Trust, Ask for help and Pray
We were given the gift of imagination that allows us to create mental images, to analyze, to reason, to plan, to empathize, to dream and many other things. However, when we allow our minds to go wherever they want, the mind ends up feeling like an enemy. This may lead us to think that the body is bad, while the spirit is good or vice versa.
This is one of the many moments in which we need to challenge a lie with truth: God said everything that He made was good, and, because He created our bodies and our minds, they are not the enemy. Then what or who is?
Our answer is in Ephesians 6:12: "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms".
The devil wants to distract us from seeing the real enemy: him! If we don't see him as the real enemy, we won't understand his tactics and therefore how can we be prepared? As Catholics however, we have such a rich library of resources where we can find truth and use it to fight lies.
In addition to knowing who our enemy is and knowing the truth of our faith, it is helpful, for us, to be aware of where our thoughts go so that we can reel them back in whenever we need to. Bringing in our thoughts may look different from scenario to scenario. For instance, it is healthy for us to allow ourselves to feel sadness, anger, disappointment and so on. However, when we stay in them too long, we get stuck and we slowly lose ourselves to this experience.
When we find ourselves in a cycle of endless thinking, we can learn to bring Jesus into whatever we are thinking about and picture Him in the scenario. We can also work to bring ourselves back into the present moment by noticing details of the environment, including sounds, smells, and textures. Dr. Gregory Bottaro explains that it is in the present moment that we will find Christ. You may also consider using the Christian meditations on an application called "Abide" to help you reground your mind. They talk a lot, so for those, like me, with a lot of head traffic to compete with, this is very helpful. They even have peaceful meditations made specifically to help you fall asleep! (1)
Even though the spiritual battle is all too real, we are encouraged to walk fearlessly:
"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6). Reach out to someone you trust, ask for help, and keep on praying.
Rediscover the wonderful gift of your mind and learn to use it for thinking of things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).
PS - Sometimes we need medical intervention to help our minds return to a healthy state, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I needed this and still do! Just make sure that you discern well and do your research because, on their own, medications will not solve every problem and won't prevent suffering. We still need to build a toolbox. That being said, the most important thing we can ever do is to have a personal relationship with God, and sometimes we just need a little help to get there.