Two Crucial Ways to Overcome Mood Disorder
A 59-year-old widowed grandmother named “Irene” came to meet me after her daughter insisted she do so. Irene had turned into a recluse who rarely left the house. She stopped attending church and avoided her family members (besides her daughter, whom she called “Debbie”). Irene slept for long periods. Irene didn’t take her dog for a walk, leaving it to play in the backyard.
Her eating habits hadn’t altered much, but it was evident that this woman, who had previously been outgoing and energetic, was now mired in depression. She confided in me that the antidepressants her primary care physician prescribed had made her feel worse about herself. The medicines had not improved her disposition after three months. She was terrified, sad, numb, and useless.
Nurse Debbie was getting concerned about her mother, who sometimes seemed unfamiliar. Debbie’s mother is a three-hour drive away. In addition to medical attention, she convinced Irene to reach out for assistance. The physicians had warned Irene that her depression would last a very long period, if not forever.
“Diagnosis is not destiny,” I reassured her.
Then, I offered some advice based on the research of psychologist Michael Yapko, who found that a shift in routine can alleviate sadness. For this reason, I asked Irene if she would be willing to open her front door and spend at least five minutes outdoors every day.
I also proposed the following additional “tasks”:
Get Irene outside of her depressed funk and tend to her garden by doing simple tasks like turning the dirt in her veggie patch. Ten minutes a day tops unless she gets into it and wants to spend longer there.
Every day, for just two minutes, you can purge your closet. Before her depression, Irene volunteered at the church doing this.
At least once a week, with increasing distances, as she gains confidence in her abilities.
Daily phone call updating Debbie on your progress.
Intent on compiling a list of those she “owed” a call to, such as friends and family.
No one can “snap out” of sadness, but taking even tiny steps can help one break free of depression’s paralyzing apathy and despair.
I also suggested that she question her doctors about the potential adverse effects of the antidepressant they prescribed Irene. Any time a doctor or pharmacist gives a patient medication, they must comply with this list. This is unusual. Even less frequently does a doctor listen to a patient’s worries. When Irene questioned her family doctor if his sleeping prescription was making her insomnia worse, he didn’t answer her.
Since Debbie was there the whole time, I recruited her to help get her mother’s life back on track. Debbie is a medical professional, but she is also aware of the limitations of medicine and the typical lack of attention to and understanding of the role that social, dietary, and psychological aspects have in patients’ health.
So she agreed to see her mother frequently, bringing beautiful scarves, new lipstick, and dog treats.
There was no hypnosis of any kind. However, I did inform Irene about EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) and CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).
Once Irene dared to imagine beyond the physicians’ grim prognoses, she made rapid progress. The moment she left her cottage, contrary to their forecasts, her sadness began to fade.
Eventually, Irene got around to calling those she’d ignored. She was shocked to find that they welcomed her news. The church’s clothing ministry members also greeted her return with warm embraces. Debbie claims that after only three weeks, Irene is entirely herself again.
Precisely what is the nature of depression?
Reactive depression and organic depression are the two most common types.
Adverse events or losses might trigger reactive depression. Things like a house fire or the death of a loved one come to mind. Self-restriction characterizes reactive melancholy. That is to say, whether you choose to get treatment or not, it will eventually disappear. It could be weeks, months, or even a year. Examples of this type of depression include postpartum depression.
The origin of organic depression is internal. No single event or loss can be pinpointed as the cause. Medication is the go-to for treating depression due to the widespread belief that those who suffer from it have a ‘chemical imbalance’ in their brains. Little thought is given to what might be causing the imbalance; instead, efforts are focused on correcting the problem with different substances.
Childhood trauma, such as bullying, may have a role. If you were also molested as a child by your mother, this could set the stage for a devastating explosion of grief as an adult.
