How to use the written word to fight Depression
Write You Way Out of Depression: A Practical Self-Therapy for Creative Writers by Rayne Hall and Alexander Draghici
Rayne Hall is an author that has long suffered through Depression and battled this invisible mental illness, these are stragities she has come up with on her own and with various therapists that she has worked with over the years to help her. As a dark horror novelist she has found some of these techniques work better for her than others, and wanted to share those that have worked even a little bit for other creative writers because she has discovered that among the writing community almost 9 out of 10 writers suffer some form of depression and she wants to help. Now she and Alexander both say that therapy and medication may be needed as well as these strategies, so this not an end all be all, but a possible help guide.
Alexander Draghici is a Clinical Psychologist and a licensed Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy practitioner. His work is mainly in what in your past might still be with you bringing down into that depressive state and working through it. I really liked his take on some of the strategies.
I am going to tell you how I am combining some of these since as a person I have suffered from Clinical Depression almost since I was sixteen years old.
One of her First Strategies is to daily list 20 things you are grateful for. If you can’t come up with 20 list as many as you can, and ignore the negative points your mind brings up. I tend to acknowledge these by line editing them and turn them into a positive. I have MS, have since I was 15, so I am always thankful I can still walk, though now I am in a relasp so my brain come up with lots of stuff. This is what my list may look like:
Thank you I can still walk to and from the bus today.
(but you are in pain, you are triping, you really have no balance, your are so numb.)
Thank you for my walker that holds me up and supports my weight.
Thank you I still feel in my back.
Thank you that with my walker I don’t fall on face anymore.
Each negative point give me another Gratitude point, and we go down the list like that. I cannot yet be thankful I wake up every morning, or that I am still alive, but maybe someday I will get there.
Rayne uses flash story techniques and horror stories to put you in control of your emotions, Quick scenes to help you remember how it feels to feel good about yourself and your surroundings. I have worked a little with all of these, trying to find what works best for me.
She talks about journaling, and again, sticking to just the good feelings, and ignoring the negative. My journaling usually constists of what managed to get done that day and what I need to do the next. Anyting that is floating around in my head I free write it out and it tends to help me from waking during my sleep periods and fussing over whatever is still sticking there. Nothing really negative, just clearing out the loose ends, thoughts not really finished, projects I didn’t quite get done by making plans for the next day. Though she dose mention that sometime a quick free writing a venting if something is really bothering, is okay, but don’t dwell on it, get it out, and move on.
Keeping a journal of your feelings, good and bad, and really describing how them can be very helpful both to your writing and to getting that feeling up and out of you. But again, once it is written down, don’t dell on it, let it go.
I give this book five stars and really recommend it to almost any one who is dealing with depression, long term or short term. I feel these techniques can be very useful. Alexander ever now again give a different slant on how to deal with some of these, drawing, painting, using other media to recreate these feelings. I really enjoyed this simply written book in easy to understand language. Get a copy and hopefully in the various strategies you will find something that with your therapist helps you dig your way out this deep pit that depression make you think you caught in.