Tripping Over the Mind
Intro: Personal Beginnings
From the beginning...
At a young age, I became victim of an un-diagnosed psychosis that was prevailing over my life. At first, I wasn't even conscious of what was happening or that it was getting worse the older I became. I thought perhaps I was experiencing paranormal activity (although... well that's another story!) until a certain fateful day took hold.
I couldn't understand it, my mom's singing was normally so nice to listen to, but this time it hurt my ears with its strange pitches; but somehow soothed my baby brother into a deep slumber. My mom realized something was bothering me, and got up but instead of consoling me she walked over to the 15 gallon fish tank, and smashed her face into it, killing herself instantly. She became marred and cut from the glass pushed on her from water rushing out the break in the tank.
I screamed, I'm sure I did at least... I mean, what 10-11yr old wouldn't at the sight of their parent dying in front of them. Whatever my response was, it was enough to gather the attention of my mom; you know, the real one who didn't actually decide to end her life because of a whiny kid. Though I would have been sympathetic, having children myself... but I digress.
My mom, who had in reality gotten up and walked around the fish tank to visit the bathroom, stepped back in response to me. I was a mess, and she had no idea on what to do. Thus started my fearful journey into the depths of my mind that most would never be able to understand.
I had so many unanswerable questions: Why is my brain working against me? How can I know what is real and what is not real? Why is God allowing this to happen? What will my future look like as this continues? And so, so many more.
See, the doctors had no diagnosis for it and my psychosis was getting worse as I became older. Looking back I can see the issue actually started before I was 10yrs old, but it did not strike so starkly as it did that day. It would come maybe a few times a year, to a few times a month, until its peak where I was experiencing problems multiple times a day. No allergic reactions, and limiting me from every possible trigger had -zero- impact.
So Where is the Silver-Lining?
How am I able to help others? The answer is I trusted in God's grace in the power he has given us through our mind. As a result, I overcame the deficiency by the willpower and freedom of choice to do so.
You may think this sounds fanciful or you might be thinking I actually outgrew it, as some children do. But neither is true, my wife has seen me struggle through my ailment as an adult, watched it evolve into something worse, then also watched as God's grace prevailed and I overcame it again. I still have episodes, but they never make it out of the gate, thanks to several factors.
Now, I know I have mentioned God a few times, don't worry, you do not need to be religious to follow along. Even if the God you may not believe in gave you a mind, you don't need to believe in him to have a mind. Though I firmly believe our mind and body is at its best when aligned with our spirit and directed toward our Creator. Focus.
So what are these factors? Come back next time to learn more...
Not really! Though I don't have time to go through them all, I will give an overview. First set of things, and probably the most important:
NEVER give in!
NEVER give up!
NEVER make an excuse!
NEVER stop believing in yourself!
If you are to be successful, you must change your way of thinking from the mindset of detriment to the situation; a distressed or depressed way of thinking, even negative thinking will work against you. Even if you are an upbeat person and have a positive outlook on life, you may not have that same outlook on your own psychosis or mentally-based struggle (addiction, pain without cause, depression, negativity, laziness, etc.).
You may believe you are the way you are, and despite being positive, you may inadvertently be rolling over to the enemy nestled inside your brain. This is what must be changed! You have the willpower, and if you lack the strength, I can promise in a God that has strength to spare.
You must change your mindset from the detriment of your situation, to one of determination and perseverance - That you will overcome. You must imagine, in the most vivid detail you can of you overcoming whatever ails you. You must be willing to struggle for it, which is why you must be willing to persevere.
I struggled so hard for a time, even enduring the most traumatic fears of my life for over 10 hours in a night, while also focusing my mind to overcome it. It was pivotal, and as a result with continued focus and training, I can now stand here living life, without fear.
As a second part to this overview, and what could be said in a single line: find a group of real people to spend time with. Two or more people you can hang with at least once a month. I know, I am asking a lot in this day and age, but there are incredible studies showing that just having that alone will increase our drive and ability to overcome difficulty in life.
Diving a Little Deeper
I know the above steps seem like basic pep-talk, and overly simplified, and that's because it is. Just because our struggles are hard, or our problems have deep-rooted causes does not mean the answer is complicated. However, never giving in to anything that looks like despair or giving up is far harder than it will ever sound.
Often, the hardest step is to remain focused on a solution, and be positive through it. Even harder is to keep standing, in fact, it can even be impossible when we have no one to lean on. I see a few people on my Facebook feed giving into despair and getting angry because they have no friends to hang out with. Yet they continue a perpetual cycle of self-loathing which ends in the same way every time.
I can watch them gain a temporary sense of happiness because they've chosen to not be negative, but they do this without making a single change in their life. Then, when anything weighs against them, they sink back into their pit. They often start by complaining on social media about something seemingly innocuous, then it escalates until they get the attention they are seeking.
What happens next is probably the most pivotal, in that they realize the responses on a virtual platform are not filling their hunger for human interaction. So something must be wrong. Sometimes, they surmise the issue is with other people, but ultimately decide the problem must be with them. Eventually they lash out, usually in bouts of lashing out at loved ones or displays of lack of self-esteem.
It truly is sad to watch. I recall a certain individual, of whom I have even tried to be the change in their life. Yet, they seem to fear change, and opt for what they know, even they know it's worsening their situation. This friend even turned down coming to a guys night with people he knew from school, some were even old friends. His reason was that his cousin wanted to play a game online with him.
I am bringing this up, because it is the perfect example of how we can trap ourselves into a vicious cycle, doomed to repeat itself, out of fear. This is what despair, and self-loathing does. Even the choice to be positive, with no actionable change, will fail to break the cycle that leads us deeper. We often try to fix the problem in our life by trying to fix the world, but how can we fix anything when we ourselves are still broken?
So while persevering and being positive are important, we often find the greatest change to overcome difficulties through people who care about us. They can introduce a randomness that can help break cycles, and give us strength to be more.
But, we are not necessarily talking about simply overcoming a bad mood, or even depression. Having these things won't be enough to overcome mental afflictions that cause seizures, hallucinations, problems with reading and interacting, or even memory loss. They will be great tools, but what is needed more is a focused mind meditating on changing our thoughts on what ails us.
For me, it was more than people who cared, it was the God, of whom I can put all trust in that gave me the ability to do what I did. It was him who I cried out to in the middle of a three-hour episode, and it was him that calmed my mind and brought me out. It continued to be his grace in everything that brought me out of spiraling into an increasingly worse psychosis.
Til Next Time
Welp! That's all for today! So, where do we go from here?
My hope is to continue to write about my own story, share with you other's stories, and dive more deeply into these experiences. To carve out what it took to topple the castle of my enemy, and hold its deceptions at bay.
I want to be an encouragement and a light in this world in which we bind people into a prison of shackles that is their brain and biology.
How often do we hear about people overcoming physical problems? Maybe they had a missing limb or limbs. Perhaps they cannot see or hear, or even walk. Yet they accomplish some of the greatest feats we can possibly lay witness to. They too had to change their way of thinking to achieve these things.
However, we teach people that when it comes to mental deficiencies that they are somehow bound and must be medicated or hospitalized. But I am hear to share with as many as possible, that as much as we can overcome our physical hurdles, our mental hurdles are just as possible to get over.
I want to lead you down a path that doesn't just have you putting one leg over the hurdle at a time, gut-down (though you may start there); but has you full sprinting, jumping and clearing hurdles in shocking ways.
Will you come with me? I sure hope so!
© 2018 Jason Tracey