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Looking after ourselves

Senior Contributor

Retraining our brains..

Good morning everyone;

I've mentioned how my new business plans are moving forward to family members a few times, and was puzzled by their responses of pretend smiles, an "Oh, well that's great." comment, then they redirect conversation to something drastic that's happening in their lives or someone elses.


I suspected they weren't interested, mainly due to them not asking questions or engaging with me on the topic. It hurt to be fobbed off like that. Today though, I'm thinking their attitudes might be a learned pattern of behaviour to avoid positivity or my success. I'm not taking it personally now.


People forget or can be ignorant of the fact that our brains are physical organs. 'Thinking' is one of its jobs which gives us the ability to problem solve and so on.


Pathways are created as soon as a faetus has the capacity to form thought, these change as the child learns and develops into adulthood. Why then would we think we're incapable of recovering and healing?


Trauma such as complex ptsd damages the physical brain, but it's now known that new pathways can be created to bypass scarr tissue so healing can occur; just as a child recovers after the trauma of birth. (Neuro-plasticity)


My family, (just as I did prior to recovery) focus on the 'down-side' as a normal pattern of response to life's situations; it's habitual like an addiction.


Retraining our physical brain to support us through MH recovery is a long, arduous and painstaking process of 'rote learning'; just like teaching ourselves times-tables at school or driving a car. Practicing new and positive habits over and over until they're automatic is the only way to heal our wounded minds.


I still know my tables and won't ever forget how to drive. These are testaments to my capacity to absorb and retain knowledge which I've applied in my recovery process.


One tiny step of change prepares us to move on. Each lesson practiced and learned before moving on to the next; just like maths...addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, percentages, algebra and then scentific notation.


For example, you can't possibly expect to manage your illness unless you practice mindfulness (living in the moment) and so on.


This is how recovery works.


If you've reached the end of my post you've done well. lol It's a long read, but hopefully a thought provoking one. I'd love to hear your feedback if you're interested.


I welcome conflicting opinions too. Everything here is from my own knowledge and experience, but yours might be different. I totally respect this..


Warm thoughts;

Hope xo Heart





Please tag others if you feel they may benefit, like to comment or read the thread. Heart


Re: Retraining our brains..


focus on the 'down-side' as a normal pattern of response to life's situations; i -- you will get this in every family my friend , even friends and partners and our loves one can do this

yes they love to tell stories of failure and success , but sometimes they are worried about you or us being hurt if it does not work out

It is very hard NOT to put our input into our family members lives  , even our brain can tell us negative things all the time

so retraining our Brain bit by bit , small changes are the way to go @Hope4me and you are doing it xxxx

Re: Retraining our brains..

Hi @Hope4me @Shaz51

I think retraining our brains is part of lifelong learning.

In order for anyone to grow, mental illness or not, they need to be open to learning.

For me routine, repetition and habit definately play a part in my recovery. 

Meditation, for example, helps me with anxiety, regulating my emotional response, and being present. It takes daily practise and will always be a work in progress.

In terms of changing attitudes of family, friends, the community... it can be slow and sometimes impossible. Unless people have some openness, they will interpret everything according to what they 'know'. People resist change.

Re: Retraining our brains..

very true @frog

we are learning all the time , learning is very, very  important

Re: Retraining our brains..

Thanks for your support @Shaz51


Yes, some families do this all the time, but it doesn't have to be that way for 'us'. We can buck the system if we choose to. Where I am now is due to really hard work learning new ways of thinking, behaving and responding. It took me years to be this way and I'm so proud of my achievments, but many give up too quickly thinking their efforts aren't working.


I created this thread as a discussion topic about healing our lives just as we learned new things at school. I want those suffering to know there's hope if they're just committed and patient enough to accept small results as positive, but moreso as being important in the big picture.


Is this your way of thinking?


Hope Heart

Re: Retraining our brains..

You are spot on @Hope4me. Repetitive learning can help re-map our brains. 

It applies to everyone regardless of mental illness.  It's just that some people are stuck in their ways.  They're content to not grow and learn.  But not you.  You've discovered what works.  Keep learning.  Keep expanding  

Re: Retraining our brains..

Thankyou for joining in @frog


Yes, you get it! Smiley Happy Those of us who've done the hard yards know coping and managing our MH issues needs action and self awareness. I think more than anything though, it takes guts.


It's so frightening in the beginning when life falls apart, to accept recovery's an option or even take that first step towards a tiny moment of peace.

Re: Retraining our brains..

Ohhhhh YES @Hope4me Heart

and I am soo proud of what you have done and soo many other members here xx

Hello @utopia, @frog

Re: Retraining our brains..

I'm glad you've joined in @utopia

It's so confusing when MI hits with intensity to comprehend there's light at the end of the tunnel. Just accepting that rest is necessary in the beginning challenges most. When your brain's sick, it's not because we're not enough. It's because we never learned the basic building blocks of how to effectively and safely cope with others and life. Re-map...I really like that term. Woman Happy

Re: Retraining our brains..

I've had similar responses years ago from family in same situation @Hope4me dont take it personally and probably wouldnt mention to them again. In my case it was in context of them supporting me financially. Even though I could barely get out of my own way and had nothing of my own to put in. That was never going to happen. Success comes in many different forms. It can be your recovery or it could be your business. There's nothing wrong with ideas, people actually sell them these days

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