Worksheets as Training

After she stops competitive swimming, Leanne Shapton moves into the world of art. She's diagnosed with chronic depression. In the chapter "Coaches" of her autobiographical Swimming Studies she explains how she began to practice her way out of it:

I don't remember those bleak months, just my brother coming over to my apartment and sitting in my bedroom while I cry; my parents' concern, confusion, and support; my friend Sara's infinite patience with my ruminative, annoying phone calls; the little blue pills and the little pinkish-brown ones. I start cognitive behavioral therapy but I can't imagine feeling better. In my doctor's office I hold up a worksheet and ask him how many I have to fill out before I feel better. He says a hundred. I get it, like laps. I can do a hundred. I settle in, blinker myself, count the laps. Six months and a hundred fifty worksheets later, I feel better. The drugs help me focus, and I finish a series of drawings, self-publish them in a book, move to New York with the green card.

^z - 2013-04-02