What to Expect as You Overcome Major Depression

Learn what to expect as you go through treatment and recover from major depression.

After a bout of major depression, it’s a relief when you start to feel like your old self again. Overall, you’re improving as you go through treatment for major depression, “but it’s often two steps forward and one step back,” says Shoshana Bennett, PhD, a clinical psychologist. “It’s rarely a straight line up.” Just knowing to expect some bad days with the good can help you be more patient with yourself. “These are dips, not relapses,” Dr. Bennett says.

A risky time during depression recovery is when you start having several good days in a row. It’s easy to think that — since you’re not having symptoms — you don’t need treatment for depression anymore, but going off medication or quitting therapy for depression too soon can lead to symptoms coming back.

American Psychiatric Association guidelines recommend that people with depression who have been successfully treated with antidepressants keep taking them for at least four to nine months, and sometimes longer. Similarly, people with depression who have fewer symptoms with talk therapy should talk with their therapist about how long to continue treatment.

Keeping Depression Symptoms Away Besides sticking with your depression treatment, you can take steps to keep symptoms under control. Connecting with friends and family, thinking positively, staying active, eating well, and getting enough sleep all help, but there’s a catch, says Jon Allen, PhD, senior staff psychologist at the Menninger Clinic in Houston: “The nature of depression makes it difficult to do those things.”

Don’t be surprised if these healthy steps feel unnatural at first. Depression fosters hopeless thinking, so you may have trouble believing that they’ll ever get easier. “They will,” Dr. Allen notes, “as you pull out of depression.”

Friends and family might see a change in your depression symptoms and depressed behavior before you do. “It’s remarkably common,” Allen says. “People will say, ‘Gosh, you look better,’ or ‘You sound better,’ and the depressed person is thinking, ‘Well, I still feel terrible.'” It can be very frustrating for the depressed person, who ends up feeling that other people don’t understand how tough things really are.

Building a Depression Support Network A support group is one place to find other people who know what you’re going through because they’ve had depression themselves. To locate in-person and online depression support groups, call the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (800-826-3632).

If you pulled away from friends and family while depressed, now is the time to start rebuilding those bonds. Allen suggests making concrete plans; for example, to meet a friend for coffee. “By making that commitment to someone else, you may feel obligated to show up,” he says. It’s added motivation to get out and rejoin the world. Friends and family can also be a source of encouragement on days when depression symptoms or worries about symptoms get you down. Gradually, you’ll start to feel more hopeful, too.

Boost Your Energy Level in 11 Steps

Learn how to recharge your batteries so you can keep on going like the Energizer bunny.

Tired of Having No Energy?

Everyone feels tired now and then, but are your energy stores totally depleted? Think of it this way: If you blow a fuse in your house, you can’t expect to get power back by lighting a few candles and searching for food with a flashlight. You’ve got to find the bad fuse, replace it, and reset the system. Same goes for your energy. Before you reach for the big Cs to snap out of your sluggishness (you know . . . cookies, candy, carbs, and caffeine concoctions), we’ve got an 11-step plan to pep you up.

Consider Your Sleep Habits

It’s pretty basic, but you need to get your ZZZs. Sleep loss is a major energy drain. Our bodies and brains need 6 to 9 hours of sleep to restore good brain-cell functioning (i.e., the ability to perform physically as well as mentally, since both coordination and thinking require those brain cells to work well). Getting on a regular bedtime schedule will help set your internal clock so your body knows when to sleep and when to wake. Find out what’s causing any sleep issues you may have.

Train Your Brain

Tell your body you want to watch Glee reruns all night and — thanks to mechanisms called feedback loops — you downshift energy production. This explains why you can feel too tired to move even though you’ve been sitting around all day. Tell your body to move and it responds by giving you the energy to get moving. Your body teaches your brain. That’s how healthy behaviors become automatic habits. This may be tough the first few times you try, but it gets easier.

Stay Hydrated

Getting to the point where you’re just starting to feel thirsty (a mere 2.6% drop in hydration levels) is one of the quickest ways to take the spring out of your step. In fact, being even just a little dehydrated can lead to unpleasant feelings, such as fatigue, crankiness, and foggy thinking. When you feel yourself dragging, grab a tall glass of water. Another plus of H20: people who drink water throughout the day consume a whopping 9 percent fewer daily calories.

