Thursday, March 30, 2006

Depression: Ten Ways to Fight It Off, Part 1

Update 2016: This article was featured in my book
"Saying NO to Suicide"

Part 1 | Part 2

(cc) Douglas CooteySome people have asked me how I manage depression without medication. Please keep in mind that medication is not the answer for everybody. Some people either can't afford medications or are hypersensitive to them, which is the case with me. I can't take any medication without worrying about side effects. So today let's get down and dirty. This will be a little lengthy, but I'll list ten steps I might take on any particular day to shake off the black beastie. My challenge today is to make you smile about depression. I may have just conceded defeat with that last sentence, but I'll make the attempt anyway. Since anybody can make up a list and put it on the web, let's make this real. I'll take an actual bout of depression and chart how I dealt with it.

It is 5:30pm and I hear the lilting voice of my wife as she comes home. Instead of happiness I have an instantaneous sense of panic. I had forgotten to pay the power bill, something she had asked me to do. In fact, I hadn't remembered it at all until I heard her voice. Instead, I had been struggling all day to resuscitate my poor PDA which my four year old had taken out of commission.That was enough to get me depressed. I don't call my PDA "my brain" for kicks. It is vital to my daily productivity. However, with my wife's arrival I compounded my frustration and funk with a healthy dose of failure.

My wife nimbly phoned the payment in and saved the day but I was feeling a hundred pounds of stupid on my head. That's when I began to realize I had slipped into depression. It is one thing to feel disappointment with oneself, and another to be let down by events around you, but it's quite another to want to crawl into a hole and disappear. Here's where we begin:

1) It is easier to stave off depression before it happens than after it lays over you like a heavy wool blanket.

I missed this step this time around. I let myself become stressed over the PDA, but depression isn't always something that can be avoided. Sometimes, our mind just decides to move in that direction and take us along for the ride. Still, it is important to recognize your warning signs so you can reverse direction when you can. If depression is merely a chemical imbalance then theoretically one should be able to change that balance back to something more healthy. Meds attempt to do this, but attitude can help us do this as well. Barring some of your own, I suppose you could always drink a can of Moxie instead.

2) You need to know when you are depressed.

I know. I know. Advice like this sounds lame on the surface.

"People Need Air to Breathe! Details at 11."

Step two is simple advice, but crucial to stopping depression dead in its tracks. In my experience many people who suffer from depression often don't fully realize they are Depressed. They are too busy feeling miserable and overwhelmed to futz about with labels and self-diagnosis. Once I recognize that I am Depressed, however, I help myself realize that these feelings are alien and chemically induced. They are not Me. Realizing that, I can summon the strength to give them an eviction notice.

3) Ask yourself, "Do I have a reason to be depressed?"

If the answer is "No", then it's time to take back your life. Being sad for no reason is no fun and should be avoided like summer camps with Al Qaida. If the answer is "Yes", then you need to determine if what you are feeling is appropriate to the situation. If you've lost a loved one, for instance, there is a good reason to feel sad. If you are overwhelmed because you missed your favorite TV program, the depression might be taking things slightly out of proportion.

4) Develop the desire to not be depressed.

So you have a seven sheet long list of reasons why you are depressed and you think they're all really good ones. You may not realize it, but your perspective is a bit skewed.

If you suffer from depression you know how hard it is to shake it off. Heck, it can be hard enough breathing, nevermind summoning strength to get perky. But you need to set your mind to not let depression get the best of you. The process is called mind over mood by some, learned optimism by others. I was able to develop this skill on my own, mostly because I was an ornery cuss tired of being depressed all the time, but some people enjoy the help of a Cognitive Behavior Therapist or Psychologist to help them develop it.

These first four steps help you change from being a victim to being in control. I spent the better part of a decade learning how to do it on my own, but there are many resources available now for people with depression. There is no reason to go it alone. In the next column I'll cover the remainder of this list with six ways to distract yourself from being depressed. In the meantime, work on your self-analysis. It's a lot less expensive than visiting a psychiatrist and asking him or her how you are feeling that day.


mig bardsley said...

Doug, I just thought I'd say I always read your blog and I think you give stunningly good advice.
Not an ADHD sufferer myself, but the strategies you use to cope with it are valid for everyday life even if you only have depression/ anxiety/or some other one problem to deal with.
Great stuff.

