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What Helps Your Depression Most? #2


Trace

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390 members have voted

  1. 1. What have you found helps your depression most?

    • Talk therapies
    • Medication
    • Support of friends and relatives
    • Self help books
    • Support groups like DF
    • Exercise
    • Improving your diet
    • Homeopathic remedies ( acupuncture, medication)
    • A combination of all the above
    • Other ( Please list )


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What helps my depression a lot is loving my brain more than I love abstract ideals, especially unrealistic perfectionist ideals like: being the ideal son, the ideal strong person, the ideal clever person, the ideal good person or the ideal "normal" person. Et cetera.

Its hard to put into words, but its like a paradigm shift in my thinking. Brain health first, everything else second. I used to think of my brain as similar to a performing circus animal. It got love and rewards when it performed. It got love withheld and punishments when it fell short. Now I see my brain as a friend, my best friend. It works night and day 365 days a year to keep me alive and healthy.

Concretely this means I try to avoid 1] pressuring my brain with "artificial" senses of life or death urgency in non-life-or-death situations [reduce unnecessary glucocorticoid load] and 2] taking love for my brain outside of any work ethic or performance standards. Not easy but I try.

Learned both of these lessons from some fairly deep minded CBT theorists and practitioners.

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What helps most? Falling in love with my own little three pound brain. My brain works tirelessly, night and day to keep me alive and healthy. It prioritizes things so that my survival and health are its #1 priority. What a friend! Where could I find someone as devoted to me as my own little brain. And yet, how have I treated it over the years? Not very well. I make it do tricks for my love, as if it was a circus elephant. If it is good at the "tricks" it gets rewarded. Otherwise love is withheld from it. And I have been so unfriendly and brutally demanding towards it: "Make me the ideal son, relative, friend, worker, success!" Or else. "Make me the ideal popular or attractive person!" Or else. "Make me the ideal strong and clever and good person!" Or else.

My brain loves me unconditionally. I love it with all kinds of hidden clauses and strings attached. If it makes mistakes, am I compassionate and understanding? Or do I call it names: "Weak." "Stupid." "Lazy" "Loser" "No good."
And if that were not enough, I also keep moving the finish line. Once my brain helps me achieve some goal, I move the finish line. Now I am learning to love my brain unconditionally, no matter what happens. If I end up in a palace or the gutter, I will still love my little brain. The more I learn to love my brain, the less depressed I feel. Sometimes it seems like a great deal of psychological therapy is just involved in teaching one how to love one's own little brain, how not to be so demanding, so pressuring, so punitive when it makes mistakes. It is like learning to love one's brain is training for learning to love other people: with understanding, with compassionate, with empathy, with encouragement, comfort and consolation. :hearts:

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  • 3 weeks later...

It depends.. Sometimes its a good book i can really escape into, sometimes its a good high off garden shrub, sometimes if im lucky to have a connection with someone. I notice that eating lots of fruit makes me feel way better than when i dont eat it which is funny because i dont enjoy eating it at all.

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What helps me a great deal is a principle of Cognitive Behavioral Psychology: Every person does the best they can given everything influencing them at the moment of decision. Motivation is like an iceberg. Sometimes a large part of it is unconscious [underwater]. We are not all-perfect, all-knowing, all-seeing beings who can bring the full force of our awareness and free will to bear on everything at every moment of our lives. There are modifiers of voluntariness. Reflexes, strong fears, desires that cloud deliberation, contrary wishes, various forms of coercion. And many of these modifiers are unconscious or barely conscious.

I don't think there is a 100% foolish person who wills absolute foolishness with 100% knowledge and free will 100% of the time. Nor a 100% evil person with no good qualities whatsoever. Most people don't wake up in the morning and say: "Today I am going to do something that will be a huge mistake." This is why I think "beating up one's brain" over things is counter-productive. This idea of CBT helps me a lot.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Nothing helps my depression, but....

