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WHAT WORKS FOR ME

We have a section on our messageboard where people have posted ideas that have helped them in dealing with their depression. We have compiled the list below from the suggestions made there.

Please send us any further comments or suggestions on 'what works for you'.

No One Solution - MC
Reflection - Jaytee
Off Ramps To Depression - Jamie Kelly
What Works For Me - Bozobear
The Things That Have Worked For Me - 29 yo Lady
CBT
Self Talk
Writing
Reaching Out To Others
Writing A Letter
Poetry
Something For Me
Vitamins
Relaxing Beverages
Humour
Music
Grow - does it work for you?
Natural Sound Therapy
Books & Reading


NO ONE SOLUTION - MC

I am now 30 (male) and have suffered severe diagnosed depression and anxiety for about ten years.  Without a doubt I suffered much longer than that. These conditions manifested themselves all sorts of addictions.  Firstly smoking, then alcohol, then marijuana, gambling, over sleeping, sleeping pills, over eating and probably sex.  I was always looking for a solution and what I've found is there is no one solution.  For me anyway, "recovery" has been brought about by many factors, including medication, counselling, behavioural changes (eg exercise, routine), group therapy, self help, "spritual" or values (reconciling the past through values such as honesty, forgiveness etc), taking care of myself (ie. not expecting people to save me, but reaching out to others for help when needed), relaxation techniques...and I've realised that the need for these things will never end.  But I now feel that one day I will move from "recovery" into growth. There is hope, peace and joy.

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REFLECTION - JAYTEE

While I know it's not always best to "think too much" (I often think myself into a frenzy!) I find that relaxing as best I can allows me to think more clearly, rationally. Clarity of thought is invaluable to me; it's something I believe the depression has mostly swallowed!

My favorite thing: A lot of us like to take baths, I think, but something equally if not more soothing? I sit on the edge of the tub- which most would agree is usually a nice, cool surface- and I put my feet under running warm/hot water. The sound of running water, the fact that you don't get that really hot, murky feeling you can get after a time when completely soaking in a bath (sitting on that cool edge, honestly, feels great!) relaxes me "head to toe." It's calming, and while I'm thinking, I find that because I'm more relaxed, sometimes the weight of my thoughts actually lifts. It may be temporary, but I'll take temporary! When my mind wanders it's not only into dark places, a refreshing change.

Any science to this? I never thought so, but a few years back I read an artice. I believe it was about "reflexology," something I'd never given too much thought. It said that running your feet under hot water, because of nerves in the feet & their connection to the brain, can actually relieve headache pain! It had done that for me in the past, believe it or not. Psychologically, though, I treasure the calm that this little routine brings.

Please, please try it...yes, the men too!

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OFF RAMPS TO DEPRESSION - JAMIE KELLY

Its easy when you are not depressed to see how you found your way out.
The best advice I can give anyone is the way you feel now will not last and that there is light out there waiting for you.
It might be difficult to believe what I am writing if you are currently not feeling too chipper.
There are many off ramps to depression.
Its a simple thing but you might benefit from writing down all the things you normally enjoy doing.
From there try and remember the joy you felt doing these things. Remember these things with someone and have a good laugh together.
Share the way you feel with others as it really helps.
Then promise yourself you will do one of these things above each day.
Often pretending to be happy also makes you feel better.
These are very simple things I'm telling you but take it from me they really do help.
Make it your mission in life to enjoy every day and find something good in every day.

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WHAT WORKS FOR ME - BOZOBEAR

I wake to gloom and nothingness
Dreaded feelings of despair
I pray to feel
Just anything
But hope just isn't there

Will I retreat so self-absorbed?
And shut myself away
Hide underneath
The doona
To lose another day

I check my medication
Review my frame of mind
I try to grasp
At little things
To put hopelessness behind

Get out of bed and walk outside
One minute, hot or cold?
Take one long stretch
And one deep breath
Let fresh air stir your soul

When I have done things physical
I try to shift my core
To little things
And passions
Waves lapping on the shore

It's easiest in nature
To find the things I need
A childlike sense
Of wonderment
Life growing from a seed

A thrushes song, and drops of rain
Might bring me to my senses
A wry smile comes
From noticing
Wet spiders-webs on fences

Fresh smell of rain, the wind in trees,
Look outward bring it in
The cat that's chasing
Autumn leaves
Sets off a silly grin

These little things give me the strength
To overcome my dread
Though I shower
With uncertainty
I might risk the day ahead

I dress and face the walk to work
I hear a song that moves me
Ignoring sweats
A little taste
My island dream, a smoothie

The constant that is nature
Will always be around me
Understanding I
Am part of it
Will always help to ground me

As a living part of nature
Let not senses go to waste
Take life in
Indulge yourself
Smell, see, and hear and taste

Mind Pictures

You are sitting on a sandy beach
looking out over the ocean before you.

