Leland Clipperton

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Depression

When you are having thoughts about wondering if you or someone you care about is depressed... consider that it is helpful to identify whether the depression is organic or reactive...
Organic depression is laregly the result of a chemical imbalance in the neurotransmitter function of the brain that does not allow for effective and appropriate use of brain chemicals which impairs mood and thught process. The is most easily identified in assessing family history... i.e. is there depression evident in the genetic code? It may be apparent as depression, however, it could also be seen manifesting as a drinking problem, reclusion, anxiety, unhappiness, etc. Most often when working with clients they will self-identify their depression... that it's not "because" of something... it's a feeling, an existance that feels familiar and "normal".
Reactive depression is typically a feeling of prolonged grief, sadness... it is more in response to a particular life situation and that may be exacerbated by additional stressful circumstances. It is a depression that will usually respond more effectively to behavioural changes that will help alter the response.
The following article is worthwhile reading and will provide additional information and ideas about depression.


Dealing with Depression

SELF-HELP AND COPING TIPS
Depression drains your energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to do what you need to feel better. But while overcoming depression isn’t quick or easy, it’s far from impossible. You can’t beat it through sheer willpower, but you do have some control—even if your depression is severe and stubbornly persistent. The key to depression recovery is to start small and build from there. Feeling better takes time, but you can get there if you make positive choices for yourself each day and draw on the support of others.

In This Article:

The road to recovery

The road to depression recovery

Recovering from depression requires action. But taking action when you’re depressed is hard. In fact, just thinking about the things you should do to feel better, like exercising or going out with friends, can be exhausting.

It’s the Catch-22 of depression recovery. The things that help the most are the things that are most difficult to do. But there’s a difference between difficult and impossible.

Start small and stay focused

The key to depression recovery is to start with a few small goals and slowly build from there. Draw upon whatever resources you have. You may not have much energy, but you probably have enough to take a short walk around the block or pick up the phone to call a loved one.

Take things day by day and reward yourself for each accomplishment. The steps may seem small, but if you make time for them each day, they’ll quickly add up. And for all the energy you put in to your depression recovery, you’ll get back much more in return.

Depression self-help tip 1: Cultivate supportive relationships

Getting the support you need plays a big role in lifting the fog of depression and keeping it away. On your own, it can be difficult to maintain perspective and sustain the effort required to beat depression. But the very nature of depression makes it difficult to reach out for help. However, isolation and loneliness make depression even worse, so maintaining your close relationships and social activities are important.

The thought of reaching out to even close family members and friends can seem overwhelming. You may feel ashamed, too exhausted to talk, or guilty for neglecting the relationship. Remind yourself that this is the depression talking. You loved ones care about you and want to help.

  • Turn to trusted friends and family members. Share what you’re going through with the people you love and trust. Ask for the help and support you need. You may have retreated from your most treasured relationships, but they can get you through this tough time.
  • Try to keep up with social activities even if you don’t feel like it. When you’re depressed, it feels more comfortable to retreat into your shell. But being around other people will make you feel less depressed.
  • Join a support group for depression. Being with others who are dealing with depression can go a long way in reducing your sense of isolation. You can also encourage each other, give and receive advice on how to cope, and share your experiences. To locate a depression support group in your area, use the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance's Support Group Locator.

10 tips for reaching out and building relationships

  1. Talk to one person about your feelings.
  2. Help someone else by volunteering.
  3. Have lunch or coffee with a friend.
  4. Ask a loved one to check in with you regularly.
  5. Accompany someone to the movies, a concert, or a small get-together.
  1. Call or email an old friend.
  2. Go for a walk with a workout buddy.
  3. Schedule a weekly dinner date
  4. Meet new people by taking a class or joining a club.
  5. Confide in a counselor, therapist, or clergy member.

Depression self-help tip 2: Take care of yourself

In order to overcome depression, you have to nurture yourself. This includes making time for things you enjoy, asking for help from others, setting limits on what you’re able to do, adopting healthy habits, and scheduling fun activities into your day.