With or without medicine, however, psychotherapy and hypnosis are effective means of overcoming depression. Indeed, 50% of depressed individuals prescribed anti-depressants are not benefited at all, according to recent issues of Skeptical Inquirer and Psychology Today magazines.
The symptoms of depression experienced by different people might vary widely. Therefore, it stands to reason that care should be individualized.
Symptoms of depression include:
appetite increase OR decrease
oversleeping OR undersleeping
a feeling of futility and helplessness (particularly about guilt).
animosity OR indifference
feelings of shame and hopelessness, isolation without connecting with others, and resistance to or inability to cry
Afraid of being loved
Depression shares some of the same symptoms and responses to treatment as anxiety disorders.
When coping with mental health issues like anxiety and depression, diet is often disregarded. Different people have different sensitivities to various foods and drinks. While alcohol and drug use typically worsen depressive symptoms, there are exceptions. Some folks seem to do great on a diet that includes turkey (for example), while others report feeling terrible just a few hours afterward.
It would be best if you tried different things until you find what works for you, both in terms of what energizes and keeps you down. Document how various foods affect your body.
Many people believe that regular exercise can alleviate depression. It’s thought to “get the blood flowing,” easing physical symptoms of depression. In reality, the solution to depression is to take action.
It could be a mental or physical move, or perhaps both. If it entails altering the depressed person’s routines, it will be effective.
Unfortunately, people tend to get trapped by their labels. A person labeled “depressed” may find it difficult to shed the stigma associated with the diagnosis, even after the symptoms of sadness have subsided.
Someone diagnosed as “bipolar” is likely to feel depression at the lowest point in their emotional spectrum even though there is a chance it doesn’t even exist. [Volume 37, Issue 5 of Skeptical Inquirer, page 38]. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is the psychiatrist’s holy book, and it attempts to catalog the wide variety of mental “diseases” that people can experience. This encyclopedia of conjecture and vote-gathering satisfies the mind doctors need to provide the impression that their practice is just as evidence-based and scientific as conventional medicine.
The DSM’s hundreds of so-called “diseases” are all theoretical rather than absolute. Also, the head of the National Institute of Mental Health has said that DSM-5 is unreliable.
Depression often leads to withdrawal from social activities. And talking to other people is often the answer. Working with an expert is one of the most helpful things a depressed person can do, but it may also be one of the most challenging. It would take a lot of will and bravery to seek help from a therapist and open up about one’s problems.
Like Irene, a depressive episode may be managed and overcome with the help of interpersonal connections.
Those who suffer from seasonal depression (often at the beginning of winter or around the holidays) may find relief by exposing themselves to bright light (whether from an artificial source or the sun).
There is no correlation between introversion and depression. It’s tough for anyone, but especially for naturally extroverted people.
One of the most effective anti-depression activities is laughter, even if a depressed person is unlikely to find much in life to be humorous. Therefore, if the sad individual used to find humor in specific sitcoms, comic books, or YouTube videos, it might be beneficial to try re-enjoying such acts.
A melancholy person should avoid watching TV, especially the news unless they are looking for a good laugh.
Even if you’re feeling down, you should try to get dressed and show some effort. Many people find that pouring water on their faces instantly lifts their spirits.
Creating works of art, be they sculptures, watercolors, or oils, can also be therapeutic. By its very nature, this creative process can be vital. When combined with the expertise of an art therapist, the results can be inspiring.
Hypnotherapy can be used with other treatments or as a standalone strategy to alleviate depressive symptoms.
Hypnosis’s part in helping you overcome your blues
Hypnosis, like treatments for other debilitating disorders, may be used to: — identify the source of the depressive state (and, of course, address it); — inspire the depressed individual to take action; and — facilitate the desired behavioral and cognitive shifts.
— facilitate adherence to antidepressant treatment for individuals who choose to take it.
You may find all the information you need about hypnosis, depression, anxiety, self-esteem, relationships, and self-help on the extensive website by Bryan M. Knight, MSW, Ph.D.