May 31, 2023
The trap of mind.
It's odd that your mind can break. Over a night, it can turn your life upside down. Leaving it like that, forever. I was 19 when it happened. Until this morning, writing this post, I'm still thinking about why and how that happened.
At the time, I was working a lot. Basically every waking hour. I figured if I unlocked a revenue stream, my life would change. I could gain control. I wanted out. I was living in refugee camp then. Sharing a 2-bedroom apartment with 2 other families. Each from different countries, living with different cultures. For years, we shared bathroom and kitchen. I had adapted to that lifestyle but I knew I could be more. I believed the success of my work could become the key to my freedom. So I spent all my time working. And I did so for years until it clicked. The door opened. And I got out.
But it came with a price. One night, just as I was getting ready for bed, around 4am, I suddenly felt disoriented. I looked around the room and couldn't make sense of it. Suddenly, nothing felt real. I looked at my hand and I couldn't recognise it. I thought I was in a dream. My body felt like a shell. Every cell in my body was sure I was dreaming. But I was fully awake.
So we rushed to the hospital.
My mind somehow had collapsed.
The intensity of that state lasted a good while. For weeks, normal tasks like walking, talking, eating, felt overwhelming. Couldn't do most things on my own. For months I couldn't look at people in the eyes. It didn't feel right. And for years I had a fear of looking at myself in the mirror. I still sometimes get flashbacks to this day.
I had developed derealisation and depersonalisation disorder with severe PTSD. Due to a lot of different factors. And as most health challenges, doctors can never point out the reason for certain. There's a lot of could-be and probably in science still. But the suspects are familiar. High stress, felt unsafe, little sleep, wrong diet, for an extensive period of time, can cause lasting harm to your mind. Your brain chemical levels change. They go out of balance. As a result, your perception of life alters. Your reality changes. That left me terrified. All the time. For years.
I felt fragile.
I couldn't see it, but I felt broken.
And that's a difficult healing process.
When you don't see where you are hurt, you don't know if you are healed. Or even if you are healed properly. Will it come back if I push too hard? Will it ever be as intense as it was before if I face life challenging obstacles? It's hard to know for certain.
Today, I feel better. Probably best. Ever.
But last night, I felt it again.
It comes and goes. It's the same fear, wearing different masks. It sometimes catches me by surprise, gets me disoriented, makes me fear life. But it doesn't take me long to unmask it. To uncover the same core emotions underneath that have gone expressed until they burst in attacks.
I'm still a work-in-progress.
But I've learned a few things. A few hints. That if you feel the same, you might find them helpful.
The first is, your mind is a trap.
It's a labyrinth, designed not to be solved.
At the time of panic or stress, your escape is in your focus. Bring your attention from your mind to your body. Feel your weight, find your centre, align yourself. Sitting or standing. Bring your attention to your senses. Focus on your hearing. Smell. Eyes closed or open. Observe your environment through your senses. Feel the presence. Then mentally scan your body top to bottom. Imagine a horizontal line going from the top of your head all the way to your toes. Focus on each part of your body. Slowly. Feel how it feels. Don't judge the sensations. Just observe them. This is meditation. Focus meditation. It works best for me. Experiment with different type of mediations to find yours. Once you feel a bit present, write down your thoughts. To empty your mind. To find what triggered the anxiety. Then take action.
The second is, your body holds the key.
It brings order to the chaos of your mind.
Your body needs its releases. Your mind does it through expression. Writing. Talking. Your body does it through movement. Running. Lifting. Exercise daily to release the energy trapped in your body. The same pressure your body feels during stress, it does through excitement as well. I exercise everyday to keep my body light. One day I run. Another day I do body weight training. I picked these two so I have no excuses. Wherever I am, busy schedule or not, I can do them without any equipments. Find your favourite exercise and don't break it for 21 days. Then it becomes a habit that you won't break. Enjoy the power of change.
The third is, your gut holds the secret.
It stimulates your emotions and thought quality.
I became aware of what feeds my energy and what drains me off of it. I started noticing how I felt before I ate, during and after to better understand what type of diet works for me. With the main goal of maintaining a stable energy flow throughout the day. Vegetarian diet works best for me. Since my mid 20s, I've been on a vegetarian diet. And I'm currently experimenting with vegetarian keto to cure my immune disease disorder. This detox diet with no sugar does wonders. Experiment with what works for you. Notice the quality of your thoughts. Do you feel foggy? Did you suddenly notice an energy drop after a meal? These are all little signs that if you pay enough attention to, they will lead you to a better health. Feel the connection between your gut and mind. Keep them in balance.
These work for me.
I hope they help you too.
If you want to chat, I'm here to listen.