Thought Management Can Accelerate Incest Recovery
Gerbils are furry little creatures owned by many of us at one point or another in our childhood or our children’s young lives.
But there is another kind of "Gerbil" that can take over our brain sometimes. And this “Gerbil” can affect anybody, not just survivors of abuse. It is a thought, or series of thoughts, that run basically in circles frantically like a real-life hyper gerbil on a wheel. These are fruitless worries or thoughts about something that don't solve anything, but run in an endless loop to drive a person to distraction. Throw in some anxiety or high emotions and you have "Gerbils on Steroids" making smoke come out of your ears. Wow!!
Another important step with incest recovery is to calm the unwanted mental activity.
This state of mind is fatiguing and distracting so that when I have excessive "Gerbil" activity, I tend to forget things and make mistakes. Why? Because I am focusing more of my attention on the "Gerbils" and less attention on day-to-day functioning. This type of thought activity is fruitless and really draining, so I had to come up with creative ways for myself to make it stop. I will share these with you.
- Prayer - I recently added small hand chimes and a singing bowl to my prayer time. It has helped me to focus my thoughts during prayer and to release those thoughts after prayer.
- Imaginative Humor - I sometimes imagine a target game like at the Fair and you try to shoot all the little creatures to win a stuffed animal. Well, I occasionally get so fed up with the over-active gerbils in my head that I imagine them like a little target game and go to town. It works! It is fun and it shifts my mood from serious to more playful.
- Artistic Expression - I write about what is bothering me and then it’s out of my head and loses the intense hold it had on my thoughts. In some rare cases it actually crystallizes and intensifies the thoughts, but not very often. When the rare thing happens, it can be a sign that this is not a mere "gerbil" but an actual real incest abuse survivor issue that needs addressing or resolution. There is a difference!
- Ritual - When I sometimes have that really dark or super personal stuff written that I don't want anyone to read… after I write it, I burn it in a bowl, and in this process I release it like the smoke and am free from it. Prayer candles help a lot too. And water can be a ritual cleansing that has helped, but it usually requires my partner’s presence and sometimes I don't want to share those thoughts out loud with my partner.
- Talking with a friend - Sometimes good old-fashioned venting is enough to stop the "Incessant Gerbils".
Writing - Sometimes it is helpful to write the thought down just to get it our of your head. Give yourself permission to go back to that thought pattern later so you can resume the normal activity that was interrupted by frantic looping thoughts.
Gerbils during the day can make it hard to function. Gerbils at night (argh!) is, to me, the worst of the two because it makes it impossible to sleep. My night time gerbils are like the ones on steroids I mentioned earlier. I don't always have them (nobody should always have them) but when they show up- Holy Crap! I just want to dart myself. Where’s a tranquilizer gun when you need one?!
Well, you don't have to be at the mercy of the Gerbils. It's YOUR brain, It's your THOUGHTS. I believe in controlling your thoughts, not your thoughts controlling you. Just tell yourself right now, I am going to focus on breathing in and breathing out and sitting very still to meditate. The only chore my brain has right now is to focus on the breathe in and the exhale out, so that there is no gap between the inhale and the exhale. Each time a thought comes up, dismiss and focus on your breathing. You control your mind, not the other way around – unless there is a medical condition – but in any case, try sitting and meditating on your breathing!!!
So you have options here to get a hold of the gerbils that are driving you to distraction and making your life a misery. Take charge and empower yourself. You are no longer a victim to the past. Don't victimize yourself in the present. Where is your breathing occurring right now? Where is your breathing occurring RIGHT NOW... you are only alive in the present... you do not exist in the past, nor do you exist in the future... you only live NOW. Work through real issues in your life to bring wholeness, mental health, emotional health, spiritual growth, and – yes – even spiritual health back into your life. Work on this as your goal. But also understand at some point you must stop living in the past and you MUST live in the NOW! Letting go of the past is very important. Unfortunately letting go before you have resolved key issues can lead to a lifetime of unnecessary suffering. And yet never living in the present can have the same results as well. So it is a balance that you must learn to achieve.
Another aspect for meditation is with my singing bowl. Sometimes I focus a very scattered brain on the pulses of the tone emitted from the singing bowl. It soothes me and brings my thoughts to instant focus. This is effective as well, so try a singing bowl too.
Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, you will rise up again whole and renewed!