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Is It Useful To Get Distracted When Depressed ?


drowning

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I suffer from depression on / off since around 20 years and have recently read that "distracting" oneself is actually helpful as it breaks the chain of negative thoughts. An example would I suppose be to push oneself to get engaged in a hobby when one feels depressed to distract the mind with the task at hand. A corrolary I suppose to this is that "thinking" about the depression and the reasons for feeling sad etc don't actually help at all. So in this case making lists and thinking about all the things that are causing the depression isn't the right way to go about feeling better. I was just curious if members of this forum agree with this approach ?

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I suffer from depression on / off since around 20 years and have recently read that "distracting" oneself is actually helpful as it breaks the chain of negative thoughts. An example would I suppose be to push oneself to get engaged in a hobby when one feels depressed to distract the mind with the task at hand. A corrolary I suppose to this is that "thinking" about the depression and the reasons for feeling sad etc don't actually help at all. So in this case making lists and thinking about all the things that are causing the depression isn't the right way to go about feeling better. I was just curious if members of this forum agree with this approach ?

I agree that distraction is good even if it is just a walk or meeting a friend for a bite to eat or a drink etc

I also think that writing lists of positive and negatives help but I usually only write diaries when I am feeling down, I used to write them all the time until things got so bad in my 20s, at the moment I am writing lists of things in a notebook if I can't sleep.

I think a lot of my problems have resulted from surpressing bad memories so much that I can't remember so much now and I am on 31!!

Great idea for a topic :hearts:

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Yes, I whole heartedly agree with you. Distracting your thoughts when you are in a low place, for no matter what the reason, is always a good thing.

When someone is in the throngs of depression, it is very hard TO distract yourself, but to focus on it does put the gasoline to the engine.

I think it can be very helpful for you to acknowledge what the things may be that are causing your depression. Actually what I should say is that it isn't what is causing the depression, as that isn't within your control. Moreover it is what triggers your depression. I have come to realize that for me, there are certain sights like driving down the road and seeing a happy, in love couple, can just put me into tears immediately. Hence I hate to go on certain roads that I can guess there will be something that hurts me. So to be able to know what your triggers are helps you to not put yourself in the situation where your triggers get activated.

To come to these realizations typically only happen when you are not in a depressed state. When you are there, it's often hard to see the light of day. So when you are in a good place, see if you can conclude what your triggers are. And also when you are in a good place, that is the very best time to make those lists, but list some of things that you really do enjoy and are able to quickly throw yourself into. Again, when you are depressed it can be hard to give merit to those positive things, and it can be easy to say that you really don't like them. So in a good time, focus on those. Keep that list in an easy to see place. Write down things that are current that you may be coming back to, rather than something new that requires clear thinking.

You are definately on the right track with your thoughts here. Three cheers to you! You may even want to add to your list to come in here and 'cut loose' when you are down. This site can very helpful at times when someone is down.

Whatever works for you is the point. I AGREE WITH YOU!

Smiles, Always Trying

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Distraction is a very common, valid and helpful excercise. It's quite logical. Our thoughts are at the core of our depression. If we can focus on things that bring us positive release and peace of mind, it allows the happy chemicals in our brains to do good things for us. Our thought lives are a mammoth part of this illness.

Best,

HopefulOne

Edited by HopefulOne
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Interesting topic!

I've been using distraction as an anti-insomnia aid; in other words, when I wind up in a depression-fueled circle of vicious negative self-talk while lying in bed trying to sleep, I will instead get up and do something, anything, to distract myself. Sudoku. Computer game. TV. Whatever. Within an hour or so, if I lie back down, I'm not in the negative cycle, so its easier to get to sleep .. and I usually wake up in the mornings feeling pretty neutral.

I don't think I've been using distraction as a direct anti-depression aid; though, honestly, I tend to be much less depressed when I am socially active and especially when I am with supportive loving individuals, whether they are long-time friends or recently met "good people". Its when I'm alone with my thoughts that I tend to struggle: its as though my thoughts have a slight negative slant to them, so that one thought by itself doesn't bring me down, but if I'm left with a slight degradation of mood for each thought over a three-hour window, I've wandered off into this negative whirlpool that gets me very down. So, anything that distracts from and/or prevents that cycle is a good thing!

