Excerpt for Letters to Eunoia: A Book of Hope and Encouragement for Depression & Anxiety Warriors by , available in its entirety at Smashwords





Letters to Eunoia



Copyright 2017 Chelsey Brejanee

Published by Chelsey Brejanee at Smashwords







Smashwords Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your enjoyment only, then please return to Smashwords.com or your favorite retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.





EUNOIA (yoo'-noy-ah)

noun



1. A state of normal adult mental health

From Ancient Greek εὔνοια (eunoia, “goodwill”, literally “beautiful thinking”), from εὖ (eu, “well, good”) + νόος (noos, “mind, spirit”).





Copyright © 2017 Chelsey Brejanee Campbell

All rights reserved.





DEDICATION

In loving memory of my beautiful cousin Maisha Garrett, your bright soul and loving energy brought happiness and hope to countless people. And to her mother, Deborah Garrett, your amazing strength and kind heart inspire me everyday. I love you both.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would love to express my gratitude to the phenomenal people whose support saw me through the completion of this book.



To my brilliant editor, Violetta Nikitina, thank you for your diligence and dedication in helping me put out the best versions of these letters.



To my incredibly kind beta readers who took the time to not only read part of this book, but to also give me incredibly honest and vulnerable feedback. The worth of and my gratitude for your responses are immeasurable. Thank you, Kasey Millheim, Destiny Fleming, Thea Norman, Traonté S Jones, Chelsey Davis, Jesus Sierra, Mirjam Frosth, Dawnesha Faison, Kelly Stanley, Andrieka Ore, Chelsea Cobb, Lydia Talbo, Julie 'Bug' Harrison, Tara Lynn Hart, Kiana Arian, and the 16 more who chose to remain anonymous. You all are so wonderful!



To my amazing support system starting my mother Kimm, thank you for believing in me by doing all that you can to help me reach my dreams. I couldn’t have done this without you. To my health coach and friend Suzanne, thank you for being my anchor when I am lost and for helping me maintain a healthy balance in my life. To my dear friend Taylor, thank you for picking up the phone and driving me to the hospital that night I was suicidal. Your presence in my life then and now mean more than you know. And to my love Sam, thank you for being a constant source of light, love, and support for me. Your belief in me means more than the moon and the stars. I love you.



My heart is so full from the unwavering support I have received during this process. There is no Letters to Eunoia without you guys.



Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Table of Contents



INTRODUCTION

HOW TO USE THIS BOOK



SECTION I: THE BLUES

Read this if…

If You Feel Like Giving Up on Life

If You’re Struggling to Get Out of Bed

If You’re Considering Therapy

If You’re Feeling Lazy

If You’re Feeling Guilty About Your Struggles

If Depression Won Today

If You’re Struggling to Reach Out

If Therapy Was Hard Today

If You Have an Urge to Self-Harm



SECTION II: FOR THE ANXIOUS MIND

Read this if…

If You Feel Like You’re Not Doing Enough

If You Need to Be Told Everything Will Be Okay

If You Just Had a Panic Attack

If You’re Headed to a Social Event

If You Feel an Anxiety Attack Coming

If You’d Like to Know How I Soothe My Anxiety

If You’ve Been Triggered (Severely)

If You Want to Stop Overthinking

If You Need to Be Told That Everything Will Be Ok



SECTION III: MATTERS OF THE HEART

Read this if…

If You Need to Hear I Love You

If You’re Feeling Lonely

If You’re Having Trouble Setting Boundaries

If You’re Struggling to Let Go

If You’re Going Through a Breakup

If You’re Dealing with Rejection

If You’re Struggling to Forgive Someone

If You Feel Unlovable



SECTION IV: PERCEPTION OF SELF

Read this if…

If You’d Like a String of Compliments

If You’d Like a Message About Body Positivity

If You Would Like Some Tips for Self-Confidence

If You Made a Mistake



SECTION V: WORK AND SCHOOL

Read this if…

If You Need Some Monday Motivation

If You Feel Lost About Your Life’s Purpose

If You’re Overwhelmed with Your Workload

If Your Co-worker Just Pissed You Off

If You’re Struggling With Procrastination

If You’re Feeling Anxious at Work or School



SECTION VI: RANDOM POSITIVITY

Read this if…

If You’re Struggling to See the Bright Side

If You Want to Start the Day on a Good Note

If You’ve Been Triggered (Mildly)

If You’d Like to Know Why I’m Obsessed with Meditation

If You Want to Know Why I Say, “It Gets Better”



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

INTRODUCTION

It started with a letter that I wrote to myself in 2013. It was day seven of my eight-day stay in a psychiatric hospital for suicidal ideation. Severe anxiety, crippling depression, self-harming and a complex eating disorder--all hidden beneath my fake smiles and bubbly personality-- finally pushed me to the point of (almost) no return. So, I called my best friend and asked her to take me to the nearest hospital. My therapist told me it was possible that I would be released the next day. While I felt relatively stable and a tiny bit happy, I was extremely aware of my fragility. This was my first time truly reaching out for help, so all of the work I’d done while there was only the beginning. I was also very aware that the support would reduce drastically upon my return to my college campus, so I decided to send a message to myself from my temporary state of clarity in the event that I slip back into despair.

