- Posted February 13, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
You Are Either in Life or In Thought
This is in Response to "Anxiety, You're not the Boss of Me" by Richard Lucas. I feel his frustration and I believe that he, as well as millions of sufferers may be missing a big piece of the puzzle to relieve anxiety.
When I was 20 years old, I finally decided to get laser eye surgery. Gone were the days of finding cool glasses, or picking between hard or soft contacts.
To my surprise, the surgery lasted less than 10 minutes. Soon I was going to have perfect vision, but not until my eyes were fully healed.
When the surgery was complete, my doctor gave me a pair of glasses that made the room almost pitch black. I could see just enough to make out shapes and not bump into things. Besides that, everything else looked pretty hazy.
It was interesting to go around in these glasses. My world, althought much darker, was exactly same. I would still talk to my friends on the phone, go to the same restaurants, and walk clumsily around my kitchen, but with a different reality — a reality that was dark and fuzzy.
The reason I knew not to get depressed or worry about this new reality was I knew that eventually I was going to be able to take the glasses off and see more of my reality again; a clearer one, one that allowed me see more of the world in perfect color.
People who are depressed, experience PTSD or anxiety, are living in the world that isn’t allowing them to see it the way I see the world. I want to make it clear that it’s not because they want to or chose to.
When we experience a traumatic event, we rely on our thinking to get us out of it. The thinking, the voices, and the thoughts in our heads are what perpetuate the grim reality we so eagerly want to escape.
We end up breaking down and getting help. The therapist or doctor tells us that we are depressed and we need to think better thoughts or not think at all. The problem is, our brains are hardwired to think. To try to remove thinking would require more thinking. This creates a perpetual whirlwind for many who are troubled with illnesses. What normally occurs is they believe it is incurable…which creates more thinking.
We all have chatter in our heads every single millisecond of our existence. For the most part, these voices are harmless. They may say things like, “That woman (or man) is good-looking,” “I want to kill my boss,” “I think that puppy is cute,” “I don’t feel like I can live anymore,” etc.
When you start to believe that the voices in your head are more than just voices in your head, that’s when the trouble begins.
The reality for many suicidal people is that the voices in their head tell them to kill themselves, so they start to believe it. I have had moments where my voices in my head said the same thing, and thank God I knew they were just voices in my head. I remember when I was young and my mom said to me, “If someone told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?” My answer was always no. So, why would the answer be any different when that “someone” is the voice in my head?
When the voices or thoughts that are just floating around in your brain are not given any power, your everyday life has color and clarity. Sanity and wellbeing become the natural side-effect of life.
As soon as you believe that one particular thought out of the 70,000 you will have today means more than any other, you have just put on the dark, grim glasses my eye doctor gave me that changed the outlook of my reality.
For many people, the reason that positive psychology, exercise, walking away (or whatever ritual you decide to do) only works for the moment is because you are still in the same paradigm of believing that your voices or thoughts will bring you resolution. The problem with trying to do the above solutions is that they are not solutions at all, because you are still in life with the glasses on. Although it may appear that you have changed your environment, you’ll eventually realize that the glasses are still on your face, which will take you back to the same place you were before.
The solution is so paradoxical that we often miss it. The solution is so close to us, we ignore it. The solution is so simple that even the most complicated and decorated psychologists have dismissed it.
Our grief, depression, and anxiety can only live in one place. The illnesses we believe we have are just thoughts floating in our heads. The only way they can be activated and come alive is if you believe you need to engage in that thought. Don’t get me wrong — the world can seem very hard and painful. If you drop a rock on your foot, you can be a victim and say the rock did this to you and believe it. The rock is only a rock, but the thought you create, listen to, and believe gives you the feeding mechanism to make the rock more than it is.
Even though events in life may seem more important than a rock, please keep in mind that, as bad as the outside world may appear, it can only have the meaning it can have with the collaboration of your thoughts, your engagement in those thoughts, and the constant reminder that the thoughts you decided to make real are actually real.
But the world you see is what it is. The smell and color of the feeling can only be created via thought. This may be hard to hear and again, and you may want to dismiss it, like I did. But when you see that the glasses you have on don’t need to be on you anymore, or have that little insight that lets you know it’s just the glasses on your head (or the thoughts inside your head) that are making the world look a certain way, you may wake up and say to yourself, I don’t need them anymore. They are no longer useful to me. At that point of understanding, there is no need to tackle your depression, anxiety or distress. All that would be needed to realize what is happening; that your thoughts are 'thoughting' and they are harmless, unless you engage in them.
There is no need to create imaginary tools to combat an imaginary hurdle. Both the tools you need to combat the thinking and hurdles we need to confront, go through the same process before they exist; they can only exist via thought, and thoughts are simply immaterial, weightless "ghost particles" that can't harm you unless you believe them.
For more information visit Amir Karkouti's blog at www.amirkarkouti.com