There is a warm breeze on your neck.
From the depths, waves arrive in lines as if alive.

The sun setting glistens star-like off the face of glassy waves that build slowly,
as if being conducted, and rise up to peak before you.

As if on cue each wave starts to peel
and a light spray drifts back on the wind.

The breaking wave crashes thunderously
into white foam as it peels in front of you.

Surfers who as if to there own symphony
appear to ride each wave in tune.

The gulls wade in the shallows
as the wave gently laps upon the sand.

You are in awe of nature, its beauty, its power, and its serenity.
The beauty in the face of an echidna waddling across grass.

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THE THINGS THAT HAVE WORKED FOR ME - 29 YO LADY

I am a 29 year old lady who has been suffering depression for the past 29 years.

It has taken me 28 years to figure out what strategies work for me with my emotional pain (deep depression).

  • Lifeline - 1st
  • Getting Away - 2nd
  • Exercise - 3rd
  • Massage - 4th
  • Funny Movie - 5th
  • Window Shopping - 6th
  • Pampering Yourself - 7th

    These are what works for me.

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    CBT

    Posted by: stellar Aug 30 2002, 03:44 PM
    I was "diagnosed" with Depression about 3 years ago after thinking I was just sad for 13 years. Went on Prozac which pretty much saved my life and relationship (though I think one can't survive without the other) Prozac allowed me to be sane enough to start looking at things, it stopped the chatter in my head. I then began Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.

    It's been the most amazing experience for me. I am a sceptic. I love self help but am often unmotivated, lazy and get disillusioned when it doesn't happen overnight. I thought it would be just another one of those things that sounds good in theory but is useless when you are totally helpless and depressed. How wrong I was. CBT taught me how to rethink my automatic responses to things. Some of depression is learnt, and I had no idea what I had been doing to myself for all of my adult life.

    I am now happier than ever, still depressed, but so much further up than down, still cry and stuff up and hurt and scream, but compared to where I was 3 years ago… much more balanced. I would recommend it to anyone who is a thinker (I'm not saying intellectual, just cerebral)

    I could not have done it without medication, but now am trying without cause I've learnt the skills and am far enough out of the hole to try and go it alone.....

    Posted by: moonlight Aug 31 2002, 05:52 AM
    Thanks for sharing your positive experiences with CBT with us stellar. It is very popular these days and some therapists are even using it for people with schizophrenia. Positive thinking can help to get us out of some difficult and apparent hopeless situations. It's not easy changing long-playing negative tapes but all we can do is try and keep trying again.

    Posted by: GrahamR Aug 31 2002, 06:04 AM
    Yep. It works. Been doing it one way or another for a dozen years now.

    I'd be interested to know your thoughts on something: I understand CBT is a matter of the brain. I believe much of our depression is a matter of the heart. So I'm wondering if CBT needs to be accompanied by other initiatives as well. What do you think?

    Posted by: Alison Aug 31 2002, 12:45 PM
    Definitely definitely works for me!!!!!!!!

    CBT is my lifesaver at times

    I go to follow up CBT weekly or fortnightly at the hospital I attend in Brisbane and it is fabulous. Keeps everything in perspective and keeps me honest not getting carried away with irrational negative distortions which with depression is so easily done.

    A good book to have for reference and for anyone not sure on what CBT is exactly is "Feeling Good the New Mood Therapy" by Dr Burns available in most good book stores. It is easy to read and a great source of reference.

    So definitely worth a look, medication can do so much, CBT gives us some tools to apply to everyday life and the rest is up to us.

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    SELF TALK

    Posted by: Arha Aug 31 2002, 12:01 AM
    This is from an assertiveness course that I took secretly when I was being stalked (irony), I never finished the course but these gems stayed with me. They are printed out and posted on my door at eye height where I can see them every time I go to the bathroom.