Cut Back on Sugar

A sugar-filled diet gives you about a birthday candle’s worth of energy, while a healthy diet is more like an eternal flame. Work on limiting simple sugars (they end in –ose, such as glucose, sucrose, maltose, and dextrose — ribose is OK), syrups, and any grain that’s not 100% whole. Ribose is the exception because it’s a special sugar made in your body. It doesn’t come from food, but does come in supplement form and can help build the energy factories of your body. It’s not for everyone, so talk to your doctor first.

Trade TV Time for Exercise

No time to exercise, but plenty of time to watch TV? Exercise can do a world of good to boost your energy, so even on days when you don’t feel up to it, try to do some kind of physical activity, such as walking, strength training or cardio to kick your feel-good endorphins into high gear. Still uninspired? Try the 10-minute rule. Make a deal with yourself to get moving for at least 10 minutes. Chances are, once you start, you’ll feel so much better that you’ll keep going.

Spend Time in the Sun

Short days can causes seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — neurochemical changes in your brain due to lack of sunlight. From late fall until spring, people with SAD become depressed, sleep too much, withdraw from friends, and battle low energy and relentless carb cravings. To prevent SAD and get energized, try to spend some time in the sunshine. If there isn’t any, ask your doctor about light therapy, which involves sitting in front of a special box that shines ultrabright lights.

Sip Tea

Black, green, and white teas all contain the energizing amino acid L-theanine, which isn’t found in coffee. Green tea contains free-radical-fighting compounds that help you stay younger and avoid the aging and decrease in energy that accompany chronic disease. Although green tea has one-third the caffeine of black tea, it’s been shown to yield the same level of energy and attentiveness.

Get a Daily Dose of Magnesium

For a little extra get-through-the-day energy, top your veggies with toasted sesame seeds. They’re loaded with magnesium — a mineral that cells need in order to convert food to energy. Other magnesium-rich foods include: whole grains, dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, and cashews. Magnesium not only boosts your energy, it also helps strengthen your bones and keep your heart, nerves, muscles, and immune system functioning well.

Take a Power Nap

Close your office door or slip out to your car for a quick snooze. Power naps, or “cat naps,” can boost your mood, memory, and productivity. They also increase your alertness and energy while lowering your blood pressure. To get the most out of your siesta, keep it short (10 to 30 minutes), aim for midafternoon, and get comfy (kick of your shoes, loosen tight clothing and darken the room). Can’t take a nap? Opt for an afternoon walk or office-gym workout.

Eat More Mini-Meals

To stay energized all day, you have to eat often. That means shifting away from three big meals toward five to six balanced mini meals. To maintain steady energy levels, pair complex carbs that are high in fiber (e.g., beans, peas, and whole grains) with unsaturated fats (e.g., avocado, walnuts, or mixed greens with olive oil). Add protein, such as lean meat, nuts, fish, and edamame, as an accent rather than as a main dish.

Still Tired? Talk to Your Doctor

If you’ve tried everything under the sun to boost your energy but still feel tired, it’s probably time to make an appointment with your doctor. Share how you’ve been feeling, when your fatigue began, and what factors may be causing it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to find out what treatment options may be available to you.

Foods That Fight Pain

After posting my previous post on Chronic Pain. I started to do a little more reseach and found some interesting stuff.  As we all know, what you eat can help or hurt you.  I have found out that if I load up with vitamine C mainly in fruits I can manage my depression much better.  So I was wondering if other foods can help relief pain.  I found some soothing foods one should include in there chronic-pain-management strategy.  Afterall we all need to eat, it’s worth a try.

Whole grains are a good source of magnesium, a mineral that has been shown in aimal studies to short-circuit muscle pain.

When it comes to spices with potential pain-relieving properties, go for the gold: ginger and turmeric. Ginger contains a quartet of substances (gingerols, paradols, shogaols, and zingerone) that have analgesic qualities similar to aspirin or ibuprofen.

Turmeric — a spice used in Indian and Thai curry dishes — contains curcumin, another ginger-family member that may also help nip pain in the bud.

Strawberries are chock-full of vitamin C, an antioxidant with powerful pain-reducing properties, according to research. Some studies suggest vitamin C may help people experience less pain after breaking a bone or having orthopedic surgery.

