Your therapist called. S/he said you’ve been whining. Life just isn’t going your way and most everyone and everything in your life is a disappointment. Your therapist is a nice person who wants the best for you. Unfortunately, they are not comfortable giving you a steel toed boot approach to a better life.
They’ve already suggested a hundred things you could try. You heave little sighs and explain that you’d like to but you’re just so tired/drained/run down/afraid to try again. This has gone on too long. It would be delightful if simply talking to a professional for 50 minutes a week would magically heal you. It won’t. Here’s what you can do with the 167 hours between sessions that can:
It’s Just Too Hard
The strategies that are guaranteed to improve depression are not fun. That’s why people generally avoid them. We all know nutrition is important and we all know eating microwaved crap is bad for us and we do it anyway. We know that journaling, meditation, and good self care are important but we don’t want to do them because they take us away from all that distracts us from how we really feel and all we truly want and need.
“… everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.” – Kurt Vonnegut
There’s plenty of sketchy research out there. Here’s something that NOBODY disputes: exercise helps depression. Nope, there is no debate. 100% of the time people get better when they exercise. Here’s the problem – exercising sucks. I hate it. Fortunately for me I also hate buying bigger pants and so while you’re never going to see me at a gym (shudder) you could easily see me out walking. I am not in great shape physically (chain smoking and espresso are two of my favorite things). My favorite form of self care is paying someone else to take care of me. I have the greatest massage therapist anywhere (Lisa Morin 299-5399).
Stop Playing Small
Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Why the hell does anyone need to be quiet is what I’m wondering? If you’re desperate for something better, sort your life into two categories:
- What I can change
- What I can’t change
Now ask yourself, “What am I willing to do about it?”
Stop settling for less than you can become. You’re held prisoner by your fears and by your false beliefs. You talk about self esteem like it’s something you should be able to buy at Wal Mart. All your excuses simply perpetuate your ambivalence about yourself (ambivalence = being “meh” about you)
Your insecurities are simply reasons why you believe you are not good enough. You add fuel to your depression by negatively comparing yourself to others. I sent a very good man out of my office recently with careful instructions to meet with his colleagues and explain to them that his neck hurts from constantly looking up at them.
Depression and shame conspire to have us believe that others don’t truly think well of us, they’re simply being kind. My hope for this man is that he is continuously confronted with the fact that the only living person who fails to think highly of him is himself. If he is willing to consider that his peers are not simply being kind, then he will come to gather evidence that his way of looking at himself is warped.
It’s always going to be easier to believe that we’re not good enough because then we don’t have to change and we don’t have to move out of our comfort zone and we don’t have to risk disappointment by allowing ourselves to have hope!
Whoever you’re waiting for to come through, stop. Your parents, your lost love, your boss, none of them are going to wake up tomorrow and realize how they wronged you. You have every right to be hurt/angry/disappointed and you also have the right to express that (to them and/or to someone who cares). You also have the right to LIVE as though they were wrong about you.