    They've been there for 5 years now. Try it out it may just change your day?

    Recall an upset or disturbed feeling.

    What happened "out there" just before that feeling happened "inside" you?

    When that happened, what was your self talk?

    Look at your self talk closely:
    What is your "should" sentence?
    Are you blaming yourself?
    Are you blaming someone else?
    Are you expecting too much?

    Changing your self-talk is something fair and reasonable.

    Demanding words such as "should", "ought", "need to", "must", "always", "never", "everyone", or "nobody" can be changed to words like "would like to", "would be nice if", "want", "sometimes".

    Choosing a phrase to replace the "should" is useful until the skills become automatic, eg. "it would be nice if..." instead of "it should..." takes the absolute element away and makes the situation less black and white. It is not the end of the world.

    Replacement of the awful consequence is important too. ".... then I am stupid or a failure" can be changed to emphasise the act and not the person and this removes the label, eg. "maybe I didn't get SPECIFIC THING right this time, but that doesn't make me any less of a person or any less worthwhile."

    It seems when we're depressed we use a lot of black and white.. and expect a lot from ourselves immediately.. using the words like "never" "should" "can't" etc..

    Try rephrasing the way you think to yourself it really CAN help.. problem is we have to keep doing it hence the reminder of this on my bathroom door.

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    WRITING

    Posted by: chumsome Jul 18 2002, 10:41 AM
    I began writing at the age of 13. I used my writing initially as a coping method...

    until I discovered I was actually a prolific writer...

    I find that writing is a wonderful outlet for the thoughts that dance about crazily in my mind.

    I have journals that I keep also... though often I destroy those after time... (because I have written some embarrassingly sad and sorry entries!!)

    .. I like to create a small ritual where I burn or tear up any old entries that contain a great deal of negativity.

    As I am doing this... I mentally try to release from me the bad energy of such negativity.

    I do notice a lightness to my being afterwards.

    I am a big believer in energy and positivity (although I am not always positive)

    At those times when I feel at my darkest.... I look back over the positive things I have written to remind me how things move in cycle... it reminds me again of the rollercoaster I am on.... it proves again that I can be stronger than the sadness.

    I love to read or listen to other peoples writing also... sometimes people write things they would never say.

    I find that writing has been one of my saviours on this journey through life.

    Posted by: Eagle Jul 18 2002, 11:07 AM
    I also have a private journal. I have written about most of the good, and bad things that have happened in my life. It has helped me to release some of the anger and pain, and also reminded me that the bad times don't last forever, good times may be just around the corner.

    I can look back and laugh at some incidents (many years ago) which at the time seemed insurmountable. As for some that I still hurt about? One day I am going to have a ceremonial bonfire with them, toast marshmallows and get rid of them forever!!

    Posted by: moonlight Jul 19 2002, 03:58 AM
    I don't write as often as I should but agree that it does help to put things down as somehow it discharges all the negative energy away from you.

    Posted by: sacredrose Jul 20 2002, 03:01 AM
    I have been writing, since the beginning of time...I too, have used "burning rituals" I write for release, I write for pleasure, I just WRITE WRITE WRITE.. and I am not going to stop any time soon..creative is me. If I'm not being creative, in whatever form. I'm miserable. I would rather write or creative and be miserable, than not be able to do any of it at all.

    Posted by: Melancholy Jul 20 2002, 02:11 PM
    Yep, I also write poetry as an outlet for my emotions. I love talking to my friends but sometimes, you just don't want to bother them or better yet scare them to death. I find that by writing down how I feel, it somehow makes me feel that much better. Interestingly enough, I get all the ideas for my poetry usually when I am down....when I'm happy, I would rather do something else I guess...who wants to hole up in a dark room when they are happy right. I guess that's why I have been in a bit of a writer's block which is both good and bad that's why I don't have too many positive poems other than the romantic ones.

    I actually read some of my most personal poems at the Rez. Coffee house couple of times. This is a gathering for the dorm students where they perform music and whatever talent that they want to showcase. I found this actually quite invigorating although the response was a both positive and negative. Positive because it was therapeutic for me and it was a chance for some of my friends to discover what I had been hiding for such a long time. To see some people cry was incredibly touching. I say negative but it's in the sense that some people became very worried about me...I did read some very disturbing poems...one suicidal...so in hindsight, I should have expected that type of response. I can still vividly remember the applause that I received...still brings tears to my eyes.

