Yesterday I made up a timeline of all the major events in my life. I wanted a clear picture of where I’d been, of what had contributed to the way I am today. I tried to include everything both traumatic and otherwise. My hope was, and still is, that I’d be able to put to rest some of the negative influences in my life. The circumstances that have led to most of my struggles with mental illness. I find sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between nature and nurture. What seeds were planted before I was even born? And what are the weeds that I need to tend to? I think I’ve come to the conclusion that the two (nature and nurture) go hand in hand. It is difficult to look at one without considering the other. My natural tendency of sensitivity has been molded by experience. And the events in my life have been secured by my sensitivity.
In most of my previous blogs, I have focused a lot of attention on the relationship between thoughts, behaviour and feelings. The incredible fact is that you can change one of those concepts and it will result in the other two changing as well. This is a great solution to many immediate psychological struggles and it works! It takes a lot of time and energy but it can help one change feelings about the self and about the world. This can be monumental to recovery. I think, personally, it can get you to a place where you can then dig deeper. Despite the amount of effort that goes into achieving results, I think it merely helps you to continue the journey into psychotherapy.
Some therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists believe that changing thoughts is the most important step in a psychological journey and they will even discourage the deep dive into psychotherapy, saying it can be traumatic in its own sense, that it is a needless trip down memory lane that will only thwart one’s ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I don’t believe this.
One of the steps to overcoming negative feelings is to sit with them, to allow them to come and to really experience them. This is taught in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) which I have talked about a lot in previous blogs. Pushing feelings away or burying them does not work! It only makes them more powerful. We are taught to think about our feelings curiously and to ask questions of them. If we are to ask questions then, I believe, we must also search for answers. Psychotherapy allows us this freedom. Now, I’m not saying that everyone needs psychotherapy. I think you can explore your feelings on your own or with the help of a self-help workbook, but I really think that digging deep has to be a part of the recovery process. I am at this point right now. This doesn’t mean I ignore everything I’ve learned from CBT and DBT. I still need this type of therapy to stay balanced. It just means that I think I’m ready to really dive into my life and explore the negative and positive effects of how my experiences have affected my life and me, as a person.
At this point, I would like to strongly urge you to accept help on this journey, especially if you have had trauma in your life. Remember that I am no expert, but there are experts out there! Acknowledging your feelings and experiences can lead to re-traumatization so be careful if you choose to follow this path. I will be working with a therapist while exploring this part of my journey. I feel it is the safest way for me. I will also be reading some of Brrene Brown’s work, in particular, “The Gifts of Imperfection” and “Rising Strong”. I have a workbook for The Gifts. I bought it on Amazon. I am hoping I am well-prepared for the journey ahead. Take care, Jaidan.
Peace balance empathy