Category Archives: Exercise

I will keep physically fit. Exercise is my priority now!

MOTIVATION FOLLOWS ACTION.

AFFIRMATION
I promise myself that I will walk today to regain a positive feeling about myself and my world.
Keep physically fit. It is a must for us who are and have been depressed. Walking not only restore harmony to the body, it likewise restores my self-esteem and self confidence. Remember that motivation follows action.
REFLECTION

How can motivation follow action? Isn’t it the other way around, namely that action follows motivation? In a sense the criticism is true, but in another sense, it isn’t quite that accurate. When speaking about the paralysis of depression the individual’s motivation is almost completely nonexistent. That is why it is important for me, a depressed person to force myself to get moving -that’s right, force myself into an activity because even though I say “I will do it when I feel better.” I never usually feel better. So I need to find that point in my day, when I feel better and get out in the air and walk, if nothing else, it tends to distract from my wanting to sad myself.
When I take care of myself physically and begin giving myself p[permission to express my feelings, especially the unpleasant ones, I begin to speak more assertively and begin to like myself.

MEDKITATION

Today, help me sort out what needs to be thrown away and what we need to keep. Help us keep those memories that had love attached to them.

RESOURCES
Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowship groups. (2002)Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Pages 150-151.

Copyright(c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Chapter Six. Pages 33-36.

When will I feel better?

Often I ask myself about the length of the depression experience and what makes it end.  One author quotes  someone who  asks “When will I feel better?”   I asked myself the very same question, with never getting a  satisfactory answer.  That is, until I read Jonathon Rottenberg’s book The Depths. His work, is my “go to ” guy when I want to learn more about moods and how they affect our daily lives.

Rottenberg, whom I have just finished reading gives us some pertinent information on the subject.  He tells us that ” Martin Keller and his colleagues followed a cohort of 431 patients diagnosed with depression – many of them so debilitated that they had been hospitalized over a five year period. Two months into the observation, nearly one in three had recovered from the episode. By six months, over half the patients had recovered ….

Likewise, data from samples that are more representative of the average depressed person  in the community, suggest that depression will last a year or less 90% of the time.”

The author,Jonathon Rottenberg, in his insightful and helpful account,  Out of the Depths: The Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic,  tells us that the experts have referred to depression as a self-limiting condition, a problem that ends in by itself.

“…But as depression grinds on, vague bromides don’t work so well. For someone at the end of her rope, whose patience is measured in days or hours, it’s the pace of improvement that is critical. Someone who  has already the best years of life torn up by depression wants to know, “When will I be better?” Hearing that most people recover eventually, even if it’s true, is not good enough.” We all want to know what can make this recovery possible? With my own personal battle with depression and a feeling that I might never escape that tight hold that it had on my thinking and feelings, I   wanted to know how long this journey in “death valley  was to continue. As I never got an answer to my question,I continued the trek through the fog.  It was  about a year and half later that I began to have a rise in my mood. I felt just a tad of cheer and hope as I continued my long walks in the mall where I spent all of my daily mornings before work.  Even though I never had a  clue as to when I would feel better, I kept  waiting for the moment when the gut wrenching  pain would be over. When the mood changed for me, from sad to hopeful, my life and moods began to spiral upwards instead of following  their usual negative trajectory downwards.

I do know this, that I  have lived my life without depression for at least three decades now. I attribute the fact of my recovery to a continued use of a resource, the Depressed Anonymous meeting, plus putting  the Twelve Principles of the 12 Steps in action in my everyday life.

Back to the question: “When will I feel better?” When will anybody feel better? I can’t answer that. I wish that I could. I did not know that 90% of persons depressed, do get better in time.  That is good news. That is something to share with depressed persons, and sometimes various treatments do  help in ending the torment of the depression experience. Even though the experts tell us that  the depression experience is self-limiting, this in a small way can provide some hope for the  one who has suffered  depression all of their life.

Jonathon’s,The Depths, is a work that  has a permanent  place in my reference  library.

RESOURCES:

Jonathon Rottenberg. The Depths: The Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic. Basic  Books.  A Member of the Perseus  Books Group. New York.  NY.

