I had my appointment with my psychiatrist today. She is so intuitive in her role and always able to show me clearly what is muddling around in my mind. When I saw her this morning I told her I’ve been feeling frustrated lately because I haven’t been able to exercise as much as I want. The weather (sidewalks made of ice) and the baby/daycare plagues have been making it impossible to get in more than three work-outs a week. Not great when trying to lose weight!
So she went through some cogitative therapy with me. The first thing to do when feeling frustrated is to accept it. Then generalize that many other people are feeling this way. There was a rally about the damn sidewalks, so I’m sure others are feeling annoyed, too! Reach out and share in their frustration, and take comfort from the fact that I am not alone. Then look for ways to survive it and move on past it.
She also talked about the different identities that make up Deanna the Adult and how to manage them. One of my depression and frustration triggers comes about when one of my identities is being neglected. So what makes up Deanna the adult?
1. Mother. I am a mom first and foremost. The kids are my life and this massive role has all but squashed all my others. Some women adapt to the identity of being a mom and don’t lament the loss of what else was there before kids, but others, like me, struggle with the fact that they have lost so much of what they once were.
2. Wife. I love my husband and we’re one of those couples that would always prefer to stay in and cuddle with a movie than spend money out on the town. We used to spend time together, even if it was just him watching UFC while I sat next to him reading. I need that physical contact for relaxation and reassurance. We went from kissing several times a day to maybe twice a day if we’re lucky. It’s been a hard adjustment!
3. Writer. Writing was basically like having kids for me. I devoted the majority of my free time for it. I’ve written a few novels and some non-fiction manuscripts. It’s been part of my life for as long as I can remember. And then three years ago it was taken away from me. Not that Victor and William aren’t worth it, but I do miss writing. More and more the longer I go without it. It was a huge part of my emotional well being.
4. Athlete. I’ve started running and love it. Same goes for Yoga. But I need time to do that, and lately I’ve been hindered by the weather and my various plagues. I need to be active to keep my healthy choices going, otherwise I’ll sustain myself on chocolate, cheese and bread.
5. Wiccan. This isn’t a huge part of my life, but I do find my tarot spreads very calming and thoughtful. The wiccan faith suits me perfectly and I’m proud to call myself wiccan. But without time to practice, I do start to feel a little detached from the magic around me.
6. Cook. This is a new one. It came about while being on maternity leave and watching cooking shows with Victor. I discovered it filled a bit of the void that writing left and I really enjoy it. But with two little kids, even Victor helping me, I don’t really have the opportunity to sip a glass of wine while I prepare a gourmet meal on a regular basis.
7. Dalhousie Employee. I will say that I love my job, my coworkers, and doing a good job of what I’m getting paid to do.
My psychiatrist said that frustration is often born when one of these identities is not getting enough attention, and that makes a lot of sense. She said it’s important that when I feel frustrated I look inside and try to understand which part of me it is that’s feeling neglected. Then bring it forward, even if it’s for a short time, to give it the attention it is craving. Once I start to do that my frustration and even depression will start to dissipate.
She also said it’s important to make time for Deanna the Adult, because managing all those identities isn’t easy. I’m thinking a massage might be in my near future : )
Thinking about what makes me me has been very therapeutic, and I think it will go a long way in dealing with the various frustrations I feel from the sense of loss of my various identities. It is a great practice, too, for anyone. This about what makes you who you are, how you identify yourself, and really listen to your frustrations to understand which part of you is feeling neglected. Try giving it some attention, and see how you’re left feeling.