The Recovering Farmer

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Feeling Better

We are immersed in a frigid artic air mass. Seems to be frozen in place (pardon the pun). Saw a headline in the paper this morning. “Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.” The article referred to the weather for today and the foreseeable future. Last week was snow. In my travels it seemed that based on other drivers we were experiencing the first snowfall of the year. Based on some drivers it seemed that they were driving in snow for the first time in their life. 10 kms per hour on Pembina? In the left hand lane? Really? 60 kms per hour on a highway? Why? Because of a little blowing snow? Really? Come-on folks. This is Manitoba. I know. I need to relax. But it is difficult.

By the way. Did you hear about the six year old boy in Colorado? He was suspended from school because he kissed a girl on the cheek. They are calling it sexual harassment. The school authorities felt he needed to learn a lesson. Really?

Sorry. I got side tracked. A few weeks ago I alluded to my medical appointment I had. During that appointment I asked the doctor about anti-depressants. As I have suggested for a while my mood, my emotions, my mental health had not been where I wanted it to be. We chatted about it. He did not have a definitive opinion. He did suggest that if I had some thoughts on other ways of coping, of healing I should try that first. So I went home and began using many of the tools I talk about often enough. I made an appointment with a friend/colleague/counselor. After that appointment I began using the treadmill on a daily basis. I started journaling. I listen to music. I pulled out my guitar and try to play it on a regular basis. I felt a significant improvement.

So a leading politician wishes viewers a Merry Christmas. In an attempt to be politically correct he includes infidel atheists in his greeting. Really? And then he. . . I better leave that one alone.

Oops. Did it again. On top of all the tools I was utilizing I still felt something missing. One night I found a book my brother had sent me earlier this fall. He thought it might help. A book called “Feeling Good” by David Burns. I thought there would be no harm in, at a minimum, see what it’s about. I often find that self-help books start out okay but then have a tendency to become tedious and far too technical for my simple brain. I was in for a surprise. This book is engaging. It is helpful. And it is interesting. Seems that each chapter is written specifically for me. The main theme of the book is dealing with depression through cognitive behavioral therapy rather than medication. I have read 1/3 of the book and have found numerous tools that have benefited me in many of the areas that I struggle with.

As I often admit, I lose patience very quickly when I travel the highways and byways of Manitoba. Some might call it road rage. Who am I to argue? I become irritated when I see certain news stories. Particularly ones that leave me befuddled with the human spirit, or should I say, the lack there of.

The book I just alluded to has a specific chapter on anger. It refers to your IQ. Not how smart you are. I would fail that one I am sure. It means your Irritability Quotient and refers to the amount of anger you absorb and harbor on a daily basis. It provides a test the reader can do called the Novaco Anger Scale. What I found out about myself is not positive. Something I need to change if I want to move beyond a continuous struggle with my emotional state. The good news is the author provides simple yet effective tools to overcome chronic issues with anger or irritability.

Now all I need to do is practice what I have learned. I have had positive results with some of the author’s other ideas. It should work with anger as well. Get to the point where other drivers don’t bug me. Not worry about the snow and the cold. Not be bothered with some of the idiotic things people do. Understand my triggers. Understand and build on the positive. Hey. The sun is shining. The house is warm. And to think, in a few short days the days start getting longer. Always something to look forward to. Make it a good one.

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