Psychodrama & the art of living with your inner selves
I have been suffering from depression since 2004. Many family members on my mom’s side of the family were diagnosed with depression too so it’s logical to assume that I had a genetic disposition of developing depression. I was always the kind of person called an over thinker and people made me feel guilty about it, like I intentionally stir through shit to feel like it.
I tried eating healthy and walking, dancing did help for a while but it just uplifted my mood and delayed the handling of emotions in a sustained way. I tried meditating but I used it to escape and not to try and let go slowly. I was basically on my own fighting it off until early 2015 when I tried psychotherapy. Which also failed miserably.
The problem I have with psychotherapy is that it relies on medications for you to feel better so the psychiatrist can dig in, if the meds don’t work the doctor waits longer, or changes dosage, but changing the meds seems like an outsider idea for them. Sometimes they even asked me to push myself and do something I feel unsafe doing just to lift my mood and dig in. What if I will never feel better? Does that mean I will never get to understand the depths of why I am covered in this shit? It was such an inflexible way of handling something so critical. Two weeks space between each attempt ended up a six months journey of just pushing and silent judgement, with nothing in return.
Between the weeks I was attending psychotherapy I came across the psychodrama workshops and gave it a shot. The experience was overwhelming and a lot to swallow at the first time, especially that I am usually slow to process and I was feeling brave and expressive so I dived right in and nominated myself for drama. It was intense and overwhelming and it brought a lot of pain to the surface.
But it was good.
It was good because psychodrama is based on theories that we all have an inner theater with roles and inner power dynamics between them that control all our functions and behaviors. Observing it can explain our unresponsiveness and our fears, our jealousy, our possessiveness, it can explain things that make us filled with self loathing and blame, or judgment, or despair. And training to take the lead in managing that theater is possible, by training THE Self, THE part of you that is responsible of negotiating terms, compassionately, creatively and curiously, to connect and comprehend the back story of each role inside of us. That comes with unbiased observation and compassion, and lots of playing and communication.
It’s very close to the roles notion in the amazing cartoon Inside Out. The idea is to identify and differentiate between different voices inside our heads, and manage to give them space to express and then take the lead and decide how to proceed.
And that’s the only method that has worked with me, it helped me make progress on controlling my fear, my anger, my insecurities and my desires. It helped me understand the dark sides of all the fun things I do to escape reality, and how to compassionately contain my anxiety and depression, and embrace them.
I am grateful for it and for everyone who’s accompanied me on that journey.