They're Just Thoughts

They're Just Thoughts

by Rebecca G. Feinberg

“They’re just thoughts,
And I don’t need to believe them, right?.”
My 6 year old had uttered
As we stood in the kitchen on an early morning 10 years ago

And, I remember clearly, in that moment
Knowing deeply that despite it all, he would be ok
Or, rather, that he was ok.
That he had the wisdom that people search years to attain

And so it is, some 10 years later
As I stand in my kitchen in the early morning hours
A different kitchen this time
One that feels like an entirely different world from the other one

That I remember the words I so need to hear
The words of my young child
And a smirk comes over me
At how ironic it all is

That despite spending decades of life working on my own self growth
Including practicing meditation and reading countless books
Here I stand overcome with my ruminating, self-recriminating thoughts
And the words of wisdom that help me most, to get unstuck, are those of my then 6 year old child

While I would never wish for anyone, especially my child,
To have to learn such wisdom from having survived the turmoil that comes from living with OCD
I also know that this wisdom may only come from enduring such life challenges
And, perhaps, this is his superpower to share with the world,
Including me, when I needed it most


About the Author

Always a writer at heart, I have found the process of writing to be instrumental in helping me to process my feelings and emotions.

Recently, as I have begun to be more confident in expressing my own voice and my own truth, I have found myself writing more and finally feeling brave enough to share my writings with others. As someone who craves connection through authenticity, my hope is that my writings resonate with others and may serve to connect us with one another, so we do not feel so alone in our individual challenges, especially surrounding mental health. In my experience, mental health issues are often "taboo" to discuss and lead to a sense of isolation and shame.

When I thought about where I might want to share my writings, ADAA seemed to be an ideal fit. Its core mission of focusing on improving quality of life for those with anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, and co-occurring disorders through education, practice, and research, aligns with my purpose of both writing and sharing. For I deeply believe that a large part of improving quality of life for those who live with (and who have loved ones who live with) mental illness is in providing people with a safe space to be seen, heard, and valued for who they are and for their experiences--to not stifle one's truth.

ADAA creates such a space by giving voice to what is often the "unspeakable" in our society and creating a culture of connection and acceptability. It is my hope that my writings, my voice, may serve to add to this mission.

When not writing, I spend my days working as a public health researcher at a large university, raising my 16 year old son as a single mom, and enjoying the beauty of Western Massachusetts, where my son and I live.

Read Rebecca's 2020 Poem


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