Even before I started seeing a therapist, I thought of therapy and dealing with my issues as “the Great Work.” In part because I’m a grandiose motherfucker, but also because the idea of getting over my mental issues seemed like a huge amount of work.
This past weekend, I tore through Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist (which is one of those books that kicked me in the eye and demanded I reread it a few hundred more times, taking it all to heart). I read the book with the idea it would help me kick my own ass to write more prose, but I started thinking about all of the ways I could apply the book to my life, all the ways in which I am and can be creative. I realized therapy is one of those creative outlets for me. It’s not something I put up with, it’s not a chore, it’s something I want to do.
Since then, I’ve started thinking of therapy as creative play, no different from playing guitar or sketching or writing. My overall mood has lightened and my attitude towards my anxiety and depression has changed. I’m not seeing myself as “broken” or “sick,” but as “a work in progress.” I’m finding myself eager to practice what I’m learning in therapy, just as I’m finding myself more eager to write and exercise my creativity in other ways.
I don’t know that this is a profound change of perspective, but it’s very important to me and is having a very positive effect on my outlook and, um, inlook (as in looking in at myself, you dig?). I need more play in my life, anyway. Doesn’t everyone?