I was talking with a client on the phone this afternoon. She was feeling down about the state of things that were going on in her life. She had an image of how she wanted her life to be, and her life was going its own way. Her friends were feeling down about their lives too. She tried getting advice from them and they didn't have the capacity to help her. There was a lot of unabated turmoil going on in her and she wanted to feel better.
I said, "The way you are seeing the situation is exhausting to you. A large part of you is invested in things turning out the way you imagine, and they are going a different way and this is causing you mental distress. The clutter is the jangly echoing sounds in your head that come from resisting the way things are working out. To an outsider, the way things are working out isn't bad. It's bad to you because you want something different to be happening, and it's resulted in your feeling depressed. The problem with all the emotional unhappiness that you are feeling is that it colors everything you see with the perspective of unpleasantness. Nothing is going to make you feel better."
She said, "I know, I don't like that."
I said, "Meanwhile there are some really good things going on in your life. As they are, they can be a cause of celebration. But, it's hard to think that way with the emotional involvement that is going on. It feels like the involvement will bring about change, but we can now see that it's not. The things that are pretty good in your life, are quieter than the discord. By talking about, and pointing them out, they get illuminated, and they start to cause solace. You have an amazing son, a fantastic husband, a really great home, and you're healthy. You feel successful to me with those things alone. I think you're really lucky."
I could hear her breathe. It felt like the fire in her head had gone out.