Friday, June 19, 2015

Day seven, an unintentional example of over thinking

Day seven, are you still reading? Getting sick of me here every day? I do hope not, I’m feeling the stretch in my mind as I search for topics to write about. Those words that circle in my brain are like a herd of skittish horses. They see me thinking ‘blog post’ and they head for the hills. Does a brain have hills? It’s got lumpy bits, so I guess that will do.

Today, what will I write today? One of the writing prompts is to write about your best day ever. I’ve been trying to think ever since about which day that is for me. You know what scares me about this prompt? I can’t think of a best day ever. Did I get to this stage in life without having a single best day? Has my life been that depressing, that bland, that boring that not one single day stands out as being fantastic? It would appear so as I cannot think of one.

I can’t even think of the last time I had a fantastic few hours. Surely I must have so why don’t I remember? I know I have learned behaviour that makes me forget the traumatic things. I learned it as a child, to push down the sad and bad things and refuse to think about them. I do it still even though I don’t want to. My memory of my life – and I know I have said this before (or maybe it was my character Cassie in Letters) – is like a brick wall with black bricks inserted at random. I don’t want to be like that any more, and I am in a place of peace now so that I shouldn’t need to. So why can’t I think of the happy times? Why can’t I produce one day, just one day out of the thousands of days that make up my life?

This is bugging me probably far more than it should. Is my past still weighing so heavily on me that I can’t appreciate my present? Maybe that’s it. I do believe that when I was happy it scared me because I learned that the hammer would fall on my head the heaviest if I showed I was happy. So now I’m worried that I have become adept not only at not showing myself that I am unhappy, but also in not allowing myself to realise I am happy.

What can I do about this? I even have a mantra that I say to myself many times a day, to keep myself from falling into the black hole and to keep myself positive. I say these words ‘avalanches of abundance come to me, I am prosperous and I am grateful’. By abundance I mean good things in general, things that uplift me and make me happy. By prosperous I mean enough money to live comfortably. And I try to be grateful every day for everything that I have, tangible and intangible.

And yet, I can’t come up with a time when I felt fantastic, joyous, happy. There are studies that show childhood anxiety causes permanent changes to the brain, giving rise to anxiety disorders and other mental issues. So is that my problem? I was constantly anxious as a child, maybe my brain doesn’t know how to be otherwise. Maybe my brain can’t compute happiness and dismisses it. That’s probably pretty far-fetched. But I’m still wondering.

Maybe what I need to do is re-train my brain to accept happiness as normal and not as the precursor to something bad. Perhaps if I continue to recite my mantra – because I’ve only been doing that for about a week - I will notice a change. Maybe as I lie in bed at night, before I go to sleep, I should be reciting all of my blessings and all of the things that made me smile or laugh during the day. I don’t know, but I do know that I want to be the person who can’t decide which happy day was the best day ever. Not the person who can’t even come up with a few happy hours.

It could be that I’m overthinking this, perhaps the happiness I’m thinking of is the kind that only exists in books and in movies. Maybe I’m being the perfectionist and not the realist. I don’t know. I do know that I wish I hadn’t read that particular writing prompt! Now that I have I realise that I am not as healed as I thought I was, so I will take those steps to try to effect some re-wiring of my brain. The brain is plastic, the areas we give most attention to whether it be emotions, fine motor skills or mental abilities are the areas of most growth. So focusing on different areas must help to change the way we think.

I’m certain that is not a new concept, I’ve even read it before. But here, now, is the first time I’ve truly understood it as it pertains to me and my thought patterns. So I guess it was good that I read that writing prompt. Today is the start of a new habit and new brain patterns. So as to my best day ever? Hold that thought, I’ll come back to it, maybe I’ll be able to say it was today…

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