Thursday, 20 November 2014

Cognitive Addictive Dissonance

The title of this article sounds heavy going, but fear not. We at Mindwalking are here to make it simple to understand.

Part 1: Addiction

Firstly addiction. Let's look at what nearly everyone across the globe does understand about that word. We understand that people who are addicted find it hard to stop doing the things that they have become unhealthily addicted to. We know that when people reach that stage it takes a lot of time, energy and resources to help them cut back and/or stop depending on what that particular addiction is doing to them to make them unwell.

When medical professionals identify one addiction they know all too well that actually people are talking about many addictions. Addictions to abuse require more and more access to power and money for them to be fed. Addictions to drink, drugs are the same as too are addictions to shopping, gadgets and indeed to acquiring knowledge itself. Addictions to speculation, assumptions and getting the wrong end of the stick ARE the most dangerous of all.

In short, that is why the whole planet is in the state it is currently in because it is part of our nature to always seek to find out more. It is also entirely necessary too for our own survival. It's not the question of knowledge should be broken, it is merely the levels that need to be within reasonable, safe and health limits; and when fact hunter you need to go to the source(s) that knows the most if they have time to tell you (such as your government, universities and especially medical teams right now). Sadly the UK's medical team has zero time for casual enquiries at present, so note your questions down for when you have a genuine need to see them.

We have become addicted to criticising more than addicted to praising people or thanking them; harming or ignoring people more than helping or healing each other and worrying, fearing and doubting rather than thinking, enjoying and trusting each other. The solution we hope now becomes obvious to rectify the problems. We follow the instructions to the letter of medics don't we, when we know they are right. Ah... we don't. That is not to say we shouldn't though. We simply need to try harder to do so given everything else that is fretting us all and getting us into a psychological pickle.

In many ways that ought to be enough and this article should end there but it can't for the very simple reason that everyone is affected and involved at the same time precisely because our gorgeous planet that we call home is at risk.

100 years ago we went to war because we all were pretty much in the same state of fear and panic as we are now. What's changed then? Why are we NOT in a global armed conflict now actually killing each other to the point of total annihilation? Quite simply because we have learnt a few more tricks to prevent that globally speaking.

It is thanks to all the boffins and world leaders at the top of the tree and the United Nations that we are not. It is thanks to everybody trading and sharing information globally that we are not. How much longer can we keep that up though if at the same time the same level of panic, worry, doubt, anger, bitterness and general muck-raking continues?

Sustained overloads of information always lead to mental illness and in most cases from there some form of psychosis. Think about that. By worrying we risk global destruction AND individual madness. "Yeah but, come on, look at the situation, how can we not worry?" we hear you cry.

The answer to that is to get busy with more helpful forms of... addiction; but rather than have merely one or two, vary those and add in a couple of new ones when ready which also help you toward getting rid of the harmful addictions too. Neat, tidy and above all simple except for all the days, weeks and years it takes to practise, practise, practise to get it just right.

We have to start at some point though, so why not today for five minutes and try to make it every day, just for five minutes. Next week or next month you might be able to manage ten minutes a day or even a whole day of just finding things to distract you from YOUR worries to enable YOU to function more calmly to combat YOUR addictions and fears. AND NEVER forget to pat yourself on the back when you have achieved something and ignore everyone who says otherwise, except of course... for properly trained medics.

Another helpful trick is to use 'mantras'. Mantras are merely catchphrases to help us remember what's important to us and to help us focus. There are many forms of mantra, there's the ones reminding us of our principles, morals, ethics and values (often coming under the heading of spirituality or laws) and then there are the daily ones - the practical reminders. Making lists of things to try to do is not quite the same thing although they too can help so long as you don't make such lists too long.

Mantras for practical things are the HOW TO mantras not the WHY mantras. (We know why well enough - to survive and be happy and live in peace). The 'how' mantras are things like "I will stay calm," or "I will take my time to get this right." and one of the most important of all is "I will not worry that I do not complete everything today."

Creditors can and DO wait if you tell them when you can pay them and there are many support agencies and legal teams to help you if they don't take your word for it so long as you are NOT lying about your financial situation. A GP on call and having a busy week attending to emergencies can't always pay their bills on time either - do they worry about it? No, they do not (while well at least), so why should we? So long as everyone does get paid it should never be a problem.

The final trick that often people find helps them the most is to focus on the number of things that are still working at all, in part or... most of all that NEVER get altered or fiddled with. You can also count the number of times others around you HAVE tried to support you as it will help your realise how loved and cared for you are by them, even if they snap at you or nag you sometimes or often!

People find it helpful to research facts before assuming the worst while recovering from mental illness. Sometimes though, that can make things worse as they may hit upon sad news too, as many researching their family trees are discovering right now. When we do such things together and look after each other while doing it; although it is hard work it is (generally speaking) a healthy and healing thing to do but only when people really feel they need to do it, never when they are forced to.

If the result of that is to distress people more then that suggests that those around them would best help by not talking about such things near vulnerable people. Talking about health and politics and climate change and conspiracies in public has always happened, it is therefore merely the volume and the passion that is the ONLY thing that has changed. Tone both down and everything for everyone automatically becomes much more manageable.

