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Day Five: A Letter to my Older Self

Well so you see a variation on the theme. It fits into the way I am thinking today. In all honesty today has been challenging and the attempts to turn my mind to be more positive have required determination. So to continue in this vein here I go: Yes everything was bleak and has been bleak in my mind for sometime. Not a complete blackout of life but a heavy fog. A fog that I know is lifting into mist and I believe I am beginning to see the first rays of the sun begin to pierce their way through. And I think I see my future self there in that brightness. The brightness represents my hope. My belief and my actual knowledge that no matter how bad it has been and how persistently the memories and anxieties dwell within me, or how threatening fear of the unknown and the once seen can be, hope carried this letter to my Older self who has made it further than I could ever imagine. And so in an attempt to reach my brightest hopes and to be released from the grip of past hurt I am beginning to take new steps. My new steps are small but I am allowing myself to be brave and to take them despite how great is the urge that pulls me back and causes me to falter. My new steps do not take me very far and they do not need to. They will only be a fragment and a flicker of a movement, nothing grand! But yet I know they will be the greatest small steps I have ever taken, they will travel the small distance from my pain which lies largely in the past not into the future but into the present. In my new present I will allow myself to invite new experience and I will anticipate peace and joy without being haunted by the devastation and the hurt of past wounds. In the present I will be brave enough to be patient with myself and to listen to what the present tells me though I am only just now encountering it. Because my past has been broken and shattered and its voice speaks with the sadness of knowing betrayal but today and from now I want to hold onto the belief that I am able to find good in a moment, if my eyes are open enough and my heart beats hard enough to hope to expect it.

Day Four: A letter to My (younger) self

I am really looking for useful strategies that will somehow help when I start to feel down or when I start to worry that I am sliding there. Anxiety is not helpful and I suppose I am adding to the problem. I have not been writing much of my blog, this has mostly been for good reasons. And I don't know what to say to myself about my own depression when I am not there although it is likely I know what to say to other people who are down. But since I can feel myself slipping today I start to be able to remember what it is really like down here. I would be being flippant to call this depression. I think in terms of time this will be short-lived in the grand scheme of things but it is the panic and the memory of past sadness that makes me panic that one day I may not get out. So I am really trying to keep thinking of new ways to manage and get through. I had a great idea last time I sunk really badly to try to recall 101 things that I appreciate. I can honestly say that my evaluation of this is that it helped while I was doing it but as soon as I stopped the memories faded and I could not shake the feelings. I think ultimately depression is something that we are telling ourselves that we need to listen to the reality of without distorting it. This is the challenge. Its meaning does not have to be shrouded in self- loathing, doubt and persecution. We can just feel it and be patient. So I try to do this and not be impatient and also try new things to cope. Like this blog-writing, writing poetry about how I feel and what I think and I think even if it doesn't seem to do much now, maybe it will hold a key to be found later. So I considered this exercise a letter to my younger self: this is where for now I will start. This should show me some lessons for and from the past. i may not dare to say it all but some of it would be: Dear Younger Self, Do not be afraid of being alone and listen to what your new thoughts are when you go for walks. Go for walks more and get a dog soon. Stop hiding yourself in other people and try to make friends with yourself because there is only this life, potentially to do that in. You will sacrifice your soul and self to the needs of others throughout your life and you may learn to stop noticing why. It is because here is the closest approximation of being able to positively accept yourself through others eyes. Stop looking for approval and stop apologising. Value yourself and make and hold onto true friends who have an ability to be compassionate and to respect you and be happy in this company. Respect and be true to yourself. Do not sacrifice your own needs, goals and wishes to try to save someone else because no one can truly grow when your grip is too tight. Take someone else's hand sometimes when they offer it with honesty and kindness. Remember what you value about yourself and expect this from others. For the sake of this ideal, live a lonely life rather than be used, controlled, manipulated for someone else's goals which do not include you or even others. In your darkest hours remember these are the darkest hours of others. Live for another day to find and give freedom. Make the best possible use of time under the circumstances, always. Live by example. Let go of other people's negative views of you immediately and turn your anger to pity for those that seek to harm. P.S. Apparently teenagers only hear the first 4 words in a lecture. This is written like a sermon! Be patient with your own advice and give your own advice a fair chance.

Day Three: Somebody's Angel

I cannot decide whether writing is a good thing or a bad thing. I am ambivalent about it's value. I am ambivalent about my value sometimes. I wonder if anything I say has any significance to anyone but me.I imagine not. I think wondering about this is narcissistic of me anyway. But I swing on a pendulum of acceptance, and I draw the conclusion that I will try to be proud. I know if I was not me I would be more willingly proud. I saw something beautiful today, I was caught in a beautiful moment. Observing a rare human expression, in the world of someone else. I was thankful to chance upon it. For a moment, I was somebody's angel. I notice three manifestations of depression. I notice shared and polarized stances. The demanding, shouting to the world in desperation, fighting to be saved. The tumbling and stumbling, blind to others. The numbed watchful quiet, waiting in the silent wings of sadness, who may also have forgotten others. And then there are those old angels who know the journey, will reach to you, they may have remembered others but tend to forget themselves. I think we are all both negligible and yet significant. We are all equally alone and yet together in our aloneness. I have been finding writing cathartic, whatever else it is, even if no one but me feels anything, I am taking a risk that this self-exposure is a worthwhile gift. I hope at least it encourages others to take this risk too so I may enjoy that window, as I do.

