Overcoming Depression Support Blog




Welcome to the depression support blog!

Everyone's blogging now! I love it. If you dont' know what a blog is, it's basically an online journal.

Here's what I envision... with your help I intend to establish an online depression recovery blog that is packed with useful ideas and tips from all of our own experiences.

Amazingly, depressed individuals are often the first to reach out to help others. We struggle so deeply and have developed big hearts for seeing and responding to people in pain.

I know there are many places already in existence where people can be part of forums or listservs dealing with depression. I have been a part of at least a 100 of these over the past 8 years.

My main concern has always been how strong depression is in most of the postings. I realized over and again how cunning depression can be. Depressed individuals don't often realize how much they are living IN the problem, but it's easily reflected in online posts to forums all over! It's so easy to be swept away by depression. When that occurs our outlook and output becomes bleak. This blog is about understanding and HOPE.

This blog is intended for the sole purpose of recovery from depression. In our blog, or online journal, we will live IN the solution. In order to do so, here are loose guidelines for your submissions to the blog.

TO DO:

  1. Describe how you have hope in the face of despair.
  2. Tell us an inspiring piece of your story.
  3. Share what works for you to stay on top of depression.
  4. Let us know what inspires you.
  5. What's the magic in your depression recovery recipe?

WHAT NOT TO DO:

  1. Remember to share your depression solutions.
  2. Be careful of "depress-a-logs" or living in the story depression wants for you.
  3. Own your input as your own opinion. What you have to share is certainly a blessing to many.

Below you will note many wisdom-filled posts to the site blog. I have recently moved the the newest additions to the blog over to blogger.com. Please continue to use the form below to add your blog posts.

You can read the new posts by clicking here on the depression support blog.




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THE HOPE-FILLED DEPRESSION SUPPORT BLOG

THEME: HARD ROAD, TRY MANY THINGS... KEEP MOVING FORWARD

Hello, I am 41yrs old, mother of 3 great kids, and currently trying to figure out who I am. I'm not sure how long I went through this depression, I have had at least 30 ECT's and my memory is not very good. I'm not sure if it will come back either. I was on at least a dozen medications for depression and others for anxiety. Which they had me taking 4 times a day. I guess I was a zombie... I'm not sure what brought on the depression, I was a cutter. I have the scars which proved to me I was. I guess I told my family when asked, that when I cut I could and needed to feel something. I'm not sure how many times I was hospitalized, I really don't like asking questions about it. I quit taking my medication and ECT's almost a month ago. But it is very hard, I feel like I lost my life. And it gets old saying I don't remember. I only take a thyroid pill and a B12 vitamin now. I take the B12 cause after I stopped my meds, I started to bruise real bad, even scratching would make me bruise. I am gonna start a multi-vitamin also. I don't feel like I have control of my mind, I try to focus on things I know are real around me. But some times my mind just starts wondering, and I try a lot of the time not to think at all. If that makes sense? Isn't it hard to try to explain what you are feeling or things you might see (pictures of some real bad and scary things). I finally started to drive again about a week ago. That feels good. I really had a hard time leaving the house, I was afraid, I'm not sure why, but it was a great accomplishment for me, I have even gone to the store, and the mall once. It's still hard to run into people who knew you, or you worked with, it is hard when the questions start, (how are you doing?, are you still cutting?). I sometimes think the whole world knows about it. But I am starting to learn not to worry about what other people my think of me. I am staying with my mom), I'm not sure when we was brought here to live. My house was sold. I had to resign from work. And was on disability (not sure how long
I was on it). Which I was told about 3 weeks ago was no longer being sent, they stopped that (I guess that program) I'm not sure if that's the right word or not. I've decided to find a Christian therapist, for help trying to figure out who I am. I have said so many prayers and thanked the Lord for healing me. Even though I really have a long way to go, and hopefully finding my memory. I still can't take over my paper work for my medical or bills and other things. It like being a child if you will and having to learn all over again. But I think going to therapy, will help me on my journey home. And I know someday I will be able to work and have my own place, take care of my kids, and bills, ect......... I don't know if any of this is helping you, (if not just by letting you know your not alone). But I know we can't give up, no matter what, and that what we are going thru is not our fault, (nothing we did or didn't do caused this, so don't let the guilt hurt you). Even if I have to start my life from now, and never get the old stuff back, all the memories. It ok, as long as we keep trying. Thanks for listening. God Bless you and keep you safe and well.

Jean

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THEME: PLAN and TAKE ACTION - CELEBRATE ACCOMPLISHMENTS

My story briefly: I'm an academic, or on the path to be one. All I've ever wanted to do. The road to getting my PhD was tough (a few false starts, working alone, money problems, nothing most PhD wouldn't recognize) and after completing, I came down with my first episode of depression. To me, it seemed like it was out of the blue, but the psychiatrist wryly commented "I'd feel depressed too!" After some months of medication and treatment, we agreed that I seemed strong enough to get on with things. In retrospect, that may have been too early.

Since then (7 years) I've been plagued by nagging depressive episodes that ever fully erupt, but never quite go away. Nagging away at me, as my career seems to have stalled. Now I'm doing a job that is not really what I want to do, and my motivation is plummeting. I'm embarrassed when I see what little I get done every day and worried about cocking things up.

Is there hope? Well, I'm still standing. many of my contemporaries have dropped out or found it too hard. I'm working and have well paid work for the rest of the year. Even if I lost my job, I could survive almost indefinitely on my partners salary. And we live in a nice place. (So be thankful already!)

What helps is planning a few activities and crossing them off as they are achieved. Gives me a sense of small accomplishment. Meditation or relaxation exercises help too - I recommend Paul Wilson's "Instant Calm" book. Can't say I've had much luck with dietary supplements, but when I used SSRIs (Luvox) it was like magic. Incredible the change it made. Exercise is always good too - although it's something I have been avoiding ... Don't avoid human company - that just makes things worse.

Michael

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THEME: FAITH

Faith in God works for me. I post daily about depression in my blog and it works like a journal for me..

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THEME: "How can I sing the Lord's song in a foreign land?"

I am 58 years old and have suffered from depression for the past six years since moving with my husband to a new city where I have not yet come to feel "at home" and probably never will. I believe my depression was triggered by difficult changes in my life which included children leaving home and moving to other cities, loss of job I loved, loss of friends of my own, and especially loss of my church community. I tried going to churches in my new city, but was having difficulty feeling enough energy to commit myself to any one.

Finally, I realized that one of the things I missed so much about my church community was singing in the choir. This led me to focus on finding a church with the right choir which I could join. I have found a church and joined a choir.

I can't say that I am cured of depression, I take Lexapro, which seems to help some. However, I find it is impossible to give attention to my fears and anxieties while I am singing. The combination of the deep breathing necessary for singing, the concentration needed to follow the director, and the shared roles necessary to produce the best product mean that I am never depressed while I am singing, even if it is dolorous music such as that we perform during Lent.

Singing is hard work and requires careful concentration, something which I am often not able to do when I am depressed. Choir members are a diverse lot without a whole lot in common except our enjoyment of the task at hand. We are supportive of each other, but not intrusive.

I just wanted to share this with you as part of my story to deal with depression. I am no great vocalist by any means, but I can carry at tune and I contribute something positive to the choir and to the worship community as a whole. Finding little places where I can get and give joy give me a lift.

It is helpful to me to read your accounts and your positive statements about dealing with depression. I have a very supportive husband, but not even he can understand the pain of depression the way that another suffer can.

Elaine

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THEME: Thoughts are SO important... small actions... take small risks

Well, depression is definitely not fun. I'm sure it doesn't take a genius to figure that one out. Depression, although hard, is definitely not an impossible mountain to climb, though while you're stuck in it, it sure feels like it.

I suffered from depression while I was in my 7th grade year (and yes, I am just a teenager), but I have learned much from depression, and overcoming it, and take what you want from what I have to say, but even as a teenager, I do know what I'm talking about.

The biggest problem is the way you think. I understand how thoughts of "these people don't like me" and "nobody would miss me" come, and while they may have some ground, they are often not very true. I've had times where I just disappeared for one day, and everyone wonders where I've been, and sometimes people just don't seem to care one way or the other. But everyone has those same experiences, and your condition does not mean anything greater.

The best thing I can possibly suggest is to forget your worries for little moments, and remove yourself from the shell you're hiding inside of. I've never been a social person before now, and I would always hide and not really talk to anyone. But as I came out and talked to people, it became easier to feel better. I found that the people around me were the source of my strength, and it is definitely true. When you have friends, when you are involved with something, you feel closer to people, and you learn that you have a purpose somewhere, somehow, or maybe with someone or some group of friends. Nobody can expect you to just leap out of your shell. A hermit crab does just jump out either. It slowly peaks outside, and when it feels comfortable will begin to walk and crawl around. Peak outside the shell, try something you've never done. Join a club of your interest, or get involved with people you feel you'd get along great with. I got involved with the Academic games, and as a result I made friends with one of the biggest helps to me that I have ever come across. Just find something of interest, and slowly, in small steps, put yourself in that direction, and it will become more familiar and easier. Don't expect anything miraculous either. Life doesn't hand you miracles, but a handful of small blessings that you have to learn to take for what they're worth. Like a Sweetheart candy, it's not much, but they keep coming, and they add up to a handful or more within time. (It's Valentine's Day today, couldn't you tell?) Small things and small steps are the best way to overcome depression. But you need to be willing to try something new.