Spinach or arugula salad for a jolt of vitamin K. Vitamin K also helps maintain strong bones and healthy joints. In one study, older adults with ample blood levels of K were less likely to develop osteoarthritis, compared to a low-in-K control group.

Yogurt and other dairy foods contain two bone-building nutrients: calcium and vitamin D. Not only does vitamin D do more than buoy bone strength, it may also play a role in diminishing chronic pain, according to some study findings.

The resveratrol in wine, grapes, and grape juice may have an analgesic effect similar to aspirin, according to a handful of animal studies. But if you add resveratrol to your list of pain-busting nutrients, just watch how much of it you get from red wine. Experts recommend no more than one daily glass of wine for women, men can get a little more.

Quick Steps to Effortless Creativity

This post, by Belle on March 27, 2012, “Quick Steps to Effortless Creativity” really helped me with my creativity maybe you will find it helpful as well.

We are, by our very nature, creative. Creativity flows through us constantly. Yet when we strain and struggle to be creative, we’re only creating strain and struggle.

So sit back, relax, breathe.

The key to effortless creativity is simple: stop resisting it.

Creativity is as easy as breathing. Surrender to this and you allow your creative nature to shine through. And when you’re straining or stuck again, remember these steps:

3 Quick Steps to Effortless Creativity:

1. Know that you are inherently creative.

“Living Enlightenment is being intense in every moment and responding intuitively to achieve your limitless potential for creativity and joy.” -Paramahamsa Nithyananda

If we begin to believe we’re not creative, then that’s what we’re expecting and creating in our lives. Return to the truth of your inherent creativity. Feel the creative power surging through your veins at every moment. The fact is? There is no atom in your being that is not creative!

2. Don’t judge your creativity. This is the cause of so many of our “blocks.” We think we have to create in a certain way, to a certain standard, with certain tools on certain days! We’re very picky. Instead, accept whatever comes through you without judgement, only love. When you love what comes through for you, when you accept it and welcome it, you remove the blocks and enter the powerful flow of creativity.

You might find yourself getting creative about dinner- and if you let it flow, it’ll flow right through dinner and on to your canvas later. Or, you might find yourself inspired to create a treasure hunt- which will make your writing glitter with unexpected gems.

Don’t limit the ways in which your creativity longs to express itself, and you’ll find it overflowing in all areas of your life.

3. Get playful. If you’re laughing and having fun, your judging, ego nature takes a back seat. Ask yourself, “What’s the most fun and unexpected way I can approach this?” Then take yourself for a wild ride!

The trick here is to do something odd, different, or just plain immature for the sake of having fun! I promise if your first priority is to have fun, your creativity will be a wild horse you can barely keep up with. Turn dinner into a food fight, skip backwards on your way to a stuffy business appointment, make a necklace out of bubblegum “beads”- you get the picture!

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”  ― Albert Einstein

How Quickly We Tumble Down the Rabbit Hole

February 13th was my last post.  Valentine’s Day was somewhat disappointing.

Mental Side Note [They say, “Lower your expectations and you will not be disappointed”.   I want to disagree.  Then again what does it really mean?  If we lower our expectation are we not ultimately lowering our own expectation?  We don’t just lower the expectation of the people around us but also of one self.  If we lower our expectation are we still able to live life at its fullest? Is it not better to try and fail then not to have tried in the first place? ]

Then I started coming down with a cold which did indeed take everything out of me.  I spend days in bed.  Not so sure what really kept me in bed for all these days was it the cold or was it the disappointment, probably a combination of both.

I started getting back in to the functional realm. Still getting up in the morning with a sore throat and a voice sounding like grinding stone on chalkboard doesn’t make for a fun day ahead. So I fully embraced my self-pity and happily and ineffectually muddled away, till today.

I read this blog post and it snapped be back into reality it made me realize my pain and disappointment I had experience in the last few weeks is nothing compared the burdens others have to carry.

New Feel-Good Worksheets are up!

New Feel-Good Worksheets are up!.

I have to reblog  Sophie’s Feel-Good Worksheets.  I think it’s a great idea and can come in handy on these blue days.

New Feel-Good Worksheets are up!

