Monthly Archives: January 2010

Wiblog Therapy

Depression Management

Session 2 – The Parable of the Support Worker and the Service-User

Two men were in a church.  One of them, a Mental Health Support Worker, looked up to heaven and said, “Thanks Lord that I am not like this poor Service-User here.  I help many people in my job, give to charity and enjoy good health.” The Service-User, however, would not even lift his head.  He looked down at his clenched fists and mumbled a prayer, “I’m sorry Lord that I am not the person I want to be.  I try to cope with life but struggle with depression and often feel that I am of no use to anybody, certainly not you Lord.  I hope that you can accept this prayer from me.”

Which of these men went away justified in the eyes of God, do you think?

 

Okay, slightly tongue in cheek, I admit.  I would hate to work alongside such an arrogant Support Worker, for a start!  (Thankfully I have only met very few with that kind of outlook.) However, the attitude of the service-user (current label for clients who use a mental health service, for e.g.) actually brings him closer to the Lord than the self-satisfied attitude of the man who thinks he has it ‘sorted’.  This is something that I would love to be able to say to the people who attend the depression management course which I run.

 

Sometimes I think that becoming depresesed is probably the most sane reaction to the world we live in and the broken state of our own lives!  However, managing the condition outside the context of a Christian worldview can still leave the core problem unaddressed.  Yes, there are things a person can do to improve their mood and their ability to cope but, to me, the best place for the road of depression to lead is to the foot of the cross.  Where else could a sense of guilt, inadequacy and brokenness truly be dealth with?

Wiblog Therapy

Depression Management

Session 1

In my Depression Management course I would usually start with the ‘getting to know one another and understanding depression’ bit.  However, as I am being a little self-indulgent here, I am not doing that!  Instead, I am going to look at a simple tecnique we use at work which I have also found reccommended in many texts –

 

Deep breathing

Yes, that is what I said!

 

My favourite version of this is called the 7/11 breathing method  (Simply because I find it easy to remember the numbers by picturing a Spar-type convenience store). 😉

Here is how it works.

1)  If possible, find somewhere quiet so that you can sit / lie and relax. 

2)  Breath in slowly to the count of 7.  If it helps, put your hands on your tum (abdomen!) and concentrate on breathing in such that this bit, rather than your chest, is the part of your body that expands.  When your tum expands, it shows that you are breathing properly and not taking tense, shallow breaths.

3)  Hold breath briefly, and then breathe out to the count of 11.  Some texts I have read suggest breathing out as far as you can go, then adding a final ‘puff’ to ensure that your lungs are totally empty.

4)  Rinse and repeat – well, without the rinse bit!

 

Note:  In fact, this can be done without necessarily finding a quiet place.  It is a good way of calming down in public, and is not something that will draw attention to yourself (such as the breathing into a paper bag trick reccommended for panic attacks!)

 

Science bit:  This is usually a technique reccommended more for the anxiety side of mental illness, rather than depression.  Apparantly, it kicks in a the relaxation reflex based on the principle of the ‘sigh of relief’ when you realise that the scary noise was just the cat knocking something over, and not the apocalypse (for e.g.)!  Also, as long as the out-breath is longer than the in-breath, the technique still works.  It does also work for depression, because it helps with the regulation of some of the happy hormones (details on request!).  Also, I have found there to be quite a bit of crossover between the tools used to  manage depression and those used to cope with anxiety.  This is alsmost certainly because the conditions themselves have alot in common, and one person can certainly be seen to experience aspects of both illnesses at any one time.

 

God bit:  Something that can help is to imagine that you are breathing in happy/holy/God-type stuff and breathing out negative/angry/stressy stuff.  Some texts suggest the breathing in light and breathing out darkness (whatever works for you!)  This deep breathing can work as a form of prayer, if you are happy to approach it in this way.

 

So that is my first attempt at imparting my professional wisdom(!) on here.  Let me know if it works. 😉

I think I must be solar powered

These last few days, even weeks, I have been labouring under a blanket of gloom.  This morning, having opened the curtains to see a shiney golden-yellow orb in the sky, I found that my brain seemed to speed up a little.  Here are a number of the thoughts that have been sloshing in the grey, and are now appearing clearer in the light:

 

Problem:  Frustration – it is something I frequently experience at work, for a number of reasons. 

One is the fact that I teach a group on Depression Management – yet still struggle to manage my own. 

Not only that, but I know the things I teach – whilst obviously being useful – only scratch the surface.  There is not room for God in what I do – at least not overtly. 

 Another work related frustration is the fact that H&S, or whatever legislative stranglehold it is, means that I am not permitted to hug people who sometimes quite obviously need it.  Aaaaargh!

 

Partial Solution:  Wiblog therapy – I had the idea that perhaps I could blog some Depression Management stuff.  I am fascinated by the whole mind, body, spririt thing and, the more I read and learn, the more convinced I am that it can be distilled down to a few simple ideas.  Simple to state, that is, the hard work is doing them! 

Putting my knowledge on here means that the only person I  would be answerable to is my Maker.  I tried this kind of thing a while ago, under the guise of my alter-ego Dr. VonDithhausen, but I think I need to come out from behind the disguise. 

If I do not receive numberous comments howling at me to keep my Cod Psychology to myself, then I think this is what I am going to do.  Just steer clear if you do not want to know.

 

Thanks for reading.  Bye for now.

I need analysis

My workplace is carrying out something called a Wellbeing Survey at the moment.  I will not bore you with the details, but suffice to say that it involves asking people to respond to a questionnaire designed to assess their level of personal wellbeing.  People like me (anonymity assured, we are told).

 

Ticking the boxes and answering the questions was all well and good, until the final section.  This is where participants were asked to comment on their assessment of the effectiveness of the survey.  It was the question ‘Did you feel this survey covered the right areas to give us an idea of your wellbeing?’  that caused me the greatest trouble.  I appeared to be unable to stop commenting on all the shortcomings and omissions that I thought the questionnaire contained!  I even felt like asking if a company specialising in statistical analysis had been commissioned to carry out the study, or whether the job had just been given to some passing GCSE students.

 

On reflection, I need analysis.  Possibly some counselling,  but more likely some scientific data to occupy my own mind.

 

Btw, I no longer plan to submit the questionnaire – I do not really trust the assurance of complete anonymity!

Lies, damn lies and statistics

I heard the latest offering from the Dept of Spurious Research on the radio this morning.  The newsreader announced that scientists have discovered that people whose names begin with the letter A live, on average, 10 years longer than those whose name begins with the letter D.  Tell me, how does THAT work?!?

Footnote:  Husband has since decided to change his name to Aaron A. Aardvark.  I, on the other hand, wish to be adressed as Dithster Dith-Dith DeParry from now on.