For the last few years, I have only been using logic. I believed that logic is the most resourceful and wise part of myself. I believed that using logic for every part of my life, all the time, was the best version of myself. I thought that my emotions were irrational and that you couldn’t work with irrational thoughts.
What actually happened was that I went from using my emotions for everything to never using these emotions. I went from the right to the left part of my brain. As you will see throughout this book, I am not a very naturally balanced person. So, it was very natural to go other way to the left of my brain instead of trying to use both my emotions and my logic together, to give me the clearest thoughts that I have ever had.
It wasn’t until I was talking and working with a coach that I started to see how I can use both my emotions and logic together to make myself the most effective form of myself. Joshua Fairfield told me that the whole time I was actually using both my emotions and my logic, but I just wasn’t seeing the emotions. He told me that I couldn’t have done all of this work without love, love for myself. As soon as he said this, I saw what he was talking about. This love was the part of me who admired how much I was working on myself. It was the part of me who gave me the devotion that I needed to do all of this work.
Suddenly, for the first time in years, I didn’t feel like my emotions, and my logic was fighting each other. They were actually together, making me more capable and durable. This made me think more about the way I thought about my whole life, that I was always thinking of aphasia as something that I was trying to kill, that I was fighting aphasia each day, but maybe I didn’t need to do that. Maybe I need to love every part of myself, including aphasia. Maybe I need to work with aphasia instead of trying to fight it. This is a very new way for me to think about myself and indeed the whole world.
Of course, I didn’t know what to do with these emotions, the emotions that had always been there, even if I thought that I had killed them. I needed a way to organized these emotions so that I could look at each of these emotions alone and also together.
Then, my coach, Joshua Fairfield, told me that I needed to think of these emotions as different colors. I started to think about what each of these colors would be. I thought that maybe the happiness, the part of me that was delighted for and with everything that I did, would be purple. I wanted my jubilant emotion to have the most power, like a queen or a king, so I used purple for that reason.
Next, I thought about my anxiety, a part of myself that has always been there and has always made my life much harder then it should be. This was differently red. My anxiety was red because red seemed like a very loud color, and my anxiety was very much a loud part of my brain. Now, I could have a paragraph for each of these colors, but I don’t think that anybody wants that, so, instead, I am going to give you a list of colors and what those colors mean!
Purple – Happiness
Blue – Fear and Bleakness
Green – Work, all kinds of Work
Yellow – Childish part of me
Orange – Music, Creative, and Making Things
Red – Anxiety
Black – Logic
White - Wisdom
These are the colors that I started with. It is always easier for me to make lists and catalogs. I will talk more about organizing in the next chapter. At first, each of these colors was alone, as though they had never seen each other. So, the red and the green colors really didn’t know that that there were other colors in the world.
Then I thought about a hall. This hall had different doors, each of them was a different color, the colors that I needed and wanted to use. Each of these doors was closed until I opened the colors and made these colors seeing each other. Now, purple, the happiness color, and the green, which was all about work, finally saw each other. They talked with each other. They loved each other and the white color, which is the wisdom part of me, told me that they are stronger together. Now, I can use all of these emotions whenever I needed to, and they can help each other when I needed them to help each other.
Now that all of these emotional colors were together, I felt stronger then I have ever felt, and I also felt more balanced. The logic part of me was just one of the many colors in my life, and I now know that I actually need all of the emotions all the time and they will be there no matter what.
Still, my red color was so loud, louder than any other color. I was still having an absurd about of power over myself, so the other colors talked with the red color and told red that being quiet is actually stronger than being loud. This was a very new way for me to think about myself. I was always a very loud person. I tried to be the loudest person in any group. I was this way every time, but now, I am trying to be quieter, knowing that this is a healthier way to think and be.
The red color knew that this is right, but it was still loud. It didn’t know how to be quiet. The idea of being quiet was a new concept. So, I started to massage the red color. All of the colors massaged the red color until it became quieter. The red color just needed to know that it would always be loved by the other colors. It wasn’t alone anymore.
The problem was that I had to think about massaging the red color all the time and if I didn’t massage the red color, it would be loud again. I couldn’t massage the red all the time. I have to think about the real world and do work each day to make myself contented. So, I talked with my coach about this problem, and he told me that I needed to talk with some other colors in my life.
Both the red and blue colors, which were anxiety and fear, needed something that I wasn’t giving them. These two colors were quiet as long as I massaged them and told them that they were loved, but when I didn’t do that, they went back to giving me anxiety and fear.
So, I thought about how new ways to make these two colors happier. The next thing that I did was changing the words that these colors meant. I changed the red color from anxiety into passionate. Passionate has always been there. Passionate has always been the reason for why I tried and tried so hard to get my life back after my brain injury. It wasn’t just logic. Passionate was there as well, so I thought that this new word for red would work very well. Next, I needed to change the blue color from fear into something perkier. I changed the blue into the word smooth. I needed smooth thoughts in my mind to help me throughout the day. I was pretty sure that changing these words would actually change my emotions. Sometimes, all you need is the right word.
While this did help for a day or two, the first versions of these two colors would come back sometimes. Eventually, I had to think about massaging and loving these two colors all the time. It took all of my time to do this, and it also took quite a bit of energy. Throughout this did work, I knew that it wouldn’t work in my life. I need to use that energy for work, getting better, being happy with my boyfriend, and doing all of the things that I do each day, from my lists, because these things show myself what I can do with my life, which is quite a bit!
In the end, I talked with my psychiatrist, and he told me that this is from my OCD, which means obsessive-compulsive disorder. I had always had OCD, even before my brain injury, but now my OCD is more aggressive and forceful. My psychiatrist also told me that thinking about how to help my OCD is only giving OCD more power. I have to, instead, think about anything else, something that isn’t about OCD. This is still a very hard thing for me to do. I have been watching some YouTube videos that talk about OCD and the ways in which I might be able to change my OCD. I will say that these videos are helping, but it has only been two days of doing this.
Even though the idea of using these colors to help my anxiety and fear didn’t work, I am still very pleased with the fact that I am now using both my emotions and logic. This makes me feel more balanced then I have ever been. Now, I know that my emotions and logic are together instead of the idea of these two parts of myself fighting each other all the time. These two parts of myself will always be there, so I have to love each of them and hope that they will love me back. My psychiatrist gave me a stronger version of my OCD pill and told me that in a few weeks, it should help me with these problems. I genuinely hope that this is true. For now, I am trying to say the word “positive” to myself as much as I can and know that believing in this stronger pill is the only way for it to work.
The last thing that I am going to say is that thinking about these colors and what they mean to you is not only a good idea for people with brain injuries. These colors and their emotions are in all of us. If you have words and meanings for each of these colors and know that these colors are always together, then when you are weaker for any reason, remember that these other colors will help the weaker color any and every time.