Saturday, November 7, 2020

Elections require CBT

I've been to therapy, but I've never specifically tried Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. My understanding of it is basic, but I think it basically means positive self-talk. So when you've found yourself overwhelmed by the election, antibiotics, boring work tasks, and of course, nothing, and you've been lying in bed for three days listening to sad songs (god bless the JYPU) and watching election updates and stand-up comedy, repeating in your mind "I can't do anything. I feel so bad. I can't do anything,"... there hopefully will come a point when you remember CBT.  I didn't say CBD, but that's also a good option.  

That point came for me, and I thought, "This is only going to get worse. You're getting more and more behind on your responsibilities, this laying around isn't even fun in an indulgent giving-up way anymore, the house is getting filthy...BOUNCE OUT OF IT!" Yes, my motivational brain used the word "bounce." 

I remembered that I don't want to feel bad. It doesn't feel good. If I have any power to stop it, I should! I remembered that my quarantine partner and I had determined that if he is feeling bad, I should tell him to do yoga. And when I am feeling bad, he should tell me to vacuum. 

(Of course that's problematic, for a man to tell a woman to vacuum to feel better, but that's specific to me and my use of cleaning (anti-entropy) to work through my negative mind-states. I famously once said "I love cleaning your refrigerator more than I love you.") 

The heart of the matter is that I don't like little pieces of crap all over the carpet, and every time I walk to the bathroom or the kitchen, I see them and I don't feel good. My Shark Navigator makes quick work of that detritus, and then my march to the toilet or fridge is unmarred and if not inspirational, at least not demoralizing. 

So I got up and I vacuumed. When the distance between the chair legs allowed the Shark to vacuum underneath without me having to move the chair, I felt my first little burst of pleasure in days. There is still happiness to be found in the world! And I washed the dishes, and I drank some Jamie, and I'm listening to Knapsack and I'm telling myself that EVERYTHING'S GONNA BE OKAY.

One of my favorite mental health strategies is to pretend that I'm my own mom--the best mom a person could have. And I think of what that sweet mom-me would think about what I'm doing, and what she/I would want for me. I believe that she wants me to be happy, and her advice is sound. Right now she's telling me that I'm going to feel so much better if I buckle down, muster up, and do my bit of work that I need to do. She's also telling me that it's okay if my creation isn't equal to what I could have done in the best possible circumstances. It's okay if it's just good enough. 

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