22 Tips to Handle Depression
I guess Sawyer Sweeten committed suicide because he was depressed. He fatally shot himself at 19 years old. On Thursday, April 23 2015, Sweeten died on the front porch of his family home in Texas. It could have been premeditated as he chose this time to shoot himself when he was visiting them.
How to handle depression without medication? People who face personal problems fall into depression after prolonged stressful suffering. Docile people whimper that they are easily inflicted with perceived injustices of the world. This category of people fall prey to abuse and all manner of bullying.
Are you depressed? Don’t be shy to own up. Misery loves company. In 2010, 9% of the adult population are depressed. In 2011, the ratio of depressed people had increased to 10%, or 1 in ten adults. In 2012, the number of patients with depression have increased by 20%. Thereafter, the number of patients with depression increases by 20 every year.
This is a self help post on how to deal with depression without medication. You are responsible for yourself when you read self-improvement material. If you have been feeling depressed for more than two weeks, and think you have a serious case of depression, you should seek an expert opinion.
Depression is a mental disorder which is diagnosed after at least two weeks of experiencing the same symptoms. The patient is anxious, worried, negative, and unable to function normally as per his former routine. His appetite and sleep patterns are affected. He may not even want to get out of bed. How can we treat a negative thought? We can use Cognitive Behavior Therapy. One of the concrete ways is to write each negative thought on the top lines of a card. On the bottom lines, write a corresponding positive thought that counters this negative automatic thought. This card should be pinned up at a significant place where the patient can easily read and be reminded of his new alternative thought.
Tips to handle depression
How to fight depression?
Many people think we should swing the opposite way, to overcome depression. The opposite of depression is not happiness, but no depression. The way to fight depression is similar to the method used to manage anger.
How to handle depression without medication:
1) Plan your day, week and month. Fill your calendar with work and recreation activities. All work and no play makes Jack (or Jill) a dull person.
2) Write a journal (diary or log). Record down the episodes before you felt depressed, the triggers of depression, and what you did to improve your mood. What does it take for you to come out of depression? In psychology, that is the million dollar question, or called the “miracle cure”. Imagine yourself to be free of the problem. What is it like to be liberated? What has been done to get there? Can you make it happen as in the imagined picture of the “miracle cure”?
3) Many people complain about being asked to write. They are not born writers. They struggle with forming sentences into logical expressions. Don’t worry about being grammatically correct, morally correct or socially correct. Just write down the topic and under that subject matter, write your thoughts pertaining to that issue. This helps you to focus, by narrowing down the subjects.
4) Read through your journal and learn from your experiences. You are the best person who knows what you need to make yourself believe that you are not depressed. Now make plans to take yourself out of depression.
What does a depressed person look like?
keeps his head down. His mind is filled with negative thoughts. He has no interest in his old activities. He has lost his appetite. He can’t sleep. He is an insomniac. He loses weight. He becomes weak and does not want to leave his bed. He is listless.
Now that we know what depression is, we shall examine what happiness is about. Happiness is an individual perception. A person receives input stimuli and data, which is processed, to become his perception. If his opinion says he has everything he desires, he feels happy. If he perceives he lacks a desire, he feels unhappy. If you are intimate with Happiness, you have no room for Depression.
Use cognitive behavior therapy to change these negative automatic thoughts.
Here are some common wrong perceptions that cause unhappiness.
1) The mistaken belief that money is the root of all happiness.
2) The pasture is not greener on the other side.
3) Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.
4) Desire for more intimate emotional bonds.
5) Envy instead of taking a proactive stance to help oneself.
What is the down side of taking meds for depression?
1) There are several side effects of medication. The drugs cause changes in the sleep patterns. Initially, the patient may suffer from insomnia. When the body adjusts to the drugs, the patient will learn to manage the new sleep pattern.
2) Long term use of drugs may cause damage to the kidneys and/ or other organs. Then the patient faces other major problems like having to wait for an organ transplant.
3) Some drugs cause relaxation and tension of the muscles. This will affect certain functions.
Journal for self therapy to beat depression & negative emotions
How to decide between journaling self therapy or professional counseling?
Are you pessimistic or depressed? Some people’s state of equilibrium is on the sad side of the scale. After a brief spurt of happiness, they return to their original state of equilibrium, which is on the sad, low and negative side. On the other side of the equilibrium, are those who often feel happy. Not even the saddest news can keep them in the doldrums for long. They bounce back and show a cheerful disposition again.