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

 

Physical activity/Exercise

“One of the cardinal features of depression is inevitable fatigue. I’m always wondering, when people say to severely depressed patients, “You need exercise.” Well, yeah, it’s hard enough to exercise when your not depressed, right.” Charles Nemerdoff M.D. quoted in an interview in Psychiatric Times, April 30, 2018.

When I read this comment by Dr. Nemerdoff  I tended to agree. When  I reflected upon my own experience with depression and the “inevitable fatigue” being  a big part of my own symptoms of depression, I felt I had to take action. I began taking action as soon as I realized that if I didn’t force myself to get out of bed and get to work, I would lose my job.

Granted, I didn’t intend to run a marathon, or start a daily jog around my neighborhood. The first thing that I had to do was not argue with myself, to get out of bed and do something. I did not want to get out of bed. I felt I was paralyzed and unable to motivate myself for such a monumental decision.

But force myself I did. I quit the head dialogue at each move of my body as it rolled slowly out of the sack. The body said “no;” the mind  said “yes you are!” And it was here that I learnt   a great lesson and that was to “MOVE THE BODY AND THE MIND WILL FOLLOW,.”

I  always encouraged my clients (as a therapist) to do some physical activity–baby steps if you will. But let the body take the lead of the mind and move. Move a little bit. Then move  a little bit more. When I started to walk on a  daily basis, I gradually was glad that I was out walking. It took a struggle to move out of bed but in time it became easier. And so to this day, I am still walking, at least 30 minutes a day. And everything has improved in my life physically and mentally.

Yes, fatigue is a big part of depression I agree. But now, even doctors in the UK are prescribing physical activity for their patients to get involved with. They get a script from their doctor to get out and exercise. Yes, it’s difficult–yes, it’s  hard to get ourselves motivated, but yes, it’s a good way to regain some hope in your life as you gradually lose  those stressful feelings set up in your body over time.

Go slow—but GO!!!

Hugh

6 Ways To Help Yourself Through Depression

6 WAYS TO HELP YOURSELF THROUGH DEPRESSION.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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.

My anti-depression tool kit: An arsenal of weapons to defeat depression.

The following is a personal story of how a member of Depressed Anonymous  used her anti-depression Tool Kit to disarm and dismantle symptoms of  depression in her daily life.

I am no longer alone

” I am writing this information with the hope  that it will help anyone who is suffering from depression that is brought on by stress, anxiety, loneliness, physical or mental emotions, death or insecurity.

I am a thirty-four year old single female, who has been suffering from depression for a long time. Most of my depression was brought on by feelings of insecurity, such as not being able to express my inner feelings, being controlled by a dominating parent, loneliness, stress, workaholic, anxiety attacks (related to work and everyday pressures of living), too much sleep, nervousness, lack of motivation, being tired all the time, sadness, weight gain, digestive problems, a feeling of being trapped, self-consciousness, not trusting myself, dreams of dying but yet managing to come back to life, withdrawal from family, or loss of interest in meeting with the opposite sex.

It seemed that I was living in another world until one of my parents gave me a phone number of Depressed Anonymous meetings, plus reading the Depressed Anonymous manual have provided  me with the tools to live without being depressed. Most important  of all, the Twelve Steps mentioned in the book have made me understand that God (my Higher Power) will give me strength to deal with my depression and get on with my life and be happy with myself.

The book with its Twelve Steps, has taught me that I am not alone. And that I am not the only one who is suffering from depression. It has taught me to believe more in my Higher Power and to let it handle my depression.

I read the Depressed Anonymous manual, go to counseling, and attend the Depressed Anonymous meetings. The meetings are a must. I need them to survive. The support group’s members help each other by listening, talking, expressing their feelings, and give support on how to cope with depression.   By letting my Higher Power help me, I am beginning to feel free from depression. I am not so nervous and tensed up. My Christian inner faith is getting stronger. I am not so stressed out and I am beginning to get confidence  within  myself . I still have problems with sleep patterns and I am getting some motivation back.   I have learned how to handle anxiety by taking deep breaths when I am nervous or troubled. This was suggested by my therapist. I am also learning how to stand up for myself.

