My therapist has a thing for drawing me charts that she hopes I bring home and post on my wall (I do). It ends up straining both my eyes and my mind. We tend to get into complicated conversations that involve chaos theory and the nature of humans. My most recent chart (a flow chart of such) describes how the past connects us to depression, the future to anxiety, and the present to calm and balance. But I have questions. As I usually do.
Is it possible to live in the present when our past determines our actions which therefore aids in determining our futures?
As humans, psychologically, we base our present experiences on past experiences. It is a learning mechanism created for basic survival. It causes our behaviors and reactions to be already determined in most situations. In the present, we question the future and how our reactions and behaviors can then mold our present reality.
Are we, as mentally ill people, meant to break this cycle for hopes of a recovery? Or is this “want” an impossibility to reach?
I do not believe personally that me living in the present will ease my depression or anxiety. I question everything to the fullest extent of my being. As a logical thinker, I apply what I have learned to what is, what will, and what can happen. Is what my therapist is telling me simply wishful thinking, or, is it truly a state of mind that can be reached?
I sit here now, under a layer of four blankets and a blasting AC, and my mind wanders. I am aware, presently, that I am writing this article. But as I write this article, I think of the future implications and how others will perceive my words. I do not feel anxious. Though this begs to question, is this kind of curious anxiety a hindrance to recovery? Or a milestone in understanding how our individualized brains work and function with what we are given?
My therapist spoke clearly of self sabotage. Yet I fail to see it. Is it truly unhealthy to immerse yourself in memories? Is it inherently bad to question what will take place in our futures? Am I, currently in the present, practicing a form of self sabotage by questioning my relationship with past, present, and future?
I feel these are questions that need to be asked. I feel as though there can be a very healthy relationship with the past, present, and future if we approach such realities in a healthy way. Of course dwelling on an impending panic attack in public is not a healthy way to approach the future. But who is to decide?
The past is persistent, the present is future and the future is present. And this is quite the conundrum.