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Love thy couch

Pre-post warnings are not a good way to win over readers. I recognize this, yet I ignore it. If you’re here you’ve probably either learned to overlook my poor habits or you find them a little endearing.

Oh my! The headache meds are working just fine now!

All of my posts start with a single sentence. When you write you probably start with a single sentence too – unless you have a punctuation problem, but stay with me. My posts start with a single thought. When I sit down to type I’ve rarely thought things through or done research of any kind. Posts either flow from that single thought or they die from lack of inspiration. Lately my enthusiasm has been in arrears, so more often than not they die… as evidenced by my queue of “unpublished,” unfinished posts.

What I’m trying to say is I’m not entirely sure where I’ll end up going with this one.

But you’ve been here a while, right? All of this is probably obvious by now.

I left work this morning, the result of pain in my head – more than one kind. Taken by themselves, I’d probably still be there, but together they were too much. I’m a wimp when it comes to physical pain but it’s nothing compared to my emotional fragility, even at the best of times. I may sound flip when I say it, but my nonchalance masks years of hiding and denial.

So here I am, my eyes closed (most of the time) to deal with the physical, and my fingers poised above the keys to deal with the emotional.

What was this thought that started all of this rambling nonsense? Well as the title suggests, it was my couch. My mind has been on my couch a lot lately. That’s what happens when you lie down.

My mind was on my couch, half awake from the meds and fatigue, when a question formed – the illusive thought. Am I like my couch?

Some people don’t like my couch. They think it’s too soft. They think it’s lumpy. They think it’s not supportive. Sound like anyone you know? I don’t mind the soft or lumpy part, and I think it’s more supportive than some people say, but here’s where the comparison really breaks down: I like my couch.

So… why? Or more importantly, what do I do to fix this… to fix me?

I’ve tried counselors (though not recently), and they’ve been almost useless. Just talking can be therapeutic, but I know some of the playbook. I was on the path to being a counselor one day myself. Wouldn’t that have been a sight: the introvert making a living on communication. (Growing up, my pastor was really subtle about his thoughts on my future – providing me with plenty of literature on Lutheran seminaries in the US.)

I’ve tried making time for myself. I’ve tried to find and do things I enjoy. I’ve tried taking better care of myself: eating better and getting regular exercise. I’ve tried to get plenty of sleep. I’ve tried to spend quality time with the people I love. I’ve tried to be a good father and husband. I’ve tried to talk to people when I’m down, to open up rather than shut down. I’ve asked for help. Oh have I ever asked for help. God can’t come to the phone right now but if you leave your name and number he/she will get back to you as soon as possible. I’ve tried to let myself off the hook. As Freud might say/ask, I’ve talked about my mother. I’ve tried to look at my life objectively, to see how fortunate I am in many, many ways (like Cheryl, who has done her own trying)… but also to see if there were things I could do to make it better. I’ve tried exploring biological causes of depression and anxiety – though I haven’t exhausted this avenue yet (to be honest in many ways I’m really just getting started, even though I’ve been at it for a few years).

So where does this leave me now? Well, have you ever had that talk with one of your kids after a fight with your spouse about love… how you may be angry right now, and look like you don’t like each other very much, but you still love each other? I still love life. I’m still trying.

In the mean time, thanks for hanging in there with me while I talk about my stupid couch.

Some of you sent me your own comments, messages and suggestions. No matter what I said above, all of them were appreciated. Most helped, suggesting I should revisit my thoughts on counseling. A few friends and a couple good books have been as good a medicine as anything else.

2 Comments

  1. Book for you . . .

    Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.

    Fifteen years ago, I was literally dying. I was in a hospital bed so messed up on morphine to keep my comfortable . . . and when I got released it was to a half-life of horrific pain. On the couch–MY couch (not so comfy, but with a pretty pattern), I decided to give up. I got a swift kick in the a** from my significant other who said people with kids lose that option. I read the aforementioned Frankl book. It became my bible and changed my life. No B.S. It was very transformative . . . about the power and triumph of the human spirit, about grace, no “God” per se, but a belief in humanity despite all of humanity’s failures. I highly recommend it.

    Keep on . . . keeping on,

    Peace,
    E

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