Fuck My Brain

TRIGGER WARNING

Suicidal thoughts, depressive tendencies, substance abuse, disordered eating


Photography by Amena Assaily & myself

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How can I expect my brain to be better if I’m attempting to balance it’s place on top of a wet noodle? My brain is following suit with my body and simply has no idea what the fuck is going on.

And I’ve been a terrible leader and have taken all of us down a road full of shit.

So now I must course correct.

Find stability.

And stop trying to fuck off from life.

I’ve made resolutions to resolve my reality and while I’ve definitely dabbled in degradation and humiliation, I’ve never self subjected.



In 2017 I set goals of humans I wanted to work with and achieved so many of them because I made my intentions known to myself and those involved. I properly set expectations, examined limitations and worked with what I had to do what I wanted and got the farthest I ever have.

And then I shoved my head so far up my own ass I had to start pumping coffee in to get it out.

2019 will be different because it has to be. I have to be.

But moreover, I want to be.

My brain is finally on board with what I want it to do for me - which is such an important distinction for anyone reading this and resonating with the efforts.

If your brain is not on board, your body will not follow. I have had so many humans of various healing modalities tell me again and again that you have to start top down when it comes to healing.

I fought this so hard.

I know my brain is problematic, but my body is the bigger crisis.

So says your [problematic] brain.

So I finally decided to just shut up and try it. Something those same humans have also been repeating to me on a loop.

Everything I’ve been telling myself has been hurting me. And everything I’ve been taking from people who know more than I do about healing has been helping.

For as much as I hate my brain, I also love it. All my life we’ve had the same dynamic as the ex you can’t stop fucking: you know it’s not a sustainable pattern to exist in, you’re likely only doing terrible things to yourself but giving in feels so good.

I’ve always been told I am abnormally smart and capable of whatever I put my mind to.

Which sounds empowering and amazing.

But not when you’re an intensely empathetic hyper-mobile 7 year old baby bipolar being. It sounds like a lot of pressure.

And it was.

But it wasn’t external pressure that was put on me, it was pressure I put on myself to live up to my own expectations I had formed of myself based on the opinions of others.

Which were unrealistic and misguided. Not because the people were, but because I wasn’t making my own choices.

I would act and do without goal or direction simply because I could.

And what did that give me? A sense of pride or accomplishment? Awards and accolades?

Nope - 3 stomach ulcers by 12 and a fuck ton of social anxiety.

If you’re repeatedly told you’re different than everyone else, regardless if you actually are, you’ll probably start to live that reality.

And I did. And I hated it.

And then I “came to terms” with my weird wiring and wiggles and embraced it full force. So I thought.

Take me for what I am and fuck you if you can’t handle it.

Does that help the antisocial behaviour?

No.

So it’s time to do more than say I’ll try.

It’s time to act:

I will say less and ask more.

I will watch less and read more.

I will do more with Do More.

I will also do less.

I will finally and fully stop fucking with food.

I will move. Every day. Not just in the ways my body likes to, but in the ways it needs to.

I will befriend my brain and for the first time in almost 3 decades, stop trying to shut it up with substances.
I will medicate with medicinal marijuana, meditation and mindfulness. But I will not be medicated.

I will build my butt back. A bigger, better, more functional butt.

I will show up for those who showed up for me.

I will be physically present and let go of self limiting beliefs & habits that keep me from those I love.

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And it’s time I let myself think and theorize about things other than myself - something I haven’t made the mental space to do since I was forced to because I used to go into such deep project holes, I would write 5,000 word essays in one sitting.

At the height of my mania in November, I wrote almost 20,000 words in less than 10 days.

Almost all of them about myself and my [metaphysical] shit.

All of them garbage because they were based off a story I was telling myself - not the reality I was choosing to avoid.

So it’s also time to think [about things other than myself]

So far here’s what I’m working on:

1.. I believe the majority of mental illness manifests as a result of nature and nurture and is well within our control if we learn how to control it and I will attempt to prove and provide resources for those who feel the same (or want to).

2. I believe the internet is becoming an increasingly difficult place to make a name, mark or dollar and will become a resource of digital literacy and conscious content for those who not only want a voice, but need one.

3. I believe we are stronger together than we are apart and will bring my inner circle closer together to share resources and skills so that we can grow together.

4. I believe platonically executed kink experiences to be an under-utilized coping mechanism for dealing with the physical and mental symptoms of dealing with anxiety & pain and I will test and share my theory.