Some people’s states of equilibrium are on the low end of the scale. These people can still manage their routine activities. There is no abnormal illness. If you think you’re continuously sad for about two weeks and unable to function as per your normal routine, you may be depressed. You might like to consult your general practitioner (G.P. doctor). Your doctor might prescribe some medication to relieve symptoms. If they deem it necessary for you to seek further help, they could recommend the relevant professionals.
Tip (5) Talk to your support group
If you have a network of friends, talk to them. I used to have a support group at church. Sometimes, after Sunday service, we gather at a nearby café to share tea and cup cakes. The camaraderie was wonderful, like soothing balm to the soul. Talking about our problems released some frustrations. The mutual support helped us for the day. The parishioners who attend a service at a fixed time will do so out of habit, and also to see the same people in the congregation.
From the way we desire to remain connected online, we could say we are sad people who yearn social interaction to feel happy.
Tip (6) Keep busy to keep the blues at bay
A person who feels sad and depressed needs to maintain a strict schedule. They must plan the day’s activities and adhere to this timetable. This helps them to keep moving to accomplish their tasks. Being engaged in an activity may actually elevate the mood. I’m sure you have heard this saying, “I’m too busy to feel sad”. One part of therapy for pessimistic people is to plan daily activities. When they have learned how to engage themselves day by day, they can proceed to the next level. This is an extension of their daily planner. They have to think a little ahead and plan for their week. This could be a compilation of what they usually do, from Monday to Sunday. Slowly, we learn to make monthly planners.
Tip (7) Gratitude
We are happy with new things. Be they material or intangible stuff, they bring excitement and happiness. After the novelty wears off, we start to grumble, complain and find fault with our old playthings. We need reminders to appreciate the value of what we have. We feel jaded when we take for granted our blessings. One way to remind us of how much we have to be thankful for, is the gratitude letter, or gratitude journal. What do you feel thankful for right now? What are your blessings today?
Tip (8) Happiness Index
On a similar vein, you can compile your very own Happiness Index. Write down a list of positive events that happened to you today. Write down a list of negative things that happened. Which list is longer? If you have more positives, your Happiness Index is calculated by simple subtraction. If you have more negatives, the sum total of your positive and negative events leaves a negative number.
Tip (9) How to avoid negative moods
Keep a diary to record your moods and at what times they occur. At the end of the day, reflect and recall what triggered the mood. If you know something you did which triggered the sad mood, you can try to change to remove that trigger. Hence, you can manage your moods.
How did your day go?
On a scale of 1 to 5, or 1 to 10, rate your present day. This exercise is similar to calculating your Happiness Index, but easier. If you think your day went well, give yourself full marks. If you felt nothing, give yourself an average score. If you cried on that day, write down a low rating. To make this exercise simpler, draw a smiley smile, or frowning face, to denote a happy day or sad day.
Have you journaled about depression? Please share your post link here.
How do you handle depression without medication? Maybe you have an interesting hobby? Or you can exercise to release hormones that make you feel happy. Please share your experiences.
When I was volunteering in a mental health center, I was told that some patients lost it because of anger. They received anger management training as a part of their rehab to prepare their return into society. Can you imagine the amount of anger being felt that turned a person mentally ill? The staff said a person could simmer in anger secretly over small incidents, until they reach a boiling point. When anger could no longer be contained, they undergo a meltdown.
In an anger management counseling therapy course, the patient is taught how to recognize triggers that set off anger. A person can walk away from angry situations, or avoid the events that build up to anger. You should express your feelings. People should rightfully respect your opinions and refrain from deliberate acts that bully to anger another person.
What to do to diffuse a potentially bad situation? Here are some suggestions.
Self Therapy for Anger/ Jealousy/ Negative Emotions:
10) Walk away.
11) Tell the person you respect them, and ask for respect in return.
12) Calm down by taking deep breaths.
13) Think about your past choices. Would you have done things differently to get what you envy in another person?
14) If you’re unhappy with what you lack, what can you do to right your wrongs?
15) Frustrations can be released through an outlet like exercise.
16) Meditate to regain inner calm and peace.
When we see someone else having more tangible or intangible benefits, we may feel jealous. We envy their good fortunes. We wonder why we are not similarly endowed with goodness. There are several basic faults in comparisons. Firstly, it is a human error to see the grass being greener on the other side of the fence, where someone else is. Secondly, we were all born naked and equal. Although some people were born with a silver spoon in the mouth, still, life is never a bed of roses for anybody. What we get is what we make out of life. If we put in tremendous effort, we reap more rewards.
