Nope, this post is not about food! Sorry! Perhaps another time!
At the end of every therapy session, my therapist will ask me what idea stood out the most. Sometimes it’s difficult to say which ideas stand out. Some sessions have made me feel like I’m drowning in a whirlpool. Today, however, was not one of those days.
Today, I talked about anxiety and how it’s been rearing it’s ugly head the past few weeks. I also talked about my weekend (see previous post) and how it made me feel anxious (as the fear of the unknown tends to do). I have taken myself on my anti depressant because I felt it was making me more anxious (a side effect I was not aware of). I talked about how the anxiety I was feeling made me angry because I did not feel in control of my body. I felt like it was revolting and I started to feel helpless and frustrated.
I’ve been craving cigarettes recently too, which is very strange as I was never a smoker. I first tried smoking when I was 13 then a few times at 19. I also did a few more times in my early 20’s. My dad smokes cigars regularly and I found an advert for clove cigarettes (which I tried in my 20’s) in one of his magazines. I’m told the body doesn’t forget anything. Perhaps in those times I tried smoking, it was relaxing. I’ve been under stress. My body is grabbing at straws, looking for some relief. Who knows? I still have the craving but I’m hoping my vanity wins out. I like being told I don’t look as old as I am! I really don’t want to start up the habit. These cravings are also annoying and frustrating.
My therapist said he read an article which said our emotional brain would be better managed if we would treat it like we’re speaking to a child. I have kids and I’ve had to soothe fears and anger and frustrations before. I can do this. Better yet, I can envision this really well and my artist brain kicked into action.
Have you ever stopped to listen to the things you say to yourself? How many times do we berate ourselves in our heads for being human?? Since therapy, I feel I’m getting better about speaking kinder to myself but not always. I notice an irrational thought will pop up in my writing or when I’m talking about myself to someone else. How many times do we call ourselves “dumb” or “stupid” without thinking?? We aren’t dumb and our emotions aren’t stupid. They are present for a reason and there is usually an explanation if we will take a moment to find out what’s going on internally.
Can you imagine if our thoughts could be seen? Now, can you imagine saying the same things you say to yourself to a child? Would you tell a child they are stupid if they were scared or angry or upset? No. Most logical people could see a child has a lack of comprehension for the situation and would offer comfort instead of berating them.
When our mind gets angry or stressed or scared or when we’re anxious, treat yourself as if you’re a child. Talk to yourself from your logical brain so the emotional brain can calm down, process and feel safe again. With my experiences I wrote about in my post Dysthymia, I used this technique. I could feel as if my brain had two sides. The chaos and darkness was in front of my face while the logical, adult brain was talking me off the ledge from behind my head. I don’t know if this description makes any sense but I hope it does.
My homework for this week is to talk to myself as I would a child. Be loving and supportive to myself when I get stressed. Be kind to myself when I am scared. Every thought we have comes from somewhere for a reason, even if it’s not rational. I’m also going to be working on losing the rigid parameters of “should” and “have to” thoughts.
If I am able to get my visions of the child/adult mind on paper or canvas, I’ll share them here in another post.