Depression. It's more than sadness. It's a tsunami of impending doom. It's more than worry. It keeps you up at night. Not because of amusement but because of the taunting, the screeching thoughts, the monstrous howls, the silent scream and the excruciating cries. Feeling any pain or even disturbance yet?
Beginner's Mind Set
I am working on instilling a beginner's mindset. This means, as I'm learning from Susan David in her book "Agility," means I approach every situation with a new set of eyes instead of using the same thought patterns or biases I've heal about that very same scenario before. I went through postpartum depression before and as I go through it again, I'm trying something different, just to spice things up. You may have seen on my Instagram that I was recently at a crisis center. Coming out of it, I walked away with a very important and dare I say life-saving tool: A Safety Plan.
A Safety Plan for Depression
A safety plan for a mental health challenge is meant to keep you, well, safe. It protects you from harm should a crisis arise. This tool is the "Tie your camel part" as you put your trust in Allah.
I didn't think much of it. Meh, it's just a piece of paper. However, when I was recently in a crisis, after I came out of the crisis center lol, it helped. I know, my life is just full of fun hardships. I love it alhumdulillah. I think of the little bursts of bipolar I go through as a track, jumping over one hurdle after another, racing to get to Jannah. Anyways, back to the topic: a safety plan.
Defeat Depression at It's Own Game with a Guide
Depression is very cerebral. I mean it is in your head, duh. But I don't mean that you make it up. I mean that it is mental albeit with a biological root. So you need something that is outside the head. You need something that is logical, a clear cut tool to slay away the depression.
A Clear Plan for Depression (or insert your challenging feeling)
This plan doesn't cure depression. That cure lies with Allah. This tool does give you the means to help yourself when you start feeling depressed. You can very well use this template I made for you, a copy of the one I got, for anxiety, mania or other tough times you may me challenged with even for anger.
Click on the PDF below to get your copy of the comprehensive safety plan guide.
In the first part of the safety plan for depression, write down the warning signs that accompany your depression, postpartum depression, anxiety, mania or psychosis. They can be physical or mental symptoms. For example, for mania it could be that you start many different projects and keep jumping from one to other without even finishing one.
The next parts are pretty explanatory. Step 2 is about things you can do yourself to cope. The next step is the social situations and people that can distract you from your situation but in a good way. The next two steps are turning towards your social support network and then turning towards the mental health support network you have. Lastly, list the ways you can make your environment safe.
This crisis plan is a great tool to have handy. Keep it on your fridge or somewhere you look often so that it becomes second nature to you. Once you recognize the signs (step 1), you can start right away in helping yourself.
May Allah give you much healing and health.