change

I Don’t Know How to Soothe Myself

by D.J. Paris on January 21, 2014

What do you do to soothe yourself when you’re having a rough day?

I stared at my therapist blankly.

By 10am I had been having a “not feeling good” kind of morning. The cold and the sludge and no sun – it was affecting my well-being. I was bummed. Plus, I hadn’t slept enough the night before. Not in a good mood.

The first thing that my therapist does in our sessions is to ask how I’m doing.

“All I want is to go home, overeat pizza until I pass out, play video games, write jokes on Twitter so people tell me I’m funny, and not be responsible.”

Okay, you want to blow off the day. How will that make you feel if you do those things?

“Um – worse.”

So, escaping is not going to make you feel better. What could you do instead?

“There are things I can do instead of blowing off the day to change my mood?”

She then asked the soothing question. I didn’t understand what “soothing” meant so I asked for examples. Being a woman she listed things like chocolate, pedicures or massages, buying an item of clothing. These I can’t relate to, but I understood the concept. She was talking about self-care. What were some small gifts I could give myself that would change my feelings?

I can’t put on music or a podcast at work and it’s too damned cold to take a walk with my dog. Other than that, I was out of ideas.

She reminded me that I didn’t have any other strategies to cope with a tough day other than powering through or completely escaping. Both are not ideal.

I needed to find ways to give myself things I enjoy when I’m feeling crummy. The problem is I have no idea what soothes me. I just know how to obliterate feelings by going off the deep end into short-term pleasure.

Since I didn’t have any suggestions on soothing she offered this idea – I start trusting that my body knows this information. To continue to stay with the discomfort until answers bubble up from the feeling. I agreed to give it a shot and went back out into the cold.

What I ended up doing was leaving work a few hours early and taking an hour long nap. That was what my body was telling me to do. Then I was interviewed for someone’s podcast and my body suggested another short nap. I obliged.

Now, I’m ready for bed and I feel better. I listened internally and did the suggested actions. I didn’t blow off the day or try to use force to change my state. I trusted there was something happening inside of me and that it would pass. It did.

I still ate pizza and tweeted a little and I’m about to play a video game. But all in small doses.

I wish someone when I was younger would have told me how “feeling your feelings” would be one of the most useful skills to life. Would have saved me God-knows-how-much in therapy.

That being said, I’m still allowing one blow off day a week. Getting high by eating four donuts at 10am is simply fun. Don’t judge me.

pizza

I can’t believe I ate just a few of you. Moderation is weird.

photo credit: Adam Kuban via photopin cc

Share This Masterpiece!
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Email this to someone

36 comments

I Sometimes Publish Crap – A Confession

January 17, 2014

Years ago I used to bother celebrities on Twitter and write about the interactions. I called it CelebTweets. After a few posts went live a television producer contacted me with an idea. If I wrote fifty more of these she could pitch it to publishers and get a book made. She cautioned me, however, to […]

Read the full article →

Check Out This Crazy Note Left On My Friend’s Car

January 10, 2014

My friend received a crazy note on her car yesterday. She had not done the best parking job. She works in a high rise building in the downtown area of Chicago. The garage where she parks is only ever around half full. She woke up late and was hustling to work. By the time she […]

Read the full article →

Some Behind the Scenes Reader Drama

January 8, 2014

Some time ago I received a private message from a reader. In this note the person claimed to be having an affair with another of my readers. I thought this was the coolest thing. Two readers met on my blog and fell in love! When I inquired further, however, the person mentioned that both are […]

Read the full article →

I Don’t Know When to Hold ‘Em or Fold ‘Em

January 5, 2014

I’m a terrible gambler. This foolio has been living at the Rio in Las Vegas for the past three days. I haven’t sat down once at a table or slot machine. I am surrounded by opportunity to play games and win some dough. So why aren’t I gambling? A few reasons – first, I have […]

Read the full article →

I’m Too Good to Pick Up Spare Change on the Street – A Confession

January 4, 2014

Do you pick up spare change lying on the ground? I don’t. I realized this fact on Christmas Eve during our family’s annual holiday party. Carolyn and Laura are two sisters who grew up in our neighborhood. They’re both very successful. One’s a realtor and the other an attorney. The attorney (Carolyn) stated she always […]

Read the full article →

Fun in the Bedroom – The D.J. Way

November 26, 2013

Yesterday I wrote about how I can fall asleep faster than Jessie Owens sprinting to the bathroom with diarrhea. Nice – I managed to work in a Jessie Owens reference. Need to update my references. Not very timely. Since I spend more time on my back than the ladies of a Thai cathouse, I thought […]

Read the full article →

Being Out of Control is a Good Thing

June 16, 2013

I’ve wanted to write about my control issues for a long time, but I was never sure how to articulate it effectively. I’m still wholly unsure. In fact, I have no idea how this thing is going to turn out, and I’m massively insecure about it. Oh well. I can always go back to stories […]

Read the full article →

The Support Group I’m Trying to Save

January 31, 2013

When my wife called me on a Wednesday and told me she had filed for divorce, I didn’t know what to do. I went into shock. My biggest fear had become realized. Even though she had not mentioned the word divorce any our past therapy sessions in hindsight there were signs she was planning an […]

Read the full article →

I Picked a Hot Photo of Myself to Impress You – A Confession

January 10, 2013

A friend recently pleaded with me to change my photo here on the site. He said it didn’t look like me and didn’t capture my silliness. Plus, he said it made me look like a bad man. He then went into detail about what kind of criminal I resembled. Without going into specifics let’s just […]

Read the full article →

I Promise To Go Back and Reply To All Your Comments!

November 18, 2012

I have a habit where I make a bunch of promises that, in the moment, seem perfectly doable. Then a few days go by and I realize, “Ugh, I don’t want to do this at all.” In the past month alone I thought of writing an ebook unrelated to this blog, starting a site for […]

Read the full article →