I have things that do help lift my spirits when I'm feeling horrible, like bubble baths, eating hot root vegetables, chai tea, going for walks, tidying or organising etc. but it's like they're erased from my mind when I am down. Sometimes I'm reminded by a friend and I paused and wonder why I don't think of them at all at the time.
I've even written them down several times in my journals to try and help me to recall them but I don't even remember to check the journal.
I read in an article about mental health and sddiction that said "patterns work for people, even when the patterns themselve don't work for them. What I take from that luttle fortune cookie proverb is that people find comfort in routines. We depend on them...I know I did. It aint no thinking thing. You just repeat what you know and we all know what we know. That is why i think DBT and CBT was so crucial to breaking up the dialectic and giving me control over the choices I made. When addiction and abuse is stretched over decades, its hard to distinguish thebtrees from the forest. Think of it this way, the whole reason it became a routine or habit is so that we wouldn't have to think. - it just happens. Additiionally when it has been a decades long habit, you can get overwhelmed by the idea of changing it. Who do I see? does my insurance cover it? Can I afford it? Do Ibhave to change or end friendships, relationshios...Where do I start? Do I have a problem? Do I EVEN have a problem? Its not depression, I'm just tired....etc. we drown in all this and we end up falling back on old habits. On non-thinking habits.
It probably depends on the "degree " of your low mood. When we are very "down ," we sometimes don't have the motivation or desire to help ourselves. That is where your friend comes in; she can help to coax you into doing things that she is aware of that helps you.
I don't think it's that you simply can't remember; depressed minds tend to be overwhelmed by depressed thoughts.
Thank God for your thoughtful friend!
If writing them down does not work. Try making a happy book. A small album of pictures of you on vacation, your cat/dog, wedding day, or out with your bff. Make it handy, like on the coffee table . Its a great convo starter/ice breaker when friends are over and accessible for you. On the go you can create a file on your phone and keep a digital form of it that you can access.
I step outside and focus my attention on nature. I pick one item like the air. Is cold and harsh? Gentle and light. Does it have any scents? I guess, its mindfulness. It helps soothe my ailing spirit.
Hi! I have a longhair cat (Nella) as a companion pet, but used to have a black cat like yours. I struggle with the same thing. I just had an emotional grinder of last week and I am working on some trauma exposure therapy or TET and was dealing with family because of it, the holidays and my case worker forgot to tell me my rent was increasing. Her supervisor calls me on the 31st to tell me that I have to come up with another $300 by the 1st. That afternoon, I had a heavy session with my therapist over my childhood trauma. So I was pretty spun up. I have PTSD and chronic suicide ideation. I really have a hard time thinking of skills to use in the moment. I was on the brink of self harming when I thought of TIPP. Which is a distress tolerance skill and stands for Temperature, Intense exercise, Paced breathing, and Paired muscle relaxation. I used the temperature skill which can be as simple as grabbing an ice cube and holding it in your hand. It was enough to break me out of "panic mode" and I was able to access my safety plan and reached out to a friend who works in suicide prevention. It was enough to keep me going until Thursday when I could contact my therapist.
What I do is I have both my safety plan and a list of skills on my phone so I have remote access to them without lugging a binder around, and I have the list on my fridge and posted up on a wall in my living room and bedroom. Next to it is a photo of a pleasant memory. You can get creative with it and frame them or use a small bulletin board. If you are more tactile inclined you can add a touch stone - like a pebble from your favorite spot on the river/beach or a button from a friend - that you can pick up and hold in your hands.
Don't be too hard on yourself, it takes a long time and lots of "trys" to get there. Remember it took a lifetime to learn these behaviors in the first place, so changing it also takes time and practice. Your doing everything you can like writing them in your journals and reaching out for help here on MDT.com, so just be patient and kind to yourself. Self compassion, I am currently learning, is an integral part of recovery and sometimes all that means is admitting to yourself that this is not easy and that you are doing your best to improve your skillcraft.
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