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Stopping thoughtsThere has been times in my process where I have become extremely possessed by certain specific thought and reaction patterns, in my case specifically paranoia towards what other people thought about me, mistakes I had done in the past as well as regrets about how I had acted or how situations had played out. The thoughts were literally spinning out of control. I would repeat the same thoughts, the same backchat and the same paranoia over and over in my head to the point where I could barely function because it was all that existed within me. During this time I desperately tried to ‘make things right’ but no matter what I did, I couldn’t and I felt like I had this ‘dark cloud’ hanging over me that was ‘tainting’ and overshadowing everything I did and everything I was. I repeated the events of what had happened over and over in my head and I would lay awake in the night thinking about what these other people were maybe possibly thinking about me and how I could somehow fix the situation. It was like I was stuck in a loop, having a track of paranoia on repeat in my mind and while I was in it I fully believed it to be real to the point where it literally consumed me. It affected me physically in such a way that I became lightheaded, like being wrapped in cotton, where I couldn’t fully participate in reality, because it was like a constant ‘buzz’ going on within me, with all my focus going to these thoughts of paranoia.

I will share here how I eventually assisted and supported myself to walk out of the paranoia and back into reality.

There were three points that specifically assisted me:

1. Writing

During the time where I was most extensively posessed with thoughts of regret, I was resisting writing and I didn’t even write at all. When I eventually started pushing myself to writing again, I would write 2 or 3 sentences and then quickly give up and delete the document, claiming within myself that I didn’t know what to write or how to support myself through writing. I felt like everything that came out of me was just shit. This went on for many months. I could literally see how I was stuck in a loop and I realized that I would be stuck in this loop, perhaps forever, if I didn’t push myself to move out of it. When I looked at my life and what would happen if I remained in the state of mind that I was in, I could see exactly the ‘path’ I would take, how miserable my life would be, how I would exist in this state of regret for the rest of my life. And as much as I resisted changing, I couldn’t bear setting myself up for a life of misery, especially when I, in the back of my head knew that there were tools I could use to support myself, such as writing. So I decided to write every day. And I decided that I wouldn’t expect anything ‘amazing’ from my writings. I wasn’t going for profound insights. I simply needed to get back on ‘the horse’ so to speak first and foremost. Perfecting my ‘riding skills’ could come later. So I brought myself back to the basics of simply writing. I took points that were happening in my life, real concrete moments and situations where I had for example reacted in conversations with other people, and I wrote about it. It assisted me because it was tangible and not overwhelming. I knew that I could at least do that much. I wrote perhaps one or two pages every day. Eventually as I got into the momentum of writing every day, the resistance subsided and for the first time in fact in several years, I could enjoy writing again. With this tool of self-support, it is important however that one doesn’t simply use it to get a mental ‘load off’ where one is just ‘unburdening’ oneself but without giving one’s thoughts practical direction. Because what can happen here is that the mind takes over and actually uses the writing to further integrate the mind possession even further where one will start writing to confirm and validate one’s thoughts and experiences. So this is an important point to be self-honest about and to be very specific and directive as one write that: “My starting-point is to assist and support myself to the utmost of my capabilities and self-honesty.”

2. Speaking to others

The second point that assisted me was to speak with others about what I was experiencing. I am not talking about randomly sharing my paranoid thoughts with people because I have most definitely found that to be ineffective. But with certain specific people whose perspectives I trust to be commonsensical and supportive, I allowed myself to open up, to be vulnerable and to share what was really going on within me. Often I did so, only after they had reached out to me, because within this complete state of paranoid possession I was in, I had a lot of ideas about how other people saw me and ironically as I thought about them rejecting me and excluding me and pushing me away, I was the one who isolated myself and deliberately did not contact anyone. So fortunately enough, a couple of times it happened that someone reached out to me and asked: “what’s going on?” or “what’s happening with you?” or simply: “how are you?” and in those moment I made a decision to share what was going on with me, because I could see that I required support, even though I still believed my paranoid thoughts to be real. So when I shared what I was experiencing, I was fully expecting them to agree with me and to see things they way I was or to even act out in the way I was expecting them to, of judging me or rejecting me. But instead what would happen is that they would either be very gentle with me or they would point out that what I was experiencing was ridiculous and completely fabricated and they would tell me to get real lol – or they would completely ignore that which I thought and believed to be the ‘real problem’ and would instead show me an entirely different side of things. The effect that all of these forms of support had on me was that it, for a moment ‘shook’ me out of my ‘paranoia bubble’, like I was standing outside of ‘myself’ (because I’d come to identify so much with the paranoia that I accepted it as who I was). And many times with this support, I experienced extensive resistance to hearing what the other person was saying and I experienced a refusal within me to accept that what they were saying was real. So it was in a way like being slingshot out of my paranoia bubble and then sling shooting myself straight back into it by, in my mind coming up with all kinds of reasons why I couldn’t trust that what they were saying was real and true. The thoughts could for example circle around how they were trying to trick me or how they were just saying something to make me feel better or that they didn’t know what they were talking about because “I know myself best.” – So sometimes I would just return to my little ‘cozy’ bubble of paranoia and other times the chats assisted me by really shaking me out of it, so that I could stand next to my possession and see it for what it was. So what is important when applying this tool of self-support is to allow oneself to open up and to really listen to what the other person is saying and to self-honestly for oneself asses what is being said and whether it makes sense or not. If it does – one has no more excuses to keep entertaining the thoughts.

