These are just a few of my favourite tools. There are many more tools out there - I am always finding new ones. There are some, however, that I don’t mention here, that I am currently learning about and using. I hope to continue telling you about them. I would like to find out more about what people really think of these tools. What tools do you currently use and what ones are you looking for? I am inviting you to open your toolbox and shed a little light on the benefits and use of each tool you’ve been using in the past, and on new ones too.
I think I had some recollection, after writing a poem honestly about my feelings, that I wasn’t very well. I kind of pondered on what I wrote, which was some truly dark stuff. I also started self-medication because I couldn’t stand living like that – in that condition. It was important to cope! Life had to continue. I needed something to keep me from screaming out loud or start going crazy at people around me. I had a new-born beautiful baby to take care of and I didn’t really want to lose it. After a nightmarish episode where I only saw myself jumping into a dark pit of insanity, I thought “Darn it, I’ve got to do something or the people wearing white coats will get me for sure!”
Later I started walking. I walked for at least for ten miles, then I walked and walked - I just kept on walking. No particular direction - I just needed to do it. I felt really useless, so walking was a good tool. I think it is simple enough, and no matter what state of emotion one is in, one can walk slow or fast, just taking a step, then another one; and one can count the steps. To me it helped.
Even when I was having panic attacks, I used to take deep breaths and one step and repeat the process till the whole thing wore off. It helped me to stop focussing on whatever it was I was dealing with. People asked where I was going. I usually said “No particular place…” Really, I had no idea – I just needed to walk it off!
Writing, to be honest, is a very powerful tool. I find it is almost like mirroring what is inside, and it helped me see I wasn’t in a good state of mind. Especially poetry. Melancholic dark thoughts when written can be very descriptive of where in your personal hell you may be. It is not for the fainthearted. I always try to read my most heavy stuff on a day I am feeling level-minded just to understand what I was really saying or writing about. I think one has to identify and understand what one is really talking about. I live by myself, but if you don’t then make sure to keep your writing somewhere private and secure.
After this I started painting, which was a release I loved every minute of. It was as if I could feel my anger and unleash my innermost negative self without damaging myself or others.
If I could I would just carry on doing it night and day. I felt it absorbed the whole of me. I wasn’t in my body or in my mind: I was in there in whatever picture I painted. No words, no meaning - just expressing. No explaining, no right, no wrong. No inadequacies. It was like I painted dark crap I was feeling inside, and if someone asked me what was the meaning of it I would just say “It’s just some dark crap!” It felt good not having to explain, even to myself. I just knew it was there outside of me and that was a safe way to feel. Mostly during this period I couldn’t feel anything, so it was better than not feeling.
I then practiced mindfulness. I kept a diary of my emotions and fears and what memories they were connected with. This tool can be very soothing, because when you have a panic attack or feel your days are a long panic attack in slow motion, it can help to understand the cause and effect of emotions. It’s like watching the mind and emotions. Record them and their intensity. I am sure people that navigate through storms keep themselves in a sharp state of being when they know their coordinates. So did I.
Sometimes this may not have been very exciting, but at least it was better than staring at the ceiling in my room.
Later I kept a diary of my triggers – situations which would occur that would send me straight into a massive state of melancholic depression. This included my reactions and what I did to cope with whatever state I was in. To avoid self-deception, I would advise making these notes when relaxed or when reading your diary in the evening before going to bed. I wasn’t ashamed of my defence mechanisms. Often I was surprised by them. They take many guises. It was nice to watch my thoughts actually! Sometimes really funny!
Becoming a detective
This was truly something else. After a long period of note-taking and keeping diaries, I came to question how I got to be a dead person. I mean, I was alive, living moderately well, but I felt dead and invisible. Nothing made me happy. Or sad…
I was numbed and I couldn’t understand how I got there. This was followed by the realization I had one night when I decided to read all of my notes. I realized they were like maps to different parts of me. With that came the notion of creating a timeline of my life. I work as an editor and I often create a timeline of my edits and have edit notes of the script of the project I am working on. The only thing this time was that the project was me and I only had a few pieces, like the maps I was referring to. So I decided to interview my family. I decided that I should work as a detective and trace my development.
This work has been an organic process. I started from the time of my conception, narrowed the duration of the timeline down to at least five years from conception. I also thought of what information I needed. Mostly it was necessary for me to understand the political, economical and emotional conditions my parents encountered before my conception and during those five years of my development.
I made sure to inform my parents that this was a project for me mainly to understand my development. The questions I asked were all optional and non-invasive. This meant that they could refuse to answer, and I assured them I didn’t have any hidden agenda of aggression or guilt-tripping them. I just needed to understand their state of mind during those five years. This tool I found very useful and the process of using it is currently in development. In my opinion it has become a very powerful tool indeed.
A while after the painting period I had a serious health problem, together with the fact that I started experiencing what I would describe as terrors. Its was like an overload of anxiety in high voltage. So I went looking for help one morning when I realized I could not deal with another moment like that at all. I called a friend who was into meditation. I was desperate, so desperate that self-medication couldn’t help. This somehow proved very much like a distraction to me.
I have since tried many types of meditation and I would advise you to be patient till you find what works for you. For me it was binaural sound meditation. After that I started practicing TM (transcendental meditation). This process is still ongoing. My comment on this is and on all these tools it is to try and find out what works for you. Please don’t forget to share your experiences here. All, of course, in this spirit of reciprocity.
