Mental illness is a hell of a thing to be stricken with. When in darker times, it fools you into thinking all kinds of things. Essentially, it’s fake news for the brain. So, I bet you’re wondering how our very own brains can be the source of an interior misinformation campaign…?
Well, you may find it helpful to reflect on days when this misinformation monster is sleeping and you are feeling more like yourself. Have you ever noticed that when you feel well, you are much kinder to yourself? This is because the better you feel, the more in touch you are with your authentic self. In other words, it’s you doing the talking.
However, when you are overcome with PTSD, depression, anxiety or something similar, the fake news reporter starts telling untruths. Lies like “You’re not worthy” and “You are nothing but a burden”.
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What’s interesting to me is that we seem to be suspectable to its manipulation. Hearing what are obviously its false claims long enough, we start to believe them as fact. And no matter how many times our mental-health conditions talk to us, it will always be wrong.
Learn to differentiate the fake news that is propagated by your mental-illness voice from that of your authentic self.
However, keeping this in mind does little to help one fight off the negative thoughts. What I suggest is that you make a list of all your authentic qualities when you are well; this way you can have some of your truth written in your own words, right in front of you when you need them most.
This pre-episode assessment is helpful because, despite what the inner demon says, you have actual facts to the contrary; all you have to do is accept them as just that, fact.
How to break yourself out of negative thinking.
Learn to differentiate the fake news that is propagated.
As is true with most things, beating this fake news for the brain is easier said than done. Why? Well, I think it’s because it’s had to ditch that in which we have become accustomed. The good news? That we also have the power to take control of our guidance systems and make this lying voice smaller and smaller.
For example, mindfulness, once practiced enough, can help bring you back to the here and now. Read about my experience with mindfulness here.
And there are other things, including honest feedback. We are oftentimes unaware of our own behaviours; therefore, asking someone you trust can signal that you’re not yourself. Journalling can be a great way to get a sense of where you might be.
Overall, for me, the primary alarm bells for me come when I am spending more and more time in bed, with low energy and isolation. It’s usually preceded by this negative self-talk. Often, I am able to fight it off simply because I know the signs. However, there are moments where all I can do is ride the wave until the storm passes.
Remember, at the end of the day, being in a darker place is what spawns these thoughts, which are not a reflection of who you are. They are symptoms of your mental-health condition. What defines you as a person is something that took years to shape. Are you really not a good person? Most of us who are ill are, in our hearts, kind and caring, helpful and funny.
Feel like you’re all alone? A New Dawn Podcast has many real-life stories of people just like you.
So, learn to differentiate the fake news that is propagated by your mental-illness voice from that of your authentic self. My prediction is that you will be able to be a more functional player in your life and as a result, will be well on your way – down the road to mental wellness.\