Jason

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THEME: Inner Strength and Daughter Power

I am 27 years old. I have been suffering from frequent bouts of major depression since early childhood. I am convinced that there must be a connection between the night terrors (age 1-8), the migraines (age 6-current) and the mental illness (noticeable memories of being suicidal by age 10- current). I have learned how to notice the signs of another episode coming on, and I have managed to survive through many terrible ordeals. I have a hard time knowing how to live when the depression lifts enough to function almost "normally"... I feel as though it's so ingrained in me, I continue to have these cycles almost yearly, which usually lead to being almost catatonic and hospitalized with that all too familiar suffocating dreadful pain that can be so indescribable. I have been able to banish suicidal behavior since my daughter was born (she is 3 yrs.) I couldn't bare to leave her traumatized for life. It is also amazing to me how I can continue caring for her even while depressed (to a certain point). There seems to be a strength within me that I didn't know I had, and now I don't want to die - I just want to get well, to stop the cycle. My daughter has made me realize the hope and strength I scarcely knew was possible within myself. I believe it was always there just so clouded over by the illness I couldn't see it. I have a long way to go, but I hold on to the hope of step by step digging myself out and seeing the beauty in life again.

thank,

Lady Lazarus

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THEME: St. John's Wort

A week or so ago I started taking a herbal tablet called St John's Wart - I was told it is good for those with mild to medium depression. It certainly is helping me keep going when I find it hard to keep working. Hope this helps.

Regards,

Simon.

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THEME: Powerful Recovery Story

I thought it was time to tell my story of depression and how I have recovered, as maybe it will help others. In May last year I shifted back to my home country after 6 years of living in London. When I arrived back I was exhausted. I had been working long intense hours, travelling once a month to New York for work, running a freelance business on the side (pushing myself to get up at 4am to do 3 hours freelance work before I went to work), writing a book for which I had been paid a fee, and mid 2003 I had been through a very traumatic and painful relationship break-up and was trying to make a whole lot of decisions about where to live and what to do.

All my life I have driven myself hard, to prove myself worthy and to meet the extremely high standards I set for myself. I am very forgiving of others but not of myself. I am a typical profile of a person prone to depression. Over sensitive, empathetic, tough on myself etc. In fact I now realise that for most of my life I have struggled with depression but instead of recognising what it was, I would beat myself up for not being strong and positive.

I arrived back home here with only 1 week to set up my life and start my new job. I also immediately commenced a new relationship with someone who was waiting for me to return. I was moving continents, moving into a new house, starting a new very stressful high-demand job, reconnecting with family and old friends and starting a relationship whilst still grieving for the old one. Did I cut myself some slack? Nope, I thought that I should be good enough to manage all this seamlessly.

It didn't take long before the collapse set in. I found myself firstly extremely irritable, absent minded and emotional. Then the extremes of negative self talk happened - the all or nothing thinking. I started to see myself as a complete failure - 39 without a family of my own, not many material possessions because I had been travelling etc. I felt I had made the wrong decision coming home. Everything felt terrible and I was utterly lost.

Then I plunged into a dark depression. It was the scariest time of my life. What was most scary of all is that I lost all interest in everything. I was getting behind in my work and what was worse was I didn't care. The worst time of the day was waking up in the morning and the best time was curling up under the covers at night. I didn't want to see anybody and started to become really isolated. It was a vicious downwards circle - the more I couldn't get motivated, the more I felt a failure.

Things got so bad that it would take me 3 hours to get out of bed and to work. I didn't want to talk to anyone at work. I lost interest in eating, and when I did eat I ate junk because I had no energy to go to the supermarket. I didn't want to clean the apartment.

I had been a successful career woman living internationally, highly sociable, well-travelled, health-conscious and highly passionate about life - now I just didn't want to even be here.

The day that was my turning point was the day that - after sitting at my desk having anxiety attacks all day and not achieving anything and coming home and wishing I would die - I made an appointment to see the doctor. The next day I went to the appointment and said to the doctor "I think I am depressed and I can't do this on my own any more".

Admitting I needed help was the moment that things started to turn around for me. She put me on anti-depressants and I didn't resist. She sent me to a cognitive therapist, who taught me about my all or nothing thinking patterns and gave me tools to try to take a different approach.

They made me realise that for years and years I had driven myself so hard, never forgiving myself, never being kind to myself, never taking a rest or a break. And that the events of the last 2 years had just cracked me.

I then went into my boss's office (after much thought) and said "I have to be honest with you. I am suffering depression for the first time in my life, caused by burnout - I am getting help for it and things are getting better".

I took a risk opening myself up like that and I was rewarded with his respect and compassion. We talked about the possibility of time off, but I felt it was best to gently plod on and get through the workload (I work for an arts company and everyone was really struggling at that point). Later that day I told a workmate too and burst into tears. Several of my colleagues came in (remember they were new colleagues)and hugged me while i sobbed and told them what I had been going through. They were amazing.

That day I went home with a weight off my shoulders. I had been imperfect and people still loved me! And it was that night that I found this website which gave me inspiration to help myself. I realised that even with all the support, only I could get myself through this. That was quite empowering.

So gradually step by step I pulled myself out of the hole. It took time. Here's what I did. I started by calling my family and friends here and admitting that i was going through clinical depression and i might need their support. People were amazing - ask and ye shall receive! I'm not one who can easily ask for help, so this was a breakthrough. At that point I was still waking up every morning with a panic attack, so my mother called me EVERY morning and talked me out of bed.

I started working reduced hours. I stopped doing social things, BUT I spent time with friends I trusted, talking and just being with them. If I had a bad day, I went to be with family - they would leave me alone while I lay on the couch and cried or read. I read every book on depression I could get my hands on. Of particular value to me were others' stories and how they got through.

I started to NURTURE myself in a way I had never done before. I spent hours on the couch wrapped in a blanket, reading gentle books. I took the expectations off myself.

Through all of this my beautiful-spirited new boyfriend gently stood by me. It caused strain to our new relationship that we may not be able to now overcome, but he was there during that dark time and respected what I was going through - another thing that gave me great confidence.
Gradually I also started to eat better. I took vitamins to help myself. I found it hard to go out and exercise but I started walking and that made me feel better. I slept as much as I could - I think I had been sleep-depreived for years.

I think what this website taught me that night is that I had to pull out all the reserves I had and FIGHT the depression from every possible angle. I HAD to be strong. My doctor also started to be a little bit firm with me. She was sympathetic but also place the responsibility back to me - she was particularly insistent that I exercise regularly even if I was tired.

One day I got up and wanted to be up. I wanted to clean my apartment. My will for life had come back.

By around October last year I was starting to feel normal again. But my attitiude had changed markedly. I realised I have to prioritise looking after myself. That means plenty of sleep, exercise and eating well. I take Vitamin B regularly. I go swimming and running. When I feel drained or run down, I stop and take a few hours out to read a book or have a sleep. I have learned to forgive myself and be proud of who I am. I am more willing to be imperfect and an ordinary human being. Routine has become important to me. So has taking time to sit on my deck in the sun and enjoy breakfast.

I am very grateful for the depression because of what it taught me. My body obviously decided that it had to crash before I would take notice and give myself a break. And it has made me a more compassionate person. The number of people who confided in me that they too suffere/ed depression was extraordinary. I have been blessed to be entrusted with many stories of courage and struggle. Now when i am in my car and another driver does something dumb, I don't blast my horn, I think "you don't know, they could be suffering depression".

I can't thank you enough Dave, for sharing so much on your site. It was key to my recovery.

To all of you in deepression's grip, here is my advice:

-Do not despair, it WILL pass even though it feels that it NEVER will
-Be kind to yourself
-Ask for help
-Lower your expectations of yourself and take things hour by hour
-Take away from yourself any obligations that can wait - I had signed up for a salsa dance class for example, so I cancelled it
-Keep reading stories about those who have recovered
-Think of something you look forward to in the future and focus on it in your mind
-KNOW that your body and mind are resting and you WILL have energy again
-take things one step at a time
-KNOW THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Love to you all

Vicki

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THEME: Wrap Yourself Up With Support, Journal... biggest key = Put it in God's hands

I am currently going through a 2 month bout with Major Depression. We all know it isn't any fun. Our focus is so negative, even with positive things. The things that help me most is as follows. I take Paxil for my depression, and diazepam for my anxiety issues. Even while on these meds, I went through this major episode of depression. But, I want to emphasize that I went "through". I will say that it is tough going through this as a minister, because emotional issues are so taboo. I have a lovely wife that I can talk to and wonderful support from my family on both sides. I also keep a journal, because I feel its good to be able to look from a week back to see how my attitude has changed. My biggest key, however, is that I learned to leave the entire issue in God's hands. Now, I know that some of you would say that that's a crutch. It's more than a crutch! I put my entire life in God's hands, with the understanding that He made doctors to help us, and He gave us family members and friends to share. I still battle this, but I know that I will get through it. Until then, I keep fighting the battle while looking at the light at the end of the tunnel coming right at me.