I was five years old the first time I binge ate. I was eight years old the first time I forced myself to throw-up my food. I was fourteen years old the first time I cut my wrists. I was fifteen years old the first time I forced myself to go days without eating. And I was twenty-one years old when I wrote that first letter. And boy did I pour my heart and soul into it. It had been almost two decades of well-hidden disorders that I needed to face head-on and fight. And in a twisted way I was sad to know they would be leaving me. They were my family and my support system. They were what I had when I needed to feel in control or comforted. I had developed them at such a young age, it was almost a natural instinct to just shut down and turn to them when the darkness came. I knew that another pitfall would send me into isolation with my toxic habits, and would eventually land me back in the hospital-or worse. And I truly didn’t want that. I wanted to get better. I wanted to feel happiness more often. I wanted the dreadful feelings in my chest and stomach to finally go away. I wanted to be able to smile and laugh without the force of pretending. So I relied on this letter to be my source of strength and gentle reminder to snap out of it, hang on, and reach out in the event that I needed it.

I’m twenty-five this year, and I am proud to say that I have completely turned my life around. I am much happier, confident, and my bubbly personality is finally genuine. As I reflect on my journey to eunoia, I realize that the letter has saved me on numerous occasions and I have read it more times than I can count. There’s something powerful about reading encouraging words during a tough times that helped to remind me of my worth, strength, and ability to go on. So, I wondered how that letter would benefit another person questioning whether life is worth living. And to take it a step further, how other letters on numerous topics would help to encourage or inspire people to keep going and feel good about life and themselves while living with depression and anxiety. These two troublemakers are so common among us and can show up as lifelong diagnosed disorders or as temporary visitors who accompany trauma or hardships. At some point in our lives, on some level of severity, we will come in contact with these emotional struggles that make life difficult. Which brings us to Letters to Eunoia. This word represents more than its definition: a state of normal mental health. It is a way of life filled with beautiful thinking and feeling. It is the word that I have tattooed above my faded self-harming scars. And it is the space within yourself that I hope this book helps you to find. I have filled this book with intimate and heartfelt letters addressed to you, the reader, on various issues or difficulties we all face in life. In fact, the first letter of this book is the same one I wrote to myself four years ago (with some added resources at the end). My intent is that you have something and someone outside of yourself speaking positivity, hope, inspiration, and love into you and that you learn to open this book on a bad day instead of turning to something that’s harmful to you. My hope is that they provide even a fraction of the support and encouragement to you that my letter has for me.

So, before we venture into the letters I just want to thank you. Thank you for taking time to read my story and for sharing in these letters with me. I hope you feel the love that I’ve poured into every single word.

HOW TO USE THIS BOOK

This book is not professional mental health advice or treatment and should not take the place of professional mental health services. I am simply a peer sharing my life experiences, motivation, and support. If you or someone you know are struggling and would like someone to help-please call 1800-273-8255 or visit the resources tab at findingahappyinc.co for more options or if you’re outside of the US. Thank you.



Letters to Eunoia is designed to be thumbed through with the intent of choosing and reading what you need at a specific time. But, you can certainly read it traditionally; it’s totally up to you! There are six different sections to cover some major areas of the human experience:

I. The Blues-The letters in this section address situations that come up when battling depression. They’re extremely gentle in tone and focus on providing support and motivation.

II. For the Anxious Mind-The letters in this section are catered to people who suffer from any anxiety disorders or severe stress in general. They are meant to bring calm and clarity and provide tips and tricks I use to help handle stress.

III. Matters of the Heart-The letters in this section aim to bring comfort, support, and the wisdom I’ve learned along the way as it relates to love and relationships (both romantic and platonic).

IV. Perception of Self-The letters is in this section are all about self-esteem and confidence and are meant to inspire feelings and actions to improve the way you feel about yourself.

V. Work and School-The letters in this section address situations related to work and school. Some letters are simple words of encouragement and guidance while others discuss ordinary situations that become difficult while navigating them with anxiety and/or depression.

VI. Random Positivity-The letters in this section are on a wide range of topics and are extremely upbeat. They’re best suited for moments when you would just like some positive energy sprinkled into your day.

The book is designed to be thumbed through with the intent of choosing and reading what you need at a specific time. But, you can certainly read it traditionally; it’s totally up to you!

As you can see, the letters in here cover a wide spectrum of issues. I think it’s important to recognize that people living with (low and high) functioning depression and anxiety will experience struggles on all levels of severity and in all aspects of life. So, you do not have to be in deep despair or even have a mental health diagnosis to reach out for support or benefit from encouragement. Life gives us all challenges to grow through, so I wanted this book and these letters to be able to meet people wherever they are emotionally. I noted within the book section descriptions the state of mind the letters are meant to serve, so I hope that along with the titles will guide you to the exact letter that will fit you. Whether you’re at your lowest point in life or just wanting to start the day on a positive note- I hope you can find whatever you need here.

