Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Processing . . . Please Wait

You know how sometimes you give your computer too many things to do at once and you get that error message in one form or another?  You've sent it into crisis.  Or you've confused it.  Or there are just more demands than it is capable of accomplishing.

Why don't humans have a screen where we can display such messages?

I would guess we've all been there.  So much going on, people pressuring you for a decision or action, and things moving so fast that you can't follow it all.  Knowing that to just say yes will get them off your back, but will likely cause major upheaval for you in the future.

At those times it would be nice to have those words flash above your head so that others would know that one more request won't do any good, it will just make things go even slower.

But there are other times when we, as humans, need additional processing capabilities.

In therapy the word processing is used a lot.  Processing is something that therapists help people do.  It's basically a way to try to make sense of something that doesn't seem to make sense.  Or figure out why you did something -- or why someone else did.  It's somewhat ethereal and undefined.  It can be difficult to even know you're doing it sometimes.  And it often happens when other people are around and they have no idea what's going on. 

I don't think it's any big secret that I've had lots of therapy.  I've had several different therapists and their techniques are all a little different.  But the goal is always the same.  Heal whatever is broken, or learn what you need to know, so that you can find peace.

So the things that need processing, therapeutically speaking, are things that keep you from having peace.

Sometimes these are obvious things.  Sometimes they are even simple things.  Or sometimes they are kind of hidden things, that maybe you are not telling yourself, that you are afraid of.  Things you don't ever want anyone else to know.

For me, now that I've processed most of the big things, I often just have a sense that something is wrong.  I don't necessarily know what it is, but something is off.  I've learned to respect that and process it.  Sometimes I have to just let it simmer in my brain for a few days, hoping it will swirl into something discernable.  That it will congeal into legible patterns.

After as much therapy as I've had, I can do a lot of this on my own.  But sometimes I still need someone else to walk with me.

You see, it can be very scary.  And very confusing.  It helps to have someone there who can see things from a distance to help you put it into perspective.  And who comes from a different background (or education) and can tell you about how things can be different.  And who can call you on it when you try to chicken out.  And who can help you find your way out of the darkness when it seems to be pulling you under.

It's kind of like being a kid with a sliver that's causing infection.  It hurts.  You're pretty sure getting it out will hurt more so you pull away and try to avoid dealing with it, hoping it will just heal on its own.  But eventually it has to come out or it can't heal.

And it works.  It does heal.

I am grateful for therapists.  I am grateful for the incredible capacity of the human mind (and soul) to heal.

And I am processing . . . please wait.


Margy said...

I also wish I could CONTROL Z.

Clothilda said...

thank you for your blog. i appreciate what you take the time to articulate. i too wish i had a CONTROL Z option.
thank you again.

Jessica Grosland said...

What about having a CTRL + ALT + DELETE button? When you're malfunctioning, you can just use that quick escape to get out of any programs that are causing you problems, or even just restart entirely with a fresh screen.

Man, why can't we all be computers?



Anonymous said...

I like Grosland's idea. :) But really.. the world would be a better place if everyone could responsibly back off whenever they needed to.