Do things you enjoy (or used to)

While you can’t force yourself to have fun or experience pleasure, you can choose to do things that you used to enjoy. Pick up a former hobby or a sport you used to like. Express yourself creatively through music, art, or writing. Go out with friends. Take a day trip to a museum, the mountains, or the ballpark.

Develop a wellness toolbox

Come up with a list of things that you can do for a quick mood boost. Include any strategies, activities, or skills that have helped in the past. The more “tools” for coping with depression, the better. Try and implement a few of these ideas each day, even if you’re feeling good.

  1. Spend some time in nature.
  2. List what you like about yourself.
  3. Read a good book.
  4. Watch a funny movie or TV show.
  5. Take a long, hot bath.
  1. Listen to music.
  2. Take care of a few small tasks.
  3. Play with a pet.
  4. Write in your journal.
  5. Do something spontaneous.

Push yourself to do things, even when you don’t feel like it. You might be surprised at how much better you feel once you’re out in the world. Even if your depression doesn’t lift immediately, you’ll gradually feel more upbeat and energetic as you make time for fun activities.

Adopt healthy lifestyle habits

  • Aim for 8 hours of sleep. Depression typically involves sleep problems. Whether you’re sleeping too little or too much, your mood suffers. Get on a better sleep schedule by learning healthy sleep habits.  
  • Expose yourself to a little sunlight every day. Lack of sunlight can make depression worse. Make sure you’re getting enough. Take a short walk outdoors, have your coffee outside, enjoy an al fresco meal, people-watch on a park bench, or sit out in the garden.  
  • Practice relaxation techniques. A daily relaxation practice can help relieve symptoms of depression, reduce stress, and boost feelings of joy and well-being. Try yoga, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation.

Fight depression by managing stress

Not only does stress prolong and worsen depression, but it can also trigger it. In order to get over depression and stay well, it’s essential to learn how to minimize and cope with stress.

  • Identify your stressors. Figure out all the things in your life that are stressing you out. Examples include: work overload, unsupportive relationships, substance abuse, taking on too much, or health problems. Once you’ve identified your stressors, you can make a plan to avoid them or minimize their impact.
  • Go easy on yourself. Many depressed people are perfectionists, holding themselves to impossibly high standards and then beating themselves up when they fail to meet them. Battle this source of self-imposed stress by challenging your negative ways of thinking.
  • Plan ahead. If you know your stress triggers and limits, you will be able to identify and avoid many landmines. If you sense trouble ahead, protect yourself by dipping into your wellness toolbox and saying “no” to added responsibility.

Depression self-help tip 3: Get regular exercise

When you’re depressed, exercising may be the last thing you feel like doing. But exercise is a powerful tool for dealing with depression. In fact, studies show that regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication at increasing energy levels and decreasing feelings of fatigue.

Scientists haven’t figured out exactly why exercise is such a potent antidepressant, but evidence suggests that physical activity increases mood-enhancing neurotransmitters in the brain, raises endorphins, reduces stress, and relieves muscle tension – all things that can have a positive effect on depression.

To get the most benefit, aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day. But you can start small. Short 10-minute bursts of activity can have a positive effect on your mood. Here are a few easy ways to get moving:

  • Take the stairs rather than the elevator
  • Park your car in the farthest spot in the lot
  • Take your dog for a walk
  • Pair up with an exercise partner
  • Walk while you’re talking on the phone

As a next step, try incorporating walks or some other enjoyable, easy form of exercise into your daily routine. The key is to pick an activity you enjoy, so you’re more likely to keep up with it.

Exercise as an Antidepressant

The following exercise tips offer a powerful prescription for boosting mood:

  • Exercise now…and again.  A 10-minute walk can improve your mood for two hours.  The key to sustaining mood benefits is to exercise regularly.
  • Choose activities that are moderately intense. Aerobic exercise undoubtedly has mental health benefits, but you don't need to sweat strenuously to see results.
  • Find exercises that are continuous and rhythmic (rather than intermittent). Walking, swimming, dancing, stationery biking, and yoga are good choices.
  • Add a mind-body element. Activities such as yoga and tai chi rest your mind and pump up your energy. You can also add a meditative element to walking or swimming by repeating a mantra (a word or phrase) as you move.
  • Start slowly, and don't overdo it. More isn't better. Athletes who over train find their moods drop rather than lift.



