Posted by: cchristen | December 16, 2007

Fighting Depression One Step at a Time

One of the main steps in fighting depression is to recognise the signs as early as possible and to take action; to anyone who has suffered depression this may appear overly simplistic since the struggle of a depressed person is a mental one and taking action is not a thing done simply. But depression feeds itself. Not to take action is to allow the suffering to continue and as it continues it takes a greater hold with the reinforcement of time. Taking action may be merely pushing yourself to take a walk, to do a chore, to distract yourself and take control of yourself by small steps and over time expand them to larger.

If you have suffered from depression before then it is likely you recognise the signs of its onset; by doing so and acting early you give yourself the possibility of managing its effect upon your life. If you haven’t suffered before it may take some time before you realise what is happening to you; if you suspect you may have a problem then there are some good books on the subject which will describe the symptoms in detail and assist you in understanding it. Visit your doctor if you suspect you are suffering from the effects of depression, don’t delay it too long, by catching it early you decrease the possibility that it will get worse.

One of the main features of depression is its ability to take the joy out of life; if you are able, try to do things you know you have enjoyed in the past; visit friends, take walks, go to the cinema, push yourself to escape the desire to stay at home and brood. Distractions are a useful tool and if a small happiness can be nurtured from one of these acts then you will have taken a big step towards taking control. Do what you enjoy, do what you think you will enjoy, do what you have enjoyed in the past; but above all, do! Moving about, doing things, seeing people, interacting with people are all things which help to combat depression. If you can, exercise; it is an activity which will help you mentally as well as physically and the effort distracts you from too much thought. It may be a struggle but that is what is necessary. Whatever your circumstances, pushing yourself to do things, one step at a time, is the best way towards fighting depression.

Posted by: cchristen | December 16, 2007

Ways of Understanding Depression

Ways of Understanding Depression

The incidences of cases of depression increase year by year, in the west, which may be due to an increased understanding of depression and greater sensitivity to its symptoms and effects. In order to understand depression it is necessary to understand how it is different from natural low moods or incidences of unhappiness. Depression differentiates itself from normal mood changes in three different ways: by its difference in intensity, difference in frequency and its difference in duration.

The intensity of depression is one which takes it beyond what might be considered a ‘normal’ response to an event or situation. Where someone might express sadness or disappointment a depressed person will take the sadness to a deeper level of unhappiness and their disappointment may take existential proportions. A depressed person is already low and so even seemingly small or relatively insignificant events can be like the straw that breaks the camel’s back; which explains the apparent ‘over reaction’. Referring to the difference between the ‘Unipolar’ and ‘Bipolar’ Depression Disorders, one is perpetually in a negative state, while the other fluctuates from negative to positive and hence, overreactions may take different forms according to the ‘pole’ the sufferer is in; a Manic Depressive might react with great pleasure at some seemingly small positive event.

On a day to day basis we are all affected by those good or bad, pleasant and unpleasant occurrences and events in our lives which we tend to react accordingly with pleasure, with sadness and, overall, the balance of our emotions is on an even keel. The depressive will not experience life like this and will tend to ‘hover’ around the ‘pole’ of unhappiness; or be more prone to reacting to negative rather than positive events. Hence, the frequency with which they are sad, unhappy and depressed is greater since they are less likely to gain the perspective of pleasurable moments to balance out the unpleasant and so their tendency will be to appear regularly unhappy, despondent, and disappointed.

The level of our emotion tends to be in accordance with the level of the event which brings it about. As social beings we each have an intuitive grasp of what sort of reaction to expect from a particular event and we will often recongnise when a reaction is greater or less than our expectation even though it is not something we could normally quantify or measure. A depressive, due to their state, will likely appear to ‘overreact’ to negative events and under react to positives. Since their state of depression will tend to place them in the more negative ‘pole’ they are already low and so negative events will merely take them lower. On the contrary, a manic depressive, if in the positive pole of their disorder, might display absolute euphoria over some small positive event.

Posted by: cchristen | December 16, 2007

The Types of Clinical Depression

Clinical depression is an extreme form of depression where the sufferer’s life, well-being and activities are extremely disrupted and affected. It is quite normal for a person to feel low, sad, gloomy or otherwise unhappy at times; but these sadnesses come and go, they tend to be situational and reactive and do not predominate. When depressed, these states of unhappiness become more regular and ‘defining; when clinically depressed, the person’s ability to function as a ‘normal’ human being is severely impaired, and the individual may feel tired, unhappy, unmotivated and generally apathetic on an ongoing basis. It will likely result in negative thought patterns and possibly even alcohol or other substance abuse. This is called ‘clinical’ since it can be clinically diagnosed as depression.

