Top Ten Remedies for Depression Emergencies — Part 2

“The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make a heaven of Hell, and a hell of Heaven.” — by John Milton

Where there is life, there is hope.

For depression level(s):  Severe.

Before continuing with the last five of my top ten remedies for depression emergencies (for the first five, see Top Ten Remedies for Depression Emergencies — Part 1), I want to focus on what you should not do if you are experiencing a depression emergency. The emotional pain of severe depression can be acute, making us want to do anything to make it stop. However, any self-destructive or acting-out behavior might alleviate that pain for all of five minutes, after which you will feel much worse. I have been there, more times than I can count. Trust me, it doesn’t help.

Here’s what doesn‘t work:

  • Overeating;
  • Eating neurotoxic foods, such as wheat, refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, and processed foods;
  • Drinking and drugging;
  • Excessive smoking;
  • Spending sprees;
  • Isolating;
  • Cutting (self-mutilation);
  • Putting in motion plans to commit suicide.

If you are seriously contemplating suicide, call 911 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you need to go to the hospital, ask a family member or friend to take you, or call 911 for an ambulance. You are too precious to take your own life. Don’t do it. The world needs your unique gifts and talents, and you deserve to get well and enjoy your life. It can happen, but only if you give yourself a chance.

With that said, here are the last five remedies for depression emergencies:

5.    Increase your dosage of Omega-3’s. If you’re currently taking 1000 mg. of fish oil, take 2000. If you’re currently taking 2000 mg., take 3000. If you aren’t currently taking any at all, get some high-quality, mercury-free fish oil as soon as you can and start with 1000 mg. A “normal” dose (for folks without depression) is 1000 mg.; a therapeutic dose starts at 3000 mg. As with any supplement, you are responsible for determining whether this is the right thing for you.

4.     Call your therapist. Try to get in to see her immediately for an emergency session. She can talk you out of the really scary place you’re in, give you some additional coping strategies, and determine whether you need to be admitted to a hospital on an inpatient basis.

3.     Go to a support group meeting. I recommend you go to a face-to-face 12-Step meeting. If you are not in 12-Step recovery, that’s okay; you can still attend an open meeting of almost any fellowship. The important thing is not that you share the outward manifestation of addiction, whether it be alcoholism, compulsive overeating, drug addiction, codependence, or what-have-you; but that you connect with people who have experienced many of the same struggles you have and who understand what it’s like to be in emotional pain. Their experience, strength, and hope can get you over this rough patch and help you to feel connected and empowered.

The following fellowships are the most likely to have open meetings in your area:

Your town may also have a depression support group. Chances are, however, that they don’t meet very often and may not meet soon enough to help you through your current depressive crisis. To find a depression support group near you, contact your local hospital; they frequently sponsor these groups. You can also go to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance’s (DBSA’s) website.

2.     Get a massage or other bodywork and/or energy work. Getting some type of body work done, such as massage, craniosacral, or reflexology and/or some energy work, such as Reiki or Therapeutic Touch, will not only be healing for you but will also help you to feel connected and nurtured. To find a practitioner in any of these modalities (and many others) visit massagetherapy.com’s referral page.

You have the option to activate your very own spiritual "SWAT team."

1.     Call in the spiritual SWAT team. That’s right. It’s time to bring in the big guns. Connecting to your Higher Power accomplishes three things: a) It allows you to surrender and let go of your fear and anxiety and turn them over to something bigger than yourself, b) it helps you to feel supported and connected, and c) it activates spiritual healing forces on your behalf.

Here are just a few suggestions on how to activate your own spiritual “SWAT team”:

  • Ask a friend, loved one, or your spiritual community to activate a prayer chain on your behalf. Family members and friends of people with cancer and other serious illnesses do this all the time. You are just as sick and just as in need of the loving care of other people and of your Higher Power. This has the added benefit of allowing people to actively care for you instead of just wondering how they can help you.
  • Work the first three Steps of 12-Step recovery around your depression; discuss them with another person. You don’t even have to be in a 12-Step program to do this. The Steps go like this:
    Step 1: I admit I am powerless over depression; it is making my life unmanageable.
    Step 2: I believe that a power greater than myself can restore me to sanity.
    Step 3: I turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand God.
  • Call upon the Archangel Raphael and his team of healing angels. Ask them to surround you and send the healing white light of God’s presence and love into your brain to heal it. This technique can be especially powerful and effective if you ask some friends to join you in “seeing” the angels doing their healing work.