Lastly, I’d love to note that I know firsthand how crippling depression and anxiety can be and can often make the simplest tasks feel impossible. These letters are in no way attempting to provide a simple fix to all of life’s problems, suggesting that your difficulties are invalid, or downplaying your struggles, disorder, or illness. If you are currently at a point in your life where the depression or anxiety is making living feel extremely difficult I urge you to please seek out (if you haven’t already) some sort of professional help or support. There are such a wide variety of tools out here to help you; you’ve just got to come across the combination of such that will work for you. And please do not feel guilty for or ashamed of your struggles. I know you are doing the best you can and it speaks volumes that you’re here existing in this book with me. One of the most powerful lessons I learned on my own journey to eunoia was that depression, anxiety, or trauma may take away your will or desire to go on, but they never, ever take away your option to fight and try anyway. I wrote this entire book with those words at the forefront of my mind, and the belief that anyone who picks up and attempts to read this book is ready to at least try or fight for recovery, happiness, and healing. An open mind, heart, and tiny desire to feel better are all you need to navigate these letters. I am so honored and grateful to serve a tiny role in your journey to eunoia, and am so happy that this book can serve as a tool to help you keep going, keep trying, reach out, and hang onto hope. Because it truly does get better, I am living proof of that.

SECTION I: THE BLUES



We carry invisible boulders

Their weights crushing our chests

Exhausting our efforts

But did you know?

There’s magic in the act of reaching out

Suddenly our boulders can be seen



Suddenly, they’re no longer ours to carry alone



-depression



Chelsey Brejanee

If You Feel Like Giving Up on Life

Dear You,

I ask that you hang on a while: I admire your strength for opening this letter at a time like this. I want to admire you for hanging on and living and breathing through the ridiculously strong and often unbearable pain. I know it’s so hard to carry and I know that you’re tired. And I know that it’s hard to imagine carrying it farther, so I’m asking you to breathe and stay in this moment with me. Please stay with me while I tell you how incredibly strong you are. How worthy you are. Even if you don’t believe it for yourself right now, and that’s okay. You are fighting an extremely hard battle and you still managed to find these words to read. You’re already winning My Love. Keep going My Love. The world needs you My Love. You are the only one with you combination of skills, interests, passions, gifts, personality, and character. Even if depression or other shitty events or circumstances have caused you to forget-it’s still true. You are unique, special, amazing, and necessary. And it’s never too late to turn things around. You’ve already conquered such a hard feat by choosing to stay with me in this moment and reading on. Take a deep breath My Love. I want you to know that you are not alone. I want you to know that there are people who love and care about you. I want you to know that there are literally millions of people who feel exactly like you do right now. There are even more people who would love to support, love, and empower you…who will fight this horrible icky feeling with you. Many of these people you haven’t even met yet. They’re all just waiting with open arms and hearts to embrace you fully for who you are right now. And there’s no need to feel shame. There are no judgments. I love and accept you no matter where you are in your journey. I know that you can hang on with me. I know that you can do this. I know that it will get better for you. I admire you. I believe in you. I’m so grateful for you.

Beautiful Soul, I’m going to ask you to do one more thing after this letter. Just one-we’ve made it this far; I know you have the strength to keep going. I’m asking you to reach out to someone to talk to about how you’re feeling. You can call this number 1800-273-8225 or text start to 741741. Call your therapist and schedule an emergency session. Or tell a family member or friend about what’s going on. Just please reach out; you deserve the love and support other people have to give. Try not to see this as asking for help. You’re simply adding another warrior to your fierce army against your depression, PTSD, or just plain shit circumstances. You’ve fought and carried so much on your own-it’s time to share the load a little. I am so happy you’re still here with me. I promise it will get better. I’m writing to you from that place-it does exist and it will be a part of your experience soon. I promise. So, reach out for me my love. Recruit your warriors. Hold onto them. Let them lift you up. Because you deserve it. Because you are worthy. Because you and your life are so important. Because the world is lucky to have you. Because it’s time for you to begin remembering how incredible you are. And because I truly believe with all my heart that you are not done fighting and that you can do this. Hang on.

I respect you. I’m in utter awe of you. And I love you, so so much. Thank you for being here.



Yours in support,

Chels



** There are some amazing people ready to receive you as you are and help you find the light. Please call the number 1800-273-8255 or visit the “resources” tab at findingahappyinc.co for more options or if you live outside the U.S**

If You’re Struggling to Get Out of Bed

Dear You,

Good morning, afternoon, or evening. Whatever time you’re reading this truly doesn’t matter. The fact that you’ve opened this letter is proof that you’re already beating the monster that is depression. Congrats! Seriously, you’re struggling to get up and start the day and yet you’ve still made the effort to open up and read some words of encouragement! That’s a tough thing to do. And you’ve made the decision to fight the beast today, and I for one think that is phenomenal. Also, you are phenomenal. I know the feeling in your chest and stomach is painful and unbearable. And I know the idea of taking on the day feels daunting, but the beautiful thing is you can take this one step at a time. You can take the time to slowly shift your perspective for today. The fact is you are strong. You are stronger than the desire to stay in bed and sleep. You know that first waking up is the hardest part of the day. You know that if you could just sit up and start moving it will get better with time.

You can do this. You can do this. You can do this. You can do this. You can do this.

Take a deep breath. Inhale deeply and sit up my love. Stretch those arms and feel the tension release. Allow the natural energy in your body to come alive. You’ve made it through another night! How blessed are the world and the people in it that you have! Here you are in all of your brilliance that is you. Here you are trying and reaching out by reading these words. Each syllable read in your mind is a grand step in a positive direction. You’re doing it! Not only are you doing it but you’re absolutely crushing it! I am so proud of you! I admire the strength that you carry. I admire your ability to live and breathe with the weight of the world on your chest and shoulders. I’m in awe of your desire to feel better. I am so grateful for your existence.

