++ 6 Ways to help yourself through depression ++

    6 WAYS  TO  HELP YOURSELF THROUGH  DEPRESSION.

+ Don’t bottle things up. If you’ve recently  had some bad news, or a major upset in your life, try to tell people close to you about it and how it feels. It helps to re-live the painful experience several times, to have a good cry, and talk things through.  This is the mind’s healing  mechanism.

+Do something.  Get out of doors for some exercise, if only for a long walk. This will help you to keep physically fit, and you may sleep better. This will help you take your mind off those painful feelings which only make you more depressed when allowed to sweep over you.

+ Eat a good balanced diet,  even though you may not feel like eating. Fresh fruit and vegetables are especially recommended. People with severe depression can lose weight and run low on vitamins, which only makes matters worse.

+Resist the temptation to drown your sorrows. Alcohol actually depresses mood, so while it may give you immediate relief, this is very a temporary and you may end up more depressed than ever.

+Don’t get into a state of not sleeping.  Listening to the radio or watching TV  (it’s on all night) while you are resting your body will still help, even if you’re not actually asleep, and you may find that you drop off because you’re no longer worrying about not doing so!

+Remind yourself that you are suffering from depression–something which many other people have gone through –and that you will eventually come out of it, as they did, even though it does not feel like it at the time. Depression can even be a useful experience, in that some people emerge stronger and better able to cope than before. Situations and relationships may be seen more clearly, and you may now have the strength and wisdom to make important decisions and changes in your life which you were unable to do before.”

SOURCE: Depression. pg. 9. Pamphlet published as a service to the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Reprinted in THE ANTIDEPRESSANT TABLET,  Number 1  Number 4.

NOTE: This post was first published as a BLOG in September 30, 2015.

You can click onto the “tools of recovery”  listed on the  drop  down   menu at the Depressedanon.com website to discover more helpful tools for recovery from depression.

#METOO. Shouting out our anger and rage

THIS SOUNDS RIGHT

Dorothy Smith has shown how women are forced into a secondhand understanding of the world. Women are trained to invalidate their own experiences, understanding, and feelings and to look to men to tell them how to view themselves. Ideas, concepts, images, and vocabularies that women use to think about their experiences have been formulated from the male point of view by universities, churches, and other social institutions.

In Women and Madness Phyllis Chesler  describes  women’s experiences as psychiatric patients. Very few of the women she interviewed appears to have a mental disturbance. Most were unhappy and responding to the oppression in their lives. Seeking help, Chelser  pointed out, is not valued in our society, and women seemed to be punished “for their own good” by the institution for exhibiting such weakness.

Jean Baker Miller looked at the relations between dominant and subordinate groups. She isolated certain characteristics of subordinate groups as typical of any irrationally unequal power  relations based on ascribed status such  as race religion or sex. Those in  a relationship of subordination need to survive, above anything else. Direct response to destructive treatment must be avoided, as it may be met with rejection, punishment, or even death. Women who step out of line Miller noted, can suffer a combination of social ostracism, economic hardship, and psychological isolation. They may even be diagnosed as having a personality disorder if they do not conform to the male-defined norm for a woman.

If conflict cannot be expressed openly, it is turned inward and the ground is fertile for depression. Once depression is identified, the victim is blamed for her illness, and she accepts this responsibility until she is helped to examine her own self-defeating patterns, to see how she allows  herself to be victimized.”

SOURCE:  Melva Steen, Ph.D, RN. Historical Perspectives on Women and mental illness and preventing of depression in women using a feminist perspective. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 12:359-374, 1991.

Appeared in THE ANTIDEPRESSANT TABLET in the Spring  edition  (v.5, #3: 8-9).1994. 

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The following is an excerpt from the Basic Text for the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous world wide.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition , 2011,2008, 1998. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Page 82.

“Maybe I need to make amends to my children for  making a clean house the number one priority the number one priority and never allowing them to give expression to their feelings. Or maybe I was the good daughter or son who never told anyone how I really felt because I was afraid of how my parents would react. Now we might be dredging up all the old feelings of anger and resentment that we have submerged under a mask of  kindness ands sweetness over the years. We need to voice our anger for having to act like someone we aren’t. I can think of many women who in therapy begin to get in touch with the times when as little girls, they were conditioned to think that good little girls didn’t get angry, and so they stuffed and sat upon all these powerful and unpleasant emotions. Feelings that are not expressed can accumulate in our bodies and can’t get out until we share them and express them. These stuffed feelings get lodged in our bodies and immobilize us until we feel completely wrung out!

