window seat

Ever feel “stuck” between stimulus and response or impulse and action? Like you can’t disengage from the thought long enough to change course? Or maybe you feel like auto pilot has already been engaged, and you’re on a certain trajectory, even when you know it’s not the direction you desire to take?

This has been a huge challenge for me. In addition to being a generally flawed member of the human race, I have ADHD. The time I get between stimulus and response can be quite brief. Historically, I’ve been really bad at doing things before I even realize what I’m doing! And then I often get this foreboding feeling I’m forever burdened with whatever poor choice I made and its irrevocable outcome.

When I began therapy in 2021, my therapist encouraged me to journal. I was proud to let her know that I used to “rage journal” on paper for several years, but didn’t find it helpful and ended up burning all the journals.

She gently encouraged me to journal again, anyway. This time, I started a digital journal, on my phone. Once in a while, I have those extended times when I sit and process for what feels like hours. Far more often, though, I tend to micro journal – just get down the little things and thoughts that come up during my day.

I’m reading a book right now called Emotional Agility, by Dr. Susan David. In it, she shares research from Psychologist James Pennebaker. His research clearly shows a link between writing about emotionally charged instances and being able to move forward in healthy ways. In writing, we can develop, over time, the ability to separate the emotion and the impulse from the response. In Susan David’s words,

In the process of writing, they were able to create the distance between the thinker and the thought, the feeler and the feeling, that allowed them to gain a new perspective, unhook, and move forward.

This has become absolutely true for me. It’s like I get to have the window seat, thousands of feet in the air, even as I’m two inches away from the issue.

In addition to journaling, I eventually remembered that I’d started a blog years ago and then abandoned it – this blog. Now I am actively writing again! Blogging has become part of my “reparative practice”. I am noticing a gradual shift in my ability to perceive what I’m feeling, separate myself from it, examine it, seek the source, and then decide how I will respond.

I copied this next part straight out of Dr. David’s book. I’m excited to share it, and hope you find it helpful! There are many websites that also share these same rules, so I think it must be fairly open source information. Who knows, I may be really late to the party per se, but still think they’re worth sharing.



Set a timer for twenty minutes. Open up your notebook, or create a new document on your computer. When the timer starts, begin writing about your emotional experiences from the past week, month, or year. Don’t worry about punctuation, sloppiness, or coherence. Simply go wherever your mind takes you, curiously and without judgment. Write just for yourself and not for some eventual reader. Do this for a few days. Then, throw the paper away (or stick it in a bottle and cast it out to sea), or close the document without saving it. Or if you’re ready, start a blog or find a literary agent. It doesn’t matter. The point is that those thoughts are now out of you and on the page. You have begun the process of “stepping out” from your experience to gain perspective on it.”


(I captured the above photo last year on an evening flight out of Atlanta)

Now, as it says every time I begin a new blog,

Start writing…

1 thought on “window seat

  1. Stephanie Seven

    Thank you for sharing this post, the feeling of being stuck between stimulus, response, impulse and action is very familiar indeed. I try to gain perspective – then my mind is stuck between impulse and questioning everything again, it’s very tiring. it’s like my mind is thinking ahead of itself and I am trying to keep up.



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