I don’t know what it’s like to be you, you don’t know what it’s like to be me.

There’s so much I don’t understand.

I don’t understand the mindset you’d have to be in to want a baby. Or the mind set you’d need to have, to kill someone or go to a prostitute, or to want to jump out of a plane for extreme sport, or what it’s like to be schizophrenic, or be on LSD, or be a rock star, a nurse, or to have been a Jew in Nazi Germany. I have no idea what it feels like to be homeless, an extrovert, a man, black, old, disabled, and it goes on for infinity.

We often all get misunderstood and judged at some point, whether it’s to do with: sexuality, race, creed, gender, disability, elderly, mental illness, homelessness, survivors of war/other traumatic events, soldiers of war, prisoners, sex workers, introverts, HSP’s (highly sensitive people), shy people, INFJ’s (the rarest personality, 1% of population).

We often hear about how various groups of people are oppressed, and that some of these groups are more oppressed than others. This is sometimes called the ‘oppression olympics’. But how can we compare and measure oppression? The labels of experience are endless and we’re all totally unique in the way we view our world, interpret it, and experience it.

There are as many ways of viewing the world as there are people. We can sometimes relate to one another, but we can’t KNOW what it’s like to be a particular person, unless you are that person. And we can’t KNOW what it’s like to have a particular experience, until you experience it yourself. Even then, you’ll experience it through YOUR mind, not anyone else’s, so it’s interpreted in a unique way. 

Trying to imagine what others experience can help you find compassion and empathy for people. Judgement, on the other hand, could lead to discrimination, division, even hate and war. In my opinion.

Stuff to remember:

  • Don’t judge what you don’t understand. (Easy to say it, hard to live it.)
  • Everyone is unique.
  • Everyone struggles throughout their life.
  • Comparison is the thief of joy.
  • You can’t compare experiences or points of view.
  • No one can read your mind.

Hey, I could be wrong, just my thoughts.

 


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Schools are pumping out half-made humans.

It seems to me that the education system is too focused on making a living rather than making a life. There’s always exceptions of course, but generally speaking in at least the standard UK curriculum, schools aren’t incentivised at all to provide education to create well-rounded, happy, healthy, decent human beings. It’s not a priority. What is a priority for them seems to be producing employable consumers.

I don’t think this is the fault of the schools, they are answerable to the government. They HAVE to deliver the required curriculum, or they get backlisted. The government represents us, so it seems within our rights to get the kind of schools we want. The government obviously has it’s own agenda. I don’t understand how they don’t see the following list as super important and include it in the curriculum.

Where will people learn about things such as:

– Self-expression/finding out who you are
– Personal finance (for example student loans and lifetime debt!)
– Mental health
– How mental health and physical health are connected
– How to be a good parent
– How to raise a dog
– How to deal with emotions
– Mindfulness and meditation
– Diet and nutrition
– Critical thinking
– Life fulfilment
– Stress management
– How to run a house
– Relationship communication
– Race issues, gender issues, sexuality
– The importance of play and relaxation
– The importance of time in nature
– The importance of work/life balance
– Spirituality
– Community and cooperation
– Sustainability

Where can we learn this stuff as children if not schools? You can’t rely on parents to teach all this stuff.

It’s all essential stuff. Without the knowledge of these things, decades can be spent trying to correct everything and cause much pain and suffering. It pisses me off.

Maths, science and english are obviously really important, but they won’t help you if you have depression because you didn’t learn about emotional regulation and the importance of work/life balance! No wonder most people are unhappy and dissatisfied with life. (That’s my personal observation and opinion).

Children will grow up to be a part of society, so why doesn’t society give them all the tools they need to be happy, healthy and well-rounded? It’s mutually beneficial to educate them fully so they’re better citizens and better people.

Pupils themselves are pushing for ‘life skills’ to be taught in schools, but there’s more campaigning to be done before it’s in all schools. Holland are ahead of us in lot’s of ways, including teaching mindfulness in schools. Let’s get schools to help make whole humans, not just half one’s! Maybe schools can acquire curriculums from organisations like The Representation Project. 

I think this stuff is worth questioning and thinking about. You know my thoughts. What are yours?