Some have heard all their lives that you shouldn’t get angry as mother won’t love you anymore. This makes it quite difficult suddenly to shout out our rage and anger at a world that has made women in general feel less than second-class citizens. ”

 

Our thought life will be on a higher plane…

 

“On awakening, let us think about the 24 hours ahead. We ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity and from dishonest or self-seeking motives.  Free of these, we can employ our mental faculties with assurance,  for God gave us brains to use.  Our thought life will be on a higher plane when our thinking begins to be cleared of wrong motives. If we have to determine which of two courses to take, we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought, or a decision. Then we can relax and take it easy, and we are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while.

We usually conclude our meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, asking especially for freedom from damaging self-will.” Page 243 (As Bill Sees It).

And some more thoughts from our friend Bill W.

“In meditation, debate has no place. We rest quietly with the thoughts or prayers of spiritually centered people who understand, so that we may experience and learn. This is the state of being that so often discovers and deepens a conscious contact with God.” Page 108(As Bill Sees It).

ANGER: 12 DO’S AND DONT’S

  1. Do speak up when an issue is important to you. It is a mistake to stay silent if the cost is to feel better, resentful or unhappy. We de-self ourselves when we fail to make a stand on issues that matter to us.
  2. Don’t strike when  the iron is hot.  Sometimes it’s better to seek a temporary distance from the problem and  think it through more clearly.
  3. Do take time out to think about the problem and to clarify your position. What is it about this that makes  me so angry? Who is responsible for what? What specifically do I want to change?
  4. Don’t use below the belt tactics: These include blaming, diagnosing, ridiculing, preaching,  interrogating.
  5. Do speak in “I language.”  Learn to say “I want…I need…I feel… I fear. The I statement says something about the self without criticizing   or blaming the other.
  6. Don’t make vague requests. Let people know specifically what you want.
  7. Do try to appreciate the fact that people are different.  Different perspectives and ways of reacting do not necessarily mean that one person is “right” and the other “wrong.”
  8. Don’t tell another person what she or he thinks or feels or should think  or should think or feel.
  9. Do recognize that each person is responsible for his or her own behavior.
  10. Don’t participate in intellectual arguments that go nowhere.
  11. Do try to avoid speaking through a third party.
  12. Don’t expect change to come about from hit and run confrontations.

SOURCE: An article by Harriet  Goldhor Lerner PhD.  Staff Psychologist at the Menninger Foundation in Topeka Kansas.

Living and facing life head on.

Affirmation

I am making an effort today to live one day at a time.

“We can try to stop making unreasonable demands upon those we love.”

Clarification of thought

I am learning that to have any peace, I will have to learn how to accept others as they are and not try to change them.  I believe that when I no longer have these great expectations of other persons, or myself, it is then that my level of peace and serenity go up.  It’s my unreasonable expectations of how things should be that causes me to panic and to live in the future instead of the present.

I am aware that I don’t want the people I love to pity me, feel sorry for me, or even to feel that somehow they are to blame for my chronic relationship with depression. If I am able to feel better, I am going to have to make the decision to work toward that goal. From now on, all that I have to ask of anyone is to be patient with me as I break out of my solitary world of sadness.

The only real demand that I make upon myself is that I do all in my power to begin to get better.  I make only those demands upon myself that are attainable, not perfectionistic and which are based upon the reality of hope that one does and can get better by living and facing life head on.

Meditation

We are going to begin to pray today that God helps us find out other ways to love ourselves.

SOURCES: Higher Thoughts for down days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 168. August 21.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2014) Depressed Anonymous publications. Louisville.

BUILDING A FUTURE ONE DAY AT A TIME!

“We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our life was unmanageable.”

Granted this is not the most happiest of thoughts to read as we get going this day.  But you know what?  It’s at this point in your life that something, some attitude change is going to give you courage to take back control over your life. Years ago when I was doing a project for my degree work I discovered, (like I didn’t know it by my own life experiences) that when a person feels they have control over their life and life’s circumstances that their symptoms of depression start to disappear. So, is this a fact or is it something somebody just told me, without any foundation in fact. The truth of the matter is, that when I felt most helpless and hopeless and my life was falling apart, I had no control. It was literally the feeling of sliding  down that slippery slope. I actually felt at that moment like my life was truly spinning out of control. I can even remember the place, the time of day when it happened. That was in 1985. I was completely powerless. Helpless. All alone in my pit of isolation. Alone with my secret. I looked the same. No one knew the disabling effect this paralyzing  had in my life. But  I knew. That  was the important issue here. I knew. I felt the total pain of the isolation.

