“I hate all this bio/psychobabble, Bill. Too much information, if you ask me. Can’t you simply bring me relief?!”
Can I tell you something? I often feel the same way – and I’m the one who writes this stuff.
Sure, I need to stay current – and keep you updated – on meds, therapies, etc. But every so often it sure feels good to get off the web and just write from the gut.
It’s one of those every-so-oftens. Let’s chat…
I’ve always liked using the terminology connecting-the-dots when it comes to identifying, embracing, and managing a mood or anxiety situation.
Oh, it may sound overly simple (which is actually a good thing); however, don’t let that fool you. It’s very powerful – and here’s why.
Coming to know and own your circumstances from a connecting-the-dots perspective makes it all feel a lot less intimidating. Heck, seeing any set of circumstances for what they truly are always equates to less fear and greater management potential.
But there’s more…
Approaching an issue with a connecting-the-dots mentality comes with at least one built-in solution. Remember doing connect-the-dots puzzles as a kid (maybe you still do ‘em)? Once you started, you almost always ended-up with a cool looking image, didn’t you? And feeling successful, you said to yourself, “Dang, I did that!”
Bottom-line: You felt really good.
The Rubber Meets the Road
We can chat theory ‘til the cows come home. How ‘bout a real-world example?
A client and I had just started a session. I could see she was in distress, so I asked her what was up. She said she felt “weird” – “kind of wired inside.” Well, it showed. And I’ll bet the farm she was more frightened over the mystery of her circumstances than the sensations she was experiencing.
Time for a quick sidebar. As is most often the case, I wasn’t the least bit crisis-concerned about my client’s signs and symptoms. Sure, I knew she was having a tough time – but I also knew nothing terribly awful was in-store for her.
When working with an acutely upset client, if she/he hasn’t already picked up on it I’ll point-out my easy demeanor. Perhaps I’ll warmly smile and say something like, “Scott, do I look shocked or alarmed?” It has an amazingly calming effect.
Okay, back on track. So to get her started on connecting-the-dots, I suggested we go backwards in time – minute-by-minute – until we came upon something that would ring some bells.
Well, it didn’t take long for the sounds of glorious chiming. Turns out she’d had an upsetting phone conversation with her significant other just before we began our work together.
How did we know we’d hit pay dirt? As soon as she began discussing the conversation, her symptoms exacerbated. We both knew she’d hit the mark.
Now we had something to work with. We’d connected-the-dots and had a great foundation for connecting even more.
You may think having to work hard at connecting her distress with a ten minutes old phone conversation is pretty lame. However, if you’ve ever been in the midst of acute emotional, mental, and/or physical alarm; you know a cluttered mind makes reasoning just a smidge difficult.
Nonetheless, we now had 85% of the dots connected. And we could begin finishing the image by getting started on management – even more dot-connecting.
And the wonderful thing is, the work isn’t limited to relief in the immediate. It’s a learning and practicing of strategies and techniques that can be relied upon forever.
Well, that sure feels better. Instead of doing all sorts of research on very complicated things, I got to deliver a powerful message from the gut. Okay, the subject matter was still very complicated, I suppose.
But we were able to give it a feel of simplicity by simply connecting-the-dots.
To catch a listing of chipur articles on the psychology of depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder – just click here.