This seems to be a lesson I struggle with learning. But I saw this meme and it made me really think (ha ha) about the many things I do think about and how much of what I am thinking is not the truth. For example:
1. In times of depression, like now, I think I’m worthless. My brain tells me that I don’t add a lot of value to the world and to people’s lives. I tend to forget that I am making a difference with my courage to speak up about living with a mental illness, my desire to help others navigate their journeys and a true passion to remove shame and stigma surrounding mental illness.
2. I think I’m alone. Maybe in the moments when I’m having these thoughts, I’m physically alone but again, I lose sight of the wonderful people that are in my life that I could and should turn to when in crisis. My brain puts blinders on though and will only focus on the here and now and tries to convince me that I am on my own and nobody cares. Liar.
3. My mind likes me to believe that there is no hope. It whispers to me that I’m weak and can’t withstand this emotional pain any longer. I oftentimes believe these lies and want to give in and give up.
4. My brain sometimes tells me that others think badly of me because they see me for who I really am. A fake, a fraud. How can I talk about recovery and hope when I myself live with thoughts of suicide and giving up?
I didn’t understand that my own mind would lie to me. But then, I thought about how often my brain would lie to me about other things and am beginning to question the morality of my mind. And I now understand that my mind has no filter for lying or telling the truth. It takes information in, and distorts it based on my past experiences and spits it out in some odd formation that fits my view of reality.
So what do I do to deal with this pathological liar?
First: Question everything. When I have a thought, ask myself if this is a thought based on evidence and real facts or is it a thought based on a previous painful situation that might be distorting this thought?
For example: a friend doesn’t call for awhile. My lying brain would tell me that this person must not like me anymore because I’m not worthy of a friendship. That I must have done something to upset them. That I must not be of use to them anymore and yet again, someone else has abandoned me. I further isolate myself from other relationships in fears of getting let down again. That’s my lying mind.
A friend doesn’t call. Ask myself if perhaps they’ve got some things going on in their life that might be making things challenging for them. Take a moment and reach out and let them know I’m there for them and I care. In doing so, I find out that they’ve had a death in the family and there’s been some members down with the flu. By doing this, I challenged my thoughts and found out they weren’t thinking I was worthless or unwanted.
It’s easy to become self-absorbed and think everything is about ourselves, especially for those of us that spend a great deal of time in our minds. At least for myself . I don’t think it’s an act of conceit or a bad thing, it’s just that I’m busy trying to untangle years of mixed up wiring up there and sometimes I get lost. It’s like 20 strands of Christmas lights all tangled up in there and I have to check the bulbs on every strand as well.
Over time, our brain tries to work more efficiently by “filtering” out what we need to hear instead of listening to everything and making a sound judgement based on all the evidence. I’m going to try to listen to all the facts and process that information in a more methodical manner before jumping to the conclusion that “I’m worthless” or giving up.
The brain itself has no moral misgivings about lying to me. It has no malicious intent – it’s built to be a model of efficiency. I just need to do some tuning up and redirecting about what I feel is essential knowledge.
I believe that I can retrain my brain to give me more truths. Until then, I’ll remain cautious and not believe everything I think.