And now these many years latter, I still  use the Steps for CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT.  Back to Step One where we say we “admitted…” In our Workbook it states that  “But what good is it to admit that our depression has made us feel powerless? I already know what you might say?  That is why I have spent thousands of dollars on hospitals, doctors, counselors and drugs!” But really for a person to admit that they are powerless is what gives us new power –paradoxically. It’s like in the letting go of a death grip on our continued sadness that makes the sadness  gradually wither and die.. But somehow  – again I don’t know how it all works  –when I say I am depressed, deflated, and down and have the 12 Steps and the fellowship at my side there is a small ray of lite starting to shine in my mind and heart. It’s like saying I’ve had it this way all my life —depressed and isolated- now  I’ll try it your way.”

Here is the next question that can help clarify some of your thinking today.

One of the major ways people help build the walls of depression is to believe the following statement: “Since bad things happened to me in  the past, bad thing are bound to happen to me in the future. ” Today, reflect, be aware of your own feelings, write  down on paper your response, then get motivated to do something now, today. Do something which will  motivate you to move and perform an activity that you can achieve just today. You are building a future one day at a time.  Keep it simple!

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT AND HOW TO GET STARTED!

We all enjoy taking part in quizzes and surveys. At least I do. It’s pretty much a challenge to see how much we know or don’t know.  By doing the quiz we possibly learn just a little bit more about whatever the subject may be, even though we might not answer all the  questions correctly. In a certain fashion we have clarified a bit of  our thinking about a certain subject.

Clarification of thought is a most difficult process when It comes to a mind swallowed up by depression, is  confused, darkened with fog and just extremely exhausted. Many of us wanted to think our way out of depression, as if our will power could push open that prison door which continued to keep us locked up. Will power is useless initially. What we do need is a fairly straight forward and simple approach to getting at the genesis  of our sadness. Along the way of the clarification process we  find out and discover more of who we are, how we got to be where we are and what to do now that we know what we got and how we got here. For one, I don’t believe that that paralyzing feeling of melancholia just drops out of the sky and hits me on the head and knocks me down. So, I start with where I believe it all gets started.  The pain  is inside of me so I have to start there!

After getting some physical stamina back into my life I began to ask myself some questions–each as it pertains to the 12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous.  I used a process which I called the clarification of thought process. How I was thinking about myself and speaking  to myself needed to be examined to see how much of my thinking got me to where I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning.

Today, if you would like to join with me, I will, pose a few questions about your own experience with depression and then you can evaluate how that affects your life today.

1.  When you feel depressed what do you say to yourself?

2. What action or behavior do you do when you feel this way?

3. Does it promote more isolation or being more connected?

We are using the Depressed Anonymous Workbook to help us work through the questions that will help us all clarify our thinking and thus gradually free us from the mystery of what keeps us in bondage. Continue your program of recovery using the Clarification of thought process and you will find a key that will present to you the ” courage to change what you can.”

HOW CAN I CHANGE MYSELF FROM SAD TO GLAD? THE DOING STAGE.

Well, for one, it takes work to change our behavior. It takes time. It also takes a plan for getting done what needs to get done. You remember the saying: “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”  There is some truth to that as I know firsthand from personal experience. How often did I tell myself that I would do this or do  that, when I felt better. Can you relate to that? Most of us can. But when I was depressed I never felt better – to do anything–at least to do the stuff that I needed to do to  escape  my comfortable  cocoon of inactivity. It was hardly comfortable. At least I didn’t have to make any decision to get better. I guess that was the comfort.

First of all, I knew that after being painfully aware that I was spiraling down into a place where I could not just snap my fingers and I would feel good again. My will power was powerless to help.  So, my awareness  told me that I had to get motivated and start to move–I mean physically move. I had to force myself out of bed. I did that. I motivated myself to move. I Got up the force to move my body and this gradually and with some reluctance moved my mind to do more. So then I placed myself into the doing stage. I had to change, I told myself

I then started a process  of removing from my thinking those thoughts that told me how futile my life was, plus how worthless I  considered myself.  I started to replace all those negative statements about myself  in my head with positive statements. Positive affirmations.  I began  to repeat over and over my mantras where I began to say good things   about myself, while discarding the negative and unpleasant thoughts about myself;  thoughts that continued to paralyze me. These mantras are the mental thinking loop which I repeated dutifully hour after hour, day after day. ” I will build a new life”;  “I am stronger than my sadness”; ” I have the courage to go through this painful experience”;” I no longer blame myself or others for my sadness”. “I do not have to wait for someone else to make me glad;” “I am focusing on my stars, not my scars;” . “I can do it;.”  “Yes, I can.”

Now that you are AWARE of being powerless over the sadness in your life, what are you DOING  today to continue MOTIVATING  yourself?  I will change myself.