Angry Warrior said...

I absolutely agree with your ways of beating depression. I don't like the pills either ( tried a small dose once from my doctor and I hated them so much I threw them away )*they made my jaw clench and I couldn't stop yawning...lmao*.

My blog on here is very dark...but it's my place where I can unload some of my dark past memories and get it out of my system. I do however, use the same tactics day-to-day in fighting the big black beastie. ;-) Self-prognosis is one of the best ways to deal because you essentially 'take your life back' ( as you said ) and by claiming responsibility over how you 'think'... you then pave a better road to how you 'make' yourself feel.

Amen broddah. ;-)


Anonymous said...

have you ever felt suicidal?

Andrea said...

Great post. I have clinical depression and have recently developed a project to formally keep myself focusing on reasons not to be depressed, which is online at Jangly Ganglia.

I have been doing this project for about 5 weeks, and it has helped me immensely. I am also accepting members if anyone else thinks it would help them to participate.

Douglas Cootey said...

Mig ~ That's what I hope. I realize a lot of my columns are AD/HD specific, but I hope that the coping strategies I discuss can be applied to other issues. I'm really glad you feel the same. Thanks for being a regular reader.

Angry Warrior ~ I've spent some time using darkness to cover me as I healed. I used it as a shield to protect me as well. As you follow your own path through that darkness try to surround yourself with friends (since family is an issue for you) that love you and lift your spirits. You'll be happier for it. I'd say you've got a good attitude but I've read your blog. ;) I know you have a lot of pain to deal with. But because you are determined I believe you'll overcome it all. Thanks for commenting. Good luck.

Anonymous ~ Yes, I have felt suicidal. I am all too acquainted with that depth of despair and depression. I decided in the end that I didn't really want to kill myself, though I had some interesting experiments. (And besides, I couldn't figure out a way to kill myself that wasn't messy. Sad, but true. I chose life because I didn't want to leave any messes behind for loved ones to clean up). What I wanted was oblivion. I wanted to have never existed. I wanted to cease to be. My belief in an afterlife, however, crimped my suicidal style. ;) Thank Heaven for that. It's been 14 years since I was in that dark place and I climbed out tooth and nail. So when I say I've conquered depression, I'm not just blowing smoke. My depression hasn't gone away, but I don't let it control me anymore. Even today.

Andrea ~ Thanks for letting us know about that project. I can't participate because I have one, two, three, no four, maybe five blogs already. (six?) Plus I help my daughter produce a podcast. At any rate, I vent plenty here. I'm glad you've found a productive outlet for yourself. (And with luck, you aren't just spamming the forums here and we'll hear back from you on how the project's going.)


Angry Warrior said...

You're too sweet. I did have a dark life and nothing like this ever happens only happened when I was defenceless against the only person in the world whom I trusted - my mother.

I used to let the darkness swallow me...but I grew up and turned to the light side...I only reserve THIS blog for simply ' remembering '. I feel that if I have it front of me... I can see it and deal with it instead of being hit with it over and over again every time it surfaces again.

There will be more blogs just as dark - but they will serve a purpose. Thank you for commenting. I appreciate it. I will watch your blog. :-)

Sandra said...

Good and important stuff.

done said...

Hi Douglas:)
I'm so glad you had commented on my blog, because I've lost yours from my favorites, and I've missed reading your posts. This is just how I feel, but this was God sent that I was able to read this post. I've been through a lot with my daughter(with bipolar), and she's done a 180, and trying to improve her life(hasn't cut herself in 6weeks!), but with all the craziness, I think it's finally hit me like a brick. I've been feeling depression like her, and I'm trying to find all the positive I can, and to focus out of this depression. Very good advice, and I'm going to show this post to my daughter. Take care, Elisa:)

Trish said...

Thanks for you comment on my blog.
You know, when I found out my daughter was dying, I was depressed and everyone around me wanted me to get on antidepressants to numb me. They could not tolerate seeing my reaction to it. They could not understand when I refused and said that this sadness deserves to be felt, for gods sake. My child is dying and you want me to be numb about it?
I think that sometimes antidepressants are prescribed to help the people around the patient, instead of the patient his/herself.

Douglas Cootey said...

Angry Warrior ~ I look forward to reading more of your comments.

Sandra ~ Thank you.

