THE BATTLE WITH SOMETHING I CAN'T NAME - by Lift The Visor Founder, Jory Elliott
Today I’m feeling something I haven’t in quite some time. It’s a feeling I cant quite find a name for when I hit enter on a Google search for “mental health term for thinking you'll repeat past behaviors.”
The closest I come to finding what I’m feeling among diagnosed conditions are, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Impostor Syndrome.
Jory leans against his family owned race car during the 2012 MOPAR Nitro Jam Nationals. An event which he won, securing a spot in the IHRA World Championship's that season.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Borderline Personality Disorder is a mental health disorder that impacts the way you think and feel about yourself and others, causing problems functioning in everyday life. It includes self-image issues, difficulty managing emotions and behavior, and a pattern of unstable relationships.
And from a quick Google search, Impostor Syndrome (IS) refers to an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be. While this definition is usually narrowly applied to intelligence and achievement, it has links to perfectionism and the social context.
Neither of these hits the nail on the head directly. And so here I am, sharing with all of you, so that maybe we can help each other find comfort in this feeling I’m feeling. Because I know I’m not the only one who’s felt it.
As I’ve embarked on the journey to create and grow Lift The Visor, I’ve experienced many different emotions, as is to be expected when you head into somewhat uncharted territory. But what I’m feeling the past couple weeks is different. It’s a nagging voice, one that is trying to convince me that I’m not deserving of success in this endeavor. It’s trying to tell me that I will likely mess this up too, just as I have so many other opportunities in my life.
But what is this voice and where does it come from?
Ego. That’s what I’ve named the thoughts that come into my head that I don’t necessarily agree with and most definitely need to question. And I’ve built a pretty incredible ability to catch those thoughts when they do come, which I’ve discovered is a tool that has provided me with much of the success I’ve had in my battle with mental health challenges.
I’ve also learned something else. You can’t unlearn what you already know or have experienced in this life. And the Ego wants to remind you of that, constantly. So, the specific tool I’ve put in my toolbox to deal with that pesky little annoyance is to call it out by name, sometimes in my head, sometimes out loud, and it goes a little something like this; “Nice try you little f*cker!”
But that doesn’t stop the thoughts from coming, oh no, sometimes the Ego can be relentless. And these past few weeks its being spewing the same narrative, trying to convince me that I won’t succeed in my hope to help make the motorsports community a more comforting, supportive and empowering space for those struggling with mental health, and those who want to understand it more.
And why does it say this? Because of the feelings I have about how I behaved and what my motives were in my past incarnation as a part of the motorsports community as a business person. Heck, that title, “business person”, doesn’t really feel like it fits with what I’ve embarked on with Lift The Visor either. Mental health isn’t a business, it’s a human epidemic, and one that needs more attention from a holistic angle that deals with the real core challenges so many face that lead them to the point of depression and suicide. But that’s a thought to save for another blog post down the road.
So what’s the secret to quieting the Ego? Well, the truth is, I haven’t found one yet. I’m not even sure that’s possible. So I think the secret is in overcoming the Ego every time it rears it’s ugly head. For me, that starts with the call out, followed by a positive affirmation, something like, “I’ve learned my lessons and have done the work to avoid repeating the same behaviors again.” And sometimes I have to go deeper, thinking about those specific experiences and behaviors from my past, recalling how they came to be and why they never felt authentic, even in the moment I was using them. Then I reaffirm that I’ve learned my lessons, and that I now come at every situation in life as authentically as I can, with kindness, both to myself and others, at the core of that authenticity.
Will the Ego ever stop visiting me to try and sabotage me? That’s an unknown I can’t justify spending anymore time on than I already have on my mental health journey.
So what exactly is it that I’m experiencing here? I’m going to deem it as just a part of life, for now, that I must continue to be vigilant with in order to ensure I continue forward with the activities that bring me joy and happiness on a consistent basis. And I can definitely say that the growing Lift The Visor community brings me both of those things on an consistent basis.
If you’re feeling low, and you’re not sure what to do, my suggestion is to Google it and see if you can find others who are sharing their perspective on those feelings. You may not be able to give it a name, but you’ll definitely find something that you can relate to. I know that that very strategy helped me through my darkest days.
Be well, whatever that is for you right now.
Jory Elliott, Founder, Lift The Visor
Jory shared his mental health journey with the Lift The Visor community in a March blog post, which can be found here.