Springingtiger's Blog

New Thoughts on Depression

wpid-20130418_152136_4_edit0.jpgAs a rule when I write about depression it is because I am on the verge of depression or emerging from it. However a friend showing signs of depression allows me to reflect upon it while I am happy and feeling well.

The most important lesson I have learned from having repeated episodes of depression over many years is that no matter how bad it has felt at the time I have always come through and I have always been glad to do so. The important thing is to hang on because eventually the depression will pass. Unfortunately, in my experience, depression has a bad habit of coming back and it is essential to hold on to the knowledge that it is temporary. I know when sliding into depression the prospect of enduring it yet again is enough to make anyone contemplate suicide, but after the darkness the recovered light is so much brighter.

Another thing I find useful is to use NLP Meta Model challenges to the voice in my head and the stupid things it says to me. When I do so I have to admit that I am not depressed all the time, but only in the intervals when my attention isn’t held by something else, it is useful to notice that. Richard Bandler likes to have people a tell him how they do being depressed. This sort of analysis shifts depression from being a state in which I am trapped to an activity of which I am in control. I once saw Bandler shift someone out of depression in seconds by having them change their posture so now when I recognise that I am shifting towards depression I stand or sit up straight and keep my gaze upwards or in front of me, I literally keep my chin up and it tends to work.

Last year I managed to avoid depression by seeing it coming and acting fast. One of my problems was the lack of a summer and weeks of grey skies and almost daily rainfall. One of the best antidotes to depression is exercise, just getting out into the fresh air and walking invariably makes my feel brighter. Actually making me feel anything is the trick as depression is not really about feeling miserable, but more a lack of feeling. One year after a disappointing summer my wife booked us onto a cruise to make sure I got a good dose of sunshine before the winter set in. Not only did it get me out of my rut and into the fresh air, but it provided that other great remedy for depression, distraction.

Sherlock Holmes when deprived of intellectual stimulus used to sink into depression which he treated with drugs, but for him the best remedy was distraction and action. I find having things to do helps greatly. It is best not to have such a long ‘To Do’ list that depression is fed by a sense of failure, however during a bout of depression the completion of any task can be seen as a triumph. As you may be aware, I am in the habit of keeping a daily journal and cataloguing my successes however small, always has a positive effect on my sense of personal worth.

Another benefit of journalling for me is the practice daily of listing things for which I am grateful. Everything for which I am grateful is something that makes my life worth living, a reason to keep going. Every day I write them down because when I am sinking into depression I may lose sight of them. When reasons to be cheerful will not come to mind I read back through my journal and remind myself of the many blessings I enjoy: my wife and my family, my free bus pass and the access it gives me to my country and its countryside, our parks and museums, the internet, Bookbub, and friends.

Occasionally I need prescription drugs to get me through a depression that refuses to shift. As a rule I can free myself without them. No matter how bad things may get, I still have the knowledge based on experience that I always come through my depressions…and no, I’m not going to apply a Meta Model challenge to that sentence.


1 Comment so far
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Brilliant. Excellent journal stories, too.

Comment by Robert Frost

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