However, I think there is some value to identifying the thoughts that are causing you depression: as HopefulOne says, "our thought lives are a mammoth part of this illness." I got a lot of value from introspecting about my negative self-talk, pinpointing sources of it and disproving some of its core negative values .. thus disarming it significantly.

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Gday drowning i hear what you are saying distraction is as every-ones saying is good stuff. My biggest mistake i made is i made my work my distraction for too long to the point where if i wasn't out there driving somewhere in the truck i was as flat as a tack at home to buggered and no get up and go, and after 25 years of doing this realized after 12 years of medication i needed to get off my arse and find some outside interests. Sounded easy at first not as easy as the docs keep telling you but i will keep perservering. So i take my hat off to you that you have noticed the need for distraction and can also do that.

One question of my own how many people have been after being diagnosed as long term major depression for on heavy meds for 12 years in my case been turned arround and re- classified as A-Typical which really means that in the right crowd/distraction we can be perfectly happy "normal" people sometimes its just a front others can actually really enjoying themselves but when returning back home or to normal surroundings find them selves going downhill.Particularly when on your own i have found this so true after recently being admmitted into a clinic finding out after a couple of days that whilst i was with people in the same situation as me on a nice level playing field i was fine but after leaving three weeks later i went arse up again and five weeks later worse now than when i went in. They changed me off large meds comboc gave me 2 week course of CBT 20 mgs cipramil some lomociagal or something as a mood stabilizer some diazapam and set go home see what happens Whooppee.....

Can any-one relate to this as i seem to be struggling!!

Enjoy your day.

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I can't think of anything worse than spending 24/7 fretting and worrying about myself. I spend my time volunteering and walking. Volunteering helps my head and walking helps my head and body. The only way I recovered from depression, was to change my habits. I had to quit depending on other people to help me and I had to take the bull by the horns and fight my way out of depression. Therapy has been very important.

Doug

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I agree it is a good thing to do. It isn't always easy. I find one of the hallmarks of my depression is that I don't get any joy from the things I usually enjoy. I race motorcycles and when I am not depressed, taking a jump and landing it well sends an exhilaration through me that is incredible. I tried doing it the other day and it really bugged me that I felt no joy in it. I still think it is useful to do those kinds of things anyway. Kind of like "fake it until you can make it"

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I can't think of anything worse than spending 24/7 fretting and worrying about myself. I spend my time volunteering and walking. Volunteering helps my head and walking helps my head and body. The only way I recovered from depression, was to change my habits. I had to quit depending on other people to help me and I had to take the bull by the horns and fight my way out of depression. Therapy has been very important.

Doug

I like that! That is self-empowerment for ya and something that has been useful for me too. I found out it is ultimately up to me. I'm not alone, but I take responsibility for my own healing and life. :hearts:

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I suffer from depression on / off since around 20 years and have recently read that "distracting" oneself is actually helpful as it breaks the chain of negative thoughts. An example would I suppose be to push oneself to get engaged in a hobby when one feels depressed to distract the mind with the task at hand. A corrolary I suppose to this is that "thinking" about the depression and the reasons for feeling sad etc don't actually help at all. So in this case making lists and thinking about all the things that are causing the depression isn't the right way to go about feeling better. I was just curious if members of this forum agree with this approach ?

Well I would say that finding a relaxing hobby is very good, something to not push myself to do works that comes naturally. Reading, volunteering, chatting online are hobbies that work.

It does get the emphasis off of my negative thoughts and gets the focus on something positive.

The only exception is if I'm so depressed, nothing works except a lot of self-care, meditation, exercise, supplements and such. I'm currently not on medication due to anti-depressant intolerance I believe I have.

Sometimes a nice warm bath or a walk helps. :hearts:

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