Thursday, July 16, 2020

covid notes 14

Life feels like it’s going from bad to maybe worse but at least just as bad. I want to write and don’t. I keep thinking I want a little chronology here, that I need to say more about March and style school before moving on to April, May, June, July. I mean, these notes don’t have to be chronological, and bouncing around is fine—I’m just not sure how to get into the big stuff until I have time/energy to think about the big stuff.

For now, let me say this. Everything I’ve been trying out—therapy, meditation, style school—is pretty much some form of cognitive behavioral therapy. Not necessarily trying to change the things themselves, but my reaction to those things. I can’t change the family I was born into or what I didn’t get as a kid. I can’t change my mother or her behavior. I can’t change my body much, and if I want to, why do I want to? I need to somehow stop clinging to the past and worrying about the future. Breathing. Accepting. Embracing the good in the moment. Being kind to oneself. Seeing oneself and letting go of judgment.

This shit is hard. It’s just easier to criticize myself.

Earlier in the year, pre-covid, my therapist suggested I try a free 21-day Deepak Chopra meditation, hosted by Oprah Winfrey. I tried it, I did the whole thing, I liked it. Another freebie was recently offered, and I find I’m not into it. Different host, which is fine—all the host does is say a few things and introduce Chopra—and I like the messages from Chopra, but the meditation time itself is making me really tense. Around day 9, I decided it was the music. Something very grating about the quiet, minor-key, new-agey notes puts me on edge. I wonder if the same music was used in the Oprah run, but I have no more access to those sessions. I said something to my therapist about it—she had told me she was doing this session too—but she said she had stopped early on because she wasn’t into it this time. Hmmmmm. She’d look into the music thing. [Update: She sent me a note today: “I listened again today and I agree. I wouldn’t even call what’s in the background music. It’s more like a whine in an annoying pitch.] I’m going to listen to the last lessons and let the sitting part go. I’ll go through my Headspace tutorials again (I like that better) and maybe even decide that Headspace is worth money, even though I don’t have any money any more.

Ooops. Guess I’m worrying about the future again.


  1. CBT has done good things for me, but I have to practice it, and boundaries, like people practice yoga, and I get out of practice just when I need it most. I saw this sort of change you talk about it in reading. I belong to a "book club" on facebook which is actually just some moms from the grade school who read what we want and then take a picture of the cover and say if it's worth trying. There's like 8 of us on there and from March to June only like 2 of us finished a single book. Then I read Outlander, which I liked, but is not my typical choice. We all started to realize we needed things that were different than what used to work. I don't know what it is, but I'm both paralyzed and restless at the same time. Worried about the future, brooding over the past, and dark voices seem to get caught in my head at night (not like I'm hearing voices, but just thoughts). It's no bueno. So I go rewatch the Great British Baking Show and drink too much. Sometimes at the same time.

    1. B, I think the Great British Bake-Off AND drinking at the same time is a perfect combination!

    2. This --> I don't know what it is, but I'm both paralyzed and restless at the same time.

      I feel that way too. I'm dealing with it by playing Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp too much (and drinking too much which makes me wake up in the middle of the night and play Pocket Camp more).

  2. I've done a lot of soul-searching over the last 20 years. I found writing really helped me figure things out, so I'm glad you are writing now. I realised as I was writing that everything that had helped me was a form of CBT too. We can't change the past. We can change what we do now.

    I'm also glad to see you say, "Being kind to oneself. Seeing oneself and letting go of judgment." (Despite the lack of an "e" in judgement- lol) Because the thing that has helped me most in the last few years was being kind to myself. Showing myself the same compassion I would show a friend, or even more importantly, a child or teenage Mali. I'd just hug her and love her. That helped me more than I would ever have expected. Try it.

    And I'm sending love and hugs too.

  3. You're so right about "This shit is hard." I too send you love and hugs, and a double dose of endurance.

  4. I'm just impressed that you have the energy to try these things. I just hide in my house and occasionally bake bread.