Thursday, July 15, 2010

You know I'm in trouble when I start writing songs....

So my mother's a little worried that I'm becoming hypomanic. Now I am too. I only slept one hour last night, I came up with a whole new therapy group concept, and I started writing a song.

Here's the therapy group concept:
Music, Poetry, and Thought, aka “the corny music group”—a combination of music therapy, CBT (reframing, confronting irrational thoughts, etc.), laughter yoga, and practicing trying something new/different, since they might not be familiar with the songs. Same principle as using Japanese or Chinese poems, sayings, and parables to provoke discussion on a variety of relevant topics. We could let the clients suggest songs and even perform their own poems or music (after strict rules have been established).

Tentative starter songlist:
  • Billie Holliday, “Strange Fruit” (or the documentary)
  • Brad Paisley, “Alcohol”
  • Eric Clapton, “Cocaine”
  • Wicked, “Defying Gravity”
  • Selena, “Como la Flor”: accepting loss graciously
  • Jimmy Buffett, “Margaritaville”: accepting responsibility
  • Beatles, “Hey Jude”
  • “Playing for Change” documentary
  • Fort Minor, “Remember the Name”
  • Bob Marley, “One Love,” “Three Little Birds,” “Buffalo Soldier,” “Redemption Song”
  • Amy Winehouse, “Rehab”
  • Temptations, “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”
  • Marvin Gaye, “What’s Going On”
  • Ray Charles, “Let’s Go Get Stoned”
  • Michael Jackson, “Man in the Mirror,” “Black or White”
  • Gloria Estefan, “Reach,”
  • “We Are the World” and “Do They Know It’s Christmas/Feed the World”: nice gesture, not enough, or cultural colonialism?
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Eddie Floyd
  • “Born Under a Bad Sign”
So far the idea has generated some positive buzz, although granted, the buzz has been generated among my Facebook friends. When I'm back from disability leave and vacation, I'll see if the clinical director likes the idea.

I wrote a whole passel of songs during one of  my worst hypomanias, more than 10 years ago. Most of them were lost when my last computer crashed, and most weren't very good, although one was. Wish I could fully remember it. Anyway, lyrics and melodies started coming to me again as I was thinking back over the past year or so, trying to figure out what I did wrong, when it seemed that crisis just piled on crisis:
  • October-November 2009: rats
  • January 2010: gum surgery
  • March: bronchitis
  • April: pregnancy scare and return of the rats
  • May: major sinus infection and fight with the landlady, including a nasty letter from her illiterate attorney
  • June: "abnormal" Pap smear and colposcopy, and following up with Dept. of Health and Housing Preservation to prove that I wasn't the reason there were rats in my apartment
I think we remember what went wrong on the last day of June and the first three days of July. And the work stress was pretty much constant and high since June 2009. Is it any wonder I ended up on the psych ward?

I can't write sheet music, so you can't hear the song as it's supposed to be sung, but these are the lyrics so far:

So Glad I Don't Have to Get Over You

It’s been a hard few days, and months,
It’s been a crazy year.
The joy of having you in my life,
Tempered—with pain and stress and fear…

I don’t know how I’d have survived,
If I’d been without you,
I’m glad I’ll never have to know,
And so glad I don’t have to get over you.

It is of course possible that watching 14 episodes of "Glee" back to back has me thinking in song. And maybe I'm not hypomanic. Maybe I'm just the Tracey Ullman of therapists.

Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

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