Since my soul-baring post about depression, I knew I had to try something different. Anything. No matter how small or seemingly insignificant.
My answer? Using this Pacifica app more regularly. I downloaded it when I was still employed and very stressed, thinking it could help me.
It’s a very cool app that allows you to track your health and hygiene habits, update your mood daily, set goals and challenges for yourself, write journal entries, complete basic mental health exercises, and do meditations. Of course, it’s just one app, so it’s a bit limited as far as what it offers in those realms (you’re not going to get a whole therapist in there to do DBT with), but it’s a fantastic “little bit of everything” resource for someone like myself who is looking to start small and make a change.
The problem for me is I feel like a big ole piece of shit if I don’t do very well on my goals (or straight up don’t do them at all). So being the all or nothing person that I am, I’m going to stop using something that’s just become a way to showcase my lack of accomplishments. Seems the opposite of what the app intended.
But I’m fighting the feelings of guilt and failure and using it semi-regularly to track moods and habits, and to do meditations, even if I’m not doing it “right” or “well”. Because the point isn’t to do it perfectly or to get 100% completion on your habits and goald–it’s a way to assess where you really are on a given day or week and to help you make adjustments.
I especially love the journaling section of the app. You can write out your feelings in an unencumbered notepad-type block and say whatever you need to say, or you can upgrade to premium and choose from the positivity, gratitude, or thinking traps exercise. Each one has been helpful for me and has even caused me to mentally do these exercises in daily life. Oh, I’m feeling shitty? Let me try to think of things that make me happy or that I am grateful for. Not always easy, but hey, I’m trying.
The meditations are awesome too because they are developed by psychologists, so you know you’re getting the real deal. I’ve definitely needed more meditation in my life. The stillness in general with a focus on relaxed, deep breathing is so beneficial. There are special guided meditations though that use affirmations and the power of visualization to help you through stressful situations.
I’m not being paid at all to endorse this app. If I could, I would. But in fact, I’m not even advising you to specifically use this app. I am advising you to take a small step though. Any step! Maybe you could start journaling your feelings. Maybe you could write out goals for yourself for the next few weeks and months. Or if you want to just take it day by day, moment by moment, take a look at my Bare Minimum list, which has helped me out of several bad days and emotional breakdowns.
The point is we have to start somewhere. This app won’t fix all your problems. I can’t even promise it will make you feel better. It hasn’t magically cured my depression. But it has given me a tool to use. With that, I want to use it as a stepping stone to more tools. I want to get into more worksheets and DBT skills. I want to create better coping mechanisms for myself. I want to do affirmations. I want to be physically healthy again. I want to start seeing a therapist and/or psychiatrist. I’m going to be in a much better, more stable, mentally healthy place!
But for now, I’m using a smartphone app.