Day Two: Guilt and Never Good Enough

Guilt is one of those emotions that most human beings hate and some are completely blocked off from, perhaps because it is one of the most painful. Guilt is a trigger for depression. The triggers can be found in daily symbolism. I can find something anywhere to feel guilt about, anywhere I look is a reminder of not being good enough. Negativity jumps onto the bandwagon of guilt. So when guilt is aroused, berating oneself, magnifying it and using it as a self-harming weapon can be immediate. Almost everyone I know who suffers from depression, maybe all the people I have ever encountered, including me, are also destined to feel magnified and strong guilt brought about the fact that depression is essentially a very insular and self-focused fixation and appraisal of the self. Stuck in depression we only see ourselves and we exist in isolation. We forget the existence of others. We assume that our loneliness is more important than anyone else's because we do not remember and have lost touch with how others may feel. Suddenly when we remember our own selfishness we are dragged back to the depths of where depression sits. When remember how self-obsessed we are, this becomes another reason to beat ourselves down. We might be appalled by ourselves and we feel that we are a deep disappointment to the world. In my world almost anything can be a reminder of what I have not achieved or what I am doing that is so far away from not good enough, i.e. deplorable, that I can feel defeated and hopeless. I can believe that trying is hopeless. I believe that when we are confronted with guilt we have a choice. We cannot put right what is not good enough from our past and for what we are responsible and we can also never really achieve good enough, we cannot be as perfect as we would like for we are human. From one day to the next different things are possible. One day it may not be possible to feel any achievement. It may feel like nothing is, has or can ever be achieved. But if we are entirely honest with ourselves we have achieved something. At its lowest form we achieved today and now and we survived to live another moment. The choice that guilt presents us with is to feel it, to understand what it tells us. To decide to take control over what we do with it. We can not choose how we feel, but only what we do with how we feel. If the guilt tells us that we are not good enough for someone else then the only way we can put this right is to be one step in the direction of being more worthy. And if the guilt makes us feel unworthy we must look objectively at ourselves as if we were another person, if we were our own friend would we truly be worthless. If we feel truly worthless and feel guilt about this we can make a choice to be one step better. We do this by remembering that depression is a state, a world sadness that lives inside an infinite number of others and we must use the power of this awareness to drive us to look for an answer to it, if not at this time for ourselves if we feel unworthy of it, but for those infinite number who suffer with us. We must break free of our stubbornness and take one step in the direction of change.

Day One

I have considered writing a blog before, and almost have, but for the fact that paranoia and self-doubt have prevented me. Maybe this is the only place on earth, or at least in the ether, where I feel that it is OK to be uncertain and imperfect and that is because I am certain I am not alone in feeling this. My depression started in childhood and may have been there that whole time because of my difficulties with ADHD and Dyslexia (although I was not diagnosed at that time) and which had I known about, would have made sense of the person I was. I have had great difficulties throughout my life which have been a challenge to get through. I am an adult survivor of child sexual abuse and am a recovered self-harmer. Unfortunately, I must also now embrace an addition to this list which is PTSD and has now been with me for almost a year after a trauma. As I grew up with depression there started to also grow within me something else, the noticing of other people's troubles and difficulties and I started to try to look for ways out for them. The problems I encountered were never the absolute same as mine, and sometimes may have been entirely different but I began to find that I might see a small step that might be possible to take for the other person or that I might be able to hear the message they were conveying to me, although they might be unaware of it. I could be a mirror to them so that they could see their own self within it, and our minds could engage and we could share the problem. I felt I would meet with them in an existential space. I was around 10 years old when I recall my mother telling me that I would make a good counsellor. Oddly enough, this did turn out to be the path that I took and I studied psychology and counselling and became a creative and integrative therapist. I have now returned to University to study further and am working to support young people and families who face a wide diversity of mental health and circumstantial difficulties. I hope that you are happy to accept me here as an individual and not a therapist as I would not be able to offer this, although I am happy to exchange ideas. I am here for a different reason, perhaps the reason that unites us all. Although I have learned to embrace and accept my depression as a part of me and have learned to cope so that my strength carries me through the day in supporting others and I can remain strong, there are times when I feel very raw pain and sadness, or when PTSD and the difficulties I am going through right now seem and feel overwhelming and so I have come to look for your support through your listening and through the sharing of your wisdom. I am also here because in my own life I still have many important people to consider or individuals I might meet from day to day who feel trapped or are struggling. I hope that through communicating our experiences I might combine our wisdom and strength to make new stairways and new doorways that have not yet been opened out there in the world of depression

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