Depression Getaway

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Depression Review: Eight Keywords for Depression Recovery, Part 1

This entry is part 1 of 10 in the series Depression Review with Eight Keywords

'Keywords for Depression Recovery' sounds simple doesn't it? Eight steps and you're done, right? Not so much. Depression recovery is like a diet or a budget. Unfortunately your have to follow the prescribed regimen to get some positive results. 

keys

 

'Keywords' is a popular internet word. It's kind of a computer buzzword in a way. It means the word that people use to find out about a certain topic.  So, hopefully if you google 'keywords for depression recovery' you will end up here.

But did that word, keyword, even exist before we had internet? Well, I checked and yes it did. It simply means a word that unlocks the meaning like a key that unlocks a door.

In your attempt to uncover the 'keys' to depression recovery I would like to present 8 keywords to help in your journey. Is recovery easy as pie? No. Do these 8 keywords for depression recovery outline a little work for you? Yes.

If we are going to do a good depression review, we need to get down to basics. Here are my eight keywords for our depression recovery journey:

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Depression Recovery Diagnosis: #1 Keyword is Diagnosis

This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series Depression Review with Eight Keywords

Depression recovery diagnosis. It took me eight depressing years before I was accurately diagnosed with bipolar disorder. We won't experience recovery until we know what we need to recover from. Getting the right diagnosis is the #1 keyword in our depression review.

depression recovery diagnosis
For the next 8 posts, we are going to review some of the basics in depression recovery. Yes, I said recovery! Lots of people recover from depression. You may as well be one of them! But it isn't easy and you will need to work as hard as your doctors to even get the right diagnosis.

THIS IS YOUR STARTING POINT

Without the right depression recovery diagnosis you are unlikely to get the right treatment.

Have you got the right diagnosis?

I wrote a four part series on Journaling for the Right Diagnosis awhile back. Maybe you will find it helpful.

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Depression Review: #2 Keyword is Medication

This entry is part 3 of 10 in the series Depression Review with Eight Keywords

Medication – finding one that works – is one aspect of depression recovery that I have had the least success with. Maybe that is why I emphasize lifestyle changes so much. I have had to make many changes to accomodate this illness. Oh how I wish there was a pill that would do the job!

medication

Medication is our #2 Keyword for Depression. Let's continue our depression review.

Medication makes you strong – not weak. Seeking any kind of help for depression is the smart thing to do. Medication might make a little difference. Wouldn't that be worth it? And what if it makes a big difference? Better still!

I could tell you a lot of awful stories about my search for the right medication. I am for the most part, treatment resistent. My biggest side effect is headaches – killer migraine headaches – which of course make me more depressed, not less depressed. I have tried many, and failed with most. Either the side effects were unbearable or they just didn't help at all.

Finding the right medication can be a difficult journey but worth the effort if you get good results.

Presently I am taking lamictal(lamitrogine), a mood stabilizer with an antidepressant component thrown in. The therapeutic dosage is up to 400 mg but my body will only tolerate 100 mg. And it took me a whole year to gradually get up to that 100 mg. It makes a wee bit of difference. I'd like to increase the dosage in hopes of further help, but if I try to increase it, I can't sleep. 

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Depression Therapy: #3 Keyword for Depression Recovery

This entry is part 4 of 10 in the series Depression Review with Eight Keywords

Depression therapy is SUPPOSED to help. I just haven't experienced that personally yet. However, having said that, and having 'hit a brick wall' with another dip into depression, I have decided to give it another try. I will catch you up to date on how effective that was in a few weeks.

therapy

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. However, that is exactly what happens for many of us. It may not be until your symptoms persist that your doctor will suggest some sort of therapy.

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

We all know how good it is to have someone to talk to. The popular term is 'talk-therapy'. Therapy involves talking to someone whose only job is to listen to you! What a luxury.

