Conquering Your Mental Reels: The Long and Good Journey

Updated: May 26

We have come to the end of the year and sometimes we can get stuck on our issues and regrets. Sometimes they start to play a continuous movie in our heads, and it steals the joy of our journey from us. That’s why I want to tell you a little bit about my journey and how I conquered those mental reels day by day.

I was used to being completely overridden by overthinking mental reels and loops that just played over and over in my head. I knew I needed to make some adjustments to how I was living my life, but I had an incredibly huge fear of change and failure, control was a big deal and so just the thought put me into a panic. I was always thinking that I would fail so no matter what I started, I always stopped right before whatever it was, was completed. Everything I did was almost always 3/4 of the way done.

Outside of that fear-based existence, I had created this internal dialogue that just grew inside of me year after year after year. It was a dialogue I can trace back to being a very small child and I mean my earliest memory at I believe 4 years old, maybe it was younger I'm not sure. But that dialogue told me that I was invisible, that people didn't want to see me or couldn't see me, and that my feelings were invalid. Nobody was listening to what I was trying to tell them. My dreams at night when I was a child always included so many people, there were always people around, but nobody could hear me nobody could see me and I would be screaming at the top of my lungs, and still, nobody would come to help. These dreams continued replaying in my mind year after year after year after year, well into young adulthood, and the way that I perceived the words that I heard from other people promoted a lack of self-worth. This followed me around from childhood through adolescence and into adulthood. My self-esteem was trapped inside of this small child who felt like there was nobody there willing to hear the things that were painful, the things that she didn't know how to deal with.

I hid behind my need for perfectionism, I hid behind being whatever I perceived people needed me to be, I hid behind the bravado, I hid altogether. I didn't know what it meant to show up and share who I was because I was so fearful of ridicule. As a child and a young adult, I filled my days. I always had to be busy, I always had to have somewhere to go, I always had to have something to do. Anything to make sure that I wasn't left alone with the quiet thoughts of my mind, there was no downtime, there was no self-reflection, there was no looking at what was wrong what I needed. I refused, maybe not even refused, I was scared, to look at what I was trying to tell myself about what was going on in my life. So of course, I focused and longed for what I thought other people had. But isolation always got the best of me. I was afraid to ask for guidance, I was afraid to ask how I could get there too, I was afraid to say, ‘hey can I come along’. So, I sat home alone wondering why I wasn't invited, wondering why I wasn't sought out by others; but that need to always be busy that need to look good always prevailed which led me to some pretty serious bad choices.

Emotional sensitivity for me was so extreme I let just about everything get under my skin and cause high levels of irritability and agitation. All of which led to unnecessary outbursts and when that frustration crept in, it always skyrocketed to a level that just made me run. In fact, I bolted often.

As I went through young adulthood to adulthood and into this peaceful married parenting life, I found so much solace. Unconditional positive regard showed me its true meaning. Life was and still is amazing. Unfortunately, I didn't learn some important things, there were things, life skills, nobody taught me. I didn't realize that it was okay to leave my past behind, I didn't realize that I didn't have to compare every bad experience, sexual assault, near-death experience, tragic accidents, abandonment, domestic violence to where I was in my good life. I didn't realize that ruminating and wallowing in the things that I had survived was what was holding me back, keeping me stuck. Unfortunately, by the time I was in my good place, the chemical process and the behavioral addictions were already concrete.

Sure, I was highly functioning, and it wasn't negatively impacting my day-to-day life. Sure, there were some issues, but we were able to handle them. But those mental reels; the overthinking, fear of change, fear of failure, feelings of being invisible, dismissed, unheard, the lack of self-worth, the trapped self-esteem, they all stuck around even though they had nothing to do with my family, my partner, my best friend, or the people that loved me for me that unconditional positive regard and I carried it with me anyway.

Now, I don't want to write a book today, so I just want to leave you with this thought. That summary of a very long journey, a good journey, one that I appreciate, one that I wouldn't change for anything because it brought me right where I am today and made me who I am.

I just want you to know that it's this story and all of its nuances, all of its corners, deviations, pitfalls, and speed bumps, that’s what created my ability to help others find their way through also.

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