For anyone who is experiencing low mood, intrusive thoughts, concerning behaviours or heightened emotions, the 3 P’s – Patience, Positivity and Power – can be used to help, whether it be for yourself or someone else.
Over the years I have managed to put some coping strategies in place. But there are times when my logical brain stops working and my emotional brain takes over. This is when I need help from other people.
When I start to struggle I need to be patient with myself. I am very good at telling myself off for not being able deal with it. And this is where other people can help you. If you are confronted with someone who is struggling, saying “you’ve been here before, you know what to do” does not help. The point for me is that I know I have been here before but I can’t remember what to do. I’m giving myself a hard enough time, I don’t need others reinforcing the idea that I am useless. So be patient. You can say things like “you’ve been here before, what helped last time?”. Or “last time when you felt like this x, y and z helped. Do you remember?” You can even say this to yourself. I sometimes repeat mantras or pretend I am talking to a friend or therapist and I imagine the advice they would give me. By doing this you are offering positivity.
Positivity is key. I think I am an optimistic person, but when it comes to myself I only have negative thoughts. And they are invasive. They cloud my judgement and influence my behaviour. Negative thoughts spiral ever downward into deep dark places that for me become dangerous and scary. And when I am there, negativity breeds like rabbits. One thought leads to another and each thought reinforces my feelings of being useless, a burden to my family, why am I even on this planet?…..
Positivity is power. My negative thoughts are not me. They are part of a belief system that was instilled in me at a young age. I am trying to challenge these beliefs. So far I have had mixed results, but it is early days.
Power over my thoughts and behaviours, that’s a weird concept! But for many people this is normal. People who are confident and have self belief. I have moments of confidence, times when I believe I can do anything, but they don’t last and to be honest, they scare me. It is not natural for me. But I have to nurture myself. And when I can’t do this for myself others can help me. Other people can remind me that I am in control of myself. I am allowed to choose how to behave and how to think. Someone once told me that my anxiety is a monster, a being that wants to control me. I have the power to banish the monster. I realise that I have heard this before. In a support group I used to attend, people would talk about their illness as a separate being – a monkey on their shoulder – and they would describe their power struggles with the monkey.
The last few days have been difficult. I isolated myself from people and wanted the world to go away. There are many reasons for the way I felt. A series of events, thoughts and emotions. But yesterday I started to climb out of my isolation and today I feel more positive.
There is hope. And with the help of other people I will get through this.