3. Stopping the Thoughts

The final and perhaps most important point of support that I gave to myself in relation to this all-encompassing possession of paranoia, was to stop my thoughts. Now – this point I only got to once I was run out of all other ideas. It was like I just couldn’t let it go. And frankly, there was a part of me that didn’t want to. I had talked to others, I had understood on an intellectual level that what I was experiencing wasn’t real, but I still wanted to believe it to be real, even though I caused myself too much emotional pain. So I actually decided to somewhat ‘fake it till you make it’ in the sense that I deliberately ‘ignored ’ my belief in these thoughts, even though I still believed them to be true. I did so through bringing myself back to the basic tools shared by Desteni, where I asked myself and literally spoke to myself out loud while out taking a walk: “Ok, I am totally fucked, I don’t know what is real and not real anymore. I feel completely lost. So let me bring myself back to basics. What is the most basic thing that I know? That my thoughts aren’t real and that only the physical is.” – Now at this point I was still fully immersed in the thoughts. But I pushed myself to this point of common sense because I was so miserable and tired and almost nauseated with my own state of mind that I simply couldn’t stand it any longer. So from this realization – this deliberate application of physically speaking common sense to myself, I start stopping participation in the thoughts of paranoia. So every time (which was constantly initially) the thoughts would come up, I would stop. Or I would say: “stop, NO, I’m not gonna go there.” And even though I wanted to go there and I wanted to think about what others thought about me and I came up with all kinds of reasons why I should participate in these thoughts, I pushed myself to stop. And to stop. And to stop. And to stop. And I kept doing this for several days. And surprisingly quickly it got easier and I didn’t feel as ‘foggy’ inside my head and the thoughts didn’t seem as appealing or as demanding as they did before. It took me quite some time, but eventually I managed to stop the thoughts completely, not by any ‘miracle cure’ or magic trick, no – I simply stopped my ‘train of thought’ every time I saw it coming up within me. Reminding myself of how I knew exactly how my life would play out if I continued down this path assisted me to stand strong in my decision of stopping. And what happened very quickly as I stopped the thoughts, was that the energy dissipated that I had smothered myself in through the paranoia. It was like having a choking cold hand lifted from my throat and finally I was able to breathe again. And once the energy lifted, I could start seeing the thoughts for what they were: a deliberate self-sabotage mechanism. They had never been real! I had lured myself into a trap by allowing myself to engage in and entertain the thoughts in the first place. And by me giving them validation and believing them to be real, even insisting to myself and others that they were real, I fueled and fueled and fueled the possession within me until it literally – for a moment – became everything that I was.

So for anyone being trapped in the same or a similar mind possession, a point to realize is that by entertaining such thoughts you are distracting yourself from focusing on what really matters: your own process with yourself. Because what is happening as you are giving your undivided attention to these thoughts? That is all you’re focusing on! You aren’t focusing on real solutions, because you haven’t even considered that the real problem is not what you think it is in your mind, but the fact that you’ve abdicated yourself to thoughts in the first place!

It’s thus about breaking that veil and mind-possession and to realize that it isn’t real and that it is a deliberate self-sabotage mechanism. So what is required is an active intervention where one pushes oneself to stop participation in these thoughts. For me, this was the only solution. Once I stopped participating in the thoughts, the energy dissipated and I could see the pattern for what it was and start bringing myself back to reality and common sense.

Even though it feels real, it is important that you push yourself to stop every time you see your mind going into such thought patterns and paranoia. Even though you don’t want to stop and even though there are thoughts coming up saying that you shouldn’t stop them – give yourself the chance to do it anyway. If they thoughts were truly reflecting reality, as it really exists, you won’t be able to ‘get rid of them’ by stopping participation in them right? So what’s the harm? Stopping the thoughts will assist to discharge the energy so that you can stop the paranoia and see these thoughts for what they are: a self-sabotage mechanism through which you’re preventing yourself from actually walking your process and changing yourself and the points within you that you see require correction.

Another tip someone gave me once, which was more directed towards stopping thoughts in general and bringing oneself back to the physical, is to constantly bring one’s attention to what one can physically see, hear and touch. I have found that this works especially well with such thoughts that are starting to spin out of control. Focus on any text you can see around you, any sign or text like ‘mailbox’ or ‘advertisement’ – read them out loud to yourself. Another tip is to focus on being present in one’s finger tips and toes, really feeling yourself in and as the fingers and toes, focus on how it feels to touch the ground or touch a table with your hands, reminding yourself that: “I am here, I am physical.”

Finally what I suggest as a part of the emergency kid for when thoughts really spin out of control is to go and do something physical. When I have experienced myself being completely lost in the mind and feeling like I am about to loose it or go mad or where I can’t see what is up or down anymore – doing something physical can be the most supportive tool possible. It doesn’t matter what you do; take a walk is one of my favorites and keep walking until you’ve walked yourself out of your mind-possession (obviously make sure you aren’t a danger to yourself or others in traffic). Do the dishes, pet a dog, have sex, take a shower – whatever works for you.

If you would like additional support, you are welcome to join us at the Desteni forum where people who are walking their process and have walked through similar points as I have described here, are available 24/7 to give perspectives and support unconditionally. There is also a supercool online course called Desteni I Process Lite, which is a free course that you walk with yourself with the assistance of an online buddy where you learn how to utilize writing to assist and support yourself in your process of self-expansion and self-realization. You are also welcome to join us on Facebook where we daily support each other with common sense perspectives and insights.