Holosync sound meditation
There are a few types of these around. I think the best of them is the Holosync sound meditation. I have tried both Holosync and Lifeflow, however, and I felt the benefits straight away. I started with the Lifeflow package for about three months and noticed that my level of anxiety decreased. I also had more sleep and more energy. My depression wasn’t so intense; my emotions didn’t seem so erratic. The first four months were quite amazing. Later I got in touch with an old friend whose opinion I value greatly, and he pointed my attention to the holosync from centerpointe.com, which I found vastly superior to the ones from Lifeflow – perhaps in the level of strength. I also noticed that my little boy responded to listening to them; he just started behaving differently. He would just spend more time playing with the same toys and seem more relaxed, less fidgety. I would suggest these to anyone except people who suffer from deep psychosis or schizophrenia. I am not sure why I have to say a lot of the tools I have tried don’t seem to offer much help for schizophrenics and deeply psychotic people. I have, however, done some research on schizophrenia and found out about a centre which I think is quite alternative to that offered by established medicine. I will remember to post it some time soon.
After doing a lot of research into my early development I did a lot of self-assessment work – just understanding the causes of my traumas and the behaviour that followed. I kept diaries in which I would put this information. At times, upon recalling an event that was attached to a memory of adapting a way of coping or a set of beliefs, I would find the event connected to acquiring that particular realization was connected to the thought of and need for such beliefs and the adoption of a new set of patterns of behavior. This went on for a while. I got down to really understanding the keywords to some of my deep fears, traumas and phobias, just through the research into my childhood and then through interviewing family members and friends, reconstructing some important events which were connected to my personal development, emotional patterns, habits and behaviour, core beliefs and their relationship triggers.
For this I kept and still keep diaries, and I take notes after deep reflection. Just set some time aside in the week and remember to enjoy it. I think a great level of honesty is required: it is a good way to keep a watch on certain habits or tendencies. For example, I make a point of observing the use of the diary – for example, if it’s an anger diary one should record observations rather then take a critical tone towards oneself or others. It is important to record events, our reactions and what is taking place emotionally. Later, when reading this information, we record our emotional responses to the events we are describing. This in itself is a very different experience: it provides emotional relief. Later still we can note down some learning or things we ought to consider regarding a particular situation or challenge we need to deal with. This way it becomes easier to research ways to tame habits and behaviour that can be unhealthy in terms of how we relate to ourselves and possibly to others: as the saying goes, monkey see, monkey do. It is so easy to repeat an unhealthy pattern of relating: it’s all we seem to do. Very seldom do we gain awareness of it, change it and evolve.
Almost two years after going to my GP asking to see someone about my depression, I managed to see a psychologist – for only six weeks. I asked her to collaborate with me: instead of her making me feel like a patient, I asked her to treat my problem as a project. We were both on equal terms, working together on the research findings I had made working on myself, building a timeline about my early development – building an emotional, historical and psychological picture of the factors that affected my development. I don’t think this therapy was very helpful as the therapist didn’t seem very used to working together with a patient, which made me feel quite uncomfortable, judged often and just analysed. She didn’t give me much feedback. So I had to be really strong and tell her that I needed to have feedback on her questions so I could feel comfortable about telling her things rather then feel interrogated. It was very difficult having six weeks to diagnose me and find me a referral place to continue further treatment. I also really didn’t trust this psychologist’s abilities to help me. This was the same woman who had given counselling to me and my ex-partner. I really felt she did not help us at all. The six weeks available at the NHS are not enough to even figure out what is wrong with one person, let alone with a couple. I felt really upset at the fact we only had six weeks. It was inappropriate and hurtful and it was the only chance I had of getting some much-needed help. When you are at the bottom and the only way up is six weeks with a stranger who seems as miserable and depressed as everyone else around, one hardly believes that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
But I am grateful that the NHS has a budget at all for mental health in this country. I wish the government worked with service users more to find better ways to reform it as we all need health services and it is vital to the function of society and to our well being.
Before starting hypnotherapy I was very anxious and depressed. I carried a lot of resentment, stress, fear, anxiety and negativity. I was very insecure and uncomfortable in my own skin. I felt like an open wound struggling to heal.
I really learnt a lot from the few sessions we shared together. I learnt to not accept invitations to arguments. Currently I actually have very few arguments with people. I also learnt another tool from Cari which has helped me a great deal when it comes to changing negotiations or dealing with a confrontational or difficult person.
One that I share with many friends deals with tapping certain points on the parts of the body a few times. This basically helps to change thought patterns, so if one is feeling tired or anxious before a meeting it can help a great deal and then actually work. The other tool I almost forgot was visualisation. I know it sounds weird for some, but it helps a great deal to use it. I find it amazing.
There is more cooperation and positivity between my ex and me. I have to say that he doesn’t know how to get me upset any more. I also have to say, regarding my childhood and depression, that I feel that a lot of the learning I received from Cari as a product of the sessions has helped me heal a great deal, especially in my relationship with myself and others; but mostly I just love myself and life more and I’m attracting lots of positive things in my life, from the smallest to the most exciting. I think I just get over things more easily and have a more positive outlook in life. I just want to say I recommend this therapy to anyone. I wish I could have more of it in the near future. I just wish more people knew about it.
I feel really healthy and positive and this feeling gets renewed somehow every morning. I recently stopped smoking - eight days so far (cold turkey). I think it’s great to just try something new. I am still paranoid about someone hypnotising me and maybe just feeling this person has control over me. But all paranoia aside, this therapy really has changed my life for the better in so many ways. I feel really good and happy inside. I hadn’t felt like that since I was a child. I am making better choices and decisions. I look ahead and the future is bright! I am still observing the benefits of the hypnotherapy unfolding, which assures me that indeed it is something I strongly suggest to everyone to have a go at.