Elisa ~ Let me know whether my column is helpful for your daughter or not. I don't have bipolar disorder so I worry if my advice for depression is relevant for bipolars. If it's not, I'd like to know how I can improve.

Nice seeing you around here again. Congratulations on your daughter's progress.

Trish, dear, I had no idea your daughter was dying. My comments about my beautiful four year old with mild CP must seem so frivolous compared to your hardship.

Don't be too hard on your friends and family. They mean well. Depression can affect the heart and immunity system. It suppresses health. So there is reason for their concern. At the same time, though, perhaps they simply aren't strong enough to handle the sadness like you are. Just be careful to keep positive minded. Depression caused by external events can become a habit of sorts. You need your health and strength for your daughter.

Thanks for commenting. Hope to see you around here again.


Bekah said...

Thank you so much for stopping by.
I really enjoyed this post. I suffer from depression and I am currently on Lexapro. I also see a psychologist and she is going to be starting me on cognitive behavior therapy. We have also come to the conclusion that I have an anger problem. One of the ways I am dealing with that is to keep a journal of all the things I am grateful for and a journal of all the things that make me angry everyday. I am not sure how much it is helping, but it is making me stop and look at all the petty little things that I let anger me. My son is doing okay. They recently switched him from regular Ritalin to long acting Ritalin and it is not doing too good. His teacher has summoned me to a meeting on Monday to discuss his behavior. She feels he is reverting or regressing back to his pre~medication days. I will get an in depth explanation of the behaviors he is exhibiting and the times of day she sees them most and then report back to the pediatrician with the information. Hopefully we can get this under control with help of medication and parenting at home. I bought this book called something like Parents Survival Guide to ADHD. It seems the most of the things in there I have already tried. I need to come up with something unique to my child, something I haven't thought of. One day our efforts will pay off. I know this. I believe it.
I hope you are doing well. Sorry I haven't been around, busy as heck over here. Have a good day!!

Sandra said...

Hi Douglas,
I wanted to mention that I showed your posting from January 2005 called "Chronic Motor Tic Disorder: Life's Little Lessons" to my 13 year old son recently when he was feeling really down about the teasing he has to put up with from his fellow middle schoolers as a result of his vocal/cough tic. He really enjoyed it and found it offered him some perspective. Anyway, it was good, because hearing from me just isn't the same. Thanks. (Comments were disabled on that post, so I put it here)

Douglas Cootey said...

Bekah ~ Sounds like the journal keeping is working. You're doing the most important step: rereading it. Keeping a journal for historical reasons has a purpose, but if you reread your journal it is an active process that aids in self-awareness and, hopefull, growth and improvement.

I can't remember if my mother told me this or not, but I've found that the secret to helping AD/HD children, or children in general, is to discover what their key is. Once you know the key, you can unlock the door and get in to help them. Otherwise, you're stuck outside as a helpless observer. The trick is that the key changes over time, so kids keep parents on their toes. You sound like you are on your way to discovering this key for your boy. I wish you luck with that.

No need to apologize for not being around. We all are busy with our own lives. :) Thanks for commenting.

Sandra ~ I had to reread that column because I wrote it so long ago. I think that was the first column where I started to develop my voice. I was so proud of it. I'm tickled pink and purple all over that somebody found it helpful. That experience was a real eye opener for me.

I despise vocal ticking. I scare my family all the time. I can keep it in check if I get a good night's rest, but being a raving insomniac makes doing that difficult. I didn't used to vocal tic, but it's developed over time, especially in the past two years. I wrote about it here if you want to give your boy another laugh. I may have related this story before, but my seven year old gets very disappointed with me when I vocal tic these days. One day last year I shouted out "Monkey!!" randomly. Nobody was more puzzled and embarrassed than I was. I don't usually tic real words. My kids sure thought it was funny. Unfortunately, my seven year old wasn't there that day and feels deprived. She keeps hoping one day I'll revisit my heady days of simian vociferation and give her a treat.

