Depression Self-Help Ideas - What Can We Learn From Movies?
The Happiness Project
Take one depressed person...me
Implement one suggestion from a self help book each week
See what happens
Can one unmedicated and therapy-less woman find the secret to happiness from the words of self-help gurus? Let's find out!
Week Number Two: August 21, 2009
I am already violating my own rules. I am looking not to a self-help book this week for wisdom, but to the movies. Watched "What about Bob?" this week starring Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss. If you haven't seen this film, it is about Bob Wiley (played by Bill Murry), a phobic psychiatric patient who follows his egotistical psychiatrist, Doctor Leo Marvin (played by Richard Dreyfuss) on vacation. When Bob endears himself to the doctor's family and refuses to leave, Doctor Marvin becomes mentally unhinged.
This movie is a comedy but I have to say that there are some good self-help suggestions contained within this film. I kid you not.
At the beginning of the movie, Doctor Marvin gives Bob advice from his book called, "Baby Steps" to tackle problems by taking small steps. It really isn't such a bad idea.
"What about Bob?" Self-Help Suggestion Number One: When you have a seemingly overwhelming challenge, break it up into manageable steps. For example, if you want to want to make new friends make a small goal of greeting two people during your day as a start. This week I tackled my reluctance to schedule doctor's appointments for myself. When you get to my age, and have a chronic disease like MS, there are a lot of appointments to be made. And I have been hating the thought of being poked, prodded, and possibly told bad things. So to overcome my reistance I wrote a list of all the doctors I need to see and told myself I would make one phone call each week to schedule a doctor's appointment. This week I finally scheduled an appointment at my neurologist's office which is long overdue. Next week I will schedule my mammogram and so forth each week until I am done. I am proud of myself that I was able to do this. Breaking up the goal of calling for five different appointments into one a week made it seem less daunting.
Baby Steps work!
I also liked when Bob discussed his perspective on people who don't like you: "You know what I do? I treat people like their telephones. If I meet somebody who I don't think likes me I just say to myself 'Bob, this one's out of order. Just hang up and try again."
Hey...I think Bob is on to something.
"What about Bob?" Self-Help Suggestion Number Two: Not everyone is going to like you. It is no reflection on you. You could be a loaf of bread and someone might not like you. So don't waste time trying to gain approval or acceptance by someone who doesn't jive with your groove. Focus your time on the people who do like, love, and support you.
I have been trying to implement this suggestion in my own life by investing more of my personal energy and time with those who are positive and supportive.
In order to get rid of Bob and send him home, Doctor Marvin gives the following advice to Bob:
Doctor Marvin: "I'm giving you permission to take a vacation, Bob. Not a vacation from
your work. Not a vacation from your daily life. But a vacation from...
Bob: "My problems."
Of course Bob interprets this as an invitation to stay at Dr. Marvin's summer lake home. But once again there is wisdom to be found in this movie quote.
"What about Bob?" Self-Help Suggestion Number Three: Take a scheduled break from worrying about your problems. If you are anything like me worries can take over your mind and soon you can't think about anything else. It is good to be distracted from ruminating about problems. I took this advice this week and took time for myself to watch DVD movies I had bought for myself....like "What about Bob?" And I allowed myself to forget my troubles. It is good to give yourself a respite from anxiety whenever you can. You are not running away from problems but rather, you are regrouping and keeping yourself sane.
Not such bad advice from a Bill Murray comedy eh? There is enlightenment all around us. We just have to be open to the opportunities...
If these suggestions work for you let me know in the form of a comment here. Have a good weekend everyone!