- Taking a shower helps me think and I enjoy being under the water

- I have this one awesome cat that loves to give love and be loved, he makes me happy when he falls asleep stretched out over my stomach for a while

- I love plugging my ears and feeling complete silence

- I love everything about rain, especially when it is real. Listening to rain is a close 2nd. Too bad I live in a desert climate.

Another one is food, but that isn't a good relationship. :/

Of course I'm absolutely in love with music as well, but that's also something to do with emotions and could be considered both a good and bad relationship. Music is like both my father and mother to me, IDK where I'd be without it.

Although, there are some songs that make me happy...

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Nothing helps my depression, but....

- Taking a shower helps me think and I enjoy being under the water

- I have this one awesome cat that loves to give love and be loved, he makes me happy when he falls asleep stretched out over my stomach for a while

- I love plugging my ears and feeling complete silence

- I love everything about rain, especially when it is real. Listening to rain is a close 2nd. Too bad I live in a desert climate.

Another one is food, but that isn't a good relationship. :/

Of course I'm absolutely in love with music as well, but that's also something to do with emotions and could be considered both a good and bad relationship. Music is like both my father and mother to me, IDK where I'd be without it.

Although, there are some songs that make me happy...

On youtube, there's a 10 hr. heavy rain and thunder post. It's been helping me sleep.

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It helps me to realize there is no such thing as a "person in general" who "should" be the ideal of strength, cleverness, popularity, success, goodness, beauty and normality. That "ideal" person is a fiction and a phantasy and a mental abstraction. There are only "real" people. And some "real" people are struggling against mental illness. This struggle can seem trivial to those unaffected. But it is like wrestling with a great white shark. People who are not fighting for their life against a great white shark cannot in fairness tell those of us who are, what we "should" be doing or "should have" been doing! Survival is a moral value, perhaps the bedrock moral value, since there is no other moral value without it. Struggling against mental illness is heroic in itself and a manifestation of moral goodness and moral beauty.

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  • 3 weeks later...

For me, it's a combination of so many things... To keep things on the right track, in general, a healthy lifestyle, writing/reflecting, music I love and social activities with people I feel comfortable around (otherwise it's rather counterproductive).

When I'm really feeling down, the two things that work best are either exercise or writing.

For exercise, it can take a lot of effort and motivation to get started and to keep going, but it always makes me feel better afterwards, both physically and emotionally. The problem with writing is that if I don't feel like it or think that I have nothing to say I don't force myself to do it, but when it happens it works wonders, as I am able to analyze what is really going on in my mind and I can try to change or improve it.

And the hardest, but most magical thing that I found is willpower. Finding the strength inside of me to face my situation, the will to change and improve it, the motivation to take control and act instead of allowing myself to be swept up by sadness and apathy. This alone lifts a big part of the weight off my shoulders. Once that spark is lit everything else comes easier and my perspective improves considerably.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Depression makes mountains out of mole hills [or makes ant hills seem like Mount Everest.] A small misstep is incorrectly perceived and incorrectly felt to be a huge fall. What is a huge fall then? Several people in the last 100 years sent as many as 10,000,000 innocent men, women and children to be executed in death camps. From a moral perspective, that is a huge fall. Depression clouds reasoning and makes even little mistakes seem huge.

When one is beating oneself up with shame and guilt over some mistake one has made or some fault, then one should ask oneself: "Have I sent ten million people to be destroyed in concentration camps?" This will help one to regain one's moral perspective.

Edited by Epictetus
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  • 4 weeks later...

Imagine a child raised in such a way that any lapses in strength, ambition, cleverness and goodness were pointed out and punished but where any acts of strength, ambition, cleverness and goodness were never mentioned, were taken for granted, and were perhaps even ridiculed as not being perfect nor good enough. Wouldn't such a child grow up believing that even the smallest lapses and mistakes "count" but not small or large acts of strength, ambition, cleverness and goodness?

Sadly this happens a lot. One grows accustomed to notice lapses and mistakes but to be blind to the trillions of little strong, brave, ambitious, beautiful, wonderful and good things a person does in a lifetime. One grows accustomed to only see flaws in oneself and others and not the thousands of beautiful and wise and brave and strong and good things a person does each day.

