Sunday

October - National Depression Awareness Month

depression awareness
This year I reduced activity on this blog because of many changes in my life. The main change of course is dragging myself out of what I call 'full-grade' depression. It is like with many things: the greatest urge to speak up, to write and to talk about something comes during the actual experience. When experience fades away so does this will to be heard. However no major experience comes and goes without changing something in you.
Sometimes in public transport I see a person with scars on their forearms and I can't help feeling recognition. I know exactly what this person has gone or going through. I know what they might tell their friends, relatives or co-workers and I know what it really is. When somebody complains about feeling tired, down, low all the time, it is as if something ringing in my head. But I know that for those lucky people who have never experienced anything similar nothing is ringing.
So October is National Depression Awareness Month and I'd like to emphasize some facts that are obvious for people who has been there and not that obvious for those who hasn't.

1. Depression is an illness. Think about it before calling a person who has no will to do anything lazy, weak or whiny. Everyone needs a break from time to time to have fun and do nothing. If somebody feels bad most of the time and can't find strength to do something it is far from fun. It's painful in fact. It hurts even more to get criticized or laughed at.
2. Those who tell you about being depressed do tell it to get your attention. I've heard this many times: if somebody tells you they are depressed or suicidal they probably aren't serious, but probably just seeking attention. Why they chose such a way to get attention? Are they being manipulative? Maybe. Some people even self-harm to get attention because they need it so badly. A person may even not intellectualize it but do it out of impulse. But the fact that they even have such impulses says a lot.
3. Depressed people might be annoying. I know how it sounds but I have a right to say so. It is annoying to live with the person who rarely shares the fun, who never smiles, who's always sad or angry. It tires you especially if you don't understand what does your relative or friend or partner feel. Know, they don't do it to make you mad. They aren't naturally nasty or hateful. And it's not your fault that a person you love or live with is hard to be around. Once again, depression is an illness and it's manifestations are as annoying as someone's constant loud cough. The latter case is understandable because everybody knows a person is sick if they're coughing. It might be loud and annoying but understandable. Depressive talks and lack of smiles, whining, sarcasm, social isolation are understandable too once you know what they mean.
4. People don't choose to be depressed. A person doesn't choose to feel bad, they don't choose low self-esteem, they don't choose to feel pain. So they can't unchoose bad feelings and cheer up. It's not that simple. On the contrary one may feel so bad and wake up every day wishing for relief, wanting to feel good or rather to not feel so awful.
5. One does not have to have excuses for depression. One may seem to have no reasons to be depressed yet they are. They don't have to compare their lives to those of hungry African children to have an excuse for being depressed. Because there are no legitimate or illegitimate reasons for depression. Like I said many times, depression is caused by chemical imbalance in brain or post-traumatic experience. A person doesn't have to be in specific socially accepted as 'good' environment or situation for being depressed.
6. If you want to help - be there. If you suspect a loved one to suffer clinical depression and want to help -  talk to them, surf for information on depression, try to understand and be there with them and for them. One of the things a depressed person needs is to know they aren't alone, that they aren't on their own, that they aren't abandoned and forsaken. Let them know you love and accept them no matter what - it means a lot, trust me.

Wednesday

When depression really starts?

The depression doesn't start from nowhere. There are usually life experiences that are the cause. Here is the theory I found useful in self-help treatment. It helps to deal with some repeating patterns of your behavior that you may not like and also it may help you to find out what really causes your depression.

In the following theory there are 3 types of states:

- Conscious - things that happen to you and around you that you aware of (you are aware that you're reading this text).
- Subconscious (while reading this text you're also seeing the tip of your nose though after I wrote it the knowledge of the fact that you see it too jumped to your consciousness) - some things that happen to you right now but your mind isn't occupied with them - same with walking or eating - you don't need to think about each your next move - you just put one leg in front of the other or manipulate your fork and knife and food.

- Unconscious. This is going to be a bit long but I hope to explain it. Please ask questions if you find something confusing.

Let's say there's a person who's constantly late to his job. No matter what he does to avoid being late in some way or another he slows down. He blames himself and starts overeating because this helps him feel better. After awhile he realizes he's overweight and blames himself again and promises himself to stop overeating. This causes stress too. He becomes annoyed and starts yelling at his family members and later on he hates this behavior of his too etc etc etc the poor man becomes a time bomb. What he should think about is why he actually was always late to his job. The reason is not obvious. Let's now return to what unconscious state is.

