Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what I would tell myself in the past. What message I want to get out through my writing, what I hope someone may hear and that will resonate with them. But the fact of the matter is, unless someone is ready and willing to truly hear and act on what is being said, the words don’t matter. What anyone has to say will only resonate when that person is ready to hear it.
The things I think of now that I wish I had known then is exactly what my therapist, my friends, my family, my doctor were all saying to me. Eat better. Try and exercise. Set one small goal every day and achieve it. Take baby steps to propel yourself forward.
But everything they said went in one ear and out the other because I wasn’t ready to learn how to manage the illness. There was a part of me that LIKED being sick. That used that as an excuse to do nothing, to give up on myself.
So to those who know someone who is in the depths of their illness, keep saying what you’re saying, but know they won’t act on it until they’re ready.
There is one thing that I heard at the right time and it changed the course of my life.
Are you ready?
Here it goes:
Thoughts of suicide and thoughts of self harm are simply symptoms of an illness.
Nothing more than vomiting being a sign of the flu.
Unpleasant? Most definitely.
Terrifying? Hell yes.
But having thoughts and wanting to act on them are two VERY different things.
This is one of the most empowering things I have ever heard. To know that just because I’m thinking about something, doesn’t mean I actually WANT to do it, it just means my brain is sick and not coping well.
I still think about suicide. I still think about self harm. I don’t let those thoughts control me. I get all mindful and shit and hold on to them, and let them go. Sometimes I can just talk myself out of it, and say “ok brain, you’re struggling right now but that’s ok.” Usually I physically shake my head to remove them from my brain. I look a little weird, but somehow the movement helps to lessen the thoughts. I also repeat “you are ok. You are ok. You are ok” until the thoughts pass. Or I journal. Or I skip rocks. The important thing is that I remember these thoughts are simply byproducts of this illness I have to manage.
We are in charge of our thoughts. We have control over our emotions.
We are more powerful than we can possibly imagine.