One,Two and Three – A 3 step process to reboot your mind

If you want to change your actions, you have to change your thoughts. If you want to change your thoughts, then you have to change the way you perceive yourself. If you want to change your perception about yourself, you must change the experience.

Yes, an experience with your true self.

 

Often, we approach fixing problems like developing an algorithm. An algorithm has a few major components – the inputs, the processing logic/storage and the output. Quite frankly, that is analogous to how our mind works. It observes the actions, words and emotions of others in our environment, stores it in the database called the subconscious and we somehow adapt to these actions, thoughts, emotions without even realizing we are doing it.

But, often what we consider self-awareness is more of what we are NOT than what we really are. We tell ourselves things based on comparison with other people. After every task you complete, your mind automatically compares the same kind of task done by someone else in a different manner, hence implying you didn’t do your best.

This never ending fight with your self-image, leaves no room for growth.

The reality is the polar opposite of what we tell ourselves. No matter how disgusting our delusions are, how negative we think of ourselves, how we judge ourselves, we are human. We have infinite potential, to pause, refresh, and resume. The three step process.

It’s a 3 step process!

Every single time a notification pings in your mind that reads ‘ YOU CAN’T DO THIS ‘ , PAUSE.

Instead of berating yourself that you cannot do it, switch to ” I DEFINITELY CAN DO THIS GREAT” condition yourself to the opposite of what your irrational thoughts are telling you. Thus, you are refreshing your negative self-talk.

Finally, resume doing whatever you were doing with a bit more self-compassion, and a lot of love.

 

Constantly feeling the need to do something, to be occupied with work is the fear driven trap, sometimes based on experiences of previous trauma.  Our mind uses it as an escape mechanism to avoid dealing with inconvenient emotions.

 

Let’s do this affirmation, pause for a moment. And think of this beautiful word that the internet came up with, called “Sonder”. It’s not an actual word in the English dictionary, though “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows”, the website that created it, defines it as the realization that each random passer-by is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.

We share our world with 7.7 billion others like that. People lose their loved ones, their dream, their homes,  sometimes themselves and yet wake up the next morning and hustle. Some grieve about it for days and heal in isolation, Some grieve by destroying things, while some heal by creating new.

Each of us are finding ways to be happier, to seize the moment as it is, to love, to be loved.

We’re all so strong, even on the days when we feel like choking on sadness,

On the days we feel heavy, on the days we feel the void inside us, on the days we don’t feel like moving.

Why? Because we find a way – we keep going. No matter how many times we’ve told ourselves to give up. In reality we don’t really lose, we don’t really fail, we don’t actually give up.

We’re always told we will be where we want to be with whom we’re meant to be. But we are there right now, where we belong.

It warms my heart to know, to be around each and every one of you. You are so strong and you don’t even know that yet. Also, did I tell you that you did your best this week?

 

And it’s okay even if you do 0.001% more the upcoming week.

 

 

– Haniya Ahmed

 

 

 

 

 

Build the wall – Why emotional boundaries matter

I read this quote the other day by Paul Ferrini. It goes

“Those who have the greatest need to tell others what to do have the least faith in themselves”

Emotional distance is important even if it may seem difficult

 

Okay, story time. My grandmother is a 74 year old woman. A very fascinating story about a human who does not hold any triumphs or trophies to her name but managed to achieve a lot. Her father died the same year she was born in a fire accident. Losing her husband to this tragedy had made her mother reckless, helpless and left with no purpose to live but for her daughter, and for the child inside of her. She then gave birth to another beautiful child, my grandmother’s younger sister.

She had gone through the loss of her husband and was widowed with two daughters. One night she left the child unattended in the cradle. The next morning she woke up to see her infant dead. Drowned in self blame and guilt she decided to end her life as an act of balancing the death of her child. Left alone was my one year old grandmother.

She was married to my grandfather when she was 14. Sixty years, 5 children and 8 grandchildren later she still longs for the love of her mother. She says it crushes her heart to not be able to remember how her father looked like, how soulful her mother sounded like. She grew up listening to stories about them from her grandparents.But one thing that astonishes me the most is her devotion towards family. Yes, I said devotion.