Part 2: Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive what? The word cognitive refers to 'thinking'. As ever it's root comes from that 'dead' language that medical teams (among many others) love to use - Latin. They use Latin, not because it's a tradition but because it happens to work so well to help describe complicated concepts quite briefly to save time, so why change it when lives count on it? It strikes us all here that the less we meddle with things that are working the better right now. 'Dissonance' merely means a clash - it might be of ideas, principles, needs and or wants. Many people mislead us all when they say it means 'conflict' as that tends to conjure up ideas of violence for everyone which is far from helpful in our opinion.

Put the two meanings together and we end up with 'thinking clash' - or to put it another way... a problem. WRONG< WRONG WRONG! A thinking clash is what we deal with every day of our lives. "Do I want a cake or a biscuit?" "Do I buy this or that?" "Do I deal with this first or that?"

More crucially it also covers "who needs the most urgent help now?" Which member of your own family, group of friends or work colleagues never gets much attention, never gets thanked. Who gets thanked and praised too much do you think? Is that because of things you don't know anything about?

Without exception the most seriously ill from any ailment do not want endless fuss, monitoring and questions. Nor do they need endless incorrect assumptions, sadly the mentally ill are the only group who never get a break from all of that which explains why 80% of people who suffer one episode of mental illness suffer and more and more. People never stop raking up and abusing them by using the very fact that they have been ill (past tense) against them. We heard rumours that even managers of international charities are not permitted to litter pick on a voluntary basis to help after they've been mentally ill.

With things as they are making donations to charities, collecting money for them is not quite enough to get us out of our global, national or even individual troubles. Any who can do something to help strangers by donating time and skills could well be all we need, so long as they are are prepared to do exactly as instructed. If everyone gave just two hours a month it would be an improvement but realistically we need a few more prepared to give two hours a week or more.

No one should be lonely, homeless, starving or dying of injuries with no medication to keep them out of pain. No one would be either if we all just gave a little more by joining community groups, charities and local initiatives to help. It boils down to what sort of world do we all want to live in. Like anything else, if we want peace and harmony then we ourselves have to put the work in to earn, merit and get it and BE peaceful and harmonious wherever we go and whoever we meet.

We are superb at dealing with thinking clashes and yeah, sure we don't always get things sorted in the right order but the proof that we do sort things lies in the FACT that we are still here; that life continues, that we are not actually in a global war, that people are working on fixing everything by working in teams where they fit best to put their knowledge to the best of use. We are getting there slowly because at least everyone is beginning to be included into every kind of team you can imagine to do their bit. So...

Which team or teams would you fit best in? There are millions to choose from. How about looking for those closest to home first so that you can still have time off with your nearest and dearest and be closest to your own medical team should you need them? It really isn't as hard as people imagine to sort anything at all.

There, and you thought cognitive dissonance was complicated didn't you? For the professional medical teams working in mental health, yes it is but hey... that's they're headache. No one has or is forcing them to work on it are they?

Thankfully psychology, psychiatric and neurology teams are working on it and all aspects of mental health to try to save even more lives and these days, they don't give a fig about who to connect with across the globe to sort it. They used to, but have grown up because they've had to thanks to every mental health patient in the world telling them they've had to (with a lot of help from their supporters of course).

General medicine has been doing the same for much longer, but then it always did have more support. To help ALL medical services, ancillary staff and support agencies to continue to heal us, we just need to tone down on the volume and the aggression, join a group or two to lend a hand. We know that's possible because in two world wars we've done it before when we have most needed to.

To avert a world war or the planet itself dying, all we have to do is... calm down and act... as normal. Best we repeat that we think in bigger type...

"To avert a world war or the planet itself dying,
all we have to do is ... calm down... and act as normal."

"Really? I mean really, Mindwalking team... really? Is that it?"

Yup! Precisely, exactly, absolutely, neatly, tidily... just that. Who would have thought that we had the answer all the time with the phrase "Keep calm and carry on!" (Although if you could manage to help a little with recycling, being polite and cutting down on waste that might help too!)


We hope no one this winter will feel totally alone and it is our deepest hope
and wish that all our readers and contributors are still with us in 2015. 

Oceans of love from the
Mindwalking Team 2014

Postscript: A bit more about the Mindwalking team. All are volunteers - some have mental health problems, some have not. Some are carers, family and friends and some are professional health care workers specialising in mental health and/or other areas. Some are charity workers and some are... people with disabilities who cannot read, write or even move yet over the years we have also included snippets of their stories too. How? Ah well... best to try talking to them yourselves to find that out!

The actual writers are few which remains a shame as we'd still welcome submissions for consideration. If worded carefully enough, it would be just published unaltered but it has to reach and make sense to all our readers at the same time at some level - which is impossible, but we do our best. (Just so you know should you ever fancy a go)!

Finally, feel free to comment. We haven't had one for quite a while now, but then, we've had our troubles and losses too. We never forget our loved ones either and think of them for every article posted. We know that each and everyone of them wanted us to make this a happy, peaceful world as much as we know YOU do too. So... get busy making it happen then! Doh! 

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