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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(or The Cell, or The Matrix, or whatever particular ?freak you out? horror movie your mind can conjure up)

The unconscious mind is capable of producing some BIZARRE special effects, and sadly, we are the recipient of its magic show. It is often literally creating IN EXPERIENCE some idea or thought that we are threatened by ? ?this just doesn?t feel like me? in a very loose and metaphoric sense can suddenly LITERALLY feel like ?I am not me!? and with it, the accompanying terror of that experience. Or the metaphoric idea ?I don?t feel alive, it?s like I?m not really living my own life?? (the way anybody might say or think it) and our unconscious can suddenly make us FEEL as if we literally are not alive. Terrifying.

But?.we don?t have some evil, sinister sadist inside our brains. The unconscious is not doing that to us to TORTURE us, but out of misguided (very misguided) attempts to make us SEE something, or to make us aware of how ?unreal? we had been living or feeling before the symptoms started.

Like the new movie Bewitched, the unconscious is filled with magical beings (not really magical, but work with me here, grin) that all MEAN WELL but some of whom are pretty kooky. Aunt Clara (the old and slightly senile witch who gets very confused in the middle of a spell and often causes much more chaos than she ever helps), or ?Uncle Arthur? who is a terrible jokester who can cook up all kinds of wacky situations and make the mortals freak out.

The unconscious is LIKE a magician because it can produce in actual experience the kinds of thoughts and ideas that the rest of the mind only IMAGINES. It?s powerful and when gone wild, it can be terrifying.

But for those of you who are holding onto what feels like your last thread of sanity, convinced that you MUST keep close watch over this ?evil and sinister? creature inside your head, it is NOT that way. This is not a horror movie with part of your mind as the villain. It?s only Bewitched and the cast of characters can and will do NO more to you than scare you, confuse you, bewilder you, transport you back and forth in time temporarily, turn you ?into? something you don?t recognize for a while, rattle your chains and make scary sounds in your head.

That?s it.

This is not The Ring where one minute you will suddenly turn into a demon from hell.

It?s only Uncle Arthur, your very sly and oddball unconscious, causing some havoc in the name of making a point.

If you can really GET that idea, it is helpful when you try to turn your attention AWAY from yourself and forcing your attention OUTward. If you can just say ?this is that crazy Bewitched cast doing a lot to make my life feel like a living hell?.? without saying ?this is The Ring, literally casting me INTO Hell?? it makes it a lot easier to NOT feed it moment by moment.

If you literally lived with Aunt Clara and Uncle Arthur, you would soon learn to pay little attention to them, and you wouldn?t be particularly surprised if you opened the refrigerator and found penguins swimming in the Artic Ocean. Terribly disorienting and very annoying. shake your head and say ?this is just too bizarre?.? And you?d hope the family goes home soon and you?d go out and force yourself to try to DO something with your day.

If you look at your loved ones and they do not look like themselves, shake your head and say to yourself ?my God, this is just so bizarre? and then MOVE on with whatever you were doing. It?s the stopping and tuning INTO the odd experience that is killing you.

It?s when we say ?oh, my GOD, now what is THIS? What is happening to me?? with the implication that something HORRIFIC is about to happen ? that?s when we keep the focus pinned on self-monitoring.

And that is what keeps you STUCK.

Try to change the way you ?think about? the bizarre occurrences inside your mind, and I bet you have an easier time forcing your attention outward (even if only for a short while)


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544 Posts
Thanks, that seems like a good approach to the whole issue and I'll give it a try.

One question, though. You say that if we have a thought, such as "I don't feel real", the unconscious is able to turn that thought into some form of experience, so that we literally feel what we're thinking and end up in a downward spiral when the feelings encourage the thoughts and vice-versa.

I think most of us have experienced this first hand. What I'm wondering, however, is if we can make things work the other way to our benefit. In other words, if we start thinking "good" thoughts like "I feel real" or "I feel alive" will the unconscious be able to make those kind of thoughts into our feelings in the way that it does with other "bad" thoughts?

