A timely article as I’m currently pondering whether I’m really getting that much out of the whole therapy thing anymore. A lot of what they talk about seems to be a fair description of how I’ve handled my own life the past few years, which is frankly a lot better than I maybe thought I was dealing with it at the time.
I particularly liked their focus on solutions rather than fig,uring out the genesis of problems and on the idea that no matter what you do, things are pretty much going to suck a lot of the time and the there’s not a hell of a lot you can do about it. Once of the things it took me a while to recognize is that depression is not primarily about feeling sad or hopeless. It’s about how you deal with life and whether your sadness (or anger or bitterness or complete ambivalence or whatever) defines the way you live that life. it’s less about how shitty you feel and more about what you manage to do in spite of how lousy you feel…and that includes recognizing when you need some help with the process.
So it’s going into accepting what you can’t control, the factors that are out of your hands, and seeing what you can do with what you can control. And learning to be proud of yourself not just for accomplishing what you can, and not beating yourself up for what you can’t. Not seeing yourself as a failure, when you haven’t really failed because it’s not something that you could have controlled in the first place. And admiring your ability to withstand a feeling of rejection, and the frustration and the pain, and keep going on towards a more reasonable goal while being a good person. That’s also what’s emphasized so heavily. Figuring out your own values and sticking to them.
Our support of profanity isn’t that we think people should get up and scream horrible things at other people, but it’s about helping people to get a sense of humor about what bothers them. As my father said, to take things less personally.
And especially this:
It’s hard to continue to do what you think is important when you’re faced with something shitty on a daily basis. Some people deal with that, and they become shitty to their kids, they become mean to people around them, they get fired from their job because they stop showing up. You deserve to give yourself a pat on the back for living a normal life in adverse circumstances.
In retrospect, I’ve probably accomplished the most with my life during some of the most difficult times when I felt the absolute worst. I’m not sure what the relationship was, or if there even was a relationship, but I suspect having a sense of humor about it all probably didn’t hurt. And if humor was a “defense mechanism” or an “avoidance strategy”, who the fuck cares as long as it kept me alive and kicking?