Sandra said...

i sent that one along too. he mostly has a series of sounds that he makes. it's like a little pattern of noises, a rolling tongue sound, a palatal click, a couple coughs, another roll, click, and then a little laugh sound. The worst one, that thankfully is less frequent, is when he has something that he thinks is irritating his throat. then he sometimes adds this very loud quacking sound. It is truly brutal. I listened to him make the other sounds for a year before I really realized that it was a tic. It finally registered when he had been quacking for about a week. I asked him if he could stop and then if he does this at school, and of course the answer was, "I can't help it!". My husband didn't believe me until we went on a 6 hour drive and he did it the ENTIRE time. Gum, lollipops, candy, nothing works. Well, we are all used to it now and no one makes a big deal about it. But he does get teased, by kids other than his pals. He is about to enter high school at a new school with new kids. I am trying to help him get to a point where he won't get so angry when someone imitates him. I would be so happy if he could find the humor in it. I understand that it is a terrible feeling to get teased for something you can't help. I also understand what you said about not wanting to be entertainment for others. It really is a tough situation. There is no good solution. Lately, I just think his peers would adjust faster if he laughed with them. Or at the very least, if he didn't get into an angry tussle with them.
Either way, we are behind him, trying to support him. He is learning some CBT techniques vicariously through me, and we are going to try some acupunture, which has been shown to be effective in some cases.

achromic said...

OOOO fantistic..... every scince the last operation I had in Nov. I have been stuggling.... some of it was due to a medication that the doctors thought would help me.... and the medication did help the medical problem but it made me seriously depressed to the point of almost comminting sucide..... I am off of it now.... and while I am feel SOOOOO much better I am still.... very very tender. This is excellent .... I don't want to take anymore meds right now.... the hypersentivty that I showed with this line of medication was alarming. That doesn't mean that I am against medication if I have to.... but I won't mind try a few other things for a bit.

jen said...

Do you know when you can't make any decisions and your feeling contradict between them. I can give you an example: When you are invited to some party and in one minute all you want is to "let's party" and then, one minute later all you what is to go home make some hot choc and watch tv. And then five minutes later you what to go to the party again... then when arrives the hour that you really have to decide if you want to go to the party or not you finally decide that you want go but when you are there all you want is the hot choc and watch tv. However if you stayed home all you wanted was to went to the party.
what do you call this?

Slain said...

Douglas ~ breathing is difficult when ur stuck in depression.

sometimes my reasons are almost legit. sheer frustration with not being able to get certain things of importance done coupled with the unwillingness of certain persons to even try and comprehend my sad state of affairs.

its like, im tired of obsessing bout myself, but everytime i take a look out the window *indeed, climb out and lend a hand* people force me back inside with their unkind words

..will post on this today

Douglas Cootey said...

Sandy ~ I hadn't heard of acupuncture as a treatment for tic disorders. Let me know how that goes.

As for laughing at one's foibles...that takes confidence. Or practice! LOL I had a lot of practice. Perhaps that's where you should focus. Find something he does that builds his confidence while also helping him to find humor instead of frustration. That's what I eventually did. I can't claim that I'm NEVER embarrassed or even humiliated by my ticking, but I handle it so much better than I ever did years ago. Good luck with that.

achromatic ~ When going off meds please be careful to include an outside party with your decision and commit to honoring their opinion of the matter if things aren't going as well as you think they are. I chose my wife to be my observer. After two weeks off Zoloft she was getting worried it was a bad move (I was suicidal). I asked her to give me a little bit more time, and I assured her I wouldn't do anything rash like kill myself. After the fourth week I was leveling out and back to "normal".

I have to be very careful about any medical advice I give around here. I'm not a doctor. I'm not a trained therapist. I'm just this guy who didn't find meds working for him. Be sure to include a doctor in whatever decision you make. Hopefully, one who trusts you as much as you trust them.

Jen ~ I generally call that "being confused". ;) Without knowing more about you, I can't say for certain what is going on inside your head. As I was just saying to achromatic, I'm not a medical professional. But I feel that way sometimes - very conflicted. Usually when I'm tired or not up to par. That's when I have a weaker control over my impulses than usual and I can find myself waffling. At least, that's how I used to be.

Do you know what I do now when that confusion sets upon me? I make a decision and stick with it. It really cuts down on spontaneity, but frolicsome spontaneity wasn't doing anything for me except leave me feeling incomplete. I didn't change overnight, but I find myself much more decisive now and, consequently, productive.
And I've trained myself to not feel regret in those situations when what I chose didn't work out - well, at least most of the time. ;) Hope that helps. If not, tell us more.

