Tuesday, February 13, 2007

TO WRITE: Life's "Grand Essentials" Amid Depression
A writing student recently sent me the following quote, and then I saw it elsewhere a couple of days later. I felt it was calling to me.

"Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for."
-- Joseph Addison (1672- 1719)

When depression is lurking or even feels smothering, consider this recipe for happiness. It won't replace your other healing techniques, but for me, it provides perspective, a sense that life isn't as complicated as it sometimes feels, and gratitude. Every time I use it to take stock of my situation I come up with different responses. They don't need to be big things either - coffee with a friend, a soft cat, and looking forward to a positive new volunteer job have been fulfilling for me.

Play with this...
Take 20 minutes to respond to the Addison quote. List several things in each of the three categories if you like, then reflect (in writing) on what they mean to you in terms of your emotions and mood. Does imagining these things in your life leave you a little more satisfied, or does it feel discouraging? If it's the latter, are there tiny things you could work on in these areas of your life that might bring more contentment?


Anonymous said...
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Gwenny said...

I have a question. I've already started working on this in my own blog. Do you prefer to have some action here at your blog or should I just keep doing that?

And I linked to this blog from my Newsvine column, where I have a very small, very new depression group. Would you object to our using your assignments as part of our discussion?

Elizabeth Maynard Schaefer, Ph.D. said...

Hi Gwenny,
I'd love all the action I can get on this blog. And thanks for the link. Please feel free to use these exercises in your discussions, and to spread the word about the blog! What's your blog's name? I'll check it out!
Thanks, Beth S.

Gwenny said...

::blush:: It's locked. I've been really depressed and was using it as a way to track my moods, some of which have been severe and have included some anger at my husbands girlfriends. Apparently these women got the url from my husband and were reading it and discussing it in their locked blogs. I did not know I could lock it or I would have. I never dreamed anyone would go looking for my angst or that my "friends" would read it and not offer at least a word of comfort when I was on the point of suicide.

::sigh:: So I'm feeling a little paranoid at the moment. But I'm not letting that keep me from trying to find safe places to work stuff out.

Thanks for your interest, though.