Breathing Down the Rabbit Hole

So I have a new therapist. Don’t get me wrong – I loved my old one! Jenny was young, she was cool, she was pretty (ya know – ’cause that’s important!), she got me. She knew when to tell me “that’s normal – I do that too”, or when to leave questions alone, or when to push. I wanted to be her friend and go have beers! She was also mostly focused on my depression. I had some great epiphanies when working with her.

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One really great one was “it’s not the thoughts you have – it’s how you act on them that matters”. Here I was thinking I was a misanthropic psychopath (ain’t those big words!!!), for all the bad thoughts that flew through my brain at nanosecond speeds. So that was a huge relief and a complete game changer.

But after I had been seeing her for about a year, we had very little to discuss during our appointments. I was feeling good. I had the tools I needed when things went grey. But she couldn’t help me when it came to medications (which not everybody needs – but I do right now), and she wasn’t as skilled when it came to ADD and anxiety. So she sent me to an AMAZING psychiatric nurse practitioner (amazing!) who in turn recommended a therapist who worked almost solely with people who had ADD/ADHD. In fact, she had it herself which gave her great insight into what we all were feeling.

I had my second appointment with her this week, and I’m really enjoying it. We’re still in the getting-to-know-you stage, and I have sooooo much I always need to explain to therapists when we first get started (45 years of soap opera life – which is why I put off finding another therapist for so long – it’s such a friggin chore!). She gave me a good tip this week (which is the whole reason I wanted to write this post!) and I used it this morning.

For a number of years now – I think I actually learned on the Oprah Winfrey Show! – I’ve been using a calming, centering technique when I get stressed or angry : deep controlled breathing. Simple, easy – no fancy equipment or pills to buy. I breathe in through the nose for a count of 8, hold for 8, then slowly out through the mouth for a count of 8. Repeat as many times as you like, as many times as it takes to get your heart rate down, the get your mind clear…it almost always works for me. But Mary (my new therapist) told me you should always breathe out for longer than you breathe in! Put your hand on the center of your chest as you breathe and feel the warmth build. In for a count of four, hold for a count of four, and then out for a count of eight. I did it this morning.

I’m trying to establish a morning routine that includes a few minutes of quiet – call it meditation, introspection, whatever – I like “quiet” (and I track it daily in my bullet journal). And this breathing did the trick. I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather the last few days – mostly sore throat – but last night it moved up into my head (sooo stuffy!). So this morning, I placed my hand over the top of my sternum, breathed in healing energy, felt it fill my head and chest, allowed it to circulate, and breathed out negative energy. I did this about 5 or 6 times, and then came up with the idea to share it with you!! So here I am.

This post turned out to be much longer than I anticipated, but I haven’t written in a while either, sooo….hope you don’t fall down too many rabbit holes with this post. One of these days, I’ll link some things to more in depth background posts – but not today! Tomorrow is the Super Bowl and I have lots to do before people invade my house! Go Pats!!! 🏈

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