Monday, 7 January 2013

Positive or Negative?

There has been some chat in the support group recently about positivity and negativity.  Support groups (and I mean any, not just mine) can be negative places and I mean negative in that most of what is discussed originates from a post that may be very negatively worded.

I started the groups on Facebook mainly because that was where I met other sufferers, for the first time, only a lot of the time I found myself not feeling comfortable sharing on an open wall for all to see.  Hence my closed groups were born.  This meant for me and many others that we had somewhere to write about our problems and worries, somewhere to rant and vent.  This often avoided the same rants or venting on personal pages, allowing people to seek help from an audience that completely understood why that person was having issues.  The problem with ranting to friends or in front of family is that quite often they do not really understand PMDD and therefore can assume all manner of things about the PMDD sufferer.

Lots of valuable information is shared in the groups, and over the past 2 years I have seen women find treatments and paths that have helped them manage their PMDD and lives to the point of leaving the groups never to return.   Some leave and come back after realising they are not quite ready to go it alone.  Having access to a group of women who completely understand really helps to transform the way you see PMDD, the way you see yourself and the world around you.

I have tried to make the groups a positive place, and many women post lots of positive messages, or update us on the good days as well as the bad, however, many feel they should not share the good days for fear of upsetting those on bad days.  Some may wonder if we are all just dwelling on it too much and keeping ourselves in a space of pain and hurt.  The way I see it is we all need support to find our path.  Some ladies may find that just a few kind words can transform their day, but the only way they are going to get a response is to share the negative situation they find themselves in.  Some ladies may only need the support of a group for a couple of months, some may need a couple of years.  This difference is because we are all unique and are at various points on our healing paths.

I think it's OK to have a space that absorbs all the negative.  Writing things down is known to be a good way to transform thoughts into something more tangible, real.  That way we can then release them.  I used to worry and dislike the way the Facebook wall works.  I was used to forums where you could go back on old posts and comments, and I could see (and still do) some really useful ways a forum could work, aside from the fact people wouldn't have to repeat themselves or have the same discussion over and over, and women could also look back and see how far they've come, or find past posts easier.  Unfortunately, the FB wall doesn't lend itself to this very well... it's a dumping ground.  The good thing about this however, is we are NOT reminded of the bad days all the time, the past is the past and is rarely brought back up for re-discussion.  This is good with regard to PMDD as we have these crazy, dark moments, but they are not us.. they may be typed up, posted, talked about and then are lost to the wall and we move on.

Each and every individual needs to take responsibility for themselves and their own healing, whether that includes meds or not.  I have always said the groups should not be a stress to anyone, and that if the negativity in the group is something that is causing you problems then you may need to take a break from the group (just like in life, really).  Many women only visit the group when they need to rant, or some may visit if they see a cry for help and they are strong enough to post a reply.  The support groups as they are work because they are really for one thing only, and that is to talk with other sufferers and find some understanding and sympathy.

What I would like to highlight though, is the power of negative words.  I think this is something all people should consider, but maybe women with PMDD more so.   

Last year, in our house, we tried The Big Apple Experiment.  You cut an apple in half and place it in identical glass, airtight jars, and then over the coming week/s you love one half and hate the other.

It was VERY easy to hate the hate half of the apple.  There was no trouble with finding hateful, hurtful things to say to that half of the apple.  My husband and I could rant at it for a while before running out of things to say, yet, when it came to saying lovely things to the other half, we all found it harder.  It even felt OK to hate, but when we tried to say loving things, it was not easy to find the words and we'd feel uncomfortable about expressing it.  What does that say about us?  Why do we not feel comfortable with speaking words of love and happiness?

Over the coming weeks we continued to talk to each half of the apple every day and the results were amazing.

You may be hugely skeptical, and if you are, I urge you to try it!  It's a great thing to do with the children to teach them about how their words can affect others, but it's also an eye opener as to what we may be doing to ourselves when we talk negatively about ourselves.  There is a lot of self hatred that goes on within PMDD groups, and of course, others will always give a hug and some reassuring words, but just LOOK at what you are potentially doing to yourself with negative words and thoughts.  These ideas, as mentioned in the video above, come from Masuru Emoto's work, which some of you may like to take a look at, and I also found another video!

It is good to rid yourself of negative emotions, we know that, however, when we see what that negativity can do to us and the people around us I think we all need to be more selective with our words, especially with the things we say to ourselves.  It's not about being all fluffy bunny and irritatingly positive all the time, but maybe finding more positive ways to look at things, and watching what you SAY and think.  Words have a massive impact on us, much more that we really realise.

As always, in the name of balance, I am also sharing a link with you which explores why positive thinking is NOT necessarily always good for you!  It's all great food for thought, and hopefully, somewhere in all this mornings ramblings, you may find something that helps you!

