Your Mind Will Give You Many Reasons You Can’t Do It. So What?

Every day I live with a ringing doorbell in my brain.

24 hours a day. 7 days a week.

No vacation, no raise in my pay check, and no amount of alcohol will take the ringing away. My doctors call it Tinnitus. I call it a pain in the neck, a pain in the ass, a pain in the brain. I’ve had it for so many years now that I forget when it started.

It is impossible to feel deeply alive every moment. But you can feel more alive. Right now. There is no secret. Your experience can be a door into life, instead of a reason that you should just stay where you are right now.

For the first two years, I hated it. I went to doctors. I thought about it. It hurt when I heard loud noises. It pissed me off. I felt like the rest of my life will be hell because of my doorbell-brain.

But then I noticed something. One day, I forgot about the ringing. It happened after I visited a doctor who told me that there is no medication, no treatment, no surgery that will make the ringing stop. Nothing. Every day for the rest of my life, the doorbell will go off.

When I stopped fighting the ringing, things changed. Sometimes it still bugs me, but I am paying more attention to just living my life.

• • •

Your mind will give you a lot of really good reasons that you can’t

Maybe you are like me and you have a doorbell in your brain. Or maybe you live with depression, or anxiety or maybe you come from an alcoholic home? Or maybe you carry other pains? A history, a bad-ass-past that now is a culture of shame?

Our minds collect experiences, memories, pains and shame. Your mind, just like my mind… (like all “minds”) sends  ample good-and-real?-reasons that you:

  • Shouldn’t…
  • Couldn’t…
  • Are just…
  • Will surely…
  • Must…
  • Have to…
  • Ought to…
  • Don’t…
  • Won’t…
  • Haven’t…
  • Will never…
  • Can’t…

Wounds can become “wounded.” Pain can become “pained.” Memories can become “tortured.” And shame can become “ashamed.” Your mind will offer you more reasons than you can count. It will offer you an identity log-jam that may leave you feeling stuck, stagnant, inflexible and unwilling to try again.

Your history may convince you that you should stop risking, stop trying or give up because of difficult emotions, conflicts, decisions, or situations. Sure it will.

Minds to that because they are built with DNA mined from unrememberable generations of ancestors who needed to stay alert to dangers and work to the bone to survive. Your mind may have you convinced that staying safe is life.

But ask yourself a question: In your bones, do you feel alive?

Are you living? Or are you waiting? Putting living off until another day that might feel better, more preferred, happier, less in debt, more confident or awash with opportunity?

Your mind probably reacts to questions like these by giving you logical and sensible reasons that you can’t, shouldn’t and won’t feel alive: Money, debt, title, diagnosis, family history, addiction, memories, emotions. Feeling alive is not something that requires a new jacket/dress/car/shirt/iphone/pair of headphones/the next U2-Lady Gaga-Justin Beiber-Rolling Stones album, travel, a degree, a credit card, wifi, success, a “good” relationship, or people around you who clap and say nice things.

It is impossible to feel deeply alive every moment. But you can feel more alive. Right now. There is no secret. Your experience can be a door into life, instead of a reason that you should just stay where you are right now.

Or is your history a door?

Pain, a history, or memories can be something other than a reason not to.

You are alive. You are still moving. You are here and have another day to rise and to rise-again.

Maybe you are like me and you have a doorbell in your head. Whatever is going on for you, life is ringing at your door. Your mind will give you many “good” reasons to not go through the door. But there is also a door. What will you do?

Your history may be checkered, messed-up or scarred. Whatever you have behind you, it can be a door. Pain, memories, failure can be one of your best teachers.

Experience can be a path. You will always have the history, memories, emotions, and failures. You can still take a step through the door.  No it won’t happen because you think positive or do affirmations or yoga. And you will still have memories, emotions and anxiety. Your mind will still chatter because that is just what minds do.

You are still alive and that means that you have faced a lot of things. No matter how you may feel today, that you are standing is a testament that in spite of whatever you may have faced, you have risen and risen again.

No matter what you believe you can’t really say anything definite until you’ve gotten there and looked for yourself. Ben Bova

Life is ringing your doorbell

Maybe you are like me and you have a doorbell in your head. Whatever is happening for you, life is ringing at your door. Living is not about becoming successful, rich, known or liked. Even if you do, these things won’t make you feel more alive. We will only “find” more life when we are open, present and taking steps (even tiny ones) towards the life we want.

Your mind will give you many “good” reasons to not go through the door. But there is also a door. What will you do?

Drugs, alcohol, shopping, food and sex are failed attempts at coping with pain and trauma. They are our bodies attempt at distraction. Only, these distractions end up harming us.

• • •

If you want learn more about adjusting to whatever life throws your way, you may want to read some of my other writing:

What Tinnitus is Teaching Me About Recovery

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Trying to Get Your Life Together Will Just Make You More Stuck

How to Respond to Emotional Triggers Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

I hope to inspire you, to inform you and on occasion to entertain you. But most of all, I want to connect with you. Sign up for my blog if you want to receive the latest and best of my writing. If you like what I have to say, please share my work with your friends.

Lastly, if you like my writing, you can click here to vote for my page on Psych Central’s list of mental health blogs.

Keep it Real

Photos by Xinem and Gabriela Attilio


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