Help Us Hit 10K

My pal, Stephen, needs just 70 more followers. Personally, I think he ought to offer free honeycomb ice cream when he reaches that milestone; too bad he’s over in Ireland and can’t deliver.

Fractured Faith Blog

We are less than 70 followers now off the BIG 10K at Fractured Faith. It would be great if we could reach this milestone by 21 May which is the blog’s second birthday. So, while we normally seek to give as opposed to take, it would be much appreciated if as many of you as possible could hit us with a reblog in order to help us over the finishing line. We are always grateful for the love and support we receive from our WordPress tribe.

THANK YOU!

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The Cure for Depression: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

It’s that time again: time to cure our depression. Way back in January, I proposed that curing isn’t exactly possible -BUT I listed 14 ideas that will help. We’ve talked about 8 or 9 others; like connecting with people, eating right, talking to a doctor or therapist, medicating, and doing happy things.

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Today, I’d like to get into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. At least, I thought to get into it. I opened my hand-me-down laptop, typed that big, impressive-sounding word into a search, and then thought, Holy flipping crap! (Yep, I don’t swear often.)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is LEGIT. It has its own, lengthy Wikipedia page.

Aaaaand I’ve just barely heard about it.

Hopefully, that means that all of YOU readers are nearly as clueless as I was, and will be impressed and amazed at the paltry light I’ll be shedding on this topic.

So, first: What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is often abbreviated to CBT. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (hereafter referred to as “CBT,” for the laziness of the writer) is simply a bunch of exercises to teach our brains better habits.

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Second: Why do we need it?

Let’s say that you’re a little kid playing with a hose out in the mud. You, sweet little unsupervised thing, have full command of an entire patch of mud and have decided to make trails and paths and mountains and mudpies. It’s a glorious, messy afternoon!

Using only the best sticks you find laying around, you begin digging waterways. The hose water follows. You’re a kid, so are not quite the best at design and such. Some of your water pools at places, overruns its banks at others, and ultimately empties right into the neighbor’s back fence and washes away their freshly-planted flowers.

Oops.

An adult comes over to help. He says he’s Dr. Civil Engineer and is also licensed in psychology. “Let’s turn off the water first,” he says. “Now, my good friend and trusted colleague, CBT, is going to gently help you with mud-forming.”

You aren’t exactly sure what a colleague is, or CBT. You just want to play in the mud, and get the neighbor to stop yelling at you about flowers. Don’t flowers need water? You shrug, and watch what CBT starts doing with your mud. CBT builds up a turn, repairs an overflow area, and (most frequently) digs new paths into less destructive directions.

What’s more, CBT tells you what it is doing and how you can do it, too.

Third: We need this. Professionals say so.

My paid friend keeps telling me that my brain has learned behaviors (almost all negative) and I need to stop and complete them with the more-positive truth when negative thoughts come up. Psychologists refer to these learned behaviors as cognitive distortions. Like the mud and water analogy, our mind forms automatic reactions to situations or thoughts or feelings in order to handle them next time; and, like our first, unguided attempts, they’re not always the best.

These automatic reactions are like cringing when hit in sensitive areas, crying when our nose gets hurt, or kicking our leg when the tendon below our patella is hit.

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CBT is training to get over knee-jerk reactions. It’s still having the jerking, but toward somewhere that doesn’t actually kick someone and, especially, with the result of leaving us feeling happy that we kicked our leg instead of then kicking ourselves for reacting.

Fourth: How does one CBT?

Doesn’t CBT sound fantastic? I think it sounds a bit difficult, myself. How do we get started? Can we actually change how we think? I am not very successful at self-run things, and (yep) I tell myself that I’m not very successful.

I highly recommend getting someone professional to run this for you. CBT is the most common therapy of its kind. However, like many major startups, it has spawned subgroups of more specific subjects, die-hard zealots of original teachings, and side-therapies of similar names run by leaders who couldn’t get credit for starting the first one. Some professional navigation of those twisty roads will help you.

If you’re poor, shy, or just starting out, there are self-help options. A blog I somehow found recently lists online worksheets. Other sites exist, as well as books you can purchase.