Depression self-help tip 4: Eat a healthy, mood-boosting diet

What you eat has a direct impact on the way you feel. Aim for a balanced diet of protein, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables.

  • Don’t neglect breakfast. A solid breakfast provides energy for the day.
  • Don’t skip meals. Going too long between meals can make you feel irritable and tired, so aim to eat something at least every 3-4 hours.
  • Minimize sugar and refined carbs. You may crave sugary snacks, baked goods, or comfort foods such as pasta or french fries. But these “feel-good” foods quickly lead to a crash in mood and energy.
  • Focus on complex carbohydrates. Foods such as baked potatoes, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain breads, and bananas can boost serotonin levels without a crash.
  • Boost your B vitamins. Deficiencies in B vitamins such as folic acid and B-12 can trigger depression. To get more, take a B-complex vitamin supplement or eat more citrus fruit, leafy greens, beans, chicken, and eggs.
  • Consider taking a chromium supplement – Some depression studies show that chromium picolinate reduces carbohydrate cravings, eases mood swings, and boosts energy. Supplementing with chromium picolinate is especially effective for people who tend to overeat and oversleep when depressed. Aim for 600 mcg per day.
  • Practice mindful eating. Slow down and pay attention to the full experience of eating. Enjoy the taste of your food

Omega-3 fatty acids play an essential role in stabilizing mood.

  • Foods rich in certain omega-3 fats called EPA and DHA can give your mood a big boost. The best sources are fatty fish such salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and some cold water fish oil supplements.  Canned albacore tuna and lake trout can also be good sources depending on how the fish were raised and processed.
  • You may hear a lot about getting your omega-3’s from foods rich in ALA fatty acids. Main sources are vegetable oils and nuts (especially walnuts), flax, soybeans, and tofu. Be aware that our bodies generally convert very little ALA into EPA and DHA, so you may not as big of a benefit.
  • Some people avoid seafood because they worry about mercury or other possible toxins. But most experts agree that the benefits of eating 2 servings a week of cold water fatty fish outweigh the risks.

Depression self-help tip 5: Challenge negative thinking

Depression puts a negative spin on everything, including the way you see yourself, the situations you encounter, and your expectations for the future.

But you can’t break out of this pessimistic mind frame by “just thinking positive.” Happy thoughts or wishful thinking won’t cut it. Rather, the trick is to replace negative thoughts with more balanced thoughts.

Ways to challenge negative thinking:

  • Think outside yourself. Ask yourself if you’d say what you’re thinking about yourself to someone else. If not, stop being so hard on yourself. Think about less harsh statements that offer more realistic descriptions.
  • Keep a “negative thought log”. Whenever you experience a negative thought, jot down the thought and what triggered it in a notebook. Review your log when you’re in a good mood. Consider if the negativity was truly warranted. For a second opinion, you can also ask a friend or therapist to go over your log with you.
  • Replace negatives with positives. Review your negative thought log. Then, for each negative thought, write down something positive. For instance, “My boss hates me. She gave me this difficult report to complete” could be replaced with, “My boss must have a lot of faith in me to give me so much responsibility.”
  • Socialize with positive people. Notice how people who always look on the bright side deal with challenges, even minor ones, like not being able to find a parking space. Then consider how you would react in the same situation. Even if you have to pretend, try to adopt their optimism and persistence in the face of difficulty.

Depression self-help tip 6: Raise your emotional intelligence

Emotions are powerful. They can override thoughts and profoundly influence behavior. But if you are emotionally intelligent, you can harness the power of your emotions.

Emotional intelligence isn’t a safety net that protects you from life’s tragedies, frustrations, or disappointments. We all go through disappointments, loss, and change. And while these are normal parts of life, they can still cause sadness, anxiety, and stress. But emotional intelligence gives you the ability to cope and bounce back from adversity, trauma, and loss. In other words, emotional intelligence makes you resilient.

