How many times have you hear this; it’s important to live in the present, the now? You can find customized versions of this idea all over social media. It is one of the main focuses of mindfulness and one of the main tools in my therapy sessions.
It is a very valid therapeutic principle and is popularized for a very good reason, its fundamental to recovery and essential for anyone who wants to be present in those moments we so often bypass because we are too consumed by our pain.
It is, right to assume, so I believe, that those with mental illness are in a mental time machine of sorts; we either are busy ruminating on the disasters of the past, or, like a screenwriter, writing a screenplay for a futuristic movie, we are consumed with mentally writing out an interior script of how our future chaos will play out.
We are being poked and encouraged by our fears, fears formulated by our past who is nothing but a shady character that is a by-product of our anxiety. Consistently living like this feels to me like we are living in “the moment.” The darker dimension of this mindfulness like state keeps us shackled to the walls of our minds that sure feels very in the moment to me. I think of it as the evil counterpart of mindfulness, it’s intention is just as effective but its goal is to erode the sick. its motives are nefarious and very damaging.
Now, I am very well aware that this isn’t truly living in the moment as mindfulness defines it but nonetheless, it is occupying and devouring your life in real-time; hence, living in the present. Living in the present in this context is something that I have mastered and is something I take no pride in, being an expert in finding techniques that allow my mental illnesses to rob me in these moments in real-time are not what I had envisioned for myself. Nonetheless, I can take back control, I have won my life back in the past and have lost it to my disorders once more. This is and has been my mental health life cycle.
So in a sense, I feel like, if most people with mental illness are like me, they are very good at living in the present; just not in a way that propels them down the road to mental wellness. It takes practice and dedication to intentionally give pause to the pain and learn to breathe in the moment of the here and now, to be present enough to enjoy a date with your partner, a child’s birthday or a coffee with a good friend.
Learning mindfulness can help you work those moments that are the most problematic by intentionally working through the troubling thought and seeing it to the end. I have just started this process with my therapist and learning it. I will learn that avoiding my PTSD, for example, is counter-productive to the healing process, giving them the attention they need in the hands of a healthcare professional is essentially working through them in real-time.
|The battle to retake happiness|
To learn more about mindfulness check it out here.
So to summarize, I feel that living in the darkest regions of your mind is being present in a sense but only because you are being consumed by your mental illnesses and the symptoms they produce, living in a perpetual loop of despair in real-time. Whereas mindfulness, allows you to work through the pain, triggers, lows etc. By paying it more mind in a more productive way, by working through it and not avoiding, mindfulness will help you break free from the loop and once mastered, can lift the fog of disorder and free you up to live your life.
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