Have you sat up yet My Love? Please allow your feet to touch the floor. Come on, you can do this. Bless the world with your presence. Show us you. We’re waiting to receive you just as you are, where you are. There are no conditions to the value of your presence.



That’s it, stand up My Love. Now read these words and feel them:

I am strong.

I am worthy.

I will make today good.



That’s good! Now say them again:

I am strong.

I am worthy.

I will make today good.



Yes! You’ve done it! You’ve made it to the end of this letter when you didn’t even want to open your eyes. Now, why not play some music? What is or used to be your favorite song before the darkness came? What music will remind you of the beauty this life has to offer. Play it. Feel it. Appreciate it. Let it fill up your heart and mind with the light you need to remember that you are an amazing person and that you deserve better than how you’re feeling. And that you can and will get out of bed and try your best today. Be proud of your efforts this morning. You’ve already done more than enough, so let’s just take it a step further. Now, get out there and just be. That is plenty.

I’m proud of you! And I appreciate you being here.



Love,

Chels



** There are some amazing people ready to receive you as you are and help you find the light. Please call the number 1800-273-8255 or visit the resources tab at findingahappyinc.co for more options or if you live outside the U.S**

If You’re Considering Therapy

Dear You,

First of all, YAY! You’re thinking about going to therapy, and that is so freaking amazing! I’m so happy for you. I’m not exactly sure where this stigma about mental health and therapy came from, but it’s really unfortunate and harmful to countless people since so many are consequently hesitant about seeking the support outside of themselves they so desperately need. It took me years to admit that something was off with me or that I had mental health difficulties, and admitting that I could benefit from some professional help was completely out of the question.

I remember in the middle of one of my many meltdowns (you know the kind where you bottle everything up for months until that one thing sets you off and before you know it you’re a crying snot-nosed mess because all of these suppressed emotions are pouring out of you uncontrollably), my mother said, “I think we should get you to a therapist.” I was 15 years old, and I’d never felt more insulted. I mean she was right, but the denial is real. It’s so ironic because at the time in my life I was heavily engaged in self-harming and my eating disorder, but had the nerve to be shocked and appalled at the mere idea of needing mental health treatment. But hey, I was afraid. I wasn’t comfortable talking about my life and the horrible thoughts in my head. I so badly just wanted to be “normal” and fit in with my peers, have friends, and make my mom proud. So, I figured that spending every day of my life behind the mask of sports, academics, and false happiness would make the sadness eventually go away. I basically spent most of my life trying to put a Band-Aid on top of a cancerous tumor. So, I get it. Admitting you need help can be scary for various reasons. I think that you’re quite brave because you’ve taken the first step in self-awareness by reading this book. And I’m not sure where you are on the spectrum of severity. You don’t have to be as “bad” as I was to benefit from therapy. Actually, I think everyone would benefit from therapy. Which basically debunks the myth that it’s only for people on the brink of suicide (which by the way if you are please read the first letter of this book ASAP and talk to someone about it).

The truth is we all have some sort of trauma that we’ve experienced. Whether you survived a severely abusive childhood or the worst thing that happened to you was your goldfish dying, your sad or tough experiences are valid and real and may have had a negative impact on your life if it goes on unprocessed or unhealed. So yep! It’s a total myth that therapy is for “crazy” people. Because I think “crazy” is a shitty stigma-filled word to begin with, and I can say that I’ve benefited from therapy at every stage of my recovery- from the brink of suicide all the way up to my happy and stable days. No shame, My Love. It’s a perfectly sensible and admirable of you to talk to someone about your life experiences.

It’s extremely helpful to talk someone who won’t judge you and can give you objective insight into what’s happening in your life. Therapy is a safe space to dig up and work through issues and memories that are otherwise too painful to process on your own. It’s an hour a week (or more) that is 100% all about you and making you feel better. You’ll learn so many helpful tools to take home and use every day. And, yes, healing yourself is work, and there will be times where you won’t want to go back or will feel exhausted (which I have a letter for in this book titled “If Therapy Was Hard Today”), but I promise it will be one of the best things you can do for yourself. You are not here to suffer, My Love. You deserve every resource and opportunity to bring you to the light at the end of this tunnel. Therapy will bring clarity and understanding to your pain and behavior patterns. It will help you understand your triggers and how to cope with them so you can be kept safe. And it will improve the relationships in your life and the way you interact with the people in your life. Lastly, it will teach you how to grow through your pain by giving purpose to it.

Therapy is one of the activities that literally saved my life. So, go for it Darling! Look into your options. A simple Internet search will help you navigate the style that’s best for you- in person, online chatting, video chatting, or on the phone. Take your time and pick the best one that fits your needs. You’ll be so glad you did this! I can’t wait for your future self to thank you.



Best wishes!

Chels



** There are some amazing people ready to receive you as you are and help you find the light. If you’re having thoughts or feelings of suicide or self-harm Please call the number 1800-273-8255 or visit the resources tab at findingahappyinc.co for more options or if you live outside the U.S**

If You’re Feeling Lazy

Dear You,

Hey, you’re not lazy. You’re depressed. That’s why you’re so tired. That’s why you’ve lost interest in most things. That’s why you’re not motivated to do anything. Depression basically took a giant tub of goo and put you in it so that you can’t move. It’s actually interesting how comforting it can be to just sit completely still in our spots while depressive emotions swirl in and out of our chests. Sleeping and doing nothing are ways to alleviate the sharp pains of utter despair and sadness. I get it. I feel like not many people will say this, but it feels really good to do nothing, procrastinate, or sleep.

