There are many reasons why I love Brandon Sanderson’s books so much. One is that, despite being set in these fantastical worlds with magic and people with amazing powers, I can relate to his characters. I can always find commonalties with characters or tidbits of wisdom that apply to me and real life. It makes his books even more powerful.
In Rhythm of War, the fourth book in The Stormlight Archives, this quote really struck me: “There was more than one way to protect. Kaladin had always known this, but he hadn’t felt it. Feeling and knowing seemed to be the same to his father, but not to Kaladin.”
I don’t know if it is general human nature or if it is more common among those of us with mental illness, but there is often a huge disconnect between knowing and feeling. For many years now I have struggled with knowing something, but not being able to feel it. Logically, I could know I wasn’t the worst wife, the worst mother, the worst friend, the worst neighbor in the world, but my emotions would tell me otherwise. I would feel like the worst wife, the worst mother, the worst friend, the worst neighbor in the world. I could know I had worth and value to my husband, my kids, my friends, but not feel that I had worth and value to my husband, my kids, my friends. I know it may not make any sense, but it is a truth for many of us.
I do feel like I’m doing better with this these days, however. In trying to change my negative cognitions my therapist told me to look at the evidence. When a negative cognition, such as I’m a horrible mother, comes into my thoughts I’m supposed to lay out the evidence—whether that is just thinking it in my head or actually writing it down, it doesn’t matter. But I need to look at the actual evidence. What are the actual facts? Well, I help provide financially for my kids. I spend a lot of time with them. I’m there for them when they need me. I do fun things with them. I teach them. I love them. Reminding myself to do this and actually doing it has helped a ton. I’m starting to know and feel at the same time. But for those of you who struggle with this, you’re not alone. It is a struggle, but, as always, there is hope and light and help. Look at the evidence. Look at all the things you’re doing right. In time you’ll be able to know and feel as well.