Visualizing when depressed.

Photo by Markus Ewert

One of the hallmarks of depression is the inability to imagine a future. This can mean different things for different people. In a deeply depressive state, it can be a challenge to imagine how the next few hours may go, let alone the next year or five.

This, simply put, really sucks because visualization is such an incredibly powerful tool.

If you can’t see the horizon, moving forward in any real way can feel like you are sludging your way through a really dank, dark forest. Every movement feels not only difficult but pointless because… where the hell are you heading?

Because of my struggle with depression, having dreams and coming up with lofty goals to reach for hasn’t been an easy or pleasurable thing for me. Mostly, when I try to dream or imagine myself in some fabulous circumstance, I just get sad. I get sad because it’s so difficult for me to do, and I get sad because even if I do manage to conjure up something, it slips away so easily.

Instead of beating myself up about this and forcing myself to dream of grand homes and travel and fabulous adventures and an amazing career, I have resolved to do the following 2 things…

  1. Create a vision board. I do not subscribe to the Law Of Attraction version of this. I will create a vision board for the most practical of reasons: so my visions won’t be so easily forgotten, as they usually are.
  2. Focus on small-scale visualization. What are my next 5 moves? What will I do next and what comes after that? How can I move fluidly and easily from that thing to the next thing? What does Mallory one-week-from-now look like? These are the questions I’ve started asking myself each day.

I’ll post my vision board when it’s finished, and accompany it with an update on my small-scale visualization exercises.

=) Happy Holidays