Fighting Depression with Magnetic Poetry

I have known for some time that I could be soon heading into a state of depression. These past couple of weeks I have not been as vigilant as I usual am about doing my daily exercise workouts, and I have allowed myself to slack off in some other self-care areas as well. Most of this afternoon was fairly painful, both from two sets of unpleasant physical illness symptoms, along with telltale symptoms of depression.

I mindfully experienced those various types of discomfort for a few hours. This was helpful to me in that I validated my experience for myself. However, I know better than to think I have not choice but to endlessly wallow in discomfort when it happens to arise, for physical or emotional reasons. Since I have a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, any particularly severe emotional distress stemming from that disorder is also really a physical health concern. I took a moment at one point today to remind myself of this since it is a medical fact that Bipolar Disorder is an illness which comes about from having chemistry not quite properly working in the brain. So, emotional distress caused by Bipolar Disorder is also a physical health issue.

While I was mindfully feeling these various symptoms, I received a friendly text message from a friend of mine who was thinking of me. I knew I had a choice to make when I received her message. I could ignore the message and continue wallowing. Or, I could read and respond. I took the chance, and I was completely honest in replying to my friend.

The resulting lovely and empathetic conversation we shared briefly via text messages ended up serving as another helpful reminder for me. This second reminder was that a state of melancholy mood has, on more than a few occasions previously, inspired me to compose poetry. So, I thanked my friend for reaching out to me, and I told her I was going to do my best to drag myself, if need be, to my magnetic poetry activity bin and fight these depression symptoms with poetry.

Here is the poem I created using words from two different magnetic poetry kits. My day could have been a day primarily composed of wallowing in pain and unpleasantness. I now feel quite proud of myself for choosing another ending for the story of this day.

What If??


People who write creatively are called to do so by inspiration; the Muse, if you will. People who write also are sometimes just as likely to listen to the Demons of Self Doubt as they are to listen to their Muse. That’s how people are. Sometimes we feel confident about our abilities and talents, and other times we wonder who we think we’re fooling.

I write. Primarily, I am a playwright and photo storyteller, though I also write novels and novellas. Like many others who have written before me, I am in regular contact with both my Muse, and also with my personal Self Doubt Demon. It occurred to me somewhat recently to wonder what might happen if I were to personify my Muse, and that Self Doubt Demon, and let them say in writing all the things I hear them saying in my head?

How would my Muse and my Self Doubt Demon behave? What sorts of personalities would they have? When given a voice of her own would my Muse be more effective in her efforts to keep me inspired and writing as she already normally was? And what about that Self Doubt Demon? Would she get more power by being given a voice? Or, would the hurtful things she said be instead diffused of their toxic power and seem utterly ridiculous to me?

I had to find out! I had to know. What if??

Since I have already established this blog as a place where I creatively manage my mental health I figure why not seek to answer these questions for myself here. I also hope that while I find out what happens when my Muse and my Self Doubt Demon are given the choice to speak their minds in print, maybe someone else who reads these discussions will find this part of my journey useful. Maybe observing what transpires in these particular blog posts will turn out to benefit other people, creative or not, in their interactions with their own Muse and Self Doubt Demons.

I have always felt that sharing our experiences with others both validates our experiences for ourselves, and it also helps us feel more connected to other people. We often discover when we share our experiences that we are more alike than we are different. Our shared experiences give us power to battle those Self Doubt Demons. I believe we all have both a Muse and a Self Doubt Demon, whether or not we are writers or creative people. I also believe though that we truly are all writers, and we are all creative. We all write our own life stories one day at a time, each day that we live them.

In this journey of personification for my Muse and my Self Doubt Demon I have given them names. My Muse is called Agnes. And that Self Doubt Demon of mine is called Rasi Tripe. I hope anyone who reads the correspondence which will accumulate here from them will enjoy reading it as much as they enjoy the other types of posts I’m making here. I have a feeling that Agnes and Rasi Tripe will have plenty to say to me, and I certainly feel ready to give my responses to them. Really, every post I make on this blog on any topic really is a response to either my Muse or to that Self Doubt Demon, and sometimes the blog posts on other topics address both of them. 

I’m mighty curious to see what they have to say to me. And there’s only one way to find out what will happen!




© 2017 Iris Baldwin All Rights Reserved.

Ridiculous Breakfast Smiley Face


I don’t know about you, but there are days when I wake up feeling great and happy, and there are other days where I wake up feeling just about the opposite. As I live each day, managing my various physical and mental health conditions, I am learning ways I can help myself feel better on days that don’t start out feeling great, or days that begin with feeling happy but take a wrong turn later and then don’t feel good.

These days I find that the littlest things can sometimes make the biggest difference in the way my moods flow from day to day. The photo you see above was a breakfast I ate sometime last year (before my physical health needs required me to eat a low-carb diet) on a day that I wasn’t feeling so great in the morning. I arranged my breakfast that way on the plate to help alter my sour mood. My breakfast looked so ridiculously happy that I had to smile along with it.

I have been studying Dialectical Behavior Therapy for quite a few years now, and as you read my blog posts I’m sure you’ll notice that I tend to mention things I have learned in DBT study that are helping me manage my mental illness symptoms, and my life in general. One of those skills that I find helpful every time I use it is a skill in which you improve the current moment by adding some fun to what you’re doing. So, that’s what I did by arranging my breakfast that day last year into a ridiculous breakfast smiley face.

I could have gone about eating my breakfast in a lousy mood, and I bet my day would have been less pleasant than it turned out to be. By choosing to arrange my breakfast on the plate in a silly smiling face I improved that moment, and I cheered myself up. It didn’t take much time at all to choose to do that, but it made a difference. I remember giggling while I took that photo, and I also remember thinking how great it was that doing such a simple thing cheered me up and made eating breakfast a much more pleasant experience.

It’s the little things. I find, so often in my life, it’s the little things that I do which make a really big difference in whether I thrive or suffer while managing the health conditions I have. I love that I can make choices to help myself feel better and have a higher quality of life, even though my conditions and symptoms are what they are.

Today I intend to improve as many of the moments I will experience as I can. I appreciate so much that I can use this skill to enhance my days. Today I have some fairly mundane tasks to attend to for work, and other areas of my life. But, I don’t have to approach them as though they will be soul-sucking and dreary. I’m looking forward to seeing how I choose to improve my moments today.

We all write a page of our own life stories each day we live. I plan to make today a good chapter in my life story, even if everything that happens isn’t exactly what I would have chosen. I hope that you who are reading this post also write a good page in your life story today. Let’s all improve as many of our moments in our stories as we can!




© 2017 Iris Baldwin All Rights Reserved.