Emotional intelligence gives you the ability to:

  • Remain hopeful during challenging and difficult times
  • Manage strong feelings and impulses
  • Quickly rebound from frustration and disappointment
  • Ask for and get support when needed
  • Solve problems in positive, creative ways

Learn how to raise your emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence gives you the tools for coping with difficult situations and maintaining a positive outlook. It helps you stay focused, flexible, and creative in bad times as well as good. The capacity to recognize your emotions and express them appropriately helps you avoid getting stuck in depression, anxiety, or other negative mood states.




Depression self-help tip 7: Know when to get additional help

If you find your depression getting worse and worse, seek professional help. Needing additional help doesn’t mean you’re weak. Sometimes the negative thinking in depression can make you feel like you’re a lost cause, but depression can be treated and you can feel better!

There are many effective treatment options for depression. To learn about them, see Depression Treatment and Therapy.

Don’t forget about these self-help tips, though. Even if you’re receiving professional help, these tips can be part of your treatment plan, speeding your recovery and preventing depression from returning.

Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief
Relaxation Exercises to Reduce Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

Improving Emotional Health
Strategies and Tips for Good Mental Health

More Helpguide articles:


Related links for depression self-help and recovery

Depression self-help and coping tips

Getting Motivated When You're Down – Tips for coping with depression and getting motivated, including how to jump start the recovery process. (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts)

A Case of Catch 22 – Learn how to get around the Catch-22 of depression, in which the things a person needs to do to get well are the very things the illness makes it difficult to do. (Psychology Today)

Recovery - A series of articles on depression recovery, covering topics such as meditation, healthy eating, sleep, and exercise. (McMan’s Depression and Bipolar Web)

Support Groups

Find Support – To locate a depression support group in your area, visit the (Depression and Bipolar Alliance)

Depression self-help tools

Back from the Bluez – Self-help modules for coping with and recovering from depression. Features advice on increasing activity levels, thinking more positively, and maintaining treatment progress. (The Government of Western Australia Department of Health)

Self-Care Depression Program (PDF) – Comprehensive self-help guide to depression recovery from the University of British Columbia. (National Electronic Library for Health)

Wellness Toolbox – A selection of tools for depression recovery, including a therapy worksheet, symptom checklist, trigger tracker, and a personal wellness checklist. (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance)

Challenging negative thoughts

Overcoming Negative Thinking – The “10 Negative Grand Illusions” of negative thinking, and how to replace them with realistic thinking. (Blue Cross/Blue Shied of Massachusetts)

Depression Doing the Thinking Learn about common cognitive distortions and how to change them (Psychology Today)

Healthy lifestyle habits and depression

Depression and Exercise – Learn how exercise improves depression and find tips for getting started. (Better Health Channel)

Omega-3 for Depression and Bipolar – Gives an overview of the Omega-3 fatty acids and their role in boosting mood and relieving depression symptoms. (McMan's Depression and Bipolar Web)

Bedfellows: Insomnia and Depression – Discover the connection between sleep and mood, including how lack of sleep can trigger depression. (Psychology Today)

Healthy eating and depression (PDF) – Learn how to change your diet to improve your mood and relieve symptoms of depression. (Mental Health Foundation)

Delving deeper into dealing with depression

Coping with Depression – Psychologist Jon G. Allen reviews the key concepts of depression self-help and recovery, such as minimizing stress, thinking more flexibly, and maintaining supportive relationships. (The Menninger Clinic)

Joanna Saisan, Melinda Smith, M.A., Suzanne Barston, Robert Segal, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., contributed to this article. Last modified in August 2008.
Until later,
Leland
705 999-2107
905 510-9117

Friday, December 9, 2011

Geographical Cure


Haven't we all just wanted to "get away from it all!" from time to time in our lives. Those times when a situation seems unsolvable or someone in our lives is being unreasonable or unforgiving or unloving!

Or when the neighbourhood's not right... too noisy, too quiet, too far away, not close enough...


And we think, "I know, I'll move out on my own!" or "I'll move to _______________________". (fill in the blank with your solution place).

Or, "I just need a fresh start"... Or, "I just need to get away from _______________". (fill in the blank with the problem person, place or thing!)

We have many reasonable justifications for feeling frustrated in our particular individual situations. The feelings of helplessness and hopelessness seemingly caused by external sources can certainly lead to that feeling of wanting to get away... to find relief...

