I struggled most of my life with mental illness. When I was younger I had some depression and ADHD. When I got to college I was officially diagnosed with depression, ADHD, and severe anxiety. This would last into my early 20’s. I was prescribed several medications, some of which were controlled substances. It didn’t take long until I was dependent and addicted to these medications.
I felt powerless to the medications, so in 2007 I decided to enter a rehab facility. I went there because I was addicted to 2 medications. Ironically, I left this hospital after 3 weeks with 6 new prescriptions. These drugs would drain the life out of me for the next few months, and it only made sense to me to go back on the original medications because I figured that 2 meds that physically felt good was a lot better than taking 6 that put me into a barely conscious and mentally vegetative state.
I would play this game of back and forth with my body and mind up until I was 30. The 2 controlled substances would eventually send me into a full blown manic episode with spurts of psychosis. At this point I had just been release from what I think was my 9th or 10th hospital stay. I had an awakening that I could not live my life like this anymore. There had to be another way. I understood that I did need something for my bipolar and insomnia, but I did not need to be on a handful of medications to numb me the rest of my life.
I was lucky and I was blessed with a Doctor that taught me meditation. He taught me self-compassion. Most importantly he taught me that I was worthy of love and that I deserved peace and happiness in my life as much as anyone else. I honestly didn’t know that before. I think that this is the problem for most people that live with a mental illness. We either lose our ability to love ourselves, or aren’t born with the self-love that most others already have or develop naturally throughout their lives.
I have always loved to write so I started out journaling about gratitude, self-compassion, and “I am” statements. I would go on to write 3 poetry books about my recovery. This lead to listening to affirmation tracks when I went for walks and meditated. I would even let them play for an hour or so when I was falling asleep. I admit at first it was difficult to accept that these positive things were true. I had so much fear, anger, and resentment pent up inside me that I didn’t believe these affirmations, but I knew that I wanted to feel these things more than anything else in the world. Every time I turned them on it got easier. Affirmations are not about tricking your mind into believing you are a good person. They are about giving you the support and self-love you deserve that is sometimes difficult to find from others. As we all know, the easiest way to change the world is from within.
About 6 months ago I was considering creating my own affirmation tracks in my recording studio. I was telling this idea to a friend when she enthusiastically blurted out, “ThinkUp App!” She then went on to explain to me that she had been using this App to record affirmations with her own voice, then play them back with her own music. Needless to say I was thrilled. I went home, downloaded ThinkUp App, and I have been using it since.
I encourage you to start slow. Pick out one or two things that you would like to improve in your life. Maybe in a week, re-record the same affirmations and see if there is a little more confidence in your voice. See if the words come out easier. There are no right and wrong ways to listen to affirmations. Just go with what feels right. There are some days where I’ll record 8 affirmations and go for a long walk, then on other days I will only use 1. I notice that in the last 6 months my confidence has greatly improved. I am experiencing less negative thought rumination. My mind is beginning to make positive connections, where at one time I could only make connections about everything that was not right in my life. There is something about using my own voice that has increased my confidence, self-love, and belief in me. I strongly believe that if you add Think Up App and affirmations to your mental health treatment it will really inspire movement into a positive and more productive you. I know that I will be using Think Up App for years to come. Wishing you all the best on your journey.