Changing Myself

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor Frankl

This past week, the above quote was the prompt phrase for Tuesday at Ten. I am very late to join in, but I find the prompt particularly interesting. It signifies how we cannot have control over every situation in our lives, but we can have control over how we handle said situation.

I am just a tiny bit hypocritical (oh well, not a tiny bit) writing about changing one’s thoughts and actions around an uncontrolable situation today, because I just spent hours on or over the edge of crisis. There wasn’t really a situation I needed to change that led to it, other than my unquiet mind itself. So for today, I am going to write about changing that aspect of myself.

I remember in 2007, when I had only been on the acute psychiatric unit for a few weeks, moaning to my fellow patients that I’d gone to all sorts of rehabilitation and training places and still hadn’t learned how to handle my unquiet mind. Now I can add to these places three different psychiatric units. The thing is, however, wherever I go, I take me with me.

It is terrilby hard being me. However, I can change. I change all the time. Whether I grow is up to me. That is a terribly ironic phrase to write down for a pessimist with a terribly external locus of c ontrol. I’m not even sure I believe it myself. Maybe that is where I need to start: believing that I can’t change all situations of my life, but I can change myself.

I can change the way I think or act. I have come a long way already, because I have far fewer meltdowns than I had in 2007. I usually think my medication deserves the credit, but it isn’t like anyone forces these pills down my throat.

Also, while medications can alter your brain chemistry, so can thought processes. It is a myth that therapy works on the mind only, as if the mind is somehow separate from the body. The mind and body mutually influence each other.

I have never been all that great a psychotherapy client. As I said, I have yet to fully believe that I can change my brain chemistry by changing my thoughts. However, I practise this changing my thoughts sometimes already, like when I try to reassure myself. Now I just need to practise on.

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