The Birth of Winterbritt: Time Capsule Journaling

In June 2017, I was sitting on the edge of a wooden staircase overlooking a little lake in the woods of Southern Indiana when the idea for Winterbritt first struck me.

I was at my usual lunch spot, a little slice of midwestern paradise just 15 minutes from the fluorescent lights and ringing phones of my office. I was soaking in the sunshine and watching nature happen around me. I felt so light and free, and so okay.

Feeling okay was pretty amazing because from October to April in every previous year, I’d spent most of my time being very not okay.

My usual struggle with depression and anxiety has always been a lot more difficult during the colder months. I usually emerge in the springtime, shaken from the realization that I have no control over my emotions, and a little bit surprised that I survived another winter. I dive into summer with all I have, then brace myself as the next winter rolls around, always too soon.

But this year was different. I’d started a new bedtime routine in March that had changed my world. It had all but banished the tail end of my winter depression and left me excited about the coming summer, and excited about life in general. I was so hopeful I could keep those good vibes going through the next winter, and so afraid that I couldn’t.

I was sitting there, wishing so badly I could grab my future self by the shoulders and shake some sense into her. I wanted so much to tell her, “You’re okay! You don’t know it, but you’re okay! Everything is fine except your mind! It’s tricking you. Just hush!”

Two seconds later I’d grabbed the notepad from my bag and started writing. A reminder to my future self that everything actually was okay if she could just quiet her mind, that suffering is temporary and fixable, and instructions for little tasks to keep the day bright. A message for the winter version of Brittany from the happy girl sitting lakeside.

It was a letter to Winterbritt, from Summerbritt.

I folded the letter in half, and then taped it together. I dated it for November 15, 2017. It was a reality check for my future self. A time capsule depression pep-talk to me from the person who knew me best – me.

It felt so much like hope that I wrote a letter the next day, too. And the day after that.

Along the way, I started the Winterbritt blog to dive deeper into topics that came up in my letters. Each article posted on Winterbritt is an in-depth how-to for that sadder struggling version of myself. Instructions on how to take a deep breath. How to calm down. How to stand back up. Reminders of how good life is, how far I’ve come.

I wrote myself a letter every day for the next four months. I didn’t quit until the leaves had fallen from the trees and it was time to open the first letter I’d written to Winterbritt.

But something curious had happened in the four months that I had spent tolling out kind reassurance, tips, tricks, and instructions to keep Winterbritt from falling off the happiness wagon.

My writing experiment, my Winterbritt Project, had evolved into something deeper. Every day I spent digging around in my mind for ways to convince my future self that she was ok, that life was good, I had found the wisdom that I needed to step out of depression all together.

My daily assault on depression had worked, only I didn’t have to wait until the winter to reap the benefits. November rolled around and I still felt strong and excited and hopeful.

Each day I open a new letter, and I get a little reassurance from Summerbritt that everything’s fine, that even if it isn’t, it actually is. I believe her message wholeheartedly and now I’m helping other people understand that message, too.

Summerbritt healed herself, and now Winterbritt can help heal the world.

What about you?

Does Time Capsule Journaling sound like something that could help relieve your anxiety or depression? Let me know what you think in the comments below, and join the Winterbritt mailing list for weekly updates on the work at Winterbritt.

Thanks for reading,

XO

Brittany

 

8 thoughts on “The Birth of Winterbritt: Time Capsule Journaling

  1. Hi. I found this article very interesting. I love the idea of writing letters to yourself to help you overcome difficult moments. It is like preparing in advance. I am definitely going to try this. Thank you for sharing.

  2. This sounds like an interesting idea. I used to write journals but now I can hardly find any time so it would be hard. This is definitely a great idea though.

  3. Britt! I’m so glad I found your blog. You are an inspiration to many. You are also the ‘expressed’ out-of-the-cave version of me! I started time-capsule blogging back in 2010, and then got hit with a series of traumas. The blog came down, but the writing and wild life experiences didn’t. In fact, they amplified! I’m committed to finding a way to share my documented writing, poetry, sketches, etc. that has been the key element to healing my own form of depression. (My website below is for my business….but I’m wanting to give birth to a website for my soul. And yes, a transparency about finding the balance between the two). You are a Kindred Soul and I salute you for embracing your journey with such potency and grace. Your article on NoSidebar is how I found you. Great writing, powerful message. You are Awake!! Thank You, sincerely. <3

    1. Hello Andrea! Thank you! Your kind words mean so much to me. I have absolutely fallen in love with time capsule journaling, and it’s so interesting to hear from someone else who’s done it, too! I can’t believe how effective it is. There have been days that I’ve told myself what I needed to hear so spot-on that it’s almost a little creepy! It’s so lovely to meet a lady after my own heart! I absolutely urge you to share your work if you feel called to. I’m normally a very private, quiet person but writing for this site lets me organize my thoughts and connect the dots between all my experiences to see the bigger picture. I’d love to hear more from you, and I’m excited to check out your website. Thanks for reading!

  4. What an amazing thing!! What an incredible feeling you must have now reading those letters from yourself. I love the name as well! So fitting. I think writing has magical powers, almost as though you are holding a magic wand when welding a pen.

    1. Hi, Tricia! Writing is certainly some real world magic. So incredible how spending just five minutes on a pretty summer day warms up the winter, but it really does! Thanks for reading!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *