Something that shifts me into the dark, or the depths of negative Future-Tripping, is reading too many detailed and negative focused accounts of experiences with, or scientific-ish information about, PTSD, anxiety, chronic fatigue or depression. (I know this might sound contradictory to all that this blog is about but keep reading!)
A certain amount of this kind of reading is SO important to know that you are not alone, you are ‘normal’, it is all completely natural (horrible but natural), you are not losing your marbles… etc etc. But, as with anything, it’s all about balance. And it’s all about being fussy. I am certainly not advising to not read any of these, or suggesting that I do not myself (I still read lots of stuff relating to these topics!), but I am now just super choosy to make sure what I am reading is meeting my needs, in a healthy helpful way. I make sure that it doesn’t kick me into a negative slide. I make sure I feel that ‘click’ with whatever it is my eyes are fixed on. Noticing the effect of what you’re reading and how it alters your future tripping or current pondering, is so important. Lets be honest, we could all do without future tripping, but we all do it at some point. And for this tripping to be coated with an edge of goodness, or completely full of it, is (in my eyes) a lot more beneficial that it feeling doomed and full of grim-ness.
There is no one rule of thumb when reading info, blogs or literature on whatever is happening for you, that applies to all. This is just my experience I am touching on, yo. I know of, and read of, so many people that would say the complete opposite of me. And that is the beauty of this life.
I look back and when I was having a my-life-is-going-be-like-this-forever stage last autumn, it was combined with when I was submerging myself in reading all I could find about PTSD and the surrounding issues I mention above. There were obviously other fundamental things too (like renting rooms in the houses of two women, one after the other, that were just like my flippin’ mother), but this cyber story hunting definitely made a big difference in my cruddy feelings about my future and what it was destined to be.
This phase is not entirely up, and I wonder whether actually it ever completely will be because that kind of worrying, to an extent, is ‘normal’. But as I began to step away from this pattern and focus of reading, and instead read tales that made me realise that whatever shit comes your way, you really can throw just as much back in its face. Or just let the shit be thrown and let it pass. Or swim in it for a bit, breathe in the kick ass and horrendous fumes, but know that this won’t be forever. Tales of pain and tales from young people battling similar, or very different but just as painful, things. Tales showing me that despite whatever ‘title’ you’ve been given or know you are holding (PTSD, anxiety, etc) there are also all the other titles you hold too. You are never just PTSD or anxiety, no matter how tight the grip it has, feels. These tales were the ones that hit the maybe-my-life-will-actually-be-okay nail on the head. This was what made me realise that this is actually all completely normal, more than all the detailed tales of journeys with PTSD. This was, and still is what, works for me.
I notice now that when I go back to that pattern and read too deeply into accounts of personal journeys with these collage of ‘issues’, it brings back all those feelings of doom for what lies ahead.
But, whatever works for you, is what you need to do. For me, I need a balance and to take a fussy picking of what I choose to read and what I choose to surround me in this journey. I believe this is the slightly the case for anyone, but for sensitive souls who aren’t quite completely confident in their abilities to tackle this life (ME), then any words you read can go straight in as truth. Others will find so much healing with the words of those sharing darkness from the same boat. Part of me is so jealous that I can’t read more of these detailed accounts because there is something very soothing about connecting on a level that you feel can not be found with anyone, but then you read something that. They just send me on a downward slide into darkness about what is to come. My inner doubting critic pipes up way too loud, that because other folk have experienced it this way, I am going to too. This connection is imperative to healing though, and so I make sure I find it through other avenues. Be it reading poetry, googling for passages or quotes that relate, carefully selecting articles from respected sources that inform and reassure, finding folk that talk of their overcoming and success with this stuff, emails with one or two that I know truly get it, or conversations with one or two friends that get it too. As long as each box on your check list of connection and needs can be ticked, then that is what matters. And there is never just one thing that ticks it. For me it is about twenty different things, and I am glad that I am finally see that this is okay. in fact, it’s not just okay, it’s so fucking important.
I know, that when I am at a time that I truly trust the foundations beneath my feet, and my ability to trust my own knowing of where I’m headed and what I need, then I will feel more able to read and surround myself with the stuff that perhaps sent me sideways before.
Every person out there writing and sharing, is writing something that is going to be read and appreciated by someone, or lots of someones. Everything out there is useful, and it is working out what works for you that holds so much importance too.