You May Be Your Own Worst Enemy ...by Bill Knell
Because we live in a busy, schismatic and highly competitive society, all of us probably believe that we have enemies. Whether real or imagined, the thought of having someone out there who is willing to cause us trouble is frightening. But you're real enemy may be the one you look at every day in the mirror!
Nothing is more troubling then a troubled mind. Is your mind troubled? If you're constantly reliving the past or centering your life's experience on some wrong that was done to you, then you're going to face a rough road that will never get any smoother. People tell you to 'get over it' or 'get past it', but that is just not possible. Why?
There are annoying or even tragic non-life altering things that occupy our recent memories. We'll always remember these things at some point, but will be able to get beyond them. A good example is the end of a relationship or death of an important person in our life. Sometimes we get so involved with or care so much about someone that we're certain we can't live without them. For an unspecified period of time after separation from that person we are in real physical pain over the loss. Life seems unbearable. Then we wake up one day and things don't seem so bad. The emotional trauma we experienced has finally healed.
People who have been traumatized by some life-altering event or series of incidents face a much different situation. They are controlled and sometimes even mentally tortured by that event or those incidents every day of their lives. Most have no idea that they may be suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Thoughts and memories of the event or events that caused the condition constantly confront the victim and affect them in almost every way. Not just on a conscious level, but unconsciously the person is held back from living a normal life and achieving goals by this condition.
There are two choices for people who have been deeply traumatized by life-altering events. Seeking professional treatment is always a wise idea. See your doctor, describe what you're feeling and how it affects your everyday performance, living and working situation. Your doctor will decide the best way to diagnose and treat your condition, which may or may not include the involvement of a psychologist or psychiatrist. Beyond what a doctor can do for traumatized people, there are certain things they must do for themselves.
Most people who are unhappy or dissatisfied with their lives have reached that point because they've failed to do regular mental housecleaning. Our mind is like our body. If we neglect it, they'll be a price to be paid. Mental housecleaning means redirection from negative thoughts to positive actions. It's easy to continually dwell on negative things when we're in a bad situation that seems inescapable. It's during those times that we must rise above our situation and look for answers in unexpected places. Here are some suggestions:
- Ask for help. Everyone needs help from time to time and there's no shame in asking for advice or even the things needed for physical survival. Don't wait until help does you no good, get out there and look for it now!
- Make some changes. Try something else. For some, it's as simple as getting out of a rut. If you feel like your life is a freeway headed in one direction with no exits or off ramps, just stop where you are and turn around. Don't allow pressure from others or a feeling of no escape overwhelm you. Decide now to stop and do something completely different.
- Think of yourself. Being selfish is never a quality much admired by anyone and can even be self-destructive, but there are times in life when we've given so much to others that we have forgotten what it's like to GET. If you're in a situation like that, you have got to step back, take a breath and start taking care of yourself. If you don't, it may be true that no one else will.
- Stay away from your past. Too many people feed the need of their past to haunt them by going to places or associating with people who were a part of the situation or incidents that traumatized them in the first place. While it's possible that the places or people who had a part in your trauma have changed, you may not have. For you, those type of affiliations may not be healthy. If you can't let go, you can't get better.
If simple unhappiness has turned into a led weight that holds you down or your past controls your life, please take the time to seek some professional help. If you can't afford it, there are always mental health clinics that operate on the basis of ability to pay or health professionals who will take on patients without resources. Check with local Churches, Community Services or Social Organizations. Turn that enemy you see in the mirror into your best friend!