…by practicing mental health hygiene. It is not all one must do but hygiene is not mere obedience or compliance. And it does not work in a day but it has a cumulative effect, if only that of not being destructive.
The trick is not to say it is all one needs, or not to allow anyone to say this. It is only a basis for things. Claiming that hygiene was enough is one of my past errors–it is akin to the claim that standard academic advice is enough. This, I see, is one of the reasons I self-destruct by, for instance, not keeping food in the house, not sleeping enough, or whatever it is: I am dissatisfied with mere hygiene because it is insufficient. This does not mean it is not necessary, of course, and I see why I am so angry with mental health hygiene now.
Here is the hygiene exercise du jour: work for three hours without yelling at myself or berating myself for any reason, and without allowing myself to become engulfed in self-doubt or sadness. It is because these feelings overtake me that I get enmired (and allowing such feelings to overtake me is of course something I had inculcated in Reeducation).
It is interesting that I had to LEARN to allow those feelings to overtake me: before Reeducation I would have dismissed them as irrational remnants, which they are. In Reeducation those remnants had to be one’s TRUE feelings but in yoga or Buddhism, for instance, they would just be vague passers-by, illusions.
(In Christianity, I notice, people struggle with demons but I like the idea of illusions much better. It is far more fun to simply let an illusion pass than it is to lock oneself into a struggle with a demon.)
ADDENDUM: Dumping guilt has to be one of the first hygiene moves. In my case also, feeling guilty disables me (via fatigue) such that I am not able to come through on things–which exacerbates guilt. And it is strange, I never used to feel guilty about academic work. People would say they felt guilty when taking time off, for instance, but I never did, because I was not then in an abusive relationship with it. I am subsumed in guilt nowadays, though, and on this half masochistic and half liberating weblog I try to deal with it.
4 thoughts on “How to fix things”
For a wounded person, hygiene is important to prevent the wound from getting infected and getting even worse. But you are right, it doesn’t cure the wound. You need to go to the source of the trauma and tell about it to a compassionate listener. The healing begins when you say everything you need to say about it. And a compassionate listener is somebody who doesn’t devalue your experience.
I am however wondering whether or not I have said all I have to say. I think I repeat to some extent and that it is not good — there is repetition that appears to be some form of revelation if you are hearing for the first time, but I am repeating or rediscovering, hovering around, repeating so as to screen from something that is below.
I am seriously thinking about getting an actual analyst although I am sure I do not have the money. This is because other practitioners want to stanch wounds partially, or create destructive hemorrage, whereas what is desirable is to actually get to the bottom of things without letting this effort take over your life.
Repetition is a mechanism of identity-building. If you are trying to rebuild a healthier identity, repetition is great. If you are trying to process trauma, repetition is also crucial.
Yes but it can also be a barrier. One does not want to (a) reinfllict trauma; (b) build identity as trauma victim and glue oneself into trauma that way; or (c) focus on one trauma so as to hide from another.