You do not have to suffer. Do what it takes to stabilize yourself at this time, and then start taking proactive steps to rescue yourself and live well in spite of having depression. Whoever you are, wherever you are, my prayers are with you.

(c) 2011 by Patricia R. Henschen, M.A.

Do you know anyone who is in a depressive crisis? If so, please share this with them! It may help.

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Top Ten Remedies for Depression Emergencies — Part 1

“A life of reaction is a life of slavery, intellectually and spiritually. One must fight for a life of action, not reaction.” — by Rita Mae Brown

We might not be as peaceful as this butterfly, but we have to at least try.

For depression level(s): Severe.

Unlike the ironically funny Top Ten list I wrote a few weeks ago, “Top Ten Things NOT to Do When You’re Depressed,” this article is as serious as, well — depression.

I wasn’t planning to write on this topic today. In fact, I was going to supply you with my original recipe for gluten-free pot roast, as a follow-on to last week’s “Eating Wheat Can Cause Depression.” (Check this blog over the next week or two; I’ll share the recipe soon.)

But the fact is, it’s hot here in central Texas. I don’t mean just fan-your-face warm. I mean searing. We’re in a drought here, folks: Ten inches of rain below the average for this year already, and a ten-inch deficit left over from last year. And we’re already in triple-digit temperatures. What does this have to do with depression, you ask?

Heat + Glaring sun + Drought + Being cooped inside + Isolation = Depression

People tend to think of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as applying only to cold, rainy, cloudy climes in the wintertime, places like Seattle, Milwaukee, Helsinki, or London. But the fact is, SAD can occur in the summertime, too, due to too much of a good thing: Sun. The primary reason I moved away from southern Arizona was because I became increasingly suicidal with each summer that passed. The summers there are absolutely brutal. I moved here because I have family here; it never occurred to me that it could get as miserably hot and dry and glaring as it does in Arizona. BIG miscalculation.

So, yes, my depression has kicked up in a big way, and I am in a bad way. Fortunately, I have friends and family who love me and who are willing and able to be there for me when I need them. (God bless them, because for sure I’m not pleasant to be around when I get like this.) My mother suggested I write up the most important things a depressive can do to help herself when the depression gets really, really bad.

Since in helping others I tend to help myself, I’ve taken an imperfect stab at the top ten things in our survival toolkit. The first five (nos. 10-6) are listed below; the second five (nos. 5-1) can be found in a separate posting: Top Ten Remedies for Depression Emergencies — Part 2.

10.    Call someone. Immediately. Don’t wait. Better yet, call several someones and ask one of them to come over. Right now. This is not a good time for you to be alone. So what if you haven’t showered in two days and dirty dishes litter your kitchen counters. The folks who really love you won’t care. (Yes, there are people who love you, even if your depression brain says otherwise.)

You are not alone.

9.     Don’t listen to anything your depression brain says. It is lying. Anything your mind comes up with at this point is suspect; don’t give it any credence whatsoever. Just this morning, my mind told me that I am a complete loser, a waste of space on the planet, that I’m unloved and unwanted, and that I should never have been born. Instead, replace all that ugliness with a positive affirmation and keep saying it over and over again, like a mantra. One of my favorite ones is, “I’m lovable, worthy, wanted, and good enough just as I am.”

8.     Take a walk. Seriously. Put on your raggedy old t-shirt and shorts and ask a friend or family member to drag you outside. You have to get moving. Getting the oxygen and the endorphins flowing is imperative.

7.     Give your brain something else to do. Distract it by going to the movies, sitting at a cafe and reading, talking with a friend over lunch — anything so you don’t have to think. Ruinous rumination is to be avoided at all costs. See “When the Going Gets Tough…” for more distraction techniques.

6.     Do some EFT. Emotional Freedom Techniques, that is. This can bring your mind and body out of a state of emergency and give you the ability to make better choices. If you already know EFT, great; you’re in business. If not, at some point in the future when you’re feeling better, you can teach yourself how to do it by downloading the free manual from EFT Universe or by watching videos on YouTube. Right now, this is probably beyond you, so here’s something very simple you can do:

  • On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being “suicidal” and 1 being “barely noticeable,” note the intensity level of your depression.
  • With the middle and ring fingers of your right hand, tap on the “karate chop point” of your left hand (the bottom edge of your hand when your thumb is pointing up toward the ceiling).
  • As you tap, say to yourself, “Even though my depression is bad today, I deeply and completely love and accept myself anyway.” Do this several times.
  • Switch hands, so that now you are tapping on your right hand’s karate chop point with the middle and ring fingers of your left hand. Continue saying the affirmation.
  • Take note of your intensity level now. It should have gone down by several points.

