When I started this blog, I was in a bad place. I was deeply depressive and couldn’t see a way out of it. I had a hard time staying in the present. I felt uneasy with myself and in my own body. I had a compulsive drive to go back to what triggered this depression and relive everything over and over again.
I felt extremely vulnerable, as if my skin had been peeled off and I was exposed to the elements. I often felt helpless about what was happening to me. Emotions, bodily reactions, moods – they were all out of sync and seemingly beyond my control. The feelings of guilt and loss were overwhelming. I felt there must be something seriously wrong with me for being so vulnerable and unable to get myself together.
Although my posts sometimes refer to this period, I haven’t started the blog as a sort of self-therapy (although I guess it serves that purpose too). The details of my experience, no matter how twisted, are not important beyond my particular case.
What is important, beyond myself, is to understand how we lose ourselves. How we get disconnected from our body and our emotions. How trauma works. How we build self-stories that are supposed to help but end up reinforcing our dysfunctional beliefs and behaviors. How we react to the present through the lens of the past. How we delude ourselves and become prisoners of our delusion. And how incredibly difficult it is to take distance from our toxic story and replace it with something that is anchored in the present and helpful.
So when I say, as written on my blog homepage, that I am interested in how stories work, it’s not an academic interest in the technicalities of storytelling. For me, what counts is the concrete human experience of living in our own story. And transforming that story – sometimes.
We live in our story in the sense that there are beliefs and assumptions that become so deeply ingrained in our mind that they drive our emotions and behaviors without us realizing it. They take hold of us and drive us. They make us disconnect from the here and now. They make us react to what is happening now according to a script that was created in the past, as a way of coping. This way of coping has stopped being useful a long time ago, but we return to it as if under a spell.
We return because these scripts become our behavioral defaults, the go-to response when something triggers a strong emotional reaction and reactivates our story.
Understanding cannot do miracles. It’s one thing to understand your self-narrative, it’s quite a different thing to transform it. But there can be no transformation without insight.
And, who knows, this may also help others look at their own story with a different eye.