Tag Archives: mental health

An Open Letter to My Depressed Self:

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As part of cognitive behavioral therapy you are often sent to fill out tables, first to identify your irrational, exaggeratedly negative thoughts, and then to respond with rational, more accurate ones.  Because I often feel attacked by my negative thinking about myself, it can feel daunting to respond to each ridiculous thought as it arises.  I know, even as it is happening, that my negative thoughts are irrational, but I still feel defeated and trapped.  Because of this, I thought it would be useful to come up with a letter to myself, to read to myself, in midst of one of my negativity ambushes, that responds rationally and empathetically, to the irrational beliefs that ultimately fuel my depression. It is an open letter, because I consider it a work in progress, and because I would love to receive advice, suggestions, input, edits, etc. etc., especially from those who have experienced the challenges that depression brings.  Thanks for your time and honesty! ❤

Here’s what I have so far:  

An Open Letter to My Depressed Self

Dear me,

The way you are seeing the world is distorted, even though its ugliness seems so real. I know that you are struggling and that your emotions feel out of control. You need to know that you are much better a person, than you deem yourself to be at this moment.  The people who love you are better equipped to confirm this.  You should ask them about your doubts, listen to their answers and believe them, even if it hurts more to receive their love, than it does to continue hating yourself. Sometimes pain is necessary in the healing process.

Yes, it is true that you have made mistakes and survived hardships; it is part of being human. But remember that you have always had good intentions in your heart.  It can be a tough course to learn that true love, is as much about loving as it is about being loved, that love is about balance, and boundaries.

Hard times have the potential to teach us about ourselves and help build resilience.  But their worth can only be measured afterwards, in lessons learned.  And sometimes a hard time is just a hard time. We have little control over this.

In the end, what will matter most is how we used the love we were given, across a lifetime. I know you deeply believe in the intrinsic worth of every being on this earth. This includes yourself.  Just as you believe others to be worthy of love and understanding, so must you believe this of yourself, for yourself.

This makes it not only ok to lean on people, when you need them, but necessary.  When you choose to lean, others also learn that it’s ok to lean back, when they need you.  This is the way we, humans, have nurtured our love for one another, for all of our history.  Do it even though you don’t want to, even though it goes against the very aching in your bones: do it anyway.

Finally, time is a curse – too much when we are suffering, too little when we are saying goodbye.  But it also has healing powers, because, this too will pass! Let these words seep into your hurting heart.  They may not feel good but you know, in your soul, there is wisdom here.  Heed it.

Please remember that my love for you will always be greater than your disdain, even if it doesn’t feel that way right now.  Love has always, and will always, win.

Love,

Me

 

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Walking Poem

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rocky Maine shoreThe Sea breathes gently in my ears
as the light surf strokes the rocky sand
in an ancient song that began before the invention of time.

It was not long ago that I mastered the art of scampering
across this rugged Maine shoreline,
first carefully testing each step
then hopping from rock to rough patch of sand
to slippery seaweed covered ledge.

It was here I first learned about beauty,
that the pulse of nature that surrounds us,
is the same that sustains us from within.

Today my feet skip and spring in graceful memory
of the rhythm I have danced so many times gone by.

Today I find new meaning in this timeless,
perpetually shaping coast.

Today I understand the wisdom
in the lessons learned here.

For it is honest and wise to be cautious before stepping,
But there will come a time we must trust in the dance,
and only in letting go do we learn to leap.

Solitude

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As I crossed over the Portsmouth bridge into Maine this afternoon,
I saw a flock of white seagulls fly over the deep blue river.
They dissipated into the grey winter forest,
somehow making me feel at home,
along with the muddy patches of melting snow,
and the vivid shifting sky,
over permeating stillness:

Solitude at peace with itself.

I used to see it all as a trap, an icy prison,
of timber and water.
But today there are moments,
in my messy world of cement and tangled bodies,
that I long to disappear,
like the gulls,
into the wisdom of these ancient pines
and crispy thawing streams.

Music, Love, Faith

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sheet music, construction paper heart, rosary

Music gives me the power to love.

 

Love gives me the courage to fail,

the permission to be flawed,

the insight that there are many Ways

and more than one answer.

 

Faith gives me the wisdom to be patient,

to believe in signs,

to learn from my emotions

and to simply be.

Change

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sleepingMy voice is hidden behind the curtains,
in the corner of the room,
quite aware  you won’t notice it is missing.

But that’s what happens,
when you let yourself sink into the covers,
never to rise,
until the world shifts its course.

I try to change the paintings on the walls around you,
quietly,
as not to disturb your fitful slumber,
but so that when you wake,
you will be overtaken,
by color.

Nevertheless, the world will continue its course,
with or without our feelings,
so I just let my voice cower under the cool draft,
sinking in from the cracked window.

In the bathroom,
I let my sight,
spill on to the  floor.

It makes me lighter.

That way my ears can float,
on the adagio notes that waft in,
from the kitchen,
in our sticky apartment.

My body continues,
its assiduous routine;
wishing its agitation will stir you back,
to life.

Heartache

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The gray textured mountain ranges and ravines,mother and baby hands

of our Sunday morning bedspread,

envelop my sick toddler.

 

She whimpers in her light sleep,

her binky quietly chirping,

as she suckles it.

 

My pajama top is clutched,

in her pudgy little hand,

to ensure that I must remain at her side.

 

In the kitchen,

there is a disaster scene of an early morning breakfast,

prematurely expelled.

 

In the bathroom there are also remnants on the floor:

soiled baby clothing, a damp hoody towel,

and droplets of sticky cherry medicine.

 

Later I will plan my escape, then my industrial cleaning fury.

For now, I succumb to her tiny,

but powerful grasp.

 

Letting myself melt into the folds of the comforter,

I snuggle close to the radiant heat,

of my stricken cherub.

To Wring a Poem From My Gut

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open mouth

To wring a poem from my gut,

there’s nothing like infuriation,

with acid reflux burning,

comes a verbal deviation.

 

My words seethe from every crack,

I say only in a sarcophagus,

would you be able to silence,

this woman’s throbbing esophagus.

 

Wrenching impotence,

in the face of calamity,

give me a Pepcid Ac

of God’s magnanimity.