Because there’s never a good time …

… I thought I would just seize the moment and post a few thoughts and pictures. I see that it’s been almost two months since I last posted. A lot has happened since then. I left the military and started my new job as a school psychologist. Baby F grew up some more and is now sweeter than ever. L is doing an amazing job at balancing working 5/8 at her job and being a mother. I finally finished reading a couple of books.

And here’s the thing. Having finished the books, I would love to write about them here but I don’t have the energy. It has been a big adjustment starting work as a school psychologist and then there are the day-to-day demands and anxieties associated with being a parent of a toddler. I’d love to say more about the job but I probably need to let it settle down first (and also not write about it on a public blog).

So what have I been reading? The first book was Writing through the Darkness by Elizabeth Schaeffer. She writes from personal experience about using writing to ease her depression. She suffers from bipolar mood disorder and found it incredibly useful to write down her thoughts and feelings. From there she started a writing group at Stanford University for people with mood disorders. She has some excellent ideas on how to use different kinds of writing in different ways. Journalling, poetry, creative writing exercises, writing about trauma and so on. She also provides very valuable tips on how to start a writing group of your own and how to handle feedback (only constructive feedback is allowed). It is the kind of book that makes me want to go out and start such a group myself.

The second book is a therapy memoir about recovering from Borderline Personality Disorder using dialectical behaviour therapy, Buddhism and online dating. The Buddha and the Borderline is really good from both a therapy point of view and a memoir perspective. Kiera van Gelder captures excellently in words what so many people struggle with. And the fact that she does it with self-effacing humour, honesty and courage had me cheering her on all the way through.

It would be good to read another therapy memoir and to be able to compare these two. But at the moment my attention is quite divided between my job and Baby F.

Speaking of which, a couple more pics …

I love her expression in the first one. She’s clearly quite unimpressed to be faced with the prospect of learning to play the piano. Perhaps she senses the hours of musical misery which her father inflicted on this instrument (and his family)?

In the bottom one she’s in her element on her safari mat with her Lion-Cow and other animals. She’s also wearing a green baby-grow in honour of the Springboks (it is World Cup time after all) and in the background you can see some of the books which are piled up on my bedside table.

That’s probably enough for now. I hope to be back before another two months go by.

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8 Responses to Because there’s never a good time …

  1. David says:

    Such a cute baby!

    I really like the idea of the writing/support group…it’s similar to something I did myself about ten years ago, and I can vouch for the fact that it’s very powerful for people to be heard in a safe space. It can be a great adjunct to therapy…there’s something different about being heard by other people who are in the trenches vs. someone who’s holding a road map and a flashlight, as it were.

    • Pete says:

      Thanks David! I would definitely like to try a writing group at some stage. The trouble is getting to the point where I’m writing enough to feel that it’s worthwhile. One step at a time I suppose.

  2. litlove says:

    First off, those pictures are so cute! She’s adorable, Pete.

    I have such plans for a reading/support group. One day I hope to get a bunch of people together with depressive issues or similar, and read through some novels/short stories with them. Fiction is such a safe place for discussing things that would be way too painful or intrusive if you had to put them in a personal context. I’ve heard about such groups running in the North of England, and there’s an incredibly expensive course you can go on to be a qualified practitioner in this. I was rather hoping a lifetime’s teaching and reading would stand as qualification instead!

    Very interested in your Buddhism and borderline personality book, Pete, but think you need something fluffy and easy and fun to read. I remember what it was like trying to snatch a few pages between domestic chores….

    • Pete says:

      Thanks Litlove. With the baby pics she’s quite interested in the camera so her expression changes as soon as it comes out.

      That reading group sounds lovely and I’m sure you’d be excellent at it. And that’s a very good point about something fun to read versus something too heavy. I tend to try and combine reading for pleasure with work and then it’s a bit like therapy again. But I would recommend the Van Gelden book. There were parts that were more heavy-going but there were also parts that were funny and light. So I’m still undecided about whether reading books like that is reassuring or not!

  3. Great to hear from you, Pete. Adorable pics! I remember well how busy life was with babies. I’m glad you’ve had some time to read and very happy for you getting away from the military. I think there’s a lot to be said for sharing difficult feelings and experiences through writing and discussion of writing.

    • Pete says:

      Thanks Lilian. I’m really interested in writing as a way of dealing with difficult feelings and experiences so it was a good read. Unfortunately (or fortunately) my life feels very distracted at the moment so it’s difficult to take a lot of those writing tips to heart. And I’ve lent the book out now so I can’t refer to it. But I think the trick is to keep writing (and to use whatever is to hand as inspiration).

  4. Leah says:

    I have such plans for a reading/support group. One day I hope to get a bunch of people together with depressive issues or similar, and read through some novels/short stories with them. Fiction is such a safe place for discussing things that would be way too painful or intrusive if you had to put them in a personal context. I’ve heard about such groups running in the North of England, and there’s an incredibly expensive course you can go on to be a qualified practitioner in this. I was rather hoping a lifetime’s teaching and reading would stand as qualification instead!
    +1

  5. DoctorDi says:

    Two months for you to write it and one month for me to read it – pick the newish parents!!! God, Pete, Baby F is thriving and gorgeous. Don’t you just want to eat her?! Too cute. I agree with LL – I read ONE DAY by David Nicholls recently and it was perfect escapist material. But I really appreciate hearing about these books because I am going to get the first one for my sister. So lovely to hear how you are and a relief to know I am not alone in struggling to blog. But I miss you guys a lot. Xx

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