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Re: You're all easy graders DaisyM

Posted by fallsfall on February 18, 2004, at 20:12:35

In reply to Re: You're all easy graders fallsfall, posted by DaisyM on February 18, 2004, at 12:48:41

If you can put an issue away purposefully, then you are 90% of the way there.

I learned to put things away from a guided imagery tape I had - it talked about a strong box next to my bed that had a very heavy lid. You are told to open the lid and put issues, ideas and feelings into the box, and then close the heavy lid. You can take out what you need in the morning. So, you are only putting it away temporarily - you can take it back out when you need it. The heavy lid contains all of those things so they can't escape. After many, many nights of listening to this tape I finally learned how to do it. I would think of each thing that was racing around in my head and "see" that thing going into the box. Some nights I needed to be very specific, and put lots of little things in the box (like not getting something done I wanted to accomplish, or saying something to one of my kids that I regretted later). Other nights I could do the whole thing with just one or two items (like my husband).

I knew that I was really getting it when things didn't just "go" into the box. Sometimes they jumped back out and I had to catch them and put them in again. Once I had so many things to put into the box that they wouldn't all fit, but luckily I could create a second box and put the rest in there. My favorite was one night when I had a bunch of stuff in the box and I wanted to put my husband in. I put him in, but his arms and legs dangled over the sides of the box - so I had to keep folding him up to get him back in the box. Eventually I did succeed in getting the top on.

Once you know that you can put things away fairly reliably then you can start to work on taking them out on purpose. I don't think that I would be brave enough to take them back out if I wasn't really sure that I could put them back in the box later on. Then the trick is to be motivated to look at something - you have to really want to work on it. It helps me to be in my therapist's office because I know that he will help me work on it and contain it. But sometimes I've taken stuff out to work on by myself - maybe journalling or something like that. Once you WANT to work on it, then you have to be brave enough to let it come (that's where my therapist helps). The last piece is to "trigger" the issue somehow. Sometimes if I have some journalling or writing on a subject I can just reread it. There was at least one time when I had to put an issue away and I didn't dare think about it long enough to write it down. That time there was a phrase that I knew would remind me of the issue, and when it was time to take it out I just said the phrase to myself.

It is helpful to be able to control things to this extent. Because it means that I CAN take things out to work on them without ruining my life. That doesn't mean that when I've put something away that it doesn't effect me, though. When I have buried something that is really upsetting to me I am still on edge - crabby, unpredictable etc. But what I can avoid is ruminating about something and having it take over my brain.

It is really worth practicing putting things in the box, and being brave enough to take them out. I bet my therapist really appreciates that I can do this - I'm sure that it reduces the number of emergency phone calls I place (though I still do call him sometimes).

Try it!




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