Take good care of yourself. You’re worth it (as am I). Remember: This, too, shall pass.

(c) 2011 by Patricia R. Henschen, M.A.

Do you know anyone who is in a depressive crisis? If so, please share this with them! It may help.

Keep striving towards peace, one baby step at a time. You're worth it!

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Eating Wheat Can Cause Depression

As yummy as it looks, bread and other wheat-containing foods can be brain allergens for depressives.

“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.” — Thomas Edison

For depression levels: All

A couple of weeks ago, I took myself out to dinner at a local home-cooking franchise. I was really hungry and looking forward to the pot roast they had on special.

I did not take into consideration all the flour they add to the pot roast to bind the broth and make the dish appear more appetizing. I also forgot about the gravy that comes automatically with the mashed potatoes. Being a pot roast lover and a mashed potato addict, I inhaled them both.

Within 15 minutes of having begun my meal, I was hit with a wave of brain fog so severe that I literally could not form sentences. Fatigue washed over me, and I could barely keep my eyes open. It was only about 6:00 in the evening; it had not been a particularly arduous day and there was no reason for me to feel so tired. The waitress came and asked me if I needed anything else. It took an immense effort to even look at her and say, “No, thanks.” I felt drugged, or drunk. I managed to pay for the meal and left.

It was no coincidence that over the next couple of weeks I experienced a severe depressive episode. The pot roast and gravy-laden mashed potatoes were not the only culprits; I had been indulging in sweets, Mexican food wrapped in flour tortillas, and even sandwiches. I had also dropped off on my exercise plan.

I’ve known for many years that wheat is contraindicated for people with clinical depression. The essential reference book Prescription for Nutritional Healing, the first book I consulted after my diagnosis in 2001, states, “Omit wheat products from the diet. Wheat gluten has been linked to depressive disorders” (p. 317 in 3rd ed.). Julia Ross, M.A., author of The Mood Cure, describes the link between wheat consumption and depression:

“Dozens of studies confirm that depression is a common symptom of gluten intolerance, one that usually disappears when wheat and the similar grains are withdrawn. People with gluten intolerance have low levels of the . . . brain chemical serotonin, and gluten has been implicated in mental illness since at least 1979, which is when I first noticed psychiatric journals reporting tremendous improvement in the symptoms of patients with depression and manic-depression . . . who had been experimentally taken off gluten-containing foods.” (p. 126)

And Dr. Jeffrey Morrison, in his ground-breaking book Cleanse Your Body, Clear Your Mind, shares with readers how he actually eliminated all symptoms of schizophrenia from one of his patients, a man who had received that horrendous mental illness as his official psychiatric diagnosis, by removing all gluten-containing products from his diet.

Knowing something and actually acting on it, however, are two different things, particularly when the substance at stake is both highly addictive and near and dear to our hearts. Wheat contains gluten, as do barley and rye; oats can also contain gluten because they are typically processed in manufacturing plants that process wheat. Gluten has been described as a “brain allergen” and an opiate (Ross, p. 126). Eating gluten actually causes us to feel comforted, at least temporarily: We feel a drug-like high whenever we eat bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, pizza, and other wheat-containing foods.

"Amber waves of grain" = wheat!

In addition to being a potent addictive substance, wheat is woven tightly into the fabric of American culture. Think about the patriotic song, “America the Beautiful”: The second line is, “For amber waves of grain.” I don’t think they’re talking about rice! According to the National Association of Wheat Growers, three-quarters of all U.S. grain products are made from wheat flour. And what can you count on being served at every special occasion, from birthdays to Thanksgiving, from baby showers to the Fourth of July picnic? Breads and baked goods. Can you imagine your birthday without a birthday cake or the holidays without pumpkin pie? And how about eliminating sandwiches from your lunch menu?

Most people can’t. That’s why it’s so hard to say “no” to eating wheat. Everyone else is eating it; why can’t we eat it, too? Eating the same things most people eat makes us feel like we’re part of the tribe, like we belong. When we have to stick to a “special” diet, it exacerbates that feeling of being somehow different and oddball that we already experience due to having depression.

I’ve been using my own body and brain as an experiential food lab for many years. Time and time again, eating wheat has produced adverse affects for me, emotionally and cognitively. It has taken me this long to convince myself that I need to stay away from the stuff–permanently. I finally get it that eating wheat means giving up functionality and quality of life. It’s simply not worth it.

