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Note: Cross posted from STATIC Youth’s Weblog.

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Downtown Chicago

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Over the part few days I have been working on a presentation that I have to give in Chicago in August. I am giving a presentation on Communication skills. But unlike normal communication presentations, I am looking at it from the point of view of three prongs of the same fork:

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Below is an article I read and I thought it would be very helpful to others, enjoy…

Paul

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7 Ways To Keep Going

By Therese J. Borchard
April 7, 2009

A woman who lives with chronic pain said to my mom the other day, “You can’t sit around and wait for the storm to be over. You’ve got to learn how to dance in the rain.”

That’s a perfect description of living with depression, or any chronic illness. But what do you do on the days you don’t think you can take the pain anymore? When you want so badly to be done with your life … or at least be done with the suffering? What do you do when anxiety and depression have spun a web around you so thick that you’re convinced you’ll be trapped forever in those feelings?

I’ve compiled a few tools for moving past that harrowing darkness, suggestions on how to emerge from a place of panic, and techniques on how to dance in the rain.

1. Escape from the pain.

Lately, when my thoughts turn dark, I’ve been telling myself that I don’t want another life … I want a reprieve from the pain. I’m usually at a loss on how to get there. I’m tired, frustrated, desperate, so my thoughts follow the path that has already been blazed throughout the years … and I fantasize about intoxication or some other destructive behavior that doesn’t require a lot of imagination.

How else can I escape … in a positive way? Instead of romanticizing about death or inebriation from booze, I can research new kayaking routes, bike paths, hiking trails, and camping sites. I can invest the time I lose in unproductive and dangerous thoughts into planning creative outings for myself and for the family that will give me/us the reprieve that I’m craving. I can be proactive about finding sitters for the kids so that my thoughts won’t revert back to “stinking thinking.”

2. Track your mood.

An essential piece of my recovery is keeping a mood journal. This helps me to identify certain patterns that emerge. As I said in my “Me on the Bad Days” post, depression can flare up seemingly out of the blue, like a thunderstorm. But often there are telltale signs that can clue me in as to why I’m feeling so fragile. You can catch these if you’ve been recording your mood over time.

3. Talk about it.

I can’t get a therapy appointment round the clock, so I had better invest in some friends that won’t tire of me telling them that my thoughts are turning to mush again.

Over the weekend I called two friends and my mom. “I’m going there again,” I explained. They know what THERE means … without my having to explain or justify. I don’t fully understand how gabbing heals, the scientific explanation of why venting does so much good, but I can surely attest to it, and confirm the connection between talking about something and feeling better. It’s like you’re a scared little kid in a lightning storm, and a neighbor, seeing that you’re locked out of your house, invites you inside and makes a cup of hot chocolate for you. Well, maybe it’s not that good, but it’s close, which is why our phone bill is way up this month.

4. Repeat: “I WILL Get Better”!

As I said in my video, “I WILL Get Better,” I think about my Aunt Gigi every time I wind up in the depression tunnel, and remember her repeating to me over the phone a few years back: “You will get better. Repeat that. You WILL get better.” Peter J. Steincrohn, M.D., author of “How to Stop Killing Yourself” wrote: “Faith is a powerful antidote against illness. Keep repeating – and believing: I WILL get well. If you believe, you help your doctor and yourself.” And this paragraph from William Styron’s “Darkness Visible” always reassures me:

If depression had no termination, then suicide would, indeed, be the only remedy. But one need not sound the false or inspirational note to stress the truth that depression is not the soul’s annihilation; men and women who have recovered from the disease–and they are countless–bear witness to what is probably its only saving grace: it is conquerable.

5. Take baby steps … a day at a time.

On mornings that I wake up with that nauseating knot of anxiety in my stomach, everything seems overwhelming. Getting myself to the bathroom so that I can brush my teeth feels seems like a triathlon in August. So I don’t attempt the triathlon. I only have to worry about getting my left foot down on the ground. And then my right one. And then I have to stand.

I’ll look at my to-do list and cross off two-thirds of it. “What on this list do I absolutely HAVE to do?” I say so myself. Everything else can wait. And then I start with the first thing, and do the first mini-movement that I need to do in order to accomplish that. If it’s getting Katherine dressed, that means 1. Finding Katherine. (That’s harder than it sounds.) 2. Picking out an outfit. (Ditto.) 3. Helping her out of her nightgown and into her clothes. (That’s where my nervous system almost shuts down.) And so on. Each item on the list can be broken down into a dozen mini-steps.

