Tom came to Life Puzzle coaching after seven years of working with a therapist on his depression. At this point his life had been consumed by depression so significantly that he was unable to work. He was living at home and barely getting through the day. He was referred by a former client and we’d been working together for several sessions when he asked that question: “Why don’t we ever talk about my depression?”
I answered, “After seven years, don’t you think you’ve talked about it enough? I’d much rather we talk about your wholeness and Life Puzzle. Did you ever talk about that in the last seven years?”
Tom sat there stunned. Furrowed brow told me he was thinking about this. He shook his head and said, “No, not really. Every week we discussed if I was more or less depressed, but we never talked about wholeness.”
“Then let’s try that for the next two months, okay? Let’s explore which areas of your life need some attention and put our focus there. For example, you’re not working right now, why don’t we explore where you might find a part-time job.”
Tom eyes went wide and he began to shake his head no. He said, “I’m too depressed to work. I’m not ready to figure out what career I want. No, I can’t work.”
I responded by saying, “I didn’t say anything about finding a career. Just a job, nothing more. And only part-time for now. That you can do. Work at a coffee shop, or a retail store. Just something to get you back into the swing of things. In fact, that’s your home work—this week, to get a part-time job anywhere.”
Tom said, “Well, where exactly?”
“Let’s brainstorm that!”, I said. And we did. We spent the rest of the session exploring possibilities in the area he lived in. He left the session with three places he was going to go and apply for a job. One of them had even had a ‘help wanted’ sign that he’d seen.
The following week, Tom arrived with a smile on his face. He’d landed a job at the local hardware store. He loved tools and working with his hands so it was a fun job for him. It was only part-time but it was a good start for him.
We started this week’s session by my asking Tom, “Which was more fun to talk about last week—finding a part-time job or your depression?”
“Definitely the part-time job.” said Tom. “I know this job isn’t perfect and I might only work there a few months, but even in the few days I’ve been there, I’ve been too busy to let my depression rule my day.”
“Well then, if you’re okay with us focusing on your wholeness instead of your depression, I’d like to suggest this week, we begin at the beginning and look at the edges of your Life Puzzle. How does that sound to you?”
Tom replied, “A whole lot better than talking about my depression.”
I laughed, as I said, “Oh, great little twist there—a whole lot better to focus on wholeness than depression. Yes, indeed. Let’s get to work!”
And that’s what we did for the next year. We worked weekly for three months, then switched down to bi-weekly, then monthly. By the time Tom left the counseling/coaching process, he was well-versed in wholeness and when feelings of depression arose, he was able to confront them and redirect his energy into growing a piece of his Life Puzzle. Depression is real, but from the wholeness perspective, it is here to challenge you to look at all the areas of your Life Puzzle and see what needs attention and change. When you let depression be the focus, wholeness can’t emerge. When you focus on wholeness, depression becomes a stimulant for growing, changing in one or more pieces.