If you’ve been suffering from depression for a long time and have had less-than-stellar results from taking antidepressants, try eliminating wheat from your diet, even if it’s just for a short time. You should feel better in as little as a week, which might be enough of an incentive to continue avoiding wheat and even to seek out gluten-free alternatives. Changing your diet so drastically takes courage and fortitude, and practice, practice, practice. However, it’s a major step toward getting your life back. You’ll be amazed at the results!

(c) 2011 by Patricia R. Henschen, M.A.

Did you find this article helpful? If so, please share it with your networks!

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When the Going Gets Tough…

“When the going gets tough/ The tough get going/ When the going gets rough/ The tough get rough.” – Billy Ocean

Depression level(s): Moderate to severe.

Here’s what’s real for me right now: My writing muse must have gone on vacation because, I swear to the heavens above, I can’t think like a writer tonight. You’d think she could have given me some advance notice, like, “Hey, Patricia, you’re on your own, ‘cuz I’m heading to Cozumel for the summer. Hope your neurotransmitters are up to snuff! Yuk, yuk, yuk.” But noooo….

Absent inspiration notwithstanding, because I want to honor my commitment to post something on this blog at least once a week, preferably on Tuesdays, let me share with you what I wanted to say.

What I wanted to tell you was this: When the going gets tough, it’s okay to distract yourself in reasonably healthy–or at least non-destructive–ways. Distraction can be a godsend to pull you away from your pain and negativity for a while.

Take music, for example. I defy you to remain completely down while Billy Ocean’s “When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going” is playing on your stereo. Come on, go ahead! Put it on. Don’t you just want to get up and dance? Okay, maybe you don’t really want to, but at least give yourself the opportunity. Stand up, if you can (i.e., if you have two working legs). Turn up the volume. Start moving! The song is 4:08 long; by the time it’s over, you should not only be breathing hard, but also have a smile on your face and perhaps a germinating sprout of hope in your heart.

Distraction–healthy distraction, that is (put down that package of Oreos and step away slowly, please)–is a divine gift of sorts. When you’re hurting so much in your mind and heart that you just might do yourself some harm, give yourself permission to divert your thoughts from their usual ruinous rumination to something that feels better, even if it’s just for a little while. Here are some options:

  • Movies: Go for the comedies. Norman Cousins (Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient) famously healed his life-threatening disease by watching Marx Brothers films. Rent feel-good DVDs. Don’t be afraid to go to the movie theater by yourself. You will have nearly three hours outside of the dark and dangerous neighborhood that is your mind; it will be well worth it.
  • Books: Again, lighthearted is the theme here. There was a 2-1/2 year period when my depression was at its worst during which I simply could not read anything but the lightest of books because my cognitive processing abilities were shot. Back in high school and college, I was a romance novel addict; reading those books after I became ill with depression made me feel lonely, however, so I turned to “cozies”: mystery novels that were upbeat and funny, and not all that violent. Ask your local librarian or bookstore clerk to turn you on to some good cozy series. One of my favorites was “The Cat Who…” series, by Lilian Jackson Braun; the first book in the series is The Cat Who Could Read Backwards.
  • TV: Good TV, that is. Stay away from the gory crime dramas and stuff like “48 Hours.” You don’t want to feel worse, do you? Yeah, I know: “Good TV” is an oxymoron. Nevertheless, there’s some good stuff out there. A friend of mine who was in an abusive marriage in her younger years told me that watching M*A*S*H episodes prevented her from committing suicide. British comedies can be very funny. PBS is nearly always a safe, non-triggering alternative. Rent from Netflix or Blockbuster those titles you can’t find on the viewing schedule.
  • Music and dance: I put these two together because unless you are moving while the music’s playing, you’re going to be thinking too much. Line up a few get-up-and-boogie favorites for when the going gets really rough.
  • An outing: Any activity with a friend or by yourself. Get out of the house and out of your head.
  • Laughter yoga: Find a club near you and learn how to laugh on demand. It increases healing endorphins and helps you connect with others. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel. Check out this laughter yoga video, in which my friend Gita Fendelman is teaching the “Ha ha ha mantra”:

So, that’s my article for this week: Not planned, not particularly well constructed, not too clever. Not even a photo. But hey, I figured out how to add a video to a blog post! Did you check it out? Didja? Huh? Huh? At any rate, it’s done. The article, I mean. I hope you got something useful out of it. Maybe you were even distracted for a little while. I hereby give it the Good Enough Seal of Approval!

