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Sandra Dean – Registered Member

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Recovery and treatment of Depression

Treatments for depression

Getting over depression can take some time and needs commitment, strength and energy to overcome the symptoms. Working on negative thoughts is very important, as depression is like a computer virus in a way – it feeds itself and multiplies. By that, I mean that a negative thought can lead to a negative action and behaviour. The outcome from the negative behaviour and action can lead to more negative thoughts about oneself or the world around us. This can soon go on and on and spiral into a deep depression. The worse one gets, the deeper into depression they get. It is hard, at times, to find the positive thoughts and actions in oneself, but you have to really want to change your life and feel better and imagine a happier life to keep you going.

Also, try to look after yourself:

• Eat well

• Try not to have alcohol

• Exercise (keeping busy and active is very good – dancing, walking, social groups)

• Look after your appearance

• Treat yourself to things (only if your budget allows of course – try to remain debt free)

• Try to keep a social life and avoid being a recluse

All those things will help you to feel better about yourself, and worthy.

There are also a range of alternative treatments and complimentary therapies that you could try – I particularly find massage very relaxing.

Medical treatments

Anti-depressants – I am not well versed on them, so cannot comment too much, but they are offered readily by GP’s. They work on the chemical messengers in ones brain to lift ones mood. They are not a cure, but offer to help with symptoms enough to allow the patient to deal with their depression more easily. There can be side effects and they do not work for everyone, and coming off them has to be slow as they can cause withdrawal symptoms. It is recommended to take them for at least six months and they begin to work between two and four weeks after the start of a course.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) – again I know little about this therapy, but the electrical process (electrical current through the brain) is administered whilst under general anaesthetic producing convulsion to overcome very severe depression and psychosis.

Psychological treatments

There are various treatments on offer – I will talk about the ones I have experienced:

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – When we are depressed, we can view the world, ourselves and the future negatively, which keeps us depressed. The pattern of negativity has to be broken. CBT works on core beliefs that we have and our thoughts affect our behaviour and actions. If we say to ourselves, I can’t ride a bike, then we wont even try, and then we will be hard on ourselves for not trying, consider ourselves a failure, and so on. If we change the though to ‘I will be able to ride a bike’ then we will at least try and go from there. CBT focuses on identifying dysfunctional thinking and change it so that our behavioural patterns will change. Then we can begin to change the symptoms that keep us depressed – stop the vicious circle as it were. I tried this therapy and found it extremely helpful. Often, the best effects will come after therapy has finished, as it sinks in and becomes a new way of thinking and behaving.

Psychotherapy – this individual therapy focuses on the relationships the person with depression has with other people. It can also delve into childhood experiences to find answers to the formation of depression and relationships. Unfortunately I did not give it long enough to work for me, but I found the talking and unearthing of the past useful at the time, but also detrimental as we unearthed things and didn’t continue long enough to deal with those things or understand them. This is why I wrote my memoir in the end.

Counselling – this one to one therapy is based on talking with a person trained to listen with empathy and acceptance. I had around one year of counselling, and found it very useful as I had the support of someone and someone to talk to who didn’t judge me. They way it works is to talk about your feelings and actions in order to find out your own solutions to things. The counsellor does not give you the answers, but listens and guides the conversations.

There are many other ways to recover and I would suggest that the first place to go is to your GP who can offer medications or offer referrals to relevant services.

You can also try the many charities listed on my site – CLICK HERE

Things that can get in the way of recovery:

• BEING IN DENIAL – My biggest problem was that, although I received many therapies over the years, for my depression, I was still in denial. To me, events and my depression was everyone else’s fault except mine. Looking back over my life for real, showed me that it clearly was not. Since coming out of denial, in the past year, I have been able to eradicate depression and other symptoms I suffer with, such as paranoia and anxiety. Working on symptoms one by one was the key, but the real factor was when I stopped being in denial. Once that happens, you are able to seek the right kind of help, admit to people that you have some issues, and face it head on to fight it. I still get depressed, but I am now able to ‘nip it in the bud’ before the minutes or hours turn into days and weeks. I believe mental disorder is part of the make up of a person, therefore the goal is not to ‘get rid of all symptoms’ but to work with them in order to be able to cope with them. Living in a world of stating that everything bad that happens to you is because of other people, is never going to work. (I have many examples if you decide to take this story on – my bankruptcy, boyfriends, friends, selling my flat and jobs). NO-ONE CAN BE HELPED IF THEY ARE IN DENIAL. Once you come out of denial, you can get help, start to understand yourself and can share your burden, and help yourself to survive.

• Another major issue on getting help, particularly from the NHS and within a close circle of people, is that I ‘look alright’. But the thing is, those people don’t see me when I am indoors, suffering at times. When I go out I dress nicely and do my hair – of course I do – and I smile quite a lot through adversity so it is not surprising that people come to this conclusion too. This persona issue can very much stop you from getting help or support of any kind.

To get help you need to come to terms with your problem, take it on as your own, and then seek help, tell others so that they can help you too. Don’t be scared to tell people. There’s nothing to be ashamed of.

STIGMA – The stigma also gets in the way though as many people under-estimate the force of depression – “Oh yeah, she just needs to deal with it” they may think or say. I have had it myself from friends and family, and it makes you feel even more lonely. Education is needed to help more people understand what it really feels like to suffer with depression, and other mental health disorders, as many think individuals are making it up, because you cannot ‘see’ it. (read more about the stigma surrounding mental health issues by CLICKING HERE)

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