- My childhood trauma left me with no memory. I cannot remember one experience from birth until around age 11. And even then I remember feelings, not events. - Because of this I've always been drawn to trauma work. I thought as a psychotherapist I would help others to heal their trauma. After many years in practice I came to the realization that talk therapy is not a useful tool for healing trauma. - Of course I struggled with this emotionally, until one day I picked up 'The Body Keeps Score' and I couldn't put the book down. It showed the science behind what I intuitively understand: trauma is stored in the body. - Talk therapy addresses the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This is the conscious brain where we spend less than 5% of our lives. Talking about the trauma brings the person right back to it. Reliving it, not releasing it. - Trauma lives in the reptilian brain where it hijacks the nervous system response. If you've experienced trauma you know this feeling well: fight or flight. It's not a mental cognitive response. Its a full body response affecting every single organ and bodily system. - The polyvagal theory reframes how we view trauma. It says that the vagus nerve (running from the brain to every organ) serves the parasympathetic nervous system. Through deliberate action we can restore the nervous system from fight or fought to the parasympathetic or rest and digest. This shifts the mind and body into a place of safety, which is necessary to heal trauma. - 1. Breathwork 2. Yoga or deep stretching 3. Chanting or singing 4. Dancing 5. Somatic therapy (like EMDR) - Join the mind, body, and breath together to re-wire the reptilian brain that there is safety in the present #selfhealers - #holistichealth #healyourself #mindbody


So I will borrow the skills of another now, because she wrote this when I couldn’t/wouldn’t and it’s far too fitting as to why.

Shame vs. Guilt

There is a psychological difference between shame and guilt

For far too many of us, looking in the mirror and feeling our own flesh is a stressful experience. Often we fail to see ourselves as pure consciousness in the present and instead fall victim to the stories created by our own narratives compounded by shame and guilt. The pressure to be perfect and better than what we already are can threaten to drown us. We can learn how to swim, but first we must acknowledge what body of water we are in.  

Shame and guilt are often used as interchangeable terms but are very different psychological experiences.

Proneness to self-blaming moral emotions such as shame and guilt is increased in major depressive disorder (MDD), and may play an important role in vulnerability even after symptoms have subsided. Social psychologists have argued that shame-proneness is relevant for depression vulnerability and is distinct from guilt.

Shame is felt over how you see yourself as a person and may have little to nothing to do with something you actually did or said.

Guilt, however, is a feeling of regret or remorse over your behaviour that left a negative impact on someone else.

Shame is about the self while guilt is about the other. 

Guilt is divided into two types, adaptive and maladaptive.

Adaptive is considered prosocial and future driven; encouraging repair and growth.

Ie: If you do something that really upsets a friend, through experiencing the uncomfortable and complicated sensations of someone being upset with you, you realize it’s something you want to avoid in the future (“I did a terrible thing, but I can do better”). You have an experience that a behaviour is not beneficial to you or anyone around you and therefore the associated guilt will force you to adapt so you can avoid such behaviours in the future.

Prosocial Definition: Voluntary behaviour intended to benefit another.

Maladaptive is based in the past, encouraging little corrective action. For a long time, shame was considered to be solely maladaptive.

Maladaptive guilt does not insight a change in behaviour because the sufferer is too focused on the effects on the ego (“I am a terrible person, I will always be terrible”) and instead is forced into isolation from being too focused on the shame associated with the guilt to leave room for corrections (or adaptations).

How could someone be motivated to do better and be better if they are so preoccupied with feeling bad about themselves? 

A meta-analysis published in 2015 though found that in some situations, shame can lead to the same prosocial behaviours as adaptive guilt.

How To Heal Your Shame

1. Acknowledge Your Shame And It’s “Why”

Before we can decide that shame is useless and be rid of it, we must ask why we feel it in the first place. Feelings of shame don’t generally develop without the influence of the external world.

Society may tell us that we are not good enough by presenting one sole idea of beauty in the media.

Our parents may tell us they are disappointed in us when we choose to pursue the arts instead of business.

We begin to feel undervalued, misunderstood, unloved and defected- which in turn leads to the belief that at the core, we are “wrong”. And why might someone become addicted to this awful feeling of wrongness better known as shame?

When we feel ashamed we convince ourselves that we are incapable and if we are incapable we cannot take risks.

Shame allows us to stay small and avoid the disappointment of failure. 

We become addicted to the idea that we can’t because it’s safer this way, and deciding to see our shame as an addiction that seemingly “protects” us in this way is the first step to conquering it.

2. Let Go Of The Past

The best way to free yourself from shame is to see that it is something of the past that can be repaired. In each moment, you have the choice to see yourself as a new human in a new experience, as a culmination of the stories of your past, or some combination of the two.

The shame that you feel towards yourself does not have to follow you for the rest of your life, but it will take some conscious effort and hard work to shed.

Different mindfulness and present moment meditation exercises can be extremely effective for seeing the power in making choices in the present, but perhaps not always so effective at repairing childhood trauma.

You may want to try compassion exercises or seek out support from family, friends, or even a trained professional. This allows you a window into your childhood and triggers that you may not have been able to open on your own.

The most important thing to remember is that shame does not have to be forever or continue to define you.

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Taylor Oakes