Do you have any thoughts you want to share? Please get in touch at: mindfuelstuff@gmail.com, we’d love to hear from you. If you enjoyed it, help me out and share it so other people can benefit/enjoy it too. Thanks.
 
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How I landed in depression by ignoring all the warning signs.

There were at least four warning signs in my life, that unbeknownst to me, were signalling depression on the horizon. If only I could have stopped to reflect on how I was feeling at the time, and sought help before things got really bad. But I didn’t listen to how I was feeling at all, and I didn’t slow down.

This lead to a breakdown/quarter life crisis, meltdowns, chronic back pain, an anxiety disorder, burn out and finally depression. It’s ironic – I never listened to how I felt and now I’ve lost the ability to feel.

For me, I believe this is how it went down:

Warning sign 1: Stress > Warning sign 2: Chronic stress > Warning sign 3: Anxiety > Warning sign 4: Burnout > Last stop: Depression

If you can relate to any of these, I don’t need to tell you the awful effects any of them have on your mental & physical health, wellbeing, relationships, work and life in general.

I’ve learnt lots about myself going through all these things, but I don’t want anyone else to end up with depression if I can help it. So i’m writing this blog post in the hopes I can help you or someone you know, become aware of the warning signs you have, and to seek help, before things get worse.

I think that with either chronic stress, an anxiety disorder, burnout or depression: your brain is maybe telling you that something seriously needs to change in your life-style, situation, or thinking habits. Maybe you’ve been strong for too long.

For me, my life wasn’t balanced at all. I placed no value on healing, play or rest. It was like 24/7 work/achievement/productivity for most of my life. And my thinking habits were unhealthy and unhelpful. I would constantly over-analyse and over-think. My personality was always a worrier, conscientious, highly sensitive, introvert, deep thinker, strong sense of responsibility, inability to set limits, excessively ambitious, high standards and a perfectionist, with a real compulsion to achieve my high standards and goals.

All of those attributes combined, make an outcome like burnout and depression seem pretty predictable, in hindsight.

You can arrive at depression from many different routes, (trauma, genetics, social or environmental factors). For me, it started with simple stress, (and my innate inability to cope with it).

I believe if I noticed and dealt with any of the warning signs, I could have avoided depression. So watch out for those signs of yours! Best of luck on your journey.

In summary:

– Listen and pay attention to how you feel
– Be aware of your personal limits
– Schedule time to relax and play
– Identify warning signs
– Identify causes
– Identify triggers
– Talk to someone, especially GP
– Minimise triggers

By Annie Charnley.

#DepressionAwareness


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#Thedress that made the world talk (and fight) about seeing things differently.

“The dress is black and blue!” “No it’s white and gold, you’re wrong!” “No it IS black and blue!!! Can’t you see it?! It’s right there!”

It’s fine to have fun arguing over #TheDress but people do the same thing all the time over things like religion, ideologies & opinions.

We have a society where difference – such as experiencing reality in different ways to the majority or experiencing intense emotions – is rejected and condemned and seen as pathologised or a biological illness. But our observations of reality are totally subjective, there’s literally no way two people can look at the same thing and have the exact same interpretation or know exactly what the other person sees. Even the people that agree the dress is white and gold can’t prove that they see the same shade of white and gold as another person.

Our eyes don’t see, our brains do. Brains, similar to computers are basically information processing systems. Everything we see, hear, taste, touch and smell in the external world, gets filtered into our brains. What we’re left with, gets interpreted using our memories, experiences, associations and personality. These interpretations are what create our ideas of ourselves (the “me”), our identities, our beliefs, opinions, thoughts, feelings and the reality we perceive. This is how the human brain has evolved, no doubt to help us survive better.

So what’s bad about this natural brain functioning?

Well the consequence is that we think our reality is the only reality, but “Our truth” isn’t actually “the truth” like we seem to believe it is. Our opinions and perspectives aren’t facts, but when you treat them like they are, problems and fights occur (racism, homophobia) and sometimes to deadly levels (religion). It’s so easy to assume the reality we see is the truth because we only have our own experience that cant be compared to anyone else’s experience from inside their head and lives.

