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This is the fourth in a series of posts about depression and more importantly, how we can take steps to hopefully keep it under control.
After I was diagnosed with depression, I was convinced I could limit both the frequency of my ‘bad’ days, and also the severity of those days. I researched everything I could about how other sufferers deal with their condition, and listed all the advice I thought could work for me. This resulted in fifteen steps, which I’m covering over fifteen weeks, and this is number four.
Step 4 – Crossing the Street
AKA – Therapy
Experts in depression tell us the most important choice is to see a therapist.
For me, it was last on the list.
I have to admit they haven’t totally worked for me. I’ve seen a few counsellors over the years for various reasons, and a couple of hypnotherapists as well, and I don’t rate those experiences.
However, one lesson I did learn in therapy helped me enormously. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a method of managing a condition, including depression, by changing the way we perceive certain situations.
My therapist used this example. Imagine walking on a busy street. We see a friend approaching and intend to stop and say hello, but they cross the road. Now, we can react in two ways. First, we think they crossed because they wanted to visit a shop. Or, possibly that side was sunnier?
Or, we imagine they did notice us, but were avoiding contact. Then, we compound the situation and begin wondering why they didn’t want to see us.
Perhaps they had issues with you refusing the party invite they sent. Maybe they didn’t agree with what you said to their brother in the pub last week. Before long you’ve dissected the event too much and concluded they don’t like you. Not only that, you spend several days rolling it around in your head and making it worse.
Just because someone crossed the street.
The depressive mind isn’t interested in the positives. It bombards us with negatives. It wants to bring us down, and, to do that, it creates destructive emotions.
It’s like being clamped in medieval stocks while depression throws rotten apples, and there’s no escape.
Don’t let my experience with counselling deter you. I did learn one important lesson – CBT. It made a massive difference, and that, alone, warranted seeing a therapist.
Therapy takes time; weeks, usually months. For that reason, it makes sense to start early.
Step 5 – Turn on the Bat Light!
AKA – Look on the Positive Side
You can read about my hike across Scotland, while coming to terms with the fact I had depression, in my latest book – High and Low. Just click on the image for details.