Your Brain: A public service announcement

phrenologyToday, I cleaned out my freezer. I found old frozen trout, bits of bananas and some hydrangea leaves from a failed art project. I stripped my exterior window of all the cobwebs and dirt.

The washer is on full force, rinsing off the last of the sand from our camping trip, as we put away the clean clothes and sink into the end of August. And everything after.

The past few weeks have been a challenge. I’ve gone from paddling on a quiet lake, to crying on a dirty floor, to meditating on the beach. Binge eating bread + butter all the way back to mindful meals.  The ups feeling so incredibly good and the lows feeling so so dark.

But as I lightheartedly wash my floors, I struggle to remember exactly what had me in that dark place. The cat bite, the car breaking down, the missing husband? It all seems so trivial.  I’ve lived through so much harder, and there’s even harder stuff up ahead, there always is.  Yet, at the time, I felt utterly helpless and almost entitled to my bleakness.

My brain tricked me:

And sent me down a spiral so long and dark that I had convinced myself that I had a deep undiagnosed mental health issue. The good news? I’m totally normal, not crazy, just a human woman feeling her life as the roller coaster that it is.

So what happened?

I’ll disclaimer all of this by saying that I’m obviously not a genius neuro scientist, I’ve never studied the brain.  And the closest I’ve come to studying psychology is sitting next to psych students in my sociology classes, when and if I attended. So be warned. My only qualification here is that I have a brain, a very active one at that, and I’ve spent the last 30 years trying to figure myself out.

So on that note:

I suspect that we all have two main voices: the one in our brain and the one in our gut.

The ones in the brain? Those are the ones that we need to keep in check. Sometimes they are subtle and they encourage us to judge others, make snarky comments or put ourselves first. But when they start getting attention and we feed into them, they can cause real  feelings that aren’t real. They are also responsible for seasonal favorites such as:

‘If I had {…} then I could {…}’

‘Her life is so easy’

‘They all need to see why I’m right and they’re wrong’

‘Why me’

and my very favorites…

‘Everything is Broken’ +  ‘I do everything’..

Those thoughts aren’t real. Period.

If you had that thing, you’d still be you.

Her life may seem easy, but sometimes to her, it’s hard.

You’re not always right, and sometimes it’s ok for people to not validate you ALL THE TIME.

You can decide to empower yourself instead of victimize yourself. 

And no, it’s not ALL BROKEN

Um, you don’t do everything.

But the more attention we give them, the worst they get. They’re like an oil fire, or my eyebrows in humidity. When given free reign, your brain will spin you and leave you catatonic in front of Netflix for hours on end.

No, it’s not all broken, it just feels that way for right now.

It’s ok.

So it turns out: I’m not sick, my life isn’t terrible or over, I am still messy but that doesn’t meant that I need a doctor. My house IS broken, but I have a house. And sometimes, hard things happen, and we can’t expect ourselves to be 100% when they do. And even worst, sometimes a ton of small things happen and you burn out. Here’s what I’ve learned:

Don’t spin your wheels

Don’t try to understand why you can’t get over it.

Sit down deep in it, and try recognize that it’s not real.

Once you can create that distance, the voices start to quiet down and eventually go away.

And you can resume your life.

Remember that these phases happen, but they always end.

Now I suspect that there are some of you reading this thinking…

” Voices… whooooooo? I was kinda hoping for a recipe… ” or “what kind of herbs is Emeline planting in her garden”…

Yes, shoes, bangs, statement walls, recipes and cut flowers are amazing, and I love them all…chickens and wallpaper too!  But oftentimes they pale in comparison to the real issues happening right under the surface, which sadly don’t get as many likes on IG as that pink pineapple I liked yesterday.

So they can get their 15 minutes of fame right here.

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