But “you are not your thoughts Emma” my psychiatrist was saying to me.
I just looked at him, it was all right for him, he wasn’t the one feeling the way I did.
My thoughts were destroying me, I felt worthless, guilty, useless, afraid of everything and everyone and I wanted nothing more than to fall asleep and never to wake again.
I didn’t feel I had a right to be part of society.
My life was a downward spiral and I was struggling to keep my head above water.
My thoughts were pulling me under, deeper and darker into the hole I couldn’t climb out of.
It has taken 5 years of intense therapy, which is still ongoing, for me to be confidently able to tell you that you are not your thoughts.
Your thoughts happen in only one area of your life and that’s in your mind, that does not mean they are true and it does not mean they have to affect your life.
You are not your thoughts or feelings
When I felt worthless, useless and believed my children would be better off without me than having a mentally ill mother, others saw me as a strong woman fighting with her very last breath.
Some days I do not feel strong, those thoughts creep in quickly and I often feel myself shrinking into myself, it’s then I remind myself what my psychiatrist has told me on many occasions, you are not your thoughts, they are just thoughts.
I have learned to treat my negative thoughts the same way as I do my voices, I tell them exactly what I think of them.
I remind them that it is me who is in control and they only exist because I do, they are just leeches feeding off my blood supply.
I have the power, not them and while I do not vocally talk back to them, as I may just scare my psychiatrist if I start having full-blown conversations with the people and thoughts within my head, I am able to think these thoughts and transport them back to the source.
Sounds weird? Try it!
Think of a negative thought about yourself right now – let it consume you for a second, you’re worthless, your overweight, you’re not pretty, you have no friends ….
Now tell that thought its wrong, it’s a thought and nothing more because you’re not what it’s just said you are. Go on tell that thought to jog on.
Thought ” You are fat”
You ” I may be fat but I can lose weight, you’ll always be ugly”
1 to you
0 to the thoughts
Ugly thoughts destroy your happiness, you must learn to recognise them and stop them in their tracks because your are not your thoughts any more than you are your feelings or emotions.
You do not become “anger”, you are still you, you’re just reacting to a situation, it’s your behaviour to these thoughts and emotions that need to change and dealing with emotions is difficult yet paramount to a successful future.
Isn’t the mind an amazing place?
If I had a pound for every time someone has said the following to me I would be a very rich lady:
- You are such a strong person
- You’re a fantastic role model to your kids
- You’re an amazing lady
- You inspire so many people
- I could never have coped with what you have
It’s funny how your perception of yourself differs from others doesn’t it?
It was on my bad days that I was fighting my hardest, there were times I wanted to end my life, there were times I attempted to do so.
Those of you who know the depths of depression with understanding how that lonely existence feels.
I was surrounded by love, I had a supportive husband and 6 children yet I felt so alone.
My thoughts reminded me constantly what a waste of space I was.
My thoughts could not be seen by others, just as my mental illness isn’t. Y
ou can not see bipolar anymore than you can see what’s happening inside my mind.
Others do not see you as you see yourself.
We are our own worst enemies, putting too much pressure on ourselves to become something we are not, striving for acceptance and perfection from others.
Feeling less valuable than others, for what reason?
The only acceptance I ever needed was acceptance from myself.
Learning to accept mental illness was one of the biggest challenges of my life, yet it changed my life.
I am not bipolar, I happen to have a mental illness labeled bipolar, also known as manic depression, that does not make me any less of a person.
My thoughts no longer control me
Years of therapy and dedication to change my life, so I am able to live as happily as possible alongside an illness that wants to kill me, has made me the strong woman you see standing before you today.
My thoughts still tell me on a daily basis that I am worthless and I will never be accepted by society, yet I am able to acknowledge that these thoughts are not real, they are mere thoughts.
It may shock you to also know that I hear voices, I can have up to 5 different conversations taking place in my head at any one time.
I don’t always hear clearly what they are discussing but they always want to drag me into their debates and rants.
I avoid them, I am used to them now and I am in control.
I do not fear my voices as I once did, I remember begging to be sectioned as one of the voices was telling me to pour my cup of hot tea over my baby.
It took 3 years to trust myself to be left alone with my own children.
While I now know my voices are a part of my illness and I am able to control them, it was the thoughts that I struggled with most because they felt so real, yet I am now able to control them too.
You are not your thoughts and I if I can learn this and stop them controlling my life, then so can you.
Are your negative thoughts controlling you and making you unhappy?