This is a question that I often ask myself. Its all well and good recognising the difference between me and my mental health, however, sometimes, in crisis, it comes down to; do I listen to my brain or not.
As someone who lives with Bipolar Disorder and Anxiety, has a possible diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and has spent the last 3 years battling with Anorexia, at times, listening to my brain can be deadly. All of these disorders come with intrusive thoughts. I like the analogy of the devil and the angel sitting on my shoulder. Each of these disorders sits on my shoulder like the devil.
A lot of my decision making comes down to whether I decide to listen to the devil or the angel. At times when I am most unwell all I can hear is the devil and I start to make decisions which are damaging for me and possibly for those around me. When I am well, its almost like I can hear a debate between both sides and I have to determine which voice is which; and there's the catch, it would be all well and good if I knew which voice was the devil and which was the angel however the more I am mentally struggling the harder it is for me to determine which voice is speaking to me and therefore the harder it is for me to make decisions that are healthy for me.
The devil and the angel don't just affect my decision making, but also my self perception. This is where the eating disorder, anxiety and BPD come into play. My self perception is perpetually an internal argument between these two voices. Part of my eating disorder treatment is learning to identify my true voice and believe it rather than the voice of the eating disorder, for me this can be of some help with the anxiety and BPD too, I learn to identify the damaging voice and learn that it is untrue.
I in no way have perfected the art of ignoring the bad voice, however I have learnt techniques to remember some fundamental truths. For me, as a Christian, a lot of these surround receiving bible verses which I find helpful, one of these for example is "She is clothed in strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future" ~ Proverbs 31:25. For someone who is not religious this may be remembering some fundamental beliefs and reciting them as a foundation of truth.
This technique helps me to remember the foundation of my identity and can help focus me in order to make a decision which is healthy for me.