Thursday, March 18, 2010

Things Happening

You know what I think I'm best at when it comes to blogging? Following a story about my husband being called a butthead with a story about being inspired to make a difference in my life.

First, let me say that I think that if you don't already have a psychologist, I think you should run right out and get one. Go on. I'll wait....


After you read this then? Okay, I can live with that. My own psychologist went on vacation last week, and I kind of have to admit that last week was slightly like the beginning of What About Bob? with the separation anxiety and the baby steps and the following him to his vacation home to teach his son how to swim. Okay, I didn't follow him to his vacation home. But if I were only slightly crazier, I think I would have.

Let's just say, I was glad he was back. And you guys, we had what the Brain Trainers call "a breakthrough." No, for real. Let me explain.

So for fifty minutes of our scheduled time, we ended up talking about The Holocaust. Wha? The Holocaust. Stay with me.

Whenever I get down, I think of it as this terrible thing I'm doing. "My depression is a hinderance." "My depression hurts other people." "My depression is a mistake my body is making." So then Doc looks at me, and poses this question: What makes you think you shouldn't be depressed? And my mind splattered all over the laydown couch.

When I thought about it, I couldn't come up with an answer. Everybody gets depressed, he explained. Everybody has bad things happen, and everybody has good things happen, and there is no reason I should believe that every time I get depressed, I should feel worse because of what that depression might "mean." And then he told me about a book called Man's Search for Meaning, and I'm just going to recommend that we all buy it and read it, but because I don't want to wait for you to do that, I'll sum it up. It's about a man's experience in Auschwitz, and why he decided to continue living throughout his time there. And the point is not to make you feel bad and go, "Well geez, I guess I don't have it all that bad, and I should feel dumb for complaining" (although I'm certain that wouldn't be the worst side effect of reading this book). The point is to ask yourself questions like "Why should I continue living?" And then answer those questions.

I was talking to Eric in the car on the way home from my appointment and I had another Oprah-patented A-Ha moment. I said something to the effect of "It gets me down when bad things happen to good people." And my husband, because he's my favorite person ever, said, "What ever makes you think they won't?" And I slapped my forehead to remind my mind not to explode again.

I answered the question though. I always believed that when you do good things, good things happen to you. If I studied hard, I'd get good grades. If I treated people with kindness, they'd treat me with kindness in return. If I didn't let boys put their tongues in my mouth, I wouldn't get pregnant. And if you think the one about the tongue pregnancy was naive, reread the second one.

Truth is, bad things do happen to good people. Ask Job. Good things also happen to bad people. How else did King Herod become king?? And for me to believe that somehow, I am exempt from this fact of life is really sort of... misguided.

So there we were, sitting in the car, having this A-ha moment, and thinking about dying cows and evil kings, and my brain synapses were firing, and I was actually learning something. And now I'm going to make some changes.

The first one is going to be to step outside of myself more often. What I mean is, I think if I focus on acts of service, I can at least start to see firsthand where my previous logic was flawed. Bad things do happen to good people, and I should help these good people in any way I can now, because with the way the world works, I could, at any moment, no matter how "good" I am, be in need of help too.

I'm starting small, with donations of my time. I'm going to be volunteering my time towards this because it's something I can do from home, and I also think it will help me get perspective.

I'm also going to work in service toward the St. Mary's Food Bank. Eric gave a Report Night presentation on it, and so I know he'd be up for volunteering there as well. I think I am going to start with a canned food drive with my kids. I'm still working out the logistics. I'll let you know if there's some way you can get involved.

So that's where we're at today. Renee, patching up her exploded mind. Renee, not being a total butthead.


witticism here said...

Love these moments. Love you too!

Katy said...

I agree, everyone should have a psychologist! I've been seeing one for over a year and now I can't imagine not having one in my life. They're just swell! Glad you're carving out a new way of thinking. I'll have to read that book.

Luann said...

I think most stay at home mom's with young kids at home have struggle with depression at some point. I'm so glad you write about it and share some of the ways you are dealing with it. I can totally relate.

monika said...

so glad to hear

diane said...

I agree with Katy. I have seen many therapists in my life (wow - what does THAT mean?) and I love breaking out of old patterns and learning to be a better person.

Secondly, you are right on about service. Did you read my sister's post about her volunteering with Make-A-Wish? And all of this amidst her own trials. Amazing. I myself like to retreat into a cocoon when I things don't go right - I am a very bad example.

Hugs to you.

The Wizzle said...

I don't have a therapist. I should. But I don't. I think my husband would really appreciate not having to do it.

But in my therapy-less life, I have found that the times when I had the biggest AHA! moments were when I realized that the tension I was feeling was because I was expecting something that wasn't happening, and wouldn't happen. My expectation and reality were not lining up, and it was freaking me out.

If you change your outlook, or your perception of what is normal, or desirable, then the same outcomes can happen but you view them differently, and they don't piss you off.

That's the best-case scenario. I'm there more now than I used to be. Got a good long way to go still.

I think your plan sounds like a very good one, and I will help with your canned food drive when you get it going. My kids freakin' love those.

Becky said...

I LOVE that book -- has so much great stuff in it. Agree -- a therapist or psychologist is so helpful for us all :D

Anonymous said...

You're awesome. Glad you had some A-ha's! One of the greatest things my psychologist told me was to cry when I felt like crying and laugh when I felt like laughing, and not try to make myself feel like laughing when I was crying or crying when I was laughing. I think she put it a little more simply though.

I admire you for giving the gift of time or of...anything. I stress out all the time about how little time/money we donate. Maybe you will inspire me and then you can go on Oprah.

Anonymous said...

This is my favorite post ever.