    I plan in the future to maybe gather up enough of my poems to write a book or something....if I find enough time what with school and all.

    Posted by: doomgirl Jul 21 2002, 09:39 AM
    I to also write, to get these crazy thoughts out of my head, but I write novels and short story's and poems from my dreams and everyday idea's, and I'm pleased to say that I have almost finished writing my first novel.

    Posted by: martiangirl Jul 23 2002, 07:04 PM
    I also write and have done so for pretty much all of my life - I've also suffered with depression for as long as I can remember in various shapes and forms. Currently it's very up and down but considering what I've been and am going through, I'm doing quite well I think.

    I tend to start novels etc and never finish them but I'm determined to finish the one I'm currently writing. The big test for me is letting anyone else read it even though they probably won't realise how personal it really is.

    I'm really looking forward to the sense of completion and shedding some of the darkness in my head though this literary cleansing.

    Posted by: pandora Jul 25 2002, 10:45 PM
    I have recently started a journal. I started it purely to keep track of my moods, and to determine whether any foods, situations, hormones etc may be contributing to my depression.

    Although I started the journal purely as a problem solving exercise it has become my main release for pent up emotions. It has been excellent therapy!

    Posted by: Echo Jul 29 2002, 03:21 PM
    I write a lot too about my feelings. I have my own book that I write poetry in and keep a personal diary which I get a bit slack on.

    It helps me a lot especially because I'm someone who has a problem expressing my feelings to other people. This way I still get to express my feelings and occasionally I let people read them depending if I trust them.

    Posted by: Roger Aug 25 2002, 09:29 PM
    I remember once during a difficult time in my life I was sitting on the beach pondering my thoughts) and wishing I could speak to someone about them.

    I sat there and wrote them down on paper then decided to burry them in the sand, I guess that was my kind of burning ceremony.

    It was a great sense of relief acknowledging my thoughts and letting them go.

    I'll never forget that day, I think it lead me into the next phase of my life.

    Of course my problems didn't disappear there but it's given me an outlet to them.

    Posted by: stellar Sep 2 2002, 10:13 AM
    About 10 years ago I fire walked. It was an amazing experience which I won't go into here but I wanted to share the preparation bit....

    First we all got bits of wood and wrote all the negative stuff we could think of. Needless to say, I needed a log. Anyway, we covered the wood in all the bad stuff that had ever happened, negatives self thoughts, fears etc.

    Then we put them all on a pyre and poured fuel on them and held a match to them.

    What a release to see that wood burn!!!!!!

    Then we walked the coals and afterwards had a sausage sizzle on them.

    The idea was that you acknowledged your fears/negative thoughts etc. Then when walking the coals you "rose above" them, then you were nourished by them from the sausage sizzle.

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    REACHING OUT TO OTHERS

    Posted by: Selaspy Sep 5 2002, 02:02 AM
    This is from the post "It's Been A Long Time Coming".
    Isn't life full of ironies. Three days ago I could have died. 24 hours ago I didn't care if I did.

    Today I am medication-free and I feel ok. I am content just to be me. Today has had its ups and its downs. I have had to come to terms with mistakes I have made and plans that I thought were important I have put on hold.

    Why am I content? It is so simple and I am sure that this will work for everyone:

    My friends reminded me they care. That is what works for me.

    Three things helped:

    1. A very special phone call from a very special person who knew I was sad and needed cheering up.

    2. That in turn gave me the courage to reach out to another friend, and together we cheered each other up.

    3. I put a post in here and I got so many beautiful kind responses that I know every word is sincere.

    So next time you are feeling down try these things: don't hide from the phone - it might be someone special who will make your day. Share your feelings with others - friends won't bite. And if someone has made your day just a little bit better, think of those around you who might be feeling a little down themselves.

    The best thing that works for me - making another person happy.

    Posted by: Bec Sep 7 2002, 09:28 PM
    I just wanted to say that your post really inspired me to face up to my problems, and try and sought something out, not only for me, but for the people around me as well.

    Posted by: jennyusa Sep 30 2002, 01:40 AM
    This week I started doing something I used to do- giving away beanie babies to children I know just to make them smile.