Gerron

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THEME: Be Kind To Yourself

Be kind to yourself, it is a good thing to want to take care of yourself and have patience. I have done some courses on relaxation breathing with the Art of Living foundation and found that they have really helped. They are an international organization so they may be near you. You are a courageous person and very valuable to God. I pray that you will have healing and enjoy walking in freedom.

Rose

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THEME: Strength of Mind and Stay Active

Nothing ever prescribed by a physician has done anything other than exacerbate my symptoms. I feel there is little help available in the field of medicine for those of us suffering from depression. The currently available medications are the equivalent of using sledgehammers to kill flies.

I've suffered from depression since I was a small child and feel I will experience the symptoms of the disease to some degree for the rest of my life. Certainly the medical community is hampered by the limitations of the insurance industry, but in my opinion, we will never be cured.

I have always felt the strength of my intelligence was one of my greatest gifts. The side effects of the medications prescribed only serve to reinforce the feeling that something is indeed wrong with my mind. Of course, it's difficult to accept.

In my case, having lived with the disease for so long, I have learned some coping mechanisms. Activity is the enemy of depression. When I feel an episode of depression is beginning to control me, I take the initiative to control the situation. While I'm not always fully successful, typically I manage to function at a reasonable level until eventually, it passes. I avoid psychiatrists and medications like the plague.

Certainly there are some people who do need medical intervention. Nevertheless, in many cases, self help is a more effective treatment.

It doesn't take much to start the process of recovery. Get out of your bed and then out of the house. Increase your activity level gradually and don't expect a miracle.

Russ

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THEME: Walking Courage

Dear Support-Team,


My name is john and I am trying to overcome a depression. I just wanted to share my past experiences with you, maybe you have some more ideas or input - I would appreciate it. I am 32, male, married. last year (2003) my dad died all of a sudden (heart attack at 63) - I had to support my mom and never really had a chance to mourn the loss - also I had my PhD thesis orals to do (6 weeks after my dad died) - at the time I had so much strength & courage to help my mom and pass my orals (barely made it though, but passed) - then all this year I got married, moved to a new place, started my own business and had a total nervous breakdown in September. for 6 weeks all I could do was lie in bed and lay still (I was on anti-anxiety pill/sleep combo) and am still on the anti-depressant (Effexor). when I finally made it outside with the help of my wife, I felt afraid that something was going to happen to me, a weird feeling of not being in control and so I have a hard time breathing and am stiff and anxious. Ever since my doctor took me off the anxiety pill - in early November - I had a 10-day period of crying, I cried for countless hours every day and was feeling the loss of my dad so strongly.

The remarkable thing that happened during that time though, was that I slowly was able to leave our condo by myself and was able to walk around our building by myself - ever since I discovered I was able to do that, I am doing this every day now.

I still have some fears of walking outside though (I cannot walk very long or very far yet) and I do still feel depressed. so I am wondering if I should maybe give myself more time to recover? be more patient? is this fear (which I never had in my life before) maybe related to my depression and trying to get over the loss of my dad? we were real close, it feels as if a part of me has died even though I know its not true, I often feel hopeless, alone and am often afraid for no apparent reason.


My biggest problem is that I often feel "I don't have it together" - it is as if my mind is scattered, and tricking me into believing untrue things - how can I overcome this?

I would love to hear if there is anything else I can do with that might help me further, especially when I am trying to conquer my fears?

thank you and merry christmas to you,

Warm wishes,

john

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THEME: Taking Action = Controlling Destiny... of course puppies help ;-)

In the past 6 years, I have struggled with a bitter cycle of overeating and depression. My symptoms were sleeping too much, a lack of focus, and a general lack of energy. I am not always sure which came first, but I know that the two problems go hand in hand. I have participated in psychotherapy several times, but most recently underwent an evaluation for depression prior to having gastric bypass surgery. After counseling and testing, it was determined that I was in fact depressed. My psychologist told me that many times people are grossly overweight for several reasons, such as sexual abuse in childhood, drug dependencies and depression. She recommended that I take an antidepressant. My psychiatrist recommended Wellbutrin, which I have found to be a godsend. The doctor said that people with weight problems find Wellbutrin helps them with weight loss. I read on your website that procrastination is a problem with depressed people. I believe this is true. When I finally decided (after 5 years} to take action about my weight problem and take care of myself, I felt a sense of control over my destiny. My recommendation to anyone suffering from crippling depression is to seek help, take action and take your meds as prescribed. I have also found that exercise changes my negative outlook to a positive outlook. And, get a dog! I love walking my dog and snuggling with him...he loves me unconditionally! When you have a dog, you have to walk the dog...you can't stay in bed when your dog is begging you to go outside and to feed him! I sought help last December 2003, and since then have lost 96 pounds!

Kim

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THEME: Multiple Challenges, Coming To Love Myself... and the power of CHOICE!

Before you all read this I want to start off by telling you what I was diagnosed with. I was diagnosed with severe depression, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), anxiety disorder, some OCD, and Bi-Polar II. I'm also 14 yrs sober and clean from drugs and alcohol. I also had an addiction to men...sex and love stuff. I want you to keep all this in mind as you read what I wrote. You'll see why.

I remember the first time I tried the looking into the mirror exercise. I couldn't look into my eyes longer then a few seconds at a time. With practice though it has become easier. When I look into the mirror and say nice things to myself I am giving myself affirmations. It is still hard to do. When I look into the mirror today I want to cry when I see how my body has changed due to my depression and some age. Most times I will leave the light off when I walk by the mirror after stepping out of the shower. What I see is a lumpy, ugly woman when I look at myself. It's hard to stop and really look at myself but I do it. I stop and look and say nice things....like....you've lost weight Josephine, your tummy is getting flatter, you have pretty eyes, look at that pretty skin you have Josephine, and that smile....wow...it is bright......I think you get the idea. I also do something else that someone taught me years ago. I write myself little affirmations and stick them up by my mirror and in my office and in my favorite books. Real simple things like, "You are a pretty woman Josephine", "You are loveable Josephine". Things that are opposite of what I was taught about myself.

I know all about being beaten down emotionally and physically....I know all about low self esteem....no self esteem and hate of myself. I think we all need to learn that those things that were programmed into us for all those years CAN be ERASED! I look at it like this.....like I was a computer that was under the control of my parents, ex-husband and other people who were unkind to me. They put bad programs into me....made me think I was ugly and fat, not worth anything, would never make it in the world alone, wouldn't be a good woman, that I wasn't nice, that I was dumb, that I was a slut, that I was insane and couldn't make any good decisions, that all I was good for was sex and slavery, that I was a bad mommy, that I was unlovable, that I should fear and hate anyone in authority, that I should obey men and let them do as they pleased to me and my mind, that men were God and that there was no real god, that I was a nothing in this world....alone and unworthy of anything. There is more but I think you see what I am saying here. Now today is a different story. I have control of this computer that is in me. I can add, erase or keep any program I want. If I continue to believe I am ugly and unworthy of love then I am choosing to keep the program that was put into me by someone else....one of the lie programs. I have more control then I ever believed I could have. Today I fight much hard to erase the old programs. I know it isn't always good to look at things as a win or loose situation but that's how I look at this whole thing. If I leave an old program running then that person who put it there wins and still has control over me....even if they are dead! Yes, people do that. We let others live rent free in our heads.....and who suffers because of that? We do! They don't suffer in any way.

Such a sick cycle. They say break the cycle and become free and they were NOT kidding. I didn't just break the cycle by stepping out of the ring of insanity I shattered the circle into bits! When I stepped out of the role my family had put me in it started all kinds of chaos. When I refused to be the door mat and the care taker things got a little crazy. When I wasn't acting like I was "supposed" to act they didn't know what to do or how to act themselves. Some people went away but my family made it thru my changes. It doesn't always work that way but it did for me. Today my siblings and mom accept that I am an alcoholic and addict in recovery and that I will not drink or use with them. They also know that I will not try to fix their problems for them anymore. That one really got them and I was called selfish and stuck up for awhile. That's ok though....I kept loving them anyway and stood my ground and we all came thru the other end ok. They are trying to understand my depression issues and that is good enough for me. I'd rather they asked questions then just sit around wondering what was going on. Some of them still do that but oh well. That's what happens when you are the oldest of 9 children.

