Note: From the discussion below, I realise it may be more appropriate to say reframe rather than revise the story.
Why YSK: There’s significant evidence that story editing can improve mood, reduce depressive symptoms, help you find clarity and achieve closure on upsetting experiences. Having studied the research on mental health and tried many approaches myself, I always come back to story editing. It’s accessible, works for problems big and small, gets your mind unstuck, you name it.
TECHNIQUES: You can do a sort of brain dump, where you write without stopping or censoring yourself for 15 min (a form of the expressive writing pioneered by James Pennebaker). Another effective way is to write about an upsetting event from a third-person’s perspective ( a form of self-distancing).
If you think about it, it makes sense - we are storytelling creatures, after all. Sometimes the stories we tell get us into trouble and the way out is to learn to take control and not get frozen in bad stories.
EDIT: Wow, this sort of exploded. I did not expect such a wide-ranging conversation. Thank you everyone for having such a deep, exhilarating and wide-ranging discussion with me. That's what I love most about Reddit!
Maybe this belongs in a different sub, but I found this out the hard way. I used to have such a dysfunctional work environment that the stress and anxiety would follow me home and (though I wouldnt call myself suicidal) I would fantasize death as a form of escape.
I thought I was alone, and I thought I wouldn’t be able to support my family if I changed jobs.
I eventually sought a different position - one that makes $1,000 less per month, but entails a better work environment/lifestyle and habits - and after some counseling, I can finally say I can enjoy my life again!
I’m happy. My wife is happy. That makes my kids happier. We can enjoy the time we have together.
I’d rather look for creative ways to make ends meet than sit at home worrying about work and wishing I was dead. And in the end, it’s the time we have together that matters.
Anyways, I just want to tell you from experience that if your work life is unhealthy, the leap of faith will ALWAYS be worth it! Pursue health fiercely. You will NEVER look back and wish you had the cash instead.
Edit: I realize that not everyone has the privilege of getting to make this choice - but if you’re out there and youre suffering from abuse or mental health issues from your place of work, this post is for you.
Throwaway account because my ex-wife follows me on reddit.
So my daughter has been staying with me since she turned 18, but visits my ex-wife a few times a year. She's always been pretty heavy, but not in an unhealthy way- she's 5'10 and weighs over 200lbs, but a lot of it's muscle- she lifts weights, plays rugby, and runs every week. In my opinion as a personal trainer this is fine. I don't really care how she looks aesthetically, as long as she's fit and healthy (which she absolutely is). My ex wife and her husband see things differently. They've always been on at her to lose weight and slim down, even though she's quite an impressive athlete. To an extent, I think this is partly out of fat phobia (she's said some horrible things about my current girlfriends weight).
Anyway, under lockdown, my daughter has kept her muscle mass, but also put on some weight- about 10 pounds since January. She still works out every day, but she struggles a bit more with some of the exercises. As far as I'm aware, it's made no real difference to her health- the workout routine she does every day isn't an easy one (I should know, I worked with her on it),and also, there's a pandemic, she's allowed to get a little flabbier.
My ex-wife doesn't think so. She sent a long email to me, saying I was being "negligent" in allowing her to gain weight, and that our daughter was "turning into a whale"." She told me I needed to tell her to get it together and lose some weight, or that she would have to do it herself. She also sent me a diet plan which she wanted to put my daughter on. She also implied that my girlfriend was a bad influence on our daughter due to her weight. To give full disclosure, I responded like this:
"Sorry, but you're being a Karen. Everyone I know has had changes in weight during lockdown, so I don't know why you've chosen to single (daughter) out. She's also well aware that she's gained weight, so I don't know why you think I have to tell her (daughter) is a grown woman, and it's not up to me to put her on diets. Even if it was, the diet you've chosen is ridiculous and insubstantial- it's not designed for someone who lifts weights and works out every day. If I recommended that to a client who was doing as much exercise as she is, I'd be fired. I understand you only want what's best for (daughter) but so do I, and I know much more about diet and exercise than you do. Please leave this stuff to me as I'm worried you and (new husband) could unknowingly do h... keep reading on reddit ➡