most of us have heard of the grand daddy of ideations, suicidal ideation. that generally happens as life seems to be headed on a steep downhill and there doesn’t appear to be anyway to stop. maybe it’s the thought, “i’d be better off dead.” or the even more solidified thought, “…and this is how i’d do it.” fortunately, a majority of the time the fog lifts just enough for the head to clear and the thought remains just a thought and nothing more. the situation that caused the problem clears and the thought goes away.
what about the healthful ideations, the thoughts about healthful situations? sometimes they remain unfulfilled or become muddled. i claim, at least for me, and probably others, that these thoughts can be just as wearing, just as dangerous.
let me start off explaining a little more what i mean by healthful ideations. these are the thought about things we do that help us to stay or get healthy. things like, self care, reaching out to friends and to a support structure, and creating fun are some examples. while all of these appear to be healthful endeavors, they are not always healthy endeavors. i’ll explore each of these further and show how they are a struggle for me.
i see self care as a good thing. in performing self care, i see myself good and worthy of the care i am giving myself. i say i am important and deserving of the care and love i give myself. there would be few and far between that wouldn’t see this as a healthful ideation. how could this possibly become an unhealthy ideation?
recently for me, there have been two companies that have charged me fore services for which i had only implicitly agreed. a phone call stood between me and a form of self care. i feel too wound up about today; i’ll call tomorrow. then tomorrow becomes tomorrow’s tomorrow…
or perhaps i want to have a conversation with a family member or a friend to establish some better boundaries. there is already a certain amount of self doubt for me; i haven’t ever been particularly good at self care. the opportunity gets lost and doubting mind claims, that it wasn’t really that important.
each failed attempt at self care builds upon one another. it becomes somewhat the opposite, kind of a self-discare. “i’m not good at this; why even try?” “failure is guaranteed more often than not.”
the healthful ideation of self care becomes wretchedly ugly. the ideation becomes transformed into something it is not. how could something so clean and pure like self care end up in such a mess?
i think that reaching out to friends and/or a support structure to be a good thing. in making a connection, i admit that the world is bigger than just me. additionally, it can be an opportunity to get out some of the stuff i’ve been holding inside. i can also potentially be a gentle ear, to hear about someone else’s struggles and perhaps even be a comfort to them in a time of need. i would probably have to search high and wide to find someone that would disagree that reaching out would not be a healthful ideation. how could anyone see this as an unhealthy ideation?
it’s happen enumerable times to me, i’m going to call my friend joe; i’m going to call him at 10:00. then 10 becomes 12 which becomes 2, which becomes 4, which becomes 6. by the time that happens, i decide he is probably home with family. i don’t want to bother him now. i’ll try again tomorrow. tomorrow comes with similar results. tomorrow’s tomorrow lays out in a similar fashion…
each one of those failed connections can be seen as a defeat. as the defeats pile up, self defeating thoughts enter the mind. “maybe it’s best that i didn’t call joe.” “he probably didn’t want to talk to me anyway.” “i wonder if anyone really wants to talk to me.” “no one is trying to call me.” “why even try.”
the healthful ideation of reaching out becomes an unhealthy monster. the ideation becomes a twisted wreck known as isolation. how could something so clean and pure like reaching out end up in such a mess?
i am on assignment from my counselor to go out and have some fun this week, go out and do something fun that may even have low intrinsic value, like bowling or a ride on a ferry. i can see the value in this; it could be a temporary release and a lightening of mood of this hell hole i find myself in. i would be hard pressed to find someone who would not agree that making and having fun is a good aspiration and a healthful endeavor. how could anyone see this as an unhealthy ideation?
a group i am in has a outing planned to a meal and a movie. these are typical thoughts that might run through my mind. “what does betty think of me?” “did i do something wrong?” “what did i said, was it funny or rude?” “do i even belong here?” “can i even afford this?” how can something intrinsically fun gets swept away in fear, anxiety, and worry.
each worry, unspoken fear and each gut wrenching anxious moment eats away at the fun. slowly a flip begins. the “fun” event ends causing far more grieve and pain than even could be derived from the fun.
the healthful ideation of creating or having fun becomes an unhealthy beast bogged down, stuck in a muddy mess, unable to move. how could something so clean and pure like creating and having fun end up in such a mess?
while there would be near universal agreement that unhealthful ideations like suicidal ideations are dangerous, i believe, and kind of contradictory, that healthful ideations come with there own set of problems. they can create such demons as self doubt, self destructive behaviors and self loathing just to name a few. nothing like having the good guys fighting against you; that only serves to make the battle that much harder.