blue encourages you (in a hostile way) to try mindful meditation and download the app “headspace”
what is mindful meditation? oh, i don’t know, probably the best thing ever? what doesn’t sound fun about sitting comfortably without any distractions for 10, 20 minutes a day?
personal history of psychiatry
in 2009, blue was losing her mind.
by 2010, she was medicated again.
i had insurance, so my mother recommended i actually take advantage of it. i started going to a psychiatrist because, at the time, i had convinced myself that i had “social anxiety”~ and that was the reason i was unhappy. so a psychiatrist looked like the fast track to some benzos and 16-hour sleep marathons.
i’m gonna be straight with you right now – i probably had just taken an abnormal psychology class and was feeling real good about myself or something. i was in no position to be self-diagnosing myself. who am i, doogie howser?
so the rx did what i sought – mild numbness and the ability to converse without feeling like i was going to throw up.
but it didn’t stop the racing thoughts, it didn’t stop the feelings of inadequacy. i wasn’t addressing the actual issue because i couldn’t be delve deeper than the excuse for my actions and reactions.
“i can’t because i have social anxiety” should have been a bite on my imaginary soundboard. at my first fifteen minute appointment with my new found psychiatrist, he told me, “i highly recommend you talk a therapist as well. i can recommend one.” but i, of course, tossed the card in the trash because what am i gonna do, talk to a stranger about my problems? doesn’t seem necessary.
in retrospect, i regret not taking this advice, and i wonder if he had pressed the matter more, if i’d at least given it a fair chance. but i do think that at 23, i probably didn’t see the value of proper therapy and how it can promote an improved mental state.
in 2010, the affordable care act allowed me to remain on my mom’s insurance until i was 26, unlike before, where you had to be enrolled in school, or be a dependent on someone’s tax return, which was kind of hard for me at the time because i had a full time job and was only willing to sacrifice part time hours.
i also wasn’t doing great at school and was close to flunking out because i was taking a breakup pretty hard. showing up classes and completely zoning out. ignoring handwritten notes on my returned quizzed from my professor saying things like, “there is absolutely no way you are going to pass this class at this point. you may as well stop coming.”
nope, that’s not a bit. my math teacher really did write that on one of my tests.
but anyways, i didn’t use this opportunity of actual insurance coverage to do something about whatever it was that was holding me back because i don’t even think i recognized that it was something within my control.
and so my insurance expired. and like a punk, i let myself get worse over a handful of years with someone with even lower self-esteem than my own.
i learned my lesson when i started having to pay for my own insurance (ugh, don’t get my started on the insurance mandate, but anyway) – i wanted badly to start going to therapy, but i waited until i switched insurance providers.
by january, i was in a pretty dark place and needed, was practically begging a gd doctor to get me a referral to a therapist. but when that finally happened, my doctor told me that she didn’t see any mental health specialists that accepted my level of insurance.
i honestly felt like i was going to die. too many times to count i’d sit in my dark bedroom and cry under my breath. i couldn’t separate my thoughts from what was actually happening around me. every bad thing i ever thought about myself was devouring any rational thought i tried to bring to the forefront.
i was angry and upset beyond comprehension at my insurance company for charging me for a service i could barely afford and wasn’t even able to use.
i was growing desperate. i couldn’t see beyond the day i was in, much less make future plans. somehow, i got it together long enough to let someone recommend mindful meditation to me.
“meditation? isn’t that expensive or something? don’t you have to pay a bunch of money for these resources and get experts to teach you and all that jazz?”
“well, yeah, that’s one kind,” she said, “but there are different types. do you know what mindfulness is?”
i just want to pause and say something about those who want to teach.
when someone wants to learn, they will ask you questions, whether or not they think it’s a dumb question. because if someone is truly inquisitive and isn’t afraid to ask a question they are genuinely interested in, who is this person who can say it’s a dumb question?
so if you’ve ever considered teaching on any level, you should be open to the positive effects of teacher-student relationship. i have encountered lots of very knowledgeable people who seem open to throwing facts at you but are not willing to nurture the curious nature of someone who wants to learn.
i’ve had people actually kind of make me feel dumb for asking the question i just asked, as if it was supposed to be common knowledge. so if you find yourself turning your nose up at people for asking questions you believe are elementary, just stop it.
