After spending a large portion of my life in therapy for strong depression, I know first-hand how hard it is to deal with, but it is something that can be conquered without ending up in the hospital or feeling frozen with sadness on the sofa. It takes a fair amount of time and much work, but controlling it has been possible for me. It has been the matter of a combination of medicine and mind-training, in my case. Here are a few tips that may help you, too.
Depression causes us to feel worn out, sad and very, very negative. In my case, it was a lot of negative self-talk that used to drag me down. To fight this, therapists taught me to write down whatever my negative thought was, then in a different column, write down a more rational response. If you have trouble defining what is bothering you, discuss this with the therapist and he or she will help you to pinpoint it. It took awhile to learn these negative thoughts, now it will take time to unlearn them so be patient and kind to yourself. Don't do like I did and beat yourself for not doing them right at times. It takes practise, and lots of it.
Try D. B. T.
Invented by Marsha Linehan, a famous psychologist and author, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is a strong, negativity-pounding treatment designed to help people with depression and/or borderline personality disorders. It is based in cognitive style, and has been very effective in my treatment, which I have undergone two times (to make sure I learned it as completely as possible. ) Ask your therapist about it, because it is a powerful and well-structured treatment plan that has helped many people. By working with the therapist using its useful mind-taming techniques, along with attending a group once a week, you learn to teach your mind alternate ways of thinking beyond the negative. Learning to regulate emotions, tolerate distress and be mindful of the world around you are among the many helpful techniques you are taught, to calm and focus your mind. Don't expect instant healing, it takes time to practise, and incorporate what you learn into everyday life. But it can work, if you stick with it.
If you feel out of sorts due to depression or anxiety, pop in a CD and relax to the calming voice guide you through a serene, positive message-laden story. My favorites are by therapist Belleruth Naperstek, which can be found on Amazon.com. Buy one that deals with whatever subject you choose, from depression to anxiety. There are different ones. Or, search online and find some on there to listen to. Once you are acclimated to how these messages work, you can even make your own. Just get a digital hand-held recorder and custom make your own. There is something really powerful to listening to your own voice as you tell yourself positive messages. If you fall asleep, that's OK, that means your body is relaxing. It is a good way to unwind after a busy day or fight with a family member. Go in a peaceful room and listen to it. It makes me mellow right out whenever I listen to one. After using them awhile, it became automatic for me to just walk through it on my own, in my mind. It became automatic. Whatever it takes to battle depression, and this can work if you keep with it.
By training your mind to fight the old negativity “tapes" playing inside, you will find that it becomes easier and easier to cope with things that formerly upset you. Instead of feeling panic, you feel concern. Instead of feeling hysterical, you feel calm. It's emotions toned-down and the mind is more rational and peaceful. It feels good. Fighting depression is always a work in progress, but by having these tools to help you, they can help you to feel better. Whatever you do, don't let them replace need for medicines or professional help. Always contact your therapist or doctor before embarking on a new treatment plan. But there is help out there so be hopeful. Just take it one day at a time. You can do it.
Carolyn McFann is a scientific and nature illustrator, who owns Two Purring Cats Design Studio, which can be seen at: http://www.cafepress.com/twopurringcats . Educated at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, Carolyn is a seasoned, well-traveled artist, writer and photographer. Besides handling numerous assignments in the US, she has lived and worked in Cancun, Mexico. Clients include nature parks, museums, scientists, corporations and private owners. She has been the subject of tv interviews, articles for newspapers and other popular media venues.