Thursday, March 31, 2016

Welcome to Recovery Tapping - Tap Out of Fear and Into Choices -

My Depression Wellness Class is starting up again next month at the Wellness & Recovery Center.

This time, my supervisor and I are going to co-facilitate it, which I'm thrilled about because now maybe I can get this thing off the ground and move faster with the materials.

It's been a slow, snail's pace, but we got 5 members and our limit is 7.  We will take turns billing for it and share resources.  People who come will get a lot out of it.

Here's the over all concept.

Wellness is the self-help activity that we encourage in addition to meds and seeing our doctor, so anything recovery and wellness that is self-directed is what we want to teach people to do.

I noticed a lot of my depressed clients were artists and I wanted to teach them wellness and depression management through art.

So I came up with the concept of doing an Adult Coloring/Doodling Book based on my Wellness Protocol for Depression. (Then later I'll add a Wellness for Trauma Protocol).  I wanted to keep it simple and activate and increase wellness activities, so I thought the G.R.A.P.E.S. concept would be a good way to get started.

G - Goal - increase days free from depression
R - Recovery - listen to favorite music weekly
A - Accomplish - get 1 thing on my to-do list done
P - Pleasure - I'm going to enjoy a fudge brownie
E - Exercise - I'm going to do Chi Gong every morning
S - Social - I'm going to get to a emotional anonymous support meeting

Everyone can do their own "GRAPES"

So I got a cartoonist client of mine to draw up some grape bunches with leaves that people can color with the center 6 grapes being large enough to write a few words in.  I've got a WRAP graduate iin the class who is helping me come up with a "menu" of items to choose in each category to make it easier for people to figure out their GRAPES routine and advice and comments from some other members about creating a 'Grape Vine' that we can 'herd' the grape bunches on as sort of a display theme to put up in the hall.

We're hoping to help educate the wellness community with the display.

So that is the overall concept to get started.

I'm thrilled to be starting the class next week and get our GRAPES on!

So here is my personal GRAPES that I have been practicing for a few months now.

Remember, GRAPES is just a siimple, easy and fun way to keep up with a daily routiine that is geared toward wellness to help with recovery (from anything).  The routiine can be about anything - there is no right or wrong answers - the main point of all this is - Do Something For Your Wellness Every Day, no matter how small.

No matter how many days you miss, you can always get right back on the next day or start any time you care to. It doesn't have to be perfect; you don't have to be perfect at doing it; the main thing is to have it. That shows INTENTION to take actiion to get WELL.

That's a start.

So, here's miine:

Goal is to decrease feeling guilty, like I'm not good enough, a symptom of my mild depression.
Reward is to buy myself a new piece of clothing every payday
Action I want to accomplish is to practice Qi Gong every day for 30 days straight
Pleasure I give myself is a fancy adult coloring book (Enchanted Forest) and color it
Exercise is my 2 Qi Gong routines and also ride my bike at least 1x week
Social is to get to Alanon meetings at least 1x week for a month

It all started about 2 and a half years ago when I got sick and tired of being sick and tired of my depression and always feeling ashamed, wrong, guilty and at fault or in trouble over someone else using or abusing substances.  I could not control the situation. I took it personal like it was a direct reflection of my value as a relative and a counselor who 'should know better' or 'know what to do and be able to fix it'.

I couldn't and I felt like life was doomed and my life was basically over and it was all downhill from here. Funny how fast one negative thought can lead to a downward spiral all the way down to despair and hopelessness.

But that is where I found myself and I saw myself as a failure and I also spent a lot of time worrying. So much time in fact, that I had no time to take care of me.

I stayed indoors, I rarely moved and stopped exercising or walking like I used to. I basicllay did my chores and spent the rest of my time obsessing or surfing the internet, searching for answers or an escape.

Then one day I was so stiff and achy from not moving I decided to try and find "the easy way to exercise" by learning some qi gong movements. I figured I could learn one move a day until I learned a whole set that I could do by heart anywhere I wanted (in my living room or in the park, without a vidoe or cheat sheet).

So each day I practiced and built up each move and made a cheat sheet and practiced until I had it memorized.  It took a couple months. I was not doing anything else for my wellness or recovery except for that.

I found when I was doing that, that I had to focus on each move and my form and my breathing so much that my mind didn't have time or room to think about anything else and that was my first break from constant negative thinking.

When my mind would wander to my relative and what they were doing, I'd mess up the move and would have to start all over, so I learned to stop the thoughts when I noticed them and put my attention back on my move so I could keep going with the entire set and that helped a lot make me see that I could bring my thoughts back to me and my goal and not let them get hijacked by someone else.

About a year later I started riding my bike, one block or two at a time untiil after a few months I was easily riding 2 miles each weekend.

Fast forward to another year later, and I started playing Tennis. Then I got offered a job at a wellness and recovery center and jumped at the chance to be back in my career and start doing groups to pass on the wellness stuff I had learned so I could help other people who were depressed.

I always help them start by taking easy, baby steps. No hurry, no pressure, just 1 action a week - preferably a pleasurable one. We usually do adult coloring books, some elect to listen to their favorite music, some like to walk to the park. Then we grow from there to add in more self-care activities until they have a routine that works for them.

Sometimes they don't notice a difference, but when they look back a few weeks they see things are different and maybe a little better. They definitely are not worse.

So I put together an entire course about depression and self-help wellness and started spreading the word that I was offering it in a class.

Some people are too depressed to even thiink about trying to force themselves to do anything so for those folks we just color and hang out. Just the act of hanging out in a room with other (nice) people who also understand depression turned out to be just enough social support that they needed to keep it up and they are startiing to move forward also.

Its not a therapy group or a process class or even too much on the education, although there is some explaining of the basic concepts. The focus is on doing. Takiing action. Takiing wellness action. Taking good care of the self.

And that in itself has healing power.

Do you have a daily routiine?

Can you create one?

If you could, what would it look like?

Why don't you pick one or two easy, enjoyable things you like to do and committ to doing them this week. Just spend 15-20 minutes doing it at least once this week. Build up to doing it once per day, then build up to doing an entire routine each day. And see how you feel.

Will it cure depression? No.
Will it bring some relief some of the time? Yes
Will it "work"?  Only if you work it.
Will it solve all my problems? No, but it will imprive the quality of your life, it will stop the downward spiral into depression and start the upward spiral out of it and bring more and more moemtns of relief from the depression symptoms.

Will you feel better? Yes. I guarantee it.

What have you got to lose?

Do I still feel guilt? Sometimes yes, I do, but not all day every day. And I've gained soemthing. I have more confidence and more strength and more flexabily and less aches and pains and more smiles.

That's a lot better than if I were to stay on the couch and online the last few years doing nothing but worry....

Remember, this is self-help. It's not therapy or treatment or anything else but what we can do to help our self. I just wanted to put it together in an easy, fun way to remember and do.

Have you had your daily GRAPES today?

Take Good Care!


 J.P.Bailey, MA, MHRS and EFT Coach

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