Sol ~ Hang in there, buddy. You can't do anything about the doubters and the seethers. But you can focus on yourself. Sticky notes, note pads, PDAs, Sharpie on the mirror, whatever it takes to help you stay on track to complete a project. You can also slowly remove those doubters from your life. I had to wait until I was in my mid twenties before I learned how to surround myself with people who believed in me and maybe actually liked me while avoiding the company of those who didn't. It made a profound difference in my life and happiness. I wish you the best.

KristieSue said...

I don't think I realized I might be depressed until I read this post... Maybe I did but thought I was dealing with it... I don't know... Lately I've failed in quite a few ways and I've been so angry at myself. I can't seem to get over the being angry with myself. I am pretty good at forgiving others, at least I think so but I have a hard time forgiving myself. Is this depression? Do you have any advice?

Douglas Cootey said...

Kristiesue ~ Well, the first question you should ask yourself is: Can I stop feeling this way? If you can't, and the feeling lasts for days, then you may need to look into depression, but being hard on yourself can be a symptom of so many other things. Low self-esteem, insecurity, overcriticalness, negativity, etc. Feeling upset with yourself after failure is pretty normal. Depending on the failure, the disappointment you feel can get very intense. That doesn't necessarily mean you are depressed.

I would recommend you take a few free online depression screening tests, like this one at which seems straightforward and not on a site that WANTS you to be depressed so they can sell you something. If you seem to test positively for depression, I would recommend looking into some of the cognitive behavior therapy books I link to on the side of my column. Get them from the library if you can't afford to buy them.

Maybe you're just going through a bad patch. That's perfectly normal, too. And if you're a perfectionist, you may NEVER get over forgiving yourself. I haven't. I've just learned to tame it down a bit. ;)

May I ask which part of my column caused you to think you might have depression?

Thanks for commenting.

KristieSue said...

"However, with my wife's arrival I compounded my frustration and funk with a healthy dose of failure"

It started right there. I have this kind of thing happening to me on an almost daily basis. I usually start my day out being in a pretty good mood but by the end of the day I'm either sad or mad. Just from letting stuff get to me.

I took the screening test and scored a 19 they say anything above 15 you should consider talking to your doctor. I think if I can just practice some of these steps you've listed I'd be ok. I think by practicing steps one and two I'll be ok since I don't really have a reason to be depressed. :)

Heidi the Hick said...

I may have mentioned this before but I was so shocked when my doctor said "depression". The "panic disorder" i was beginning to suspect but me? Depressed? I bring the fun! I dye my hair pink! I barrel race! Then I realized it was true: I'd been spending the last few years building up an elaborate lie, hiding my bad times from everybody. I've been using the last year & half to work through it and it's been hard; I still don't want some of my friends to know. Part of my process is to outrun the depression before it gets me. It's totally exhausting but guess what...I'm outrunning it!!!!I hope in time when I get better at detecting it before it starts it won't be so tiring.

I compare it to riding my horse in a rail class. If we're loping, I can tell when he's trying to slow to a jog. I've ridden him for years so I can tell, and I have to squeeze him a little to let him know that we're still loping. That's much easier than letting him fall into a jog, then having to cue him back up to a lope. Geddit?

Slain said...

Douglas ~ me gonna jettison my cellphone soon.

post to come in a couple days/weeks on it. ;)

try very hard to surround myself with positive influences. comedies in general depress me, while good action flicks rev me up.

very selective bout dramas. i found recently many horror movies are depressing too.

then theres music..

heavy metal is surprisingly can actually turn the mind away from dangerous moods by saturation.

doesn't always work, but hey nothings perfect.

charlottecorday said...

Well, that's very good advice indeed!

Douglas Cootey said...

Sorry for the delay in commenting. I'm between ISPs at the moment so my access to the internet is temporarily limited.

KristieSue ~ I believe people should first try to help themselves before seeking professional help. However, if you find that there is no change in your happiness after trying to fight off depression on your own I'd recommend a cognitive behavior therapist first before other types of therapists because they emphasize self-help. Good luck!

Heidi the Hick ~ Goddit. Sounds like you've got a good handle on it. I can't make depression go away, but I can avoid it when I recognize the warning signs, and defeat it with effort. It's easier to defeat it, obviously, the sooner I recognize the signs.

Sol ~ Finding your own toolkit to fight off depression is a personal process. Sounds like adrenaline is your favorite weapon of choice.