I'm not suggesting that it's wrong to want to engage in positive relief behaviours... sometimes counting to ten, taking that perverbial breath, taking a "vacation"... can help us re-position our minds to be able to gain new perspective which may enable a different approach to a problem.

Most of my clients come to me feeling a little frustrated, confused... seeking relief and looking for answers... Sometimes they already have the answers, they need help working with the answers they have... sometimes we need to create, clarify, work out and implement new perspectives...


Learning this process in a comfortable, trusting, non-judgmental place allows you to transfer this new skill set to other areas of your life... so when you do run into problems in the future, you are better equipped to deal with them... and if you are having difficulty with that... you know the advantages of asking for help... when you want to get away from it all...


The problem with most solutions is that they are bandaids and don't deal with the real problem. We often don't want to know the real problem... that's one of the reasons why having someone like me help you is to explore what else may be going on that may be contributing to the problem.

The problem with getting away from it all is that we takes ourselves with us wherever we go! Here's a very good book for children and adults to read...

Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst


might help with your perspective...

Until later,
Leland

www.CounsellingandMediation.com
Leland@CounsellingandMediation.com

705 999-2107
905 510-9117

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bullying

Bullying is a very serious issue in our society!

There is a lot of news these days about the negative effects of bullying in our schools in particular and I wanted to add my thoughts to this.

The main concern I have is that the nature of bullying seems to be misunderstood...


Bullying is for the most part, a dynamic where there is a bully and a victim. Addressing the concern by only blaming the bully does not, nor will it solve the problem... it places more focus on the bully and his or her behaviour without looking at or considering why this occurs in the first place. We need to look at why bullies are bullies as well as why victims are victims.

In my experience in working with both sides, there are always underlying factors which need to be addressed as well as the behaviour. I'm not suggesting that the behaviour doesn't need to be addressed... it's how it is addressed that is the concern.

All people behave in the ways they do because of underlying reasons... it's those reasons that need to be explored. Once they are brught to light, they need to be explored in order to create a desired change.

The first step typically, is to have the individuals involved take a hard look at their own behaviours, natures and underlying, sometimes hidden, reasoning that leads to the behaviour. This requires a degree of self- responsibility and self-acountability... which usually means that they need to learn to not be blaming in nature... to say someone else caused the behaviour.

We are not puppets and are not controlled by anyone else. We all, for our own reasons, are in charge and responsible for who we are and what we do... others may contribute to that development, but, in the end, it is us, as individuals that choose.

Judgment and fear are other issues that will typically surface tht also need to be dealt with.
This is not a quick fix solution... but we all need to work on bias reduction as opposed to punishing the bully with consequences that are not, nor will not be helpful.
Both bullies and victims do need additional resources to help them work their individual issues... to better understand and be more aware of why things seems to happen the way that they do.
If you or someone you know needs help with any of this, have them contact me.

Until later,
Leland Clipperton, H.S.C.
www.CounsellingandMediation.com
Leland@CounsellingandMediation.com

705 999-2107
905 510-9117

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What Mediation Is?

Mediation is:

1. A way for you to resolve disputes with the assistance of a mediator.
2. Voluntary... you must be willing to participate in resolving your differences and working towards a mutual outcome.
3. A process where you develop a mutually agreeable plan...
4. Private, flexible and informal.
5. A setting where you can comfortable negotiate a separation agreement providing for financial and property matters and a parenting plan for your children.
6. An opportunity to speak directly to the other person about issues in a neutral and safe environment.
7. Typically less expensive and simpler than court process.
8. A process where you can also resolve disputed civil matters.

Mediation is not:
1. Someone else telling you what you should or should not do... A mediator acts as a neutral third party.
2. A legal process, although the results can be used to help formalize a legal agreement regarding your mutual decisions.
3. As expensive as litigation. The goal is for the people involved to come to their own agreement.

Here's a link with more information:
http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/family/divorce/default.asp

If you or someone you know is going through a family separation or involved in a dispute, contact me for a consultation.

Until later,
Leland Clipperton, H.S.C.
www.CounsellingandMediation.com
Leland@CounsellingandMediation.com
705 999-2107
905 510-9117