Sunday, November 16, 2014

Think happy thoughts.

In a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy class at Vandy, I listened to the professors speak about how the thoughts in your mind and the feelings in your body changing your behaviors - sometimes in helpful ways, and other times in unhelpful ways.

I immediately flashed back to my childhood, when Hannah or I would sneak down the stairs from the third floor to the basement where Mom and Dad were talking or watching television, to tell them that we "just couldn't sleep." (Only one girl went at a time. We had an unspoken understanding that if both sisters were downstairs in pj's at the same time, Mom and Dad would know that something was up, and nobody would be able to enjoy any of it.) Sometimes it was true - the neighbor boys were playing basketball on the school playground and the metal nets clanged, or we were worried about something. Usually it was because we heard the tv show through the floors and were too curious to miss out. Or we smelled popcorn.

Whatever the reason for tiptoeing down the stairs, Mom and Dad never crumbled. They listened to the story of the night, responded appropriately, and as were were shooed upstairs, one or the other said, "Well, go lie in your bed and think happy thoughts."

What in the heck kind of good did that do for us?  No questions were answered. We didn't even get a snack. But that was the final word. NOBODY tried to argue the happy thoughts solution. We took it as a sentence, sighed deeply, and went back to bed.

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