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Fifth: No, really: does it actually help?

CBT really does help. My counselor is of the camp that minor mental issues are wholly the result of years of negative thought processes and reactions. Psychiatrists advocate for mostly medical measures, no matter how minor. I think the farmer and the cowman can be friends and meet us halfway.

Most health professionals agree that medicine and therapy, together, are the winning combination for fighting mental health issues.

Our bodies become resistant to medications and substances. Our hormones and brain chemistry change with time and stressful situations. Our motivation becomes dependent on that boost we get from outside stimuli, like prescriptions, drug overuse, and stimulants.

CBT is very nearly the silver bullet of therapies. It empowers YOU. It teaches you how to better handle your own brain -which is great because that’s what you’re stuck with all the time! Even doctors, as empathetic or sympathetic or knowledgeable as they are, cannot EVER understand exactly what you feel and experience. They have their own brains, not yours.

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Sixth: How about a run-through?

I’m getting a bit long here, even with shortening Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to CBT so many times, but can’t leave without some practical advice for all y’all. Here’s one type of CBT method you can run through, from wikihow:

  1. Notice when you’re negative.
    My therapist had me make a list what I know about me. It was about 80% self-critical and even the positive items were less-complimentary.
    Or, meditation is an option. Take at least ten minutes without distraction and pay attention to where your thoughts and feelings go.
    Think about a situation in the past that was negative.
  2. Recognize the connection between your thoughts and your feelings.
    Obviously, if you were dropped from a speeding airplane by members of the mafia into a boiling volcano, you had little control over feeling dead afterwards.
    But most situations, even sucky ones, do not cause our bad feelings at the end. WE cause them. YOU cause them. Your natural, poorly-designed mud paths caused the overflow of emotion.
    See the connection, and tell yourself that you felt bad because you had bad thoughts.
  3. Notice automatic thoughts
    All during the day, stuff happens. Automatically, we have some sort of reaction to the stuff.
    Let’s say I went to the store and realized I forgot my credit card. It’s back home in the freezer or whatever. An automatic negative thought from my brain would be, You’re always forgetting things. Further, I would think, Now you have to put all the groceries back. You should never come back to this store again.
    ALL THOSE are not good.
    I need to stop, drop and roll -er, *ahem* I need to stop that thought, way back when it started. Then, I tell myself it’s negative. Finally, I decide to tell myself something more like, Oops! I’ll look for some cash. I’l ask the cashier to hold these for me while I look, or drive home. Heck, I’m not the first person to forget payment; they’ll work with me.
  4. and 5. Talk about core beliefs. Specifically, about tying the automatic cognitive distortions to faulty internal beliefs.
    I’m not in favor of this step, because it’s self-analyzing. Getting into my terrible self-esteem and my potentially-damaging childhood without assistance sounds like a worse idea than the ones my mind comes up with.

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  1. Identify cognitive distortions. This may help with stopping the negative thoughts. Like, you can tell yourself, “I’m not a terrible person! I’m just overgeneralizing. It’s a typical misconception.” Common distortions listed on wikihow are:
    -Catastrophizing by predicting only negative outcomes in the future
    -Having all-or-nothing thinking
    -Discounting the positive
    -Labeling something or someone without knowing more about it or them
    -Rationalizing based on emotions rather than facts
    -Minimizing or magnifying the situation
    -Having “tunnel vision” by seeing only the negatives
    -Mind reading in which you believe you know what someone is thinking
    -Overgeneralizing by making an overall negative conclusion beyond the current situation
    -Personalizing the situation as something specifically wrong with you

Hopefully, this first method of 6(ish) steps works as a starting place for you. The wikihow article lists two other methods as well.

Seventh: A different initial approach is also helpful.

Besides these suggested steps, I’m a big proponent of creating an initial positive environment. I feel like I’m constantly in a negative haze, self-protected and negatively-pressured to the point of not sticking a toe out into the world.

A suggestion from my counselor was to think back on a time when I felt happy or good. Then, I was to keep asking myself, “Why?” until I traced it to a core emotion. For example: I said I’d felt happy driving to the appointment. Why? It was sunny and warm outside and I was alone. Why did that make you happy? I like feeling warm and comfortable. -Holy crap! I like being comfortable. Comfort was my core emotion.

