Self-Help

Using appropriate therapies with professional guidance is a critical part of getting well. But most of the time, we’re on our own and have to learn how to live through each long day of depression. To do that, we need tools and methods that can be learned easily and made a part of daily living. The posts and resources in this section identify a variety of these methods and discuss how they work.

The emphasis is always on simplicity. Self-help books are full of prescriptions on what you should do to get better, but often they presume you have the energy that depression takes away. In a crisis, you need basic tools that can be used at a moment’s notice, not complicated routines that take hours to complete. Changes in the way we live are just as important, but learning new habits takes time. We need methods for the immediate downswing while working toward a healthier way of living overall.

Mindfulness as Self-Help for Anxiety

There’s nothing like extreme anxiety to make you feel like you’re falling apart. Using a few basics of mindfulness as self-help may be a way to pull you back together. The all-embracing anxiety I’m talking about comes close to panic. It’s an explosion of fear that hits everything. Certain situations can set it off, or it can start like depression, suddenly there, perhaps from the first waking moment of the day. I feel helpless, torn […]

Ecotherapy: Healing Depression in Wilderness and Gardens

Ecotherapy is more than a walk in the woods or watching a beautiful sunset. It’s an emerging form of treatment that can help with healing depression. It aims at restoring the connection to the natural world that is usually limited to high-speed glimpses of windshield scenery. Reconnecting to the literal earthly world is an important part of wellness, but reading a book on Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind seemed a little strange. I guess […]

Becoming an Active Partner in Your Treatment

Most stories about getting life back from depression describe how each person had to become an active partner in treatment in order to recover. I know it’s not easy to think about being active when you’re deeply depressed, but there’s a lot of support for the idea. Dozens of research studies indicate that if you can take a leading role, your chances of improving are better. There are at least three ways an active role can help you.

7 Reasons to Use Depression Workbooks as Part of a Recovery Plan

I was about to give this post a different title: 7 Reasons for You to Use Workbooks … . But I have to be honest. I’ve never completed the written exercises in a workbook or followed through on all the recommended daily practices. Sure, I’ve read several and have found a lot of interesting ideas in them. But really work with one as its author intended? No. It’s time to change that by starting an […]

Writing to Heal – 2: Getting Started

In the first post of this series (and I urge you to read it if you haven’t done so), I talked about the healing potential of writing and a few do’s and don’ts to make it as helpful as possible. That’s important to know, but the general concepts don’t tell you how to get started. Since getting started is likely to be one of the biggest hurdles you’ll face, I’ve pulled together a few pointers […]

Reading as a Form of Depression Therapy

Have you ever heard of bibliotherapy? I’m always trying to identify ways to start working on recovery from depression, but I never thought much about one of the first steps I took – reading. I was surprised to learn that reading books for medical treatment dates to World War II, when it proved effective for wounded veterans. Bibliotherapy also seems to be helpful for depression. Even though I first learned that “depression” was the name […]

Writing, Creativity and Healing

Some Rights Reserved by tore_urnes at Flickr Thanks to isabella, and her recent posts on writing and healing (like this one), I’ve been thinking more about the way writing, creativity and healing fit together. From the beginning of this blog, I had no doubt that creative expression of all kinds, and writing for me, could bring about healing, even if only temporarily. I’m quite sure now that writing has been central to my recovery from […]

Fighting Back – 1: Changing Belief about Depression

Depression is a strange thing. No one seems able to explain exactly what it is, yet there is no doubting the reality of its pain. I’ve had it with me since boyhood, though at that time, I was years away from even hearing the term, let alone getting treatment.  I grew up with it, not only experiencing my own moods, headaches and gradual isolation but also watching my mother succumb for years without ever seeking […]

10 Responses to “Self-Help”

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  1. MARYANN says:

