My goal is to be authentic – and if I’m going to be truly authentic, I need to share some of the negative parts of myself.
Throughout my life, when I have struggles or really, really difficult internal conflict, I always think, “It’ll all be worth it if my experience helps someone else.”
So, I’m hoping by sharing this very personal experience of mine, it will help someone else out there.
I’ve shared a bit about always being anxious – and today I’d like to talk about how I’ve really pushed myself to … not really overcome anxiety, depression, and feeling disassociated with myself, but live with it and integrate it to my advantage.
When I was maybe 7 years old, I remember looking at my hands. Really just sitting at the end of my bed and looking at my hands and thinking, “Wow, these are my hands” and thinking how am I even here? In this body? And then I was just felt overcome with gratitude for being alive and for having hands. All of a sudden, I didn’t see through my eyes, but above myself looking down from a corner in the room. And that was the last time, until the past few years that I felt like I was really living in my own body. All my memories, whenever I would interact with people, even if I was just sitting down by myself drawing or watching tv – all of this was viewed from above me, behind me, or some other place in the room.
And this is probably why a lot of people through out highschool said I acted like a stoner because, living like this, you’re very spaced out and a bit disoriented all the time.
Fast forward to 2006, I went to the doctor for extreme anxiety and just feeling very low. She recommended a therapist to see where she diagnosed me as having general anxiety disorder/depression/disassociative identity disorder. And… that was about the end of her helpfulness.
A few years later, I was still really struggling and becoming self destructive…again.
In 2009, I went to see another therapist who was very into meditation, natural remedies and things like that. She directed me to authors like Pema Chödrön and Thich Nhat Hanh
and this is when I really started feeling okay and better with myself – even though I still felt very much ‘out side my body
‘. I started meditating – but that didn’t really help me because I was already living ‘outside myself’ and the point of meditation is exactly that – to view things objectively.
I bought a book called “Feeding Your Demons
” by Pema Chödrön. In the book, she describes an exercise of talking with your “demons”, giving them a form and shape, and looking at these things that you think are holding you back in a completely different way. Up until this point, I had been “Fighting” my demons.
In the western world especially, everything is very divided into “Good” and “Bad“.
Pema’s book talks about more non-dualistic thinking. Such as viewing these demons not as “evil spirits” outside of you that you have no control over – but instead as neglected and ignored parts of yourself.
Think of it like if you get a puppy. You bring the puppy home, but you never pet it or play with it or love it and barely feed it. Chances are, once it grows up to be very aggressive. (This analogy actually came from a podcast I listen to called, The One You Feed)
Same thing with these inner parts of ourselves – when we neglect our creativity, our inner voice, try to silence our natural gifts or shame ourselves, we turn that part of us into a monster in a cage who acts out whenever it can.
The good news is, we can transform that monster back into it’s original shape and integrate it with ourselves again.
This is a two parter, my next entry will discuss the technique Pema Chödrön talks about in the book to “Feed the Demons” in yourself and I’ll share my own experience with doing this. This is the #1 thing that’s helped me “Feel whole” and integrate those parts of myself instead of trying to starve them out or cut them off.
And if only we arrange our life according to that principle which counsels us –
that we must always hold to the difficult, then that which now still seems to us the most alien will become what we most trust and find most faithful. How should we be able to forget those ancient myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave.
Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.