One of the best things a psychiatrist ever said to me during a depressive episode was when he told me to ignore my feelings because, "It's the depression speaking."
And while it's difficult to do, it's terrific advice. For those of you who've experienced a severe depression, you know that everything changes when you're depressed, and it changes back again when you're not.
Since it's already November 6th, and I'm not depressed, this is a very good sign for someone who suffers from seasonal depression. However...should a depression hit, for the first time ever I've written myself letters, reaffirming my strengths, and reminding myself which wellness activities work, and which people I consider to be members of my support team.
So...for example, I've written:
1. You are a talented writer.
2. You're a good person.
3. You're upbeat most of the year, so it's okay if you choose to share some of the sadness you feel if you become depressed.
4. It's okay to let the people whom you help during the rest of the year help you if you're feeling sad.
5. Wellness Activity: Gardening.
6. Wellness Activity: Playing the keyboard and electric guitar.
7. Wellness Activity: Walking Jack.
8. Wellness Activity: Photography.
9. Wellness Activity: Watching your favorite musicals.
10. Wellness Activity: Writing poetry.
Of course, this is just a partial list. And, my letters to myself are far more personal. I remind myself of everything I like about me. I'm my best cheerleader and I tell myself what wellness activities I need to do and why.
I've created a list of people with whom I enjoy being if/when I don't feel well, and I remind myself why I like them. I've also come up with a list of activities we could do together.
Given the way I'm currently feeling, I believe it's possible that my November/December depression won't be realized, or the symptoms will be greatly reduced. While that's undoubtedly due to therapy and my gardening program, maybe the very act of writing these letters has made a huge difference. Wouldn't that be a kick in the head?
Have a happy and healthy weekend. See you on Monday!
(When I originally posted this last night I was tired from gardening and grammar-challenged. Thus, this is a slight revision.)