I used to be so hard on myself, like internally screaming at myself to get up and freaking do something! And, man, the guilt for doing nothing was so damn strong. Laziness is often seen as a moral issue in our society, which loves to hold a strong work ethic and productivity on a pedestal. It helps so much to know that you’re not lazy, a screw-up, a failure, or any other negative thing you’ve been whispering (or internally screaming) at yourself. Your perceived laziness is simply another side effect of your depression. Because of what’s going on in your brain, you have to approach your tasks a little differently, and that’s ok. It’s ok to take more time getting things started. It’s ok to celebrate all of the victories that may seem small to anyone else. Be kind to yourself, Darling. The standards and expectations alter when it comes to a depressed mind. If you’re struggling to get something started and it’s bugging you, check out the ”If You’re Struggling With Procrastination” and “If You Feel Like You’re Not Doing Enough letters in the Work and School section of this book or the “If You’re Feeling Guilty for Your Struggles” letter in this section. Take things one step at a time, and do the best you can. And for the love of all things good and holy please try to stop beating yourself up over your perceived laziness. I know that’s tricky since self-loathing is literally a depression symptom, but saying some gentle words to yourself like, “I’m doing the best I can, and that’s enough,” goes a super long way.

Hang in there Dear. I’m still proud of you, no matter how many hours it takes for you get started with your day and responsibilities. I’m just so incredibly happy that you’re here, surviving and trying.



Go You!

Chels



** There are some amazing people ready to receive you as you are and help you find the light. If you’re having thoughts or feelings of suicide or self-harm Please call the number 1800-273-8255 or visit the resources tab at findingahappyinc.co for more options or if you live outside the U.S**

If You’re Feeling Guilty About Your Struggles

Dear You,

I appreciate you being honest with yourself about how you feel. It’s not an easy task to admit guilt, especially since it’s one of those depression symptoms that’s often overlooked. I wish I could hug you right now and let you know that you should never ever feel guilty for the things that are not your fault. Everyone has a different, unintentional cause for depression. Your “why” might be from a chemical imbalance in your brain, depression running in your family, carrying pain from unresolved trauma, or going though an extreme rough patch in life (like grieving the loss of a loved one or coping with heartbreak or job loss). Whatever your “why,” it’s completely valid and real. The side effects may be impacting your life experience in a major way.

I know that you are fighting this with all your might (mostly because you came to find me on this page). What you live with everyday can feel like a trap suffocating you in in every aspect while you helplessly watch the world go by. The fact that you’re you, breathing, reading, and receiving my words, speaks volumes. You are truly remarkable! I know you wish you could do more. I know you want these shitty feelings to go away. I know it feels like they won’t, but I promise you that the light at the end of this tunnel is near. And in the meantime, I love and accept you where you are right now. In time I hope you can do the same. I am basing your efforts and actions on the current state of your mental health, not on anyone else’s expectations of you, your to-do list, or what other people are doing. I’m here with you, because I’ve been where you are. I know the overwhelming feeling of guilt that comes with intellectually knowing how you “should” be living but not having the emotional strength or will to do so. I know the shame of not taking care my responsibilities or myself. I know the embarrassment of an extremely messy room and a disheveled appearance. Do not feel shame, My Love. You are not doing this on purpose. Sometimes depression means you’re barely hanging on. Sometimes depression makes merely existing an exhausting task. Your survival every day is amazing and enough. As temporary as this struggle may be, it is real, valid, and carries real symptoms that are freaking tough. Shall we replace that guilt with a little bit of pride? Pride in your 100% survival rate in this battle against depression? You are a warrior, My Love. You are not a burden. You are not selfish. You are not a failure. You are not “crazy.” You are not ungrateful.

This brings me to my next point. I’m sure there are plenty of awesome aspects of your life. Please know that having a life with blessings and having a life with depression are not mutually exclusive. Sure, it helps to recognize or have gratitude for any positivity that already exists in your life, but it certainly doesn’t make up the entire foundation for your mental health or happiness. I used to get so pissed when people would question how I could possibly have depression when I had “so much going for me.” You must always remember the unique “why” for your individual experience with depression and treat it accordingly. Our emotional struggles are always deeper than the surface level shit we focus on. Not to mention, emotional struggles and happiness are meant to be addressed and worked on internally. The good stuff in your life does not negate the gut-wrenching emotions and authentic difficulties that depression brings into your life. We all have such a bad habit of beating ourselves up for not feeling or being the way that we “should” based on external possessions or occurrences. There is no “should” when it comes to being or feeling, My Love. Bottom line, you are experiencing depression at no fault of your own. It’s important that you honor your individual needs and journey without the pressure of believing that your happiness lies on the same foundation as the next person. You can continue to live and work towards healing yourself in a way that isn’t rooted in guilt, shame, or self-hatred.

