Nobody really knows what causes auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and coeliac disease, and nobody really knows what causes depression either.
I liken it to an auto-immune disease of mental health. Where the physical diseases are described as the body’s immune system turning against the body, depression seems to be the mind’s thoughts turning against the mind.
“What would you know about it?”
I’m not qualified to say anything about it of course…
“Hah! Thought as much.”
…BUT the thoughts that still turn against my own peace of mind have been with me for a while now, perhaps since I was a child.
These thoughts constantly told me that there was little point in trying to change anything…
“That’s because there isn’t.”
…and were excused, even encouraged, in my mind in what can only be described as a compulsive way.
Listen to the excuses you hear for people’s poor choices relating to their physical health.
- I don’t have time for exercise.
- I only smoke 10 a day.
- You would drink too, if you had my job.
- My grandad did it all his life, and he lived to be 93.
- No point going to all the effort of cooking when it’s only for me.
- I deserve a bit of fun.
- A little of what you fancy does you good.
“Nanny state. People should be able to do what they want.”
But it’s the same with thoughts. There is something strangely comforting, addictive even, about destructive thoughts.
- You’ll never amount to anything.
- You’re not as good as them.
- Pessimists are never disappointed.
- Hah! Typical of society today.
- I would give it a go, but I’m bound to mess it up.
- I can’t do anything as clever as that.
- I don’t want to do it, but I don’t really matter.
“Yes, but all those are true.”
I don’t think so, not now. The thoughts are always there, you just learn to live with them. It’s just like recovering alcoholics or obsessive gamblers, who have to be vigilant for the rest of their lives.
“What a load of rubbish!”
Anybody can see this way of thinking for themselves just by trying mindfulness meditation. All is well for a couple of sessions, then you find autoimmune thoughts almost screaming at you:
“What are you doing this for? Pathetic.”
“It will never help.”
“See? You’re thinking these thoughts instead of meditating.”
Persevere, keep at it, and after several weeks training you will realise for yourself what you have been told all along. That these are thoughts, they are not you. You really can get on with life and be happy.
Well, that’s enough of sitting at the computer and writing. I’m going outside because it’s such a lovely day.
I know. That is what makes me appreciate it all the more.
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