Depression Getaway

encouragement, information, inspiration and hope

Author: wendylove (Page 1 of 39)

Do I Need Therapy?

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Beware! Therapy can be Risky Business

The first time I went to a therapist I didn't give it much thought ahead of time. I was desperate. Experiencing an unwanted and unexpected divorce, my life was falling apart and so was I. I was questioning everything I ever did and wondering what happened to lead me to this confusing place. I just needed to be in a room with someone compassionate who would listen to my sorrows, over and over and over. I wasn't even depressed – yet. And so a lot of thought didn't go into this choice. Gratefully, the good Lord gave me a kind and gentle therapist who had probably listened to many other women cry their way through divorce and knew more about such things than I did. It was comforting.

That was before I became seriously depressed. Depression is an illness and not just a circumstantial mood. It needs to be treated like an illness by someone who knows more about that illness than we do. But because of the serious nature of such an illness you must be careful about going to therapist.

So let's just chat about whether you even need a therapist or not. I would not like to see you go to one and put yourself through the financial and emotional strain if it is not right for you.

There's lots of information out there to help you decide if it is time to see a therapist. I recommend doing a little research. 

You may want to do this quiz "Do I Need Therapy?".

"8 Signs You Need a Therapist" is a thorough article covering just about all you need to consider before deciding if you are a candidate for therapy or not.

The simpler description of whether or not you should see a therapist I found in Psychology Today called "5 Sure Signs it's time to Seek Therapy".

"Psychotherapy is a wonderful treatment for many of life’s problems, with thousands of studies backing up its use as an evidence-based treatment. But sometimes a person doesn’t know when to go see a therapist. How bad should you let things get before you seek out help?

Psychologists know a secret that the research has shown — and one that I’ll share here with you. The sooner you seek out treatment, the faster you’ll feel better. It may sound obvious, but far too often people let their problems overwhelm them before getting help."

"So here are 5 sure signs that it may be time to see a therapist."

1. It causes significant distress in your life.

2. Nothing you’ve done seems to have helped.

3. Your friends (or family) are tired of listening to you.

4. You start overusing or abusing something (or someone) to try and help alleviate your symptoms.

5. People have noticed and said something to you.

This is just a summary. I recommend you read the entire article.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you feel like you need some kind of therapy? Can you check off any of those signs above?

I am so glad you dropped by Depression Getaway today. There is HOPE for depression. Don't give up, I'm praying for you.

Wendy Love

Therapy: HELPFUL or HARMFUL?

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Beware! Therapy can be Risky Business

Recently I decided to try a new therapist. I had hit a particularly low period which was lasting too long. I was desperate. Feeling depressed, vulnerable and needy, off I trotted to a stranger's office. I figured there was no way I could feel worse than I was already feeling, and maybe, just maybe a new therapist might have some fresh insights. It turned out to be a poor choice. We often make poor choices when we are feeling our worst.

Confession: I am a skeptic when it comes to any kind of therapy. There are few people who I will confide in, few people I trust. I would normally rather suffer alone than suffer at the hands of an ineffective therapist.

However, when I hit another low period I sometimes go through my list of helps and see if there is one I haven't checked off in awhile. The list might include new research, try a different medication, increase my exercise routine, eliminate some activity that is not bringing me joy, alter my diet…well, you get the idea.

And so recently I decided that I hadn't seen any kind of therapist for awhile. So I decided to give it a try.

BIG MISTAKE! I came away from this therapy session feeling worse, not better. It took me weeks to recover from some of the things the therapist said to me.

For instance, she told me I was co-dependant (which maybe I am but it was a wrong accusation for a first visit!). She also said that I married men that were just like my father so I could face the bad things my father did (I racked my brain for days trying to remember if there were any bad things my father did. I am thankful for a wonderful father). That is just scratching the surface. I will not delve further into the stuff she shared with me. Suffice to say that it didn't help!

Instead of giving me clarity, I came away confused.

Instead of receiving compassion, I felt accused.

Instead of understanding, I received judgement.

