Wednesday, May 25, 2016


     As I battle some anxiety this morning about an issue that is worrying me greatly, I thank goodness for the therapist who years ago while struggling through an awful divorce and custody battle, taught me how to compartmentalize. This skill is one that I have needed and used throughout the years to get through stressful events.

     It is what it suggests: put whatever is bothering you into a mental room in your head. Lock up the room, and don’t go there until you have the strength and/or information to deal with it. Sounds easy, right? Nope. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, it saves much angst.

    As we prepare for a move which will rob me of wonderful, cherished friends as well as a reputation for which I have worked tirelessly for years, I keep my emotions compartmentalized. I will open that door before I leave, but not yet. Once that door opens, I fear the sadness will wash over me, and I will be submerged in tears. So I will keep it locked up for a few more weeks.

     Compartmentalizing, for anyone who does not engage in this practice, is basically distracting the mind. Keeping the mind focused on other things, preferably positive ones where full concentration is necessary, helps keep us away from the door. Physical exercise is the best way, but that’s not always possible, if one has to go to work, for example. My teaching was my savior as I endured the pain of divorce years ago. I could lose myself in my students, my teaching and my stage where my sadness had no place—only my joy and passion for teaching my kids. I remember walking out the door of that high school many days feeling that other “door” coming unhinged. I remember walking into an empty house, noting that there were no messages on my recording machine feeling like that door was going to crash on top of me at any second. Several times it did, but not when I had to keep it closed.

     Today, I will keep the “door” locked for now. Tonight, I will have to open it and deal with the consequences, but in the meantime, the sun is shining, gentle breezes are blowing, and I will embrace the day in all its goodness. Do you compartmentalize? If you do, and you have friends who are struggling, ask them if they know this skill. If not, share it with them. Thanks, Brenda:)