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.

Lightening Our Burdens

IMG_0002

Yesterday my day started out pretty badly. I was able to recognize though, while feeling really blue, that I didn’t want my day to continue on as it was going. At that point, I was feeling just awful. So, to help myself,  I used a skill I learned while I was attending online Dialectical Behavior Therapy  classes at DBT Path. You can learn more about the classes I attended, and which I highly recommend, by going here.  The DBT skill I used ended up helping me to turn around a day that began with very unpleasant feelings, including tears, into a day that ended up being filled with gratitude and peace.
Yesterday morning I was feeling very triggered and stressed out by a situation that is impacting every area of my life. I started the process of helping myself out of that triggered and stressed blue place by validated my own feelings. I allowed myself to mindfully feel sadness and frustration, and I allowed myself some mindful crying, because I feel that tears can be very cleansing. However, I also knew while I was allowing myself to feel those unpleasant emotions that it would ultimately do me no good to wallow in those unhappy thoughts. So, while I was still crying I typed a simple message on my phone and sent it, copied, to all of my friends with whom I am in regular texting contact.
The simple message I sent to each of my friends looked like this:
Hi there! I hope your week is going well. Thinking of you, and sending hopes of all good things your way. 👍😊
I felt a tiny bit better, emotionally, after sending out those words of encouragement and kindness to my friends. I didn’t know what was going on with my friends yesterday morning. But, I suspected that there was a pretty good chance that one or two of my friends might even be needing to read words like those coming from a friend yesterday because of things going on in their lives which they had not shared with me.
So, I went about my morning. I washed some dishes, and I took some time to do a meditation to help further calm my emotions. Then, I started receiving text replies from some of my friends.
Many of the friends I had reached out to with that simple little message responded thanking me for thinking of them, and for taking the time to reach out to send them good wishes. Over the course of the rest of my day I ended up in several brief texting conversations with friends who replied thanking me for reaching out, sharing what’s going on with them, and also asked how I was doing, and wishing me well.
I have been having a challenging week, pretty much filled with challenges I would have rather done without. So, when some of my friends inquired as to how I’m doing I answered their queries honestly. But, as I wrote back to them, I realized, and shared with them, that the challenges I’m facing this week may not be pleasant, or what I would have wanted to experience, but that I feel gratitude for the fact that I can *choose to* transform these uncomfortable moments in my life into writing material to add meaning and richness to the experiences of the characters who populate my fiction writing.
I know not everyone writes fiction, or writes at all, so not everybody has the option to label their unpleasant experiences as writing material. But, I know for certain that I have developed my attitude of gratitude toward ALL my experiences thanks to studying DBT for quite a few years now.
Yesterday I used a DBT Skill to check in with my friends, and sending the messages out, and hearing back from many friends, both lightened my own emotional burdens, and in a few cases I also ended up being able to help my friends lighten their emotional burdens a bit too.
By the time I went to sleep last night I was feeling pretty good. I even was able to finish writing a new chapter in the novel I’m currently creating. How different, and how much better my day ended compared to how it began!
It didn’t take me long to send out that simple message to my friends. And, it didn’t take away time that I desperately needed to have spent engaged in some other task to engage in some brief texting conversations with my friends either. All of the time I spent yesterday validating my own feelings, and validating the feelings of my friends, was absolutely time well spent. So, this morning I thought I would share this experience with all of you who read my blog posts.
I hope that all of you who read this post will validate your own feelings today, to the best of your ability, and that perhaps you might also take some time to lend a listening ear to someone else too, if you are able. I feel that each and every one of us make the world a little bit better place when we make the choice to help each other in lightening our burdens.
© 2017 Iris Baldwin All Rights Reserved.