It is a scientific, biological fact that once you have experienced depression that you are more likely to fall into a depression again. This is because our brains (well, hopefully not YOURS, I wouldn’t wish depression on anyone!) develop a neuropathway towards it…and, once established, our neurons are more likely to take a road more travelled.
I believe that this is true of any thought pattern we engage in throughout life. If I live my whole life thinking, oh…let’s say that I’m undeserving of what I want, I will probably find myself in situation after situation after situation after situation after situation (shall I continue here?!) after situation, (lol) of letting myself fall by the wayside. I mean, I don’t deserve that type of relationship, or job, or friend, or money, or happiness, or whatever.
I’m going to share something really personal with all of you…(but don’t get used to it!) I had a breakthrough in therapy the other day (in case you didn’t guess from my last blog that yes, not only do I see a therapist–who is totally awesome by the way, but at least one of my parents is in fact, a bona fide crazy person…guess which one and you could win a prize!) I realized that I do deserve the things I want…and, not only do I deserve them, but what I want is by no means irrational or unreasonable.
One might ask, “Hey, Julie…how did you manage to create a new way of thinking for your brain?” Great question, hypothetical person who is very interested in what I have to say! I have been spending a lot of time and energy analyzing my behaviors. Every action I take has a thought behind it. Actually, it probably has many thoughts. Which is why it’s helpful to see a therapist…someone who is paying attention to what I’m saying and asking questions that I might not think (or want) to ask. So, I have been analyzing all my actions to figure out the thought processes behind it. Once I’ve figured out the thought patterns, I work to trace these back to their origins. How did I learn this? And better yet, once I’ve identified these parts, I can ask myself the most difficult questions: Is this thought agreeable with who I am, and if not, What exactly IS? PRESTO! There you have it. (Not nearly as easy as typing ‘presto’ in all caps…but you get the idea.)
Here is what I did not do (or what I did do, but soon realized that it wouldn’t work): I did not look for an easy way out. I did not look outside myself for an answer. (There is none to be found.) Not any type of medication, or relationship or person or energy work is going to fix the way I think and therefore act. That has to be done by myself only. I’m sorry if I burst any bubbles out there. But hey, if you think Zoloft or Reiki or a new boyfriend will make you think and behave differently, keep on trying. I know I had to learn it for myself…no one could’ve told me otherwise because when I was engaged in that stuff, I was not ready to listen.
So, what exactly does this mean? Well, if you can picture me sitting in a
chair,crying while saying, “You know what, Whitney? I DO deserve to be happy. To be treated wholly by another, to give and to receive!” (Okay, so when I was talking to her I was way more specific about what I actually deserve…but that’s a little TOO personal for me to share on the internet!) If you are really curious, ask me and I may or may not answer you. But I will like you just the same.
Oh yeah, (I hope you enjoyed the picture I just painted for you) so this means that I have now formed a BRAND NEW neuropathway in my brain! Yessss! But, just because it’s there, doesn’t mean I will take it all the time. It is just a baby pathway. The other route has almost 28 years of travel…which means that it’s still a lot stronger than the other. So chances are, that, even though I’ve developed this new route, I will still accidentally follow the road I don’t want to travel. This is to be expected. But now, I don’t have to be so harsh on myself…because this is simply biology. It’s the way our bodies and brains are made up. And, if I keep paying extra special attention to what I’m doing and how I’m doing it, I can travel the new road more and more often (even though it seems foreign and awkward and I might not want to all the time) until it gets stronger than the old way.
I think that one day, instead of being like work, it will simply BE that way! OH, how exciting!