Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Back on the Road to Mental Health
So imagine my mortification when days later I'm sitting on the train trying my hardest to hide the pale green cover of The Pocket Therapist: An Emotional Survival Kit only to look up and notice a cute guy hovering over me, his eyes fixated on the page. "Hi, my name is Crazy! What's yours?" I thought.
But apart from a few eye roll-inducing and obvious tips like "first forgive," "dance in the rain," and "build a guesthouse for your feelings," (err?) coupled with some bad attempts to joke through her list of issues, I was able to glean a few helpful suggestions from the 144 tips author Therese Borchard doled out. Among the ones I took to heart:
2. Be selective, sincere, and cut out hypocrisy. It's an incredibly hard rule to follow when you're a people pleaser who has a hard time speaking her mind, but like Anne Morrow Lindbergh said, "The most exhaustive thing in life is being insincere."
3. Choose a mantra. When I'm having an internal battle with my thoughts, I've taken to quietly telling myself, "This too shall pass...this too shall pass." If anything, it gives me a few extra minutes before I react to whatever's bugging me. Though methinks I should choose a longer phrase.
4. Presume no one will understand you so you will be surprised when someone does rather than frustrated and disappointed when people don't meet your expectation.
5. Cut your worry down by making a plan of action. And this is why I found myself at the library that day. I was tired of sitting down and letting these dysfunctions dictate my life. By listing a couple of actions I'd take during the week (like researching my insurance company's list of health providers, making an appointment for a physical, and emailing four therapists), I felt like recovery was feasible; it's no longer a foggy destination somewhere the distance.
Quotes from The Pocket Therapist
"The heights of great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight. But they, while their companions slept, were toiling upwards in the night." -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
"Stirring oatmeal is a humble act - not exciting or thrilling… To 'stir the oatmeal' means to find the relatedness, the value, even the beauty, in simple and ordinary things, not to eternally demand a cosmic drama, an entertainment, or an extraordinary intensity in everything." -Robert A. Johnson
"When you are washing the dishes, washing the dishes must be the most important thing in your life. Just as when you are drinking tea, drinking tea must be the most important thing in your life… Each act must be carried out in mindfulness. Each act is a rite, a ceremony." -Thich Nhat Hanh
[That brings to mind one of her tips: to start unitasking. I can personally attest to my dreadful ability to focus on several things at once and produce quality work with each. My mind and body just can't handle the overload before I start stressing and making a mess of things.]
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.'" -Mary Anne Radmacher
Images: thefreshexchange.blogspot.com, beingalison.com, and webtoolfeed.files.wordpress.com