Another name for clinical depression is unipolar depression. This term makes reference to another form of depression called bipolar, or ‘manic’ depression. What distinguishes these two forms is that a person suffering from the bipolar type will display mania followed by depression wher as unipolar affective disorder is characterised by depression alone. Whether a person is suffering from one or the other is not always entirely obvious since the pattern of the manic disorder is not a regular one. Additionally, other disorders such as delirium, dementia and psychosis also feature symptoms which are similar to depression and can, therefore, be misdiagnosed.

A Major Depressive Disorder, or clinical depression, is one which is characterised by an extremely depressed state which continues over a two week period or longer. This may be a single episode or else recur over a longer period and even over a lifetime. Where the occurrences of depression are preceded or followed by a highly elevated mood or mania then it is considered to be bipolar; where the mood never shifts from the depressed ‘pole’ then it is unipolar. The state of clinical depression can be further differentiated into three subtypes and characterised by the absence or presence of psychosis: There is Depression with Melancholy, Depression with Atypical Features, and Depression with Psychosis. The first features the loss of pleasure in most things and an inability to react to pleasant stimulation. The second is the most common and is characterised by increased weight gain or over eating, excessive sleep or hypersomnia, and oversensitivity to remarks or perceived rejection. The third type, Depression with Psychotic features, might include delusions or hallucinations related to the person’s mood.

Posted by: cchristen | December 16, 2007

The Different Types of Depression

There are different types of depression and different diagnoses depending upon factors such as the intensity or duration of symptoms and their causes. Depression has become common in the past few decades, which may partly be due to a greater understanding and recognition of it as a disorder and illness.But true depression is something which occurs for longer time periods than hours or days and will affect the ability of the sufferer to function properly, typically feeling sustained unhappiness, tiredness, pessimistic, guilt, and possibly turning to substance abuse overeating, under eating, and other self destructive activity including suicide.

Because of the tendency to understand depression as predominantly a condition of sadness many don’t realise that it can take other forms such as elation, or mania, where the sufferer seems overly happy and energetic. This is typical of the Manic Depressive or Bipolar form.

Unipolar and Bipolar depression are often contrasted; Bipolar Depression is often called Manic Depression and is characterised by a fluctuation from a depressed state to a state of Mania or extreme elation. This is often the cause of some confusion since people do not usually relate elated behaviour to depression. Unipolar Depression, on the other hand does not have the periods of seeming elation and is characterised by a consistent low mood and negativity. This is often a state referred to as ‘Major Depression’.

A typical Depression is named since it is probably the more typical or common form of depression experienced by people. It is a subtype of Major Depression and characterised by the usual low moods but a sufferer is also able to experience improved moods based on a positive response to positive experiences although not as extreme as a manic. Major or Unipolar Depression which is consistent in its negative state.

A Dysthymic Disorder is a form of depression similar to Unipolar but not as extreme; it is a condition which continues for a period of two years or longer and is characterised by a general sense of dissatisfaction and unhappiness which may appear to be merely a characteristic of the person rather than a condition which can be treated. Sufferers may continue with Dysthymia all their lives without ever being diagnosed. Finally, at the greatest extreme, there is Psychotic Depression which is characterised by hallucinations and imagined voices, sounds, visions and other unreal occurrences and are generally of an unpleasant nature and effect.

Within these broad areas there are many variations but there are, overall, the main types of depression.

Posted by: cchristen | December 16, 2007

From The Inside Out- Causes Of Depression

Brain Imbalances

One misunderstanding about the causes of depression is that they are all “in a person’s mind.” The far more accurate way to describe causes of depression is to say they are in a person’s brain. Depression is not merely a really bad case of the blues; it is an emotional state related to physical changes in the brain’s chemistry.

One of the proven causes of depression is an imbalance in the concentrating of brain chemicals, or neurotransmitters, which are responsible for letting your brain cells communicate with each other and with your nervous system.

Other physical causes of depression can include a person’s genetic makeup; there are families who have at least one depressed person in every generation. Those who are suffering from serious illnesses like cancer or heart trouble and are in a weakened condition may become depressed both because of their situations and because the stress they are under can further weaken their defenses against infection.

Another cause of depression in sick people may be the very medications they are using to fight their diseases; calcium channel blockers which are often prescribed to lower blood pressure have been known to cause depression.

A Negative Outlook

Those who are pessimistic about life or who have poor self-images may be providing their own causes of depression; someone who always expects the worst to happen or feels as if he or she has no control over life has a greater chance of becoming depressed than those who are proactive in managing their lives.

There is, in fact, a condition called dysthymia, which is a mild long-term form of depression and gives its sufferers an overall lack of energy and negative attitude towards life, although it never puts them completely out of commission.

Anger And Stress

Bottled-up anger is another of the more common causes of depression; people who have trouble asserting themselves to those with whom they are unhappy often turn their anger inward. The stresses arising from major life changes like losing a loved one, beginning or losing a job, financial trouble, or illness can also be causes of depression.

