Case notes: The machine that houses your spirit. / by padhia hutton

I’ve been coaching people with depression, anxiety, etc. for a while now. At first I was kind of shy about telling anyone about this, but as time goes on I see the undeniable positive effect I am able to have on people and the way I am actually able to help them free themselves from suffering. One of my difficulties has always been that I think in pictures and then I try to translate that to words, but in this context I am finding it is actually a strength. It actually helps people to see a new broader perspective in way that is very easy to understand. I have decided start sharing some of the perspectives that I use in these sessions.

Picture an internal mechanical contraption that houses your spirit. Your heart is the engine and the compass. It is a highly underestimated power source which powers you through things you don’t think you can survive sometimes just by brute force. It also tell you what direction you need to pursue in life for your soul to be the most fulfilled, just like an animal somehow just knows which direction to migrate-sometimes thousands of miles, to get the nourishment it needs to sustain its life.

At the front of this contraption are lenses. They are the filters through which we collect information. The data points they detect are neutral in reality but the way we bend, twist, and distort that is based on things that have affected us in the past. There are many published lists of cognitive distortions, but there are a lot of subtle personal ones too. For example, one of my personal lenses that I have always struggled with is Traps. I have a tendency to see everything and everyone slanted in such a way that I feel completely trapped and therefore powerless. At this point, I begin to suffer. The suffering used to feed itself and snowball to the point where the only way I could see out of it was to fantasize about death. Was I actually trapped in any of those situations? It was a great milestone in my growth the day I began to see that I was not… nor was I ever.

Another component of this internal structure is our mind, which is our thought system. This is the part of the machine that processes the information brought in through the lenses and then gives the heart its orders on how it “should feel”. The bigger the discrepancy between the soft voice of the heart and the loud, logical voice of the mind, the greater the chance of depression, anxiety, and all self-destructive behaviors.

One of the greatest feelings of internal peace and stability in life comes from a combination of many things such as pulling a part all of these pieces and looking at them, clearing out the pain that built the dysfunctional parts, and rebuilding this machine that houses your spirit, this time with careful intention- with lenses that give you a view of the world that creates joy, and a thought system that is constructed based on who you are and the truths within your heart & spirit.