I've been attending a Treatment Program for my recent Major Depressive Episode (nervous breakdown, in layman's terms) since May 22nd. It's a six week program and I am roughly halfway done. Halfway done with the program, that is. I feel nowhere near halfway done working on my issues. As a matter of fact, I feel as if I have hardly scratched the surface. I feel, however, that since this program has a finite ending, that people in my life expect me to be "all better" once the bell rings on the final class. That feeling only adds to the pressure I feel to get back to my normal self again.
As if my normal self has an resemblance to normal. I don't think I, personally, have ever been normal. I suppose, however, there is a benchmark for my own normality that I should be striving for, if only to make everyone around me comfortable, if nothing else. Of course, one of my issues is, this very thing -- wanting comfort for those around me more than for myself. This type of self-imposed pressure is one reason I ended up in this dark hole in the first place. Had I just surrendered to the fact that I needed help sooner, instead of trying to insure everyone around me was okay, perhaps, I wouldn't have sunk so deeply into the pit.
I didn't reach that point sooner, though, and looking back on my own actions (or inaction) with regret only makes me feel worse. I am where I am, and my life is what it is, and no amount of self-flagellation is going to change the past, or the present, nor yet, the trajectory of my recovery. I really need to let all of those negative thoughts and emotions-- the regret, the pressure, the guilt, go. If only letting it all go were that easy - tell my mind to stop with the crazy-talk and presto-chango, it actually stops! I wish.
One of the only ways I have been even moderately successful in changing the negative loop that goes 'round inside my head is to fill my mind with equally powerful positive thoughts. The problem with the technique inevitably arises when I forget that it actually is a fairly effective exercise, challenging the negative by throwing a positive at it. I'm not sure why my brain is a bit slow in remembering, but when I do remember, I'm like - OH YEA! That's true! Why didn't I think of that sooner!
So, in an effort to help my brain reprogram itself and more readily recall that Positive kicks Negative's butt every time, I created, what I call, an Inspiration Board. It's a 3ft by 2 ft bulletin board that hangs next to my computer desk that I plastered with all sorts of things that remind me that there really is a whole bunch of Good in my life.
First, I hand wrote a plethora of positive scriptures like Matthew 6:34, Psalm 90:14 and Romans 5:5, among others and used those as a base for my board. I figure, one can never go wrong, using scripture as a base, right? I hand wrote them, so that I could spend some time with the positive messages inside each passage, and hopefully, allow the words to sink below the surface and take root in my heart. Once I got those all done, I printed out some other inspirational quotes I found on the Internet, along with pictures of my beautiful family.
I arranged everything on the board, so that not a square inch can be seen that doesn't have something positive, uplifting or worthwhile on it. Right smack at eye level, I hung a graphic that says "note to self: I am enough ♥". I wanted my eye to wander to that spot often throughout the day, so as to remember that I am enough, just as I am. Even though I'm not completely healed of my depression; even though I haven't yet met my weight-loss goals; even though I am aging and sometimes sick - I AM ENOUGH. My belief that each person is unique and wonderfully made by the hand of God (and that includes ME), is indeed enough.
I hope that I can continue to make progress, and heal the broken and shadowy areas of my life that remain. Actually, I do more than hope -- I believe. I believe that I can overcome this episode in my life. It's that belief that gets me out of bed each day. Until the negative thoughts go away completely, I have my board, as a tangible reminder to accept myself, my family, my life, just as it is -- at this moment, while at the same time striving to make it better.
If you made an Inspiration Board, what would you put on it?