The most important change I have made in my life with PMDD is that things are not BAD or GOOD.. POSITIVE or NEGATIVE... there are gifts to be found in the darkest of moments, there is positivity to be found even in the most awful situations.  I do not have good and bad weeks anymore, I have better weeks and more challenging weeks, or high energy weeks and low energy weeks.  I no longer allow myself to get sucked into self hatred and speaking terrible things at myself in the mirror.  I also curb what I say about others, knowing that that negative energy could find them and cause more rifts and friction.  In many spiritual traditions there is a Law of Three, or Threefold law.  That which you give out comes back to you 3 times over.  Some call it Karma.  If you give out positivity, you get back more positivity, and the same works for negativity.

So, in summary, there is a place for the support groups.  Somewhere to rant, rage, hate, let off steam, expel anger and meet others who can understand and share their experiences without judgement, however each and every one of us is responsible for their own lives, happiness, healing and well being.  No one can cure you, no one can save you, no one can make it all better with the swish of a wand, but we all have the ability to make life easier for ourselves, to break bad habits and try and see ourselves and situations from a different perspective.   

When I was at Uni, there was a lad who only drew in red.  Everything he did was created in red.  He was a bit worried about it, as he didn't want to lose marks.  The tutor was brilliant and said something that stuck with me ever since.. He said that the lad should go with it.. just work in red until the desire to work in red has gone.  At some point in the future he will get fed up with red and change to a different colour, but there was no point in trying to force it.  That's how I see the groups.  Women need it for a certain amount of time, they need a space to moan and offload, but that wont necessarily last forever, and in time, they will change the colour, or add colours, until they are off painting with all the colours the world has to offer.

Draw in red for a while, if that's what you need...  one day, you will change the colour, you will move on, you will change...  You may feel at the bottom of a deep dark pit, that everything you say is negative and then that in turn fuels MORE negativity, you may feel there is no way out, that you will always be like this, but you wont...  Nothing ever stays the same!



Jamillah Yoozooph said...

This is probably one of the best posts i have read in a long while. It really forces you to think about what you put out there and be accountable for it, but not to be bound by it, there are choices and there is change and sometimes you need to touch the edge of one direction before you start to change in a different direction. Thank you x

Kristina said...

Good post...I like how it sort of goes back and forth a bit and doesn't take a hard line. I propose another experiment with the apples...say negative and positive things about the apple halves, or write them on a Facebook support group, LOL...will it have the same efect on the apples? I don't know. When we vent out of earshot about someone, does it still "rot" them? Or doesit save them from rotting? Does venting work, or backfire? It would be interesting to find out. I can't do it because I can't bring myself to say bad things about even an apple half, even out of earshot. I'm such a softy.

Cat said...

Thank you Jamillah!

Kristina, it would be interesting to develop the experiment to thoughts maybe? If the hate half still rotted quicker just by thinking the thoughts then that really would be amazing!

As for venting.. I think most people vent about their situations, not always about people, and even the people they rant about are usually people they do actually care deeply for and so it isn't a true hate as such. There's a difference between saying so and so annoys me, to I hate so and so and I hope they have a bad day! it's all about being more aware really, about checking what you say before you say it and and figuring out if some things really need to be said. I do think that if you wish someone harm that that negative energy goes flying their way, but not all venting is about wishing someone harm. I think too, that you can 'rant yourself out'. I vent and rant now FAR less then I ever have done before, I kinda don't feel the need so much anymore. I do think venting backfires if it's done in front of the person you are venting about which is why it's good to just get it out in a safe space... In my opinion there is no hard line to take, we fluctuate so much, it's about accepting where you are, when you're there and using whatever feels right to get through. Plus, you have to take into account peoples personalities, like you said, you see yourself as a softy :) others may feel they are firey and quicker to anger. (thanks for the inspiration for the post!)


Random Blogger said...

Wow, that apple experiment is something. Being a networking professional, my brain automatically tried to find a rational explanation as to why the 'hate' half shriveled up so noticeably. I even showed some colleagues at work and they were at a loss too. I'm curious if what Kristina suggested would work. Would the apple still rot if we just by thinking hateful thoughts instead of saying them to it?

Not to take this out of context, but in India, there is a different form of dark magic where someone (obviously evil) imagines a doll to be a person and directs a lot of hatred and vileness towards it. In more cases that I can count, I have seen perfectly healthy people suffer for months for no reason, both physically and mentally.

If your theory is right, Cat, it would open a whole new window for people to harm each other. This I'm saying of closeted, hateful individuals.

Have you found if there is a way to protect 'hate' half? If the 'hate' half were human, do you think thinking happy, positive thoughts would have saved it from the effects it so evidently went through?

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