My understanding of mental health recovery came from experience with the standard treatments: psychotherapy and medication. Until the 1990s, I worked exclusively with psychiatrists for both. In that setting, I can’t recall anyone talking to me about recovery or what I wanted to get out of treatment. The assumption was that I would be in […]
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 yourself 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 […]
On the Other Side of Fear
Fear has a way of setting boundaries that can’t be crossed. If you do cross them, you know you’ll pay a price – a pain or terror you can’t endure. The boundary is protection. Inside it, you’re safe. I think of the anxiety I feel when moving through depression as the warning sign. You’re getting […]
The Challenge of the Ordinary
When I’m depressed, I dwell most on the failings of the past and the expected disappointments of the future, but there is also the challenge of the ordinary moments of the present. The challenge when depressed is to recognize the things I do well but unconsciously, the daily actions I’m good at but ignore when […]
How Stress Can Shape a Life Story
The psychologist Richard O’Connor believes that we tell ourselves stories about our lives to control stress. Stress has a way of becoming a chronic condition. It wears down your body and damages your brain, especially when combined with depression. Yet stress is a killer we often crave like a drug. We create stories that help […]
Does Finding Purpose in Life Help You Overcome Depression?
Finding purpose in life that goes beyond your personal needs is often mentioned as a major step in overcoming depression. That’s a hard thing to imagine, though, when you’re in the middle of a severe relapse, and survival is the only goal in sight. Yet, one of the hallmarks of depression is loss of motivation […]
Self-Starting When Depressed
How can you activate yourself to get anything done when you’re depressed? Several readers have asked about this basic need to keep functioning when your mood, mind and body do not want to cooperate. I’ve written before about working when depressed, but it’s not only about work. It’s about self-starting when depressed so that you […]
Becoming an Active Partner in Depression 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.