There’s something magical that happens when we accept where we are right now emotionally as a valid truth. So, keep going you sweet, Brilliant Soul. Be gentle to yourself. Your struggles are real and hard. And nothing anyone says or does can take away from the fact that you’re handling and living with them every day with an immense amount of courage. I hope that you can find it in your heart to give yourself some much needed compassion and love. You are doing the best you can with what you’ve got, and that is always enough.



With love and great pride,

Chels



** There are some amazing people ready to receive you as you are and help you find the light. If you’re having thoughts or feelings of suicide or self-harm Please call the number 1800-273-8255 or visit the resources tab at findingahappyinc.co for more options or if you live outside the U.S**

If Depression Won Today

Dear You,

I don’t know what depression winning looks like for you. For me, it means I slept the day away, accomplished zero things on my to-do list, or completely avoided interacting with family and friends. It’s most likely different for all of us, but I think we can all agree that it feels like absolute crap to know that there are things to be done and a life to live but to not be able to physically and emotionally bring yourself to do it. Depression can feel like a trap that allows you to see the world happening without you. It freaking sucks, and it takes some serious strength to live with it. Sometimes, I’m sure, you power through it, get stuff done, and experience life anyway. Other times, a bad day like today happens. And that’s ok. Bad days (or weeks or months) happen when you experience depression. It doesn’t make you weak, and it doesn’t make you a failure. You are still a warrior. You are still strong. You are still amazing.

It’s normal for shame, frustration, or guilt to pop up and nag you about what you “should have done” today I’m here to help you tell those feelings to get the hell out of here because those feelings only add to the despair that depression already brings. I’m also here to convince you that there’s truly no reason to beat yourself up for not doing what you were expected to do today. And no, this isn’t suggesting that you just lie down and let depression wreck your entire life. An off day, week, or month doesn’t mean that you’ve completely given up. This is about acknowledging that sometimes this shit we live with is just freaking hard and that rest and recuperation are necessary and acceptable. It’s about letting you know that at the end of the day the most important thing is that you’re still here. My goodness I’m so thrilled and grateful that you’re still here breathing and existing.

You are so important. Your life matters so much. And it’s not because of what you can accomplish or achieve. It matters so much because this world only gets one you. How lucky are we to get to exist as the same time as you do? I’m in awe of you, because I know exactly what kind of day you had today and how you feel. I’m amazed that, even after getting emotionally beat down today, you’ve still managed to pick yourself up enough to seek comfort and support in this letter. You go to bat with your brain every single day, and you’re still here reaching for something to reassure you. I’m so grateful to share this moment with you and to promise you that it’s not always going to feel this way. I don’t know how many times you’ve heard this on your journey or if you even believe me, but I’m going to say it again anyway. I promise it’s not always going to feel this way. Depression may have twisted lies and a spot in your mind but you have far more tools to use as weapons in this fight against it. Whether it’s meds, a therapist, essential oils, vitamins, meditation, music, friends, family, spiritual practices, or this book, whatever combination of things you need to assist you, reach out and use them. In the back of your mind you know that these resources outside of yourself can help you beat this. They’re not going anywhere. When you’re ready to give it another go, they will be there. For now, feed yourself some love. Hug yourself. Watch your favorite movie or show. Get lost in some good music. Be gentle and kind to yourself. Your body and your mind need your sweet love and patience now more than ever. Take today because you do have tomorrow to try to fight again for your happiness. You got this. I’m proud of you. I believe in you. And I love you dearly.

Take it easy on yourself. You’re doing the best you can. I promise that it is more than enough.



xoxo

Chels



** There are some amazing people ready to receive you as you are and help you find the light. If you’re having thoughts or feelings of suicide or self-harm Please call the number 1800-273-8255 or visit the resources tab at findingahappyinc.co for more options or if you live outside the U.S**

If You’re Struggling to Reach Out

Dear You,

I’m so happy that you’re here. I know how incredibly difficult it is to complete the simplest tasks, but you’re still here! And you will get through this. Your success and survival rate of depression is 100%, and I’m so incredibly proud of that. Be gentle with yourself Love. I believe you are doing the best you can, given the circumstances. You are literally battling the chemicals in your brain every single day, and that takes fucking guts. Seriously! Contrary to what the bastard depression is telling you, you are extremely strong. You are also worthy of love and support. Please don’t feel any shame or embarrassment. There are so many of us who have walked and survived this path. You are and will continue to be one of them. Whether you have an official diagnosis, tough or traumatic experiences in life that have caused your emotional struggles, or you are just feeling depressed and sad all the time for reasons you don’t yet know, I think it’s important that I spend our brief time together gently encouraging you to hang in there and reach out. You are not alone.

When I learned to start being more honest and open about my emotional struggles, my entire journey to healing opened up. I felt an immense amount of pressure release from my mind and body. Isolation and depression are best friends, but they’re no friends of ours. Don’t let them double-team you. Depression lies to us by telling us that we and our lives are worthless. It helps so much to have someone else come in to prove otherwise by loving, supporting, and helping us slowly shift the way we think and talk about life.

