Mind over matter

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“Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

 
I’ve been thinking about the mind lately and how delicate an instrument it truly is.  It is an amazingly complex processing machine that can store vast amounts of data, do many processes at once, both in the foreground and background, it creates theories, reasons, and dreams.  It is what makes each of us individuals. How it processes our experiences and data we feed it helps create who we are.   With all the capacity and ability it is also quite delicate. It is prone to imbalances in the body, it can succumb to its own processes, and it can create problems that don’t even exist.  Its also very prone to stress which many times it creates in the first place.

 

Why I started to thinking about the mind is because my stress level has been slowly increasing over the past several months which has been causing some impairment but nothing very noticeable at least to others.  See I have all these things I slowly built over the years that help me deal with stress, depression, and anxiety but over the past several months I allowed my focus to become centered around one project and thus those things I built like roadtrips, walks, photography, writing, etc slowly slipped into occasional things and some even stopped. My writing was one of the things that stopped.

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“A sick thought can devour the body’s flesh more than fever or consumption.”
― Guy de Maupassant

So I ended up in my doctors office for some pain and etc I was having, which they ran a ct scan and believed there was a kidney stone.  They saw something in the area and sent me to a urologist.  Now I’ve had kidney stones in the past and the last the pain was so great I truly thought I was going to die. So the thought of a kidney stone sent my brain into anxiety mode. I started obsessing over it.  It was later determined it was not a kidney stone but a calcified lymph node, but the process of being reminded of the trauma had started.  I was remembering vividly going through the last one and I was overreacting to any pain on my right side (where the kidney stone was supposedly).   Then the antibiotic they gave me had a bad reaction with me and sent my anxiety into extreme measures and I lost control of my mind and only xanax was giving me a little control.

Once the septra left my system I thought I was okay but still having moments of anxiety from time to time.  I normally manage my depression and anxiety with herbs like 5-htp and l-theanine, but my doctor thought I was on a bad cycle with having various episodes of high anxiety.  So she prescribed me zoloft.  After the first half a dose sent me into jitters and etc which the pharmacist said was normal and would pass, but given everything else I wasn’t up to waiting it out. I didn’t take it again. Instead I focused on fixing me.  Adjusted my herbs I take and added a couple things and changed frequency. Also my wife and I sat down and worked out a list for me to get control back. With the concept if they don’t work I’ll use the zoloft but this time know what to expect from the first doses.

So all of this reminded me of the months after my mother passed and I was sitting in the doctors office crying and asking for meds to help me deal, not having any thought other then I just needed help. The moment I realized I had a breaking point and put more emphasis on self care for myself. I was reminded that the only way to help others to  make sure I take care of myself.  Even then it can be hard to manage my thoughts, emotions, and what goes on in my head but I do manage.

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“After a traumatic experience, the human system of self-preservation seems to go onto permanent alert, as if the danger might return at any moment.”  ― Judith Lewis Herman

So with the thoughts of how delicate the mind truly is I thought of my father-in-law. He has Alzheimers and has no way to battle that, there isn’t a cure and at some point the meds won’t work for him anymore.  I know what its like to lose myself, but what must it be like to lose yourself without any hope of recovery.  Since he doesn’t trust himself that much anymore he relies more on his wife, which I can relate with because that’s what I did rely on someone I trust.  To think about his mind turning on him, he’ll not only lose his memories but his cognitive ability and eventually even motor skills.   My mind is my most precious asset and the thought of what he must be going through hurts. I’m always praying that he manages as well as he can and to give everyone involved strength.

Which today I watched “A Beautiful Mind” which is another case of the mind turning on itself in the form of schizophrenia.  There is a scene that reminds me of myself where he wants to believe he can logic himself out of it, that he can solve the problem that he could in essence win against it.  We don’t want to believe that we are helpless against something, especially the loss of our mind.  I know when I found myself in my doctors office almost 3 years ago crying and asking for meds it was only because I had failed at fighting and could no longer function. I fought the good fight, but failed and needed help, but mine was situational what about things like my father in law that there is no long term treatment for him.  How does one handle that.

” Imagine if you suddenly learned that the people, the places, the moments most important to you were not gone, not dead, but worse, had never been. What kind of hell would that be?” 

There are studies that show parallel connections sometimes between creativity or high intelligence and mental illness.  Which Aristotle did say  “No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness” .    Which many people with high creativity or intelligence can be a bit quirky but most times I attribute that to their perception of the world around them compared to someone elses.   Most of us can be a little interesting to work with. I use interesting loosely because I love the word “interesting” because it can mean so many different things which that fluid translation would definitely apply to dealing with me.  I’m sure sometimes people love me and other times they’d love to strangle me.  🙂

Though the mental illness issue is something people don’t seem to understand. They understand physical illness but mental seems to escape most. I think because they can’t relate if they haven’t experienced it. My father could never understand how I could be depressed or even suicidal, his opinion was you just changed your thinking.   He thought someone that committed suicide was a coward, which isn’t true. Someone that loses that battle is by no means a coward, they lost the war they had been fighting. I always pray for those battling and those souls that lost their war.

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“We cannot change anything unless we accept it.” ― C.G. Jung

I know I never mentioned my issues to people until I got older and realized that the only way people might understand is instead of being silent that if I talked openly about it, maybe not completely (I do hide certain aspects many times like how dark I can go when I hit the bottom of depression or some of the issues with anxiety) but still information helps others understand.  There will always be those that judge but there are only a select few that I worry about their opinion the rest I accept they just don’t understand the battles that take place in my head.  They also perceive my mannerisms and speech as I’m ok.    I also know they probably don’t realize how close they are to some form of mental issue: a medicine throws off their chemistry, a physical illness throws off their mental game, drop in a particular vitamin or mineral, etc.   The mind is truly a delicate yet amazing thing.

So today I have a deep respect for the way the mind was created and how it functions. It intrigues me how intricate it is and how much of us are contained within it.  Also how it tries to protect itself many times from bad memories, pain, etc.  Truly a marvelous creation.

My prayers and heart go out to anyone dealing with any form of mental issue or illness.

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“Mental illness turns people inwards. That’s what I reckon. It keeps up forever trapped by the pain of our own minds, in the same way that the pain of a broken leg or a cut thumb will grab your attention, holding it so tightly that your good leg or your good thumb seem to cease to exist.” ― Nathan Filer

Which excuse any grammar issues.My editor (my wife) is hold up a dark bedroom with a migraine. Yet another component to the mind that can suck greatly.  Her migraines cause upset stomach, sensitivity to light, dizziness, shivers, etc.  Which proves again it is a  delicate thing that controls everything.

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