Sometimes my job as an art therapist is to help someone get out of bed, go outside, and get to my office. Once they’re here, they may not do that much besides be here, if they are very depressed or traumatized.
People don’t understand the way this act of getting out of bed can be so huge. That’s because a lot of people don’t see depression as an illness and don’t look at a their own lives as a struggle between being awake and staying asleep.
Being in bed is sometimes the only safe place for a person. When they’re really depressed, they don’t think they have any reason to get out of bed, which is true. They have no ideas for getting out of bed and it is very convincing to stay in bed.
THat’s where therapy can come in, thanks to modern day technology. The person can stay in bed and text me and read my texts. IF they want, they can call and talk on the phone. They can do this for 5 or 10 minutes, rather than 50 minutes. They can also use video technology to have a session and we can see each other. They can even make art in bed.
The goal would not be to get them out of bed. Why would I be able to convince this person that there is reason to get out of bed when they have no reasons? Stay in bed until you feel like doing the work of getting out of bed and dealing with not being in bed. Sometimes I too see no reason to get out of bed. At those times, my daughter is the only reason to get out of bed, since it is not ok for me to stay in bed and not take care of her and be active in her life. Before her existence, I could be entirely convinced to stay in bed.
My job then becomes just communicating with someone while they stay in bed and they are not alone during that time but not required to do anything except say hello and anything else they feel like saying.
There is a whole Russian novel about a guy who stays in bed all the time but he has a servant since he’s rich so he gets his servant to do stuff and come into the bedroom. The servant might as well be his servant and therapist. The guy in bed is very likable, I don’t remember much of it, besides understanding hime spending his waking hours in bed. He had not smartphone or even a telephone and no visitors so when he was in bed, he just lay there unless he was talking to his servant.