Writing Myself a Letter – the BounceBack Program

BounceBackI’ve decided to give the BounceBack program from Canadian Mental Health Association another try.

My first attempt a few years ago was not successful as I just couldn’t get myself to sit down long enough to finish reading a booklet. It’s more of a concentration and comprehension problem than anything. I’ve always had issues with this but it is exaggerated when I am feeling anxious and depressed.

Having received a couple booklets in the mail yesterday I decided today to open the first one. Having the power go out created a great opportunity. What else was I going to do? 🙂

I actually got through the first booklet and started on the second one. The second booklet is titled, “Write All Over Your Bathroom Mirror”. Getting to point number 10, out of 15 things to do for myself, it was time I actually had to think.

Point number 10 suggests to “Sit right down and write yourself a letter”. We are to imagine it’s ten years from now and I am sitting down to write a thank you letter to myself. Taking pen in hand I started writing. The first sentence was provided for us, and my letter went like this:

December 20, 2026

Dear me,

I want to say thanks for being strong 10 years ago.

It was five days before Christmas and you were thinking about buying that lottery ticket, even though you knew you couldn’t afford to do so. The jackpot and odds of winning were huge, but the chance of winning and the desire for a better life for us was too strong and you bought the ticket anyways.

Well, I’m so glad you bought that ticket because life couldn’t be better for us now. We are enjoying our lives. There’s no worry about not having money for necessities or becoming homeless again because we have just what we need.

We couldn’t possibly spend all that money on ourselves after buying a comfortable home in a quiet, seaside forest surrounded by wildlife, and I’ve been busy helping those who are in need. I still volunteer my time with my favourite causes and some take up quite a bit of my time. I built some low-cost housing for single parents and I’ve helped to put solar power and water wells in a number of northern and foreign communities. That makes me feel so good. Oh, and I bought a few pieces of local land that contain sensitive ecosystems so they can never be exploited. We also own a small chunk of the Brazilian Rainforest and we saved a small Indonesian forest from being burned to the ground for a palm oil plantation. The orangutans live happy and safe on our property! It feels so good to help.

Shortly after our win I started seeing a physiotherapist. I get regular massages and exercise everyday now that I can afford to. Ten years ago the way things were going I thought I’d be in a wheelchair by the time I reached 65. But here I am. We no longer have to worry about having enough money to live and we are healthy and happy. I feel much better now. There’s no depression and anxiety. I’m in a better place. I’m in my happy place.

Love,

Me.

So, after I wrote this, it hit me that this is not what was being asked of me. Although, writing this took me away and made me happy for the time it took, it’s not reality. There is no lottery win and I still feel stuck.

Some might wonder why I am writing this. Well, I thought about that myself, but I know there are others out there who are suffering. So, I’m putting this out there, very much out of my comfort zone. If it helps even one person to get some help for their depression and or anxiety then it was worth putting myself in a vulnerable position. People have been hiding in silence way too long.

There are many external influences that alter our thinking, our feelings, create physical symptoms, and alter our behaviour. It happens to everyone at some point. Some factors I feel are much easier to address than others. Exam anxiety or getting that business presentation just right is a passing thing, while others cope with daily stresses that build and can become unbearable. This time of the year is particularly hard for a great many people. If you feel you need help, please do not wait. Reach out to friends, family or a crisis centre. I know how hard it can be. Do not struggle alone.

My journey is not going to be an easy one. Overcoming poverty, dealing with unemployment, and accepting disability and stigma is difficult. There is no pill to cure that. But I’m ready to try the self-help reading materials and telephone coach sessions through BounceBack once again. It may not help directly with my external stressors, but I can only try to make the best of my situation.

Have you taken the journey? Where did you end up?

You can try the BounceBack program by contacting your doctor. More information can be found through the Canadian Mental Health Association website.

Our local office:

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Canadian Mental Health – Cowichan Valley

Let me know how you are doing!

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One thought on “Writing Myself a Letter – the BounceBack Program

  1. Reblogged this on Frugal Living Vancouver Island and commented:

    Well, Christmas is here again! Have you been good this year? Have you been a good frugal shopper? I hope this message finds you all healthy and happy.

    Christmas can be a hard time of the year. Families are struggling more than ever to make ends meet. Prices are going up for everything. Here in BC we are looking at increases in hydro, car insurance, medical services plan (for some couples and seniors), and our foods and materials are about to take another big hit. Being frugal is becoming a bit of a challenge for those of us already pinching pennies and not by choice. The stress is taking it’s toll.

    And there are those who are suffering from mental illness. Depression and anxiety can make the Christmas season a sad time. Those who are alone may not see any joy in Christmas carols, or bright coloured tree lights, or the laughter of families as they go about their visits. This is not something one just gets over.

    If you know someone who is living alone you might make a world of difference just by stopping in to say hello or by giving them a call. Don’t let them suffer alone.

    My decision to get help is the reason for my last article, which I am sharing here.

    All the best to you and yours this Christmas holiday and a very happy, healthy New Year!

    Like

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