Edit and Code Thoughts?
Your mind is an information management system. It can be managed.
One of the most common ‘errors’ I encountered as a therapist was confusion of thoughts with emotions. I would ask, ‘how do you feel about that?‘ Someone would reply, ‘Well, I think that…’. I might ask again, ‘how do you feel?’ and again hear something on the order of, ‘well, if you ask me…’
This reflects a lack of awareness of the distinction between thoughts and emotions.
Mind stuff includes: perceptions of sensation, perception of emotion, snap judgements, recollections, opinions, conclusions drawn, etc. It is in your interest to distinguish between all of the above. Failure to make those distinctions accounts for a great deal of miscommunication.
A Beautiful Mind: Dramatization of the Schizophrenic Experience
In fact extreme and frequent inability to make those distinctions is part of the ‘schizophrenic experience’. Do you recall the last scene in the popular film, ‘A Beautiful Mind?’ The character John Nash hears and sees someone telling him he has won a Nobel Prize. He asks a trusted friend, “did that really happen?” This scene, although in all likelihood created with ‘poetic license’, captures the truth of the experience of some folks.
I can imagine a future where folks struggling with ‘schizophrenic experience’ have shadow teachers, not unlike children with ‘autistic experience’ , helping them navigate every day life.
Mental Health: Differences as a Matter of Degree
As is the case with all mental difficulties, we all are possessed of the same vulnerabilities. We all experience similar difficulties, albeit to varying degrees.
As is the case with any management system, your mind will benefit from self awareness and ‘classification’ of mind stuff. There is a difference between wishful thinking and inspiration. There is a difference between opinion and fact.
Sloppiness regarding your own mind stuff will not help you communicate, define and reach goals or become the best that you can be.
Sit beside the stream of your own consciousness for a few minutes each day and ‘code’ your mind stuff. That alone will bring quick rewards in the form of better communication, more clearly defined goals and more frequent success.
About Diane Kern
Diane has been a practicing psychotherapist for over thirty years. She is credentialed to teach college level psychology, social science and anthropology. She has taught at California Community Colleges and Universities. She studied psychoanalytic theory and practice in the School of Criminology at the University of California at Berkeley where she earned her doctorate degree. She traveled to India to study cross-cultural conceptions of mental illness. Research was undertaken in social work agencies and at the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi. She has had a balanced yoga practice for twenty five years.