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Researching Depression is our #4 Keyword for Recovery

This entry is part 5 of 10 in the series Depression Review with Eight Keywords

Researching depression – sound depressing? Not to me. – I grew up in a family where the World Book Encyclopedias were often brought to the dinner table.  WE used them to settle arguments or satisfy someone's curiosity. Not that we were so intellectual, we just liked finding out stuff. So to me research is fun.

researching depression

Research is something that few people are indifferent to. You either love it or you hate it. No matter how you feel about it, no one will do this part for you. A little research is key to giving you a good foundation about this life-threatening disease.

Researching depression – you don't have to do a lot. Probably just one good book about depression should give you enough information to help you to understand what is happening to you. I recommend The Feeling Good Handbook.

It is a big one but has everything you will need. Medications, diagnostic tests, explanations of different kinds of therapy are all there when you need to know. It is a resource book, not a book you would read in one sitting. It may end up being a book you refer to every now and then. It is a valuable resource.

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Depression Recovery Lifestyle Changes: #5 Depression Review Keyword

This entry is part 6 of 10 in the series Depression Review with Eight Keywords

Depression recovery lifestyle changes – ouch! Changes! I know too well that just dealing with mental illness is enough change right? But what if there were some LITTLE changes that would make a BIG difference?

depression recovery lifestyle changes

How are you coming along with our depression review? Are you learning something new?

We have covered the first four important items: diagnosis, medication, therapy and research. Are you on track so far?

Well, there is more to do if you really want to recover from this old depression. Like it or not you may have to make some depression recovery lifestyle changes. Try to think of it as if you were picking out a whole new wardrobe.

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Depression Recovery Strategies: Keyword #6

This entry is part 7 of 10 in the series Depression Review with Eight Keywords

Depression recovery strategies can only be discovered through some good detective work. And guess who the detective is – you!

depression recovery strategies

What does a monopoly game have to do with depression? Nothing really, but it has a lot ot do with strategy and if you want to win this battle with depression you are going to need some game strategies.

Depression is a difficult illness, sometimes life threatening. You will need some depression recovery strategies when things get really tough. These strategies are best put into place when you are well enough to think straight. Maybe you should write them down so you can refer to them when you temporarily lose your rational thought process during a depressive episode.

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Depression Recovery: Depression Review Keyword #7 is Recovery!

This entry is part 8 of 10 in the series Depression Review with Eight Keywords

'Depression recovery' – I like the sounds of that, don't you? Just saying 'depression recovery' helps me to believe that it is possible for me, and for you.

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Recovery! I have some questions about that:

1. Isn't 'recovery from depression' what we are all working towards?

2. Doesn't 'recovery' sound wonderful?

3. How different would your life be if you were free of this old depression?

Depression recovery is my fantasy life, a life free of depression would have all sorts of pleasant social interactions in it. I would have people over for supper. I would volunteer in the community more. I would be able to babysit my grandchildren just for the fun of it. I would travel with my husband who loves to travel. The list is long. How about you? Do you have a list of things that you would do if you were fully recovered?

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Relapse is a Dirty Word: #8 Keyword in Depression Recovery Review is Relapse

This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series Depression Review with Eight Keywords

Relapse is a dirty word for me. It is dreaded, negative, unwanted, undeserved, well, you get the picture. But just like death is part of life, relapse is part of depression recovery. Do you have the courage to read on? 

relapse is a dirty word

Relapse. Relapse? Relapse!

Relapse is a dirty word, for me and probably for you too. Relapse is a word you don't want to even consider when working toward depression recovery. Relapse is a dirty word, right? But guess what? You absolutely must factor it in to your review.

If you attended Weight Watchers you would not only learn how to lose the weight, you would learn how to maintain that weight as well. If you don't maintain it, you will gain it back. Maintenance is part of the program. You will even learn what to do if you start gaining the weight back.

Mental illness is not as easy to control or maintain as weight. Many will recover from depression but some of those will relapse. What are you going to do if you have a relapse?

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Depression Recovery Report Card: What Does Yours Look Like?

