Depression : Changing for the Better.

This is the first in a series of posts about change. Everbody talks about big changes, quantum leaps into a new way of living and seeing the world, shedding the shackles of the past and making the future brighter. Good as this is (and important), it is often the small daily changes we can make that have as much of an effect. My experience is that “sweating the small stuff” and daily stressors can lead to depression just as quickly as major events.

If you are like me, you will think about change many times during the day. I wish, I wish I hadn’t, I wish it wasn’t, I wish it could, etc, etc. How often do we wish things could be different, the we were different when things go wrong? Often these wishes remain just that, remote dreams of changing the way we do things. We often try hard to make our lives fruitful through work, relationships,  being nice to people, developing hobbies, doing something worthwhile but there is always something gnawing at us inside. Even with these things, we feel unhappy, unfulfilled, lost and hopeless. Inevitably, the job goes wrong, partners leave and we can’t rid ourselves of the habits and thoughts that make us feel bad. We can get a new job, a new partner, a new look and it works for a while but the cycle goes on and our hope of change fades each time it does. We are jinxed, hopeless and doomed to live our lives this way. We even convince ourselves that is the case and in the end, give up trying.

My next few posts will be all about change. Setting out what we CAN change about ourselves and our behavior. How we can free ourselves of the assumptions and attitudes that were formed by our early need to survive. How we can create space for our basic goodness, our positive experiences, our “healthy island”. Our island is often closer than we think but we allow our problems to eclipse it. I will look at :

  • How we can learn to observe and learn about what happens to us.
  • How we can identify the patterns that determine how we think and behave.
  • How we can revise old, redundant survival beliefs.
  • How we can make space for our healthy island and nourish it.
  • How we can recognise the difference between our old survival self dominated by faulty thinking and the energy we can get from our healthy island.

Even though we cannot hope to change the fundamental core of what we are, we can change the old survival thinking that has a hold on us and limits our choices and ambitions and fuels depression. We are usually unaware that this thinking has an effect on our everyday lives. We all carry a part of us that is wounded in some way. How we carry this determines how we see our depression. Either the passive ” I am depressed and nothing and no-one can help me” or ” I accept I have depression but I can address it and take care of it”. Once we can engage ourselves in this way, we can take up the challenge of looking at ourselves afresh.

Dr. Nicholas Jenner is a Counseling psychologist in private practice working with individuals,couples,  groups and companies globally. Online therapy is, in his experience, effective for treating a number of major conditions. Are you having issues that you need to talk through? He has a range of plans that can help you get the help you need.  Online Therapy details : Here …….

  9 comments for “Depression : Changing for the Better.

  1. August 15, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    So like this post. I read many posts from people who are suffering depression because that is the subject of my blog. It is rare that people do anything but bemoan their state. I often want to point out that if they’f use the same energy they use to complain towards gaining some insight into theiir own thinking and life stye choices, they would start to see their depression abate. I particularly like the “healthy island” idea. I,too, have a place where I can escape and regroup. We all need to carve out that space for ourselves. When I began to take on my depression, this is one area I had to work hard at because I often felt guilty when I “retreated” Not anymore. Great post. Looking for ward to the series.

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  2. August 15, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    So interested in this! My therapist has been talking to me about outdated survival techniques recently- as part of Post Traumatic Stress treatment. It seems like the behaviour is hard-wired though- I can know the survival technique is not necessary- but it’s there in my body, and part of my brain whispers: “It kept you alive this long, why get rid of it?” Do you know what I mean?

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    • August 15, 2013 at 5:57 pm

      Yes, they can seem very convincing and protective. Part of these survival techniques involve the formation of inner critics who do their best to protect us from the pain and rejection of the past. These critics are the very things that keep us trapped in defense mechanisms of the past.

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  3. August 15, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Hi, Dr. Jenner! One reason I like working with my ego states is that I can bring about change within myself through an internal dialogue among the relevant ego states. Change, thus, is not an either-or situation. If I sense that I need to change in some way, go in another direction, I can make change happen gradually through my internal dialogue. For example, recently I realized that I was capable of saying “no” when in a situation where I was uncomfortable, but I was hesitant to do this for fear of hurting another person’s feelings. So I figured out which ego states would be the major players, the ones most strongly influencing my behavior, and I had these ego states talk among themselves. Cowboy, the “can do” state inside me, got the other parts off their duffs and just laid down the law–if somebody is behaving in a way that makes me uncomfortable, I let the person know and then refuse to tolerate the behavior. I leave the situation if I need to do that. That’s Cowboy for you! She isn’t elegant and sophisticated, but she gets the job done! This, then, is one way I bring about change within myself. Then I “put it out there” and try the new way of being in the world and see how it works. If I need to, I can go back and dialogue further. Etc. Anyway, this works for me.

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  4. August 15, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    That’s what I’m starting to recognise in my way of thinking. Hopefully, with some help, I’ll be able to get on the right track.

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  5. August 15, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Reblogged this on Forlorn Hope: A Diary Of A Broken Heart and commented:
    That is precisely what has been happening to me for most of my life. I wish (there it goes again!) I had found these blogs a long time ago. Of course, at the time the blogging did not exist but some help would have been nice.

    Like

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