I'm a bit sad today. When that happens, being massively overly-emotional and all that, my mind really quickly starts throwing up thoughts that fit with that feeling. Before I know it I'm suddenly thinking I've fucked up my life and everything is terrible and hopeless. The feeling triggers the thoughts and the thoughts feed the feeling and down I spiral.
But these days, most of the time, I can get off that pesky train of doom before it runs away with itself. If I'm lucky I'll think "oh here's that thing my brain does when I feel sad". And I can tell myself that the thoughts aren't true, I'm just sad today, and I might not be sad tomorrow. Then I just sit in the sadness and try to keep moving forwards and get shit done.
I used to think my thoughts were real. I thought I made them. I thought I was my thoughts. But that's not how I see them anymore. They're just thoughts. Just things my brain throws up in given states or situations to try to help me navigate the world. But sometimes they really don't help. They do the opposite. But it's just my stupid monkey brain doing it's best to deal with a world it hasn't had time to evolve for. Poor little monkey brain.
It was bit scary realising that my thoughts aren't me, but ultimately very helpful. It means I don't always have to go along with them when they're not helping me.
I heard someone say something brilliant in a 12 Step meeting once - he said "I must not confuse how I feel with how my life is going". That's so clever. Sadness tricks my mind into thinking sad things. But I don't confuse that with what's actually happening anymore. I just feel sad sometimes. But it always goes away eventually. So I just try to ignore the thoughts until it does. When I'm happier my brain gives me much nicer thoughts. Like my dad always said, you gotta take the rough with the smooth..