For instance, an extreme opinion might be “gays are an abomination.” That is not a fact, that’s just that person’s opinion, so it would be more accurate to say “it seems to me that gays are an abomination, but what do I know? That’s just my opinion.” It loosens you up, opens you up to new ideas and people who might not deserve your hatred and judgement just for being themselves.

You also begin to believe you can control things outside of yourself to fit with your idea of reality and when you can’t, it makes you really upset/angry/stressed.

“Our maps of the universe, our ideas should be changing all the time…It’s the way children’s brains form before they are wrecked by the school system. It’s the way that all great scientists and artists work. But once you have a belief system, everything that comes in either gets ignored that doesn’t fit the belief system, or gets distorted enough so that it can’t get into the belief system…Anybody who has a belief system that covers the whole universe, that would be the Roman Catholics, Orthodox Islam, Scientologists, CSICOP, the Marxists, the Objectivists, and most of the assholes, well, what happened is, their brain stopped receiving new signals. Or to the extent that new signals do get in, they all have to be edited to fit into the belief system.” – Robert Anton Wilson

Robert Anton Wilson said don’t believe any one else’s BS (bullshit and belief systems) including your own, and I very much agree. This is because you’re believing an interpretation not a fact/truth. Similar to whether the dress is white and gold or blue and black.

“Reality is merely an illusion albeit a very persistent one.” – Albert Einstein

Reality is an illusion because we are illusions, our brains create us, not us. I believe we’re just clever enough to be aware of what it’s doing and think it’s us doing it.

Problems I’ve had when believing my own belief systems have led to low self esteem, believing I’m not good enough, and that other people know how to live life and that there is a way to live life that I’m not doing. This is destructive to me, I become jealous and really low. But it’s just a belief I have about myself, that has come into existence from experiences, memories, personality etc. It doesn’t mean it’s a fact. To question my beliefs about myself is liberating, like I suddenly realise I’ve been limiting myself, trapped in my own prison.

Problems I’ve had believing other people’s belief systems and opinions is, I doubt my own opinions and decisions. And think I’m doing something wrong or there’s something wrong with me because I’m not like them. Comparing all the time. Leading to more unhappiness and low self esteem.

It would be great if we were educated from a young age that everyone sees things differently and opinions aren’t facts, wouldn’t it?

I want to add that this is based on my own personal way of looking at things.

Things to practice fuelling your mind with:

•  Our perceptions aren’t reliable

•  Use “maybe” a lot more in speech to help us remember our opinions aren;t facts

•  Don’t believe any one else’s BS (bullshit and belief systems) including your own


I hope this had some value to you, and your mind is more full of meaningful, thought provoking stuff. If you enjoyed it, help me out and share it so other people can benefit/enjoy it too. Thanks.

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Acceptance = liberation

Sorry there’s been a lack of fuel from me recently, but now I’ve quit my job I’ll have more time to dedicate to this blog that I love so much!


“If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have 3 options: 1. Remove yourself from the situation, 2. Change it or 3. Accept it totally.” – Michael Singer

I often read/hear that practicing gratitude will put you in good stead for a healthy wellbeing and state of mind.

I’ve tried to do this many times. I think about what I’m grateful for and write it down, and, at the time, I don’t necessarily feel happier for doing so. But, I have felt grateful out of nowhere before; so practicing can only be a good thing. On days that I’m really, really low, when I have no motivation or energy, and where anything but sleeping is too much effort, I find it really hard to practice gratitude.

I realised that maybe it might help me to practice acceptance first: acceptance of my current situation, personality, life, problems, pain and feelings, acceptance of my depression, that I feel like shit right now, that my back is in pain and has been for 5 years, acceptance of the fact I have no motivation or inspiration right now.

I first realised the power of acceptance when shivering in the cold, waiting for the bus. I thought ‘just accept the cold, accept it….it’s okay go on, accept it’, then all of a sudden, I released my fight against the cold and I relaxed and felt a bit warmer for a while. So I’m trying to practice that with more aspects of my life.