You are the furthest thing from a burden. You are so important and worthy of being here. Your life is necessary to this world and the people in it. You are loved. You are valued. You deserve to have some relief from this shitty feeling through support, someone to talk to, or even a nice long hug. If you’re not quite ready to reach out to friends and family about what’s going on, there are many support groups you can join, online and in person, that are filled with peers who are battling the same exact fight as you. I urge you to do a simple Internet search (search the phrase: peer support groups for depression) to connect with people. They are waiting with open arms to welcome you with loving support and true empathy. There are also people who have dedicated their entire lives to helping people like us remember how to fill our lives with good and healthy feelings. In fact, even if you’re ready to reach out to people you personally know, I still highly suggest talking to someone who’s an expert on the way our minds work. It’s so helpful to use the skills and tools they teach to handle the awful days, feelings, and thoughts better. (Check out the letter in this book titled: "If You’re Considering Therapy” to learn more about this.)

Wherever you are on the spectrum of reaching out, I hope that this letter gives you that gentle push you need to reach out for someone. I mean it when I say that you deserve happiness and are worthy of all of the love and support the people outside of yourself have to give. I wish you the best of luck with this. I know that it can be a scary step to take, but you’ll feel so relieved once you have.

Please continue to refer back to the letters in this book for further support and encouragement. I’m here for you, and I’m totally sending you virtual hugs right now.



Love,

Chels



** There are some amazing people ready to receive you as you are and help you find the light. If you’re having thoughts or feelings of suicide or self-harm Please call the number 1800-273-8255 or visit the resources tab at findingahappyinc.co for more options or if you live outside the U.S**

If Therapy Was Hard Today

Dear You,

Hello, Sweet Warrior. Take a moment to rest now and take in these words that I’ve written for you. I hold so much admiration for you choosing to face your demons of the past and present. My heart aches for any ounce of pain that you’ve been subjected to at any point of your precious life. None of it was or is your fault, but you’ve still stepped up to take responsibility for recovering and healing from it. The strength it takes to let your mind travel back in time to discuss, analyze, and understand your greatest moments of pain and trauma is truly immeasurable. I’m extremely proud of you.

I know that this work can be exhausting. It’s hard, and there’s no other way to put it. But going to therapy is one of the most valuable actions you can take to create a better life experience for yourself. You’ve been through so much. You deserve to dig up and get rid of these toxic roots that are no longer serving you. You are worthy of healing and letting go of all the pain and anger and sadness that you’ve been carrying alone. You deserve to face your current struggles head on, with the support of someone else, so you can figure out a way to make them go away. You deserve to have someone sit and patiently listen to and help you process all of these emotions.

This work that you’re doing is transforming your mind and heart with every syllable that escapes your mouth. I know it hurts, My Love. Not many people would have the courage to literally open up old wounds to dissect and heal them. But you can. You are so strong. It may not feel like it right now, but you are getting better with each session. It is working. You are literally rewiring your brain with new levels of intellectual and emotional understanding in a way that will improve all areas of your life experience. I don’t think anyone wants to relive or remember awful moments of their past. We all want to be ok. I know you just want the pain to go away. That time is coming soon, My Love. Please keep going. Keep fighting. Every session won’t feel this bad afterwards. And for now, if possible, please rest. You’ve done so much work today that has required an immense amount of strength, courage, and energy. Bring that beautiful mind of yours back to the present. Do something to take your mind off things. Engage in anything that will remind you that you’re safe, powerful, and healing with every breath that you take.

Excellent work today, Darling. I’m extremely proud.



Love,

Chels



** There are some amazing people ready to receive you as you are and help you find the light. If you’re having thoughts or feelings of suicide or self-harm Please call the number 1800-273-8255 or visit the resources tab at findingahappyinc.co for more options or if you live outside the U.S**

If You Have an Urge to Self-Harm

Dear You,

Thank you so, so, so, so, so very much for coming to find support on this page. I cannot express how proud I am of you for choosing to read this letter instead of harming yourself. Please do your best to focus all of your energy and attention on my words. I have literally sat where you have with this same urge. Please don’t feel any shame. I believe in the strength that lies deep within you. You’ve got it on full display right now. It’s so easy to go on autopilot and repeat your self-destructive patterns, but you’re aware of your urge and are doing a damn good job of fighting it. You can push through this moment and this urge. I know it’s hard, but please stay with me, My Love. There are other ways to feel better. To feel something. To release the frustration or pressure that’s building up inside you. I promise we can find something else for you to do in this moment. Your body is so important. It’s the vessel for you, this amazing brilliant, unique, and necessary soul who blesses the world with its presence. You are so damn important. You are so strong. You can overcome this. I know you can.

Can you get away from where you are right now? Get away from your isolated space where you typically do this. Please. Step outside for some fresh air. Go to another room. I’m going to ask you to gently replace this action with something else. Please try this with me. Do you have any paper or a book you don’t care about? Can you tear it up? Poke holes in it. Pour water on it. Squeeze it with all your might while you destroy it? Can you scribble roughly with a pen onto paper so hard that it rips it up? Do you have pencils or crayons you can break into pieces? Can you step outside and rip up some grass from the ground or leaves from bushes or trees? Whatever your reason behind this urge is valid and real. Emotions and life circumstances can be so hard to deal with sometimes. I get it. And self-harming can be something that is comforting in an ironic way. But, I promise, when you replace it with something else, you will feel better now and in the long run. I am pleading for you to redirect this expression of pain away from your precious body.

