Posts Tagged ‘depression’

Happen to Something


I was recently talking with a client who is dealing with some very difficult PTSD and depression concerns.  She was describing her sense that many of her goals have been interrupted, and her struggle to take any action since she couldn’t see how it would connect to a goal.

I think the feelings she described are true for many folks who have been affected by illness or trauma.  When life is severely disrupted, when the things we thought we would be doing begin to feel out of reach, it can be hard to see why we should bother engaging at all.  We struggle to see the point.

What I have learned is that sometimes, when we are in the dark, action and engagement are the point.  Trauma and depression are emotional experiences that provide us with a constant litany of all the ways that the world is dangerous or that we have failed.  In a misguided effort to protect us from pain, depression and anxiety can tell us that we should just not bother trying anything.  Here are some common messages you might be getting from your depression or anxiety:

  • It’s just going to backfire anyway.
  • I have already missed my deadline to do this, so doing it later will still feel like a failure.
  • Nothing ever works out for me.
  • I don’t deserve to succeed.
  • Doing this small self-care won’t get me a job (finish my degree, fix my relationship, etc.), so why bother?

When my clients share thoughts like this with me, I remind them of two things.  First, that we can appreciate the work our depression and anxiety put in on trying to protect us from harm.  That is true. What is also true is that depression and anxiety will use lies to try to reach that goal. They will lie using pieces of truth.  And the fundamental lie that they will tell is that lack of action keeps you safe.

Lack of action doesn’t keep you safe. It keeps you stuck.  So, today I am going to invite you to engage with your life in some small way that brings you joy.  I know that you may be facing pain and challenge.  I know that the future may feel too complicated to face.  So don’t face the future.  Don’t worry about where your action is taking you.  If the struggle to understand how this makes change is keeping you frozen, step around the struggle. Do something because you can and because you like it.

Today, this moment, do something that you love.  Happen to the world instead of the world happening to you.  It doesn’t have to be huge.  Cook something delicious. Stand in the sun.  Do a 5 minute lovingkindness meditation. Snuggle your pet. Watch something funny. Take a long shower. Do something that you can start, even from a place of darkness, something small and manageable. But happen to the world.  Happen to yourself.  Create a ripple of joy and connection.

If you’re willing to share how you happened to the world, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.  If you need some help getting started–click on that appointment button to the right.


Balance Roundup: 28 August 2013

When I wrote to you all about the fact that the balance round-up would be a less-than-weekly feature, I didn’t realize that would mean there would be a month in between round-up posts. But, if you’ve been following the Friday posts, this past month has been full of “life happening” moments. So we are back on board, with an overarching theme of kindness. I hope you find something that feels kind and supportive to you.

Kindness in words creates confidence ...

Let’s Make the World a Kinder Place

Let’s kick it off with a post from Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer, in which Marie O’Connor shares an excerpt from a speech by writer George Saunders. The gist of the speech is to remind listeners (and readers) that it is hard to choose kindness too often or too much.

This powerful reflection on life with a terminal illness from the Telling Knots blog provides another look at the issue of kindness and how we relate to one another.

Dr. Rick Hanson invites us to make some peace with the idea that our lives will include criticism–and explores how this recognition may help us be kinder to ourselves.

Mara Glatzel explores the possibility that our journey to understand our own purpose is a powerful form of self-love and kindness.

Beth Gainer shares a painful story of how a lack of empathy and kindness in the workplace made her struggle with chemotherapy and radiation even harder. The huge response in the comments points toward this as an area where we need to grow.

And this piece from Marie at Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer does two great things. It highlights the art of Allie Brosh, and it speaks to the prevalence of mental health struggles. It’s not directly about kindness, but awareness is one of the ways that we build empathy.

What kindness connection would you like to share this week? Feel free to include more suggestions in the comments.

Beyond Behavioral Health


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