Categories
Depression Education Mental Health Mind Obsession Treatment Wellness

Letting Go of Control


“We are the creators of our own reality” is phrase that appears more and more as people turn to various esoteric and more widely known spiritual practices in order to let go of control and free the mind.

Practices such as meditation, mindfulness and manifestation, once reserved only for those who had the time, money and will to travel to the far East and learn from a master, have now hit the west with a bang and people are turning to these wonderful practices to try and connect with themselves and solve their issues with power of the mind.

The need to launch ourselves head first into these practices often stems from mental health problems and the desire to take control of our brains. The problem is that we are so used to trying to control every aspect of our lives that quite often we miss the point of these exercises – to let go of control.

Many of us try to traverse our way through life at the helm of a steam barge with very little stopping power or manoeuvrability.

We try to control our jobs, our relationships, our free time – worrying about what we are doing and sabotaging good things that come to us. We try to force ourselves to live in a certain way, thinking, dressing, talking like others to try and maintain this sense of identity and belonging.

Many people feel trapped. Trapped in a location they are bored of, trapped in a job they don’t like or trapped in a relationship that is failing to make them feel free. It is this false sense of being trapped by external circumstances that cause so many people to exhibit the aptly named escapist behaviours.

Escapist Behaviours

Escapist behaviours are often used to distract from painful thoughts and emotions in life, and are often exhibited by people suffering with anxiety, depression and or low self esteem. Escapism can also be a method of blocking out or distracting from painful experiences or current traumas.

Examples of toxic escapist behaviours include:

  • Over/under eating
  • Extreme promiscuity
  • Sex/masturbation addiction
  • Excessive use of Drugs/alcohol
  • Video games addiction
  • Strong desire to abandon your job, relationship, home, (of course there are many circumstances where it would be wise to abandon one of these things)
  • Excessive exercise
  • Excessive working
  • Most obsessions

If you notice a change in any of these behaviours it is important to stop and ask yourself why.

Letting go of control
Banksy´s “Snorting copper” taken at a Banksy exposition in Espacio Trafalgar – Barcelona

Feeling Like You Are Losing Control


The sense of losing control causes people to panic and start trying to manipulate their situation. When the mind slips and we start to experience stress, panic, anxiety we desperately try to grab the reigns and try and steer our lives in the direction we think they should head.

Counter-intuitively it is in these exact moments where letting go of control is most crucial. When we start to notice ourselves having irrational thoughts, impulses to act and make drastic decisions, or the desire to suddenly abandon or undertake a new project, we need to stop, breathe, do nothing, and spend some time alone with our thoughts.

Of course this does not mean that making big decisions or changing plans for a project is a bad thing, it simply means we must understand the roots of the decisions for change.

Ask Yourself

Is the desire to change rooted in:

  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Doubt
  • Stress
  • Anger
  • Hatred
  • Lust

Will this change ultimately improve my life and bring me closer to where I would like to be?

When we experience these impulses, or notice a change in our behaviour – such as drinking, eating, smoking or even exercising more than usual we need to try and objectively view our situation and find what it is that we are trying to run from.

Writing down dreams, recurring thoughts, and also just how we are feeling in a journal helps to pinpoint the real issue at hand. It is important to keep asking “why?”. When we keep asking “why?” for all of our behaviours we soon arrive at what are known as our core beliefs.

Letting go of control

Core Beliefs

Some common negative core beliefs:

I am not good enough – I am not worthy of happiness

I am not smart enough – I will fail at anything I try

I am unlovable – Nobody appreciates me

People are untrustworthy – They just want to take advantage

Our core beliefs are the intrinsic beliefs that we have about ourselves, other people, and the world as a whole. Beyond the ego and beyond our daily surface thoughts, they are the beliefs and values that govern how we perceive ourselves and the world around us.

By learning to recognise thoughts and impulses that come from our core beliefs we start to notice certain triggers and patterns in our behaviour.

This in itself is an exercise in mindfulness. By letting go of the urge to take control of a situation we inadvertently take control of our mind and life. The more these simple exercises are practised the more we start to feel free.

We soon start to realise that trying to control every aspect of our lives actually imprisons us even deeper inside our own mind and it becomes apparent that the villain in our tragedy is ourselves. We are the ones that are restricting ourselves and removing our freedom.

We are the creators of our own reality but the key to creation and true freedom is letting go of control and trusting that the life you desire will manifest itself.

Support My Work!

This blog and other related projects require a lot of time and money but I do it because I want to help people.

If you have benefitted from my content and would like to help me to keep creating more, then I would be so grateful for any donations through my Patreon account.

Letting go of control
The cat is called Naruto

Please Get In Contact!

I love hearing from people so please don´t be shy. If there is anything that you would like to hear more about or if you have any questions then you can contact me in any way that you would like!

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Categories
Addiction ADHD Atomoxetine Atomoxetine (Strattera) Depression Drugs Meditation Mental Health Sobriety Strattera Treatment Wellness

Life After Strattera

Just over 3 years since taking those first steps into the Doctor´s, (25.09.17), to admit that I had a problem with alcohol and ask for help, I find myself sober, and trying to piece together my life and personality, whilst giving my brain some TLC and the much-needed freedom from the shackles of substance abuse. Life after Strattera has not been easy but each day that passes I feel more positive and closer to finding the inner peace that I have spent my life searching for.