Posted by: cchristen | December 15, 2007

Non-Threatening Direct Communication

1. I FEEL ( decribes your feelings, using words that refer to feelings).

2. WHEN ( decribes the specific behavior of concern).

3. BECAUSE ( decribes how the offensive behavior affects you).

4. I WOULD PREFER ( describes what you want)

5. BECAUSE ( decribes how you would feel— using words that refer to feelings).

6. THEN (the consequences for the other person changing).

7. What do you think? ( ask for ther person’s reaction).

Posted by: cchristen | December 15, 2007

10 Coping Skills that Will change Your Life

Learn to Accept Reality

“Reality” is what we take to be TRUE- What we take to be TRUE is what we believe- What we believe is based upon our perceptions- Whatwe perceive depends upon what we look for- What we look for depends upon what we think- What we think depends upon what we perceive- What we take to be The TRUTH.

The trouble is that all too often we cling to things we hold to be TRUE that simply Are NOT. If you will examine the statement above you will find it is circular in its reasoning.This is actually how the mind thinks things through a lot of the time. Our thoughts circle and circle until we come to what we believe to be TRUE. The trouble with this natural process is that it often produces FALSE “Truth”. Here are some exercises that will help. When we find the Real truth we can take actions that will produce fruitful results.


Learn From Past Mistakes

Henry Ford said “there are no failures. There are simply successful attempts that prove what doesn’t work ” Thomas Edison tried thousands of different materials until he developed the first successful light bulb. We can”t always know what the outcome of a particular action will produce. Albert Einstein said “nothing happens until something moves” We must try to act (or not act) based upon the truth as best we know it. If we are unsure about the truth of a matter, it is best to wait until the truth becomes clear.


Accept Responsiblity

Your feelings are Your feelings, don’t blame them on anyone or anything else. “I” statements remind us that we alone are responsible for doing the work to change our negative feelings. We alone are responsible for doing the work to change oour negative feelings and encourage our positive feelings. We have feelings, our feelings are not Us.


Worry is useless

Actually worry is worse than useless. Worry will wear you down make you tired, hard to get along with and unsure of the most obvious truth. Shun worry like the plague! Work on some other problem that has a solution, a problem you can do something about. Don’t spin your wheels trying to solve things out of your control.


“It Is Better To Face Facts Than Live A Lie”.

The Truth may hurt but it will hurt a lot less than a lie. The truth often brings us stinging reminders of how things really are. Lies just set us up for painful disasters we could avoid if we learn and live by the truth. “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” Free from what? The lies and self deception that lead us into relationships and situations that damage us. The old saying “the truth hurts” is true but the truth does not kill. Lies will kill our spirit, our souls and ultimately our bodies. To live a lie is to waste a life. Shakespeare said ” to thine own self be true” there are fewer adages better to live by.


Recognizing the Facts

Learn the differnce between a fact and an inference. You might say “just because my friend didn’t call me today does not mean they are mad at me. “maybe being human they just forgot. Maybe they were beset with their own troubles. When you draw conclusions, ask “what are the facts” When you know the facts and then decide, you are facing reality. Remember everything is not about you!


Challenge Your Illogical Thinking.

Question negative conclusions such as, “just because I haven’t yet, does not mean that I can’t ever. ” Just because I’ve tried before doesn’t mean I won’t succeed this time. I may not win the $1,000.00 bonus but the $500.00 bonus wouldn’t be so shabby.


Allow Yourself To Suceed Your Way.

“It’s OK to be emotional, to take my time, and to respect myself. I can take as long as I need to think this through. Anytime someone pressures you to decide “right now” before it’s too late.” They know that with reflection you will see the lie behind their proposition. Don”t let other peoples emotions push you into anything. Make your own decisions.


Don’t Put Yourself Down.

Avoid listening to the “negative” messages which hold you back. They seem to spring out of  nowhere but in reality they come into our mind from listening to self defeating voices.If the voices are from outside, avoid those people or ignore them. If the voices come from inside, You and you alone have control over your thoughts. Instead of having the attittude that “I’ll never make it” have the positive attitude I”ll try to succeed, if I do, that’s wonderful, if I don’t, I’ll never make it.” Have the positive attitude I’ll try try to suceed, if I do, that’s wonderful, if I don’t, I’ll gain something from trying”. A minister once set a seemingly impossible goal for a fund raising project. Many in the church thought he was crazy. Sure enough the church did not meet the goal. What they did manage in the process was to raise twice as much as that church had ever raised before. You may not win the gold but you may well win the silver or the bronze


Ask For Help

Often someone with a different perspective can show us things we couldn’t see other wise. “As iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens his friend” Proverbs 27:17 A wise man asks the opinion of others. You don’t have to take their advice, (especially if its negative) but hearing the thoughts of others will clarify your own thoughts.