The one thing that has made the biggest difference in my recovery from all my disorders has been this.....That I have CHOICES! I can choose things for myself. I can choose to continue to suffer or I can choose to change. It took a long time to get to this point but I am here now and I hope I continue to fight until the day I leave this earth. That's my plan anyway. I refuse to let depression, people, or addictions control me!! I am going to fight and try my best to help other fight these diseases/disorders too. We all need each other. We all need to hold hands and get thru this together. We are not alone. We are only alone if choose to be. Isolation is one of depressions tools to control us. I won't let depression hurt or control me anymore.

Sounds impossible doesn't it? If someone would have said all this to me a few years ago I would have told them they were insane and had no clue what they were talking about.....BUT if it were coming from someone who actually suffered like me and really did know what I was going thru I'd listen and get some hope from them. That is part of how I got to where I am today. My therapist is very open with me about his past and he knows exactly where I'm coming from. He's been there himself and got thru it. I look up to him.....he is my mentor. I want to be like him and his wife( who has also been thru the ringer and back). If they can rise above addictions and depression and other horrible life events and have a successful and happy life then I can do it too! Anyone can do it! I truly believe we can get thru this together. My hand is open for any of you out there...always here waiting. I have experience, strength and hope to share with anyone who wants it. *Gentle Hugs to anyone who wants them* If you read all the way to the end thank you. I know how precious time is.

Peace and Love,

Josephine

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THEME: Commitment... One Day At A Time

I just stumbled on this site. I have suffered from depression since my teen years. I will be 40 in just a few days. Last night I did some thinking about my patterns. I also know that nothing changes if nothing changes. I have managed a few good months here and there through the years. I ALWAYS feel better when I am working out consistently. So, last night I made the decision that the next morning I would get up and start making changes. To make healthy choices for myself today, to continue those choices one day at a time. My depression has brought me well beyond feeling lonely and wishing for companionship. I think I just gave up and began to prefer being completely alone. That's such an ugly side effect of depression, feeling worthless and unlovable. I know as I start to feel better it will be natural that I will seek to engage with others. So, I submit that hopefully we can just get to a point where the strength comes to finally make a choice, a choice to not lay down and take it, to go at it one day at a time. Like Nike' says....Just do it.

Dawn

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THEME: Writing!! -- Poetry, Music and Stories

When I was younger my parents always thought I had a problem. They asked me again and again if I wanted to see a psycholgist. Actually, it was my dad. I remember when I was around 7 or 8 he asked me if I was sad all the time. I didn't know what to say because my mind was all jumbled up anyway from my parents separating and that my dad was dating another woman. I started crying and told him I didn't want to talk anymore and that of course I wasn't sad all the time. When I was little I didn't understand what I was feeling, it wasn't natural. I'm sorry if I was supposed to stay away from writing this stuff, but I figured to tell about how I tried to get over (and still am trying) I thought that you should now about how long I have had problems. Well, I decided in 6th grade that I wanted to see one, but it had to be female, and of course, there is no female doctor around for a couple hours worth of driving. So I didn't go. I wrote a lot though, and the more I wrote, the better I felt. I wrote poetry, music, stories... all about what I had gone through. I have a box full of them from when I was feeling down. My self expression is writing, and although it doesn't work for everyone, it has worked for me.

Megan

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THEME: Stay with what works, Fight back... You are a Creator

I've experienced depression on and off for a number of years and have always recovered to lead a normal life. When I start to feel better I have reduced or even stopped taking my meds - which was a big mistake. I try to continually challenge every negative thought that raises itself in my brain, replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones. I keep saying to myself, "Happiness is unconditional!" I/we base our happiness on earthly things - especially money - but we can be happy with nothing - happiness is a feeling, just like fear! We have the power to create both. You know when we watch a movie we can get sad or happy depending on the storyline. Who's actually creating the sadness/happiness - is it the movie? No it's us, we create our own feelings - so try to give yourself those good feelings - it works. Always see yourself, in your mind's eye, as smiling and happy, over-ride everything else - think positively and you can raise your mood and work towards lifting the depression.
"When God is with us - who can be against us!" Give all your problems to God and trust him to help you! He has given you the powers to heal yourself - so find the power from deep within you and heal it!!!!!

Mike

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THEME: Diet, Medication, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Exercise, Meditation and Sunshine!

I have found that I had to combine many things to recover from major depressive disorder. I had to mix in one part medication, one part exercise, one part sunshine, one part cognitive behavioral therapy, one part meditation, and one part better diet. And it worked. I have not had symptoms of depression in more than a year.

Donna

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THEME: Honesty, Truth, Positive Attitude and Prayer

My spouse has had serious depression nearly all of his life. Last year, he was diagnosed with "psychotic depression". What works for me is the truth: He has a illness, not an attitude problem. When I am lonely for the support that I see other women have from husbands who are not ill, I remember that a day is coming, maybe even today, that things will be better. What works for me is a positive attitude and constant prayer for patience, so that I can be a good wife. Best wishes to all of us who must deal with this disease.

Onward and upward! :-)

Tina

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THEME: Spiritual Beings and the Power of Now!

Greeting's....We are spiritual beings having a human experience. We are more than our minds, our emotions our bodies. Ever watch one of those sci-fi movies where man creates the computer to assist and it ends up taking over control and uses humans for its own sake and takes over the world? Well the mind can be friend or foe. It's not enough just to control your thoughts, it's about connecting with the inner essence of who you are beyond name and form. Through the darkest time in my life was born the most incredible realizations. Nothing of an external nature...new relationship, money, perfect body, perfect mood will fix you, it might help for a moment but inner peace only comes within.. Look within not without.

The power of now..

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THEME: Seasonal Depression and Challenging Thought Distortions

It took years for me to realize what was happening every fall into winter. After a year of Zoloft, I tossed the pills and took a trip. This fall it started later but has started to drag me down. I sit and think of some very small action to accomplish. Some days I can work all day and feel good. Then the weather changes and I do too. I interpret others actions negatively and know something is wrong. So I sit, think, and then plan on doing a chore no matter how small. It's a good feeling to accomplish something. Now I believe I must concentrate on educating my family that things are not always good with me. Instead of arguing back, I am thinking I need some symbol to indicate that the subject at hand needs to be buried and not talked about. That way maybe, without discussion, I know to change my thinking and everyone else knows the same thing.

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THEME: Exercise and Cycling

I'm starting into a regular workout routine finally, now that I have a job and some cash to buy a bike and a gym membership. It certainly does make me feel better to work out, but it's only a temporary thing. The next morning I'll be just as miserable as the day before. I'm terrified my depression is going to get me fired since I have the hardest ability to concentrate on anything that requires my brain. The most exciting way for me to spend time is watching a movie, and that's scary. I am not the person I was once.

Mike

(editors note: Thanks for sharing Mike. Hang in there! Keep looking and working forward. You'll find the right solution for you. DTS)

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THEME: Exercise, Group Therapy, Crying, Sharing, Reading, Cycling and Vitamins!

I'm thirty-three and was diagnosed with depression when I was twenty. I remember asking, "How long will I feel this way?" Well it's ten years later and here are some things that I wish I knew then.

Exercise - I row in the mornings and I'm just starting to cycle to work. This has kept me in work and out of the hospital for five years.

Group therapy worked much better than one-to-one; I'm a Quaker, but there are no beliefs attached to that other that the value of silence, and I recommend spending time with people in a peaceful place, with no pressure or duty.

Crying, when I'm able in company; just expressing those feelings and getting some comfort, and if you won't burden another with your toxic feelings then just remember a time when you've held someone when they've cried and have some compassion for yourself, ok bud.

Avoiding shaming myself for things I didn't intend or things beyond my control.

Telling the friends you trust how you feel when it gets bad, those who love you without needing you to be anything for them; hard to find you might say, and if the little voice in your head is indeed saying just that, you may need to make striping away old and letting in the new a priority.

Reading, when I'm able, helps me to leave my world and visit others when I'd rather stay in bed.

I take a lot of vitamins, about twenty vitamin pills a day, but I'm not really sure of the benefits, however it reminds me that I'm on the case, just waiting for that 'biological cure'.


Good luck I believe in you, your pain, and I'm wishing you love and peace of mind it will come.

Ben

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THEME: Poetry and Journaling

Poetry helps me so much when it comes to depression. I get out all my feelings and emotions through it. I would suggest it before anything! Or I just write down the emotions I'm feeling, why I feel that way and ways I can change those emotions! Hope some of this helps!

Ashlee

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THEME: Insight Through Writing... Doing.

