Thursday, March 29, 2007

An Ideal Wellness Center

A few months ago, when I could feel a depression coming on, I knew that all I needed to feel better was to be able to go to a Wellness Center. I didn't feel like being alone but I couldn't go out and have to engage other people.

Why is it that there are an abundance of Cancer Centers throughout the country and nothing for us? The place I envisioned was a Richard Neutra- type house with different healers in different rooms and all of the rooms overlooking a swimming pool and hot tub. If I wanted to, I could just lie on a chaise lounge and listen to relaxing music, participate in a mindfulness meditation taught by someone connected to Jon Kabat-Zinn, take a Yoga class, get a massage, or take a woodworking class if I felt better.

Recently I've been researching cancer centers to see what resources they have. You wouldn't relieve how great the classes are. There's painting, writing to heal, tai chi, qui gong, and knitting (it's evidently relaxing). There are places where the support groups take hikes together or go swimming. There's a place in Santa Barbara, CA where they provide free 10-week exercise classes at a local YMCA.

Obviously, when you feel lousy, you don't want talk to anyone and you certainly don't feel like participating in energetic exercise classes. But it might not be so bad to be with other people if you didn't have to talk. When my son was little and I took him to the park, he did what they called "parallel play." It just meant that he sat and played by himself while the kid next to him also played by himself. That's not a bad idea for people who feel depressed. How great it would be if you could go and do an activity you like--and have people around--but you could remain silent because everyone realizes you don't feel like talking.

P.S. The graphic is the Hoffman House.

4 comments:

Rob Johnson said...

Susan,

I've started reading your old posts and I apologize for being so inquisitive. I suspect that's why I'm so intuitive.

I love the idea of parallel play and silence. I wouldn't isolate when I'm depressed if I didn't feel the need to entertain anyone or mask so no one felt the need to entertain me - both require more energy than I have to offer during those times.

I realize that your blog is the first that I've started reading, but I find it insightful and I love the wide variety of information and useful "tools".

Thank you, again, for sharing your insights and experience.

Rob

p.s. I've turned on the comments on my blog.

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Rob,
Thanks for explaining; I appreciate it. Actually, I love the fact that you're reading all my old posts. I'm writing a book on wellness and will be including some of them, but many were written before I'd developed an audience and it's nice to know that they're being read!

It took me years to get to this place, and it's very satisfying to help others!

Susan

Robin J Foote said...

Have you heard of the following program?
"Getting well and staying well is the focus of Mary Ellen Copeland - author, educator, and mental health recovery advocate. Mary Ellen’s work is based on the study of the day-to-day coping and wellness strategies of people who have experienced mental health difficulties. It centers on self-help, recovery, and long-term stability. Personally, Mary Ellen has experienced years of mental health difficulties and has achieved long-term wellness and stability using these strategies."

It seems to be an ideal stratgy for Bipolar.

Wellness Writer said...

Robin,
I am aware of Mary Jane Copeland and have read her workbook on depression. My problem with it is that it dwells on illness, not wellness as far as I'm concerned. Also, I don't believe in dealing with "mental" and "physical" illnesses as separate entities unless people are truly psychotic.

However, I believe she does very good work and helps a lot of people. Thanks for mentioning it!

Susan