I have a constant inner conflict inside that takes a lot of energy, which means I end up unhappy and distracted a lot of the time. In fighting my pain and suffering I’m trying to control one part of myself with another part. I want to feel happy and get rid of these bad feelings, and if fighting it doesn’t work (which it never does) I want to run away and escape myself entirely.

But in rejecting/bullying myself this way, it’s like saying to myself: “Stop feeling down, be happy for god’s sake, what’s wrong with you? There’s no reason you should feel depressed, I wish I wasn’t you and I was someone else, someone happier, I wish I had someone else’s life, not this one.”

If I accept my low feelings, stop fighting them and berating myself, accept that I’m the product of my genes and upbringing, and that I can’t help being depressed, I let go of the grip my mind has on itself and life becomes easier to deal with. I feel more compassion for myself, and feel more liberated and validated.

I think to some people, acceptance seems like giving up, giving in, and the other person or situation has won. But if it’s something you can literally do nothing about, and not accepting it causes you more pain, then maybe accepting it would be a healthier/happier choice for you.

Things to practice fuelling your mind with (easier when you have the mental energy to do it):

Mindfulness (Be mindful of unhelpful thinking styles – more on that in another post).
Acceptance (When you feel down or upset instead of feeling bad and fighting the feeling, try accepting that you feel low, allow yourself space and time to feel how you feel, validate yourself, it’s okay to feel shit right now. If that’s too hard, first try to accept the cold and see if you feel warmer even for a few seconds).
Gratitude (Trying to notice people and things in your life that you’re grateful for regularly, even the smallest of things).

I would love to know if this helps anyone else, try it out and let me know? You can email me at mindfuelstuff@gmail.com


I hope this had some value to you, and your mind is more full of meaningful, thought-provoking stuff. If you did enjoy it, help me out and share it so other people can benefit/enjoy it too. Thanks.

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Surviving , existing & burning out vs. living

All about balance
All about balance

So, I haven’t written a blog post in a while, here’s why.

I’ve had the realisation that a lot of my problems are stemming from totally and utter burnout and meltdown, like constantly. There’s many reasons for this like stressful work or too many responsibilities. But also your lifestyle and personality/how you look at the world.

I’ve been unknowingly seeing myself as some sort of robot, able to complete everything that needs doing with no breaks and rest. I have a bit of a serial processor brain, which doesn’t seem to be compatible with how life works, and sometimes I don’t know how to live in this world. It’s bad for my health, relationships, work, life and everything really.

I’m finding it very hard to fit into society’s system. I feel I don’t have enough time to do what I want because of things getting in the way like work, sleep, having to eat, shop, clean, exercise, and do other stuff that needs to be done. I feel like I’m always just existing to complete a never ending load of tasks, chores, lists, responsibilities, duties, obligations and problems to solve. I have an intense need for resolve. I can’t think about anything else until things are done, and out of the way. Only then, can I relax and enjoy myself, but because the list never ends, I never get to that part.

Everything is of equal priority, all urgent and it all needs to have a productive outcome or it’s a “waste of time.” Which is silly because intellectually I know that nothing is a waste of time if you enjoy it. It’s like a never ending addiction, it’s my personality (the analytical thinker). I’m not great at taking care of myself, I kind of see myself as a tool to accomplish goals. I can feel lost on holidays and weekends because there’s nothing to fix or resolve, it’s freedom to do what you want, but I don’t know what to do with that sometimes, if I’m honest, weird I know.

I think I need a better filter, better priorities and to get the rest I need to start with. Everything will become more enjoyable if I do it when I’m in the mood to do it too. I’m guessing this isn’t just me and that the human brain didn’t evolve to process the amount of information we’re fed/bombarded with today and to become achievement machines, the under appreciation of rest in modern society isn’t helping either.

From everything I’ve gathered, read and know, I feel like there’s a big scale where at one end, you have right brain dominated people who can relax, have fun and be in the moment, but if they’re unable to be focused and get things done, they’re at risk from becoming unsuccessful, feeling useless and depressed. Much like my little brother, who’s the opposite to me in this way.

At the other end of the scale you have your left brain dominated people who are productive, focused, determined and successful but if they’re unable to relax and live in the moment, they’re at risk from becoming anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, overworked and burnt out and also depressed.