Interesting comment about music. I sometimes can fight off depression by listening to depressing music. It's an immersion experience. When I've listened long enough, I can leave the depression behind when I shut off the music.

charlottecorday ~ Thanks! Hope you found it helpful. Let me know if it works for you.


Slain said...

Douglas ~ there u are! ;)

unfortunately, yes. leading to interpersonal problems a-plenty. sometimes i wish people close to me would take a step back to avoid getting singed by the flames, as its nothing personal..jus' me.

ah, ur taking bout the cathartic effect. i love action movies, and currently and wondering if it would be a good idea to write letters of protest for certain shows on tv that show senseless real-life violence like "car-crashes" or "amazing disasters caught on tape"

even though i like sports like boxing, i find these images very disturbing. sometimes poeple get killed!!!

real-life violence is not the same as fictitious violence; dont think the layperson can tell the difference sometimes. what do u make of it?

Douglas Cootey said...

Real violence as entertainment is disturbing, Sol. I'd write that letter. It's good to feel you have a voice worth expressing.

Anonymous said...

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Events in the brain determine whether stress is followed by depression, and a triad of neurochemical responses (to steroids, amines, and peptides) seems to be involved

Changes in stress responsive steroid hormones are important—increased cortisol may alter mood and can damage the brain, while reduced levels of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) may contribute since it is a natural cortisol antagonist

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Stress help:

Douglas Cootey said...

What a bunch of gobbledygook! I'm going to leave your comment up so that people learn to recognize comment spam better.

A trip to the website listed above finds fancy stock photos interspersed with an awful lot of google ads with articles pulled for free from I've seen websites like this before. They use other people's content to generate ad revenue. I have Google ads on my site, and I'd love to generate some revenue, too, but I like to think I offer original content and a community of sorts.

To use a popular Slashdot meme:
1) Make website using other people's content
2) Load it with ads
3) ???
4) Profit!

Another reason I dislike sites like yours is that you come across as a legitimate resource when the content you post is just somebody's opinion, educated or otherwise. I never represent myself other than a guy who has had some success overcoming disabilities. To imply otherwise would be intellectually dishonest.

Of course, I could be wrong and you could actually stop by my page again and rail against my comments. But I'm not holding my breath.

healthvalley said...

Dear Douglas
I would be grateful if you could remove my comment in that case. There was a time in my life when I was depressed. If you visit the site again you will see that I have written an article as well. I will be adding more on it. Its difficult as I am in full time work and children to look after. Health should always be a priorty and I try to contribute to that.
I am no yuppy webmaster trying to stuff things into my site. So please Douglas kindly remove either my comment or yours. I would not like to have any confrontation with you.
an ex-stressed individual..(eStress)

Anonymous said...

hi all,

you can try yoga and reiki treatement to fight from depression.
for more information
medical health care information

Jack Murphy said...

We do not choose to control true depression. It chooses to control us. To think otherwise is to live in a sometimes comfortable but very fragile state of denial.
Jack Murphy.

Douglas Cootey said...

Healthvalley ~ I'm not going to remove either comment. If I was wrong, that should stand for all to see. I am glad, actually, that you are not a "yuppy webmaster". I hope that you can understand that as a webmaster of a blog I get an awful lot of spam. It makes me trigger happy, I'm afraid. Your site seemed like a splog to me filled with ads and you posted anonymously, so I assumed the worst. Therefore, I apologize for incorrectly labeling you. In fact, because I was so certain that I had been spammed AGAIN I was quite cocky in my dismissal of your site. I apologize for that as well.

I can only hope you will forgive me. I have pretty good instincts, but I'm not perfect. In fact, unlike you, I am a highly stressed individual. ;) In the future, however, may I recommend when promoting your site that you not post anonymously? Good luck with your site.

Anonymous ~ Dang, your post reads like spam, complete with a "Hi all". But in lieu of the last time I jumped to conclusions I will bite my tongue. (-_-);

Jack Murphy ~ Mr. Murphy, I could not disagree with you more. To claim that "true depression" is beyond control is to claim that I never experienced "true" depression. What a pile of cow puckies. I suggest that YOU are the one living in a fragile state of denial. Just because you cannot control your depression does not mean that I and others cannot. What an arrogant and rude assumption. I would recommend you try using the 10 steps I've outlined and get back to us on your progress. I cannot guarantee anything, nor am I a licensed psychologist, but I can tell you from personal experience that depression does not have to control you.

