Written by an Anonymous Contributor
Just less than a year ago, I experienced an assault that dramatically changed who I was and how my brain functioned. It has been a slow decline down through depression, anxiety and isolation.
The end game with that assault was to dominate and control me. As a result I felt often unknowingly controlled by this person. Even when he was no longer present in my life, I could feel his hands pulling the strings in my world. I became hyper aware of people, facial expressions, body language, words used. I became sensitive to noise and light and people. I pushed away everyone and cocooned myself in an unconscious attempt at protection from the ever present feeling of guilt, regret and fear.
I did things I am not proud of. I burnt bridges that I should have walked across. I baptized myself in an ocean of alone. I threw myself into many things I should have taken my time with. I was very badly hurt by the actions of an inconsiderate person. Post-traumatic stress disorder is complex and a fucking heart breaking journey. I am sharing this information because I want to draw attention to the fact that you can change for the worse and for the better. You need to understand the magic that exists within our own brain. This should be taught in schools. It should be talked about openly with peers. It is important!
We know that our brains reinforce and weaken pathways we use the most/least. You can change your mind state, you can change your life. These are skills we are not taught but quite literally saved my life. Sharing is caring.
It increases brain gratification, which helps your brain strengthen the connection between cells. It's weight lifting for your noggin. It also helps turn off your ‘monkey brain’ and turns on your “me brain”, effectively helping you to stop letting your mind wonder and causing anxiety. It also increases your grey matter, which is brilliant for managing your emotions, attention skills and learning things. Go to bed twenty minutes earlier and listen to a body scan meditation on YouTube. Meditate on the feeling of the water on your skin first thing in the morning. Find little ways to ‘be present’. ‘Om’ the shit outta your day. 🕉
Run, jump, choke, kick or tackle your way to a better head state. Neural systems that are known to have a high capacity for change appear to be the first that are enhanced by exercise. Executive functions associated with the frontal lobe of our brain -- the part associated with emotions and judgments, is greatly improved though regular exercise. Give up on Home and Away and go for a God damn walk. Join a gym, pick up that sport, do a morning Yoga class, try CrossFit. If you have been looking for an excuse to do it, here it is. You can literally run away from your problems.
You are what you eat. Salmon is full of omega-3 fatty acid DHA which is critical for brain function and a healthy nervous system. Eating salmon regularly has been associated with reducing the risk and incidence of depression. Carbohydrates are linked to the mood-boosting brain chemical serotonin. So limit them sweet sweet sugary foods and opt for smart or “complex” carbs such as whole grains. Moreover foods like turkey, tuna, and chicken have an amino acid called tryptophan, which may help you produce more serotonin. Pay attention to what you put into your body, it affects you.
I cannot stress enough how possible it is to change and grow. I know in the darkest moments of depression when everyone leaves you because you are too much, not enough or never present, it may begin to feel like there is no possible future worth fighting for. I can grantee you 600% things can change. Things don’t just get better, you MAKE things better. There will still be low moments, dark thoughts and sad times, but reliance is a skill. Just like headstands, the first few times you’re a wobbling mess and keep falling on your face but eventually you will find balance.
Become a victor of trauma, not a victim, and fuck off anyone not capable of fighting the good fight with you.
You are not alone. Remember, you are only one decision away from a different life.
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Zachary Phillips is an Australian born writer, podcaster, vlogger, school teacher, mental health advocate, motivational speaker and martial artist. He uses these platforms to promote mental health awareness, personal development and self-discovery.
Coming from a troubled past, he began writing as a form of therapy. After finding that sharing his story helped others to move on and heal, he decided to release his first book 'Under The Influence - Reclaiming My Childhood' to the public.
It provides a personal and brutally honest account of the destructive dynamic that a drug affected and mentally ill father can have on his child.
Zachary gives us a sacred peek into his once shattered mind, teaching us that, even against all the odds, a broken mind can not only be healed, but can go on to flourish, inspiring others along the way. - About Under The Influence
"I hope that my work will help to reduce the stigma around mental illness and provide some guidance to those facing similar circumstances."
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