All these new tools have helped me and will continue to do so. They also taught me not to dwell on my past, to live one day at a time, and to look forward to the future, but not live there. It will take me a long time to deal with depression, but I am glad that these tools are available. Life can be good for a change. Please don’t give up.”

-Anonymous.

SOURCE:  Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (Louisville, KY, 2011. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Pages 148-149.

Please go to MENU and click onto TOOLS* FOR RECOVERY.    There you will discover those tools which can be used to dismantle those painful areas of your life which in the past have imprisoned you.

  • RECOVERY TOOLS: Exercise; Meditation; The Serenity Prayer; Cutting off negative thinking-The Law of the Threes; Being in Nature; Journaling; Managing stress; Music; Nutrition; Positive self-talk; Sleep; Social engagement; Stay in the Present.

Read more stories of persons who have dismantled their own depression. Check out the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore and order online.

Sisyphus and his rock.

There is an ancient Greek myth about a greedy King (Sisyphus)  from Corinth who was sent to Hades (hell) and who spent all eternity pushing a heavy rock up the hill, only to have the rock roll down again.

What do I make of this myth? What meaning can we give to it? What is its message?  And how can I relate it to my own life?

First of all, it has all sorts of meaning for all sorts of situations in my own life. I like to think of the story about Sisyphus and his rock much like my own story and struggles with the “rock” that I keep pushing up the hill. That rock was my struggle with  depression which  always seemed to be a part of my daily existence. Everyday, I just knew that it was time for me to face the rock and start pushing.   In time, the thought of facing another day with my hands on the rock gradually wore me down. I was exhausted.

I couldn’t get out of bed in the mornings. I couldn’t concentrate. I couldn’t think a coherent thought. My nerves were in revolt and my anxiety precluded any sort of activity that might help me escape my rock pushing. I began to feel hopeless and too helpless to walk away from this rock which was  chained to my mind, body and spirit.  I felt I had no choice but to get up and push the rock.

This started me to force myself to walk each day, and without thinking about the rock. It was like I was distracted from thinking about anything while I walked. And so in time, with my daily walks, I found that my rock grew smaller and smaller. And then one day, I reached the top of the hill without my rock. I was free. I felt free. I felt that my time in hell had ended.  (Read: I’ll do it when I feel better. Depressed Anonymous Publications).

Over the years I have found other tools besides that of walking in dealing with my depression. I founded a group, called Depressed Anonymous, where all the various shapes and forms of Sisyphus could gather, share their hopes, and their  victories and discard their rocks. I knew that being all alone in one’s hell, made life even more unbearable. But with a group of persons together, all with their own situations and experiences could get the strength to find their way out of this rock pushing bondage  .

All in all, I have found that when you get together with others like yourself, and you share your stories, things start to change.  You finally feel accepted, and made welcome  as you share your own rock pushing over the years, months, even a lifetime. We all can check our “rocks” at the door as we discuss ways out of our misery,  week after week .

For more information please check out our stories in our manual Depressed Anonymous, which by the way, is written by those of us who have been depressed and are in recovery, attending Depressed Meetings week after week. And if there is no meeting in our community we can also participate in our Home Study Program of Recovery, accompanied by an online sponsor.

Click onto the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for  learning more about who we are and what we do.  If you choose you can order online from our website at depressedanon.com.

Join us here everyday as we continue sharing our serenity and our hope online at our BLOG: Depressed Anonymous.

 

Mastery is what we regain

KEEP PHYSICALLY FIT!  IT IS A MUST FOR US WHO ARE AND WHO HAVE BEEEN DEPRESSED. MY WALKING NOT ONLY RESTORES HARMONY TO THE BODY BUT IT RESTORES MY SELF-ESTEEM AND SELF-CONFIDENCE.