6. Distract yourself.

Some days I’m just not worth much. All I can do is distract myself … to keep myself from thinking about how awful I feel. Just like Fr. Joe carved figurines out of soap when he was depressed, and Priscilla made jewelry to keep her mind off of her anxiety, I will try to do anything to keep my brain occupied and away from my hurt, sort of like I did when I was in labor: baking chocolate-chip cookies, looking through old pictures, listening to Beethoven and Mozart, watching a comedy, swimming, running, biking, or hiking through the woods. (I didn’t do all of that in labor, though.)

7. Get out your self-esteem file.

For the past few days I’ve been carrying around letters from my self-esteem file in my pocket like a baby blanket. Some people have told me that my self-esteem must be shallow if I have to rely on praise from other people. Maybe it is. But I have to start somewhere, and anyone who has sat in that panic place where you want to end it all, knows that it’s virtually impossible at that time to come up with a list of your own strengths. So you have to believe what other people say.

Return to EverydayHealth.com

Therese J. Borchard writes the daily Beliefnet.com blog Beyond Blue (voted by Psych Central as one of the Top 10 Depression Blogs) and moderates Group Beyond Blue, the Beliefnet Community online support group for depression. Her memoir “Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression & Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes” will be released in January of 2010. Subscribe to Beyond Blue here or visit her at www.ThereseBorchard.com.

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When does helping a friend become a “Doctor / Client” relationship?  I was asked this question the other day. Basically when does one cross that line, when does my advice to someone cross over from friendly advice to clinical advice.

 

To me, the line is when you become the replacement to professional help, when they stop seeking to outside help, or when you replace their ability to help themselves.

 

I am willing to offer my advice to anyone who asks, and sometimes to those who do not ask, I always have something to say about most things. I offer up what I feel is the sound advice, based on my moral standards. I offer it freely and expect nothing in return.

 

But there comes a time when that line between friendship and Doctor/Client relationship is crossed, when it is no long is friendly advice, but clinical evaluation. And that can become dangerous for both you and your friend.

 

It can lead to misunderstandings and an end to a friendship. Most of us are not qualified to offer clinical advice, nor are we trained in how to truly evaluate the person.

 

Of course each situation is different and we have to evaluate each one on its own merits, but causation should always be used. Friendships are of great value and should not be used as your own personal counseling sessions, but on the same token friends will listen and offer advice or just listen and offer only an ear, and often times that is all that is needed.

 

So when do we cross that line, I would say when we see our friendship slipping, we start to feel as if we should bill the other for the time we spend in “session”. The going rate, if you would like to know is $45.00 to $100.00 per hour. When you fell they now owe you for 3 hour, then you may have crossed that line.

 

So be careful, proceed with caution, but do not let that stop you from being the friend you are meant to be.

 

Paul

 

p.s. My advice is offered freely, I am not a professional, everything stated in this blog is from my own mind, or where stated borrowed from others. I do not charge, but you are welcome to purchase items from the Things to Buy links on the right side of this blog…. Thanks. J

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We all talk about others, be it good or bad, we all do it. We say simple things like “He is such a….” or “They are so….” Fill in the blanks with what ever comment you like, but we all do it.

 

It’s not a good thing for us to do, it can hurt others, even when you do not mean it to, and it’s a hard habit to break, but it’s one we can break if we wish.

 

Gossip and idol talk are part of our daily conversations, so much so, that I would venture to guess that most of us are not aware we are doing it, it’s always something that others do, not us. But I am sure if we stop and examine ourselves we will see that we to add to the world of gossip.

 

If gossip was not so much a part of our lives, all the rag magazines would not sell millions of copies weekly. All the celebrity watching TV shows would fail and we would really look down upon people who do gossip. But as it is, we celebrate it, and feed in to it.

 

How can we change the culture of gossip, one person at a time, starting with ourselves! We need to check our words prior to speaking. We need to concern ourselves with how others will be affected. We need to stop and thing about what we are doing and saying, but all too often we are caught in the moment, with the running of the conversation or our emotions get in the way.

 

But if you make an effort you can achieve the goal, you just have to try and keep trying. The next time someone starts to talk about others, stop them and ask them not to, the next time you start, stop yourself and apologize for speaking badly of others.

 

Always remember that the word can kill more then the sword, our words have the ability to leave life long scares or they have the power to lift someone up, how we use them can make all the difference in the world, it can make or break someone’s will.

 

Words are powerful and gossip is nothing but a weapon we use to bring others down and ourselves up.

 

The golden rule applies here, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you” always remember words can take life or they can give life, the choice is yours.

 

Paul

 

p.s. This is a rule that I also must work on, and always remember also, so together we can start to change the world, starting with ourselves.

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