I feel embarrassed about my posts sometimes. Often, actually. I only feel good about the ones that are a reflection of my better days. When I’m feeling optimistic or particularly clever or funny…or I perceive them to be useful.
I am feeling neither optimistic nor clever nor funny today, but I AM feeling pretty determined to pull myself out of my funk. I thought I might have something useful to offer in sharing one of the ways in which I do that.
Part of my purpose with this blog is to bring to light the ups and downs of life. Not just life as lived by someone with chronic pain and fibromyalgia. Not just life as lived through the lens of mental illness. Just…life. As such, I do want to offer some helpful things in addition to sharing my story.
Yes, I realize that all of us sharing our stories IS helpful, but sometimes I like to find something I can actually DO about how I’m feeling, and I am guessing so do you.
I Am A Worrier
I worry…a lot. I worry about worrying. Sometimes I worry that I’m too invested in this “mental illness” thing. Lately it seems to have become part of my identity, which is NOT useful. More useful is to consider that it as something happening to me, rather than it being “who I am”.
I used to think that perceiving these things as something I am DOING was the most useful thing, but that backfired when I wasn’t able to heal myself. It turned what was supposed to be empowering into another way to beat myself up – so I let go of THAT one.
When I am feeling a bit more resourceful about my mental health, I remember that I have choices. Choices about what I think about, choices about how much I wallow. I have to admit to getting pretty lost in my own bullshit over this past month or two.
As Long As I Keep Finding Myself
However, as lost as I can get sometimes, so far, I’ve always been able to find myself. And my SELF wants to write about hope, too. I want this blog to be useful to someone other than me…even if just one person. I want to remember that I’ve spent a good portion of my adult life helping people overcome the some of the very things that seem to be beating me down at the moment.
I liked it, and it helped me keep myself present and actively engaged in my own mental well being.
So this morning, my Self asked me a question: How can I make this blog useful to someone other than me today? I was trying to remember how I kept myself focused and able to help others way back when I was a practicing therapist. I was always very proactive in making sure I could be present and able to help my clients access whatever tools I had to offer.
A Rose Is Still A Rose
Self Hypnosis…Meditation…Energy Work…Prayer… I don’t think it matters what you call it, as long as it works for you! If you are a religious person, by all means, pray to your deity. Or if you just like the word pray, and find solace in sending out a request to a higher energy/entity. If you are a more metaphysically focused person, meditate, do energy work, play with Tarot cards…have at it!
A purely “it’s all in my mind” person might choose repeating positive phrases, or visualization. I land closest to this self-definition, although I dabble in whatever suits me. For me, meditation, visualization, and self-hypnosis are the way I describe this type of thing.
Use whatever tools work for you. As long as your tools do not hurt anyone else, who cares??? For me, the words I use to describe the tools I use vary, depending on my mood. Today, I see it as self hypnosis…tomorrow I might be talking to fairies.
As a non-believer, I can still have fun and fully immerse myself in the game of connecting with whatever energy I choose and find useful.
Helping Myself Help Others
Back to when I used to help other people use their minds to make their experience of life…”better”…or at least, more to their choosing. I had to make sure I could manage my own emotional state. I couldn’t justify charging someone for a session to focus on their own goals, if ANY of my person stuff might get in the way.
One of the ways that I kept myself present and focused was to meditate before each session. A form of self-hypnosis really, that from the outside might be perceived as spiritual, but that for me was just a way to choose my mental and emotional state.
It worked, too, at least for as long as I was with a client. I was able to put myself aside, and focus only on them and their goals. I could access all of the tools at my disposal, be as flexible with my approach as they needed me to be, and be completely disconnected from my own “trials and tribulations”, until they left my office.
Choosing Your Beliefs
So I thought this might be a good time to re-examine that little 3 minute self-hypnosis process I would do, and share it with you! Again, you can view this as energy work or prayer or meditation, if that works better for you. It fits into pretty much any framework and belief system you apply to your own life.
In fact, I want to address the nature of belief. As a hypnotherapist, I encountered a challenge to the belief that hypnosis was “real”, as well as people’s own beliefs about whether THEY could be hypnotized. Belief affected the goals and challenges they faced, and was often an integral element of whatever they perceived as “wrong” with them.
I realized pretty early on that I was not a believer, in the religious sense, and that belief very often got in the way of flexibility and progress. I could step into a client’s experience of the world enough to work within their beliefs if that was helpful, or help them adjust their beliefs or let go of a damaging belief, if THAT was helpful.
My own beliefs were irrelevant, unless they got in the way of my ability to help a client, at which point I would either let my belief go, or send that client elsewhere.
Belief Can Get In The Way
Beliefs can be empowering, but they can just as easily be damaging, and it might be useful to regularly examine our beliefs to see if they still serve us in a positive way. If they do not – then time to change the belief! Honestly – what’s the point of carrying around a belief that damages you…or anyone else, for that matter?
I spent most of my 20’s seeking something in which I could truly believe, particularly something spiritual. Something that would fill “the void” I felt every time I heard myself think “Is that it? Is that all there is?”
When Seeking Doesn’t FIX You
I should have been seeking help for depression and anxiety and some very real physical illness…but instead I was desperate for a god or fairy or magical spaghetti monster to FIX me. I was a seeker, and I spent an inordinate amount of energy seeking an external source of divine intervention. I wanted to believe that there was something “out there” that, in combination with just BELIEVING in myself hard enough, would make my pain go away, my anxiety calm down and my depression fade into the past.
To a degree, I guess that seeking has only shifted. Now I’m seeking a doctor, or a protocol, or a medication, that will “fix” me. In my defense, I have spent the last 15 years trying to fix MYSELF, and that’s not going so well…so returning to seeking some outside intervention may be the healthiest thing I can do for myself. Not sure I believe that…but it’s the path I’m currently choosing.
Right now my perspective is that the intervention I need is neither magical nor mystical. I simply need real world, down to earth help dealing with illness. That’s it – no big metaphysical mystery…just biochemistry. Seriously, isn’t that mystical enough, though?
OK – as usual, I went off on a tangent. The reason I wanted to address belief is because I put this particular little meditation together from a variety of sources from my “seeking” times, and it evolved over the years to include other things that worked for me. It was first introduced to me as a way to “ground my energy” by a woman that turned out to be a charlatan of the highest order.
However, pieces of what she “taught” turned out to be useful within the context of self-hypnosis, so I kept them. If you believe in energy work/energy healing, by all means embrace that belief fully if you choose to adopt or adapt this little process for yourself.
For me, it was a way to remind my mind that I was in charge, and I was making a choice to feel a certain way in the moment, and for as long as the effect lasted.
I hope you can find something in it that is useful to help yourself feel the way you want to feel, even if only for a moment. If you practice this regularly, you may find it helps you set the trajectory for your entire day!
Just click the link below, and you should be able to view and download detailed instructions. Feel free to comment below if you have any feedback or questions. Enjoy!