Hello, are you feeling a bit crap?
If you are, welcome, you’re in good company.
You might not feel like you’re in good company. In fact, you might feel quite alone at the moment: at odds, and kind of stranded with your suffering mind.
When we’re feeling crap, it’s very normal for our suffering, problem-solving minds to react to those crappy feelings with a lot of self-doubt and worry.
This is the kind of thing my suffering mind starts saying. How about yours?
Our suffering minds will usually start responding to the problem-solving questions they pose to themselves, giving us lots and lots of feedback.
Imagine the above “feedback” delivered in the sneery, sermonising tones of your least favourite person. I call this part of my suffering mind “Dave” after someone I went to University with. Dave really thought he was my friend but he was actually a bit of a know-it-all bully. Do you have your own Dave, or Mildred who’s absolutely certain of what you’re doing wrong with your life?
Here’s another question the suffering mind poses to itself and attempts to answer.
Let’s watch Dave answering the must-be-something-wrong-with-me question (for me). You might like to tune into your own suffering mind at this point and let your own Dave or Mildred supply you with a wrong-with-you list for yourself.
And it probably won’t stop there.
When our suffering minds get stuck into us, what they “say” can feel very real and pertinent.
Our response is often just to suck it all up: “Yes Dave, you’re right! I am all of those shitty, unlovable qualities! And look at my massive, Dumbo-sized ears!!!”
This is because, when our minds start to suffer, we become fused with their words to the point where they can start to feel really overwhelming! A bit like this.
We lose sight of the fact that these are just words being churned up by our own minds in an attempt to “helpfully” explain the reasons for why we might be feeling so crap.
Our suffering minds forget that they’re just a blank page onto which anything (any thought, feeling, sensation, urge) can be “written” no matter how hurtful or ludicrous. Instead we all too easily buy into and sort of become those words floating around in our minds. When that happens, I would call my experience a “suffering” one. How about you?
When we are suffering, not only do we blame ourselves for being human, but also others. We might even start blaming Dave, our very own minds and brains, labelling and sometimes shaming them with analysis, diagnoses and put-downs.
We can also become very frustrated with ourselves for not-feeling-OK.
He’s right though.
A healthy human brain like Dave is perfectly compatible with a suffering mind. In fact the two might go together like [cue this song from Grease!]: a rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong?
Maybe this is because Dave was not –sorry Dave- designed by Apple (or Samsung).
Three hundred years of evolutionary science and a 100 years of neuroscience have pretty much confirmed that our healthy, but oftentimes suffering human brains are “designed” with 3 primary tasks.
Can you guess what those are?
Go on! Before scrolling down, guess the job description for that three pound blob of fat, and blood and white-grey matter, that sits perched on the top of your spinal cord, which we all proudly call THE HUMAN BRAIN!
You can perhaps start to see how these primary tasks carried out 24/7, automatically, in no consultation with our minds, might lead to good feelings at times, but also lots and lots of suffering. Almost as a by-product.
Say I’m at my local Morrisons, happily filling my supermarket trolly with ice-cream, and wine, and cheese, and crackers, and chocolate, and maybe some salad too. I’m looking forward to all that yummy stuff, and feeling pretty good at this pleasure seeking moment (dopamine!).
I’m also relieved to have seen and avoided my neighbour – the one I had an argument with with last week who I spotted walking down another aisle. Whew, and another dopamine hit of pleasure!
But maybe that evening I eat the whole tub of Hagen Daz as I am wont to do and drink most of the wine and feel sick and full of self-loathing.
And maybe if I hadn’t avoided that uncomfortable meeting with my neighbour in the supermarket we might have been able to get back on an even keel?
If you’d like to dig a little bit deeper into this, please take a look at my second post, Feeling Crap 2: The Three Layers of Your Suffering Mind.
Or otherwise, if you’d like to arrange an initial consultation session to talk more about whatever it is you’re struggling with at the moment, we can organise that via email or telephone (07804197605).
Also please feel free to drop me a line if you have any other questions regarding the therapy I offer. I look forward to hearing from you.