Cleaning my mental slate

Today I went back to the shrink who first helped me in 2010. That is an advance for me as I’ve been hanging around rather immobilised, procrastinating about starting anything meaningful until I felt “well”.

The blues house where I have been

We didn’t delve a lot into my mental state but reviewed events and emotional hiccups on my mental slate. The slate is covered in smudges, aborted goals, unthinking goals, sidetracks, diversions of genius, a few disappointments, a tiny smidge of gratefulness, some regrets, not very much future planning and a big black lump of procrastination about resuming my dissertation. I need to clean off a lot of this crap so that my mind is clear enough to focus on a short list of a few worthwhile things which I will attack with vigour and determination!

Apart from that slate-cleaning, the doc has prescribed an unusual list of things for me to tackle. No – I don’t have to review all the good things about my relationship with my mother or decide what my feelings were for all my childhood illness episodes; I must take some dietary supplements, gradually cut down my heavy dose of pills, exercise 20 minutes per day “to get endorphins” [they don’t last very long], and go out and socialise at least every second day! Meanwhile, a whacking great blood test and a recommendation to get my wrist X-rayed or ultrasounded to see if there is anything treatable about my arthritis (besides the pain, which I had decided to put up with). None of this is very psychological- hey!

Android lotus leaves

The dissertation has to wait until my brain is not so distractible because I can’t focus at the moment. I hop around on the Internet, like so many chronic procrastinators, I get diverted by shinies [usually science or health topics, sometimes colour & hobby stuff], I get sucked in by new things I have never thought about before and get drawn into arguments on news and blog sites!

I told my shrink that I had attended the inaugural talk by the new Adelaide Thinker in Residence, Dr Martin Seligman, and she was pleased, asking me what I had learnt. I thought Seligman’s new approach to Positive Psychology was rather appealing, and I have already implemented my strongest “Strengths”, as measured by tasks on his AuthenticHappiness.org website, to tackle a daily task I hate & dread. So it seems as though I should carry on with some Positive Psychology at home and see what strategies work with me. I know that the “positive thinking” gig isn’t for me- I can’t hack saying “I am a worthwhile person” over and over to myself and seeking out activities to enhance my self esteem. I need to do real things right now in order to be able to visualise some sort of future for myself. Currently I just cannot find meaning in anything much, since I can’t find a “picture” of me in the future, doing anything worthwhile. Dr Seligman DOES say that faith & spirituality work very well in conquering depression for people who think that way, but it’s equally possible for atheists like me to imagine a rewarding future in life, even though I think that after death I will just crumble into my original stardust.

It’s a start- and please notice I have actually written a blog entry!! It has been easy, whereas I had been flicking backwards and forwards between starting a post and not being able to for months! I won’t promise to blog about any progress I make; I’ll wait to see whether I am inspired again [and maybe, again].

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3 thoughts on “Cleaning my mental slate

  1. My psych has ‘prescribed’ me some equally health related things. She has me on iron supplements as low iron levels have been shown to cause anxiety in people susceptible to it. And she is thrilled I have taken up running again as she feels running allows the subconscious mind to work things out while the conscious part is busy concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other. ) I hope you have as much success with your brain as I have had with mine lately.

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