If we alter such thoughts CBT-style, working to think things to our benefit rather than to our detriment, can the unconscious start working for us? Or is it all much harder to turn round than that?

Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Great post and great insights, Janine (as always, I must add :D )...
What I'm really terrified of, is the fact that I can actually force myself to think bizarre thoughts, and even if I know it's me that creates this painful experience, I can't stop myself from doing this!
Because of my active involvement in thinking about those crappy OCD thoughts, I don't actually know if they're totally unconscious or if they're conscious experiences serving a deeper unconscious process.
What is really true, however, and many people with ocd, dp and other anxiety conditions can back me up on this, is that the mind is very capable
to transform simple thoughts or feelings into terrible and nearly real experiences.
How can one block this spiral of bizarre thoughts/feelings?It seems so difficult!

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518 Posts
I've recently been reading an NLP book called an Introduction to NLP. What this book says is there are some self-sabotaging parts of ourselves that keep is from having what we want. So in essence one must gain cooperation with these parts, and ask them to do certain other things than they are doing now. These parts are there to protect us from some imaginary horrific situation, and we have to sort of realise they are parts of us and learn to "retrain" our minds to live with these parts, with their cooperation.

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431 Posts
Great points Janine.

I always say: "You can say it sucks, but don't dwell on it."

By dwelling on your symptoms you will just make them worse because they are in your mind creating themselves and manifesting - making you so hyper-aware that when something happens you dwell and dwell some more-developing more 'symptoms'- or you just have a panic attack. You mind is waiting for these symptoms to happen.

I.E. I used to have this "heart problem". I got some tests done. I stopped worrying about my "bad heart." Symptoms? GONE!

You can honestly make yourself sick. It's all in your head.

Oh yeah, the heart problem... it was just stressed muscles around my heart caused by anxiety.

Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Janine what a fantastic post! I think if I was still ill I would have found it very comforting.

Monkeydust, I don't believe that telling yourself that you are real would do much help. Because logically you know that you are real but your feelings are telling you otherwise. For CBT to work you actually have to believe wholeheartedly that you aren't going to float away or that you aren't crazy & you have to come up with a whole list of points that you believe in to send these thoughts away. It might work for a while but your feelings will tell you otherwise & you might just end up playing another mind game.

My CBT works like this. Yes, I feel like I am floating away, yes that person looks strange, yep, its scary, but, its just anxiety, its just my dp/dr switch flicking on again. Oh, well :roll: its a pain in the butt but I'm gonna continue doing the shopping, washing etc & not think about it & not buy into the crazy thoughts.

I know easier said than done. But once you turn your mind away from those horrible feelings and questions its the first step, it gets easier & easier each time. If you buy into the mind games than there is no way you can get better. If you draw your attention away just for a few seconds its a start in the right direction.

Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Great post always. I am so greatful that you have stayed here all these yesrs to help others.

I read your post before I saw the movie and I totally got what you were saying. Then I went to the movie and I felt so weird when I was there. I kept getting these strange split secod odd brain confusion feelings. I cannot describe them but they made me feel as if the synapses in my brain were not receiving informatoin properly. I wanted to scream out "what the fu-k is wrong with me". All the wisdom I had soaked in from your post went out the window. I felt scared, and was left wondering for the 800th time.........."what is wrong with me"!!!!!!!!!! Well I finally got a grip and told myself that it was a form of anxiety sprinkled with a little bit of dr. I then went shopping at the Gap when the movie was over instead of rushing home and decided that as awful as all these feeling are I can handle them and one day they will go away. I am continually trying to rise above them and see them for what they are and what they are not. I am determined to not let them rule my life and my decisions. If Aunt Clara wants to show up in my refrigerator with penguins from the Artic be it!!!

Thanks Janine for your dedication to this form :D

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