Support for Depression
Regarding support for depression, initially people claimed that addressing the content of one’s mind and shifting its orientation in a positive direction was the key to healing. Research has emerged that shifts this view and states it is one’s relationship to the content of his or her mind that is a potential resource for healing, not the previously held view that change happened by changing the content itself.
Two factors that seem to be contribute to people’s vulnerability toward depression:
When individuals are in a negative mood, even moderately, they seem to more readily access negative material, such as thoughts, memories, and attitudes (although when they were not suffering from a depressive episode they showed no signs for these dysfunctional assumptions or attitudes).
Those vulnerable to depression have a distinct way of handling these negative moods, which results in a strong tendency toward rumination.
Understanding Rumination: Individuals often believe that thinking incessantly about their emotional state gives them a better understanding of these emotions, and that eventually it will help them solve their problems; however research shows that people actually have a harder time handling such situations. People are better supported by “learning to relate to thoughts as thoughts (i.e. as mental events rather that “the truth” or “me”), one of the central aspects of Buddhist mindfulness meditation.
“…the task of relapse prevention is to help patients disengage from these ruminative and self-perpetuating modes of mind when they feel sad or at other times of potential relapse.”
Segal, et al, 2013
Understanding the limits of our mind: The mind only has a certain amount of space. Most individuals suffering from depression fill this space with ruminating thoughts and recollections of what is not working. Applying mindfulness and the qualities of present attention, one can fill this space with what is actually going on rather than on fears about the future or guilt about the past. There is significant relief provided by simply returning to the present moment, which actually counteracts the ineffective, even damaging habit of rumination.
“With mindful awareness, it is possible for anyone, regardless of the circumstances, to be in more direct contact with his or her life experience and to feel more alive.”
Stephanie Morgan, Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, 2005
Zindel Segal, Mark Williams and John Teasdale were some of the first to recognize and discuss the importance of one’s relationship to the content of his or her mind. Much of the information discussed in the previous paragraphs can be found in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression released in 2013.
Depression is often an overwhelming experience. It seems to consume one’s life, depleting it of any joy or perspective. Thoughts become bleak and seem to perpetuate themselves. If you are experiencing the heaviness, hopelessness and isolation of depression, please call me today.
Although this is often an overwhelming experience, you don’t have to hang out in this place alone. You and your life deserve care and attention. Working with a skilled and compassionate therapist can support you as you gain new awareness and create new coping strategies. As a trained Mindfulness Instructor and mental health counselor, I will approach your situation from multiple angles and we will work together to find new ways for managing your life.
“It isn’t what happens to us that makes us happy or unhappy; it is how the mind is set. What makes us suffer is the way we think about what’s happening…our storylines aggravate our troubles.”