When we're young our mind registers all the incoming signals and tries to classify them. Like our ancestors tried to classify predator/lightning/darkness/... things into dangerous and fire/apples/fresh water/sex into safe things. In a baby's mind mother is in good things because she means safety. On the other hand a dog that scared him will be in bad things. But not just that particular dog but any dog = danger. Let's imagine this child and his parents drove somewhere and suddenly got into a car crash. What would he feel and see? He'll probably feel dizziness and maybe itching in his belly, he'll see his crying mother and also the sun shining and reflecting in a nearby puddle. He'll hear the birds singing. The kid grows up and some day he may go down the street and see a crying woman. He has just had lunch and his belly itches. The day is bright and the sun shines and sun-rays reflect in a puddle and the birds are singing in the nearby park. Suddenly for no obvious reason the man suffers panic attack and runs away. Why? Because just now he's experienced the things that his mind long ago considered linked to danger. This is what his unconscious mind told him.

Now let's get back to the guy who's always late. When he was a kid his mother gave him sweets every day. He had a girlfriend who he always gave half of his sweets because he wanted her to like him and be his friend. One day the little girl was late and the kid was hungry so he waited and waited for her but then ate all sweets. When the girl came and found that out she first burst in tears and then went to the boy's mother and told her he's the one who broke the window. The mother was angry and spanked her son. He never told a girl a thing just stopped seeing her. Now he's a grown up man who forgot this story and now works in the office. He used to be friends with one of his colleagues but once he found out that this colleague has told their boss that the man doesn't pay enough attention to his work. What is the man's reaction? You're right. Each time he goes to job he unconsciously wants to avoid it and that makes him always be late.

Now what should be done in order to break this circle? First of all if you have some behavior of yours that you don't like first of all try to register all the feelings you're having: itchiness, crying spells, etc. Then close your eyes and try to think about your feelings and find any association that comes to your mind. Don't try to seek for it just relax and let your mind show you an answer. If you remembered some situation try to live it again - to feel it. Don't fight your tears or angriness or whatever feelings you have. Express them in the way you should in that situation of long ago. This may make you want to reconsider your feelings about some present situations and thus change the program. Understand that whatever happens to you is not your fault. It is your unconscious mind that dictates your reactions. However now you've realized why and now the things from the unconscious moved to consciousness means you can control them!

Sunday

I'll share all I know about depression but I'm not a doctor

I'll share all I know about depression but I'm not a doctorRecently I've received a comment from anonymous user who suffered from a loss of a loved one and asked for help. I answered but I would like to make it a separate post too for I think this is important. Several people who read my posts also asked me if I'm a doctor or a psychologist. The answer is no I am not.

I am a person who suffered depression for several years. Medical help was and is unavailable where I live so I had to deal with it by myself. I tried several medications which I managed to get without prescription which I do NOT recommend you to do because some meds have side-effects and other may not suit and even harm you. I was aware of this. I did suffer some side-effects. But I did it because we have a disaster of healthcare and we do not have any qualified professionals here who can even make a more or less accurate diagnosis say nothing of suitable treatment.

What is more important is that I did do some self-therapy. My inner voice was my patient and my doctor. I took time to sit and think and prosect my problems and my reactions and my thoughts. I cut my wounds open in order to see what causes the pain and how can I cure it. Now there is still lots of things to do. Some of my problems are solved but some wounds still cause lots and lots of pain and I still have to deal with them too. However I think I already have some experience and I know people may need it and this is why I started this blog - to share what I have learned. May be it'll help someone too.

But still. I am not a therapist. I am not a psychologist. I am a blogger. My posts may get you to the right idea or may make you think about something important, or even show you some way for your own self-help therapy. But if you realize you have a serious problem: you suffered abuse or loss of a loved one or whatever else. Please find some professional help. I do not want to take responsibility on treating you through the internet. Moreover I think it's ridiculous. I can give you an advice or tell you what is my opinion of your state or what I think you shall do. I can and will share all the experience that I have but to heal you I need to see you. To see your physical shape, to see your eyes and gestures when you talk. I need to have knowledge about meds that can be prescribed to some people and cannot to other ones. I would honestly like to help you because I know how it is to suffer depression but I am not the 1st and only person you should approach.

