To the depressed out there, do you have a trigger flush that sends you swirling down the toilet along with all your shitty thoughts? And when you’re swirling around, do you mistake the shit for yourself?
I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to do that anymore. And if you don’t want to either, then I think we both have a choice to make: do we continue to allow our triggers to destroy us? Or could we let them destroy themselves?
I’m guessing that you have your own personal, delightful trigger that flushes you right down the shitter. My own trigger is the thought of wasted time.
Any day that passes like the one before it, in a brain-fogged blur, is a reminder that I have wasted time. A lot of time, counting down what’s left of life. But what is the use of this? Has this helped anyone on earth to think this way? Anyone??
If I keep blaming myself for this, I’ll undo every inch of progress I have made. I remind myself that there are other types of lives besides so-called conventional ones. Perhaps your life isn’t a conventional one. What is conventional, anyway? Not everyone’s life will follow the same trajectory. I’ve got to remember this when I start blaming myself for not accomplishing anything besides accumulating a lot of student debt. I am perfectly capable of going on and on in this manner, but I’m learning not to. I’m not doing that anymore and setting myself back a year of the progress I’ve made through effort and weekly therapy.*
But we can’t make any progress without facing just what it is our trigger sets off inside of us. The question is, do we have the will to mine through all that shit, find a gem, polish that gem, and present it to ourselves? And if we did, what would we present ourselves with? Whatever gem we find is exactly what our trigger didn’t want us to find. That’s how we turn it against itself, not us.
Thanks to brain fog, my mind ain’t where it was ten+ years ago, and fixing it isn’t going to happen overnight. And simply accepting that has lifted a huge burden off of me. Things can be better and I don’t need to do it overnight. My trigger says to me, “You’ve wasted so much time, you better turn this around by tomorrow morning or your life is an irreparable failure.” Wow, thank you, Mr. Trigger. That was very helpful advice. But I’m not going to take your advice this time.
Right now, I am trying to discover the way forward. I don’t know how many times while writing this post that I’ve deleted paragraphs because they sounded too “preachy,” as though I’ve arrived where I want to be and now I’m going to tell you what you should do. I don’t even know what I should do. All I know is that I have to do something with all that wasted time. I’m trying to forgive myself for my mistakes, cut myself some slack for things that were beyond my control, and do what I can to work through all of that instead of berating myself that I’m too stupid and should give up now.
This is the tiny little plan so far: The first step when confronted by the trigger: flush it down the toilet—without me. Second: ask myself, all right, why was it bothering me? How can I channel this thought into something useful or meaningful? I refuse to accept that things are a waste, even though I have to fight the temptation constantly. Nothing is a waste if you can use it. And even if we had all just laid on the couch day after day, thinking horrible thoughts, we still existed. And that is valuable. So how do we use that experience for good, and turn things around—not by pretending it never happened, but putting it towards something else?
For me, I am using writing as the way to cash in years of crap. Stories… journals… this blog… If I hadn’t gone through it, I wouldn’t have anything to say about it. If you’re the one lucky person (ha) who is reading this, hopefully you can say “Okay, this random person did nothing for a whole decade or more too. So I’m not alone. And they’re using that time to turn it into something. Maybe all that time wasn’t a waste after all.” I won’t pretend this is an easy process. It demands you wrack your brain and sometimes you might spend hours just to come up with nothing. And that’s okay. But I know now that it has to be done if we are to make any headway at all in turning things around to what we want them to be. And if that’s simply feeling less crappy than the day before, that’s something.
*[For me personally, the best type of talk therapy I have done is that my therapist will ask me a question, and I answer, and she’ll ask why do I feel that way, and then I have to think why, and then she challenges me on that, and so on, until I begin to understand how distorted and negative my line of thinking is.
From there, I started EMDR but had to stop because of the Corona virus. EDMR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. First, you and your therapist will spend a long time establishing your history and building trust. Then, when you begin EDMR, your therapist will have you focus on a negative thought or experience while they either move their finger back and forth for you to follow with your eyes; tap your hands; or vibrate small devices that you’re holding in each hand. I prefer the devices because it hurts my eyes to keep moving, and I am waaay too OCD to be tapped. So they do that for a while, and then stop, and then you say what you’re thinking, and then start up again. The theory is that it makes different parts of your brain reprocess the memories and thoughts. It can be extremely difficult to think and talk about those things, but EMDR is found to be very effective even in the short-term.
Everyone responds to different forms of therapy so you have to find one that works for you. Not all will work. For example, the type of talk therapy in which the therapist lets you talk without their saying or asking anything until you get your Eureka moment does not work for me because I usually find myself lying and making things seem better than they are (counterproductive and stupid, I know). I personally need to be challenged because otherwise I keep going with my negative thought process. I wouldn’t even be sitting here typing this if I didn’t develop a new thought process in which I realize I can actually do something I want to do.]
Do you have a trigger thought, and what would you like to do to turn it into something better? Come on, help me out here.