The article "Eight Ways to Actively Fight Depression" describes eight unique ways to take control some of the most common symptoms of depression. I will, over-time, be incrementally summarizing the ways Lisa Firestone, Ph.D. describes her methods for fighting depression.
1. "Recognize and Conquer Your Critical Self Attacks"
This is one symptom that people suffering from depression most often complain. The critical attack can take the from of "a critical, self-destructive mentality that interferes with and distracts us from our daily lives." This is normally associated with a low self esteem and manifests as a "critical inner voice." This can be internalized at a very early age and makes it one of the most difficult symptoms to actively engage toward positive change outside of a therapeutic relationship. This is not to say that working outside of a therapeutic relationship is in vain but the intimate connection between self-esteem and your sense of self is difficult to separate from your self, alone and by one's self.
Dr. Firestone asks you to view the negative self talk as "parasites" that keep you in your bed during a regular physical sickness. But unlike the physical parasites, which you have no control over, Dr. Firestone advises that you have control over the negative self talk by bringing your awareness to them and actively identifying them as "alien point[s] of view." She then asks you to critically analyze the thoughts via a projection of them onto those whom you love: "would you think such cruel thoughts about a friend or family member?" Ultimately Dr. Firestone wishes that you should have compassion upon yourself and that "awareness" of your destructive thoughts will lead to more clear and realistic interpretation of yourself. By Mathew Quaschnick
2. "Think About What You Could Be Angry At"
The masked feelings of anger can be contributing to your depressive feelings. There is little doubt that unexpressed anger toward an individual, situation or emotionally significant object needs an outlet. Dr. Firestone briefly describes how this is the potential case regarding depression. She makes the suggestion to begin talking to others. This is a wonderful start but not everyone is comfortable talking about feelings of anger and not everyone has someone to healthfully begin this conversation. However, there are positive and therapeutic options people can begin utilizing to assist in the healthy expression of anger:
(1) The long term solution may be to begin talk therapy, and that is not a shameless endorsement of my work. I have help countless individuals with anger management and depression is a normal response to anger as Dr. Firestone states.
(2) Exercise! Beginning a daily or 3x per week workout routine, incorporating a martial arts practice, utilizing a heavy bag for boxing, etc...
(3) Deep breathing: The most important aspect of deep breathing is making sure when taking an in-breath that your stomach is extended outward. Your diaphragm, the main muscle for breathing will be contracted. When you breath out, the diaphragm will be relaxed, and your stomach will move in.
(4) Emergency stop gap intervention: If there is no time to perform the above options the next best effort is simply removing yourself, at the time of the feelings, from the source of anger. You can then "live to fight another day" and not inappropriately express your anger.
By Mathew Quaschnick
UPTOWN THERAPY MPLS
Edited and composed by Mathew Quaschnick
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