Categories: Mental Health
Hopelessness is a very strong thought for me; it’s taken years for me to try to even acknowledge that maybe things realistically have a chance of changing. Having this small degree of freedom has allowed me to see just how incredibly devoted my thoughts have been to this hopelessness, to this immobility, to this futility. It has been more than a belief, it has been as foundational as “I think, therefore I am”.
It’s almost as strong, one could say, as a belief in god. The belief that people hold so concretely that they know it to be true, without question. It is the belief that is at the center of all others for them. They’ll do any number of mental acrobatics to keep it in place, and anything that may cause them to question the belief questions their very self.
My point is not to belittle those who hold such beliefs (though it obviously does tip my hand at my own), but it’s to say this: that’s how strong my belief in futility is. It is as strong as a belief in god, I can no more stop believing in it than a person who beliefs in god could decide to stop being a theist.
Immediately following the thought “this belief is as strong as a belief in god” came the thought “it’s like I traded one religion for another.” The old one was centered on good; on love, on self-improvement, on possibility, on positivity. It’s almost as if each of those things had been swapped out with its polar opposite. And if you were to ascribe these negative attributes to a being, like with the old belief, it was as if I had removed a god of life with a god of Death. That the way I live my life, the thoughts I choose to accept as law, I do so out of reverence for this god.
That’s where it’s helpful, for me. It makes the whole thing seem ridiculous, and to laugh at something is to help strip its power. Intrusive thoughts like “she hates me” or “this won’t last” will still be present and potent, but my hope is to notice them as they arrive and label them with “worshiping Death” or “praying to Death”. I’ve even bought a little figurine of an ancient god of Death that I can see and be reminded of this entity I service with such thoughts.
I’m hoping by giving thoughts such labels and trying to keep this all-devouring negativity will help to find that balance in the “wise mind” area, the area of harmony and cooperation between the emotional and rational. The fact that I was actually able to construct the thought of “worshiping Death” is a demonstration to me that I’m at least getting closer to that area. My labeling these thoughts is not an attempt to pummel the incorrect beliefs into intellectual submission; on the contrary, it’s having the intellect follow the limbic brain’s lead, so to speak. As my emotional mind (my lizard brain, my Pet) slowly releases its grip on what it perceives as a survival threat, freeing up those resources for my rational mind, my rational mind will take what is being released and affirm it, and encourage further release.