Outside of therapy centers, writing about depression – or even about sad times – doesn’t come easily. Perhaps it’s because we start out our lives reading fairy-tales that end “happily ever after.” Until we’re sure we’ll reach the story-book ending, we keep our feelings to ourselves. We decide to celebrate our pity parties alone.
However, there’s a big, fat, hairy difference between having a pity party and sharing the difficult times of life.f Writing about depression and grief can be therapeutic (See Write About Memories: It’s Therapeutic! and Your Memories: 5 More Reasons to Share) and sharing the hard times can help you forge connections with your loved ones.
Writing about depression might also be lending a helping hand. The experts at the In Good Company Project make the point that “Around a third of us experience depression or anxiety, but it’s so little talked about that each of us tends to feel like we’re the only one.”
Whether your loved ones have similar issues or not, understanding your background and your struggles will help them relate to you. When you share your stories of depression, you might also be answering questions that others don’t trust themselves (or their relationship with you) to ask.
So that’s the why you should share you stories of depression. What about the how?
Writing about Depression
When you write about your memories, include periods and stories of depression. Adding perspective about your journey will keep your writing from becoming a whine fest. You can write about:
-Any predisposition you might have for depression and what you think your triggers were
-What form your sadness or depression took: Although there are norms, depression expresses itself differently in individuals. Was it more akin to paralysis or was it like Harry Potter’s “death eaters” descending on you?
– How you coped and what you learned about coping: For instance, did you learn that life-style, social life and diet play a role in your outlook? Do you function better with when you have time with nature, sports, or meditation? Have you made a permanent change in life style?
– Who helped you during the dark times: Often, stories of depression and grief are also stories of loyal friends and committed significant others. Writing about depression might also mean writing honestly about when to seek outside help—like therapy and/or medication.
– What you learned about yourself: Do you deal with events differently now?
– How far you’ve come: Have you come from literally crying in the closet to regaining your outgoing, productive self? (I’m raising my hand here.)
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, especially if you have artistic talent. When writing about depression is too difficult—or when the words fail to come together right, art-journaling and using colors is an articulate alternative. My memory sharing Pinterest board has some beautiful examples: Depression and I Refuse to Sink.
Like art journals, photography can be a great supplement to writing about depression. Photos can capture moods, beauty and perspective.
Scrapbooks aren’t simply family photo albums. They are story boards. You can use a scrapbook layout to express your feelings. Scrapbooking can also help you add photo, colors, and mood to your writing about depression. (See examples and explanations by Debbie Hodge.)
Any other ideas? How have you gone about sharing your struggles with moods? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
© Laura Hedgecock