To-Do List For Depressed Irene

colorful clouds over a neighborhood

I made this list after a particularly down day in 2015. I have always found journaling at the end of a day to be calming and a way to offload my heavy emotions, especially when I am in a depressive episode. The process of coming up with this list was therapeutic; I revealed to myself that there were things in my life I still found comforting and safe, that there were people whom I could count on. This list of concrete things to do, laid out clearly in front of me, helped give me a sense of order. The ability to feel in control of something is truly grounding for me. On your bad days, try your best to be gentle with yourself. Ask and give yourself what you need to feel safe. Write them down and pull the list out whenever you need to.

To-do list for depressed Irene

1) Stretch out your bones. Sit up straight, unfurl your shoulders from their crooked question mark. Breathe.

2) Go for a walk. Let the sun warm your skin even if it might not reach deep enough to your meat-locker heart. Know that you can still feel. Your nerves are still firing.

3) Call mom, call your therapist. Text a friend. Tell them how you really feel.

4) Take a shower, put fresh clothes on. Turn on the light and crack open a window. 

5) Remember that there are good days and this temporary setback is just temporary. Remember that others survived this and trust that you will too.

6) Stop listening to the songs that make you cry. Stop reading the words that challenge you.