So my personality informs the way I look at the world and my lifestyle, and my job in the mix means this is what I get. Lovely.

I don’t feel free. Life feels pointless. I feel like I’m just surviving and existing, but not living at all.

Never mind the absolute hell my life is because of this, I also don’t want to be on my death bed thinking “I got a lot of things done”, I want to think ”I had a lovely ride, lot’s of fun, mad experiences, and no regrets.”

My friend said a great thing to me “You do need to enjoy things. Like…you’ll die one day. This is a profoundly unfair FACT. You should squeeze out of life what you want, not what you think you should do.”

Which is great advice, but obviously she doesn’t have my brain, personality, lifestyle and mindset. There doesn’t seem to be any help or support out there that I know of for this, but I’ll do all I can to help myself and others going through the same thing.

Fuel to remember:

– If I feel on the verge of a burnout, stop what I’m doing and rest, cancel plans and remove stress
– Ask myself – does that really need to be done right now?
– Try to live more in the right brain and the moment and give myself a break
– Find balance and you will be more content
– I’ll die one day, so squeeze out of life what I can
– Do what the fuck I want in life, not what I think I should do
– I’m not a machine or robot, I’m a human, and human’s need balance in rest and achievement
– Nothing is a waste of time if I enjoy it
– Meditate daily, exercise 3 times a week
– Find a way to do my passions and have a better work-life balance that I’m happy with

 

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I hope this had some value to you, and your mind is more full of meaningful, thought provoking stuff. If you did enjoy it, help me out and share it so other people can benefit/enjoy it too. Thanks.
 
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Do magazines exist to fill an emptiness?

Good Housekeeping
An old Feb issue of Good Housekeeping – what’s bad housekeeping?

We all have emptiness we try to fill up with food, TV, relationships, shopping, drugs etc. I guess that’s just a human thing to feel and do, at a very basic primal and unconscious level. I think we can do better than that, and become so much more self aware.

‘Buy this magazine for a whopping £4 and you’ll be living a full life in no time. (As long as you keep buying this magazine). Packed full of things to buy, places to go, things to eat and wear, your happiness depends on us.’

This is how I interpret it, reading this magazine, made me feel quite sad. I couldn’t help but notice the play on human desires, gluttony, envy and pleasure taking place to sell magazines. Does anyone live the kind of life that’s advertised in glossy magazines? And if they do, how fulfilled and happy are they? I also felt sad because some of the grass in the magazine looks much glossier and greener than mine.

'Add a little love' - what does that even mean? The Beatles always said you can't buy love, didn't they?
‘Add a little love’ – what does that even mean? The Beatles always said you can’t buy love, didn’t they?

I guess the problem I have with most magazines if not all, is they take part in the big lie that certain lifestyles, ideas and things will fill people up inside and make them happy. Full of adverts for holidays, clothes, makeup, jewellery, hair/skin products, articles on how to get good skin, articles about love, ageing, advice and recipes, each part followed by an advertisement of some sort. Call me cynical, call me wrong, but I don’t believe a certain beauty product will be the one that will fix everything, you can’t fight nature. How you look, how your skin is, is largely determined by things like your lifestyle, diet, environment and genes. I just don’t believe the answers to my happiness are in magazines like this, I think they just want to sell me things and plant ideas of a better life because mine ‘isn’ good enough’. It gives me choice anxiety, and the grass is greener all over the place.

Holidays
How do I possibly choose? I should go to them all incase I make the wrong choice, and one makes me more happy than the other.

Not that consumerism is totally bad, I just want to see a variety of content out there. I want to see a magazine that says, “just be you, whatever that is, is fine, have fun, get out of your comfort zone and take care of yourself. Do what feels right to you, there’s no set rules that work for everyone, experience as much as you can while you’re still alive, whatever that might be.”

I want people to learn that true happiness comes from the inside not the outside, I want their mind to be fuelled with meaningful, helpful things, things like what George Carlin once said “Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body”. In my opinion – trying to be happy by buying monthly consumerist magazines and believing everything in there will make your life better/happier, is also like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.

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I hope this had some value to you, and your mind is more full of meaningful, thought provoking stuff. What’s your opinion on the subject?

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