- When I was 19 and depressed, I was irritable, reclusive, and suicidal. I lived in a frat house with a dear friend of mine who was not going to let me isolate. He wanted to help me. He poured a pitcher of cold water on top of my head to get me out of bed and I called him names. But he just laughed at me. I got so furious that I took a swing at him. He was a very strong man and easily blocked my punch, locked my arm behind my back, and pushed me (fully clothed) into the shower so that I would go out with him. In the end I gave up, got cleaned up, and went out with him. I was lucky that he understood where I was coming from at the time and did not get upset or resentful by my name-calling and impotent violent outburst.
- When I wrote my e-book on depression, I thought about what my life was like when I was 19 to 24. As I reflected I realized that it wasn’t all bad; and there were some interesting incidents. One of them was meeting a young woman who knocked me out. On her Facebook page I was prompted by Facebook, ‘write a story of how you met this person.’ So I did. I wrote the story of how we met, how my knees got weak and how we spent the summer of my 21st year sneaking around. My wife knows all about this woman, our past, and our current friendship in the present. My wife’s best friend called me up and severely criticized me for writing that and humiliating my wife. She continued to berate me on the phone. She said, “I always protect the ones I love.” At that moment I understood where this woman was coming from, especially after that comment about protecting the ones she loved, because her immediately family is very ill (heart problems, Parkinson’s…) I understood that this was coming from the desire to ‘save’ or stand up for all of these people and when confronted with a situation in which she felt her best friend was being harmed, and had some semblance of control, she felt empowered to take action. Now I love my wife very much and I never meant to embarrass her in, I was simply walking down memory lane in what I felt was an innocent Facebook post. After the fourth criticism from my wife’s best friend I stopped the dialog, and said, “enough,” and we terminated the conversation. Because regardless of why she was lashing out on me, I know that I have to be understanding but I do not have to be anyone’s punching bag. As a therapist I have a moral obligation to work out any unfinished issues so that I can be as clear for my patients as I possibly can so I strive to do that in my daily life.
Write about a time that you lashed out at someone close to you because of frustration/fear/anger resulting from your health condition and you wish you could take it back. Forgive yourself and let it go.
- On the flip side, write about a time that someone said something to you that they wished they could take back. Did you forgive them? Why or why not?