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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » An interesting exercise

   
Author Topic: An interesting exercise
Foste
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Here's something I picked up from therapy last week.

Since depression left me in a rather decrepit state I have troubles doing anything that requires the slightest physical exertion and I even pass out occasionally.

My therapist put a book on a table on the far side of the room.

"Pick it up," she said, "and find the chapter about anxiety."

So I went to the table and picked the up book. Little did I know that she was following me. As soon as I started looking up the chapter I needed to find she unleashed an ungodly harangue on me.
She kept repeating my fears and my problems in a way that made me... petulant to say the very least.

Now, when I had found the chapter she swatted the book out of my hands.

"Pick it up. Do it again."

I bent down, hands shaking, and found the chapter once again.

And again she swatted the book out of my hands.

Once. Twice. Thrice.

The fourth time around she just smiled and said:

"Now, what have you learned today?"

The lesson is simple, really. Even if our thoughts are unpleasant and hurt us, we must keep focused on our goal. Sure, there will be obstacles (like a crazy therapist stopping you from perusing a book), but they are a part of the process. Fatigue is also one of those obstacles. For example, now that I know that i have to go on depression or no, I returned to many of my hobbies - and that includes writing. Whenever I feel that I am going to become unconscious I just a take a nap and return to whatever I was doing later.

That's MUCH better than being tired all day.

So, I urge you all to try this at home whenever you feel down. Find a friend, parent or spouse and reproduce the above mentioned circumstances.

Of course, while this is designed to help depressed people it is also a nice exercise for keeping focus.

And if anything, if you love writing you have to keep focus. [Smile]

[ November 29, 2011, 05:31 AM: Message edited by: Foste ]

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Merlion-Emrys
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Wow. Those Bosnian counselors are really hardcore.

Luckily, I have a whole menagerie of people and things in my head that don't really give me much choice but to tell their stories. Rather than knocking things out of my hands, they wrap their tentacles, arms, and various rusty appendages around my head and BASH ME INTO THE WALLS AGAIN AND AGAIN until I cooperate.

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MartinV
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No offense but if anyone did that to me, they would be on intensive care right about now.
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Robert Nowall
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I read once---I've never been in therapy, but I'm widely read in a godawful lot of things---that they sometimes do that kind of thing with parents to demonstrate how badly they're handling their children: give them a task and start telling them "Do it this way!" "You're wrong!" "You're so stupid!" "Can't you do anything right?"

Risky...sometimes the risk of what Merlion-Emrys and MartinV mention can happen...

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philocinemas
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I've sat through many therapy sessions and provided some in-home counseling, myself, but I have never seen or heard of such an approach. I imagine most therapists in the US would be too afraid of being sued.

On a lighter note: Who needs a therapist to yell at you about picking up things? Isn't that what wives are for? [Big Grin]

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Merlion-Emrys
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Oh philo...wrong joke I'm afraid.

Besides, that's more a mother thing in my experience anyway.

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Reziac
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I think the point of Foste's therapy was this:

No matter what state you're in -- you can overcome that IF YOU ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ELSE. Depression in particular is fed by the victim not being FORCED to do something else. A goal, or a need, can force you above and beyond and OUT of that rut.

BTW, here are two studies relevant to depression (especially depressive fatigue) and bipolar disorder (as well as more severe disorders):

http://www.psycheducation.org/thyroid/data.htm
http://www.psychiatrist.com/pcc/pccpdf/v05n06/v05n0603.pdf

Turns out about 30% of the time, the real culprit is undiagnosed hypothyroidism (sometimes subclinical), and of those cases, about 60% are improved by T4/T3 therapy (NOT just T4 alone).

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Foste
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Thanks Reziac. I coulrn't have put it better.

I wasn't particularly offended, since I knew that there was a lesson to be learned.

I keep focused. And no matter how down, or tired I am nowadays, as long as I can write I feel better. A word at a time. A sentence at a time. A paragraph at a time.

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LDWriter2
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That's good. Sounds like you are coming along fine.


And the nap thing is good advice. Not only for people with your problems, other experts say that a nap can help us focus and do better. Some companies have even made up a nap room where their employees can power nap. Even though I kinda chuckle at that concept I can see the benefits of a nap. I sometimes practice that advice on the weekends.

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