Talking to Yourself

talkingSometimes talking to yourself is a sign of health. Those of you who have been following this blog for a while, know that I am very impressed with how mood shapes our reality. One day I wake up and the world is bright and filled with hope, and the next day, nothing works, nothing feels right, and there is no hope. These are profound changes and we struggle to see our way through them without losing track of our overall life’s direction.

We have talked about developing a crisis plan elsewhere on this blog.

We’ve done this with many people we’ve seen, and they’ve often been extremely helpful.  They are especially useful to do when you are planning a trip to somewhere where access to help might be quite tricky to arrange, should there be an urgent need; or if there is an event or an anniversary coming up that often triggers a change in mood.

The problem with crisis plans, is the very formal way they are written.

The plans are well thought out, and well documented, but they’re not particularly helpful when you’re trying to work your way out of a mood or state of mind.

They are just too dry to connect with someone wrestling with depression or mania.

We have been used video recordings with a couple of people to try to get around this.  The idea is to create (now when you are in a good mood) a recording that is addressed to yourself in the future when you are manic or depressed.

What would you say to yourself in that situation, from the perspective of this good mood you are in right now.

In the past, when you have been depressed, what seems to have been helpful, what were the ways that you got out of this?

What are the patterns of thought that you are likely to be having if you are depressed.  And how might you counteract those patterns in a message to yourself?

To give you an example, let’s say that when you were depressed, you often feel that you “deserve” to satisfy your unhappiness by eating more, and particularly indulging in junk food.  At the same time, you know that this tends to make your moods worse.

Your are in a good mood now and probably taking better care of yourself in terms of diet and physical activity and overall health, what would you say to yourself when you are depressed, how would you answer all the thoughts that you can remember having then.  Imagine both points of view and try to come up with a dialogue with the other self.

You might say to your depressed self:  small steps can make a big difference over time.  If you can stop eating one sweet a day that positive experience might lead to more changes.

You could then imagine your depressed self would reply:  you don’t understand how bad I feel.  There’s nothing I enjoy in life.

How would you respond to your depressed self?

All of this might seem a little bit contrived or artificial, but we’ve  found that the process of engaging in this kind of dialogue with yourself is very powerful.  Watching of this message to your future self may make a big difference.

Try it.