Depression Getaway

encouragement, information, inspiration and hope

Category: counselling

Working with your Therapist: It takes Two!

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Beware! Therapy can be Risky Business

Wow! These guys seem to have a great technique for one of the most difficult races of all time, the three-legged race.

Now this would be more typical, two trying to work together but pulling each other down. Maybe they had communication problems.

One time a few years ago, as I returned for my three month visit with my psychiatrist, I sat discouraged, in her office as she reviewed my file to get up to speed on my situation. She said "last time we were together you said you were managing".

"Yes, I guess that is true" I replied "but all I do is manage. My full time job is managing this illness. It takes up all of my life to do just that." I explained how I attempted to walk every day, eat healthy and stay away from people and situations that were negative for me. I told her that to a certain extent that was helping and yet I was still depressed most of the time.

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Therapy: One Size does NOT Fit All!

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Beware! Therapy can be Risky Business

 

One of the great things about therapy, if it is working for you, is that once a week, or once a month you know you are going to spend time with someone whose only purpose for one hour is to listen to you and focus on you. That is a luxury. And during that time between sessions, if something comes up either in your circumstances or your symptoms, you know you will have an upcoming opportunity to discuss it with someone you trust.

The counsellors that were the most helpful for me were the ones who already knew me and my situation. My family doctor and my sister knew me the best and I trusted their judgement. I did not trust my own judgement. 

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Bath Mat Therapy?

wetmat

Last time I told you about my new bath mat. It reminded me of another bath mat story about seventeen years ago. That's when I married my second husband Cliff and moved into his home with his three children, 14, 16 and 18. I know, crazy right? Yes I was crazy, crazy in love with this dear man. So since the two of us had both come from failed marriages I was afraid that maybe we needed some help this time. Even though there were no serious issues, Cliff humoured me and off to marriage counselling we went.

The session began. "Now what sort of issues would you like to talk about today?" they asked.

"Well, there are no issues right now" I said. "It's just that we've both been divorced and we sure don't want that to happen again. I thought that maybe we don't have good conflict resolution techniques. Maybe you could teach us?"

One of them said "we need some sort of example in order for us to walk you through a conflict resolution. Is there some token situation you could give us?" said the woman.

"Well yes, here's a minor problem. It's a bath mat problem. There is only one bath mat and no one in this family wants to stand on a wet one, and of course the last person to shower gets a soaked mat. Personally I think it's kind of petty but Cliff here agrees with his kids (naturally) and considers this a problem."

"Okay, so the wet bath mat is important to him but not to you, right?"

"Right" I said.

"And you Cliff, is this a fairly accurate report?"

"Yes" said Cliff smiling. By now we were all smiling. We were probably the first couple to ever grace their offices for preventative marriage counselling.

"Okay" said the woman as she took a small stuffed toy off of her desk. "This represents the bath mat which to Wendy is a petty problem."

The man took a big heavy bible off of his desk and said "this represents the bath mat which to Cliff is a significant problem."

At that moment they both dropped their item. Of course the book made a loud thud. The stuff toy fell softly.

"Whether or not Wendy thinks the wet bathmat is worth the worry, it means something to Cliff. It's like this big heavy book to him. We can't judge one another's concerns. Everyone has a right to their own personal opinions and concerns. As couples we waste too much time trying to convince the other guy that we are right and too little time listening to one another and accepting their ideas as real and true to them."

communication

Wow, this was revelating to us both!

"So instead of arguing about it, accept it for what it is and find a solution. By accepting each other's point of view you can avoid conflict."

Simple but great advice.

What does this have to do with depression?

When you are depressed everything is a big problem. There is no discriminating. All problems loom equally large in your anxious mind. No one should tell you they are stupid petty thoughts and you shouldn't scold yourself for dwelling on them. To you each of those thoughts is a like the big heavy book.

When the depression passes, those same thoughts become more like that little stuffed toy, light, fluffy, easy to handle with one hand or to just toss over your shoulder and forget about.

My good husband uses that book/stuffed toy principal to support me during depression. When I'm sick I'll say 'I can't even get my bed made or do the dishes'. He doesn't say 'who cares about the bed or the dishes'. He never says 'well that is stupid, those things aren't important anyways.'

Who knew that our important lessons about conflict resolution, using a book and a stuffed toy, would help us way down the road with depression? Accepting those negative thoughts as real and valid instead of saying 'you shouldn't feel that way' is a gentle way to treat those conflicting ideas.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What are you conflicted about these days?

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

Wendy Love

 

‘Worried Wanda’, the sneakiest ‘Depression Go-Away’

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series The "Depression Go-Aways"

WorriedWandaNo introduction is necessary for ‘Worried Wanda’. Why you don’t even have to be depressed to know about worry. Everyone worries, right?

Yes, everyone worries. That is why I say that ‘Worried Wanda’ is the ‘sneakiest ‘Depression Go-Away’. She seems normal. But for those struggling with depression she is more than normal. She is a serious symptom to be dealt with.

Why? Because there is a difference between everyday worry and depression worry.

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Gaining New Perspective: Part Two

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Gaining New Perspective

sisters2We are chatting about gaining new perspective for your depression journey. Why do you need new perspective? To give you hope that you won’t always feel depressed, to give you hope that maybe a new idea will shed new light on an old problem.

Last time I shared a photo of a magnificent view and I related that amazing sight to the idea of gaining new perspective. The truth is however, that looking at a scene like that will actually do nothing for my depression if I am in the midst of it. Actually, it can make me feel worse. I will look at that spectacular view and say to myself “what kind of a loser am I that I can continue to feel this lousy while looking at this awesome scene?”

So why did I share that photo? To get your attention, inspire you, encourage you to think of things higher than yourself, that’s why.

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Depression Review: #3 Keyword is Therapy

This entry is part 4 of 9 in the series Depression Review with Eight Keywords

Btherapist

It would be a shame if your doctor gave you a diagnosis, prescribed some medication and then sent you home to work things out on your own.

The truth is unfortunately, that might be what will happen to many who seek help for depression the first time. It may not be until your symptoms persist and the meds don’t work that your doctor will suggest some sort of therapy for you.

Everyone can benefit from therapy, even if they aren’t depressed, but if you are depressed it would be another really useful tool in your get well kit.

The bottom line is that it is good to have someone to talk to. The popular term is ‘talk-therapy’. Talking to someone whose only job is to listen to you! What a luxury.

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Depression Review: Eight Keywords

This entry is part 1 of 9 in the series Depression Review with Eight Keywords

keys

‘Keywords’, did that word even exist before we had internet? Well, I checked and yes it did. It simply means a word that unlocks the meaning.

If we are going to do a good depression review, we need to get down to basics.

Here are my eight keywords for the depression journey:

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