Monday, March 02, 2009

TO WRITE: Conversing with Depression

Let's continue our theme of writing dialog from the last post. I find it very powerful to deliberately have talks with other people or things in my mind, and especially to write down -- quickly and continuously! -- these interchanges as they happen, when unplanned, unexpected words, ideas or memories often appear as mysterious gifts.

I regularly imagine and record conversations with my own depression. More than simply reflecting on how I feel about being depressed, it lets me interact with my concept of the illness, get to know it, and get to know myself better.

Play with this. . .
How do you envision your depression or other troublesome emotion or situation? For example, is it a tornado that swirls around you? A monster that threatens from the closet? A black hole, a thief, a feeling of falling, or some animal like Winston Churchill's "black dog"? If you're not immediately sure, take about three minutes to quickly jot down at least five possible identities for that constellation of feelings, then re-read your list and choose one.

Next, writing quickly and continuously, create a dialog between yourself and your image of your depression. What have you always wanted to ask it about where it came from or what will make it quiet down or leave? What have you wanted to say to it in your times of anger? What does it want to tell you? Write this back-and-forth for 15 minutes. It may give you some clues or help resolve a little bit of your relationship with the illness, and it's a wonderful way to remind yourself that you are not your depression!