I've been feeling sad since about 3 months. It only started with a mild feeling of sadness, a feeling I was leading a useless life and a feeling of being physically unwell. But it got worse and I spent all of last 3 weeks experiencing a deep sadness and it felt like someone was squeezing my heart out. And this happened only from mid-morning till about mid-afternoon, after which I felt better. It was then I started suspecting something was really wrong and I decided that I love life too much to be living it in such despair.I came to this site for support....and I found it. Today is the first time I'm not feeling so bad, so I decided to share what is working for me with you.

  1. I tried exercise, music and light. They worked, but their effect was short-lived.
  2. Every day I thought about friends who are living a difficult situation, much more than mine, and that made me feel lucky. For example a friend of mine has an 8 week old baby with a large hole in his heart and he has to go abroad to be operated. (I'm not from U.S.A)
  3. I forced myself to go out and take kids to parks and gardens, and there find another mother with kids and start a conversation. I thought this would be difficult since I'm quite an introvert, but surprisingly everyone was very willing to chat.
  4. This is what worked best:
    1. I listed down all the problems that could be leading to my depression on one side of a paper. I listed 4. I realized that one problem was making the others worse and my depression was making ALL my problems worse! So I realized that it's like a vicious circle. I realized that making the problems smaller would lessen my depression. So I started tackling one problem at a time and wrote my plans and proposed solution on the other side of the paper. I'm not saying I have already acted on those proposals, but it really DID make me feel better knowing there could be a way out.
  5. I said to myself : You're stronger than your problems. You're more intelligent than these situations. If you can't beat the problem then just let it go. You can always start afresh....be born again.

So now I'm trying to work on my problems, and those which I can't handle I'm trying to forget them and start afresh.

Thanks for reading my story.... (#6) writing it down has also made me feel better. Thanks!

Sylvana

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THEME: Still Looking, Walking, Working Outside and Sunshine

I am really not sure what works for me yet as I am just out of the hospital 5 weeks after being hospitalized voluntarily of the first time for depression/anxiety.

I know my interest in sex with my husband is at a all time low, Effexor XR is no working at 150 mg and food cravings sugar and salt are big.

What offers some relief is walking, working outside in the sunshine although the drugs make my skin more sun sensitive than ever.

Any ideas from anyone ;-)

Thanks.

Elizabeth

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THEME: Exercise - So Simple, So Overlooked!

Such an overlooked treatment for symptoms of depression is exercise. It's free, it's easy, it's healthy and it CAN be fun.

At the young age of 24, I have been diagnosed with major depression, GAD and social anxiety. At this time in my life, I have chosen not to take the route of drug therapy. I am very sensitive to the side effects and am not sure that path is the right one for me.

I am in no way saying that exercise can "cure" depression but it can alleviate symptoms and offers so many other positive health benefits. I find that on days when I walk or go for a jog, do some sit ups, get my heart pumping and blood circulating, I feel immediate relief of symptoms of stress, anxiety and the relief lasts for some time. Using exercise as a "quick fix" has been an important part of not relapsing more than I do. Coming home from work and feeling maxed out, I muster up the energy to put a pair of running shoes on and push myself. When I come home, my mind is clearer, my body feels healthier, my tension are decreased and life seems more "bearable" to face. Clarity is something that depression takes away from me and exercise can improve it.

I push everyone to try this. I believe that making a routine out of this provides the best symptom relief, but even using exercise as a quick release is great. There are no side effects and the overall benefits are wonderful!!

Hope

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THEME: Alla, Thanks and 'Real Me"

I just wanted to say thanks to Alla (from Russia)! This is my first time to visit this blog. I've been struggling with depression for the past couple of years, and in particular have had a bad week. I stumbled onto this site and really like what Alla had to share.

I'm going to try it! I will try and discover the 'real me', what I like and all that. I like that idea.

Again, thanks and I'll let you know how it goes.

Cindy

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THEME: Hygiene, Maintain a Routine, Eat Healthy and Rest

Staying on a routine-keeping a regular schedule & trying to be as active as I can (not always easy). Too much spare time can lead me to deeply depressive thinking & that can take days to come out of. Eating healthy & getting enough rest is essential. As strange as it sounds, I often have to force myself to shower each day but it always is for the best.

Vivian

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THEME: Don't Give Up On A Day, Create a "Fairy Hideout!"

Not all days will be good days, as you may know. I try not to give up on a day, at any point, even if it's 10pm. I try to do my best to find something positive to do. Tonight, my children and I built a fire in the backyard and roasted marshmallows and told stories. Our day hadn't gone that well, but that seemed to 'rescue' the day and it will be a special memory that we will have forever.

Due to divorce, my children and I recently have endured financial difficulty. We are doing our best to have fun even though we don't get to go on vacation. We had too many couches, so we took one of them out under the willow tree, hung up pastel sheets, put some lights out there and we go out there to talk and read. It's our 'woods fairy hideout' we call it. It is a magical place for us!

I will submit more later, these are just a few of the things I have been doing lately in order to help my children and I. My son and I (he is 9) suffer depression and we are trying to overcome it together and help the younger children to see the happiness in life as well.

Lori

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THEME: Medicine, Friendship, Walking, Pets, Grandkids - Surround Self with Positive People

I take my medicine every morning. That is the one thing I never forget. Also I meet a very good friend of mine and walk at the local park for about 45 minutes every week day morning. I also try to stay away from people that drag me down. This one is a hard one to do. (my boss, some of my co-workers) I have hung onto the job, I really need the money and try not to take the job too seriously. Also I hang out with my grandson and my cat and my dogs. Nothing better than kids and creatures to keep ones spirits up. I try to live my own life and stay out of my grown children's life. That is hard to do because I have 2 girls that are very close to me. My main thing is just don't give up!!! I just pray it does not come back. I feel very fragile. I feel like I should have been born a long time before I was before everyone was working and not being in the home. No time to take care of the old and the very young with today's money crunch. I am married to a loving husband who has the OCD hoarding disorder. I love him very much but some days I find it hard to deal with him too.

Mary

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THEME: Faith, Believing. Love and Support

I suffered from depression for almost 2 months. I only recovered about a week ago. At first I was a little hesitant to say I have 'recovered' but I have learnt that part of fighting depression is being positive. Fighting this involves having faith, believing, love and support from those around you. Some people clamp up instead of turning to anyone for help but I talked to everybody I knew. I was so eager, so determined (guess that's another reason why I took things so seriously) to get answers. Why this why that? I wanted to know why there was pain and suffering? Why some people had it all and why some had nothing? Why some people killed other people? The list went on and on.

I am 24. All my life I had been a strong and confident person. I admit of course I had my lows but there was nothing I could never climb out of. Then suddenly this year I got sick first. I was hospitalized for bad viral fever during a major examination which I wrote despite being in hospital. After I got better everything changed, I lost all zest for life. All I wanted were answers to the above questions. I am quite sure that I suffered this depression because I thought I did not know where I stood in relation to these exams. My results only come out next month. My point is we are human. I never thought I would ever be hit by depression. Its just like any disease, everyone says but I will never get it. That is completely untrue.

What I have learnt is that all I have to do is sit back and accept that i got sick and forgive myself. I have to let it go. It will all turn out well. But saying it is much easier than coming out and doing it. How I cope now is by keeping myself busy. Yesterday I went to a kids shelter to sign up as a volunteer. I have realized that one of my major flaws is being idle, therefore since I cannot just sit around and wait for my results I figured I might as well do something I have always wanted to do.

My whole life I have been saying a want to make the world a better place and the past 2 months it hit me that the world is like this and it is not going to change anytime soon and instead of sitting around crying about it I might as well change myself in trying to make the world better and somehow I think that's the answer to all the questions I have been posing. Changing myself is going to make a difference, at least it will to me and the kids at the shelter, wouldn't you say?

I cant say that I didn't feel the pangs of depression AT ALL this past week. I have, but I am fighting it. I guess it is not going to go away over night but I am positive am almost completely cured from depression for good. I want to end by saying that if you are depressed and you are reading this article, first please talk to someone about it, I felt so insecure but when I realized everyone was game for me to fight this it made it so much easier for me. Number two get busy, help people, work, do anything you like- at first I thought this was running away from it but no its proving you are too good to be depressed, like they say an idle mind is the devil's workshop. Third, pray, or just believe and have faith.

Depression is like a state of mind and it is possible to overcome it. I hope I have been of help.

Mel

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THEME: Bipolar, Depression, Daily Meditations and a Good Cry!

Hello. this is my first time using a web support group. I think it's a great idea. I'm taking medications. They've recently added in something to treat Bipolar. I understand that depression is often the other end of Bipolar Disorder. I manifest depression as anger and irritability on one end and feeling sad, unloved and alone at the other.

We relocated recently (1-2 years). I don't have anyone to talk to about this right now, except my husband. He can only hear so much and it's the same old stuff. He's very sympathetic about my family upbringing and detaching from their unhealthy behaviors.

