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Breaking Through Paralyzing Depression

Depression is so powerful, so depleting, so overwhelming that it can be paralyzing in your life.

Here are four depression fighting strategies to help fight back the overflowing tide of depression in your life.

  1. Become aware of how much you say to yourself or others - "I can't..." This is a statement of powerlessness. It puts the ability for recovery outside of your control. For one week, every time you catch yourself saying or feeling "I CAN'T...", substitute in it's place "I CHOOSE NOT TO..." Making this shift yanks the responsibility for your suffering and recovery away from depression and puts it back into your hands. Practice this, you'll see how it FEELS different... empowering.

  2. Break down what feels like insurmountable goals into doable little parts. For example, you may buy into the research proving the benefit of exercise in overcoming depression, and you want to exercise 3 days each week for a minimum of 30 minutes to help in your recovery. It's genuine, you really want to do it, but it never gets done. Why? You have to begin where you're at. Many who suffer from depression are really very perfectionistic, if not "all-or-nothing" in their thinking. Is that you? Is knowing that you need to exercise, thinking about your need to exercise, even wanting to exercise helping you? No, it's not. It only makes your depression worse as you punish yourself for not getting it done. Here's a better idea, a more respectful idea. How about starting where you are? Instead of taking the elevator up to your office how about taking the stairs? (I hope you're not located on the 8th floor or above!) Instead of walking straight out to your car after work, how about walking once around the building first? Instead of walking downstairs to the laundry room try walking down, reversing and walking back up the stairs and then back down to the washer. Maybe get an inexpensive pedometer and set your goal for 5,ooo steps per day. . . then increase to 10,000 each day and so on. If exercise is the goal, invite yourself to simply begin with a doable little piece and build from there.

  3. Project what it will feel like once you've accomplished one of your depression recovery goals. For example, imagine how will you feel, look and sound different once you are exercising 3 days per week. Imagine this with all 5 of your senses, making this vision as vivid as possible. Note how this feels. Once you feel the intensity rise to a 7 out of a scale of 10 in vividness, take a moment to write down your experience. Read this several times each day as you work to break your goal down into those doable pieces mentioned above.

  4. Steady progress in overcoming depression is wonderful! Depression can trip you up by using impatience and judgment against you. When you've suffered for a long time you'll find that you want to be well NOW! Would it be fair to expect a person who had a near fatal heart attack to run a marathon 12 weeks after the heart attack? Of course not, but I'll bet you often have unrealistic expectations of yourself in overcoming depression. Progress in overcoming depression is fantastic, but only if you recognize it, acknowledge the work you've done to accomplish it and know that it's part of an ongoing process. 

 

Be patient with yourself, please.

 


Dave Turo-Shields (email)
Veteran Psychotherapist, Trainer & Life Coach

www.CounselingPros.com
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"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know that just to be alive is a grand thing."

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Ask Dave

QUESTION

I was diagnosed with Bipolar two years ago. For awhile I did meds and it got worse.

I'm trying to use natural methods. I'm using Omega 3 Fish Oil, Magnesium, Hylands Nerve Tonic, Nelson's Tension Tamer and recently advisor at health food store added to this mix, grape seed extract (she thinks it (Bipolar) is linked to candida), B Complex, and a few other things, but the list isn't with me now.

I hate to go the med route. My counselor is really pushing this although I've only started going to her. She says if untreated it will only get worse and worse. 

 
Joey

ANSWER - 

Hi Joey,

Your therapist has some decent concerns and may also be misinformed as well. Untreated Bipolar does get worse,; the hypomanic/manic cycles come more often over time. That is... if left untreated. Your psychotherapist may not understand that you are treating your Bipolar. The question for you is, "How is it working?" Are you maintaining a daily mood journal? Are you tracking things such as your mood, thoughts and feelings? Do you keep a depression and mania scale? These are good way to measure your success with any treatment process.

Dr. Daniel Amen has a free screen online which can assist in identifying areas of the brain which may be impacted by Bipolar. The good news is that he offers natural alternatives that work for the affected areas of the brain.
You can take the screen here: 

http://www.brainplace.com/bp/checklist/checklist_page1.asp

In a couple of valid studies we have learned that Omega 3 Fish Oil definitely does help with Bipolar, and especially the hypomania/mania end. So, way to go! I would also strongly consider three other options, which are all non-invasive. 

The use of L-Tryptophan to treat the depression is a fantastic alternative. L-Tryptophan is a natural amino acid. Read this article to learn more.

http://www.overcoming-depression.com/tryptophan.html

I have tag-teamed with a local neurofeedback clinician with my Bipolar clients and the results have been outstanding. To learn more visit this national neurofeedback site.

http://www.eegspectrum.com/

I view Bipolar Disorder as an "Energy Regulation" problem. It makes sense, doesn't it? Two polarities along the energetic continuum and you're trying to find balance between the two. I would consider accessing one of the energy therapies available to you. You've already had some success with Reiki, but I would look into Feldenkrais, Healing Touch or Rolfing for more intense, quicker results. Along the same lines, meditation, tai chi and qi gong are excellent for energy regulation.

Here's a fourth idea, and it would likely wipe out your candida infection, if indeed you have one. A "live blood analysis" specialist could tell you if you do and how bad it is. Anyway, onto a fourth idea -- learn your metabolic type. Many of my clients (me too!) manage Bipolar by partly through a diet lifestyle which fit specifically for my metabolic type. There's a great test in the book called called "The Metabolic Typing Diet" by Wolcott. It's truly the diet to end all diets and bring relief to many mental health and general health issues.

I hope this is helpful to you.

Sincerely,

Dave Turo-Shields

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