Solitude in childhood can shape our thoughts later in life. Picture Courtesy: “Then they rise” – Spirit Fire Art

Growing up with nothing, the idea of having someone to call family means the world to her. Her mind is wired in such a way that she thinks she owes the people who do the smallest gesture such as helping her cross the road. She remembers the most microscopic details of her encounters with every person she ever met. Somehow, she has lived 74 years of her life constantly thinking about whom to fix it for next. The ‘fixer’ in her forced her to believe that the sole purpose of her life was to make the lives of her loved ones, strangers who impacted in the slightest way too, easier. And somehow she forgot to live for herself. Overcoming a loss or post trauma, your subconscious builds a pattern that convinces you to interfere and repair it for others.

When you try to fix someone, even with the noblest of intentions it is very significant for you to realise that you serve as a block in their growth and learning process. Hurdles in life are nothing but lessons in disguise.

Stop projecting your fears onto the people you try ‘helping’. This calls for a reality check on your behavioural patterns. Your inability to face your fears,acknowledging your coping mechanisms, channelising them into productivity forces you to find an alternative way of dealing with things, by doing it for others.

The aftermath of mental illness, creates an undeniable pressure to try and save anyone else who is going through the same.

IT IS NOT YOUR JOB. 

Initially, the guilt takes a toll on you but isn’t that the beginning of self love? Being able to say NO. Being able to establish emotional boundaries is the first step of healing.

Protect your mental well being.

Respect their individuality,because we are all grown ups who can make choices that benefit us the most. As strange as it may seem, it is necessary for us to accept their decision.

The outcome of healing is not “ I don’t feel negative anymore” is not the end result of healing. It is “This negativity does not determine my self worth”

 

Haniya Ahmed

Dreaming Lives Away: A look into Maladaptive daydreaming

Everybody daydreams. Whether it be out of boredom or excess creativity, we all have times where we space out and makeup scenarios and situations inside of our heads, controlling details and plots. But what if the daydreaming starts taking over and controlling us?

 

Maladaptive daydreaming is a relatively recently discovered mental health condition that fits the bill. Yes, you read it right. As the name suggests, MD, as it is generally called, is a condition wherein daydreaming becomes an obsessive and compulsive action that interferes with daily life activities instead of acting as a creative outlet to boredom. 

 

The concept of Maladaptive daydreaming was brought to light to the research community by Prof. Eli Somer. He defined MD as an ‘‘extensive fantasy activity that replaces human interaction and/or interferes with academic, interpersonal, or vocational functioning”. A quick google search will show a lot of forums and medical journals discussing this newly discovered condition. To sum up, the most commonly experienced symptoms of MD include but are not limited to

 

  • highly vivid and immersive daydreams
  • abnormally long daydreams that are hard to escape
  • an inability to carry out daily tasks
  • daydreams triggered by external events or stimuli, such as watching a film or listening to music
  • sleep disruption and insomnia
  • repetitive and unconscious movements when daydreaming, such as rocking back and forth or twitching

[Source: Medicalnewstoday]

These are only common and apparent symptoms, and they can vary widely from person to person. Since this is a relatively new addition to the world of mental health and a lot of research in ongoing, not a lot of credible and solid data is currently available to us. So, the best possible resources to look to at the moment would be to forums run by people for people who are experiencing MD. Taking a look at these forums, it becomes clear that a lot of people all over the world have taken solace in knowing that they are not alone in experiencing things that they thought were exclusive to them. Many people in forums on the internet share their experiences wherein they state that they never truly realised that constantly daydreaming up to half of your day away wasn’t something that everyone did or experienced. When we look deeper into what could trigger these daydreams, a lot of people mentioned music and certain situations in their lives where they wanted a different and idealistic outcome than what they are currently living in to be the major triggers. They also shared that experiencing these highly vivid and compulsive daydreams also affected their social and academic and professional lives.

This could very well be the first time that you are coming across MD. This short article is only to serve as a note of information on this particular mental health condition so that you as a reader can take a deeper look into it, understand and become aware of this lesser-known phenomenon. To those who might feel like they relate to this particular article, it can be confusing to distinguish what the limit to a normal amount of daydreaming is and if at all this is a problem worth addressing. However, if you feel that your daydreaming is taking over your life and you aren’t able to fully control it, looking for professional help to properly diagnose the condition is the best option. 

It is up to us to create awareness about lesser-known mental health issues so that we as a community can help people who feel like they might be the only ones suffering and battling their condition.

References and resources:

[1] Maladaptive daydreaming: Evidence for an under-researched mental health disorder by Jayne Bigelsen, Jonathan M. Lehrfeld, Daniela S. Jopp, Eli Somer, Consciousness and Cognition 42 (2016) 254–266.

[2] https://wildminds.ning.com/ is a place that has a very active forum dedicated to Maladaptive daydreaming.