Yesterday I saw my therapist. We did an ART (Accelerated Resolution Therapy) session. I swear, it’s like magic. It made such a huge difference. I have done several ART sessions before, but it has always been about specific trauma or learned behaviors from trauma that I was struggling with. I’d never done it about something as broad and general as depression. But it worked wonders! My therapist said she wished she had a picture of me when I walked in and after the ART was over because she could see a difference in me. We discussed medication and other options as well, but at this point I feel best about going in more often to have more ART sessions during the winter.
In simple terms, Accelerated Resolution Therapy combines eye movements and visualization to treat trauma, PTSD, anxiety, depression, etc. A good definition I found was that ART “works directly to reprogram the way in which distressing memories and images are stored in the brain so that they no longer trigger strong physical and emotional reactions.” https://acceleratedresolutiontherapy.com/ It has worked for me in a truly life-changing way. After the session yesterday I felt as if a huge, heavy burden had been lifted off my shoulders. I feel hope again.
I wouldn’t say ART “cured” my depression or took it away. It’s still here, like it’s here every winter. And every spring it goes away. That’s why I’m going to do ART more often this winter, until there’s more warmth, light and sunny skies in the world. I do think that medication has its place, and I’m going to talk to a doctor about medication for anxiety because my anxiety never goes away. But for now, I feel good about continuing with the plan I have in place. I think that’s one of the most important things to remember about mental health. When you find something that works, stick with it.
It’s been hard to find the motivation to write. It’s been hard to find the motivation to do anything. I’m not doing well. Winter hit sooner than usual this year, and it hit hard. The last several years people have still been out mowing their lawns the first weekend of December, but we’ve had snow and cold temperatures since the middle of November, it seems. And it hasn’t gone away. My depression hasn’t been this bad in a long, long time, and my anxiety is also the worst it’s been in—well, maybe ever. I’ve been having almost daily panic attacks for weeks now, often multiple a day.
I’ve been having a hard time distinguishing between what’s real and what’s just the depression. I try to be logical, to remind myself that depression is a liar, but it’s hard when I feel like there’s so much evidence that I am a horrible mother, a horrible wife and just a horrible person in general who is not doing enough. Who simply isn’t enough and never will be. I keep asking myself why I’m even trying, when it doesn’t seem to matter.
Logically, I can look at what I am doing and see how much better I am at dealing with my mental illness than I used to. Despite just how much it takes from me to get out of bed every morning, I do get out of bed. I get my kids to school. I exercise. I’ve been going to light therapy even though I’d rather stay in bed all day. It takes longer than on healthy days, but I still have been getting dressed, doing dishes, cleaning, getting dinner ready (some nights), going to church, trying to socialize when I can. Yet, every day, as I sit alone crying, feeling so alone and worthless, I don’t feel that I’m doing better or that I’m doing good enough. I don’t feel as if I’m being the person I’m supposed to be. I don’t feel what the logic is telling me.
I have an appointment with my therapist tomorrow. I might want to try medication again, despite the fact that my last several attempts years ago didn’t work. I have to hope that something will help.
Walking through that door makes the blue a little lighter. She holds space as I gently spill. We sit, we talk - we water, dig and bury. Nurturing a shoot. Aiding it in light - to find its path through thorns - Malan Wilkinson