One thing that helps me is a daily meditation book by Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go. I keep it next to my bed and read it in the morning and again at night. If the daily reading really expresses an emotion I'm feeling, I keep it near me. If I'm overcome with emotional pain, I read it as often as it takes to go beyond it. Even one positive sentence can become a mantra.

Crying sometimes helps me- if I feel purged after a good cry. Otherwise, crying is not a great option.

My problem is handling things during the medication changes. It can take weeks or months to realize any behavior changes and to hang in there without giving up too quickly. Meanwhile, my brain chemistry is adjusting and I must look like a multiple personality to those who don't know me. It's been 9 months since trying some of the bipolar meds. I'm currently in a change over from trileptal to lamictal. Today is especially bad since I've been tapering off the trileptal and have not yet started the other.

I have been thinking about going off all psychiatric medication - a frightening thought. I am unemployed and have no health insurance (just like 43 million other Americans). But all these medications are costly, require seeing a physician and may not be of much help. For now, I'm continuing the "crap shoot" for the silver bullet med.

Legato

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THEME: Take Action, "Do the next thing," and Power of Attitude

I loved your "tough advice" today on your newsletter! As you know (and I don't mind sharing this) I've been battling S.A.D. since the fall of 1997. The best way to for me to describe it is my annual post-partum depression without the new baby.

You said in the newsletter to take action! That is exactly what works for me, better than Prozac and better than Zoloft!!!

I don't know if you've ever heard of Elisabeth Elliott, but her great advice is simply "do the next thing". You see, her husband was a missionary, I want to say in South Africa. They were there with their baby girl when he was murdered. Instead of coming back to the USA, Elisabeth stayed and continued their work there. She has a wonderful story and attitude! I think she's in her 80's now but she also says that "self-pity is a killer". Isn't that true? The more I focus on how BAD I THINK I have it, the more it really does seem bad! The more I count my blessings, get out of bed and do the next thing, the better life looks.

I know this sounds simple, but for me it's so true. If you "do the next thing" and act like you're not depressed, pretty soon you won't feel depressed.

I know this isn't the case for everyone. I know there are terrible cases of depression out there, but I love to read about the power of our attitudes and outlooks on life and how much they really can change our lives.

Take care Dave!

Jenny B.

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THEME: Music and Rest

I am in deep pain and struggling to find a job after graduation from university. Life should be an expressway for me but for four years I am unable to work. I kept crying and crying over past disappointments. I am now seeing a psychiatrist to heal the pain in my head and also the pain in my heart.
I am trying to recover and what works is music - strong uplifting music - to numb everything. And sleep - plenty of it to forget the rat race.

Diana

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THEME: Get Out! Really.

I'm still working on what "really" works for me, but lately I have found that getting out of the house and out of my small, rural town, has helped me greatly.

DeAnn

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THEME: Yoga, Daily Inspirational Quotes, Color, Medicine, Water and Vitamins

I have been suffering with depression for about 15 years now and I have only recently realized that making small changes in my life really does make all the difference.

What works for me is regularly taking my medication and reminding myself before I take it that it will make me feel better, drinking lots of water and taking my vitamins.

The one thing that has totally changed my life is yoga. I was reading an e-mail from a friend who recently left her job and she told me that her main interest was yoga and she now has more time to spend on this hobby. It was then that I thought, "Why not give it a go?" That was 6 weeks ago and I have been doing an hour a day ever since. I feel so much better, healthier, fitter, calmer and more importantly, happier. It has totally changed me.

I also went to a book shop and bought a little happiness book of 1000 quotes. I have this book on my desk at work and each day I turn a new page. I read a quote and call it "My quote of the day." I include it in e-mails, repeat it to myself and say it to others. It helps to read and say positive things.

Color has also helped me lots. My bedroom and office only used to consist of a few basic colors. I changed that and now have a variety of colors. I didn't paint anything. Instead, I now use brightly colored post-it notes and write nice quotes on them. I use bright calendars and bright stationery. It has really made a difference to wake up and see lovely, radiant colors and to go into work and see bright post-it notes with nice quotes on them and not just "things to do" lists hanging on the wall.

These small but effective changes have really helped me. Of course, it's very important to have someone to talk to and my doctor and former welfare officer, both of whom have helped me tremendously, still support me and I am able to share my thoughts and feelings with both.

This is my own quote: "Little changes make all the difference in the journey to happiness."

Nat

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THEME: Daffodil Principle and more

I especially enjoyed the Daffodil Principle, so much so that I wanted to add the last line as a quote in my email footers.

Keep up the great work!!

Favorite Quote: "We could learn a lot from crayons:
some are sharp, some are pretty,
some are dull, some have weird names,
and all are different colors....but
they all exist very nicely in the same box."

Unknown

Cindy

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THEME: A Big Depression Recovery Tool Box!

Here's what works for me in my battle with depression.

First, it is important for me to take my meds on a regular, consistent basis, which is hard in the wintertime because my inner clock gets off, but I seem to be doing okay so far. Second, have a good, sympathetic doctor. Mine suffers from depression herself, so that works. Third, do your vitamins and drink plenty of water on a regular basis.

Try to get light! Snow is not light, but if you are outside it counts some. It just reflects light, so... try to get some sunlight whenever possible. Use one of those natural lights at a high wattage, unless you can afford one of those sun lamps that is small. These are all helps, but nothing really does it unless you make an effort for yourself. One thing I learned from calling the suicide hotline way back was to DO SOMETHING! Just move around. Turn on some music. take a bath or shower, even if it's not your day to do it!

I joke a lot, too, which keeps me out of that pit. Just try smiling and shrugging your shoulders. Body posture tells others we're depressed so try some other body posture. It also does give you a temporary lift. Don't sigh. Instead, take slow, deep breaths and let them out through your teeth. Sometimes, sighing depletes our oxygen. If none of these work, go get your favorite comforter and curl up in bed with a good meditation CD on. Just pamper yourself. Sometimes it's just okay to feel crummy and enjoy it. I was into heavy Christianity for a while until I realized that most of the others weren't growing!

Look at it this way: You aren't a depressed person, you are just a person who really knows how to enjoy happiness and there just isn't enough of it! Make your own! I started writing again and I'm writing about spiritual progress beyond the norm or the average ho hum out there. I also just blow off people who seem to want to criticize me. Listen those people feel so inadequate, themselves, they have to pick on someone! I live with this kind of person but I see it that way, now, and most of the time I try to ignore it or reassure this person that he is a worthwhile person. If you see that each person is made up of their own traits and faults just like they are, physically, it is sometimes easier to detach from taking their stuff personally. My biggest tool is love. I have learned and remembered what love for a higher being, or for someone who has helped me unselfishly can feel like, and I can replay that whenever I want to and it helps me feel better.

When I get a spontaneous moment of feeling so depressed that nothing helps, I have made myself a promise to let it go until the next day. If I am still feeling that way, I make myself talk to someone, even if it's just a checkout clerk! The other day I was venting to my dental hygienist and she gave me some good tips! Hang in there!

Love, Rose

*** NEW ENTRY ***

THEME: New Meaning For Life and Holidays

Here's my success piece regarding dealing with the Holidays!

For many years of my life I had been involved in a fundamentalist Christian, bordering on cult-ish religion. This religion taught that none of the holidays that most of us are raised with was God-honoring and as good "Christians" we weren't to celebrate them. This meant that Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, birthdays, and all the other miscellaneous secular holidays were off our lists! These "truths" were to be taught even to our children at a young age! About 4 years ago, I decided that this religion no longer represented who and what I was, so I left it.

Let me tell you, it's been an interesting journey out! With the major holiday, Christmas, looming ahead, I did a lot of soul-searching that first year, and chose to really really enjoy it, with two small trees in my apartment.........a live one, and one artificial "folk" tree. I bought presents for the friends that were in my life at that point and thoroughly enjoyed expressing my joy of the season. The reason I'd like to share all this with the blog is that I have found that my spiritual search and practice has been an ongoing journey.

For instance, this year I decided not to put a tree up. At first, I was going to force myself to drag it out and set it up, but then I realized that it did not matter what decorations I had in my home. What really mattered was the true spirit within myself and the expression of that spirit towards others of what this seasonal celebration is all about. To me, it is all about sharing joy and light in a world that is going through the seasonal cycle of darkness. Since I revere the native american path of spirituality and connection to the natural world, I try to attune myself to the earth cycles and honor the changing seasons. This has cut way down on my anxiety and depression during the autumn and winter months, as I know that the earth is going through a dormant, resting period, and my body is going to exhibit certain symptoms in response to that period whether I am consciously aware of it or not. Before, I would dread the lessening of light, and obsess about the long hours of darkness. Now, I just enjoy the "hibernation" period and let myself slow down to the natural rhythms of the season, just as many of the animal and plant kingdom do. I know that soon, spring will come, my life force will quicken along with the rest of earth's inhabitants and I will "bud" and "blossom" forth!

