In a previous life, I used to be a drummer. Just for the record I refer to a previous period of my life, not as in reincarnation. Because a life prior to parental alienation and/or depression can seem like a completely different life at times.
For those unfamiliar with the term parental alienation please see here.
Ultimately I used to play the drums more or less on a daily basis. However to prevent further threats of litigation I will not over-elaborate why I had no access to my drum-kit for over a year!
“Due to the level of focus and concentration needed my mind was not free or allowed to wander.“
Anyway, I digress. The purpose of this article is not to declare to the world the outcome of my recent divorce proceedings but to explore the concept of coping when being under immense pressure.
When I used to play my drums, due to the level of focus and concentration needed my mind was not free or allowed to wander. I was arguably in a state of mindfulness while engaging in this activity.
For those unfamiliar with the concept of mindfulness, in the briefest of explanations it is the achievement of a mental state whereby one focuses one’s awareness on the present moment. Ultimately my mind, during those drumming sessions of mine would be fixed and held in the here and now.
And this is where I would like to explore the concept of taking and holding oneself in the here and now. There is a psychological concept known as Present Moment Contact. As the name suggests, this very much works withing the same context of mindfulness.
Present Moment Contact was explained to me as follows: If we imagine a timeline. And in the middle of the timeline is the here and now. Going backwards along the timeline from the here and now we reach the past. Going forwards along the timeline from the here and now we reach the future.
Hopefully the image above helps explain this concept in more depth. We all ruminate about the past. And we all worry about the future.
“So the principle of Present Moment Contact is finding a way to take ourselves to the here and now”
However the underlying principle of Present Moment Contact is that when we ruminate too much about the past, at disproportionate levels this all too often results in depression. And equally when we worry too much about the future, at disproportionate levels this all too often results in anxiety.
So the principle of Present Moment Contact is finding a way to take ourselves to the here and now, thereby minimising any rumination on the past or worrying about the future. Present Moment Contact can be utilised in numerous ways. One of which involves utilising our five senses much in the same way we use mindfulness.
In my humble opinion, both as a psychiatric nurse and as someone that manages my own depression, I believe we should all engage and utilise such therapeutic concepts in whatever way suits us best. As long as we have the insight and understanding of what it is we are trying to achieve.
“A metaphorical dark cloud following me around, that refuses to completely go away.”
So in returning to my drumming, that was the hobby that used to take me to the here and now. I could definitely do with a good drumming session now. Due to parental alienation I have not seen my children for over a year and I continue to pursue this through the courts. I am managing my depression as well as ever. But at times it is akin to a metaphorical dark cloud following me around, that refuses to completely go away. A dark cloud that could pour down a storm at any time.
However whilst writing this article I have been reminising (note that I was not ruminating!) about when I used to have access to my drum-kit. By coincidence one of my all time favourite songs is Under Pressure, by Queen and David Bowie. Suffice to say I had a drumless track of this on my iPod that I used to merrily drum along to.
Drumming along to this was my ultimate here and now. Four minutes and eight seconds of pure unadulterated escapism.
As a song Under Pressure is an insanely powerful song. Both in terms of its musical arrangement and its meaning. It opens with John Deacon’s distinctive bassline. Two and a half minutes in, the track suddenly explodes and the entire song opens like a roar.
Ultimately the main theme of the song’s lyrics are about modern life and the pressures of every day life. However like all well written lyrics, the deeper meaning of the lyrics are left open to interpretation.
To conclude, the above concept is not a magic wand. However he point I wish to finish with is that whether one is battling parental alienation, depression, or both, it is of the upmost importance to take care of yourself.
“It’s a terror knowing what this world is about” (David Bowie, Under Pressure).
I am an alienated parent of three. Part-time psychiatric nurse, part-time writer. I am also an online activist against parental alienation. I use my knowledge of mental health and lived experience of parental alienation to promote awareness of parental alienation.