This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series Depression Review with Eight Keywords

Depression Recovery Report Card? Is there such a thing? Well there is now and I am going to share mine with you.

depression recovery report card

A depression recovery report card helps us measure progress, even if that progress is backwards. Being aware and staying vigilante are key to handling mental illness.

I am sharing my own depression recovery report card because I have also shared, several weeks ago, that I hit a really low patch of depression in 'Help, I'm Hitting a Brick Wall'. If you read the downside, you deserve to read the upside. 

My first order of business every time my mood crashes is to cancel everything and lay low. Get as much rest and solitude as I can. Just doing that alone can often bring the low mood up a notch. This time I thought I would do the depression review again and see if there is anything I had missed.

In this latest series 'Depression Review with Eight Keywords' we have discussed eight things worth examining if you are wanting to measure your progress. These keywords can also help you get started on the road to depression recovery.

Keyword #1, Diagnosis

For me this has not changed. I received the right diagnosis, Bipolar II, in 2008. So there was no need to revisit this.

Keyword #2, Medication

I have struggled with most medications. They either didn't work or the side effects were worse than the depression. But when I really hit bottom again, as I did recently, I couldn't resist trying something new. (I am either brave or stupid!) I read about low dose lithium and thought it might be worth a try. After only one week, I had a killer headache and was seriously constipated. So changing medication was not an option, as usual.

*Keyword #3, Therapy*

I have tried therapy a few times with little success. I didn't stick it out. This time however I decided that if I could find a therapist I actually liked, I would stay with it for awhile. And I did! And I believe it has been helpful. The therapist explained to me that talking about your 'stuff', whatever that may be, gives it less power over you. Hearing yourself talk about things can bring perspective. And simply talking, talk therapy, has huge value. Personally I do not enjoy reliving my heartaches which is why I have resisted therapy all this time. However, I am glad I have persevered and will continue to go as long as it seems helpful. Surely this therapy has reduced my stress levels and therefore helped me back to the road of recovery.

depression recovery report card

Keyword #4, Research

No change here. I think I have oversaturated myself in research about my particular disorder. So further research wasn't necessary this time.

*Keyword #5, Lifestyle Changes*

One of my big challenges is sleep. I average 5 hours a night, which means some nights I get less than that. This is not helpful to depression. So my doctor gave me a mild sleeping pill. I checked it out with the pharmacist who said that it is safe to use 2 or 3 times a week. I keep records so I don't go over that because it is apparently addictive. But guess what? It has really helped to get a good sleep now and then. And that good sleep seems to have broken the cycle of poor sleep and sometimes I actually sleep well without any sleeping pill at all.

Keyword #6, Strategies

This time I did not come up with any new coping strategies. However, I still stick to my old ones, walking daily, eating well (most of the time!), not overdoing socializing or other activities, staying away from stressful situations and making sure I get enough alone time. Being an introvert, I need a lot of that.

Keyword #7, Recovery

No change here. But each time my mood crashes I remind myself that this Bipolar II is a chronic disorder. Recovery is sometimes temporary. And if I recovered before I will recover again. I tell myself this when I can remember to do so.

Keyword #8, Relapse

With each crash I remind myself that I have relapsed before and will probably relapse again.

So my depression recovery report card would say this: Wendy has successfully completed the 'Depression Review with Eight Keywords'. There was no changes necessary in diagnosis, medication, research, strategies, recovery or relapse so that gives her a recovery mark of 6 out of 8.  However, the changes made in lifestyle (sleep) and therapy, have produced favourable results and so this review has helped a lot.

I have recovered from a relapse! This is great news!

 

depression recovery report card

I am so glad you dropped by Depression Getaway today. Don't give up, there is hope for depression. I am praying for you right now:

Dear God,

Thank you for hearing all of my prayers for all of the people who read this blog. Please help, heal and comfort each one. And even right this minute Lord, a reader is desperate for help. Take them in your loving arms and give them hope.

Amen

Wendy Love

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