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Derailed—And What to Do About It

“Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.” – Gilda Radner

For Depression Level(s): Severe depression that has somewhat resolved.

There you are, chugging more-or-less merrily—or at least functionally—along, doing your job, shopping for groceries, spending time with your friends, when—WHAM! The train of your life jumps the tracks and you find yourself laid out on the couch, severely depressed and unable to function.

Forget work. Forget doing the dishes. Forget paying your bills on time. Forget being a support to your partner or friends. Forget feeling even halfway good.

Recurring depressive episodes can stop us in our tracks.

You’ve been derailed.

Depression is once again your constant companion, for days or even weeks. Who knows why it happened? Could be you ate one too many snack-sized Häagen-Dazs ice cream bars over the last couple of weeks. Could be you misplaced the yoga schedule. Could be you forgot to take your medication or supplements. Could be Mercury is in retrograde, a butterfly sneezed in Spain, or there was a hiccup in the time-space continuum.

Could be anything. Really, the reason why depression has revisited you, like an ex-lover you thought you’d dumped but who keeps turning up on your doorstep, is not that important.

The question is: What do you do about it?

I had to ask myself that question last week when I found myself smack dab in the middle of another depressive episode. I felt exhausted, achy, and lethargic. I couldn’t focus, couldn’t do chores, and certainly couldn’t write. All I wanted to do was sleep. You know the drill.

Getting yanked back into severe depression is kind of like having a bad cold. You used to get bad colds a lot, but not so much anymore. You’ve gotten to where you enjoy life without colds—the contrast with the way things used to be evokes deep appreciation. It makes you angry that yet again you have a bad cold, with all that goes along with it. “None of this should be happening,” you think. “I’ve worked so hard to get to the point where bad colds are not such an issue anymore.” Yet, here you are. You have one. All you can do is wait it out.

But wait—that’s not quite true. Even though a bad cold cannot be “cured,” there are things you can do to speed up the healing process. We all know what they are: Drink plenty of fluids, take Vitamin C, eat chicken noodle soup, rest.

It’s the same with a depressive episode. Although you and I have both worked hard to overcome severe depression through medication and/or supplements, lifestyle changes, therapy, and the complete restructuring of our lives, brain chemistry being what it is, it’s inevitable that we will from time to time find ourselves falling back down that dark well of despair.

There are things we can do, however, to ease the severity of the episode and shorten its duration. Since I used to work for NASA, I like acronyms. They serve as useful mnemonic devices. Here is a five-step process using the acronym TRACK. The steps can be taken in any order and are ongoing; in fact, the more you do them, the more they reinforce each other.

T = Take radical care of yourself. This means eating high-quality nutrition, exercising daily, taking the meds or supplements that are part of your regimen, and getting plenty of rest.

R = Refuse to eat sugar and wheat. Both of these substances have been shown to play havoc with brain chemistry. Do yourself a favor and leave them out of your diet.

Using the TRACK process can bring back contentment and functionality.

A = Accept the situation. Although it’s natural to be angry that you are once again at the mercy of severe depression, staying angry will ensure that you stay depressed. Accept what’s happening and let go of the anger. Here is where it can be helpful to ask the assistance of your Higher Power. Say a simple prayer such as, “God, here I am again, depressed. I don’t know how I got here, and I’m powerless over it. I’m so mad. Please help me to accept this situation and let go of my anger. With your help I know it’s possible. Thank you.”

C = Connect with family and friends. It is important not to isolate during the episode. Talk to at least one friend or family member per day, either by phone or in person.

K = Keep a low profile. Reduce your current commitment level and don’t accept any new ones. Now is not the time to launch a major project at work, give a speech at Toastmasters, or have friends over for dinner. Really, if none of these things takes place this week, what’s the worst that could happen? Learning to say “no” is one of the most important skills you can develop.

With the TRACK process and a little time, you will soon be chugging merrily along in your life.

(c) 2011 by Patricia R. Henschen, M.A.

Did you find the TRACK process useful? If so, please leave a comment below and share your experience with others.

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The Good Enough Seal of Approval

Putting our own seal of approval on a situation helps us to move past it.

“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” – Mark Twain

Those of us above a certain age remember the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. As a child, I can remember being impressed when I saw the seal, thinking, “Ooh, that must be good!” People actually used to look for that seal and choose products that had it over those that didn’t. Turning 100 years old in 2009, it was and still is well known as a guarantee of quality.

