Hindsight is 20/20, or at least is usually is.
In my experience, this clarity often comes only after you accept responsibility for your future, even though you may not have been responsible for your past. What I mean by that is, whatever environment you grew up in will influence how your brain chemistry forms, thus influencing how you perceive, feel, and respond to the world you come into contact with.
I would like to begin with the importance of state of mind because ultimately, the mind can influence your body and how bright your spirit shines. Your brain is a body part and it's responsible for how your mind works. Your mind dictates how you feel, influencing how your body will respond, thus leading back to the mind in how you think. Many would argue, myself included, that out of the three cogs of our existence (Mind, Body, and Spirit) the Mind is perhaps the most powerful of the three, and perhaps the best place to start the interception for change.
I have always been a fighter, and I contribute that to growing up in an environment where my parents were constantly arguing. In return, I constantly fought against my parents, whom I felt were wrong growing up. Later, as an adult, I was later to confirm their incorrectness as an adult. I’ve fought my inner demons of anxiety and depression since I was 6 years old. Since childhood, because I never felt heard, listened to, or understood, I have always fought against being conscious of my own behavior. I felt that I was not allowed or taught to be correctly in control of any aspect of my life.
Hopefully, you can see where things went awry for me.
I think that for most, if not all of us, childhood represents similar roots of conflict. And so, my childhood is where I began to deconstruct, in order to seek answers in being able to reconstruct a better life for myself. In my journey towards finding a balance between the mind, body, and spirit, I hoped to achieve healing that would ultimately lead to a sense of peace and well-being.
I have always been blessed to have a fully functioning body and mind, as well as a formidable sense of intuition. Yet, I never felt healthy. By conventional means sure, I've always been "healthy," having normal vitals, blood pressure, weight, etc., but that isn't what I consider “health” now. My health is more than just getting past my primary physicians' basic tests because those basic tests are only testing to see if you're nearing your last stop on the train of life.
Health is so much more complex than that.
When I think of a person being “healthy,” I think of a person that has thriving relationships, is successful in their career, is financially comfortable, has a stable mental capacity, all on top of being physically fit. By those seemingly and nearly “impossible” standards, I still believe it achievable to be “healthy” in this sense. It’s not necessarily going to be easy, and for many, it's probably going to be a life-long struggle.
Personally, I already know that some aspects will, in fact, be a life-long battle for me. But the philosophy I choose to live by is that despite knowing the odds of this kind of “health” in this world may be stacked against us, we can still be a little bit healthier every day from here on out, simply by just trying. Can you imagine, by making small strides week after week, how much healthier you could be in a year from now?
As it turns out, one of the hardest moments in my life was also the first step in my journey to seeking health, and for me, it started mentally. I feel that's the best place to start, regardless of what you are battling. For example, if your body is injured, it is still so important to take care of your mindset in order to move forward with the physical recovery process. Personally, I needed to start in the mind because that's where the problem lied. I was experiencing warped ways of thinking and felt really angry, having to accept that even though I wasn't responsible for the mess of a being I was, it didn't change the fact that it was my responsibility to fix who I was in the present, and for my future.
To be honest, a slice inside of me still feels a little bit upset at that, but I think that's normal. I try not to dwell on it, and I have found forgiveness towards others who I know unintentionally did what they did; to some degree, we are all collateral damage. Accepting that has made moving forward possible for me, which is a huge aspect in becoming “healthy” as I see it. Accepting, letting go, and moving on.
I imagine many of us have heard the quote "Change your thoughts, change your life." This quote has resonated with me so much that I chose to begin there, as I feel that this is a good place to start.
On the verge of graduating college, I felt like every aspect of myself had hit a wall. I hit a level of depression I had never known. Yet, I didn’t have it in me to give up on my life, and finally, I stopped fighting to ignore and hope my issues would go away on their own. I started fighting for myself and went into therapy with a psychologist.
Despite that I was graduating with a Psychology degree, like so many others, I still held to the stigmas that came with the idea of seeing a shrink. Even after I had resolved that I needed help and decided to go to therapy, I still struggled with the “what if anyone else ever found out?” mentality.
It wasn't until one of my best friends still to this day said to me, "You wouldn't be mad at someone for not running a marathon if they had a broken foot, would you? So why be so hard on yourself for trying fix what's broken in your mind?"
I was mind-blown by this and couldn't figure out why I hadn't been able to have that same perspective before. I realized that I needed to begin with my mind because my mind dictated many harmful behaviors (like the wildly accepted college binge drinking that could potentially lead to other physical problems later if I didn't do something about it). Frankly, I wish the whole world could come to understand that perspective on mental health because I think it could solve so many kinds of problems.
Maybe you are contemplating change, or maybe you’re not. Maybe you feel like something's not lining up and that you need to change something, but can't quite figure out what it is. Maybe you can't break certain habits, Wherever you are in life, what I can say is that it's definitely been worth for it for me to have taken the time to examine what's going on in my head, in order for me to begin the work I needed to do for the rest of me.
So, how do you make the change in your mind?
For me, it was seeking council (and I might say that everyone could possibly stand to benefit from seeing a therapist). Still, a lot of other positive change for me has also come through personal research, seeking answers in literature, experimenting with different hypnoses to see what would help on a subconscious level, and also doing yoga.
There is no “one size fits all.”
I can't tell you how you should make your change because it's all relative to you. However, I can tell you that you can fully expect it to be hard, emotional, and frustrating at times. When you can look back, it's worth it to continue to try, and in hindsight, I am so glad I started. Look back after each chapter has ended and see every hurdle you've overcome, or even every small stride and breakthrough you can make.
You are worth it.
I'd like to end with saying that whatever you've been through, and whatever you're currently facing, please let the sentiment sink in: “You wouldn't be mad at someone if they couldn't run a marathon because they had a broken foot. So don't be mad at yourself if you need some sort of mental healing.”
Thank you for reading, and I hope you find the serenity to face your battles, have the courage to make the necessary changes, and the strength to continue to fight for your health. Feel it, deal with it, heal from it.
Feel. Deal. Heal.
© Copyright Whatismyhealth, February 5th, 2017