In Love, Light, and Hope during this Season,

Terri

*** NEW ENTRY ***

THEME: Faith, Pets & Poetry

Here's my success piece.

Hi David

Thank you for the inspirational messages you send. I am passing through the waters of depression after the death of my husband of 43 years. We met each other when we were teenagers and did not have any children so I am quite lonely although I have 3 cats and 2 birds. I have faith in God and he sees me through the day but I remember the following poem when I was 15 and have enclosed it for you.

Have a Blessed Holiday.

What you think within your heart
Creates your world for you.
You can live in darkness
Or beneath a sky of blue.


Author -- Patience Strong

Elizabeth

*** NEW ENTRY ***

THEME: Native American Influence On Depression Recovery

When I first became separated from my twenty year marriage and religion, I knew I had to find who the real Terri was.........meanwhile the Universe was taking care of things per usual.........along came a wonderful teacher in the form of a spiritual woman named Tanya. I met her while I was working for a Staffing Service as their receptionist/admin. asst. She had the most beautiful aura of serenity and wisdom about her, and I soon found out that she had been taught by a Lakota Medicine Man in the ways of his people. She was a carrier of the Sacred Chanupa (pipe) and we soon became great friends. I am part Native American and always proud of that fact. I knew the moment she started sharing her experiences and knowledge with me that I had found my new focus of spirituality in my life.

After listening to a beautiful Native American tape she had, I purchased a CD of my own called Cedar Song. It is a compilation of Native American songs played by the artist with his cedar flute. Soon, I was listening to it before I went to bed because I was having trouble sleeping........I was grieving my old life, even though I knew I had made the right decision for me. For months, this CD became a life-line of beautiful, soft, calming music that helped me remember I was never alone, that Great Spirit was with me and cared deeply for me. I could almost feel the soft arms of Spirit holding me tight at night, with the flute songs playing softly in the background. Today, I have a nice collection of indigenous music from all over the world, including Celtic music which I listen to when I want to get happy! It never fails to bring my mood up! I strongly recommend music as a source of serenity and peace and happiness. Even my cats respond to it when I play it!

Deeply grateful,

Terri

*** NEW ENTRY ***

THEME: Re-Discovering What's Important

Hello Everyone!
Sorry for my possible mistakes - I live in Russia

.

But here we have people with depression, too! ;))) Me, for example...:)))

So, Once, being in depression I suddenly thought of WHAT WOULD BRING ME OUT OF IT? Then I thought: "If I get what I want - will it bring me out of the depression?" And then I thought :"And what is it that I REALLY REALLY want? Not only want - but what makes me comfortable and what in the outer world ACTUALLY REPRESENTS ME?"

I started thinking - and started writing it down... Now, it wasn't that easy... I had to really re-discover myself... Remember, the rule to this was - WHAT ACTUALLY REPRESENTS ME, and by obtaining or having or doing, would I feel self-integrity?

Yes, I know, I started from the outside world and not from the inner self - but that was easier for me at that time... But, not that easy - on the other hand... I had to SEARCH for those things...

I discovered that:

I like ceramics...Japanese ceramics...
I like nice tea... And cinnamon flavor...A lot.. That was so...ME.
I like Celtic music...
Walking in the rain...
And so on...And so on...
(Looking through my list and diary pages - I discovered that when we find OUR "aesthetic band" - it makes us happier...)
I started DISCOVERING MYSELF! ME! The ONE I AM...
And then I thought: "Why don't I live surrounded by those things I like? Why don't I let myself a cup of coffee with cinnamon sometime in the middle of the day...?"
But that was another story...

And I wanted just to share with you my first step to discovering ME - all piled up under 'don'ts', 'won't haves' and similar things...
Thanks for reading my story!
Alla

*** NEW ENTRY ***

THEME: A SONG! About faith, support and friendship. What a beauty. Take a moment and listen by clicking below.

Dave...

I have a very near and dear friend suffering through depression due to the loss of his fiance. He's on his last leg. Doesn't want to live, isn't working anymore because it just doesn't matter to him. Is 2 months behind in bills. And feels as though there's no way out!!! I'm the only friend he's been willing to let into his life at the current moment and have had late, late night talks hearing about how he's planning on ending his life. Both of us being artists and musicians I could do but only one thing. Write a song! So one late night while sitting at my house after a long conversation with him, I picked up my guitar and put myself in his shoes. The following is what flowed out on paper in about 20 Mins. Since then, I've had the opportunity to record the song called "Faith" and would like to offer it to those innocent lives affected by Depression. The following are lyrics followed by a link to the song. If the link doesn't work, you can reach it by going through my website directly. Thank you for reading. Sending light and love your way...Ryan

Lyrics- copyright 2003 lyrics and song to ryan nicholson
VS
Remind me that I'm here, Remind me I'm not gone
That everything is clear, When everything is wrong
I might as well shut up, I might as well stop crying about everything that I'm doing wrong
Cause everybody's changing, and everybody's fake, now everybody's wrong

CHORUS
And they say I'll get over it, and they say time will go on, like a wave I am crashing, into this road I'm on!
Now I've just gotta have faith. And I've gotta be strong. I want to be dignified and realize I did no wrong

VS
Like a hundred year curse, Like a nightmare of confusion
Confused by the illusions, In the window of my soul
No I don't want to be sheltered, and I don't want to be mistaken for everything that I'm doing wrong

CHORUS
And they say I'll get over it, and they say time will go on, like a wave I am crashing, into this road I'm on!
Now I've just gotta have faith. And I've gotta be strong. I want to be dignified and realize I did no wrong


HI-FI MP3 - http://www.broadjam.com/songtracking/playsonghifi.asp?songID=39904&play_file=6003_39904&

LO-FI MP3 - http://www.broadjam.com/songtracking/playsonglofi.asp?songID=39904&play_file=6003_39904&

REAL AUDIO - http://www.broadjam.com/songtracking/playsongreal.asp?songID=39904&play_file=6003_39904&

If the link above doesn't work, please feel free to get it via www.ryannicholson.com or contact me
for further information. Thank you again for your time....

Ryan Nicholson


*** NEW ENTRY ***

THEME: Self-Worth, Staying Busy and Depression Recovery

Dave,

Here's my success piece. I know in my situation the less free time I have the better. If I don't continually stay busy I have more opportunity to fall into depression. I guess that's because I start thinking too much and do my negative self-talk rituals. That might not work for some people, but it works for me. If you stay busy doing something you love like helping/volunteering with friends/needy organizations, you can feel a great deal of self worth. In my case, depression is greatly due to a lack of self worth. If you fill that part of your life up with meaningful things your depression decreases. Even if that means forcing yourself out of bed or your comfort zone to do so. I hope this will help you.

Juliana

*** NEW ENTRY ***

THEME: Impact of Depression on Marriage... Moving on to Recovery

Dave,

I've so enjoyed your wonderful series of articles on depression, having suffered from it for many many decades. This particular one on a loved one, i.e. marriage partner suffering was my story for twenty years of my married life. My marriage ended 4 years ago, because I decided that it wasn't working for me. I carried and still to a small degree carry guilt for ending it.

I entered the marriage with severe issues of self worth, etc. and also compounded the problem by having a rescuer complex! I felt so sad and sorry for this young man that came into my life that when he fell in love with me, I figured I cared for him, so we could make it work. Well, I knew after 1 year that we were totally unsuitable emotionally. I am the kind of person who is very touchy, feely, and emotional. He, I suspect because of his own childhood issues, was very closed off and reserved. Hindsight being 20/20 I see how we both exacerbated each other's insecurities with our own unhealed issues. To give us both credit, we lasted twenty years, but I was totally miserable. He didn't understand depression, being of the mainstream mind set that you just make up your mind and get over it. I began to project all my stuff onto him, which made him put up protective barriers and of course made everything even worse. Add to that that we belonged to a religion that frowned on psychiatry and therapy, and you have a recipe for disaster.

After suffering untreated for ten years, my sister urged me to go even if my husband didn't want me to, and I did. The therapist chose to deal with me, alone, not as a married couple. This seemed very unfair to me. I was willing to admit I had problems and issues, but felt that my husband needed to address his own issues and the marital issues that we both had and when no one would listen to what I said, I decided to just take medication and forget about the talk therapy. This, of course, had limited success. The medication helped me feel better, but the real issues weren't being dealt with, they lay under the surface, creating more anger, resentment and thus, depression. Depression is anger turned inwards.

Finally, things came to a head when I started a new job and became emotionally involved with a guy at work who had the same problems as I did! I look back on it now with humor, although at the time, it was excruciatingly painful as I fought to stay in the marriage and realized that this last situation had been the straw that broke the marital back. I totally shut down emotionally on my husband, and became obsessive over the other man, even tho I had quit the job. I tried going to my sister's home for 3 weeks to give some space to me and my husband to think and figure out things. All I could think about was the other guy and how alive I had felt emotionally.