    A few years ago I used to work in a hospital where they always had these wonderful beanie baby stuffed animals (which are relatively inexpensive) in the gift shop. I started buying one every week just to enjoy. But my job had lots of contact with patients and families who were waiting for treatment so I ended up giving them all away to the kids!

    I noticed that they have them in the gift shop where I work now so I bought a couple of dog beanie babies- let them sit on top of my computer for a few days- and then gave them away to two different kids I know: My coworkers 14 month old son and a little boy in my neighbourhood who loves dogs but can't have one of his own. It felt great just to do a random act of kindness so maybe I will keep doing it every week!

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    WRITING A LETTER

    Posted by: groosum8 Sep 2 2002, 11:46 PM
    I write the person getting me down a letter a mean horrible letter I mean no holds bared full on wow letter.

    Then I print it out throw it away and rewrite a nicer one, and if I can't my boyfriend edits it for me. I know a lot of my depression is caused by my ex (5yr olds dad) and the stuff he is putting me through. Like taking off with him when he wants and getting my son to call me nasty names. Though that back fired on him when I told my son it was nasty and he told his dad that in front of both of us. Felt proud of my 5 yr old that day. Anyway I find these really nasty letters get the bad stuff out and allows me to deal with it better.

    I also write letters to myself tell myself all the stupid things I've done and how I should have done things better sort of telling myself off. It makes me see that I'm not stupid at all and the choices I made are though at times harmful to me they have a good side. You see I reply to them attacking them and justifying my choices. I even sound mad to myself but hey it works and since I started doing it I am getting better and am stronger for it.

    I also have a diary I leave around when things are bad so my boyfriend knows how I feel he never reads it just knows what it means like out code to say I'm bad at present.

    Posted by: kathy2607 Sep 4 2002, 10:09 AM
    I have only just become a writer. I started seeing this psych last December. Things going nowhere fast. I just can't put the words together. His solution? Write it out. I took the chance.

    So, I write it all out, anything and everything, the past, the present. He reads it and then we easily fill the time talking.

    It might sound really stupid, but that man now knows more about me than anyone else in this whole world.

    He said he could keep my writing in the file or I could bring it home. Reassures me his files are safe. I'm sure they are, but I bring my stuff home again anyway.

    At the end of all this, he says we're going to burn all the papers up together if I want. Now, THAT sounds good.

    Posted by: BluChild Sep 8 2002, 10:50 PM
    Whenever I'm angry or feeling depressed, I like writing letter's to my friends explaining all the feeling's I'm going through. Then I never end up giving it to them. But still, Writing down what I'm feeling helps

    Posted by: BlueBelle Sep 14 2002, 02:21 PM
    I too indulge in a writing spree to release the feelings, emotions etc that I cannot release by talking to someone or just forgetting about it. Sometimes in the form of letters to those causing me pain; sometimes in the form of letters to close friends who care but do not understand what I live through everyday and last but not least I have a journal which I go crazy in with letters, poetry, feelings flow charts and lots of drawings. Everything is dated and kept in a "special" box... sometimes I rummage through looking for answers if I am encountering a recurring problem or just the comfort that the contents of the "special" box helps ease my mind. Though I must admit... since finding dNet, I'm still writing but not going back to the contents of the "special" box for comfort. Thank-you dNet and all of the wonderful people within.

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    POETRY

    Posted by: GrahamR Sep 8 2002, 06:28 PM
    I've found writing poetry works for me.

    It's thinking about, writing and then reading my work to myself that works. If it works for anyone else, so much the better.

    Posted by: AHumanBeing Sep 15 2002, 04:35 PM
    I have found reading the poetry on depressionet has been great for me too!

    Not good at writing myself, and find it really helps to get my own thoughts and emotions clearer ... to understand how I am feeling better... when I read other peoples writing. Often they are able to express things that I feel and just can't express. Gives such a sense of relief to read how I feel... and knowing that someone else wrote the words and so feels the same is one of the most comforting things for me.

    That has been one of the many good things I have gained from here... just knowing that I am not alone.

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    SOMETHING FOR ME

    Posted by: AJ Sep 12 2002, 07:07 AM
    I recommend a nice hot relaxing bath with lavender oil and scented candles surrounding you and soft relaxing music if you have it.

