The theme of my life lately has become my mental health. It should have been a priority a long time ago, but as author Jen Pastiloff says "should is an asshole" so I'll try not to dwell in the past thus reducing my asshole footprint.;)
I had a thought as I passed by during a specific scene while my husband James was watching a horror movie the other day. The Priest was performing an exorcism on a man while telling the guy that was possessed not to believe the thoughts in his mind, that they were not his because he was possessed by demons.
So because mental health has been at the forefront of my mind lately, I told James that it's as if we have to go through mini exorcisms every day. But that demon we are possessed by is our own thoughts and they can be insidious. They are those thoughts that tell us we are stupid, dumb, not good enough, never will amount to anything, will never be happy, and don't deserve to be happy. Those are the exact thoughts that have to be released because they are not true and not real, yet they are so convincing because they are disguised as our own voice.
We could get in to all the ways those awful thoughts get there in the first place... our past, childhood, toxic relationships, ego, etc but in the moment I know I don't care how it got there, I just know that voice is there and it makes me miserable and I need an entire arsenal of ways to believe what it's saying is not true.
Liz Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, Big Magic, and City of Girls, says that her mind can be a terrible place to walk around alone at night in the dark. I have thought so many times that my mind is this bad neighborhood and some thief steals all the positive, happy, and joyful thoughts and what's left is fear, dread, sorrow and sadness. So I have to get out of that shitty neighborhood and walk down a safer street in the daylight and pull myself together.
At some point, you just get so tired of being scared and tense all the time. It's exhausting and not how I want to live my "...one wild and precious life" as poet Mary Oliver says. It's not until you realize that it isn't the thief in the bad neighborhood holding you up, instead it's YOU. You are the one holding the knife to your own throat.
That's the work, for me at least...managing the darkest shadows of my mind and following the light. Lately that has looked like...reading, yoga, praying, meditating, watching funny movies and shows, walking, being in nature, writing in my journal, and going to therapy. Mental health is so extremely important and taking care of it will look different for everyone. I am just beginning again to make it a priority.
I know that especially in the world we are living in now, we need a bushel of ways to keep us sane and out of the bad neighborhoods of our mind, it can literally save our lives.
What do you do to manage your mental health?
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