Hi All!

First of all.. lots of ♥ for everyone for following/commenting/liking/reading my blog! It is so exciting & humbling if you see that there are so many people that enjoy what you put out there. I only started this blog about 2 1/2 months ago and am soo thrilled by all the lovely responses. I’m having so much fun in discovering interesting content for the blog, its a blast!

More exciting news is that I am working on my own articles that are mind-body health related. As you all know I am all about creating health the not-so-obvious way; by creating more happiness & love in our lives. It’s amazing how much effect we can have with out mind over the body (for example, think placebo effect). I believe that our bodies are a reflection of our minds. At every moment, our bodies are continually responding to the messages from our minds.

Be careful what you tell yourself, our cells are always listening
~Sophie 

And… I created more worksheets! I like to print them out and keep them in my organizer and fill them out every morning.

How you start your day is how you live your day, and how you live your day is the way you live your life. ~Louise Hay

 

Feel Good Worksheets Color

You can also find them under the ‘worksheets’ tab, they are also available in black & white.

My January Review

WOW this has been an awesome months.  It wasn’t one of my goals for 2012 to write a monthly review but maybe I should just to summarize what I did during the month, to get some perspective plus while I’m writing my monthly review I might as well plan my next months.

So during January I’ve been juggling my 3 jobs.  I’ve done pretty well meaning managing my three jobs so far. I wasn’t late or showed up at the wrong place.  Only once I went to the wrong event but I was an hour early so I had enough time to get to my correct location. However, I didn’t manage to set any time aside for Hospice, which I will have to do in February.

I did some spring cleaning and sorted out my closets.  I realized when it comes to big projects such as cleaning out garage, house, attic, closets etc.  you either need to have a good friend who helps you with making the decision of what needs to go, like Carrie in Sex in the City or you can do it like me with taking small steps at the time. I did ask a friend if she would want to help me clean out my garage in February.

I went to the Tiger Rescue, The Genghis Khan Exhibit, and a Cancer Fundraiser in addition to that my job sent me to and RV show and a Wedding show which both were fun events to work for and they came with a bunch of little perks.

I made my Wish Box.  It is a little blue box with a wizard painted on top.  Inside, lots of little pieces of papers with my wishes. Pink papers are for under $50.00 with things such as wanting to go to a certain restaurant, seeing a certain movie.  Basically these are all items which I can do with my friends or a friend can grant me one wish as a birthday present. As we go through life there is often the thought “oh I want to try this restaurant, see this movie, take this class; however, when your girlfriends asks us “hey what do you want for your birthday?” what do we say?   Now I’m going to have them pick out of the little box which one of my little wishes they want to grant me.  This way it’s still a surprise and it makes it all so much easier.

Then there are yellow and blue papers these are personal items and long term projects, they serve as a mental bridge. How many times have you been sitting around with your friends not know what to do, so you went to the mall or went back to the same restaurant you have gone over 50ty times.  Then the following week you think, last weekend was such a nice weekend and we went to the mall, I totally forgot I always wanted to go horseback riding with this particular friend.  Or you think, so we went back to this restaurant I totally forgot I always wanted to try this other restaurant.

In addition I painted a few more fun boxes to keep my makeup and jewelry organized. Now my bathroom counter is nicely organized and I’m not looking at a bunch of little jars of creams, makeup and jewelry every morning cluttering my bathroom counter.

I completed three paintings and spend time with some friends.

Finally, I bought a new set of glasses which I had been putting off since last summer.

Finally I got a new phone as well. Still not texting, I didn’t feel like paying an additional $20.00 a month so my friends can text useless information.  Many of them would do that if I would have texting.

I set up a savings plan. I also decided that the money from one of my part time jobs will be my lipstick money from now on.  The paycheck goes into a separate account out of which I pay for all my fun stuff, entertainment, dinners, clothes, trips glasses, contact lenses even dentist.  Everything which isn’t a bare essential is paid out of that account and from that job.  The other job will pay the essentials such as utilities, car, housing and the pay from my third job is savings and for my Mom.

Managed to do some yard work which has been way over do and I did manage to get some little workout in here and there.

I only read one book so I need to do better in February.

Overall I think I had a great productive month.  The days were short but the weeks were really long.