sometimes self-righteous instructors actually discourage further learning, and you don’t always have to be the smartest person in the room.
okay, sorry. that was a bit of a personal rant.
so i learned there are different types of meditation, and the kind of meditation i was thinking of is transcendental meditation, which is what all the rich and famous people do.
i mean, i’m sure there is a cost-effective way to practice transcendental meditation, but considering one of my stressors is lack of money, i think i’ll hold off on that until i’m in a better financial place.
so she taught me a little about mindful meditation, at the same time kind of touching on areas of my thought processes that might be causing all this extra weight on my brain.
so what is mindfulness?
it’s all about awareness, being present in whatever situation you’re in, observing and acknowledging the circumstances, and being able to react on what is actually happening instead of on fleeting emotions and short-sighted reactions.
it’s about regulating your happiness, worry, excitement, grief. seeing things for what they are, and reducing all that outdoor chatter that can sometimes engulf every free moment.
i never realized that there was a way to actually have control over that inner voice that i couldn’t seem to turn off. my crutch, aka my self-diagnosis of social retardation, was an excuse to just accept a heavily afflicted version of myself. i was settling.
i wanted to talk about meditation a while back and is in fact the reason i started taking this project seriously to begin with. i’ve always been the type of kid that would come home and immediately want to tell my mother everything i just learned. and even though i know most of it always went over her head, she let me talk fast and stumble over my words anyway.
now that i’m older and i know she doesn’t give a shit about my interests, i figured this is the best avenue to guarantee that i force myself to continue to grow and remind myself why i love myself so dang much.
it almost seems like common sense, but a recent study from john hopkins university suggested that mindful meditation can reduce pain, anxiety and depression. this was based on researchers combing through almost 19,000 published studies, narrowing it down to 47 based on controls meant to eliminate bias and conclusions based on non-perceptible effects.
they concluded that what you already know, surprise surprise, people are often overwhelmed with nagging thoughts, which only exacerbate things like irritability, worry, anxiousness, so learning to slow yourself down and reconcile the difference between problem-solving thoughts and a nagging thought that serves no purpose other than to sour your state of mind will slowly balance out your mood and make you more calm, less reactionary human being.
so here’s what you’re gonna do now, and iii don’t wanna hear any excuses because i always make it so easy for you.
go your app store or google play and download headspace. this is going to be your introduction to meditation, especially if you’ve never made an honest attempt to meditate before. as someone who never saw the benefits, downloading this app has honestly changed everything about my perspective, how i approach and handle difficult emotions, circumstances. meditation IS my medication right now, and the most beneficial habit i’ve ever picked up, so i can’t recommend headspace enough.
the first pack of 10 is free, which is absolutely perfect because 10 sessions is a good gauge of how serious you are about self-growth. so basically if you make it through the entire first pack, it’s already sold itself and hopefully you see the benefits of continuing.
it’s $14.99 a month, but don’t sit there and act like you can’t just not get lunch twice this month and save the money that way. like really, you wanna make excuses because ohhhh $14.99 a month? a month? i’m so outraged blah blah blah. get it together. don’t get chinese food for dinner tonight. done. now commit to headspace.
what i love most about headspace are the packs – they’re specifically geared toward particular areas like patience, change, anger, relationships, anxiety, appreciation. the list goes on. and alex, your british guide with the suede voice, is the perfect pilot for your journey. he keeps your attention in check and directs your thinking so you get the most out of your sessions.
in the beginning, i meditated right before bed, but i found i sometimes fell asleep midway through, and i was starting to get the feeling that maybe i wasn’t doing it right, so i switched to mornings before work. this meant waking up at 5:20 to get to work 20 minutes early so i can meditate in my car right before i clock in.
let me tell you, this has made such an improvement in the way i handle the rest of my day. i mean, i’m not perfect; i don’t always carry the techniques i’ve learned into real life, but when i catch myself, i will try to react appropriately, even if it takes me a little while to compose myself. so maybe i’m not hopeless after all.
if you’ve ever even considered meditation or tried it before and it didn’t stick, i promise you, if it doesn’t stick this time around for you, i will eat my hat. i will walk down the street to the store, purchase a plain baseball cap, and eat it. all for you.
but only if you cough cough subscribe and rate and whatnot.
download headspace here.