THE SIXTH WAY TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION: AN EXCERPT

“One of the major areas to remember when someone says that they are depressed is to recommend that they get some physical exercise. So many times when we find that we are depressed, feel listless and lacking energy we tend to recoil from any activity that attempts to force us out of our isolation and inactivity.  At one time in our lives, any task or type of activity, even the smallest might have been cause for happiness and a continual life of productivity. When we are depressed , we just want to lie down and sleep. We feel that we have no mastery over our life, thoughts and future. What  we forget is that this is the nature of depression. We believe that there is no use in getting active because we just can’t get the energy to  attempt anything that requires  positive response. No use to get active –I won’t like what I am going to do anyway.  When we are depressed we know that our body’s  metabolism slows down and we lose interest in almost all those hobbies and activities previous to our depression,  which brought us happiness.

Mastery is what we regain when we force ourselves to get out of bed, get going and start an exercise program on a regular basis.” (Our lives might depend on it).


SOURCE: Copyright(c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 33-36.

How to live outside the box? The depression box!

If you really want to begin to “live outside the box“, a description of what the box feels like and looks like might be helpful to you.  First of all, a box has an identifiable shape. It is a box mainly because it contains something–whatever that might be. And when we speak of the subject of depression, we talk about depression having us boxed in. The box as it is used here, in this context is a metaphor for feeling enclosed and which there is no exit. It is like being trapped or like in a prison.

Now, in order to live outside the box we want to live creatively, which means  that we are having to learn  how to live outside the box. Now, if you  find  this hard to believe -stick with me now  as I will explain what I mean.

Just briefly, my own experience with depression can be used as an example. First of all, when I was depressed I thought that I was losing my mind. The box that I put myself in was getting more restricting by the day and making my life hell. I could see no way out. I was trapped. What could I do I asked myself?  As hard as I tried, I couldn’t just will these feelings and scary  thoughts away–like taking a broom and brushing them out of my life. No matter which way I turned I hit a wall. With no answers forthcoming on how to keep my head above water, my body slowly  was being sucked down into  the quicksand of despair. The thought came to me, much like that small glimmer, a tiny light so far away, but nevertheless  a light. It was  like the lighthouse which with its  intense brightness warns seafarers that rocks were nearby and to be watchful before approaching. My mind began to race here and there for a way out of the box and then it hit me —   get moving. Move the body. Get busy.  The key out of this prison was already in my hand. And now, those of us here in the Depressed program of recovery,who have been putting “out of the box” ideas to work in our daily lives, we want to share what has worked for us and we know, if you actually use them for your own recovery, they are  bound to  ultimately free you. That is the promise I share with you today.

The following activities,  listed below  are some of  the tools that will get you “out of the box” when you get serious about using them.

I think taking a close and personal look at the following tools will not only help you get  “out of the box” but can be tools that you will be able to utilize, day after day as you continue your recovery.

  1. Exercise is a great tool if you happen to be depressed.
  2.  Getting out into nature will also help put your mind on beauty and your surroundings.
  3. Overcoming fear is also a great place to learn how to get out of the box. Learn about “first fear” and “second fear.” Fear doe seem to be at the center of our life when depressed.
  4. Recite the “SERENITY PRAYER” as often as you need it.
  5. The present. Staying in the now.
  6. Making use of the God box. This is an exercise, a simple one at that, which helps us learn the discipline of “letting go.”
  7. Feelings need to be examined and expressed. We will look at why expressing feeling is  so important,  instead of having them bottled up and causing all sorts of physical and emotional problems.
  8. Disable negative thinking: learn how to short circuit negative thoughts when they pop into our minds.
  9.  Reading Depressed Anonymous literature and all material on the subject of depression.
  10. Learn how we all have choices. We make those decisions that bring us closer to freedom–not those that continue to imprison and box us.
  11. Journaling is a great tool for writing down what has been our experience for the day.  It helps to clarify our thinking and puts things into perspective.

NOTE

In the next post, I will begin placing attention on each of the eleven ideas listed above.  Gradually we can take time to evaluate  our response to each individually and make our own notes as how to use these recommended ideas  for our own recovery.

