There are many people around us who continue their day to day activities smiling in silence. Their dark passenger looks on, invisible to everyone, quietly coaxing them to stop bothering because they're not good enough or they're worthless.
This can be a daily battle within the mind, trying to to quieten the voices who refute everything positive we try to do and make you believe it's a pointless exercise. Yet on the outside we act like everything is perfect and it will simply blow over, but perhaps more importantly those around us just won't understand how bad it really us.
I still can't get to grips with how powerful the mind can be. You'll wake up in the morning with the best intentions to do something different, maybe go to the gym, do that DIY that's been on your list for 3 months or make that call to a friend you haven't spoken to in ages. Yet within no time at all, the brain says "nah, can't be bothered now, I'll do it tomorrow", but tomorrow never comes.
Quite simply we've become prisoners of our own mind. We sit there and let it control us, let it dictate what's good and bad for us and we seem to lack the capability to push back and say no.
This is magnified for victims of trauma, who may have spent years struggling with the fight / flight / flop scenarios. Their core beliefs have been reprogrammed to lie "I'm worthless, I don't belong here", and so when we're presented with something which challenges us, those core beliefs kick in and the mind starts those dark conversations again.
For example, let's say you go for an interview (that's major stuff by the way for someone with damaged core beliefs). You've used up all the self confidence just to get that far, but inside there's part of you that already thinks it's a waste or time and you're nowhere near the level you should be at to get the job.
For whatever reason you don't get the job, but the seeds of doubt were already sown and that voice in your head shouts "I told you so! you don't belong here, you're worthless!".
Those negative feelings are so engrained physically, they're part of your nervous system. You start to shut down in self pity and doubt, now believing your dark passenger was right all along. The spiral continues downwards and you're back to where you think belong, alone, worthless and stuck. It's an absolutely horrendous place to be, but almost worse because you just can't put in to words the crippling effect it can have.
For so many the next steps can be the thoughts of suicide. It's almost impossible to imagine that the only way out from a situation is to end a life and those around us would be better off somehow, but again that's the power of our mind.
Look, I don't have all the answers and I certainly don't have any medical training, but I do have an awful lot of experience with this stuff. The bit I've often struggled with is the repetitive nature of depression and feelings of guilt of "here I go again.... surely those around me are going to get fed up with this shit now". That's been one of my own struggles in talking about mental health and whether I'll be judged and push away by those closest to me.
The bit I'm still working on....
As my psychologist recently said, you've had mental health issues for around 25 years and you're roughly 4 months in to recovery, give yourself a break and also understand there's still a way to go.
I'm developing a new habit of pushing myself with this new found love for life, and occasionally a gentle reminder will come along with a big slap to say slow down. It's bloody difficult trying to find balance in this new world, so whatever you're going through right now, try to be a little kinder to yourself. You're doing an amazing job!
And on that note, gym tomorrow......