Yes, it may sound harsh. And yes, it may sound overly simplistic. But the truth is…
Negativity is an addiction – with devastating side effects. The longer the addiction lasts, the more severe the side effects become.
Allow me to elaborate…
There are two sides to the problem:
1. The “victim” experience, and
2. The chemical scenario in your brain.
Let’s consider the “victim” experience for a moment:
(been there, done it, got nothing to show for it except a huge gap of nothing in my life)
Let’s face it – life isn’t always fair. The way that other people treat you isn’t always fair. Sometimes you just get a raw deal. It sucks, but it happens.
The problem, however, lies not in what happens to you, but how you deal with it. When disaster, disappointment or loss hits you, it often does so with incredible swiftness and severity. The nature of the devastation it brings, both in your world as you know it, and inside your mind, completely and utterly justifies how you feel.
In short – how you feel after your life has been turned upside down, or torn apart, is completely understandable. It’s human. It’s normal.
It’s the logical thing to do: Let the feelings come, and let those feelings then dictate how you experience the aftermath of what happened to you.
Unfortunately, the more you allow yourself to experience what you really want to feel, the more you will experience it. Negativity tends to feed off itself – the more you experience it, the more reason you have to be negative. The more depressed you become, the more reason you have to be depressed…
2. The chemical reactions in your brain.
The more negative you become, the less of your “feel good” hormones/chemicals (serotonin, dopamine) are produced by the brain. After all, if you don’t feel good, why bother?
The problem is that, once those chemical levels start to drop, you move on from situational depression, closer to clinical (chemically driven) depression.
This then causes a vicious cycle of more negativity, which leads to lower levels, which in turn leads to more negativity…
No wonder so many people need medication to break free from it.
I probably needed it too, but I refused (ok, brick-headed me…:). I felt that medication wasn’t going to solve my problems – I wanted real solutions.
(and I wanted my mind to be working at full speed in order to be able to find a solution – not dulled by chronic medication)
The bottom line is this:
How you fee is understandable, and it’s human – but the longer you take to break free from it, the harder it becomes.
Yes, you can take the route of “time heals all wounds” – but it’s a long, long road. Personally, I wasted more than a decade of my life by not backing away from how I felt.
I’ll never know how much of life I could have enjoyed, and how much better my experience of life could have been in those twelve years. It’s gone.
There is, however, a way out of chronic negativity – and this is what worked for me:
1. Make a conscious decision to back away from being negative. It doesn’t mean you are suddenly going to start smiling and be a “fake positive” person all of the time. It just means you make a choice NOT to indulge in negativity.
2. Make a point of stopping yourself whenever you are thinking or talking about negative topics. In the beginning, you will probably miss it regularly, but over time it becomes easier – or maybe you just get better at it.
3. Have a look on Google – there are several types of food that helps with serotonin production, and those help you feel better. For me, it was chicken, cheese and coffee. I recently also discovered the benefits of magnesium – so eating bananas (for instance) will also help (I take it in tablet form). Yes, at times I over-indulged, but it beats using medication any day. Find the ones that work for you,
I also recently discovered that sugar suppresses the production of serotonin – so while eating sweets and chocolate may help you feel good for the moment, the after-effects are not good. I assume there are other foods one would need to avoid as well – but that’s a topic for another day.
BY combining these three, and taking consistent baby steps towards my simple, do-able goals, I have been able to take my life back – bit by bit. It wasn’t always easy – but once I started, I have been able to accomplish more in one year than I was able to accomplish in the decade before that combined.
Becoming negative after a traumatic experience is not the ONLY thing you can do. You do have another option – albeit a more difficult one.
They say that ‘time heals all wounds” – but it can only start healing you once you let it. As long as you hang on to the pain, it will remain.
Been there. Did that. Didn’t get a t-shirt to show for it.
I robbed myself (and those who care about me) of twelve years of my life. I wish I’d known better.