When I have something bad happen to me my mind changes the way it looks at things, and it changes for the worse. One bad thing leads my mind to all the other bad things that I have had happen in my life. It makes me look back at my pain and think: this is more than normal. Or worse it makes me think: there has been more of this then there has been of the good.
It gets dangerous when that second thought surfaces, because it leads me into the kind of sadness that lasts for days. A kind of self-pity and resignation that just isn’t healthy. It changes my perspective and makes a single negative worth a life time of negatives. It’s a kind of mindset that can alter your life if you hang onto it for too long.
I’ve been in and out of this state for the last few months. Recovering from Lyme and Mono hasn’t been easy, and sometimes it drags me down emotionally.
So how do you shake it? It seems almost impossible when you are sitting under it.
I literally got out a notebook and wrote down some of my favorite memories. Most those memories were from a good time in my life, so I’d go from there to look at that entire year, picking out only the good things, playing them over in my mind, trying my best to remember exactly how it felt. After you go through about eight or nine memories your soul doesn’t feel so empty. Once you get through fifteen or seventeen you start to realize your life is closer to balanced than you thought.
The brain is scientifically proven to remember negative moments better than positive ones. Our brain interacts with the negative more than the positive. So it’s not unusual for you to be able to remember an embarrassing moment from fifth grade but not that awesome moment from two years ago. The only real way to counteract this is by force. Our brain isn’t going to change it’s ways. We have to force it to look back at the good, because if an embarrassing moment can still make you embarrassed after all these years a good memory can make you feel happy.
This is in no way a cure all, I don’t think you can cure depression with this trick, but changing your preservative of the past is healthy and a lot of times, it’s very needed. I’ve been trying more and more to remember all the good, and in some ways it leaves you missing those years, but it also makes you realize that if you had that many good memories in the past, you’ll have only more in the future.