However if you my reader want to talk to me, to consider listening my opinion or knowing about my experience that you think might help you or you want me to listen to you - you may find my email in my profile. I publish it openly and I'm always there. Feel free to write.

Take care!

Friday

Personality Disorder Information

An exceptionally good test. Although the results are never precise in any of such test because usually people tend to exaggerate or downgrade certain traits of theirs. Anyway what really drew my attention is the following brief personality disorder Information:

Paranoid
Paranoid personality disorder is characterized by a distrust of others and a constant suspicion that people around you have sinister motives. People with this disorder tend to have excessive trust in their own knowledge and abilities and usually avoid close relationships with others. They search for hidden meanings in everything and read hostile intentions into the actions of others. They are quick to challenge the loyalties of friends and loved ones and often appear cold and distant to others. They usually shift blame to others and tend to carry long grudges.

Schizoid
People with schizoid personality disorder avoid relationships and do not show much emotion. They genuinely prefer to be alone and do not secretly wish for popularity. They tend to seek jobs that require little social contact. Their social skills are often weak and they do not show a need for attention or acceptance. They are perceived as humorless and distant and often are termed "loners."

Schizotypal
Many believe that schizotypal personality disorder represents mild schizophrenia. The disorder is characterized by odd forms of thinking and perceiving, and individuals with this disorder often seek isolation from others. They sometimes believe to have extra sensory ability or that unrelated events relate to them in some important way. They generally engage in eccentric behavior and have difficulty concentrating for long periods of time. Their speech is often over elaborate and difficult to follow.

Antisocial
A common misconception is that antisocial personality disorder refers to people who have poor social skills. The opposite is often the case. Instead, antisocial personality disorder is characterized by a lack of conscience. People with this disorder are prone to criminal behavior, believing that their victims are weak and deserving of being taken advantage of. They tend to lie and steal. Often, they are careless with money and take action without thinking about consequences. They are often agressive and are much more concerned with their own needs than the needs of others.

Borderline
Borderline personality disorder is characterized by mood instability and poor self-image. People with this disorder are prone to constant mood swings and bouts of anger. Often, they will take their anger out on themselves, causing themselves injury. Suicidal threats and actions are not uncommon. They think in very black and white terms and often form intense, conflict-ridden relationships. They are quick to anger when their expectations are not met.

Histrionic
People with histrionic personality disorder are constant attention seekers. They need to be the center of attention all the time, often interrupting others in order to dominate the conversation. They use grandiose language to discribe everyday events and seek constant praise. They may dress provacatively or exaggerate illnesses in order to gain attention. They also tend to exaggerate friendships and relationships, believing that everyone loves them. They are often manipulative.

Narcissistic
Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by self-centeredness. Like histrionic disorder, people with this disorder seek attention and praise. They exaggerate their achievements, expecting others to recongize them as being superior. They tend to be choosy about picking friends, since they believe that not just anyone is worthy of being their friend. They tend to make good first impressions, yet have difficulty maintaining long-lasting relationships. They are generally uninterested in the feelings of others and may take advantage of them.

Avoidant
Avoidant personality disorder is characterized by extreme social anxiety. People with this disorder often feel inadequate, avoid social situations, and seek out jobs with little contact with others. They are fearful of being rejected and worry about embarassing themselves in front of others. They exaggerate the potential difficulties of new situations to rationalize avoiding them. Often, they will create fantasy worlds to substitute for the real one. Unlike schizoid personality disorder, avoidant people yearn for social relations yet feel they are unable to obtain them. They are frequently depressed and have low self-confidence.

Dependent
Dependent personality disorder is characterized by a need to be taken care of. People with this disorder tend to cling to people and fear losing them. They may become suicidal when a break-up is imminent. They tend to let others make important decisions for them and often jump from relationship to relationship. They often remain in abusive relationships. They are overly sensitive to disapproval. They often feel helpless and depressed.

Obsessive-Compulsive
Obsessive-Compulsive personality disorder is similar to obsessive-compulsive anxiety disorder. People with this disorder are overly focused on orderliness and perfection. Their need to do everything "right" often interferes with their productivity. They tend to get caught up in the details and miss the bigger picture. They set unreasonably high standards for themselves and others, and tend to be very critical of others when they do not live up to these high standards. They avoid working in teams, believing others to be too careless or incompetent. They avoid making decisions because they fear making mistakes and are rarely generous with their time or money. They often have difficulty expressing emotion.

