Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 18 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Freedom from Resentment

In my program of recovery we learn, " which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness," and that, "...this business of resentment is infinitely is fatal." I have found this to be incredibly accurate and true in my life. One of the greatest gifts of my sobriety has been freedom from resentments.

I use the word freedom purposefully, because that is exactly what it is. Freedom. I never imagined I'd be able to get through the trials and tribulations, the inevitable slights and inherent unfairness, of this thing called life without feeling resentful. It's like magic.

Of course, I'm not perfect. In fact, I'm writing this post because I've been extremely imperfect over the last week. One week ago I was reamed for 20 minutes by the spouse of one of my patients. She disagreed with my plan of care. It was ugly.

Despite my rising frustration and anger, I was professional and calm throughout our interaction. I tried to offer compromises and solutions, but it eventually became clear she was only interested in her solution. Toward the end of our interaction she got personal and nasty. I wanted to tear her head off. I didn't. The interaction ended. I don't even remember how, but neither of us went away happy.

Unfortunately, the situation went unresolved until yesterday. My boss, who needed to step in and educate the spouse about the realities of treatment and about appropriately interacting with therapy staff, was on vacation until yesterday. In the interim, the patient, and his spouse, had returned for his regularly scheduled appointments multiple times. The atmosphere was less than ideal.

I guess the situation is now resolved, but I'm still not happy. In reviewing the heated conversation, I feel good about how I interacted with the spouse and the patient. There was more than enough provocation for me to lose my cool, but I didn't. I'm satisfied with that. But internally, it's been a different story. I haven't been feeling quite so satisfied.

Rather than satisfied, I've been steaming. I've tried and tried and tried to let it go. I've tried to put out of my mind the nasty, unfair things the spouse said. Unfortunately, I haven't been very successful. Throughout this last week my feelings of resentment, and all the things I wish I could have said, were never far from my consciousness. My resentment impacted my mood, my energy, and my sleep. That really frustrated me.

Last night I spoke about my feelings with a woman wiser than I. She has 25+ years of sobriety. She reminded me of one of the tenets of our program of recovery. It's on page 67 in our book. It describes the path from resentment to freedom. It says, in part, "We realized that the people who wronged us were spiritually sick." "We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend." "When a person offended we said to ourselves, 'This is a sick person. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.'"

I moaned, loudly, as she reminded me of this prayer. Over the past week it never even crossed my mind. I protested. Pray for this woman who had been so mean and unfair? That's the last thing I wanted to do! But I knew, from my own experience, it would work. Dammit. I knew what I needed to do.

So my task now is to say this prayer daily, for two weeks, in order to free myself from my resentment. I can't afford to continue allowing this woman to occupy free space in my brain. If past results are any indication, and I have no reason to expect otherwise, as long as I do what I need to do I know I will again feel free. It's like magic.


Anonymous said...

"I wanted to tear her head off. I didn't."

I'm glad you clarified that.

etta said...

@paullamb: Thanks. Your comment made me laugh out loud.