Posts Tagged With: closure

Day 2286: What we are trying to tell each other

What am I trying to tell you in today’s post?

I’m trying to tell you that I’m at the AGPA group therapy conference in Los Angeles, where I’m learning to tell myself and others more about the practice of group therapy.

I’m trying to tell you that I couldn’t sleep two nights ago, in anticipation of the second day of a two-day experience group, where therapists learn from each other by doing group work together.

I’m trying to tell you that the night my mother died, over ten years ago, she told a home health aide she wanted to call me on the phone to tell me something.

I’m trying to tell you that the home health aide told my mother she wouldn’t call me, because it was in the middle of the night and she shouldn’t disturb me. (I tried to tell that story in a blog post several years ago, here.)

I’m trying to tell you that event has disturbed and haunted me ever since —  my mother being told she couldn’t tell me what she was trying to tell me right before she died.

I’m trying to tell you that I have tried to put  to rest that mystery and my feelings about it in many different ways, including letting online tarot card readings tell me what my mother was trying to tell me.

I’m trying to tell you that during my recent sleepless night here in Los Angeles, I finally let the tarot cards tell me what I wanted to know, by asking a very specific Yes/No question for the first time.

I’m trying to tell you that this telling image is the only new photo I have to share with you today:

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I’m trying to tell you that

  • it’s telling what questions we ask of the universe,
  • we need to tell our personal stories, and
  • closure helps us tell new stories, as we move on.

I’m trying to tell you that the video I told you about in this recent post  is finally available for sharing.

By writing new words to the song Feelings, I’m trying to tell people about the local affiliates of the national group therapy organization, AGPA.

Now it’s your turn to try to tell us something in the comments section, below.

I try to tell you how grateful I am at the end of each post, like now.

 

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 1002: What makes anxiety worse?

What makes anxiety worse?

Talking about anxiety — in therapy and elsewhere — can make it worse, before it gets better.

Might any of these  photos from yesterday make anybody’s anxiety worse?

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Actually, believing that you are worthwhile right now — no matter what you are doing or have done in the past, no matter how far away you are from where you want to be — can make anxiety worse, for  people.

Why?

Changing any habitual, old belief, no matter how anxiety-provoking and toxic it is, can make anxiety much worse, temporarily.

What do you think makes anxiety worse?  Would it worsen anxiety to write about that in a comment here?

Personally, when I share my anxiety with other people, my anxiety does NOT get worse.

What makes my anxiety worse?

  • The approach of cold, dark, and snowy weather here in the northeastern USA.
  • Not enough self-care, including sleep, nourishing food, water, relaxation, and connections with supportive people.
  • Human and automatic “cognitive distortions” like shoulds, fortune-telling, catastrophizing, mind-reading, emotional reasoning, blaming, all-or-nothing thinking, etc.
  • Suppressing, denying, or stuffing my feelings, especially “unpleasant” ones like sadness or anger.
  • Doctors who tell me that my very unusual heart — with ventricles and valves doing jobs they were not designed to do — will not last as long as a normal heart.

Here’s something that helps me let go of anxiety: getting a good enough sense of closure.

Yesterday, I decided to get some closure with two doctors at a major teaching hospital in Boston who, last April 1, told me:

  • my heart was deteriorating,
  • the non-invasive procedure my doctors were planning would not work,
  • my doctors had “done me wrong” by not replacing my leaky valve years ago, and
  • my only hope to live longer and not “die a miserable death” was to quit my doctors, work with them instead, and get a valve replacement, STAT.

That meeting, as you can imagine, made my anxiety much worse.

After months of anxiety,  I decided to stay with my doctors and get the non-invasive procedure — the implant of a pacemaker/defibrillator combination ICD (Implantable Cardiac Device) — instead of the much more dangerous (for my unusual heart) valve replacement.

However, it has still worsened my anxiety whenever I’ve remembered the doctors who told me how that procedure would be useless, foolish, and ultimately dangerous for me.

Yesterday, I wrote this brief email to those two doctors:

On April 1, 2015, both of you met with me to discuss my cctga and possible future treatments. I wanted to let you know that I did have an ICD implanted at Tufts Medical Center in May and, as of the writing, I am feeling better.

Thank you for all your help and best wishes to both of you.

Putting closure on that experience definitely helped my anxiety.

Now, I just need to get a good enough sense of closure about the New England weather.

Here’s some music that lessened my anxiety as I was walking to work yesterday:

Many thanks to Stevie Wonder, to human beings everywhere who do their best to lessen anxiety, and to you — of course! — for reading this anxiety-focused post, today.

Categories: health care, personal growth, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , | 31 Comments

Day 335: Closure

Closure is really on my mind, today, because:

  • It’s the first day of December, which is the last month of the calendar I use.*
  • When I started this blog on January 1, 2013, I committed to blogging once daily for one year.
  • In my life, I am going through some endings (as we all do, all the time, of various sizes and importance).
  • I do group and individual therapy, so closure is my bread and butter.**

I just got lost in my own asterisks, at the end of this post. So, where was I?

Oh, yes.  Closure.

What do I want to tell you about closure, today?

Closure is important, in order to move on.

There is no right or wrong way to do closure.

Closure is challenging, because it brings up old closures, which often relate to losses.

I like to use the term “ending the chapter”, when I talk to people about closure.  Somebody, in my office, recently said that in their culture, they use the term “putting the period on the end of the sentence.” I like that, too.

Here are the punchlines of this post:

I want to put closure on The Year of Living Non-Judgmentally, in a way that honors my original commitment and intent.

However, I (selfishly) want to keep blogging every day. it helps me, tremendously.

So this is my commitment, for the month of December:

I will figure out a way, that’s good enough, to “put the period on the sentence” and “end the chapter” of this Blogging Year.

This will allow me to honor the old and embrace the new, as I move into my next phase of writing here (whatever that may be).

Closure.

Speaking of closure, something feels unfinished to me, here.  What’s missing? Something besides all these words, words, words.

I need a picture, people.

I will now check that place I keep my photos, my calendar, and way too many other things (my smart phone, of course).

Hmmmmmmm ….. Voila!

Image

It’s the dawn of a new day, looking back from where I live.

That’ll do.

Thanks to those who look back and forwards, smart phones and people everywhere, and to you — of course! — for reading today.

__________________

* Although, that’s not really true, since the calendar I use most frequently is on my smart phone. And while there’s a lot that confuses me about that calendar, I do know that there is neither ending nor beginning there.

** If you don’t recognize that idiom, it means “someone’s basic income; someone’s livelihood—the source of one’s food.” ***

*** Actually, now that I think about it, maybe closure isn’t my bread AND butter. Maybe closure is my bread, and hope is my butter. ****

**** Or vice versa.*****

***** Today, I master****** the art of the self-reflexive footnote.

****** In my mind.

Categories: humor, inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , | 28 Comments

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