Mental health has certainly become more of a focus during the pandemic. It’s not a new issue for many of us who have ‘been through the wars’ as it were of mental health challenges. Some of you have had your fair share of difficult seasons when it comes to your mental health, and if you’re familiar with my blog then you’ll know that a lot of the good advice I’m able to give comes directly out of personal struggle, suffering and overcoming challenges.
So, with that being said, I have a new insight to share with you. It may not be new to you, but it is something that I am finding help from. If you’ve ever suffered with complex PTSD, PTSD, or even from anxiety, OCD, intrusive thoughts or some other unwanted thoughts that cause you distress, you may find yourself investing a lot of mental energy in trying to overcome them. Sometimes incidents from my early high school days come into my mind and cause me distress. They used to come back as severe and painful flashbacks when I was re-experiencing childhood trauma as if I was still a child and still in those situations. I Thank God that those difficult times when my mind was reprocessing things have passed. I still have mental intrusions that are less intense but still upsetting and I can get into a fog of rumination or trying to ‘fix’ and make sense of what’s in my head.
Over the past few days, however, I came to a realisation that actually, my childhood brain withstood a lot of assault on it, my young adult brain persevered through anxiety and depression, and my brain in more recent years has also withstood the tests of PTSD and complex PTSD and I have accomplished things despite all of that, even to the point my doctors were surprised that with what my brain went through and what I went through as a child that I had managed to come so far. So if I’ve overcome all of that, then it goes to show I do have a strong and resilient brain, and I believe that God has created all of us to have brains that can cope, survive and go on to be renewed and form new connections and ultimately hopefully to thrive.
I’m not separating you or I from our brains, but it does help to think about things a bit differently from time to time. You may not be ready or able to say of yourself ‘I am strong’ but there’s no doubt about it that your brain is still intact and keeping you going even if it has taken a bit of a battering along the way.
So, when I do get those unwanted thoughts or memories, I can now say to myself, ‘It’s ok, my brain is strong enough to deal with this’ and instead of focusing on what would otherwise upset, confuse or distress me or draw me into my inner world of childhood trauma, I can instead be that little bit more focused on what’s going on around me and take comfort and strength from the fact that my brain is strong and resilient. Yours is too. We can barely comprehend just how much our brains do moment to moment, day by day, by the Grace of God keeping us alive and functioning.
We do need outside help sometimes, so be sure to ask for help if you are in a place of need or of distress because just as much as our bodies need attention and care so too do our minds and brains.
Yet, if you have been struggling through this pandemic with mental health issues, remind yourself that you have a strong and resilient brain that can and will survive whatever you are facing. It might just help to take the edge of negativity off things, and give you a bit of confidence to persevere.
Three cheers for our strong and resilient brains! 🙂 x