What a contentious bunch of comments this time around. Phew!


student said...

I would just like to say that I suffer from depression everyday and have tried your methods...but it is soooo hard to do all that. You wouldn't believe

Douglas Cootey said...

Hey, student. I do believe you. I've been there. I know what it's like to be so sad you can't even move. To want to cry for no reason. To feel suicidal... I still suffer from depression, but I've learned how to live with it, even manage it, so that it doesn't suffocate me anymore. It IS difficult to do these steps, but what is your alternative? If meds aren't working for you, or you are tired of being dependent on them, then you have to find the strength within yourself. And you CAN do it. Otherwise, you have to resign yourself to crushing depression for the rest of your life. Who wants that?

Now, I'm not going to say that you can cure yourself of depression. I haven't cured myself of depression. And your level of success may differ from mine. I can't say that you'll conquer it the way I have. But my depression was real, it was diagnosed multiple times over, and I was miserable. Now I'm not. What I can say is that I spent TEN years developing my success over depression. This is not an overnight thing by any means. Maybe I haven't emphasized that enough. I just assumed I was particularly slow figuring this all out on my own. Hang in there and keep trying. The results are worth it.

Have you tried these methods before and just happened to come across my site, or did you try these methods because of what you read here? I'd really like to know.

OsakaDan said...

I am trying a happiness diary to be positive.

Douglas Cootey said...

Thanks for posting that, OsakaDan. Personally, I'd be high as a kite and twice as happy if I was living in Osaka, Japan. That'd pick me up in a hurry. ;)

Good luck with your journal.

jpc said...

I think that I may have developed depression from early childhood. I went through it like it was natural, just my personality. Perhaps it was. Anyway, through all those years, I was taking care of myself not to be disappointed. Simply because I would just crash. And the only way for that is to become a pessimist. Imagine how gloomy it must have been for a child, never expecting, trying not to hope for anything. I still notice the same thinking pattern now that I am working. I feel its necessary for me, but people always say, "be positive". So I reallt don't know. Just today I tried being one, never had room for pessimistic thoughts, then what I thought would definitely happen didn't. And boy, what a blow, considering I am not the vocal type. I had to keep it all. Perhaps its not pessimism or optimism that counts, its openness/awareness to as many possibilities I can think of so I am prepared as to whatever the outcome is?

Douglas Cootey said...

JPC ~ That's one way to look at it. Some would say that thinking positive makes one more open to new possibilities whereas thinking negative closes the mind to possibilities since the mind has already decided that things are going to go badly. Whichever way of thinking works for you... ;) The important thing is to keep an open mind and not let pessimism close doors on you. Thanks for commenting.

Anonymous said...

Hi Doug, good to see a site like this, we need more of them. I've been suffering with depression, anxiety and aspects of BPD for years. A couple of things I'm trying that I hope may help others at the moment. By the way, I dont want this to appear like some kind of quick fix, I still feel odd in the mornings and have to battle to stave off negative thoughts but here are a few things that I do think help somewhat.
1. Make two small positive changes to your life each week, ie this week I decided to not snap at my partner without provocation and to eat healthily. It does make you feel happier with yourself if you're at least TRYING.
2. Take up something you have loved doing but dont bother doing. My thing was Hip-Hop dance class. Will be trying Yoga today too.
3. I find writing in a journal helps get it out of me at that time and on to the pages, also good to write every day if pos. so you can compare the good days to the bad days and what's working and what's not.
4. Some form of meditation, I find it hard but I tried one recently where you stare at a candle flame, breathe in through nose and out through mouth, then when you cant look anymore, close eyes and imagine flame going in through nose and out through mouth, then try to imagine the light throughout your entire body, concentrated on the area of trouble - ie our brains!
Will keep you posted on some more ideas and what I find helpfull later. Funnily enough even typing this and knowing it might encourage someone else is a positive feeling.

Joe Bloggs said...

Andrea, I tried to join your project on Jangly Ganglia and I dont appear to be able to join. Also the link which supposedly leads to a link to your email just opens up a blank e-mail and cant see your email address anywhere on site. Can you please respond and let me know. Thanks a bunch

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