I’ve written about the power of positive moments a few times on this blog. One time, it was about it’s hard for me to enjoy good moments or changes in my life. Another time, it was about trying to hold on to those good memories, wherever they find me, and take them with me as I continue on my mental health journey. The relationship between people and their memories is fascinating to me. For some people, memories are something to be left in the past, to never be thought of again. For others, memories can be a crutch that can hamper someone from continuing on with their life. In any case, I think there’s a positive relationship we can cultivate with our memories that can help us grow stronger on our mental health journeys.
The best way for me to think about memories is like they’re in a vault (I like to think of it as the vaults at Gringotts, but to each their own). Some memories are easier to access than others but they are all stored there, waiting to be taken out and remembered or acknowledged. The thing is, when you’re living with mental health issues or are battling a particularly tough bout of depression or anxiety, most positive memories get pushed further into the vault, making them almost impossible to access. And it makes it difficult to get excited about things when you can’t access those positive memories.
I don’t journal often but when I used to write more regularly, I remember writing the phrase remember this feeling a lot in regards to a good moment or memory. Even though that tactic didn’t work, I understand why I did it. I was feeling good in that moment – I might even go as far to say that I was feeling happy in that moment. But I didn’t want to only remember that I felt good. I wanted to remember that I had the ability to feel that way. For me, one of the most discouraging aspects of depression is feelings of sadness; it’s the fear that I’ll never be able to feel anything else. So how do I compete with that nagging feeling?
I wish I had some secret formula that would help all of us keep our positive memories at the top of our brain, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. We have to make the effort to create room in our brains for positive memories, and we can’t be afraid to go back to them if we need it. Last week, I had a moment where I felt pure joy. I felt confident in myself and my abilities, and I was smiling bigger than I had in a while. Soon, that moment was gone. And rather than lamenting on the fact that I couldn’t hold on to that feeling for a longer time (which I usually do), now I want to look back on that feeling as a positive moment as a way to make my mind stronger.
Call it a cliché, pie-in-the-sky or an optimistic outlook, but my brain is flooded with negative memories and moments, and I am going to continue to fight like hell to get those thoughts out of my brain and replace them with the positive ones. That’s not to say that there are a ton of positive moments; I honestly don’t know if there are. But their presence is extremely helpful, and I hope I can continue to make changes to that vault to make it easier to access those positive moments.
I have a lot of trouble accessing positive memories or moments in my brain – does anyone else agree with me? Let me know in the comments below!