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”.
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!
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].