Monthly Archives: March 2010

Easter holiday

As my depression management group is getting a holiday from their sessions this week, I thought I would take a break here too.  Instead, please enjoy this advert from freecycle that came through to my inbox:

Wanted, a fish tank for oap, approx a 5′ or a 3′.

I  wonder whether the oap was approx 3 or 5 feet tall, or the fish tank for them to live in would need to be that size.  Any ideas?

Wiblog Therapy

Depression Management

Session 5

Make time for fun

Here is a quote from my journal entry for today:

“Now to today.  Need a day off, and I think that today will be that day.  Need to just stop and smell the flowers, both literally and figuratively.  Need to look at life with the eyes of faith, gratitude and appreciation – and not to get caught up in ‘this needs fixing, that needs doing’ thinking.  Doubtless, things do need attention, but so does my health and wellbeing.  After all, not everything is my responsibility – the post of Creator and Sustainer of the Universe is taken – and very well appointed it is too! ”

I could add more to that, such as a list of suggestions of relaxing and enjoyable things to do.  But I think that you WibFolk know better than I do what makes you happy.  Today, I give you permission to do those things.

Perhaps Saturday or even Sunday are not possible days off for you, but even God rested!  It is hard for sabbath to be a Sunday for many of us (the irony not being at all lost on me), but we do need time to recharge.  Imagine using your mobile phone, or any other battery powered gadget, without plugging it into the mains from time to time.  Imagine driving your car for miles and miles and miles and not stopping to refuel.  What would the eventual outcome of these practices be?  Yep, you’ve got the idea! 🙂

Whilst sleep, food and the Word of God (natch!) are part of the refuelling and recharging package – a much neglected component is good, old-fashioned FUN!  So, do what you need to do.  Freewheel downhill on a bicycle, play an instrument for no other reason than the sheer joy of it, stroke a cat, cuddle a child, have a soothing bath, sing into your hairbrush (oops, am beginning the list I said I would not write!)  Anyway, you get the idea.  Doing the necessary jobs and tasks, plus including the other types of refuelling, can give a clear and ordered life but perhaps with only a hint of colour. On the other hand, taking some time for yourself and enjoying it with an attitude of gratitude to the king who blesses, can add vibrancy and depth of hue to life. 

As for me, I am a little tired of monochrome and pastels.  I’m giving myself this day to find some colour, colour which I will hopefully be able to share with others as the week progresses.  How about you?

Wiblog Therapy

Depression Management

Session 4

Change the Tape

This would be called ‘Recognising and Changing Extreme and Unhlepful Thinking’ in the course, but I think that the idea of changing the tape is a helpful one (although a CD may be more appropriate these days!)  Anyway, here is the general idea:

Common Thinking Errors

Overgeneralising – whereby everything is black or white, bad or good. This can lead to people (including yourself), being negatively judged or condemned on the basis of a single statement or incident  e.g. this always happens to me, I will never be happy etc.  Try to develop a balanced view instead, taking all factors into account.

Mind reading – assuming we know what others are thinking without checking it out with them.  Making negative interpretations and assumptions even if there are no definite facts e.g. because a friend doesn’t return your call, it means they are avoiding you.  Try to think of other reasons for their actions that may have no bearing on their opinion of you.

Catastrophising – we’re all doooooooooomed!!! (i.e. taking an isolated event and blowing it up out of all proportion)  Ask yourself what is the evidence ? How many times, if ever, has the worst outcome happened before? Are you ignoring all the times things have gone well?

Negative focus –  Ignoring the positive aspects of a situation and only focusing on the negative parts. Try to focus on the positive too!

Living by fixed/inflexible rules: having unrealistic expectations and regularly using the words “must”, “should”, “ought” and “can’t” very often causes unnecessary disappointment and guilt.  You can try and live according to your principles/rules, but don’t punish or be too hard on yourself if you can’t always keep to them.

Personalising: taking responsibility and blame for everything that goes wrong. Again, look for an alternative – ask yourself is it really completely your fault? Are there no other factors or people contributing to what went wrong? Would you blame a friend in the same situation as you?

Challenge those thoughts – Change the tape!

1)  Identify the unhelpful thought .

2)  Find evidence for the thought – this must be factual and supportable, not just feelings based

3)  Find evidence against the thought – this will probably take more work than part 2, but stick at it!

4)  Form a balanced thought – this will result from a considered assessment of the evidence both for and against the original unhelpful thought.

God bit

I, personally, have found the best source of balanced thoughts to be the Bible.  The principle itself of ‘taking each thought captive and presenting it to Christ’ as well as ‘being transformed by the renewal of my mind’ is reflected in this whole process.  It may be called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and be thought of as a new form of counselling, but the principle is as old as God himself!