One may also repeat a mantra each morning and evening. Something like, “I am of worth. I love myself;” or reciting an uplifting poem.

Morning meditation is good as well, or prayer.

Whatever activity you do, the goal is to create a positive atmosphere. We want to start our thoughts in a better direction and keep them going that way. Over time, your brain will form better neural pathways. You won’t flood anyone’s flower beds. You’ll have the practice and skills to handle past habits and fight new triggers.

And don’t get discouraged. You’ve had your entire life to build these habits; you can’t change overnight but you can change.

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Photo Credits:
Artem Bali
Pixabay
Pixabay
Sharon McCutcheon
Pixabay
Wikimedia Commons
Tyler Nix

 

*Chelsea Owens is not a licensed anything, except a Class D driver in her home state, and shares all information and advice from personal experience and research.

The Cure for Depression: Help Someone Else

Today on Curing Depression, I’d like to discuss service.

You may wonder why this is its own item. When I initially listed it with 10 other suggestions, I felt fairly confident in the decision. As I went to type this article tonight, however, I had my doubts. Topics like seeing a counselor or psychiatrist and taking medication are real shoe-ins for curing. Service, though? I mean, what the weird?!

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Odd as the topic may be, I actually have some beefy research that serving helps. Many church websites or volunteer organizations like to post evidence (’cause they want unpaid workers). BUT, the less-ulterior-motive types at Harvard Health, The American Psychosomatic Society, and even TIME magazine list benefits as well.

Turns out there’s something real about serving others, something that definitely helps combat a depressive mindset.

Still don’t believe me? Did you even read my links? The legitimate sources want you to pay a subscription to find out about helping people, but they’re referenced on other sites. The coolest thing I learned was that benefits of service are not merely observed. Service causes literal changes in brain activity, in positive areas.

When someone in need receives help, he or she benefits directly from the social support; simultaneously, the giver benefits in specific brain regions associated with stress, reward, and caregiving (Psychology Today).

The group that published for The American Psychosomatic Society used neuroimaging to measure differences in specific neurobiological areas. Translation: research dudes watched parts of the brain respond to giving or receiving. They measured change, and to which areas, and what the heck that actually meant in practice.

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Isn’t that cool? Service was associated with reduced stress-related activity, greater reward-related activity, and greater caregiver-related activity.

Okay -science lesson done. I am now going to convince you that people are worth serving.

Ummmm.

Does anyone want to fence this one? I don’t always get along with people.

Anyone?

Zut.

All right, let’s try a different approach. What would you want a friend or relative to do for you? Do you wish someone would text you? Look at you? Help move a washer/dryer combo to your new apartment?

People are selfish. Their world and everything that is most important revolves around them. They aren’t smart enough to see that others might want help, so we’re going to take the first step.

Let’s hold off on the washer/dryer combo and start simple. Start small -remember? Pick someone on your contacts list and send them a nice message. Don’t just “wave” with the little emoticon or say you like their hair or smile. This isn’t junior high. Write that you were thinking about them and wondered how they’re doing. Keep it light, airy, and small-talkish.

Did you do it? How do you feel? Better? Try another person.

After messaging or texting or talking to a few peeps, you may find approaching humans to be less daunting. You may even find yourself looking forward to interactions. You may simply like the feeling you got when one of them texted back, and even wrote a smiley face. That was your seeing the mental benefit of service.

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Service Idea Two: Give a handmade present away. If you’re still firmly in the not liking people camp, think of this as a way to show off.

Actually, scratch that. You’ll fire up different brain areas with a prideful mindset.

So think of someone you want to do a nice thing for, and then try to figure out if they like anything you could make. Honestly, if making’s too tricky or embarrassing, go for buying him/her food. Make sure the recipient doesn’t have allergies to chocolate chip cookies, then proceed with the merrymaking and present-bestowing.

Service Idea Three: move that washer/dryer. Hopefully, the appliance only stands as an analogy. Real friends usually ask for rides, a last-minute babysitter, a spare power drill, a cup of flour, etc. Avoid moochers, of course, but be the one who’s willing to help a good friend out.

