I used to want to become a marine biologist. As such, I spent a lot of time observing wildlife in its natural setting. And there are times when the mindfulness practices my therapist describes sounds like a description of a wildlife expert observing some skittish species in the wild. No sudden movements, or you might startle it!
And in its natural habitat, mental illnesses can certainly wreak havoc on the environment around it, which is unfortunately your psyche. Yet just like how the observations of wildlife behavior can give insights into its thinking, its emotional state, etc, that is the value of mindfulness. It gives you insight into how your mental health ‘behaves,’ which is the first step towards understanding how to respond to your mental illness better, and how to move toward recovery.
And just like observing a dangerous predator, observing your mental illness can scare you at first. At least it did for me. It did for me because I spent so freaking long trying to hide my mental illness and pretend everything was fine before. So, if the same thing happens for you don’t feel like it is just you that has that struggle. And also know that you are stronger than your mental illness.
For me, thinking of it as a nature documentary actually helps make it less frightening and more something that is familiar and fun and helps put me at ease during my mindfulness sessions. And while treating it as a nature documentary might not be something that works for you, finding someway to take the power back from your mental illness is essential. Otherwise, it will continue to claim your head space as it’s native habitat, and no one wants that.