I was reassured tonight by the insights of Ruby Wax speaking at The Octagon Theatre in Yeovil. She said that when she was heading for a crash/depression she would overcompensate to prove to everyone, and I’m guessing most of all herself that she was alright. She would attend every dinner party and event, often with some embarrassing consequences and thus feeding into her negative self talk.
I too have found that when I am heading for an emotional crash I am usually excessively busy either socially or at work or sometimes both. I become, as Ruby would say frazzled. I used to think that excessive workloads, conflicting relationships and a stressful time-pressured day was a big cause in the decline in my wellbeing. But could it be that I am (as a result of the horrid chemicals flooding my brain) behaving in a way that feeds into causing myself more stress? Do these nasty little chemicals influence me to work too hard aiming for perfection and flogging myself to keep up with an impossible pace. Influence me to pile on commitment after commitment without allowing myself time to relax. Unable allow the housework or responsibilities to take a back burner, without chastising myself for not attaining to the expectations I set myself.
Do I always have these high expectations of myself? Well no not always. If I’m in a relaxed state I don’t prioritise the dust on the coffee table but in fact I choose to sit on the couch with said coffee table in front with a steaming cup of tea on top of the dust!
Ruby says that what she does now, is when she notices the critical noises in her head at becoming ever more violent and louder, she clears her diary. She effectively goes into action to spend time away from the commitments, noise and expectations and instead I suspect spends more time practicing mindfulness. She said she has found this useful and has cut down the amount of time her critical noises overtake things.
The lesson I have learnt from this is this- that instead of waiting for my wellness to hit critical juncture before I acknowledge that things aren’t all right in my mind, I need to learn to identify when things start to change and take action then.
With Mindfulness I hope to have a greater awareness of my inner thoughts and to learn to not always allow these negative feelings and thoughts to direct my life. Because as Ruby insightfully said tonight at her show-” you become what you pay attention to”.
To give an example- If you focus a lot of your free time and money on football related activity you might decide to become a football player. If you play football 3 times a week you might become semi-professional. If you play well for a small club and continue to hone your passion and skills you might become quite good. You may get snapped up by a big club and by this time pretty much a lot of people know you as a footballer. You too will be embedded in football culture and thus you have fulfilled your ambitions to become a football player.
My dream is more simplistic but at the same time complex because after all what is more complex that the human mind. To become mentally well and more mindful.