it takes time

Feeling better takes time.

That’s a royal pain in the ass for those of us who are impatient, or perfectionists, or just really into feeling good.

But it just is.

It just is so.

Like wind and rain and sunrise and the tides, feeling better doesn’t always turn up on your schedule.  It hints and teases, and then you have One Of Those Days–the ones where you wish you had a magic pill to make it go away.

And when you can’t get out of bed, or the baggage you’re carrying from early childhood (or your last breakup) feels just a bit too heavy, what do you do?


I don’t actually know what you do.

But here’s what I do:

1) I drink water.  Dehydration is a serious problem for my brain’s function.

2) I eat protein.

3) I forget everything I know about feeling better and wonder why (1) and (2) haven’t worked yet.

4) I try to go back to sleep.  It doesn’t work.

5) I drown my sorrows in Facebook or Twitter.  It doesn’t work.

6) I remember what feels good. (This is the key.  It’s the pivot point.)

7) I get out the art supplies.  When I draw I have TOTAL PERMISSION to make a COMPLETE MESS (2-d art is not my thing) so I get out paint or markers.  And I draw.  I scribble.  I “waste paper” (ask me sometime about my mother’s admonitions about wasting paper.)

8) I call people who make me smile.

9) I go to the ocean (I live near the ocean)

10) As I am doing these things I put my attention in that part of my lower abdomen that gets tingly when I’m turned on.  All of these things give me that same tingly feeling (sex doesn’t actually appeal to me when I’m down in the dumps or I’d probably try that, too) and as soon as I feel it, I follow it.

11) and follow it.

12) and next thing I know it’s 10 PM and I’ve written a blog post or a short story, or I’ve made art I want to hang, or made plans for the next day to see someone I really enjoy or…

There are variations on this theme.  But this is the essence.

These techniques also work as maintenance–when you’re not dumpsy but you don’t want to be, it can be avoided by prophylactic application of art, friends, touch, salt water, and eventually joy.

Why does it work?  Brain chemistry.  When you’re down, you are actually less able to experience pleasure and be creative.  Eventually, if you hit panic, you are functioning under fight-or-flight threat mode from yourself. BUT.  But…if you can flip the spiral it changes everything.

Figuring this out took me yearrrrrsss. Long. Years.

But it changed my life.

Give it a shot. What do you have to lose?


If you’d like to go into detail about this, I’ll be teaching a class called Unpacking With Pleasure: how not to let your shit run your life–on April 20.  Details are on my other website, over here: