Ooops I broke my brain :-/ I didn’t know it was possible (well I think I did but chose to pretend it could not happen) The problem is that there is no manufacturers manual for us to mend our brains when they malfunction. Don’t you think that’s strange? There’s a manual of how to to get the most out of your kettle but not a standard issue one for us to help keep our brain healthy or troubleshoot when things go wrong? Come to that why is there not even a manual on raising children as I could certainly do with that right now …
So two of the most important things in the world (our Brain and our children) come without training, a manual, or standard professional support. In fact when we ask for support in either of these areas we often feel like we are failing and not that it’s a normal part of life. We presume we have all the answers hardwired in both these areas and then wonder why things may go adrift when we start guessing or ignoring issues we don’t understand.
It is not until you start talking to other people about how you’re a little bit stuck that you realize that every single other person on this planet feels, or has felt, the same. Yet we all struggle on and pretend it is just happening to us and blame ourselves for not being ‘perfect’
Well this is how I felt last year anyway. I had felt this way once before but I knew that it was because of circumstances that I was unhappy. I was in a job I HATED and felt stuck. This time though everything should have been perfect. My business was going well, I have amazing clients, I have THE most gorgeous little boy and a loving husband. In fact last weekend I went on a course to map out my perfect life/day and I am only a few tweaks (which I could implement at any time) away from my perfect life already. Yet nothing ATALL has changed between last year when I felt hopeless and now. Well nothing except the health of my brain.
This un-invited unhappiness started me to question myself and lose faith in myself because I wasn’t feeling how I was meant to be feeling. I started to lose confidence and found myself hiding away from the world. I retracted from the world and found myself sitting on the sofa crying for no reason. The problem was though I’m a really good actress and no one really knew how I was feeling. I managed to pretend I was OK yet I was falling deeper and deeper into this hole of depression. It wasn’t until I was speaking to my mentor that it clicked that all these things I was feeling was not a result of me failing but the end result of my brain switching off to protect itself (my words not hers!) She advised me I was entering ‘observer mode’ and just those words released a ton of pressure as I knew it was something I could deal with and that others had been through it too. Funny what a label can do! Before that I genuinely thought my brain was switching off and breaking down for good. I was actually very scared for my health.
I have hammered my brain for years, always working and learning and never just letting myself ‘be’ without guilt. How can this complex piece of equipment we are all born with carry on regardless without the care and attention you would expect. It needs watering, it needs healthy programming and it needs caring for. Our laptops and computers slow down through mismanagement so surely it follows that this complex piece of equipment that we all have inside our heads would do the same, yet how many of us actually stop and consciously think about how we can keep our brains healthy.
The biggy is that when our brain breaks everything else around starts to break too. Or that’s how it appears. Because when our brain is not functioning correctly we see everything with a tainted view. I guess the opposite to rose tinted glasses… Unfortunately though our subconscious mind can not tell the difference between fact and imagination so just takes it to all be true. And as we believe what we are seeing to be true it simply pulls us down even further.
Not only do we feel unhappy but our relationships suffer, our career suffer and most importantly our children suffer.
I had nothing to back it up but I started to feel everyone disliked me, I was a pain, I was a failure, that no one loved me and what was the point of even trying. I was cross about EVERYTHING and felt the world was turning into a horrible place. How can you function and run a business (and bring up a healthy child) from this place?
Yet looking back I KNOW now that none of that was true – it was just my brain playing tricks.
Surely the most important thing in our lives it is to be happy and therefore to make our children happy. Without happiness what else do we have. You may have a big house but if you’re not happy… so what? You may have an amazing business but if that’s not making you happy… so what? So I think it is vital we all learn to be properly happy (and that will mean different things to all of us) and put our health (physical and mental) first.
However the good news is that when you notice yourself (or have it pointed out to you) that you are going down the spiral of life and not up then I will share what worked for me in-case it helps you too.
- Speak to someone. Whether it’s a friend, a family member, or professional. Whoever you feel comfortable approaching simply start talking to someone about how you’re feeling. But make sure it’s someone that would understand and listen and not necessarily tell you that everything is going to be alright and to brush your feelings under the carpet . You need constructive advice and someone to help you come through this blip. Imagine what would have happened to me without a mentor to talk to – I think I would have lost everything if I had carried on down that ‘observer route’ and I certainly would not have felt strong enough to share this with you now.
- Find someone to help you understand what is happening in your life to make you feel this way. It may be something very obvious like a career which doesn’t fulfill you. Or like me something imbedded in our memories which is making us believe certain things about ourselves, and the world around us, which is not true. I opted to go for hypnotherapy and within a month I’m able to write this blog post and feel fully on the mend already. If it is circumstantial (job, business etc) then talk to a mentor which can help move you forward towards a life which does excite you.
- Connect with as many people as you can even if you don’t feel like it. When our brain starts retracting we have a tendency to want to hide away from the world. However for our brains to remain healthy we need positive interactions with other human beings. It’s the way that we are programmed so make yourself go to that toddler group or social gathering, even if you do not feel like it. For me I made myself to go to a networking group and just that one session made me feel worlds different.
- Try laughing even if you don’t feel like it. Me and my little boy sometimes sit there and do pretend laughing and even if I didn’t feel funny to begin with I can’t help but giggle when my two-year-old is doing the biggest fake laugh he can muster. If you don’t have a toddler then a mirror or friend will do This is about starting to release serotonin in our brains and not just about looking silly! There is a science behind it.
- Put your favourite tunes up loud and dance as if no one is watching.
- Think of a time when you were your happiest. Try stepping yourself in that picture as if you were there right now and observe what was going on for you at that time. Feel the feeling of happiness that you felt but feel it now. What was different in your life at that point so that you can start to bring that into your life now. Just visiting there for a moment can make a big difference so feel free to visit whenever you feel the urge.
- Our brain also needs positive actions in order to unblock itself so think of three things ,just small steps, that you can do that will start making movement in your life towards a happier you. Celebrate your achievements when you have done them too. If you are resisting then find someone to help get you over that first block.
- I also started listening to a guided audio meditation before going to bed. This was linked with my hypnotherapy and it starts to program the brain to think in a more positive way. So either come up with some positive phrases that you can repeat to yourself throughout the day or find an audio that you can listen to whenever you have a quiet five minutes (or are going to sleep). Even if you don’t believe what is being said – those words are going into your subconscious making a big difference so just trust in the process. What is the worst that can happen!
- Understand this is completely natural, and completely normal. This is just your happy brain taking a little holiday to protect itself. With the right care it will come back happier than ever!
- Do something today to let your brain know you care. Nothing in my life has changed since the end of last year but I feel so excited about my future I actually get goose bumps. This is just because I have been looking after myself more and giving myself time to just ‘be’ again. I am giving myself the space to be myself and to trust that everything else will fall into place along as I am happy. I have made more friends and have taken more action. This stuff really works!
I would love to hear in the comments about how you keep your brain healthy and what you do to keep happy and in love with your life?
Much love and happiness
Ps: I want to say I’m not a psychologist and I’m talking from my own experience. This is really aimed at people that feel very disconnected with their life, a little bit unhappy and don’t really know where to start and what to do. This is not aimed at those with severe depression in which case you really need to speak to a professional who can look deeper into what is happening for you at this time. The first place to start is to talk and be kind to yourself.