Here's the source of this info and I hope you've found it interesting.

Wednesday

Get rid of disturbing thoughts and memories

Today I'd like to tell you about dreams and memories.


Dreaming the future

There is some exciting activity - dreaming. Dreaming of who you want to become, what you want from your work, partner, life. Dreams inspire, they give us hope and make our belief in good things stronger. Yet there is a thing - a villian of dreams and this is delusion.

When I was even younger than I'm now I used to live in future. I spent hours dreaming and planning what my life will be in the next years. I played movies of future events and future dialogues in my head thinking what I'll do in this or that situation. Not actualy thinking - playing the small comedies and tragedies in my mind. And when one day I woke up looked around and saw nothing of what I've dreamt of I was.. disappointed. My daydreams used to be so realistic and so were my plans that I couldn't believe they are not supposed to come true. And moreover what I did to make them come true actualy turned out into a disaster of my whole life. I got angry. Angry at my friends, I blamed everyone for my faults, everyone who I thought deceived me or didn't care enough of me. Finally I got angry at myself. That I was so stupid to believe in obvious lies, that I didn't make enough effords to achieve what I wanted, that I overdid some things.

The solution came shortly after I took pills to end the nightmare I placed myself in. To skip some time I sat to play one of my favorite computer games.. and it turned out to be much more exciting then death! Sounds ludicruous I know. Yet I'm here and I write these things so maybe it wasn't that stupid after all.

The lesson I took at that time was that dreaming is ok. Dreams add some spice into our life so to say. Delusions are another thing. Delusions is when you start living your dreams which leads to disappointement and pain in reality.

Recollecting the past

Sweet sweet memories of good things and wonderful people and important events... it is so nice to recollect them, to scroll the pages of a photoalbum or a scrap book or to watch home videos. Just don't forget that you can add even more impressions into your personal account. Even right now.

The dark side is bad memories.

This month I have finally solved one of the things that used to drive me crazy for almost half a year - internal dialogues, memories from the past that literally haunted me. Many times a day I caught myself playing some bad moments from my past in my mind over and over again. I changed some events, phrases, details making the events go in various scenarious. I told 'people' different things to 'change' the past to make things go in a different way. But I couldn't really change the past. I knew that but voices in my head kept playing nonetheless. I started thinking about something but in the end I found myself dreaming some awful moments from the past. These dreams exhausted me emotionaly and by the end of the day I was tired, annoyed and irritable. And the worst thing I couldn't stop it.

As undersood the fact that I cannot stop it with my will I made the first step which led to Soultion. I spoke to my husband and told him about all the things that disturbed me. I told him about the dialogues in my head and bad memories and felt easirer. Much easier. The dialogues stopped for about a week which was enough to make my mind.

Living here and now

You see the thoughts about both future and the past are just the different sides of the same coin. These are attempts to escape reality. Unfortunately they change nothing. The cure - 4 steps.

1. First of all speak your problems out. No matter if you share them with your best friend or a complete stranger. Find courage to accept the fact that you have a problem. Telling someone about it is not about complaining it is about telling yourself that you know your problem and not afraid to speak about it and relief your mind from being the only one who knows it.

2. Every time you catch yourself being overwhelmed with disturbing thoughts - don't stop it. Continue thinking about what you thought or dreamed about to the ending. This is again to show yourself that you're not afraid of such thoughts, that you don't run away from them.

3. Take some time to analyze the disturbing thoughts. They don't come from nowhere. Ask yourself why do you want to think about it again and again? Is there something left unsolved? Is there anything you can do about the situation that haunts you? And if so - do it! If there is nothing you can do now but could do when the event took place and you feel guilty about it - don't. Live here and now.

4. Actually tell yourself this phrase every time some bad thoughts approach you. Here and now. It helps. "Here and now I go up the street". "Here and now I make cookies". Think about what's going on here and now, what people surround you, what things are there, weather, sounds. You'll be surprised how many things are left unnoticed when you're occupied with some memories of the past. How many wonderful things are around you just now when you're dreaming about future!