Posted by: Marie | June 26, 2012

(656) Healthy negotiations – Part 1 of 4

Post #656
[Private journal entry written on Monday, July 18, 2011]

So, Edward and I had a therapy session today . . .

I had a number of things I wanted to cover today, so I wrote them down in list form on a sticky note. I took the sticky note with me . . .

We started out with our usual meeting in the waiting room, the usual walk up the stairs, the usual greetings . . . I asked Edward how he was doing . . . he responded, then he asked me how I was doing . . .

———————–

Me: You know . . . I’ve been feeling good overall . . .

I haven’t been binging; in fact, I’ve not been craving (or even thinking about) ice cream most days. I’ve been eating healthy foods and it has been easy to do.

Photo by Martin Chen

And . . . normally I flip on the TV when I’m home just to have some background noise. I don’t really watch it . . . maybe sort of listen to it . . . but often, I’m not paying attention to it at all. Mostly, I just use it to fill the silence when I don’t need to concentrate on something that requires my full attention.

On the Monday morning after our last session, I woke up and reached for the remote to flip on the TV for background noise. But, I discovered that I didn’t want it that day – it felt annoying to me. Rather, I wanted to leave it off and focus fully on my tasks at hand.

That evening, I didn’t really want to turn it on as I was preparing to go through the lengthy process of falling asleep – watching TV is the way I usually keep my mind from racing during the time between the end of my work day and the start of my sleeping. Instead, I picked up a book and read.

I kept the TV off for almost a week. I got so much done . . . I guess it helps that I wasn’t expending focus on the TV.

On Sunday, I did turn on the TV in the evening because there was a specific program I wanted to watch. I was aware that I had the TV on because I was actually watching it and not just to block out unpleasant emotions.

When I consider that I haven’t been wanting to have the TV on, nor have I been wanting to binge, I’d say that is evidence I’ve been feeling calmer and more at peace – more settled.

Edward: I agree . . . it does sound like you are feeling calmer.

Me: Yeah . . .

There is something I’ve often wondered about – something related to this . . . maybe you can help me figure it out . . .

Edward: I’ll sure do my best . . .

Me: When I have the TV on in the background while I work, I’m very aware that it is not a very productive way to work because, even if I’m not “watching”, it still catches my attention every little bit and I stop what I’m doing and sit and watch for a few minutes. It takes me three times longer to do anything.

I know I would be more productive if I turned it off, but I have a very hard time turning it off when I’m by myself. I don’t know why, I just do . . .

I could understand it during the times I’m fighting to be functional . . . but I don’t understand it when I’m feeling good. If I’m excited about what is happening in the “here and now”, it seems I would prefer to have it off . . . as was the case the week after our last session.

And now, this past week, I’m still feeling good, but I am again experiencing the compulsion to have the TV on all the time. I know I could be more effective if I turned it off, but I have a hard time doing that.

Edward: Would you like to know my opinion?

Me: Sure!

Edward: It is my opinion that you are so exhausted from persistently pushing yourself so hard that you are desperate for relief from that pressure . . . even if that relief only comes in little bits of time at a time as you allow yourself to stop and watch one minute of TV that might or might not really interest you.

I think, lately, you have been starting to ease up on yourself and giving yourself permission to stop and rest and relax more regularly so you are feeling less of a need to “sneak” quick breaks by watching TV.

Me: Hmmm . . . never thought about that but it makes sense!

I’ve been noticing that my emotional “baseline” has moved upwards . . . even when I have moments when I am sad and depressed, and when I binge on ice cream and TV and sleep, I have this quiet knowledge that it is a temporary state and that it will pass and I will return back to a happier, calmer baseline.

That is a new experience for me . . . I have historically felt that fleeting moments of happiness and joy were temporary and there was a very real danger I might never experience them again . . . and the dark times seemed to last forever . . . I had very little hope my emotional state would ever get better.

So, while I wouldn’t say that I’m excited about living, I’m at least at an ambivalent place about wanting to die . . . I’m actually starting to want to invest in my life for the long term – at least to some degree.

Edward: I’m so tickled to hear that . . . congratulations for bringing about that shift in your life!

Me: Thank you!

(Laughing) I guess this therapy stuff actually works . . . who knew!?!

Edward: (Also laughing) Yes, who ever dreamed therapy might actually make a difference!

(After allowing a few moments for the humorous banter to die down, I held up my sticky notes of topics for Edward to see . . . )

Me: By the way . . . I had so many things I wanted to cover today . . . so, I made a list of everything I wanted to tell you so I wouldn’t forget anything . . . that’s why I keep looking at my clipboard . . .

Edward: I noticed you were looking at your clipboard . . . I figured you had some notes there . . . what on your list would you like to cover first?

[Continued in the next post . . . ]


Responses

  1. I’m really happy for you Marie that you moved to a better ‘baseline’ mood, and you think it’s your hard work in therapy paying off. Gives me hope I may start feeling better too at some point!

    • Hey, Ellen –

      I wish I had some magic formula I could pass along . . . I think it has a lot to do with having a great fit with Edward . . . he helps fill in the parts I don’t know and helps me find my way.

      Keep plugging along . . . I hope you find some relief!

      – Marie

  2. That change to TV is a big one I think

    • Hey, Evan –

      I agree . . it let me know I can handle the quiet!

      – Marie


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