Ever had your brain whirring around and around, flicking from one negative thought to another? No matter how much you try to deflect your thoughts, something pops up in your brain and niggles away.
That’s rumination. And it is destructive, as well as obsessive and persistent.
I can be anywhere, doing anything and some memory or thought will push it’s way to the forefront, demanding to be heard. It can be from a long way back, something I did or happened to me that was wrong or had some bad feeling around it. I might think it’s done, over and I’ve learned what I needed to from the event, but it crawls back up to remind me.
It’s all part of the illness and one aspect that I loathe as it makes me feel worse about myself. It’s never that something went well or a good achievement, but always a negative to chip away at my self worth.
I try to break the patterns by closing them off or seeing the thoughts for what they are, without judgement, which at times is successful. Other times, the anxiety builds and scenarios start playing in my head, which are totally fictional but have impact.
The scenarios are usually some form of conflict or angry situation, where I am minding my own business and a situation erupts. I have no idea why this is significant or what purpose this should serve a person, but it’s there and I try to dismiss the thoughts. Even after dismissal, the emotion lingers, just as it does with the recalled thoughts.
I think Freud or Jung would have a field day with me, although Freud would link it to some sexual deviance with a parent in mind. For someone with such insight, he really had a sex fixation, but he had a point – parents can and do screw you up.
Mindfulness helps with these thoughts as it teaches us to sit back and watch the thoughts come and go objectively, without taking on the baggage. ‘You are not your thoughts’ is a mantra of mindfulness, but I do have an issue with that. If you are not your own thoughts and memories, as rumination tends to be, then what are you? Am I not a product of my own experiences?
I agree that I am not the same person as the one whose experience I am ruminating as I’ve seen more of life, learned more from those experiences, but the essential person is me at heart, just with more miles on the clock. That’s where the conflict for me comes, is that they are my thoughts, my memories and part of me and disassociation is very hard as a result.
I’m wrestling the beast today, so trying a few things to help me get clear. It doesn’t help that I feel more tired and that’s probably a factor too which allows the festering of rumination to take a hold.
It’s back to dismissing and trying to think happy thoughts and memories to change the cycle. It’s damn hard though and anyone else going through this has my support and respect.
It’s a constant battle.