We all think bad things at one time or another. Sometimes we scold ourselves for them and sometimes we just ignore them. What if the thoughts become constant and out of control? With mental illness, the mind becomes plagued with bad thoughts, thoughts you can’t seem to stop. You start questioning yourself. Do I cause myself to think such things? Do they mean I’m going crazy? Do they mean I’m a bad person? Why do I think such things?
When I was sick, thoughts raced through my head. They tore at me and haunted me. They confused me. They were not thoughts that usually popped up in my head. They were bad thoughts, angry ones, hateful ones, and hopeless ones. Thoughts like I am evil, God hates me, I hate God, I have the devil in me, I hate everyone, everyone can go to hell, my life is doomed, and so on. I didn’t know if my thoughts were real or not. I thought maybe I was putting them in my own head.
I started to think I was creating these thoughts. I made myself think bad things. I had to be truly crazy to do such a thing to myself. If I could do this, then what kind of person am I? Am I an awful person? God must hate me. I hated myself for my thoughts, and I punished myself for them. I’d curse myself and get mad at myself. I believed I deserved to suffer. If anyone could think like that, then he or she deserved to be punished or to go down instead of to heaven.
I struggled with my negative thinking and then I added to it with self-hate and anger. I was in a battle with myself. It was a full blown war and I felt like I was losing. It was hopeless. There was no way I could win. There was no room for anything good to enter my head, and when it did sneak in, my mind seemed to squash it like a fly.
I started losing sleep and getting sick. I could barely keep food down. The thoughts hurt like someone was squeezing my insides into a vice. How could I stop this? I wanted it to end, but it was impossible. God was punishing me, but for what? The pain became unbearable and I tore at my skin. I wanted to curl up in a ball and pretend I didn’t exist. For some reason the nights seemed to bring the worse thoughts out. They sped through my mind like a motor-cycle racing down the back roads. My chest tightened. I rolled from side to side. I placed a pillow over my head, but nothing turned them off.
When I was stressed out, the negativity increased and so did my anxiety. Lack of sleep stirred them up, too. Nothing seemed to make them better.
In therapy I learned that my mind was sick, and my bad thoughts were caused by my illness and by the repetition of negative things my classmates and teachers told me in my school years. My therapist taught me ways to combat my thoughts like journaling about them, turning them into positive thoughts, and each day repeating something good. I took index cards and wrote something good on them. Then I placed the cards around my house like on the bathroom mirror, by my place at the table, on my computer, and other places where I’d see them. Each day I read them aloud.
If you have thoughts that are bad and out of control, don’t think you are the cause. You have a mental illness and it likes to play games with you. It taunts you and steals the best parts of you if you let it. You did not make up your illness, and you didn’t do anything to cause it. No one knows why some people suffer with mental illness and others don’t, but you can fight it. Instead of your mind declaring war on you, you declare war on it. Fight it with all your strength. You can stop negative thoughts. Get help, practice positive thinking, change your thoughts around from negative to positive, and stand up to your illness.
Instead of my mind declaring war on me, I declared war on it and I declared war on my illness. I fought with everything in me and I stood up to those thoughts. The bad thoughts became less and less. I can’t say I never have those thoughts, but they no longer control my mind. Because I decided to fight them and get help, I bathe within the light.