Thursday, June 07, 2007

Slogging Through & Beyond

I happened upon WikiAnswers and the question, "How do you get through depression?"

Here is my answer:


1. Find something good about today.

2. Think of what you most enjoy (and when you can do it again).

3. Have a healthy meal.


Many people who have depression struggle with their feelings and thoughts and symptoms for weeks, months and years. I am 49, and I have been aware of my depression for most of that time, yes, I'd say at least 40+ of those 49 years. There have been moments and days of happiness, joy, even euphoria (maybe hypomania?) and satisfaction. But the vast majority of my life, I have known I was swimming upstream against depression, or with depression or in spite of depression. I have not functioned fully or in most conventional ways in many years and have no money and little social or medical support (without insurance, of course, none for over 20 years). And so one common way to "get through" depression is to slog through rather aimlessly and inefficiently, without focus. But to really "get through" depression and come out on the other side, as best one can, it takes more than time, more than slogging through. I've squandered too much time; the best solutions take LESS time. Depression really is a condition, first, more than a state of mind, though your state of mind matters. It is not just how you think, though how you think matters. It is more than just doing the right things (like exercise, finding a good doctor, taking meds), though doing those right things matters. It is at least learning to be more effective in the struggle against your condition, which for most of us means paying attention to a lot of factors: our social health, exercise, diet, sleep, relationship challenges, work challenges, and getting and sticking with medical help.

I will start you off by recommending just two books, first, the book my doctor recommended to me: Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, by David Burns, M.D., and second, the book I recommend most myself: Undoing Therapy: What Therapy Doesn't Teach You and Medication Can't Give You, by Richard O'Connor, Ph.D.

But before you go do anything else, try the three things I suggest at the beginning of this answer. Take care! Lawrence


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