Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Mantra for Living


(Just a random picture)

Both in a comment here and through private emails, I was asked to go into more detail about the mantra for living I mentioned in my previous post, so I thought I’d just make an entry out of it.

For those of you struggling with Major Depression or Bipolar Disorder, you know that life sometimes seems . . . well, not worth the effort.  I am currently going through a depressive episode (I have Bipolar Disorder, Type 1) and the meds and the ECT are working, but it’s taking time, and I’ve never been all that patient of a person and there have been lots of moments when life just doesn’t seem to be worth the effort.

Two weeks ago, my therapist had me write a “mantra for living.”  It took me a week to even start it because I really didn’t have much faith in it.  But here are some more details about what goes into the mantra for living, for once I wrote it, I actually have found it extremely helpful and I read through it multiple times a day.

I started off by acknowledging that life is difficult and rather terrifying right now and then I listed the reasons that make this true.  You may choose words other than “difficult” and “terrifying” if they don’t fit for you:  exhausting, saddening, pointless, etc.  And everyone’s reasons will be different.  For example, one of the reasons I have is my heart and the specifics of my cardiac diagnosis.  Seeing as how that diagnosis is extremely rare, I don’t expect other people to have that listed.

Then I wrote the sentence, “But I need to dwell on the things that make life worth living.”  I happen to work with a DBT therapist, and one of the main goals of DBT is to create a life worth living.  Again, my reasons will not be the same as yours.  My family is one of my reasons that make life worth living, but I know that “family” may make life difficult for some people.  Do not list something and then say, “Oh, that’s not big enough of a reason.”  My cats are on my list.  I can’t imagine my life without them.  And I seriously do wonder, “Who’d feed my cats if something happened to me?”  So my cats are on my list.  So is my writing.  If playing the piano gives you a reason for living, list it.

And then I closed my mantra for living with the sentence, “I have a worthwhile life and I life I can be proud of.”

I keep mine in my journal because I always have my journal with me.  But if you want to write it on looseleaf paper and fold it up and put it in your pocket, that’s fine.  Whatever works for you.

I’m glad my stubbornness finally subsided and I followed my therapist’s instructions.  (Shhhh—don’t tell him I said that! :/ )   Seriously, if you find yourself doubting your existence or the meaning of your existence, consider writing out a mantra for living.  Even put down things that you hope will one day be in your life as reasons for living.  It’ll give you something to look forward to.

Hope can be a powerful thing.  I’m starting to get some of mine back.


April 1, 2011 - Posted by | bipolar disorder, depression, Eating Disorders, therapy | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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