FB conversion pixel

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Therapy to Get the Day Going


(Anyone who knows Richard...knows that this is not his garage...just a dream...)

Going through items from my parents’ home, now that they are gone, I keep running across all sorts of interesting odds and ends.  Threw one away yesterday I had forgotten about, a framed print that used to hang on my wall as a kid.  Stored in the basement, time had not been kind to it and I had to throw it away.  (Which, of course, makes my wife very happy…the more I can get rid of, the better…we have plenty of stuff already…though I am working on culling things.  I really am.)  Anyway, I did feel a twinge of sadness, a sort of saying goodbye in the process of grief as I placed it in the bag to take to the curb.  

Okay, so all of that was chasing a rabbit.  The point STARTED OUT to be, in the process, I ran across some little cards I collected when I was a kid that came with chewing gum.  The cards were called, “Kookie Plaks” produced by Topps.  Some guy on ebay thinks they’re worth $500.00 apiece!  Dream on…they are found dirt cheap…no treasure chest there for me!  And why the Kookie Plaks survived while my Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Sandy Kofax, Roger Marris and other great baseball cards got pitched I’ll never know!  

Well, I remember one of those cards had the little saying on it:  “Don’t just DO something.  STAND THERE!”  (See?  I told you the Mickey Mantle card is what should have been saved!)   

You know, dumb as that is, it can give you cause to think, too.  Sometimes people get all bothered about things and run around in a flurry of useless activity when they just need to stop, to stand there for a bit.  There are times we need to quit doing and learn to stand in faith.  But in the midst of depression, such as often accompanies divorce or grief, sometimes you find it hard to have enough energy and drive to even stand at all!  I know, I have had days like that myself over the years.

When you feel like that, it is very difficult to accomplish much of anything.  You can feel numb, paralyzed, fearful, useless, incompetent, and lots of other things.  On days like that, it can be hard to even get out of bed or do the simple tasks of daily life, let alone deal with the big challenges you face and accomplish big things.  For me, I have learned that is a good time to apply the “Do-Something” therapy.  

Basically, my little therapy goes like this.  On any given day, most of us have enough things to do and responsibilities to care for  -  that we could fill a 48 hour day.  That overwhelming list can add to the feelings of despair and helplessness if we focus on it for too long -  as it reminds us that there is no way to get everything done in the day that we think needs to be done.  

It is when I am feeling like that I force myself to apply the “do something” therapy.  I admit to myself I don’t feel like doing much of anything.  And I also admit to myself that, while I wish it was all done, I don’t have the desire or drive to jump in and tackle it all.  If you are really in the dumps, you can feel you don’t have the desire to jump in and tackle ANY of it.  That is the time I insist to myself that I need to do SOMETHING, almost anything, as a way to turn the day around.  I select any item on the long list and tackle it, early in the day…the earlier the better.  

But there are guidelines in the selection of the task.  It must be something that actually needs to be done, and preferably something that has been on the list for a while.  I choose items that are completable…tasks that can be done in an hour or an afternoon, not a project that will take several days.  I prefer to select things that are visible, because then I can tangibly see the difference whenever I am in that area.  When I really lack motivation, I also try to find at least one thing that can be done outside, where the sun shines and the body will produce Vitamin D.  Sometimes I will select a project that requires me to be around other people, maybe even needing to have an individual assist, so that I have company while working.  And sometimes I will intentionally select a project that I really DON’T want to do, something I have avoided about as long as I can already.  That results in not only a feeling of accomplishment afterwards, but also the lift of not having that dreaded task still waiting for me. 

While this does not always completely remove the dreary feelings, it always makes a difference.  At the end of the day, I can point to at least one thing I accomplished, one thing that is better, one less thing on the list.  (Some people actually find having a written list where they can scratch off items to be a helpful lift, too.)  And more often than not, especially if I tackle that project early in the day, it serves as a kickstart that will launch me into other projects that come to mind along the way.  

I found a kindred spirit for this years ago when I heard counselor and teacher, Jay Adams, speak at a conference in Colorado.  Jay wrote a number of books some years ago, with counseling ideas and tips.  One tip was that someone depressed can benefit from tackling projects, and referred to Genesis 4:7, in which God speaks to Cain after his offering had been rejected.  God told Cain that if he did well, his countenance would be lifted up.  My twist is that even if you Do SOMETHING, your countenance will lift.  

Getting started is often the hardest part.  Sometimes a self-applied kick in the rear can make all the difference, but once you select something and finish it, you can rest that rear in a comfortable chair, feeling a little better because of the something you accomplished that day.  If you are feeling down, I encourage you to give it a whirl.  It won’t solve all your problems, but it can help make the journey a little brighter.

No comments:

Post a Comment