A recent picture in the Parc del Laberint del Horta in Barcelona 03.01.21

Life After Strattera

Although I have been free of alcohol for over 3 years, I was never truly liberated as I passed through different stages of addiction, medication (Strattera / Atomoxetine), and addiction recovery. Click here to read about how Strattera Changed My Life

As I wrote in a previous article, Overcoming Addiction: Your Deceptive Brain, our brains will try anything they can to replace the fix that they once had. It is a highly problematic situation because any substance or activity, no matter how mundane or innocent it may seem, can quickly turn into an addiction or an obsession.

I came to realise that the fear and inability to be sober and alone with our thoughts is the driving force behind the addictive, escapist behaviour that so many of us exhibit.

When was the last time you spent a week without any mind altering substance?

The unbalanced levels of neurotransmitters in the brain such as Dopamine and Serotonin due to alcohol, drugs, poor diet, lack of sleep, stress, trauma, and repressed emotions or memories cause us to be in altered states of consciousness and this affects our mood and view on life.

Searching For Comfort And Pleasure

Some time in 2018 during my Shisha phase

After quitting drinking, I passed through a heavy nicotine addiction – smoking shisha for about 2 hours a day for a year, a caffeine addiction, periods of MDMA and Ketamine use, an addiction to work, exercise, Tinder, and just about anything to distract myself from being sober.

This all culminated in the decision to leave Barcelona and head to Brazil with a one-way ticket (click here to check a short documentary that I made in the Amazon Rainforest).

I thought that I could literally run away from my problems by leaving my life behind. At the time I thought I would never come back but of course, you cannot run forever and eventually I was forced back into reality and back to a life that hadn´t changed in my absence.

Learning To Accept Your True Self

It has taken me the good part of 3 years to learn to recognise and accept this escapist behaviour, and try to sit down with myself and really be me with no substance or distractions. This hasn´t been a particularly pleasant process, as there is no hiding from intrusive thoughts or past mistakes.

Over the summer I tried to push this to the extreme by spending entire days fasting in silence. I wanted to really experience this inner silence and be alone with myself, whilst also resisting the urge to talk, or write.

To people around me it seemed like a stupid exercise but in a few short days I feel that I really learned to appreciate silence and began to learn to control the urge to constantly blurt things out.

I came to realise that we learn far more when we stay silent and observe than when we incessantly talk.

In a desperate attempt to experience being my true self, I took what I believed to be the appropriate measures to help myself flush out the innate need inside me for stimulation. I tried to remove as many external pleasures from my life as I could:

Alchohol, Medication, Drugs, Caffeine, Sugar, Animal products, Gluten Excercise.

Fighting Depression

I thought that this would just magically solve all of my problems but after coming off my medication Strattera / Atomoxetine, I quickly entered into a deep depression.

Removing all of the things from my life which gave me pleasure was very difficult and just pushed me further down but I felt that it was necessary to try and “reset” my brain. Whether or not this is the best way to handle it I am not sure. I have always been a person to take drastic measures to try and break habits and learn new things.

My logic was that if I could fight through the depression with as little external stimuli as possible then I would reset my base level of happiness. If I could learn to use natural tools such as breathing and meditation to help control my mood and productivity then I would be able to free myself from the need for an addiction or distraction.

I came to realise that we should be able to find happiness and gratitude in all aspects of life, but that it just takes a bit (or a lot) of practice. Click here to read about How to Become Grateful.

Hallucinations From Meditation

Once I found out that we can reach levels of intense euphoria, hallucinations, and visions just from breathwork and meditation I turned my attention to learning this art. Euphoria and hallucinations are the goal of most drug users, so learning that this was possible using our own physiology made me a very happy man.

I have not yet had any crazy experiences but I am not losing sight of the goal. Neither am I very advanced at meditation or breath work but it is a work in progress. Just like going to the gym to train our muscles, we must train our brain to change frequency and enter new levels of relaxation, creativity and love.

These are the sort of hallucinations that can be experienced from psychedelic drugs and I hope to be able to see these sober one day!

To try and maintain sanity I have been trying to meditate as frequently as possible. I have also been trialling different methods of breathwork and have recently started a self-hypnosis course to learn how to enter into states of trance and either relax, or program new positive thoughts into the brain.

One of the most inspirational people that I follow is Wim Hof – the “Ice man”. Check out this video below where he introduces his breathwork.

There is a wealth of resources out there and I think the key is finding what works best for you. It is important to enter any new practice with an open mind and no expectations. Consistency is vital and incorporating any new practice into your routine takes time and dedication.

Strattera / Atomoxetine has been an amazing help in my life and I am so grateful to have experienced its effects. Life after Strattera is a whole new experience but it is a welcome challenge.

Support My Work!

This blog and other related projects require a lot of time and money but I do it because I want to help people.

If you have benefitted from my content and would like to help me to keep creating more, then I would be so grateful for any donations through my Patreon account.

life after strattera
Fireworks to mark the start of 2021 from Montjuic Mountain in Barcelona

Please Get In Contact!

I love hearing from people so please don´t be shy. If there is anything that you would like to hear more about or if you have any questions then you can contact me in any way that you would like!

Leave a comment on the article or, if you prefer, send me an email to conor@thequestforwisdom.com

You can also contact me Via

Facebook

Instagram

LinkedIn

Twitter

The Quest For Wisdom Youtube Channel