What is the use of being institutionalized for violent anger tantrums, when most people are enjoying freedom? The energy that was ill spent on useless angry temper tantrums, could be far better utilized on projects that advanced one’s welfare. The anger could be channeled into positive energy, to work on creative projects that could generate rewards for oneself.
Tips to cope with Depression
How to handle depression using MBCT
MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy) imparts kills to respond positively to thoughts and emotions that signal the relapse of a mental illness. Two groups of patients were monitored over a one year period. One group used anti-depressants, while the second group was taught counseling in group therapy, practiced daily and re-connected with group dynamics in follow-up sessions. The first group experienced 47% relapse into depression, while the second group enjoyed a 44% recurrence of the mental disorder. The slight difference in failure rates does not mean significant notability. It simply suggests that MBCT is a plausible alternative.
After so much fan fare over the new discovery, what is exactly MBCT? When an automatic thought that is negative drifts across your stream of consciousness, do not react to it. This trigger taunts you to feel negative, but you have the choice to let it fly past, unsolicited. If you ignore it, it becomes more irritating, like a white elephant, that sticks out like a sore sight. Instead, you acknowledge it, as a reflection that you must not respond to. MBCT teaches mental self control, which then translates to better physical and emotional control.
MBCT in action:
Eg. A thought on smoking a cigarette floats by. MBCT kicks in. Say goodbye to a smoke. Now think about something positive, to replace the negative thought of smoking. Do you have something urgent to do? Like a chore? Get on with it. Your mind moves on and on. You have defeated the thought of smoking a cigarette.
Eg. You feel sad because your life is at a stagnant stage. Use MBCT. Gently shove away the negative thought of sadness. Substitute with a happy, positive thought. If you need something concrete, look through your photo album. Just pick one happy memory and dwell on this, for the rest of the day. Your had a wonderful time and the happiness will return in another moment in time. Change your immediate environment, like moving to a different room, or do something different. The positive memory will stick in your brain for a longer time and sadness fades.
When to use MBCT:
1) Fighting depression
2) Reduce binge eating and drinking
3) Reduce dependence on cigarette’s nicotine and etc.
Use these tips to handle depression in yourself or another person. Last Thursday, April 23, 2015, teenaged actor Sawyer Sweeten fatally shot. His former publicity manager tried to silence murmurs by denying the presence of drug, mental or other problems.
Was Sawyer Sweeten depressed?
Sawyer Sweeten’s cause of death could have been his mental health. Poor mental health has factored in suicide deaths. Sawyer Sweeten was 19 and a few weeks shy of his 20th birthday. Why did Sweeten kill himself in the prime of life? He was only 19, but he was overwhelmed by his situation. It was reported in the online newspapers that he shot himself on the front porch of his family home. One of the possible cause and factor of suicide is depression.
A person with premeditated plans to commit suicide may do so in a place where he knows his body will be found. Sawyer Sweeten was at his family’s home in Texas, when he went to the front porch, and shot himself.
What can you do to prevent thoughts of suicide?
17) If you feel sad or depressed, talk to someone. If you feel you have been troubled for more than two weeks, it means your mental health is affected. You should see a doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist or counselor.
18) Practice Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). Tell yourself you are saying goodbye to negative thoughts.
19) Take it one step up. Practice Mindfulness Cognitive Behavior Therapy. After saying farewell to a negative thought, replace the empty space with a positive thought. It makes good sense to fill the void with a positive content.
20) What to say when you talk to your self? Replace all the negative thoughts with positive ones. You can do this by formulating plans to turn your old failures into potential successes. Positive thoughts sit in the back burner, and slowly influence and persuade your brain to issue directives to make the desired thought a reality
21) When you feel sad, you have to release that mental, emotional and psychological state. Treat sadness like a noun/ person. You deny that you can’t have something or somebody in your life. You can’t let go and this makes you sad. You begin to feel angry because you are caught in such a position. You wish to bargain with the gods, the Universe, or blame other people, for your predicament. After you realize there is nothing you can do to change the situation, you feel sad for many days. You feel sad for more than 14 days and it becomes depression.
22) If you try to part with depression and you’re constantly reminded of it, persist in your efforts. The more you try to ignore it, the harder it tries to counter your effort. It is the white elephant in the room, which reminds you of its looming presence.
This post is a partial response to the writing challenge at Three Word Wednesday. The first paragraph contains the 3 words, highlighted in bold. The words are docile, whimper and inflict. Linking Up with the Fiction Challenge ‘From 15 to 50′: