Sometimes, I just need to check in with myself.
Well, ever since I acknowledged that I have had depression for the past 43 years, I have felt the need to check in with myself, to see what is going on.
My goal is to keep depression out in the open, where I can keep an eye on it. Doing this makes depression very uncomfortable, which is comforting to me.
When I don’t, bad things happen.
Depression has a way of slipping into places I never thought it would fit. It has wedged into the darkest reaches of my mind, without using a flashlight or a torch. It has snuck into the happiest of my thoughts, pulling the proverbial rug right out from under me as I am basking in a happy moment.
READ: Depression is sneaky.
I know my depression is sneaky because it admits it. It tries to be underhanded and makes me think things are my idea. But other times, it straight up tells me I am going to do something, to feel a certain way, and in the past, I have not questioned it.
Now I am learning how to ask better questions. READ: When will I ask these 12 better questions?
This skill is making it easier to live with depression. Knowing how it works, and being alert to how it operates, I am becoming better at seeing the outcomes it wants me to produce. I have some great tools from SMART that are helping with this.
Having attended SMART Recovery meetings for almost seven months, I am sold on their value for me.
Even better for my understanding of how SMART can change a person, I flew to Chicago in October to attend their 25th Annual Conference. Getting to meet physicians and volunteers that developed and have spread their science-based approach to recovery gave me a deeper understanding of the origins of and the personal lives associated with its development.
Last week I registered for their training program and began taking on-line lessons in SMART.
This will give me the tools to start and facilitate a SMART meeting. The training includes chapters on facing challenging situations, developing your skills as a SMART Recovery facilitator, a guide to present SMART Recovery tools to a new group, answers to frequently asked questions during meetings, and more.
OK, I copied that from the sales brochure for the SMART Recovery Facilitators Manual.
But it is all true, and I am excited to be learning these tools. Not only is there a chance to share what I have learned with others, but there is a real chance that I will be able to lead a much more balanced life as the result of this training.
After months of going to meetings, I want to know more.
I am energized at the meetings. Knowing where the tools she is using come from makes me feel more a part of the process. And having a workbook containing all the tools available to SMART Facilitators gives me the confidence that I will have what I need to keep my depression in check. Or, to know when things are not quite right, and how to address them before they have me circling the drain on my way to the abyss of doom and despair.
Completing the basic facilitator class is just the beginning.
I am looking forward to taking their advanced training, going beyond the basics of the meeting. The more I know the better equipped I am to help myself and then others. Self-care and setting boundaries for myself are still a big part of my plan to lead a balanced life.