There is an entity lately that invades my days and succeeds in wringing the happiness from my heart, and it lives within me. It’s the negative inner voice, a quiet whisper that darkens your vision and wrenches the joy from your weakening grasp with every sentence it purrs. The level at which I battle this bastard of a voice is both alarming and frustrating. We live in a world where negativity primes almost every decision we make, so in a way it’s understandable. However, being understandable doesn’t make it okay. I’ve sought out many avenues for getting a chokehold on it, first and foremost being mindful and, this is the hardest one, being thankful. We lack perspective outside of ourselves until we get punched in the face by it. I am guilty of it, I list and list positive things and count my blessings. It still persists, it boggles me how a voice in my own head, something I either consciously or subconsciously created, is able to abuse me with impunity. I will dare say that in the last number of weeks with an obscene amount of focus, both tough and tender love from friends and family, I’m realizing my value again. Do I struggle nearly minute by minute some days? You betcha. I think the hardest part was recognizing it, which I did. Next came the acceptance of it, which was even harder. Also realizing you’re not as alone as you think was quite an epiphany too, in desperation I began throwing out ‘lifelines’ to friends and family. Be it a hello text, a ‘how are you’ text, or a frank ‘I need some help’ text did wonders. I didn’t realize just how big an impact it had on me. The surprising thing about the lifeline metaphor is that almost all of the lines began to grow taut with an immense amount of strength and support pulling me up out of the depths. The other benefit of the support was that it also reinforces the value you have in yourself because you think ‘well, I couldn’t have been a total sack of shit. These people think I am worth their time and energy, wow.’ I think it helps to have enough loud positive voices in your ear that help to stem to poison you’ve become so adept at feeding your soul. They say if you want to help yourself, help someone else. I’m working on trying to give back, and hell, just give more of myself to the world. Even if at times I feel like I offer all of nothing, I’m realizing the value in thrusting out against that despair and basically giving it the middle finger. We are obsessed as a society about control of every single aspect of our lives, it’s sad we assume such little control over the streaming consciousness in our minds. I am guilty as charged, but perhaps on the way to healing.