Life Saving, Breathing, Present and Mindfulness. Kicking mental Health’s Butt.
Hey Animals! Good day. This article is a much-needed update from one of my first ever articles, explaining how I started to deal and cope with the numerous mental health conditions, that I had been tagged with. Here’s the article from July last year:
It’s been almost a year now since I really started to live. Since the last write it’s been a rollercoaster, mainly a super exciting one, on the other hand it’s been very onerous. The ice has been broken to move back into Human society. I gave up on the notion of wanting to hide from people in the woods, even though it still sounds mega appealing (still working on this one). I have kids and a wife who are beautiful and intelligent, and I love them perpetually, but they are snowflakes, so that way of life wouldn’t suite them very well. I now understand that this fabricated way of living is ingrained into society. I have come to the realisation that my reality can be different, and we can all still live in harmony. This led on to a big one to sooth my mental health, tolerance. Tolerance was something that I had the count of zero. I used to think I was a tolerant person, until I started meditating, purely for looking into myself, questioning and throwing away thoughts. It was liberating every time I made a breakthrough with an issue. Initially, it felt uncomfortable, I realised I’d become comfortable in misery, this feeling was like putting on a new shirt from Ralph Lauren, it’s expensive crap and uncomfortable, but I’ll wear it anyway because it’s expensive. The new feeling is like putting on a baggy t-shirt from the charity shop, you may feel uncomfortable because it’s cheap and second hand, but deep down you know it’s more comfortable. This part of the process that I came to, began to give relief from the years of hard wiring, not the external nonsense that got us into these situations. Once you think you’ve got this, a new thought gets booted to the forefront of your mind, this continues over and over, and that is only the mental health aspect. There were other issues that came to light, which I didn’t originally see as a problem, e.g. food (sugar, unhealthy fats), marijuana, alcohol and hundreds of coffees… the list goes on.
Almost every cell in our body reacts to addictive substances, our neurons adapt to all addictive substances. Gateway drugs not only come in illegal form; the majority are legal (pharmaceutical, clever snakes). Hydrocodone, oxymorphone, morphine, codeine, and fentanyl are all opium based, do any ring a bell? This is how easily anything can become a habit (addiction), even non consumable things such as impulsively checking phones, retail ‘therapy’ and so on.
In therapy we speak about mindfulness and living in the present a lot, but it does not go deep enough, as I’ve mentioned previously, it’s touched upon just enough to keep us ticking over. Do we want to keep ticking over, or do we want to thrive? Not thrive in our misconstrued wealth, I mean real wealth. You don’t need a penny to be truly wealthy (replace the W with a H). Therefore, I started to research and read mass amounts of different angles on this topic. I began to conclude that what we are taught in therapy is merely scratching the surface. This expanded my question, what are the private health sectors teaching their patients, who are paying big bucks for their care. I don’t mean health care plans, I mean millionaire’s and billionaire’s, who just pay the bill. For this, I have not yet reached a conclusion. I have found out, from hard work and dedication, that what we are being shown by the NHS for mental health, isn’t much cop. I know this because of the red tape that therapists have to remain behind. If they deviate from the rules and regulations, they lose their career. How does this help us, and why are so many still suffering? The same situation happens in schools, with kids who need a different approach. They are just given a label, e.g. special needs and everything that fits in that box, so it doesn’t get in the way of our ridiculous curriculum. Moving on.
I’m still taking freezing cold showers on a daily basis, sometimes, even two a day. With the cold showers, people often shudder and say not for me. Okay but is having mental health issues for you? I’m not saying cold showers alone fix every issue, but they are an awesome starting point. The body is a wonderful machine, it becomes accustomed to new conditions faster than we can imagine. The cold is a true stress for the body and keeps the mind very conscious, mindful if you like? When you have built yourself up to five minutes, you’ll find the normal day to day occurrences of life will cause you little to no stress, for the majority of your day. It helps to maintain a very present and mindful state. I find that cold showers also heighten my awareness towards the present, for example when drinking, I am focused on the water pouring from the jug into a cup, and think only about the water flowing down my oesophagus as I drink, this whips me into the present (drawing me further from any intrusive or negative thoughts). You may not think it, but reading works wonders for mindfulness, especially informative material. The first book I truly read thoroughly, which was only last year, Tao Te Ching, sparked my desire to write poetry and re-ignited a flame for philosophy within me.
Reading the Tao guided me down the path of meditation, which is wonderful. For me personally, it became more of a spiritual practice, although it does not have to be this way for everyone. Many great philosophers that did not believe in spirituality meditated for personal growth and seeking answers. Just remember that for most religions (if not all) beneath all the confusion and control, is love. The main man, Jesus, just wanted everyone to love. We know how powerful love is because if anyone dares to fight for it, they get assassinated. We don’t need to fight for it, just meditate on it. One of the main things to take from meditation is the breathing. Wow, can you believe, we have forgotten how to breath. Seriously, we breath too shallow and too often. We should almost be imagining our breath coming through our belly button, filling the stomach, then the lungs, then the chest and release. This makes you breathe in rhythm with the heart. Mindfulness while meditating will correct this. It’s difficult to begin with, but it goes back to rewiring, which I’ve explained is uncomfortable. While I meditate, I cross my legs (something I’ve had to learn, I used to cross my legs like I had no joints). You don’t have to cross your legs, just relax.
This journey for me is ongoing. I came to terms with this last September when I believed that my PTSD and OCD were completely under control. I jumped onto a course to work on the railway. On the first day of the course I met an awesome dude from Iraq. He spoke about his time living in the warzone, then we had a lesson containing a video with people being killed. Just like that, PTSD kicked me in the balls. That day, I had to get out of there, this taught me not to get complacent. I finished the course and returned to work. I joined a gang of people whom I’ve knew for a long time, this made it more comfortable. Around December, my intrusive thoughts came firing back. On a positive, I was dealing with them much better, but it was a strain and I should have walked away at this point. I kept going, on Christmas day, everyone was exhausted and a man working on the overheads was killed. My world came crashing down around me, yet still slightly attached to social pressures at this time, I kept going. Even though I could feel myself going backwards.
The following week in January 2020, due to the death, we had a huge brief, it was so military like, my palms began to sweat. As we got back on track, boom, the worst flare up I had experienced in a long time. I felt the feeling stirring in my chest and I was done. Many months of hard work almost lost. Thankfully, a man I had only recently met, by the name of Gavin, whom I hold in the highest regard, saved me that day. Thank you, Gavin. This situation had me locked in a hotel room, 100 miles from home. When I finally arrived home, the hangover from this episode only lasted two days max, in the past, this would have put me in bed for weeks. The reason I’ve shared this story is because it shows that this is not a quick fix, but it can be done. To my conclusion of this event, I saw it as a positive. This also shows that we must not allow anyone to pressure us into situations that we aren’t comfortable with. Only take leaps when you’re ready and be honest with yourself, and everyone else.
Stay in the present, breath deep and balanced, and take your time. Love, love, love, don’t judge and pay no mind to judgment!
Love and Peace
Work of Unchained Wisdom ©2020