How to live outside the box? The depression box!

If you really want to begin to “live outside the box“, a description of what the box feels like and looks like might be helpful to you.  First of all, a box has an identifiable shape. It is a box mainly because it contains something–whatever that might be. And when we speak of the subject of depression, we talk about depression having us boxed in. The box as it is used here, in this context is a metaphor for feeling enclosed and which there is no exit. It is like being trapped or like in a prison.

Now, in order to live outside the box we want to live creatively, which means  that we are having to learn  how to live outside the box. Now, if you  find  this hard to believe -stick with me now  as I will explain what I mean.

Just briefly, my own experience with depression can be used as an example. First of all, when I was depressed I thought that I was losing my mind. The box that I put myself in was getting more restricting by the day and making my life hell. I could see no way out. I was trapped. What could I do I asked myself?  As hard as I tried, I couldn’t just will these feelings and scary  thoughts away–like taking a broom and brushing them out of my life. No matter which way I turned I hit a wall. With no answers forthcoming on how to keep my head above water, my body slowly  was being sucked down into  the quicksand of despair. The thought came to me, much like that small glimmer, a tiny light so far away, but nevertheless  a light. It was  like the lighthouse which with its  intense brightness warns seafarers that rocks were nearby and to be watchful before approaching. My mind began to race here and there for a way out of the box and then it hit me —   get moving. Move the body. Get busy.  The key out of this prison was already in my hand. And now, those of us here in the Depressed program of recovery,who have been putting “out of the box” ideas to work in our daily lives, we want to share what has worked for us and we know, if you actually use them for your own recovery, they are  bound to  ultimately free you. That is the promise I share with you today.

The following activities,  listed below  are some of  the tools that will get you “out of the box” when you get serious about using them.

I think taking a close and personal look at the following tools will not only help you get  “out of the box” but can be tools that you will be able to utilize, day after day as you continue your recovery.

  1. Exercise is a great tool if you happen to be depressed.
  2.  Getting out into nature will also help put your mind on beauty and your surroundings.
  3. Overcoming fear is also a great place to learn how to get out of the box. Learn about “first fear” and “second fear.” Fear doe seem to be at the center of our life when depressed.
  4. Recite the “SERENITY PRAYER” as often as you need it.
  5. The present. Staying in the now.
  6. Making use of the God box. This is an exercise, a simple one at that, which helps us learn the discipline of “letting go.”
  7. Feelings need to be examined and expressed. We will look at why expressing feeling is  so important,  instead of having them bottled up and causing all sorts of physical and emotional problems.
  8. Disable negative thinking: learn how to short circuit negative thoughts when they pop into our minds.
  9.  Reading Depressed Anonymous literature and all material on the subject of depression.
  10. Learn how we all have choices. We make those decisions that bring us closer to freedom–not those that continue to imprison and box us.
  11. Journaling is a great tool for writing down what has been our experience for the day.  It helps to clarify our thinking and puts things into perspective.

NOTE

In the next post, I will begin placing attention on each of the eleven ideas listed above.  Gradually we can take time to evaluate  our response to each individually and make our own notes as how to use these recommended ideas  for our own recovery.

Hugh

TO FAIL TO PLAN IS TO PLAN TO FAIL. THINK OUTSIDE OF YOUR BOX!

THINK OUTSIDE YOUR BOX!

When I sat at home depressing myself weekend after weekend and making myself feel worse by isolating myself from my environment, I decided to make a change. I decided to move off of square one and do something — plan an activity. Plan an activity for those two days ahead ( the weekend) when I could already pretty much predict my activities for that time period. I just knew I would end up staring at the wall or counting the holes in the ceiling tile above my head. So what could I do? I did remember that someone at a Depressed Anonymous meeting told us what she did to overcome this deadening and unhealthy isolation. On Friday evening (hey today is Friday –wow! What coincidence) she started to fill in the hourly time slots for Saturday with an activity or activities that she committed herself to for that day. For example, on the 7AM hourly slot she wrote in that she would have her coffee and read a portion of her DA Literature–Higher Thoughts for Down days was a good place to start (as it offers a daily meditation for each day of the year). At 8AM she commits to taking a walk outside for 1/2 hour. At 8:30 AM she commits to go to the grocery shopping an then  to the mall to window shop and then sit and enjoy of coffee at the food court.  At 11AM she will come home and call a member of her depression mutual aid group  or a friend. By this time it’s 12 Noon, and she and her significant other will share a lunch together, and If one lives alone then a meal will be prepared at this time.

I think you see the importance of planning something for every hour increment during your day. By the time Saturday evening approaches you will have done a great number of activities, fulfilled your scheduled activities for that day and  you will feel that you were too busy to spend time isolating and  thinking  negative and unproductive  thoughts.

Plan the next day as well as  for Sunday. Do the same planning procedure for each hour of Sunday and commit yourself to the plan. STICK TO THE PLAN! How about writing in going to a movie, even if you go by yourself. But go! Maybe visit a friend in the Nursing home –or a resident whom the staff  knows  could use a friendly visitor for what may be a very lonesome day.

Don’t allow yourself to say “We’ll not this weekend but maybe next weekend I’ll try this planning thing.” Nope, that won’t get it. It’s a trap. You and I know we have to MAKE A DECISION. With pencil in hand (tonight) we have to sit down and write down  an hourly plan for our weekend.

Have a great and productive weekend! I know you can if you plan it!