Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Therapy Thursday: Take Good Notes

pocket therapist front cover small.jpgI have decided to dedicate a post on Thursday to therapy, and offer you the many tips I have learned on the couch. They will be a good reminder for me, as well, of something small I can concentrate on. Many of them are published in my book, “The Pocket Therapist: An Emotional Survival Kit.
One definition of insanity, and I’d throw in suffering, is doing the same thing over and over again, each time expecting different results.
It’s so easy to see this pattern in others: “David, scotch tape isn’t going to fix the hole in your lacrosse stick”; or “Jane, waltzing around the pool this summer in a Brazilian-cut bathing suit is not going to transform your jerk of a boyfriend into a decent fella.” But I can be so blind to my own attempts at disguising self-destructive behavior in a web of lies and rationalizations.
That’s why, when I’m in enough pain, I write everything down–so I can read for myself exactly how I felt after I had coffee with the person who was more interested in my publishing contacts than in my health, or after a phone call with the relative who enjoys pressing my bitchy buttons, or after two weeks on a Hershey-Starbucks diet.
Maybe it’s the journalist in me, but the case for breaking a certain addiction, or stopping a behavior contributing to depression, is much stronger once you can read the evidence provided from the past.


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  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Lena

    Thanks for this…I read this in your book(I love your book)it encouraged me to start my blog, which I do for my personal need to ‘write it down’ bare naked and true. I often go back to different postings that speak to me as a reminder it is ok; I will get to the light; I been here before and got through it…etc, etc, etc….I find it so very very helpful.

    It is funny I blog because it is safely tucked away on my laptop so no one close finds it; however I hope that if a some one finds it they will find words of comfort, understanding, peace, safety in knowing others know exactly how it feels to experience the raw emotions of depression.

    You helped me find myself by encouraging me to use writing tools as an awareness…

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Shelly

    Very true. I’ve found that since I’ve been keeping track of moods, what I consume, where I’m at in my cycle, what the weather and moon are doing, that I am much more aware of my triggers and can take steps to counteract what used to be a major ‘train wreck’. Now if a ‘car derails’ I can get it back on the track in a big hurry. I recently resumed journaling and it’s even further proof that thoughts and behaviors can be changed even more rapidly with awareness of seeing it in black and white. I tend to over analyze so writing has helped me see patterns of mood shifts and I can take the steps to relax, be mindful, and give myself permission to have a ‘bad’ day. I can see that ‘this too shall pass’. I can count on it and not get more anxious wondering when the depression or anxiety will end. God gives us lots of tools in the regulation of our disorder, it’s up to us to figure out what works and what doesn’t and consistently practice and use those that work so we can stay as stable as possible. This blog is the first thing that I read every day after my devotions. Thank you Therese.

  • JourneyUpward

    Thanks for your post. I have found blogging, journaling and writing poetry and essays not only hold me accountable for my behavior, but help to hold me accountable to the truth. There are times when I have felt so whole, totally “normal”, for such a long time that I wonder if my diagnosis of Bipolar was a mistake. I find myself thinking that I couldn’t possibly have felt that awful, had such twisted thinking or had a period of psychotic tendencies. How quickly I forget about the myriad of meds & combinations thereof, or 2 hospitalizations & ECTs–all of which made me worse until my doctor found something to help me 1 year ago and then I found Tom Wootton whose teaching helped me enormously in addition to my new meds. I have made great strides towards being whole over the past year so it is easy to forget the past. But I write a lot, especially when I am going through a struggle or upset over something or someone who is intentionally or UNintentionally trying to set me back. So when I question, “Couldn’t my diagnosis be a mistake?”, I look back at all my writings and realize it all really happened; my diagnosis is correct BUT what is different is how I’ve learned to live with it. AND I have so very much for which to be thankful. I have learned a great deal and, like you, my writing charts my journey. I’ve been open and honest about my bipolar life – it’s not always been helpful for me but I’m hoping that it will pave the way for others to gain acceptance in the future. For those who have no knowledge of my mental health struggles, they would be in shock upon finding out. That is my goal–for those who don’t know, when they find out they’ll say, “Wow, I guess you can be a normal, productive person with bipolar.” For those who know and see me work to help others and volunteer in the community, I hope they will see beyond the label and say, “Wow, look, she’s worked really hard at becoming whole again and is giving back doing purposeful work and helping others. I guess you can be “normal” in spite of bipolar when you work hard for it.” If I can accomplish getting people to see me, bipolar and mental illness in general that way, perhaps some of the stigma will be removed. With your work, your writing, you are doing the same, helping us to learn more about ourselves and helping us to keep moving forward. Thank you. Please keep going.

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