fail, and even have been known to finish the day 10% worse than I started. It’s simple, but it’s not easy).
In reality what that means is that I DO have to “snap out of it”. One of the least helpful things you can tell a depressed person is also the best advice. It took me a long time to get with this part of the program, I can tell you. On some subatomic level I knew it was right – it always resonated as right. My moral compass pointed right at it. As old fashioned an attitude towards depression it was, I knew that the the only way you can get out of the torture of depression was to just get off the wheel and take action – getting off the wheel is the same as snapping out of it. It took a long time to get the courage, the motivation, and the belief that it was right. It was really only once I had been at rock bottom (and for quite some time) that I had strong words with myself – why could I just not let myself be happy? Why couldn’t I have what other people had? Why could I not feel satisfied instead of frustrated? When would I believe I was enough? What’s REALLY stopping me?
The answer was simple and inescapable – me.
I was the reason – yes I’d had a seriously screwed up view of normal from an upbringing I just don’t need to detail here. But at some point you become the grown up, the choices become your own.Work, education, environment, family, past deeds – all of these become bad excuses for refusing to live a positive, healthy, happy lifestyle.

Happiness is NOT an emotion. Happiness is a DECISION.

I’ve come to realise however, that good advice can only be heard when the person is ready . They have to to do the work – not drugs, not health professionals, not society, not family (these are only supportive tools for your tool box, but they are not the answer). Only the individual can get on the path to never ending self improvement. Just the same as only an addict can make the changes necessary for quitting. Until they are ready there’s nothing can be done, until a depressed or anxious person is ready, telling them to “snap out of it” can make them worse in fact because it reiterates the feeling of being rubbish, and a failure.

Real change is the hardest and the easiest thing to do. By nature of the illness committing to something so all encompassing and never ending sounds like it’s destined to fail, which starts negative thoughts, but the truth is it’s harder staying blocked in a rut. Living the liberated life of change is easy, and EXACTLY what a depressed person needs.

Change is hard for those with anxiety and depression. Utterly necessary, but the it’s the forbidden lover of “What if’s”, “Buts” and “Maybe’s”. All of which will throw you on the Hamster Wheel and away you go again, inactive and unhappily a step backwards.

We all know that diet and exercise can really help keep you balanced, don’t we? If the answer there was “no?!” then GTF (Google the Fucker) and you’ll get PLENTY of information out there on that. It’s the first step. If you are not trying to exercise, and make positive diet changes, you are not really trying to get better, or taking any steps towards never ending self improvement. This is because you fall into a couple of mindsets – the “I don’t deserve to feel happy” which may or may not be true, or the “I don’t want to do any work because I’m selfish and lazy”. In which case two thirds of the options above are equal to not reading this any further. By that I mean it’s not for you. If you deserve to be unhappy then you must’ve done something truly sinister and have zero remorse and I shouldn’t be trying to include you in my version of reality. I can’t tell you, you aren’t alone and this community is with you, because, whilst you sadly aren’t alone, this community isn’t with you.
If you think you don’t deserve to be happy but haven’t done anything sinister, or at the very least are really genuinely remorseful, then my advice is GET OVER IT and read on. I do not believe in revisiting the past, going back over things to learn about your negative behaviours, or thought patterns. I don’t think it’s helpful. I think it’s much better to give yourself a break, say “well I fucked that up” understand you aren’t going to do it again (are you?) and move on. It’s that or risk feeling like an undeserving failure all your life – how many truly successful individuals look like they think they’re an undeserving failure? I’ve never seen Olympians, or Lewis Hamilton, or Lord Sugar, or the regular happy person you meet in life looking like they suffer with self loathing.
The problem is not what you were thinking when you fucked up, the problem is what you WEREN’T thinking. Reasonable people will fuck up on monumental levels because they have no good example of the right way to think about things or conduct their behaviour. A reasonable person will easily identify the right way to behave through their moral compass when given an example to follow. It will scream out to them “this is the way! This is RIGHT, and doesn’t it feel GOOD?! And SAFE even!” so I’m all about showing people the way, not about forcing them to regret. It’s all about positivity attracting more positivity. It’s just science.

If you are a lazy, selfish person, then again – this blog will hold nothing for you. In my world there’s two types of mental person. So often society bungs us all together under the umbrella of Mental Illness and then splits us down into our various personality quirks, personality disorders, etc.
Society has a lot of labels for people, and to my mind this allows the selfish and lazy type to get chances they probably don’t deserve. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “you can’t be angry at an ill person. They don’t know any better. They can’t help it. You wouldn’t be mad if his leg was broken, its the same”.

No it’s not.

If he broke his leg doing something selfish I would be mad. And excuse me, I am mad as a fish, but I still know “better”, and lots of people expect me to know better. To my mind you are either trying hard to make a better person of yourself and be a useful asset to society through good community work, good parenting, good social functioning, valuable input through your work etc (all for the reward of feeling happy at the end of it) or you are trying hard to bend all those sections of society to your will and make them an asset to you. You are either getting with the program or trying to rewrite the program. You are either out there flowing and experiencing, or you are trying to narrow and control, life.

I’m flowing. I’m experiencing. If you are too then it’s a lot more fun in good company so come with me!

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