Utilizing the ideas of:
First we will look at when your illness began; then we will look at more recent times when you felt particularly bad or your symptoms became a lot worse and do the same exercise.
We suggest you get a work book and write things down. Save all your writing.
You may want to print this page and go somewhere more relaxing to start work on it. Try and remember anything in your life that occurred around that time. Remember the key word is ANYTHING.
Do you remember when it began? Don’t worry about dates. It is amazing how often what you DO remember turns out to be relevant. So the emphasis is on what you remember not on the sorts of things you think you should remember. Remember the tip of the iceberg. The bits you remember are your access to the whole.
Don’t rush this. Have a coffee! Go for a walk. Sit down and reflect quietly. Let whatever come into your mind. Jot things down. Don’t worry about getting it all into a sensible form in a hurry. You can wait 24 hours before you tackle it again. If you find yourself wanting to get away from the task it might be because there is something you don’t want to let into clear awareness—we often handle painful or scary feelings that way.
Once you permit this process you may have an interesting or telling dream. Or you may find something happens to remind you of something. You may already have found one of the stories we have told has struck a chord. Just follow the leads you have and run with them.
You could chat with a relative or someone who knows you well and was around then Listen to that person carefully. What would he or she say was going on for you at that time? But remember such people can be unhelpful as well especially if they like to minimize feelings themselves.
Try not to answer these questions so much as use them to ask yourself what you remember from that time?
The smorgasbord question:
What were the most interesting, significant, memorable, stressful, difficult, problematic, troublesome, major things going on at that time?
What are the things you do remember whether they SEEM important or not?
Where were you at the time?
What relationships were you in at the time?
What were you working at or studying?
Were there any problems with these areas?
Had you changed anything significant--moved away from home, changed schools, or house or friends, or partner, or marital status.
Were there any losses-big or small?
Think of the following:
Children born, sick children, deaths and losses, unemployment, financial difficulty, excessive responsibility, burdensome caring of relatives, failure at exams or some project, work stresses, financial struggle………………………..
THE LIST GOES ON AND ON BECAUSE THE MEANINGFUL THINGS IN OUR LIVES ARE RICH AND VARIED.