Have you ever wondered why that embarrassing moment from middle school haunts you? It was just a little moment, nothing in the span of your life, but it creeps into your head in the middle of the night. Everyone has a moment, or several moments, that just pop up uninvited in our brains like a genie in a bottle we never intended to rub.
Do you ever wonder, when looking back on the people who’ve hurt you, why you blame yourself? Why do you look at the way your ex-lover treated you and find ways to blame yourself for it? Why is it so hard to just accept that they were bad for you? Why is it so hard to let go?
Have you ever wondered why depression doesn’t just slip away in the night? Why don’t anxiety and panic just go back to whatever dark crevice they came from? Why don’t those obsessive thoughts go rot in someone else’s brain? Why can’t you just go back to being normal?
It is the plight of the human condition, that we suffer more by our own hands, our own minds, then we do by others. We are wired to be self-critical, think about it this way, you are the only person who must live in your skin and mind 100% of the time from birth until death. You are the only person who will ever truly understand everything you’ve been through, and because we spend so much time with ourselves, we become hyper-critical of everything we do. Life damages us, it burns through our brains and shakes up its chemistry. It’s a normal, terrible, inconvenient part of being human.
So, what can you do about it? What do you do with those pesky thoughts itching away inside your head at the most inopportune moments? Accept them. Accept them for what they are to you, laugh or cry the pain away, and force yourself to think of something better. Remember that you are human, that we are born to make mistakes, to learn from them, to be haunted by them, and to let them go. Remember that it’s not your fault if you have a mental illness. Remember that you are not crazy and that getting better will not be easy. It’s a journey, and you are brave for even thinking of taking it.
Getting better is quite a task; you have to rewire your brain and change the way you look at everything. The way you reflect on the past, the way you react in the present, and the way you look at the future. You’ll have to change your perspective, but if you can allow the narrative of your life to transform as you do, you might just be able to cleanse your mind of those pests.
I suggest using creativity as a therapeutic tool. Put your pain in a poem, a painting, a wood carving, a cake, or anything that makes you feel creative. Remember, it doesn’t matter if you are good at it or not. Creativity is one of the oldest therapeutic tools in the world. So, create something out of your misery, but know that art will not magically heal you. Though, it may help you put a voice or image to your demons. Take comfort in knowing that the past cannot hurt you. Only your thoughts can, and they are yours to control. You can control them. It may take days, months, or even years. You may not be able to write, paint, or run it all away. You may not be able to do it alone. You may need help or medication, but in the end, it will always be up to you. I write from experience. I’m still trying to sail my own ship away from those tempestuous storms, but I believe that one day I will have control again. I believe you will too.
I’m not a professional. I can’t tell you what will work for you or how long it will take. All I can tell you is this, you are not alone, or crazy, or weak. You may have to find your own path to healing but know that many are on a similar path. Whether you are haunted by memories or struggling with mental illness know this, there is nothing “wrong” with you. You are just human and there is nothing more human then pulling yourself back up after you’ve fallen.