Part of Good Housekeeping’s mission when it was established in 1885 was to “produce and perpetuate perfection as may be obtained in the household.” Although their intentions were good—to ensure that consumer products and foods were safe, reliable, and unadulterated—their readers began applying that perfectionism to their own lives. Magazines such as G.H. became arbiters for how people were “supposed” to live.

Today, in the second decade of the 21st century, the media is a powerful force for influencing not only our purchasing choices but also the thoughts we have about the world around us and even ourselves. Whether we are aware of it or not, most of us hold an invisible set of standards by which we evaluate everything that goes on in our lives, including our accomplishments, careers, lifestyles, families, companions, and how we come across to others.

Every time you say, “Oh, shoot, I should have…” or “If only I’d said…” or “Why did I…?”, you are applying these invisible standards to whatever you have or have not done. How does it feel when you talk that way to yourself? I don’t know about you, but I know that when I think that way about myself, I feel ashamed and disempowered.

I got a chance to experience this phenomenon last week. A friend of mine hosts a weekly segment on our community radio station, KEOS 89.1, called “Brazos Valley Health.” Because the guests she had lined up to speak on the show had bailed, she asked me to come on the show to talk about depression. I said, “Sure, sounds like fun!” I had only about 20 minutes to prepare and had no idea what I was going to say. Fortunately, my friend has been doing this show for a long time and is an expert interviewer; that, along with my experience in Toastmasters, made the hour-long interview go smoothly.

In spite of this rather considerable accomplishment, on the way home from the radio studio I got into a critical conversation with myself. It went something like this: “Darn it all, I forgot to mention supplements! And I didn’t talk about the statistics regarding depression and disability, how depression is the leading cause of disability in this country. People need to know that it costs more than $300 billion per year! And I really shouldn’t have said anything about the fatality rate, because I didn’t have the source for that stat with me. Boy, I really blew it! Maybe only a handful of people were listening. Let’s hope so!”

This diatribe continued for a couple more minutes, threatening to take me into a depressive tailspin. I finally saw what I was doing and said to myself, “Stop it, Patricia! That’s enough! The interview really was good. You gave valuable information to folks; you spoke clearly; you even brought in a little humor. It was good enough.” I visualized a rubber stamp that had a seal with these words etched into it: “The Good Enough Seal of Approval.” In my mind’s eye was a piece of paper with the words, “Interview at KEOS”; I took the imaginary stamp, inked it with imaginary ink, and stamped it on top of the words, giving it a final seal of approval.

When my critical mind started to harangue me again, I said to it, “Nope, sorry. This event has been approved. It’s over.” Amazingly, it worked! The impulse to criticize myself receded, and I was freed up to go on to the next thing on my schedule.

When you become more conscious of the unreasonable standards by which you evaluate others and yourself, they will lose their power over you and no longer contribute to your depression. Try the following simple exercise:

BONUS EXERCISE

1)    Think of a recent situation in which you had a conversation, completed a task, or had to follow through on a commitment. Write it in your journal.

2)    How do you feel about how you did? What do you wish you had said or done differently?

3)    Where do you think this negative self-talk came from?

4)    Imagine that rubber stamp I described above; it says, “The Good Enough Seal of Approval.”

5)    “Stamp” your journal with this imaginary seal. You could even take colored pencils, markers, or crayons and draw a seal on top of the sentences you wrote. Be sure and write, “Good Enough.”

6)    You’re done! This situation has been approved, and you no longer have to think about it.

7)    Write up your results in the Comment box, below.

(c)  2011 by Patricia R. Henschen, M.A.

For another take on the perils of perfectionism, see “Going Beyond Perfectionism.”

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CPR for Depressives Moved to Tuesdays

Just to let y’all know: The weekly publication date for Rescue Yourself: CPR for Depressives is moving to Tuesdays. Since I’ve been publishing faithfully on Mondays for the last three months (except for last week), I didn’t want to jar your routine or hand you any surprises.

I’ve been finding it mega-stressful to both try to launch my work week and get an article out on Mondays. You know how bad stress is for depressives! Hence, we’re moving to Tuesdays. Some statistical metric somewhere says that more people read blogs on Tuesdays, anyway.

I know, I know: it’s just a blog. But, hopefully, there is a handful of folks out there in the blogosphere who actually look forward to reading this blog every week. And who knows? I might get really wild and crazy and add a second post on Fridays. Stay tuned to find out!

Less stressed,

Patricia

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