A big part of why my sister and I wanted to start this company was not only to sell jewelry, but to build ourselves a platform to share our experiences. Now that I have this platform, and a whole empty blog section to fill with my story, how do I even begin? I guess we begin where all anxiety begins. The mind.
What goes on inside of our minds is incredibly hard to comprehend and explain. To me, what feels most at the surface is something that we all experience, the chaotic mess of thoughts that swirl around in our minds every single day.
That inner dialogue that a person has with themselves, constantly putting in their two cents, telling you how you feel, not giving you permission to make choices that you have full control of making, constantly asking “what if?” can sometimes be extremely overwhelming.
I was in a therapy session many years ago, when my psychologist asked “does it feel like there's someone in your head telling you what’s right and wrong, how to feel and how not to feel, or what to do and what not to do?” I answered, “Yes I do, actually. It does not stop talking to me all day long and I can’t seem to shut it off.” He then asked me if I had a name for this voice, if it was a male or female and what he or she looked like. Of course, I laughed at his questions. But I played along and tried to visualize what this inner critic looked like. The only thing I could think of? Danny DeVito. I knew in that moment that my inner critic looked like Danny DeVito, sounded like Danny DeVito, and berated me like I would assume Danny DeVito would.
From that day forward, he would be with me forever. I am not sure whether I felt relieved to put a face to this nagging voice or if I felt creeped out that I had Danny DeVito in my head. Either way, it was definitely comforting to know that I could identify this voice in my head as one other than my own.
The purpose of this exercise was to help me understand the way our brains work. Our minds bounce from thought to thought throughout the day, creating a big tangle of ideas in our minds. Knowing this allowed me to put some distance between this inner dialogue and my true present self. With this distance in place, I am able to see that thoughts are just thoughts, or in my case, a cranky Danny DeVito.
There is not a minute of the day where I am not bombarded by his two cents. In my best Danny DeVito impression, “Did ya look both ways crossing the street? Are ya sure you should have said that to your coworker, she seems pretty pissed? Maybe you should check the door five more times, can’t hurt! Listen lady, I’m just tryin’ to help you out!”
I know that everyone at some point or another has received unwelcome advice from their own mind, those diagnosed with a mental disorder or not. The difference between someone who has OCD or anxiety and someone who does not, is that the voice becomes louder, more aggressive, and less forgiving.
The narratives that sometimes consume our minds seem so real in the moment. We start to attach ourselves to them and mistakenly identify them as our truth. It can be so compelling to go along with what it is saying and give in to what it wants. It temporarily removes the guilt, anxiety and fear you feel in the moment. Unfortunately, this only leads to another shout from your inner critic that is pulling your attention to some other ‘pressing’ issue. This pattern continues on and on and on… until you decide to give more attention to the present moment and less attention to your own Danny DeVito. Just let him yell into the void.