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.

Accepting myself unconditionally isn’t selfish after all!

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What you see above is one of the first pictures I colored in an adult coloring book. I colored that picture with colored pencils in an effort to give myself some compassion. At the time I have to admit that it didn’t really work. I didn’t believe those words. I did like the colors I chose to use. Colors are pretty.

For many years I had a really hard time feeling like being kind to myself, and doing self-care, were selfish choices to make. I think that’s an easy trap to fall into when you don’t always feel confident, and you’re not always overflowing with healthy self-esteem and self-worth. However, after spending a few years intensively studying Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and taking the time to learn a variety of meditation techniques, I realized that I can make a different choice from thinking that way.

One of the guided mediations I have been using almost daily since early 2015 is where I first heard an explanation that I could get on board with of why doing self-care and giving myself compassion are not selfish acts. In that meditation the soothing and calming voice leading the meditation explained to me that when I take the time to do activities that are helping me feel good about myself, or helping me feel better for my basic physical health, that’s not selfish because it’s helping me become the best version of myself.

That soothing and calming meditation guide went on to explain that being the best version of myself is an important thing to become because how I am when I interact with others makes a difference in how those interactions play out. The meditation guide described this as a gift I’m giving to myself, and that it is also a gift I’m also giving to every single person who I come in contact with in any way. That clicked.

I don’t want to be that person who yells at customer service people on the phone, or who lashes out at cashiers in stores. I want to treat everyone the way I want to be treated. Including myself. So, now, several years after I colored that picture you see above, now it’s finally working as a great reminder.

Accepting myself unconditionally isn’t easy to do. Encouraging myself and doing what I need to in order to be as healthy as I can be; these are choices I have to make fresh again every single morning. But, you know what? In the end, making those choices IS worth it, because I’m worth it.

And you know what else? You’re worth it too. Yes, you. That’s right. I’m talking to the person who is reading this post right now. You too are worthy of giving yourself compassion and doing whatever self-care you need to become your best self. I know this may not be easy to believe right now, but I’m pretty sure that if I was able to get around to believing it, then you can too. I know it’s not easy though, and it very well may take a while, so I’ll leave this post here as a gentle reminder to you, and also as a reminder to myself.

I know there will probably be days when I’ll have go back to having trouble believing this stuff. So, with any luck, having this post here will remind me on the difficult days why I’m doing this work on myself.

I’m committed to accepting myself unconditionally today. Today is all I have to focus on right now. Tomorrow will be another new chance to try again.

 

 

 

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