I have signed up for a therapy recently. After a series of personal disappointments and failed enterprises over the last 6 months, I needed the help from outside. Honestly, I hate myself sound depressed and drained to my dear ones- family and friends- partially because I want to always meet their expectations of seeing me upbeat. I secretly fear that they will be bored/furious/exhausted if I surrender myself to whining for a long time. But something had to be done. The situation seemed worrying- even physical exercises and capoeira didn’t work!
A couple of months ago I read an article on BBC Culture, about how fiction, not only the so-called “self-help” literature, can boost our mood and well-being. This is when I plunged into the “therapy”. The bibliotherapy.
“Your dream and almost 4-month- efforts were squashed. No pot of gold at the end of the rainbow”. (Surprisingly, no heartbreaking thoughts of being single on a Valentine DayJ) These heavy speculations were swirling in my mind while my feet involuntarily made their way to the nearest bookstore.
Soon enough did I shift from depressive- into curiously-seeking-mode. Here they were – my antidepressants- shelved in accurate rows. Classics and contemporaries, fiction and non-fiction- a whole myriad of therapeutic choices. Strolling around the shelves and leafing through random books, I already felt at ease. But I had to find my ”medication” for longer-term results.
My “pill” was hidden among the English fiction books: “Committed” by Elizabeth Gilbert, sequel to her bestselling autobiography “Eat, Pray, Love” (the movie of the same name starred by my favorite Julia Roberts and Chavier Bardem). Suddenly I had a fling – like the ones I feel running into an appealing guy. My gut feel said: “Grab it and swallow”.
It’s already a week since my first bibliotherapy class, and the ”pill’ tastes sweetJ. I’m happy to blend it with sports and friend-therapy as now I’m not afraid of tears suddenly bursting while working out or chatting with a friend in the middle of the working day. I just repeat to myself Gilbert’s words from Eat, Pray, Love: “I was full of a hot, powerful sadness and would have loved to burst into the comfort of tears, but tried hard not to, remembering something my Guru once said — that you should never give yourself a chance to fall apart because, when you do, it becomes a tendency and it happens over and over again. You must practice staying strong, instead.” And I am back to practicing it, and I’m in the middle of fundamental changes.
If you think reading an outdated and boring pursuit, it’s time to redesign your mindset. Next time you feel bogged down, go to a bookstore or get a library subscription to read away the depressive thoughts.
P.S. This post is dedicated to the Book Day in Armenia which is annually marked on February 19, the birthday of famous Armenian writer Hovhannes Tumanyan.