36. Can You Change the Experience of Depression?

–For those of you with SAD, today is the shortest day of the year, and things will get better for you.–

Here’s a continuation of “Can the Mind Heal Depression” by John Folk-Williams on his blog storiedmind.com.

“Trying to figure out how the mind can heal has led me to look into Tom Wootton’s approach, [ www.bipolaradvantage.com ] among many others. I’ve been especially intrigued by the idea

that our reaction to depression is more important than its symptoms. He believes that the mind’s reaction can make the difference between crippling illness or powerful insight – but it takes a lot of work to get control over the response. Wootton emphasizes that achieving the level of self-mastery needed to transform depression into something positive is a lengthy and demanding process.”

Redefining Recovery

“As important as all these practices and changes in attitude were, they still didn’t add up to an overall and stable sense of well-being. I had been working with most of these methods for years with only halting improvement.

“A further change did occur, but much of it was unconscious. As I’ve described it before, I stopped believing all the negative ideas I had about myself. Those beliefs had been the force that held all the symptoms of depression together. They enhanced their power to the point that I felt overwhelmed and helpless.

“Once I believed I was basically a sound and capable person – rather than a worthless or monstrous creature – depression broke apart into its separate pieces. I felt like a well person who occasionally got sick, not a sick person who occasionally got well. 

“Another shift occurred that amounted to a redefinition of recovery. I used to think of getting well in terms of ending symptoms. When they stopped, everything would be great.

“Recovery no longer means getting rid of symptoms. It means living a fulfilling life no matter what remnants of depression stay with me.” 

These ideas will be hard to grasp for one who is in serious or major depression. That’s why it’s important to become somewhat stable first, which may mean medication. But once they are grasped, oh what a difference they make. I am a well person who occasionally has depression tugging at my sleeve. But between the stimulus and my reaction to it, there is time to frame the depressive condition into a temporary inconvenience rather than a monster that is going to drag me down into the pit. There is hope if you include body, soul, and spirit into your healing regimen.

About Patrick Day

In 2010, I escaped from four long years of deep, dark depression. This blog shares lessons I learned from those years as depicted in my autobiography - How I Escaped from Depression - as well as other insights about depression and anxiety that only come from someone who has gone through it. When you have a heart attack, you become an expert in heart attacks. When you have diabetes, you become an expert in that condition. As such, I am an expert in depression, with a four-year experiential degree and graduate studies in how to live a life going forward that keeps the ever-lurking Depression at a healthy distance.
This entry was posted in Depression, Living a Spiritual Life, Making Changes in Your Life, Overcoming Depression and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 36. Can You Change the Experience of Depression?

  1. Robert Farquhar says:

    I agree. This seems to be similar to how and why we react to situations that cause us to become angry and upset. It is all about “the story we tell ourselves” about what just happened…or what we just experienced.

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