    Posted by: vulcan_ant Sep 18 2002, 07:37 PM
    I love a hot bubble bath, but there are two problems I always have when I settle down to have one.

    1) My bath is so small! And being someone who is 5'10 and weighs around 90 Kg, it feels like I am sitting in a huge bucket of hot bubbled water.

    and

    2) I never seem to have the patience to sit there and enjoy it. I take in a nice book to read, light a few candles and submerge myself in the water for around 10-15 minutes, but then I always have to get out and continue on with my normal duties.

    Posted by: S_a_r_a Sep 20 2002, 09:46 PM
    What helps me with my PND is a break from the kids.

    Just to know that their needs are met and they are safe SOMEWHERE ELSE is like recharging a battery. It gives me time to catch up on me time. I spend the day however I want. If I can just get my one or two days a week to recharge I can cope with the kids the rest of the week.

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    VITAMINS

    Posted by: Voop Sep 18 2002, 11:52 PM
    Vitamins, yes vitamins

    Just go to your doctor, get a blood test. They will them come back and tell your what vitamins your deficient in. Take the recommended ones, and your complete.

    Also research has been conducted into the effects of vitamin B and H on depression, I can't remember the details, but they help.

    Posted by: moonlight Sep 20 2002, 04:59 AM
    I take quite a few vitamins and supplements as I have absorption problems and was quite deficient on many of them. I have also found them to be extremely helpful.

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    RELAXING BEVERAGES

    Posted by: vulcan_ant Sep 18 2002, 04:56 AM
    Just curious, what beverage do you drink to help you calm down and feel relaxed, go to sleep, or make you smile?

    I myself love a hot cup of Earl Grey tea, the aroma just soothes me, and relaxes me, and even when it goes cold, I am still tantalised by taste of it.

    I also have a nice hot cup of black coffee to wake me up and keep my mind awake.

    Posted by: keira Sep 18 2002, 08:59 AM
    My favourite drink is real freshly made lemonade, and there is this stuff called Hairy lemon which is like Berocca and it has you guessed it a hairy lemon on the bottle.

    Posted by: whoami Sep 18 2002, 12:31 PM
    I haven't had any caffeine (no tea, coffee, coke [the drink], or chocolate) for over 13 years. I find that chamomile tea - Lipton make a funky one that they call a herbal infusion and is marketed as "quietly chamomile" helps some. Other than that there is an enzyme in milk (L-Trytophan if I remember correctly - it used to be available in pill form but apparently it caused some bad side effects in some Americans and was removed from the market) - it is in milk but requires some heat for it to be activated and used by our bodies - so warm milk (not boiling hot - just warmed) before bed helps lots too.

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    HUMOUR

    Posted by: bigbadsteve Sep 14 2002, 05:57 AM
    Nothing like a good laugh to while away the time til the mood improves!

    Posted by: RaggedRennie Sep 16 2002, 06:44 PM
    Yes of course....I went to see Carl Barron the other night and I had to just stop laughing for a break or else I would have passed out from not getting enough air in! My throat was so sore from laughing but when it was over after about two hours of hysterical laughter I couldn't frown anymore and it was strange: my face didn't curl up into its usual furrowed worried look that I usually have. Laughing and looking at life through a more positive and perhaps trivial way certainly helps, and hearing so many people laughing and enjoying the same things is great as well!

    Posted by: vulcan_ant Sep 22 2002, 03:39 PM
    Laughter is always the best cure. I always put on a funny comedy movie, or look at humorous sites online when I'm feeling sad or down, and it always does the trick.

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    MUSIC

    Posted by: keira Sep 26 2002, 07:01 AM
    What works for me is listening to music from when I didn't know what Depression was. Stuff from the 80's and older stuff my mum has on record.

    I'm going to buy that Belinda Carlile cd today, cant remember what its called but whenever I hear like leave a light on for me it takes me back and makes me happy.

    Posted by: bull Sep 26 2002, 06:11 PM
    I agree with you Music....is the best.

    Music is my saviour it calms me better than that illusive Valium sometimes.

    Posted by: vulcan_ant Sep 26 2002, 07:03 PM
    I'm the same Keira. I like listening to music from when my life was cheerier and non-depressive, and I hate music that reminds me either of an ex-partner or a bad time in my life.

    I also listen to some funny - comic music

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    GROW - DOES IT WORK FOR YOU?

