Depression usually makes it difficult to recognize mood fluctuations — they all appear black all the time. But the actual mood fluctuates, at least to a few degrees. The first step in ayahuasca retreat is to become familiar with this ups and downs of mood. Write down your activities and the value of your depression at that time (0 = not depressed, 10 = extreme depression), every day for one or two weeks before going to stage 2, but keep monitoring your activity and mood for up to 16 weeks. Whether depression (emotion) or withdrawal (behavior) that comes first is a case like chicken or eggs. That is not important. The important point is that modifying behavior can have a strong influence on our emotions.
When you look back at your activities and assess moods every week, which activities are associated with a better (though slightly) mood, and which activities are associated with a worse mood? When you feel depressed, maybe you will find more “moods worse” than “better moods”. This is normal, but the idea is that this balance shifts over time. Consider the day and time that is most likely for you to complete the activity in the following week, schedule it in your diary, and overcome any obstacles that might arise. Plan several activities with loved ones for additional support and encouragement.
In life, there are activities that are only pleasurable, satisfying or making us laugh (eg coffee with a friend, dancing, or reading a book). Other activities may be unpleasant, but give you a sense of accomplishment (such as cleaning the house, or going to work). It is important to maintain a healthy balance between pleasant activities and achievement. Too much fun activity can not help if it means ignoring our responsibilities, which then accumulate and become so much….