My best friend sent me a track today from Maria Bamford’s album Ask Me About My New God. My friend sent it to me via Spotify, but here’s part of it on youtube.
Unfortunately this cuts off what I think is the best part, but I couldn’t find a longer clip. Bamford goes on to point out that people don’t get help because of stigma and that 7,000 veterans commit suicide each year. She says, “You’d think they’d die over there. But they come home and die.” Then through exaggerated fake laughter she says, “I figured it must be funny since no one seems to be taking it very seriously.” (I’m paraphrasing here).
So after listening to that I read a little about Maria Bamford and it turns out she is pretty public about her personal struggle with mental illness. She also uses her comedy to fight the stigma surrounding mental illness. She has been on The Nerdist podcast as well as The Mental Illness Happy Hour podcast. She has a live album called Unwanted Thoughts Synrome which is on youtube. Bamford has also done some voice work on Word Girl, Adventure Time, and CatDog.
Here is a link to an article about her that I enjoyed, and another cool youtube video. Yay for stigma fighters!!!
Here are some of the things that are helping me lately, things that I am benefiting from, that don’t need a post all to themselves.
- Before bed each night I’ve been writing 3-5 things I’m grateful for. This is something people write a lot about and I’ve previously been kind of scornful of the practice. I’ve never had trouble feeling gratitude, so I didn’t think listing specific things would make a big difference for me. However, I changed my view while reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. She talks about the myth of scarcity and it resonated with me in a way that other things I’d read about gratitude hadn’t.
- I have serious self-esteem problems. There are times when I can’t think of a single good thing about myself. Once a therapist asked me something I like about myself and my answer was, “I’ve never punched anyone in the face.” That’s the best I could come up with, and it’s a pretty typical response. So for the past couple of weeks I have been keeping two lists–one of things I like about myself and one of things other people like about me. My goal is to write down things I can’t argue with. For example, instead of writing “I’m good at picking out presents,” I wrote, “I got Mom things she was excited about for Mother’s Day.” The first statement would be easy for me to argue with when I’m feeling bad about myself; I’ll think about all the times I should’ve gotten someone a cooler/more personal/nicer gift. The second statement I won’t be able to argue with that when I’m in a low mood because my mom’s reaction made it clear that she was very happy about the things I picked out for her. On my other list I am writing down compliments people give me verbatim.
- I’ve been reading more. I’ve always loved reading, but sometimes I get out of the habit. I start watching TV more or spending more time online. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. There’s often an ebb and flow with interests. But I made an effort to start reading more a few weeks ago and I think it helps in a few different ways. It’s a good distraction (distress tolerance) technique. It’s also a pleasurable activity. Plus, it’s aiding in recovery since I am reading books on self-esteem and other relevant topics.
- I’m using a sort of daily DBT checklist. It’s similar to couple of diary cards I’ve seen. It has different components of DBT listed on it, like connecting with your higher power, committing to valued action, using coping thoughts/skills, using opposite action, etc. There are boxes to check off for each skill on each day and an area to elaborate on how some of the skills were used. It’s very useful for me to think back over the day/week and note which skills I’ve been using or not using. The list came from a book called The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Diary by Matthew McKay and Jeffrey C. Wood. There is a DBT workbook by the same authors that the diary kind of goes along with, but they both can be used independently as well.
- This song. All of this guy’s stuff is great, but this song never fails to make me happy. And the video is just so funny and awesome. I try to save this song for very sad times so it doesn’t lose its power. It’s very wonderful.
So there are some things that are bringing me some good feelings lately. Maybe they’ll help someone else, too (I can only hope)!