And so my friends I want to remind you that all therapists are not going to suit you or help you. 

Finding a good therapist is

NOT something to undertake 

when you are at your worst. 

When I say therapy this time, I am not referring to those activities or things that we find therapeutic such as exercise, music, flowers, art, etc. I am referring to 'talk therapy'. Studies have proven that talking to someone who is willing to listen to you with compassion and understanding is definitely a good thing for those of us dealing with mental illness.

'Psychotherapy for Depression' has many benefits.

Chances are you're familiar with talk therapy – maybe you or someone you know has gone to see a therapist to talk out issues, whether they're stress, anxiety, depression or relationship problems. Talk therapy, more formally called 'psychotherapy,' refers to a range of treatments that involve discussing mental or emotional issues with a mental health practitioner, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist. People who undergo this therapy talk through their emotions, moods, thoughts and behaviors, and they learn about their mental health conditions as well as how to cope with those conditions.

This new series on Depression Getaway is called

"Beware:Therapy can be Risky Business!"

Come back next week and we will discuss together what kind of therapy might be good for you, or for me.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Have you had a good experience with a therapist? Would you recommend therapy to someone dealing with depression?

I am so glad you dropped by Depression Getaway today. There is HOPE for depression. Don't give up, I'm praying for you!

Wendy Love

 

 

Five Lessons from my Mother’s Flower Arrangements

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series What Kind of Company does your Misery Love?

My mother looked a lot like Betty White.

Last time I wrote about my mother's flower arrangements. I can still picture her doing that. I loved watching her use her hands, I can see it like it was yesterday. Whether she was straightening my shirt to make me look better, rearranging the books on a shelf to make them look pretty, using a paint brush to create a beautiful painting or just patting my hand, my mother's hands were magic to me. This picture is not actually my own mother, but she was pretty like Betty White and she did work in a florist shop for awhile, so it makes me think of her.

Last time I wrote about how she took care of her flower arrangements and as I thought about that I realized that there were some good lessons for a depression getaway from her methods.

Here are the lessons gleaned from my flower arranging experience:

1. Cut a bit off of the tip of each stem to 'freshen it up and make it easier for the stems to drink water'.

    LESSON: Shed yesterday's down mood and start fresh today. Shrug off the things that got you down yesterday.

2. Change that water every day.

     LESSON: Refresh yourself everyday. Give yourself a chance to feel good, whether that is a daily shower, a daily walk, or just making your bed.

3. Cut off dead flowers.

     LESSON: Remove the obstacles preventing you from doing your best and being your best. Turn off that negative TV show.     Don't answer calls from negative friends. Stay off facebook and any temptation to compare your life to others.

4. Choose the best flowers to keep.

     LESSON: Edit your life daily. Question your routines or lack of routines and think about whether they are benefitting you or not.

5.  I bought an opaque purple vase, which by hiding the dirty water allows my flowers to look their best.

     LESSON: If you look your best, maybe you can be your best? Will that make all of the difference? No! But it just might         help. It is worth a try.

Is all of this 'prettying up' a result of growing up in such a pretty home where misery was never expressed? I don't know, maybe.  But it helps me. It is therapeutic for me to have flowers. And if the water is dirty and the flowers go limp, the therapeutic value is drastically reduced.

The point of alll of this talk about 'misery loving company'  is to encourage you to think about what soothes your misery. 

If you are thinking that some other kind of therapy may sooth your misery, then you will want to read next week's blog post.

My next series is "Beware! Therapy can be Risky Business". If you are brave enough to try some therapy, you don't want a therapist who is going to dirty your water! Hopefully you can find one who can help clean the water and then put you in a pretty coloured vase to cheer you up.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What soothes your misery? What do you find therapeutic? 

I am so glad you dropped by Depression Getaway today. There is HOPE for depression. Don't give up, I'm praying for you.

Wendy Love

My Misery Loves Flowers for Company

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series What Kind of Company does your Misery Love?

