You’re having a bad day, a bad week or a bad month. This is where you have to take responsibility. You know the phrase ‘own it’, that’s exactly what this means. There’s something really important in life to remember, it’s transient. Everything changes, nothing stays the same. Once you accept this fact things become a hell of a lot easier. When I say ‘own it’ I mean it.
Everyone at some stage suffers with some depression or anxiety. Life involves suffering, that’s just the way of things. It’s not perfect, but it teaches us important lessons. Let it give you strength, not break you down. The problem we face is that we can get dragged into a ‘payoff’.
So what is a ‘payoff’? When you’ve had anxiety or depression you have a choice, to find a way to deal with it, or let it consume you. If it has consumed you, then the likelihood is, you’ve been getting a ‘payoff’. For example, you’ve been able to use it as an excuse to get out of doing something or things you didn’t want to do, perhaps work or social events. Maybe at some point you weren’t really fit enough for this that’s fair enough, but the problem you now face is that your ego/subconscious now has an excuse. That’s the payoff.
Now, you are getting something out of it. You have an excuse on hand when you need it. You use it far too often. You become more lethargic, more bogged down by the misery. Why? How does this happen? The problem with this situation is that it spirals, and your ego takes over and it starts to control everything you do, eventually changing your brain chemistry. Pushing you into a deeper depression, or anxiety or worse both.
The hardest part is recognising that you are getting a payoff and that your ego is taking over. It’s a tricky thing, the ego. We have a nagging Jiminy Cricket voice in there somewhere saying ‘this isn’t right’ but our ego forces the stronger emotions; anger, fear, jealousy to the forefront. All the while, we are ‘out of sorts’ because we have this internal fight, like the angel and devil sat on our shoulders. One telling us to make good choices and the other telling us to make bad choices. Well it’s not quite as simple as that.
The angel is our gut instinct, our intuition and the devil is our ego. Ok, It’s not quite as dramatic as that. Our ego does have a good purpose. It’s our planning mind and we need this to survive. But because we haven’t processed our emotions properly in the past. We attach stories to every feeling that pops up and we translate this to mean we are anxious or depressed, when really we are probably just having a normal reaction but unfortunately due our ego taking over, blows all out of proportion and we become unreasonable in our thought patterns and usually our behaviour too.
I suffered from depression and panic attacks for most of my adult life on and off. I hadn’t learnt how to process emotions properly until I really took the leap into mindfulness. I realise now that I was getting huge payoff’s from it and I see it clearly now but I couldn’t see it back then because my ego wasn’t allowing me to. Mindfulness freed me from the emotional chains and take responsibility for my perspective and my feelings. Life is better when you learn how!