The Self-Authoring Suite at

I figured to just put it there in the subheading to get past the suspense. I want to make clear, though, that the “breaking” I’m talking about was actually a form of progress for me.

In mid 2015, suffering from daily panics attacks, fractured and nightmare-fueled sleeping, and constant low-level anxiety, I was grabbing at every solution I could find. My GP put me on Lexapro to help with the anxiety, and after a month, it did indeed curtail both my panic attacks and anxiety. Still, I knew what was sleeping under the surface of my consciousness like a leviathan waiting to rise up and devour me, and it was scary. Meds are great, but I was fully aware of the fact that the prescription was a stop-gap measure.

I read about the Self-Authoring Suite somewhere online, possibly this article at NPR, and I thought it might help me deal with my issues and get me back on track in the direction I wanted to go instead of hurtling downhill at breakneck speed.

It didn’t.

Not because it didn’t work, though, but because it did. In going through the “present virtues authoring” exercises, I stalled. I stalled so hard I broke down crying.

The exercise followed the creation of a list of virtues I believe about myself, stuff like “I have a vivid imagination” and “I’m intelligent”, and asked me to write about a time when those virtues helped me deal with a problem or contributed positively to my life. And I simply…could not think of anything. I drew a blank.

I was horrified and devastated by my inability to write a response.

Not because I don’t think any of my virtues have ever helped me in that way, I’m sure they have, but because I was unable to think of a time that they did. It was as if I was looking back at my life with a myopic and greasy lens.

That was the turning point, that was when I knew it was time to go back into therapy and root out my problems. I realized, staring at that damn blinking cursor, that if this was the kind of llama-drama my brain was practicing, then I needed professional help in tackling it.

I started therapy in late 2015 with a specialist in EMDR, and it’s been cathartic and profound. It’s reshaped my life over the past year, and while I’m not “done” (who ever is?) I feel like I’m not just on stable ground, but bed rock.

Yet in all that time, I never went back to the self-authoring site.

A friend posted about it today on facebook, and remembering that I had, indeed, purchased access to the suite of tools, I logged back in. Instead of picking up where I left off, I went straight to “future authoring” module and spent nearly three hours plugging away at the exercises there. It’s a challenging set of questions that require thoughtful and earnest answers. Afterwards I felt great, not only because I finished the whole module, but because I had written out some revealing insights about my goals and my dreams.

This is why I highly recommend the whole suite, which for a paltry $30 is worth the investment. Hopefully it won’t lead you directly to therapy, but it might, and either way you’ll learn something about yourself that you did not realize before.

Also published on Medium.

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