Do you like my flowers? I grew up in a house with lots of flowers. My mother had beautiful gardens and during the growing season, there were usually fresh flower arrangements around the house. Even during the rest of the year she would often buy flowers or my dad would bring some home for her.

She took great joy in these flowers. To start with she would cut a bit off of each tip of each stem to 'freshen it up and make it easier for the stems to drink water'. Then she would change that water every day.

If the arrangement was starting to look a little less fresh, she would empty the vase, cut some more off of the tips, cut off dead flowers, remove dead leaves and put them back in the vase with more fresh water, looking as good as new.

And when that arrangement started to fade she would repeat the process but this time, separate the nice flowers, choosing the best flowers to keep, put them in smaller clumps and into smaller separate vases. This time she might end up with three or more little arrangments and scatter them around the house. It was like that same original group of flowers spread more joy in their last days than their first days!

I enjoy flowers too. They are one of my best depression getaways. They are therapeutic for me. My favourites are daisy mums. Now they make them in artificial colours adding dye to enhance the natural colour. Really they are quite stunning, like easter eggs!

But there is just one disadvantage of that dye. It shows in the water! And the water looks dirty! Like this.

So, in order to keep my pretty arrangement looking as pretty as possible I bought an opaque vase vase which, by hiding the dirty water, allows my flowers to look their best. The colour brings out the best in the flowers and the solid plastic hides the dirty,water.

The whole point to my flower story is to show you what lengths I will go to in order to lessen my misery! I do lots of fussing and primping in order to keep my surroundings pretty. I even primp myself in order to have the image I see in the mirror NOT get me down any more than I am already down.

Last weak I shared some ideas of why 'misery loves company'. And I told you that when I am miserable I don't want company and I definitely don't want miserable company!

Is all of this 'prettying up' a result from growing up in such a pretty home where misery was never expressed? I don't know, maybe, but it helps me. It is therapeutic for me to have flowers. And if the water is dirty and the flowers go limp, the therapeutic value is drastically reduced.

FLOWERS ARE HAPPY COMPANY FOR ME WHEN I AM MISERABLE.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Is there something that brings you that kind of comfort? Is there some special thing or activity or person that your misery would like to keep company with?

Next time I am going to share some lessons I gleaned from my mother's flower arrangements.

I am so glad you dropped by Depression Getaway today. There is hope for depression. Don't give up, I'm praying for you!

Wendy Love

 

 

 

 

Why Does Misery Love Company?

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series What Kind of Company does your Misery Love?

 

"If you're going to be like that then go to your room until you can put a smile on your face."

I can still hear my mother or father speaking to me that way in polite but firm tones. We were not permitted to be publicly miserable in my family. Seriously, it was considered poor taste, bad manners.

The result was a happy, although phony household. That wasn't all bad. It's easier to grow up without anger than with anger, and for that I am thankful. 

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The Secret to Managing Food Cravings: Part Two

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series The Secret to Managing Food Cravings

frozen-grapes

Aren't those grapes pretty and frosty? Yes, that is a picture of frozen grapes! If you haven't tried them yet you are in for a wonderful sweet surprise.

Frozen grapes are so sweet they can easily substitute for candy.

Confession! I am not handling my food cravings well at all right now. I did pretty well for about two weeks, which seems to be my max but then it only takes one sweet, usually ice cream and then I am off and running for sweets and bread! Eventually I get disgusted with myself, which usually takes a week and I try again to stay away from the culprits! Kind of like my bipolar mood swing, it's a vicious cycle of on and off sweets, but I still think it is better than to just indulge, indulge, indulge without any break which leads to fat!

Fat is definitely NOT a good depression getaway. 

Besides sugar and bread don't make me feel better. Well, not totally true. When I put it in my mouth it feels great but I always want more and more and more and by the time I am satisfied I feel rotten.

So this a reminder to me as well as you.

I am sharing some secrets about managing food cravings. Last time I told you that when I give up sweets and bread I don't crave them anymore.

This time I'm going to share some ideas for substituting for those poor carbs.