Hugh

TO FAIL TO PLAN IS TO PLAN TO FAIL. THINK OUTSIDE OF YOUR BOX!

THINK OUTSIDE YOUR BOX!

When I sat at home depressing myself weekend after weekend and making myself feel worse by isolating myself from my environment, I decided to make a change. I decided to move off of square one and do something — plan an activity. Plan an activity for those two days ahead ( the weekend) when I could already pretty much predict my activities for that time period. I just knew I would end up staring at the wall or counting the holes in the ceiling tile above my head. So what could I do? I did remember that someone at a Depressed Anonymous meeting told us what she did to overcome this deadening and unhealthy isolation. On Friday evening (hey today is Friday –wow! What coincidence) she started to fill in the hourly time slots for Saturday with an activity or activities that she committed herself to for that day. For example, on the 7AM hourly slot she wrote in that she would have her coffee and read a portion of her DA Literature–Higher Thoughts for Down days was a good place to start (as it offers a daily meditation for each day of the year). At 8AM she commits to taking a walk outside for 1/2 hour. At 8:30 AM she commits to go to the grocery shopping an then  to the mall to window shop and then sit and enjoy of coffee at the food court.  At 11AM she will come home and call a member of her depression mutual aid group  or a friend. By this time it’s 12 Noon, and she and her significant other will share a lunch together, and If one lives alone then a meal will be prepared at this time.

I think you see the importance of planning something for every hour increment during your day. By the time Saturday evening approaches you will have done a great number of activities, fulfilled your scheduled activities for that day and  you will feel that you were too busy to spend time isolating and  thinking  negative and unproductive  thoughts.

Plan the next day as well as  for Sunday. Do the same planning procedure for each hour of Sunday and commit yourself to the plan. STICK TO THE PLAN! How about writing in going to a movie, even if you go by yourself. But go! Maybe visit a friend in the Nursing home –or a resident whom the staff  knows  could use a friendly visitor for what may be a very lonesome day.

Don’t allow yourself to say “We’ll not this weekend but maybe next weekend I’ll try this planning thing.” Nope, that won’t get it. It’s a trap. You and I know we have to MAKE A DECISION. With pencil in hand (tonight) we have to sit down and write down  an hourly plan for our weekend.

Have a great and productive weekend! I know you can if you plan it!

A SYMPTOM OF DEPRESSION IS THAT I THOUGHT I WAS LOSING MY MIND!

I thought I was losing my mind. Why?  Well, when I was depressed, when I tried to read something–anything, I found to my surprise that I couldn’t retain information that I just read. In fact I would have to go back and re-read what I had just read. After awhile it seemed futile trying to read anything and retain it.  And here is the catch– this is where I got scared–no, not just a little bit worried–I was shaken. It was as if I lost my short term memory completely. I wondered what was going on in my brain? Was I suffering from some rare neurological disease or what? As it turned out I was also completely washed out. I couldn’t wait to get home after work and go to bed.  And another thing is that if I saw someone laughing or having a good time — I hated it! What right did they have enjoying life when all I could feel was the pain of my melancholia. I was helpless and hopeless. I felt out of control plus unable to manage anything for myself that I would consider positive.

Quite a composite of symptoms all telling me that something was not right. But what was the answer? What could all this mean?

So, I  decided to move my body and get out everyday and put some miles on my feet. Get some exercise. Get the blood flowing to my brain and wherever else it needed to go. Since these events were something new to me I didn’t really know what I had. I just knew I needed to do something–so, walking seemed my best bet. Over a year’s time it worked its healing and slowly my cognitive abilities returned.  I began to feel more in control and a lightness came  to me which had slowly evaporated a year previous.  What I am trying to share with you here is that when and if these symptoms make up part of your living experience, just know that they won’t last forever.

One of the many treasures of the Depressed Anonymous group is that when I tell my story with all my crazy physical symptoms, and how over time they gradually left me, it is here that members  of our fellowship knew they had come to the right place for help. They are no longer alone. And, they have a toolbox of skills, thanks to those who share their stories of recovery and how they too are no longer depressed. My story is their story!