The moment my internal voice separated from my inner child's
The moment my internal voice separated from my inner child's
Hello reader! Today, I going to tell you about how I stumbled onto the path of exploring my inner child.
Technically this post should have been the first post in my little survivor series, but I was just so excited that I had a break through that it just popped out first.
If you struggle with a negative inner voice, or suffered in school due to mental health problems, this one’s for you.
Going against my negative inner voice
Recently I was at a cafe working on my blog when I did something I never do, I struck up a conversation with a complete stranger.
If you know me, you would understand that this is HUGE!
I just don’t strike up conversations with random strangers. I have PTSD and depression. Do you think I want to talk to people?!
Yes, actually I do. We all do. We are social creatures by nature. Without the social interaction there would be no procreation, and our species wouldn’t survive.
At a cafe working on my blog
I was sitting in a cafe at 4:30 AM working on my blog exactly as I am now.
An older gentleman was sitting two tables down working intensely on something that looked like homework.
He was dressed in mostly navy blue with a ball cap that I thought may have a firefighter emblem on it, but I was too far away to read it.
It was a little strange because it was 4:30 in the morning. Then again some would say it would be strange to be working on a blog at 4:30 in the morning, but I wasn’t judging, just curious.
I sat there for a good 30 minutes working on the blog and the courage to strike up a conversation.
The negative thoughts begin flooding my mind
The negative thoughts started trying to shoot holes through my motivation to strike up conversation. Thoughts like:
“What if he is an asshole to me?“
“What if he just ignores me?”
“What if this”
“What if that“
“Blah, blah, blah, I’m a big dummy head that no one likes me”
You know, the standard stuff.
Separating the negative inner thoughts from my own
At that moment, an invisible realization, in front of me my entire adult life, suddenly became visible.
Here I am, sitting in this cafe worrying about what a complete stranger is going to think about me if I try to talk to him.
I have done many dangerous things in my life. Much more dangerous than trying to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger..
Just a few examples
Why I shouldn’t be afraid of talking to strangers.
I have conducted night jumps at 15,000 ft in full combat equipment.
I have jumped out of so many helicopters, I became bored to tears with it.
I have dove 175ft below the surface of the ocean while having a rig malfunction, and lived to tell about it.
I have disarmed live IEDs.
I have been ambushed, shot, and blown up.
Why am I afraid to talk to this person then?
The root of my negative inner voice becomes clear.
The voice of my inner child
It was at this moment that I realized that the one putting these thoughts in my head was not the me of today.
That voice was coming from my inner child . My little survivor was trying to protect me from being rejected.
Since I have not been self aware enough to understand that the negative inner voice telling me to stay away from others has not been my true inner voice I came up with excuses as to why I was afraid to talk to others such as.
Being anti social or not liking people.
Looking back now this is so comically untrue, but I believed it for SO long.
The fact of the matter is those were all attempts at fighting the tribalistic human need for social interaction.
I now believe that part of my depression ( along with a host of other issues ) has been a result of fighting the need for this interaction.
Meeting someone new
When the gentleman appeared to be at a stopping point I asked him what he was working on. I intentionally put a smile on my face to let him know that I wasn’t trying to judge him or what he was doing.
The response I received was not what I expected expected.
He turned to me with his own smile ( energy reflection?) and told me he was teaching himself basic vocabulary because he had never learned to read.
Creating a connection through shared struggles
Sharing my own struggles
I thought his initiative to teach himself, was very admirable and shared that I was teaching myself to write, something that I had never done prior to this blog.
We talked about school, and how it affected us, and our lives.
Clarence shared that he was a fighter in school and always got in trouble.
I shared that growing up , I hated school and that I realized that my struggles in school were partly due to my depression, and the other part because of the school system itself.
We had a deep, meaningful conversation about taking the initiative to teach ourselves, and improve our own lives and reflected on the irony that teaching yourself is not something that is taught in school.
Turns out Clarence was a mechanic by trade.
WhenI learned that I told him I was interested in learning how to do basic maintenance on my own vehicle.
He gave me his number and told me he would be happy to teach me the basics.
Realizations about school
I went through school thinking that I was stupid. Those negative thoughts have persisted even after making it through one of the most physically and mentally demanding schools in the US military.
Truth is I was unable to focus in school. With the incredible amount of depersonalization I experienced at a very young age I am grateful that I was able to learn anything, and that I was fortunate enough to figure out how to teach myself the things required to have a functional life.
The school system in this country is designed to teach in a way that fails those of us who struggle so if you struggled in school, and think you are stupid, just know, it isn’t your fault. The system failed you.
I now know that I love to learn, and that this is a life long learning process
Some of my mental health journey progress has been in therapy, but the vast majority of my progress has been through self reflection and learning about what PTSD and depression really is.
Right now I am currently listening to The body keeps the score By Bessel van der Kolk M.D. through Audible which was recommended to me by my therapist. If you are interested, you can get listen to it for free when you sign up for an Audible free trial.
It is about how Trauma affects our bodies at a physiological level, and what we can do to reverse the effects of the trauma to live a fuller life.
After listening to this book, I am wondering how much Trauma has affected my education.
Understanding where that inner voice is coming from and knowing that it isn’t you right now, it is the little survivor inside you that only knows the past.
That is why it is difficult to control that inner negative voice
The little survivor inside is trying to protect you, but you are different person.
We have been to busy trying to drown that negative voice out when we need to be listening and learning why.
Negative inner thoughts are not fun to experience, but I am here to tell you from personal experience, they can be quieted through understanding why they are there to begin with.
This is something I have struggled with my entire life because I have been drowning my little survivor out through the various methods sarcastically described in my Manly guide to staying depressed for the rest of your life.
For the past 35+ years my little survivor’s negative inner voice has stopped me from engaging with strangers, and turning those strangers into:
That is a lot of lost time if you think about it, and it seems very easy to worry about that lost time, but instead I am going to be grateful that I made this discovery and enjoy it right now.