Taming the black dog

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Friday night I did a stupid thing. I locked my dog sitter out of my flat. As luck would have it (or not), he didn’t find out until I was already in the flat in London tucking into take out from Pho. A door opening round trip back to Bristol and back to London again. What could have been a suck faced journey was made enjoyable by listening to Iain Lee on the new talkradio station.

On the show he's been inspiringly open about his depression, but last night he said something that made my heart splatter all over the inside of the windscreen, stupidly I turned on the whispers!

Iain said ‘I hate myself’. A caller jumped on the phone full of love and support and he expressed how he can’t feel those words. I’ve heard this from clients many times.

I’ve used the word stupid in the blog post a few times for a reason. I used to think I was stupid. But I’m not stupid, but I do sometimes do stupid things. Locking out the dog sitter doesn’t make me stupid; it was a stupid thing to do.

Depressed, like stupid must never become an identity. Not labelling yourself is seriously important for recovery and builds resilience.

There needs to be a separation between you, your feelings and your thoughts. If you believe you ARE your feelings and your thoughts they have power over you in the way your neurones fire in the brain.

For example, if you have ever been drinking you remember being so fish faced, you slur words, and look for Ralph in the toilet. There is part of you that is aware that you’re drunk.

Is that awareness drunk or sober? 

Same as being angry, when you’re angry you’re in the amygdala part of the brain that lacks reason, it’s job is kill or be killed (fight or flight). But you know in an argument, there is a wipe out point, that will end the argument, but likely destroy the person you are arguing with and kill your relationship dead. The part of you, that holds you back from saying it… is that part of you angry? 

The answer I’m expecting you to find is no. When you’re depressed there is part of you that is aware that you’re depressed, is it depressed? No! So where is it? It can’t be in your brain as it would be pissed (in every way) when you are.

You are your awareness. You are the thinker of your thoughts, not your thoughts. Thoughts create feelings. You are always one thought away from feeling differently if you can grab hold of the monkey mind with your awareness. But if you don’t know the awareness is there you can’t grab the thoughts and train them. That’s why the definition of ‘I am’ and ‘I feel’ is so important. Identity becomes hard wired in the brain.

When we have defined ourselves by our thoughts we think we are the sub-personalities or archetypes of our making. I’m going a bit Jung psychology here.

We all play characters. Like having many puppets but the real you is the awareness. The awareness is the puppet master and knows ‘it’s a puppet’! But if you don't master your puppet, the puppet masters you.

So when someone pays a compliment to your puppet, you can’t feel it because it’s not who you are. Unless you believe you are the puppet. So if you play from the puppet of ‘I’m not loveable’ and someone insults you, it feels real. Because if you have bought into the belief that person is right and there’s a match and endorphins fire in the brain as you have found supporting evidence in your limiting belief. When you believe you’re not loveable, you’re taking about the puppet, not the awareness.

However my argument falls flat when it comes to the topic of love. I can’t observe myself loving, because love is our default. The awareness is love and at the very least - compassion.

I used to not like or trust humans, but as I am one I could see I had a problem. Once I found the awareness, I found I do like the core of humans (love) I just don’t like what some humans do. That way I am open to love everyone.

Loving yourself is hard to do. We all can act like twats as well as have genius moments. I love the fact I can be a twat, I love the fact I don’t love myself. Loving yourself for hating yourself is an act of compassion and the start of real healing. That’s the best anyone can do.