I’m so sorry that you’re hurting My Love. I’m incredibly grateful that you’re still here with me. I know how hard and complicated this feeling is. Please don’t be ashamed. So many of us have done things in the dark that hurt us. You’re not alone. You can do this, Warrior. How do you feel about talking to someone? I know, I know. That can be mortifying. I went through this too. This is the way I did it. I simply picked someone who could take my mind off things. You don’t have to tell them exactly what you’re battling or dealing with if you’re not ready. Just talk to them about anything and everything. Connect with them. Another thing that’s very helpful is to call or text a hotline. I personally love a good anonymous, non-judgmental online chat to get me through any urges. The people on the other end of these hotlines and chats really know how to create a caring, patient, and gentle space to just vent and get these feelings out.

Pat yourself on the back for each passing moment that you beat this urge. Actually, pat yourself on the back now for making it through this entire letter. You’re winning! You’re beating this thing! I’m so proud of you! This feeling will pass. Replace it with something else and talk to someone. Hang on. Hang on. Hang on. You will conquer this.



Love,

Chels

** There are some amazing people ready to receive you as you are and help you find the light. If you’re having thoughts or feelings of suicide or self-harm Please call the number 1800-273-8255 or visit the resources tab at findingahappyinc.co for more options or if you live outside the U.S**

SECTION II: FOR THE ANXIOUS MIND



Our lives are simply tiny moments combined into a symphony of experiences



May the sweet notes of serenity make their way in

one moment at a time



May their gentle ways cover your life in a blanket of calm

-Zen Music



Chelsey Brjeanee

If You Feel Like You’re Not Doing Enough

Dear You,

What I’m about to say may be met with some resistance- that’s the anxiety. This letter literally goes against every single lie that anxiety has whispered to you about yourself and the progress of your life. Try to stay with me through that resistance and keep an open mind to my words. I hope that they not only provide you with some ease but also help shift the way you feel overall. I’m here to remind you that all you have done up until this point is enough. Every movement of your body, every breath, every action, and every effort is enough. And for the remainder of this letter I ask that you remove any thoughts of tasks, obligations, doubt, judgment or stress. Your to-do list is not welcome here! Relax a bit while we reflect on a few things. I think at some point in our lives we come to a point of urgency, stress, and worry about our lives and our futures. It’s normal and is honestly a great indication of you desiring the best for yourself--which by the way is an excellent thing. The problem is though if we’re not careful we can end up being too hard on ourselves on our paths to our amazing dreams and miss out on enjoying life and being comfortable with ourselves in the meantime. When this happens we confuse this stress and urgency within ourselves as “not doing enough.” And that’s just not true. You are amazing Darling. And your desire to be better and do better and feel better is a great foundation for all of your actions. A simple shift in perspective and balancing that with self-acceptance and compassion will help reduce the anxiety, stress, worry, and overall uncomfortable feelings around your daily efforts and goals.

There are a few root causes that may be feeding this stressful feeling of not doing enough; one of which is that you’ve tied your self-esteem or confidence to your accomplishments. Please let me say that your worth and value as a human being is not dependent on them. The way you treat others, the way you grow through obstacles, your character, and your natural gifts and talents are what define you. This may seem like a crazy notion, but you actually do not have to do anything to add value to who you are. You are born with an infinite amount of worth and value to this life because there is literally no one else in the world like you. You are the only person on this planet with your unique combination of life experiences, passions, interests, personality, and purpose. Anything else you achieve in this life is an added bonus to the phenomenal being you already are. And it’s for that reason that you don’t have to prove anything to anyone. So, try to relax a little. Try not to be so hard on yourself! Because you deserve to enjoy your life now. And when you worry yourself with what you think you “should” be doing, criticize yourself, or beat yourself up-it prevents you from enjoying your life and feeling good about yourself now. I promise-you are doing fine. More than fine, actually, you are doing great! So transform that anxious energy into self-love. Pour it all into yourself and remind yourself of how fantastic you are aside from your ambitions and accomplishments. Continue to try your best and trust yourself and the flow of life to get you to where you want to be. Believe that with every move you make and every effort and sacrifice is enough to contribute to your life’s remarkable story. Your life is happening now! And darling, you deserve to have the confidence to love it. Feel free to turn to section IV, Chapter one: “If You Could Use a String of Compliments,” to get into the spirit of attaching your worth to just yourself and nothing else.

Another thing a lot of us (and especially those of us with mental health difficulties) tend to do is compare the rate of our growth and successes to everyone else around us. I learned a while ago that when I base my efforts on where I am emotionally as opposed to where I think I should be or what everyone else is doing, I am less likely to feel bad about myself at the end of the day. You are doing the best you can with what you’ve got, and that HAS to be enough. One of the most powerful and healing things you can do for yourself is to set your own standards of your worth, growth, and success. You will add more ease and enjoyment to your life when you learn to treat yourself with compassion and meet yourself where you are. If it took you hours to get out of bed, so the only thing you did was keep yourself together-then that is enough. If you had a panic attack in the middle of the day, so a few of your to-do list items did not get complete-that is enough. Prioritize your mental and emotional health and do the best that you can. Anxiety and depression are already awful beasts to deal with, so it’s literally doing yourself a favor to not add on the pressure of competing with other people and activities that don’t fit where you are emotionally. You are not settling if you are doing the best you can with how you’re feeling. If you come to a point where there are responsibilities and obligations that you need to fulfill but are unable to, then that’s where it’s important to reach out for some extra support or guidance and/to come up with a plan to get the necessary things done while coping with emotional difficulty.


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