It was another miserable 2 years before we finally ended our marriage, and I began a new life on my own. I also left the controlling religion I had been a member of for over 25 years. I feel much happier today, and feel as if I am the creator of my own destiny and life. I've met a man that has the qualities I've been searching for and I've been with him for over 2 years now. It's not a perfect relationship, but having the same personality and needs make it easier to work together. I don't feel like I am settling for something less than what I want. I am still being treated for depression and anxiety, but, with the new medication I am taking, I feel more like the old me than I ever did, and living my life in harmony with who I am has contributed to that serenity and peacefulness. It was a tough 4 years, and I did some therapy and lots of reading and thinking, but I feel like I'm a totally different person from who I was for those twenty years. I feel like everything has come back full circle and I am who I was before I got into the religion and met and married my ex. Even my mom has remarked that I am like "the old Terri" again, not the unhappy, crying creatures I was for so many years.

Terri

*** NEW ENTRY ***

THEME: Dealing With Mentally Ill Parents

I started taking 50 mg of Zoloft on top of my 40 mg of Prozac. I had a really bad day with shaking and warped vision and just not being able to tolerate any input. It's as if that part of my body that is meant to deal with stress and absorb it or whatever, just doesn't take much.

My brother died and I thought I was doing okay, but my Mom and I replayed that childhood relationship I once had with her and it was devastating. My Mom has multiple personality disorder that goes mostly untreated. I decided to stand up for myself and made it very clear that I wouldn't tolerate this behavior from her and if she insisted on continuing it, I would have to stop being around her. I laid out the perimeters of the standards I believe in, now, and although I didn't hear from her for a week, she finally called and apologized.

Now she is using me to vent her emotions about my brothers death, which is fine with me but I feel a little skeptical about trusting her, again. I can usually tell which personality she is in at the moment, but her grief has caused her to feel very threatened so she has mostly been the one I call the "Patton Personality", which is shape up or ship out, I don't want to hear any gobbledygook, and stuff like that. No sentiments. The real her has not been seen for several weeks! I know that she loves me, I just wish, sometimes, that I could get that in writing! Just thought I'd stay in touch! I do feel much better!

Rose

*** NEW ENTRY ***

THEME: Abuse & Depression

For more years than I care to remember I have lived in a life of verbal and hinging on the edge of physical abuse. Like so many others I was trapped in a web that even years of counseling and medicine could not erase. As my children grew I watched as right before my very eyes the same trait passed on to them and as they grew they too became both verbally and eventually abusive.

After years of counseling and medicine, and yes, even after having my child arrested the tradition continued of verbal and physical abuse. One day I realized my child was not a child anymore but a young man about to go out in the world on his own. And what example had I set for him? That being abusive was an acceptable trait? Whenever he needed something he got what he wanted, hence he was rewarded for his inappropriate behavior and so on it went.

One year and 6 months ago I made the first of many stands with my son. I moved him out but unfortunately it didn't end there. He felt entitled since I had somehow ruined his life, so I paid his bills while he did nothing but live off of me. Nine months ago I took the most firm stand I have ever taken in my life. I cut him as well as my daughter off from all financial support. They must both now stand on their own. I went through many sleepless nights, was called many names I would not dare to mention but I stood firm in my belief that this would stop here.

The road has been a very long and painful one and it may never be over, but when my children call now if the conversation is not a pleasant one I do not take the call. The bad calls have gotten farther and fewer in-between. My son now is employed as a journeyman in a good field drawing a regular paycheck. And for the most part he only calls for advice.

If I would have learned the lesson all those many years ago this path of empty nest syndrome would be one of joy and not depression. I have many years of work ahead of me to rebuild my life and it will take time. I realize it is possible, but I have one more road to battle, and that is to stop the source of the abuse I put up with that led my children down the wrong road that they have journeyed on.

So I begin a new road of firmness and standing up for what is right for me. And if it does not work then I am ready to make the journey alone after 28 years of marriage.

Dave once told me that until I learned to stand alone I could not right the wrong and thus end the stream of endless depression. But we are not alone, just ask and someone will listen, but when we ask we must listen also not only to what we are being told but listen to our heart.

It is never too late to help yourself... trust me, I now know.

.

The depression still remains but it is a different kind of depression. One that I can deal with most days by saying I am not a bad person. I want to live my life. But it also helps that I have 2 beautiful grandchildren and I do not want this terrible trait to pass on to them.

Marty

Thanks Dave for the years of support. I did listen, I just had to hit rock bottom before I could start the journey uphill alone.

*** NEW ENTRY ***

THEME: Reiki

People think sadness and depression is acceptable behavior for senior citizens.. I don't believe so, I am a senior and widowed I've lived a very happy, active, productive life up until five years ago....

I was stricken with Fibromyalgia, which at that time little was known about how to treat it. I was bedridden for three years until I found a doctor who had a solution for it. Because of FM the cartilages in both my knees are gone... meaning I needed both my knees replaced. During those three years I tried very hard to have a positive attitude but it didn't work too well. After the surgery I really went into a funk realizing life would never be the same for me.

I had to a use walker, lift chair and other things that would help me live a normal life.

This was two years ago...

I had a total of five years of pure hell mentally and physically. I reached out for therapists that could help get me back on track. They helped somewhat but it didn't really get me over the bad times. I heard about Reiki and what good it does for everyone. There is a Reiki Circle close to where I live, so I went. After the first meeting I finally found what could make a tremendous difference in my life. When I left the Reiki Circle I felt a calm come over me that I had not experienced since my illness. It took a while for it to sink in about how caring the Reiki Masters are, as well as the people that came for the same reason I come there for.

In addition to Reiki, I was very fortunate to find Dave Turo-Shields on the web and with his newsletters and Reiki, I am the happiest today that I have been in the past five years! If you have the will to get over life's hurdles you can make it

Dolly
GOD BLESS AMERICA!

*** NEW ENTRY ***

THEME: Emotional IQ

To keep from getting depressed, I go back to my emotional intelligence skills, and since I coach individuals in emotional intelligence, I'm always learning something new and improving.

One of the things I use is optimistic thinking and self-talk. Our self-talk is so important because we're with us 24/7, and are our own greatest support system if we work it right. What we attribute things to makes a big difference in how we feel about ourselves and about life.
When something goes wrong, the last thing I attribute it to is myself. This is easier said than done because of former training, like being told to take personal responsibility for everything.
Here's an example:
I have a client who failed to get a job he wanted the other day. He applied to head a department at a university.
Here are the facts:
He applied in writing, did not call anyone, did not follow-up in any way, and did not get the job.
Here are some possible explanations for why he didn't get the job:
  1. His application never arrived.
  2. They'd already chosen someone, as universities sometimes do, and just listed the position pro forma.
  3. He was over-qualified and they thought he'd want too high a salary.
  4. Something on his resume that could be corrected in the future turned them off.
  5. They called him in for an interview and no one ever got the message to him.
  6. The person in charge of hiring doesn't know a good candidate when they see one.
  7. The secretary in the university failed to deliver his resume to the director.
  8. Many candidates followed up with emails and phone calls, and they figured the ones who didn't weren't really interested.
  9. The person screening the applications hated his alma mater and tossed his resume out.
Here's how he attributed it:
I'm too old, I'll never get another job.
What we can learn from this?
Which of the possible explanations is "true"? We'll never know.
Which explanation is guaranteed to make you feel depressed? The one he chose.
To me, it works well to assume something that will make you feel good about the whole thing, and then to carry on. Positive thoughts, and avoiding negative attributions, works for me.

Susan D.
www.susandunn.cc

*** NEW ENTRY ***

THEME: Do-Overs

Back in the day before my recovery from depression took off I fought constantly with my wife. My wife wasn't perfect, nor is she today, but a great deal of our conflict arose out of my depression. Depression, for many of us, takes the form of anger, and boy did it ever with me. One day we had gone to the far corners of the house (it was a small house ;) ) to cool off from a fight. It was early in the day and we had had a full day planned. Usually if a day began as horribly as that one had, the entire day was a wash for me. This day was different. My wife came to me after she had calmed down some and simply asked me a question. She said, "Dave, can we start our day over? I mean can we have a "do-over?" She went on to remind me how as children we would offer do-overs to our friends or request one during a game or some such thing like that. I was almost too angry to take her up on it. You know what I mean. I had a full head of steam and the rule was -- "Once Dave's mad, that's it!" Besides I had a RIGHT to my anger. After all SHE was wrong, not I!

Well, I was taken off guard and before my depression anger could talk for me I said, "Why not. Let's do it." And we did! By golly it worked beautifully and we had a tremendous day. That was in 1992. Since that time we have had two children and we continue to start our days over when the need arises and we've taught Nicholas and Sarah how to do the same. What a simple, and powerful gift! My thanks goes out to my wife for being one of my best teachers in life!

Invite yourself, a partner or a child to start a bad day over. Do it today!

Dave T-S