What helps my depression most is recognizing, if I can, this blindness, imbalance and unfairness of it and trying to remedy it day by day, even if I am only able to take "baby steps" in that direction.

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Sometimes just drawing or playing music or writing helps. But when absolutely nothing brings me joy, reading posts here by people who are honest about their situation and share things I would never dare to share, that really makes me feel better and less alone.

It reminds me that the problem isn't with me, it's the world that can't handle me because I am such a non-conformist.

Edited by bellbottoms
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It helps me to give myself credit not only for "baby steps" of strength, bravery, wisdom and goodness when overwhelmed by depressive illness, but even "micro steps," Even "nano steps." Got out of bed = Just climbed Mount Everest! Got some nourishment = Swam the English Channel!

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  • 5 weeks later...

My medications and my p-doc are wonderful help for me.

What a difference from where I was last year at this time...I could not get out of my chair, except to eat, eliminate and sleep.

My therapist, whom I've seen for such a long time, really understands me.

My family loves me. And I love them.

This is a strengthening group we have here, helps me take it day by day.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Considering that I came off my meds last year. I found that what helps are actually doing the things I once loved. When I feel okay, but not down, I'll pull out some knitting needles and knit. I'll also draw, sing. There's a lot of things that I LOVE doing. Those are just a few. When I do feel really bad, I'll play some music and sing my heart out. Singing for me helps relieve whatever I have bottled up inside.

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Spending time with my two lovely cats, Oscar and Polly, is something that makes me feel better. Polly is sitting by my side at the moment as I type on my laptop, and every now and then I put my hand out and she rubs against it. It's very reassuring. I love you can spend time with cats (and other animals) without the fear of being judged or having to pretend to be something your not.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Two things.

1. I was "kinda cured" for about four months back in... 2010, I think? A couple of weeks after I had ramped up to the max dose of EMSAM, I felt... different. Did good things without thinking about them. Ate better, drank water instead of soda, worked out, excelled at work. Had boundless energy. Asked women out on dates (!!!) - to no avail, but at the time it DIDN'T BOTHER ME. I thought "so THIS is how normal people live!" This gradually wore off, but it helped to know that I was capable of being happier and more productive. Of being rid of the dark cloud that always followed me.

2. Embracing the concept that my western Buddhist Order holds called dependent origination. I was MADE this way. Alcoholic, abusive father, no friends growing up, always bullied. I'm NOT flawed or doomed or some dregs of society because I'm depressed. The strongest influences I had during my "formative years" were negative ones. So, no. Ain't nobody any better than me. I'm not a loser. A failure. I've actually done pretty well, considering where I came from. Let any Wall Street executive, sports star, or other paragon of success start out where I did, and you'll likely have the same result. So I'm OK. Some damage has been done - I'm 56, and have some physical ailments from couch potato'ing, don't have a ton of money, no wife/kids, but I'm pretty OK most of the time. I'm trying to crawl out of this hole so I can get to be the best 60-year old I can be, and see what happens then.

Hope this helps somebody/anybody.

All my best.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I like having something planned ahead to look forward to like a concert or visit someone or someplace.

I take my chihuahua to a local garden for walks.

My dog is the most important part of my life.

When I'm not too spacy to read, getting really involved in a book series is a great distraction.

I wish i had something like Harry potter to be into. I miss posting theories online and rereading the books for clues.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Going outside, even in the cold days of winter.

Working on a project, crafting or sewing.

Playing with a pet

Playing on my favorite video games

Reading or looking at positive books, quotes, etc.

and last but not least, talking or writing it out with a friend or family member.

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When I'm not too spacy to read, getting really involved in a book series is a great distraction.

I wish i had something like Harry potter to be into. I miss posting theories online and rereading the books for clues.

Sherlock is my new distraction and it's good for looking for clues and theorizing and the discussions are really funny but they only release new episodes every two years... But it's different with books. There's just no enjoyment in writing fanfiction based on a TV series, at least not for me but I know there is for many others.

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