    HELLO, I AM MARYANN, I HAVE COLLECTED NUMEROUS ITEMS WITH THE PLAN TO RESELL, MY ITEMS HAVE OVERCOME ME. I AM A SURVIVOR OF HURRICANE SANDY 2012, I LOST MY HOME AND ALMOST MY LIFE TO THE 10 FOOT, RAGING WATERS OF THE HURRICANE, WHICH PULLED ME OUT OF MY HOME, A BLOCK AWAY WHERE I ENDED UP IN A TREE, WHEN I HEARD A VOICE CALLING TO ME, IT TURNED OUT IT WAS A NEIGHBOR CALLING FROM A BALCONY WHO THREW ME A LIFELINE, AN ORANGE ELECTRICAL CORD WHICH HE USED TO PULL ME FROM THE WATERS TO SAFETY. 2 DAYS LATER I RETURNED TO MY HOME, WHERE ALTHOUGH GONE I FOUND MY 5 CATS WAITING FOR ME, ALIVE AND WELL. ONCE WE ALL WERE IN A SHELTER, I WENT BACK TO MY HOME, AND THROUGH A FRIEND I ACQUIRED ANOTHER CAR, MY CAR WAS LOST TO THE HURRICANE AS WELL AS MY HOME. WITHIN A WEEK, I KEPT GOING BACK TO MY HOME TRYING TO SALVAGE ANYTHING OF WHICH I THOUGHT I COULD SAVE. MY COUSIN’S STEPHEN AND ROBERT WERE KIND ENOUGH TO RENT ME A POD,, SO I FILLED IT AND MOVED IT . THREE SHELTERS LATER, A PRIEST FROM, MOUNT MANRESSA, STATEN ISLAND N.Y. INVITED FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN. SINGLE WOMEN AND PETS WERE ALLOWED TO COME TO THE CHURCH RETREAT. A REPRESENTATIVE FROM TUNNEL TO TOWERS, JOHN HODGE, CAME TO THE RETREAT AND WE THE SURVIVORS WERE GIVEN A FORM TO SUBMIT FOR A SHELTER THAT WAS MADE AVAILABLE IN NEW MILFORD CT. BY THE FAITH CHURCH, THE TUNNEL TO TOWERS ORG., AND THE MAYOR AT THE TIME, PAT MURPHY, WHO HAD ACCUMULATED 15 TRAILORS, FOR FAMILIES TO RECOVER FOR ONE YEAR. ALL WAS WONDERFUL, I AND THE CATS SETTLED IN TO A MOBILE HOME FURNISHED, I AND THE OTHER FAMILIES NAMED THE AREA, FAITH VILLAGE, WHERE WE WERE PROVIDED FOOD, WARMTH, VISITORS OF THE TOWN PROVIDING US WITH CLOTHES AND ITEMS WE NEEDED. 6 MONTHS INTO THE YEAR, I WAS IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH ANOTHER OF THE PEOPLE WHO HAD A TRAILOR, HE WAS A SIMPLE MAN, WITH SIMPLE WAYS, THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE FROM ME. I BECAME CLUTTERED ONCE AGAIN, YOU SEE, I AM AN ARTIST, A SEAMSTRESS, A JEWELER, AMONST OTHER TALENTS, WHEN I COME ACROSS ANYTHING I CAN FIX, SEW WITH, DESIGN WITH, ETC. I NEED IT. THE PROBLEM I KNOW IS, WHERE WILL I PUT IT, SO IT CREATES PILES EVERYWHERE. WHEN MY NEW PARTNER SAW ALL OF MY PILES, HE RAN OUT OF MY TRAILOR BACK TO THE SAFETY OF HIS TRAILOR. SIX MORE MONTHS PAST, THE YEAR WAS OVER , NOW DEN, MY PARTNER AND I WERE HOMELESS ONCE AGAIN, I COULD NOT FIND A PLACE TO LIVE THAT WOULD ACCEPT MY 5 CATS, ONE PLACE EVEN WANTED, $100.00 PER CAT SECURITY. THE MEDIA WAS ALERTED ABOUT THE SITUATION, AND IT WAS A GOOD THING BECAUSE, ONE FAMILY, OFFERRED TO BUY MY TRAILOR AND ALLOW DEN, I AND THE 5 CATS A 2 YEAR LEASE TO FIND A PLACE TO LIVE. SO WE ENDED UP IN A MOTEL WHICH ALLOWED THE CATS TO WAIT OUT THE MOVING OF THE TRAILOR AND SETTING UP OF IT ON THE GROUNDS WHERE WE WOULD LIVE FOR 2 YEARS. DURING THAT TIME, I BOUGHT A GAME TICKET, I GAMBLE, AND WE WON ENOUGH MONEY TO PURCHASE A HOME. WE BOUGHT A BEAUTIFUL HOUSE WHICH NESTLED ON ONE OF TWO ACRES, DEN WITH HIS CARPENTRY SKILLS DESIGNED CAT CONDOS IN THE FRONT BREEZWAY OF THE HOUSE, AND WE HAD A 2 CAR GARAGE WHICH I FILLED UP WITH THE THINGS I SALVAGED FROM MY OLD HOME WHICH WERE IN THE POD, AND THE NEWLY AQUIRED CLOTHES AND ITEMS I RECEIVED HERE IN CONNECTICUT. NOW MY MATE DENNIS HAS RETALLIATED AGAINST ME, HE HAS YEALLED AT ME, CUT HIMSELF OFF FROM ME, INSULTED ME, ALL OF THIS AND MORE, I CANNOT SLEEP AND DO NOT WANT TO AWAKEN ONCE I FALL ASLEEP, I SIT AND LOOK AROUND AT ALL OF THE PILLES I HAVE CREATED AND FEEL HOPELESS. WE ARE IN THE HOUSE 5 YEARS, OF WHICH THE FIRST YEAR I ACQUIERED LYMES DISEASE, TWO YEARS AFTER THAT I FRACTURED MY PELVIS ON BLACK ICE, AND NOW I NEED A HIP REPLACEMENT. THESE THINGS HAVE CAUSED ME TO START AND NOT COMPLETE CLEANING AND CLEARING UP MY PILES AND HOME KEEPING, NOT TO MENTION TACKLING THE GARAGE. I KNOW I NEED HELP, I KNOW I NEED STRONG, THOUROUGH HELP, I AM WILLING TO ALL AND ANY ADVICE AND HELP AMD SUPPORT.

