Posts Tagged With: hopelessness

Day 2595: Other people’s pain

Dear other people,

Are you in pain? Are you in emotional or physical pain, here and now?

How does other people’s pain affect you? Does that cause you pain?

Yesterday at work, I talked to several people who were in extreme pain. That  pained me so much that I noticed moments when I wanted to turn away from their pain. It would pain me to tell you if I had turned away from other people’s pain, but I did not. I stayed with their pain and with mine.

At last night’s Coping and Healing group, other people in pain suggested that we focus on the topic “hope” as a way to ease the pain in the room.

I take pains to protect the confidentiality of all who attend my groups, so I’ll disclose only what I wrote last night:

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In case reading that is a pain, here’s what I wrote:

HOPE

Hope is the thing with feathers.

— Emily Dickenson

Hope is what we all need.

I believe that everybody has a spark

of hope somewhere even if they’re

describing themselves as hopeless.

I think of it as an ember of heat and light

ready to ignite.

 

The worst moments of my life

have been when I’ve lost track of hope.

I’m so grateful that somehow,

I have always found it.

 

If you have everything but hope,

you have nothing.

If you have nothing but hope,

you have everything.

 

Here’s the only other photo I took yesterday:

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Does that poinsettia in the group room look like it’s in pain? It did to me, last night.

Here’s “The Hopelessness Theory of Depression” on YouTube, about other people’s pain:

 

Here‘s  “King of Pain” by The Police:

 

I facilitate five groups every week because I believe sharing pain with other people reduces that pain.  Feel free to share any pain, below.

As I say at the end of every group about other people’s pain, I am grateful that you showed up here, exactly as you are.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 2280: Are we having fun yet?

“Are we having fun yet?” was something I expressed several times yesterday, as I

  • started packing for my trip to L.A.,
  • grappled with money issues,
  • added a new verse to a song,
  • dealt with hurt feelings,
  • talked to people about hope and hopelessness,
  • had the self control to have the soup instead of the very fun-looking and highly caloric  pasta dish in the hospital cafeteria,
  • couldn’t find my folder filled with group therapy worksheets and exercises,
  • glanced at the news, and
  • facilitated two groups, one of which focused on fun.

Are we having fun yet in today’s blog post?

Are we having fun yet as we try to read my handwriting in today’s photos?

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Are we having fun yet as I share this story about when I decided to have fun earlier this week?

Wednesday morning, after my second night in a row of insomnia, I looked at the weather app on my iPhone to decide how to dress for the day.  I saw that the day was going to start out cold but become considerably warmer, so I decided to wear a very light coat.  When I was driving to work, I looked at the app again and noticed that I had been looking at the weather for Cupertino, California, instead of the weather for Boston, Massachusetts, which was going to start cold and stay that way.  I decided to have fun with it, so I laughed instead of complaining whenever I felt the cold.

Are we having fun yet trying to guess what music I’m going to share in today’s post?

YouTube suggests that I share this one:

 

Are you having fun yet?  If not, how might you have more fun today?  Would it help to leave a fun comment?

Have I expressed my gratitude yet for all those who helped me create this are-we-having-fun-yet post and — of course — for YOU?

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 144: “Emergency” messages

I’ve often blogged here about cognitive distortions,including mind-reading, fortune-telling, comparisons, and negative filter. (Here’s a list of all thirteen cognitive distortions.)

I’ve also been working on a list of antidotes or remedies, to help break the habit of cognitive distortions.

Here’s the antidote I wanted to focus on, today:

The “In Case of Emergency, Break Glass” Technique. Prepare for the possibility that when you are feeling at your worst, coping strategies and solutions might be difficult to remember. Write down a couple of things that might be helpful to remember when you are feeling bad, and put that in a special place. Also, consider telling somebody else about these “emergency messages,” so they can remind you.

I’ve got my own message I would like to remember, in case of emergency. When I’m feeling down, depressed, hopeless, discouraged, self-critical, or self doubting, I wish I could remember this:  I will come through the bad time, with gifts I can use.

However, I can never remember that message, when I’m down. Never!  It’s like a spell is cast, that affects my memory.  When I’m feeling hopeless or powerless — because of disappointment or shame — my  belief is some form of this:

I suck and/or life sucks.

That’s what cognitive distortions do, in a nutshell. They present Sucky-ness of Self and Existence,  as The Truth.

But, it’s not The Truth. It’s just a belief, a thought, a temporary state of mind.

Each time, though, when I descend into a State of Ultimate Sucky-ness,  I simply cannot remember anything else. My Emergency Message is beyond me.

So, in order to try my “In Case of Emergency, Break Glass” antidote, I’ve been scoping out a special place to place my helpful Message to Self.

About a month ago, I got this box, with a hidden compartment. I thought I’d place my message there.

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However, since I so easily lose sight of the message, I decided I needed a receptacle that was a lot less subtle.

So on my vacation, I bought this:

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That’s a lot harder to miss.

I’ve printed out this version of The Message:

When you are feeling, hopeless, powerless, selfish, foolish, disappointed or otherwise bad about yourself and your situation, remember this:

You will come out of this. And you will have ideas about ways to move forward.

I’ve placed that message in the box:

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Now my box, with message inside, is sitting on the mantle:

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I hope I remember it’s there, the next time I need it.

I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks for reading, everybody. (And feel free to post what “emergency message” you might leave for yourself.)

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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