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Posts Tagged ‘mind’

I know how it feels to be passed by. I know how it feels to allow someone else’s success to be my own failure. I know all too well how hard it is to battle a nasty inner voice.” @AmericaFerrera

america-ferrera-triathlete

Inspiration is all around us. I found a little bit of it the other day in the New York Times in an essay about training for a triathlon by America Ferrera: “How a Triathlon Helped America Ferrera Defy Her Inner Critic.”

With every step, stroke and pedal, I turned “No, I can’t” into “Yes, I can,” “I’m limited” into “Look what I’m capable of,” and “I’m weak” into “I am whole, healthy and strong.’” @AmericaFerrera

You’d think that someone who is as successful as she is in her chosen profession would be beyond negative self-talk. Especially with so many agents, publicists and studio execs kissing her (bad)ass on a daily basis.

But no, she does it too. It was also nice to hear someone who is in the public eye openly admit to being human and fallible. I find that refreshing and inspiring. I have to admit that blogging about my own psychological challenges feels a bit strange at times. I’m not one who likes attention, I dislike most reality TV shows, and I was raised not to “air my dirty laundry in public.”

BUT, if no one aired their dirty laundry, how would we know that how we feel is also how a lot of other people feel. We can only learn and grow by sharing what we know, by being honest. So hopefully you appreciate my contribution to the noise as much as I appreciate America Ferrera’s.

And who isn’t guilty of negative self-talk, even though we know it’s not good for us. And it can be as innocent as calling yourself stupid if you make a minor mistake. I’ve called myself that just for dropping something. And each and every one of those comments chips away (subconsciously) at your self-esteem.

I have to admit that I have tried to use positive reinforcement on myself, but it always sounds silly or lame. Or like Donald Trump. “I’m Awesome!” “I’m Huge!” “I’m a force to be reckoned with,” etc., etc… So even if I don’t do that, thank you America for reminding me not to do the other.

I finally got my answer to that question: Who do you think you are? I am whoever I say I am.” @AmericaFerrera

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The truth is that whether the roots of depression are in the past in childhood, or in the present in the brain, recovery can only come about through a continuous act of will, a self-discipline applied to emotions, behavior, and relationships in the here and now.” “Undoing Depression; What Therapy Doesn’t Teach You and Medication Can’t Give You,” by Richard O’Connor, Ph.D. 

For the longest time I bought into the concept that a particular depressive episode (more so than a manic phase) “just was,” that it existed because of a predisposition or a genetic link, not because of anything in the here and now. 

It would infuriate me when someone would ask me, someone I thought should know better, “Why are you depressed?”  There never seemed to be any trigger for me, never any thought or action that would precipitate or predict it.  My answer was always the same, “I just am.” 

Now I’m not so sure.  As I watch my thought process, I am amazed at how quickly my mind makes assumptions, connections, leaps.  It is as if one thing indeed, imperceptibly, triggers a thought that moves to another thought, then to another; a furious montage of images that moves faster than the Intersect implanted in “Chuck(’s)” head.  What’s left at the end of the show is not an image, or a thought, but a feeling.  Usually an emptiness.  Often a sense of despair. 

I observed this dynamic the other day while driving and listening to the radio.  Some quasi-journalist was giving some kind of report/commentary on the latest Somali pirate attacks.  She ended the segment with a warning that there will be a global impact to these attacks, felt right down to the personal level, predictably in higher prices on grocery store shelves. 

Now right off the bat the story bothers me, depresses me.  The fact that this kind of behavior exists is beyond my comprehension.  It reminds me of all of the evil in the world.  Now that is bad enough, but what I thought was, “What am I supposed to do with this information?”  There is nothing I can do about it, and yet it will impact my life somehow, or so this reporter suggests.  So, even if I don’t dwell on this thought, even if my mind has moved on to the next story (something about the complete collapse of our banking system or the repercussions of the Madoff Ponzi scheme) the residual, sub-consciously, is one of negativity, of hopelessness. 

Our thoughts do have consequences, even if we are not aware of them.  It’s difficult enough to try and manage those that we are aware of, to “be here now.”  How is one supposed to manage the thousands of thoughts that slip past unnoticed?  That’s a rhetorical question, but if anyone has the answer, I’d really like to know.

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