Monday, March 26, 2018

It's Not Always Depression

So here is a new, and very helpful book that feels just right for people in recovery. 
We so often hear people say, “I feel like I didn’t get the book that others got, and I’m always trying to figure things out.”

Well, therapist Hilary Jacobs Hendel has written this new book, "Its Not Always Depression",  and it offers a lot of what
many feel they are missing: What are these feelings; Should I try to feel them or not feel them; and What the heck do I do with all this emotion? We worry—do I feel too much? Not enough? The right stuff?

In our “using” days we didn’t actually feel much, not much that was authentic. In fact, there may have been a lot in us that wanted to be felt but we either didn’t have the emotional skills to do it, or we were afraid of feeling big emotions, or, maybe when we did embrace our feelings it backfired, and we mismanaged anger, sadness, or even happiness.

 So, what’s a girl to do?

Hendel says that she wrote this book because she got some of those “fix it don’t feel it” messages when she was growing up. Then in her therapeutic training she learned the “change triangle” and was excited to discover that practical tool. She is adamant that working the “Change Triangle” is a public health issue and a way to sort of translate mental states and bodily sensations into practical, normal, effective practices, and the result is always feeling better and being better in our relationships.

Sound good?

Of course, you have to practice. There is breath work and there is some journaling, and there are exercises to do in the book: fill in the blank exercises and questions to ask yourself, reflect on and write about.

The pay-off of doing the work? Well, we know the payoff of working the steps—our lives change. And similarly, here, Hendel leads us to emotional literacy, but even better, emotional acceptance. 

In addition to her professional bona fides—a degree in biochemistry and an MSW from Fordham, and certification as a psychoanalyst, Hendel was also a consultant on the psychological development of characters for the TV show, Mad Men.