    Posted by: Beowulf Sep 17 2002, 04:29 AM
    I think like a lot of these "encounter groups" (as I choose to call them) GROW can be very beneficial for a lot of people, and I've heard a lot of favourable reports too. You'll probably have to attend a few meetings at your local GROW group to get a feel of whether or not they're your cup of tea.

    Having said that, I can only report that I found my local GROW group to be of no help or comfort to me whatsoever. Please bear in mind though that this is my own personal subjective opinion.

    My three main difficulties with GROW were:

    They're too "cliquey" - most of the group have known each other for ages, and you always feel like a gatecrasher.

    They're too "touchy-feely" - they want to hold hands and/or hug all the time.

    There's a subtle but strong religious undercurrent to their proceedings, which includes spoken prayers - for me as an atheist this was (unnecessarily) embarrassing.

    As I said, I think you'll really have to go along to a few meetings and form your own impressions, so I'll wish you every success if you do.

    Posted by: Australangel Sep 17 2002, 09:25 AM
    Yes I can see that grow would be wonderful for so many people.

    I've been only to one meeting, and from that meeting I got to meet people older than myself with depression (which I had wanted to), and also got to meet a wonderful lady who had been in hospital, which gave me the push I needed to go there myself, which was one of the best things that's ever happened to me.

    At the group I went to they suggested going to 3 meeting before you decide if its for you or not.

    My only personal problem was that I didn't fit into the literature they had. I am a Christian and their literature was different to my beliefs, so this made me uncomfortable. I can however see for many people that it would be very beneficial.

    It was a structured meeting, and I can see how that would be good, they also try to use this as a way of being self focussed, which the structure makes you get out of yourself and listen to others which I thought was really good.

    They also have regular get togethers with other groups.

    Posted by: whitedove Sep 17 2002, 08:11 PM
    I attended one local grow group some time ago, and was also put off by a couple of things. I was NOT at all at ease with the 'touchy-feely' component of the meeting. I have to say the expectation of hugging/holding of hands of strangers and telling them your story on the first meeting, I found to be unacceptable. A newcomer should first be asked if they want to participate in these activities. I like my personal space, so think the group in general should look at addressing this for newcomers, as I found it to be one of the major put-offs.

    The other factor of the grow concept I felt uncomfortable with was the religious overtones within it. As someone who is not a Christian, I could not relate to this, and to be honest really didn't want to hear it.

    In general, the idea of the program in theory seems like a great idea, however, I thought the actual structure was confining. By this I mean that it really didn't allow people to openly converse with others, which I thought that it would. Maybe I thought it would be more relaxed, being able to talk when you are ready.

    Having said all this, by all means try it out. What doesn't work for some people does work for others and we don't know what does until we give them a go!

    Posted by: mystery505 Sep 19 2002, 08:43 PM
    GROW. I went to one Grow meeting a long time ago. Never went back.

    I don't remember much about it now...except that towards the end of the meeting someone suggested a buddy system of support...someone you could call if you needed to. Sounds ok on the surface...except they expected people to buddy up randomly and exchange phone numbers!

    I was told to buddy up with some guy I had just met (not even spoken with!) and to give him my phone number!!!

    It was very awkward & embarrassing. I couldn't do that. So I refused, but I could see that the other person looked taken aback as if rejected.

    Yes, they should ASK before expecting people to do certain things!

    This includes the "touchy-feely" stuff like hugging and holding hands, etc.

    A lot of people who suffer from depression have a history of physical/sexual abuse, and a lot of these associate touching with anxiety and abuse, etc. A person should always ask if its OK to touch or give a hug to someone else. Never assume that it's just OK, especially when you know that that person suffers from depression, etc.

    Posted by: Twinkles Sep 22 2002, 04:49 PM
    Just reading through everyone's comments and observations, and wanted to add my point of view. I can appreciate people having concerns for being put in positions that they don't want at these meetings, and hopefully the place will accept that you have the right to say no, to things you don't like.

    It seems a shame that you want to put up your barriers because of the Christian side that's connected to this. It's well noted, that people with faith, do have another dimension to help them through things. What if it's true????

    The programme has obviously worked for many people so that can only be good huh? But it's a sad suggestion to say that "I think it is time some 'unbeliever' wrote an updated alternative" No doubt, this would be changing the whole foundation of the GROW vision and what it was based on?