  2. DJ says:

    . I sold my house bought another in the process of which l lost a huge sum of money by wrong calculations and trusting wrong persons throwing me into a sea of depression..I now feel bed ridden..

  3. kasia says:

    Hallo, my Name is Kasia. I have Problems with depression and anger since i can remember. Im in therapy But it doesnt help. She tels me all the time i have too much stress- Small Kids. But its more then that.i think its psychoanalyse (i dont Know how its called in english). My quastion is which Kind of Therapie helped You or which would You reccomend?
    Thank You for answering
    Kasia

  4. JaY says:

    I grew up with my mum and sister and have never required validation from females, however I have always latched on to older guys such as my sister boyfriends trying to get the validation I never got from my dad.
    My dad is a really good person but the woman he had an affair with always came first and they ended up having a son together which really made me feel upset as I got older. I’m almost 27 now and I can’t go on trying to get attention from guys. It’s caused me nothing but trouble and I developed chronic depression in my teenage years.

    To numb myself from my emotions I started abusing drugs and alcohol which caused me even more trouble as I became an addict. I got off the drugs and realised again why I was taking them. I became an introvert, I’m too scared to leave mums house due too a forced sexual act by someone I completely fear in front of others which humiliated me to the point that I tried to take my own life. I woke up days later in hospital obviously unsuccessful.
    I’ve been trying to find god cause I read that ” he who seeks me shall find me” , but yet to figure it out.
    I have a roof over my head and clean clothes on my back, which makes me feel ungrateful cause I know how some people live in this World and would love to be warm at night and have a full stomach. I have no friends, the ones I had don’t think depression is real and say that people USE it as an excuse not to work.
    I’m starting to loose hope again cause it’s just been sooo long since I was happy. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. I just want to be happy

  5. Ella says:

    Hello:

    I have a question: Can someone really heal from Depression?

    Ive been battling this for so long, i don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel anymore-don’t think i ever really did anyways. I’ve tried for years, but the tunnel just seems to get longer and longer , darker and darker.

    I just don’t feel like doing anything anymore. Im completely exhausted and i feel like “what is the point of doing anything, im not good at anything i try to do anyway…becuase everything i do leads to a dead end.” (i know i’ts depression talking again). I just don’t have the concentration to do anything anymore. I feel like the life has been completely drained out of me. I’m alive, but completely dead inside.

    Thanks…hope everyone is having a much better day. love x00x Elle

    • Nell says:

      I know how you feel it seems that the energy is all drained out of you & you can’t work or study anymore. It’s harder to heal if you don’t have a supportive environment . That’s the biggest problem most people don’t understand the the symptoms are created from within & we have no control over it. Some people even take the opportunity to purposely break u down in your time of vulnerability.

      But I do feel I’m going forward with the healing process whenever I am actively involved with people. It gives a great boost. Try your best not to isolate your self & be with people who love. & respect you.

      Please try to join a group where you have some common interest this will help u loads.

    • terri says:

      Im feeling the same things and I takeit out ony family and they just get mad so I sit alone se times day after day I’m on disability and can’t really get away to much awwww I just could scream and it messes with my appetite and can’t eat then feel sick.

  6. Hi John –

    As a clinical psychologist and contemporary psychoanalyst, I am really impressed with your site — and your insight. People suffering from depression desperately need tools to make it through the day. In my experience, they also need to be in touch with a broader range of their emotional life — as a means of keeping depression at bay. I have a free online column, The Emotional Detective (www.emotionaldetective.com) that helps readers better understand their emotional world. My column offers scientific information about human nature and emotional processes, along with maps, tools and insights to facilitate self-discovery. The Emotional Detective aims to help people working toward a healthier way of living overall, and it might be of value to your readers (or even yourself). It is a community service, with no advertising or promotions of any kind.

    Thanks,
    Cindy Meyer

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Thanks, Cindy –

      I very much agree with the outlook and theme or your site and look forward to reading it. Thanks so much for your kind words.

      John

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