Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Trick Question! Pain? Or No Pain?

I posted this on my FaceBook page a few days ago: If you were given a choice to choose to be free of the pain of the past or choose an opporunity to learn to create your own best life - what would you choose? Exactly!

Trick question...or is it?

I think it is safe to assume that everyone - or most everyone - would like to be free of the pain of the past. To let go of the emotional distress and internal pain and conflict, to quiet the noise of a racing mind. To find peace from the cognitive distortions that can leave us feeling afraid and unsure. To quench the idea that suicide or other self harming/self destructive behavior is the only relief to be found from the torment of a mind that seems uncontrollable and a past that haunts us day and night.

But does everyone - or most everyone - know they have options and can learn to create their best life after being diagnosed with a mental illness? That it is possible to not simply survive day to day by managing symptoms and coping...but to live, to thrive, to dream and to reach for, to live each day to its fullest? To become all they are capable of being?

For a long time, I didn't.

But that changed when I met someone who had been there and done that - and was willing to shine and share their light on a new path in my journey. It was a path that had been there all along, but I hadn't seen it through the darkness and chaos of a racing mind and sense of hopelessness and helplessness that I could ever be and be "ok".

It was a path where I discovered that under the brush and weeds of the dark jungle in my mind, I found that I had had what I needed to find my way out of the darkest places within myself; that it had been there all along and I needed only to learn how to access this wisdom within myself.

I learned that I had the power to change my life - that I had a choice other than to continue to live at the mercy of racing thoughts and unstable emotions.

Here is the correction I posted on my FaceBook page: Lets revise that! A choice to STAY in the pain of the past or choose to be free of it - which would you choose?

"Managing" the symptoms of "mental illness" served only to help me survive another day, another night only to repeat that process the next day, week, month and eventually years; there was no freedom, I was prisoner to this torment. My life revolved around and was consumed by simply surviving, trying to hold the demons at bay.

Yet I have since found freedom. I discovered that I did not have to STAY in that pain and avoidance; that I could choose to be free of it. Free of the emotional instability, the cognitive distortions that colored my reality, the hopelessness that I could ever have more, the helplessness that kept me dependent on sources outside of myself to guide my life, the belief that to cope and survive was the best I could hope for.

I discovered that I could LEARN how to live in the self awareness and develop the insight that has allowed me to find freedom from the pain of the past and and create my best life - which is simply the life of my choosing each day.


If you are looking for resources I've posted some links here. Not an exhaustive collection by any means but a good place to start :)

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