Anytime anything is published anywhere, we expose ourselves to a portion of social risk. Sometimes risks are so miniscule they are bordering on non-existent. Other times social risks are greater. Honesty is the moderating factor. The more honest and direct, the greater the social risk. The more we conceal, the less the social risk (which is why this is most people’s preferred path in life.) Concealing ourselves is a defence minimising our chance of pain. Bloggers take on board a larger than average whack of risk. It comes with the blogging territory.
Blogging increases our public exposure to all people including people we have never met or will never meet. Blogging is freeing and liberating. The usual rules of oppression need not apply when we blog.
This is after all our blog. Our space.
We become more and more honest. We become more and more able to express our authentic feelings and thoughts, and that becomes our normal.
We all take social risks at some stage. We assess potential mini social risks with our front brain, providing the front brain is actually switched on. We experience primitive/intuitive knowing’s with our back brain. Sometimes the back brain takes the shortcut and we react from a place of emotion.
Emotionally driven pathways require no intellectual thought and little effort. We have already acted.
Our front brain does the thinking, but that is too late because our back brain has already done the feeling and the feeling has already generated a behavioural response.
People with mental health difficulties are generalising but true more likely to be back brain driven, than cerebrally driven by their pre-frontal cortex (the rational bit).
The executive in charge- the Lord Sugar of the pre-frontal cortex, is something we don’t tend to pay a flying fuckwad of attention to if we are emotionally driven creatures. Emotion heavy beings are what people like me are…
I am not mind heavy, I am emotion heavy.
I am not front brain heavy, I am back brain heavy.
My starting point in therapy was having virtually no front brain activity at all. I guess I had one, but it was only used on special occasions and bank holidays.
Therapy is the tool needed for people like me (who have trauma-histories that affected our brain circuitry) to strengthen our front brains to make those pathways more dominant. We desperately must increase the volume knob on Alan Sugar’s little southern voice in the pre-frontal cortex.
We need to listen to Lord Sugar more. [I can’t believe I just said that…but it’s a metaphor so stay with me. ]
Lord Sugar is in the boardroom, and he is our exec.
I am totes proud of my improvement in learning over time to twist that volume knob, every time I become mindful that I am not listening to Lord Sugar’s instructions. I pause, and I turn up that attentional amplifier and calm down the emotional chaos with self-soothing techniques.
Space, relaxation, calm, quiet, processing time, mindfulness. Those are my go-to strategies these days. In the past I would never even have thought to do those things. Now I know my life without them is way harder, so it is worth giving them a go. If you engage in these things you are basically giving yourself time out.
Time out is a modern parenting trick. Your kid is acting out so you put them on the naughty step, isolated, in a quiet place, to allow their emotional calming systems to kick in and down regulate the emotional fuse which has gone beserk to whatever upset them.
What we don’t always realise as adults is we also need to put ourselves on the naughty step at times…very much NOT because we’ve been naughty :P …..just for our sanity, because if we don’t allow ourselves that time out, the chances are we WILL get naughty fucking quick.
If we sit on the naughty (NOT ACTUALLY NAUGHTY) step…we are giving ourselves time to breathe. In adult terms we are taking deep breaths and engaging in mindfulness strategies to work our what we are feeling, what exactly it was that triggered us to feel shitty, and how best we can relax and return to a state of equilibrium as soon as possible. We can sit on the not-naughty step and reflect on a variety of solutions. We can think what might be an appropriate action to take. We can get our emotional systems calmed down enough for us to hear the wise words of Alan Sugar and his philosophies, then we can think how best to communicate our messages in order to achieve our intentions and not sabotage things and make them any harder than they need to be.
Time out is NOT just for kids.
Time out is for adults too. Particularly for adults with difficulties regulating emotional reactions to things.
I have BPD. I know I struggle to hear Alan Sugar’s voice above the din of everything else going on in my amygdala when I’m upset by something. The amygdala is the smoke alarm of the brain that tells us when there is danger. You have to turn off the smoke alarm to be able to hear if there are indeed any crackles of flames that you need to run away from and shout HELP about.
Who can honestly think straight when a smoke alarm is going off? The sound is piercing and intrusive and gives you a headache.
You know you HAVE to turn off the alarm and sit on your happy perch and figure out what to do by engaging your front brain.
So what happens when you have insight into your dysfunctions and brain challenges, you understand your brain and psychological makeup well, you understand your periodic reaction patterns, and you have also been taught by your psychologist (whose advice you trust) what to do in these exact type of scenarios…….well, if you truly want to change and get better, you realise very quickly that “this is one of those sitches where I need to do that psychological stuff I’ve been taught to do by my clever psychologist lady“….so it looks like I’m gonna have to do it!
Implement away Summer.
Insight is only useful if the insight then makes you behave in different superior ways next time you are in a similar sitch.
My ability to engage and carry through coping strategies has been tested a lot this week. On the whole though I think I’ve done a really good job. I know I have improved considerably and measurably in my ability to deal with unexpected emotional triggers. The evidence of that is I don’t call on the mental-health team anymore, I’m tons more self sufficient. I am better at being assertive with less aggression. I am better at taking deep breaths and thinking before I speak or write. I am FAR less kneejerk and far more under the watchful guidance of Lord Sugar in the cerebral boardroom. He is an executive I am learning to listen out for and trust. I am less absolute and black and white in my statements- more measured, more calm and subtle, my actions are more intentional and thought through and less flippant. I walk a more careful path. I walk a more mindful path, a more considered path. I know what helps and what hinders. I know what agitates and what soothes. I know the energetic effect on myself from actions, places, people, thoughts, decisions, feelings and impulses. I am far more tuned into the bigger picture. Actions, reactions, consequences, pitfalls, gambles….all of it.
If you do a, it is very likely what will happen is b.
I am no longer an impulsive emotional car-crash. I am no longer a kamikaze pilot who has had a shot of adrenaline and thinks they can drive this thing in the sky.
I know sometimes the best thing to do is take time out and execute a safe landing.
I don’t want the thrill of danger anymore. What I want is peace. I want to live in a world of psychological and physical safety. I am quite happy to stop snorting the drugs my brain produces and just mindfully focus on landing the plane safe to I can get grounded.
To feel safe we have to have our size 7s (european 41s, don’t know the US size) on the ground.
We cannot make impulsive decisions in the air. We will crash!
I don’t want to crash. I’m doing great and I’m determined that nothing will change that, not even tough weeks.
Every tough week is one more under my belt.
Lord sugar is my executive cerebral front-brain controller. I know I need to continue to listen out for his wise voice.
I did that this week. I listened out for the voice. I asked for time out.
I asked for what I needed and I knew to ask in the first place. That demonstrates considerable psychological progress. I cannot control everything. I controlled all I could control. I landed the plane. I’m grounded again. I’m safe. I don’t require emotional first-aid. So all in all, I am proud, and happy to live my life under the watchful guidance of lovely old Alan- my exec.