Any fruit can be a great substitute for refined sugar, especially for candy. Fruit is full of sugar and not the kind that causes cravings! Frozen grapes are the absolute sweetest.

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The Secret to Managing Food Cravings: Part One

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series The Secret to Managing Food Cravings

icecreamDoesn't that look yummy? Can you resist?

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Congratulations! You Made It Through Another Year! Hooray!

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Taking Control of Christmas Chaos

This past year I had good days and bad days. I know everyone has their ups and downs, not just people with bipolar disorder. But if you have any kind of mental illness, those bad days can feel insurmountable. Those bad days cloud over all of the good days. There were several times this year when I felt like giving up. There were moments when I thought 'how have I managed for so long with these awful thoughts, these feelings of hopelessness? Why do I have to live a life where I am weak half of the time as I would be if I had the flu?' But I managed! I survived! Some days I even thrived.

But I will avoid making any New Year's Resolutions. Why? In order to make resolutions I would have to analyze what I have not done well this year so that I could resolve to do better. And I don't want to remember that stuff. I want to hang onto the successes.

WARNING! DON'T MAKE NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS!

Give yourself a pat on the back instead!

This entire series on 'Taking Control of Christmas Chaos' won't be complete without getting you over the New Year's hump.

Making a list of New Years resolutions can just make you more depressed. That kind of list points out the parts of your life that you're doing wrong. You don't need to dwell on that, especially during your weakened post-Christmas condition. You are delicate. You need to be kind.

So here's an alternative plan. Make a list of successes for this past year. If you think hard enough you can find something. It doesn't matter how small it is.

Here's my list:

1. I survived.

2. I kept taking my medication even though it really doesn't seem to help much.

3. I'm still on speaking terms with everyone I know.

4. I survived supporting my husband through four surgeries, several trips to the big city, and compromised eyesight while he recovered.

5. I survived doing all of his jobs as well as mine. (Truthfully, I fell apart several times along the way, but I survived!)

6. I managed to craft a blog post every week.

7. I continued to search new ways to cope with this insidious bipolar disorder. I did not lose hope.

8. I adhered as much as possible to my coping strategies of walking, solitude, writing, quilting, reading and drawing.

If I made a list of my perceived areas of failure, it would be a much longer  and depressing list.

If I listed the ways I could improve on my failures, I would become exhausted and depressed.

If I listed the number of times I lost hope, I would lose more hope.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Are you ready to make that list of your successes? Try it, it may not be as hard as you think.

I am so glad you stopped by Depression Getaway today. There is hope for depression. Don't give up, I'm praying for you.

Dare I say "Happy New Year"? Why not!

"Happy New Year!"

Wendy Love

Christmas Recovery Boot Camp

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Taking Control of Christmas Chaos

tired-santa-clipart-1

Looks like this Santa needs to come to our 'Christmas Recovery Boot Camp'.

I've rewritten new lyrics to this favorite tune of 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town' for our camp theme song:

You better watch out,
Go have a good cry,
You better lie down,
I'm telling you why,
Christmas let-down can be so hard.

You've thrown out your list
You've hidden the scales
Now catch up on sleep
Don't open the mail
Now you can relax and reflect.

You've worked so hard to get there,
And now it's almost done,
The parties and the presents
And all that Christmas 'fun'.

So, you better watch out,
Go have a good cry,
You better lie down,
I'm telling you why,
Christmas let-down can be so hard.

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Merry Christmas!

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Taking Control of Christmas Chaos

nativity_scene

I used to envy people with faith. I remember thinking 'it must be nice to have the peace that comes with believing that there is a God who cares." I wanted to believe, but for some reason I couldn't.

My sister became a Christian before I did. I trusted my sister and she started lending me some interesting books about faith in Jesus Christ. Then I started reading my bible and even going to church. As I opened my heart to Jesus, He walked into it and has been living there ever since.I remember the first moment I began to believe that Jesus Christ was real. I was 30 years old and I had been reading about Him as I ventured into my bible for the first time. One day it just came over me. He was real! Instantly I thought "why did it take me so long to see this?"

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