22 March 2021

Sister to the rescue

In my evaluation of the year 2020 I mentioned that I had practised not letting my brain mull over negative things too much. Most of the day my brain is occupied, but there are these typical times when your mind is free to wander. These times are (for me, at least) when I am trying to sleep, and when I am running. And I love running! And sleeping. So even though I was clearly getting better at it, I was still not managing to entirely banish nasty stuff. And it was affecting things I enjoy, and should be able to enjoy to the max. And I figured that after trying for some 15 months, and still not being sufficiently successful, I could probably do with a bit of help. And help is at hand. Having a clinical psychologist on speed dial has come in handy before. I have asked my sister for advice on how to deal with problems encountered by the students, but now I decided to ask her about myself.

I suppose that for a psychologist, this is simple stuff. Something happens to you that hurts you, you don't want to face the hurt, and then your mind starts to churn around the margins, thinking about things such as why it was wrong it happened to you, who else it will happen to and why that is wrong, and all that sort of things. And that means that even though it is the last thing you want to think about, you think about it all the time, because you're not thinking about the essence. Mind you; I am heavily paraphrasing here. What you get here is the interpretation by a marine scientist of the psychological concept. This description is likely to be a bit lumpy. But I think I got the gist!

After she had explained this to me I tried to just focus on the pain. And it is helping! I got through several runs where I was just enjoying my run and not being bothered by intrusive thoughts. I am starting to regret not having asked earlier. But what's done is done! And I am happy I am making good progress now. People hurting each other will happen as long as there will be people, but dwelling on it too much probably has never helped anyone. Except, of course, in channelling this to make positive change. And I will still do this! I will only stand up against misogyny with more vigour next time I encounter it. But I intend to fight that fight while not letting it affect my quality of life any more than necessary.

The effect that a few minutes talking to my sister already made a significant difference also strengthened my view that seeking professional help (even though I was seeking it in a nonprofessional way) is such a good thing to do if you are struggling with something! You are often so deep into things you can't see them objectively anymore. And a third person can. And a trained person cannot only see things clearer, but also knows what to do about them. And that makes a massive difference!

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