    Posted by: Sunshine5 Sep 25 2002, 09:28 AM
    I've been attending GROW meetings for just over a year, & found the program to be a real life-saver. So I'd like to add a few comments in relation to the postings I've just read...

    I wasn't keen on the huggy stuff when I first started, either. But no-one pushed me - they were all very polite & asked me first, whether or not I wanted a hug, & I just said 'no thanks', & that was the end of that. After a couple of months when I started to get to know people & genuinely care about them, it felt OK to give them a hug, so I did. But only 1 or 2 out of the group - & that was OK by them, so I didn't feel uncomfortable. Now I know them all much better, it's just fine. But I still shy away from anyone new, until I get to know them, & that doesn't cause any problems at all.

    I also wasn't comfortable with the God stuff that's right through the program. I just ignore those bits, or translate them in my mind into something that works for me. I gain a lot from the common-sense approach of the program, & I figure there's no need to throw the baby out with the bath water.

    Sounds like there's quite a variation amongst groups. No-one ever asked me to divulge my private affairs to the group. Even now, they don't. I talk if & when I want to. I never even said a word for the first 2-3 meetings I went to, & that was a huge comfort to me. I was very introverted & wary of people when I first went along.

    I know a lot of people get put off by the words 'inadequate & maladjusted'. I think it's a bit full-on too, but the fact is that some days I DO feel exactly that! It doesn't make me feel hopeless or useless, though. Just helps me to know when I'm having an 'off' day, so I know I need to keep myself 'safe' & avoid situations that I find more difficult.

    One thing I tell a lot of people about the GROW program - what you get out of it is exactly what you put into it. The program is there as a guide to mental health, the group provides the support we need to apply the program, but in the end it's up to us to put it into practice. A quick-fix it ain't.

    After 15 or so years of trying every therapy under the sun, I really couldn't speak more highly of GROW. So if anyone here would like some support/information/general help in relation to GROW, I'm more than happy to do my best.

    Posted by: skyweir Sep 28 2002, 09:41 AM
    I am very much not a group person, but I had heard good reports about GROW so I went to a meeting. I too am an atheist (kind of, I only go to church or have any belief in German) but the local group here stresses that everything is voluntary, including the bits of the books that mention God and the prayers.

    Also the touchy feely stuff isn't me, but the group understands if I don't do it. And so far they really haven't put me off too badly (I have only been to two meetings) so I am trying it for a while.

    I guess it really does depend on the local group, but they have impressed me so far, and considering my attitude towards groups that is pretty good.

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    NATURAL SOUND THERAPY

    Posted by: doomgirl Sep 19 2002, 10:02 AM
    I have found something that really works for me and I figured some of you out there might like it to.

    It's a program that plays different sounds, like ocean waves, a babbling brook, a thunderstorm, and a forest evening.

    It also has a few mediative sounds that have helped me when I have found sleep next to impossible or if I've been really stressed out ( which is a lot lately)

    The following being waves that are produced by the brain

    DELTA - Deep sleep, lucid dreaming, healing through increased immune functions, "OOB" experiences.

    THETA - Meditation, deep relaxation, learning, creativity, increased focus and memory.

    ALPHA - Light relaxation, positive thinking, creativity, effortless alertness, increased learning.

    BETA - Normal waking state, peak alertness, concentration and focus (excessive levels lead to anxiety).

    I must say, that after 5 minutes of listening to the Delta wave, I had the best night's sleep I've had in god knows how long

    If you want to try it you can find it here - (http://www.softdepia.com/multimedia_design/illustration/natura_sound_therapy.html)

    Posted by: Eagle Sep 20 2002, 12:00 PM
    Thank you for sharing that site. One of my sure alleviations for depression used to be to walk on a lonely beach by myself and just absorb the sound of peace, it never really occurred to me to try it with a tape. So I will try it out.

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    BOOKS AND READING

    Posted by: Pete Oct 10 2002
    I have noticed some positive reviews of the Blue Day Book by Bradley Grieve, can I also recommend The Blue Day Journal and Directory (one book) also by Grieve. This is a great "starter" journal for those who, like me, would like to write down their thoughts/ideas/memories etc as part of the healing process but don't know how to begin. There are many prompts, questions, pictures etc that are very useful in getting the creative juices flowing

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