After this point, service tends to fall into more serious categories. I’m talking serving at a soup kitchen, flying out of country to vaccinate native children, offering pro-bono work to homeless fathers seeking custody, or volunteering to build houses for homeless people.

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If you are struggling with mental illness, such large ideas of helping will overwhelm you. You need to start with simple.

Thinking about others and actually doing things for them is a healthy brain-changing exercise. There’s sciency proof, “I feel better” proof, and civic improvement proof. Service also gets you out of yourself. And since the negative thoughts of depression fester when allowed private time in our minds, service redirects our focus to a cause greater than our own perceived limitations.

Service gets us out of our pit and connecting with others.

Our human connections are terribly important. I even listed connection as the first cure for depression. The best connections are forged when groups work together in service, especially in a giver/receiver setups.

In parting; don’t get discouraged. Don’t tell yourself you can’t possibly do one more thing with your busy life. You can, because there are small things (like sending the text) that you can slip in your schedule while eating breakfast, riding the train, or sitting in a bathroom. No matter how small a service you perform, you’ve made the world a better place to live and have helped your depression that much more.

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Photo Credits:
Mike Wilson
Pixabay
rawpixel
Greyson Joralemon
rawpixel

 

*Chelsea Owens is not a licensed anything, except a Class D driver in her home state, and shares all information and advice from personal experience and research.

The Cure for Depression: Simply, Joy

I am not looking forward to today’s topic.

Whoa –what?! Why wouldn’t I want to type about happy things? I’m the expert, dishing out advice. I should be ALL OVER this topic.

I’m not.

I am terrible at happiness. -Aaaannnddd that sentence just proved it.

Instead of the ol’ biblical casting of stones at me, however, I’d like to suggest that we all might struggle with the positive side of things. That’s kind of, sort of why we’re looking at solutions for depression; right?

So, with seeking counseling, improving our diet, getting outside, exercising a tad, and perhaps taking medication, let’s try to Do Something that Brings Us Real Joy.

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First, allow me to give you an analogy: Right now I am sitting at my computer typing advice. I can smell something, and it’s not a pleasant sort of something. I am fairly certain this unpleasant odor is coming from the garbage can.

I live in a fancy house with a fancy pull-out garbage drawer thingie with two entire garbage bins so that I can procrastinate taking the mess outside for a really long time (like a whole day, since I have four children). We’ve been playing an avoidance game of smashing the mess down instead of removing it, because we’re really good at procrastination.

The garbage needs to get taken out. Why the heck don’t I do it?

  1. I enjoy the stink of stinky things. They remind me that life is full of crap and I shouldn’t forget it.
  2. I’ve read about other people smelling garbage. I feel better knowing I’m not alone and find those people and leave comments about how I, too, can smell bad things all day.
  3. Thinking about refuse removal overwhelms me. What if the bags are too heavy? What if they tear when I pull them out? What if, what if, what if?
  4. It’s a really long couple hundred feet out my garage door to the outside cans/bins/etc. I just don’t think I can make it that far.

Didja get the point? Good! You get extra credit. Everyone else (myself included): just insert phrases like negative thoughtsdepressionhiding in the closetfeeling terrible every time I wrote about smelly waste.

For example: “I enjoy negative thoughts.” “I’ve read about other people feeling terrible.” “Thinking about depression overwhelms me.”

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My story sounded silly when I was talking about garbage. I mean, OF COURSE I SHOULD JUST TAKE IT OUTSIDE. But why do we hang onto personal garbage?

Feeling terrible is simply not worth it.

I wrote about why I numb awhile back. Not doing happy things is an activity I participate in because I’m trying to self-protect. I think that not feeling happy will make it so I also don’t feel sad. Instead, I am constantly in a haze of nothingness and still feel sad.

Feeling happy is okay. In fact, it feels good.

Let’s small step out of our stinky, dark corner: First, I want you to think a happy thought. Seriously, Tinkerbell, DO IT. I recommend thinking about a time that you felt happy, even just a little bit. Or, think about an activity you love to do.

Got it firmly in your mind? Now, wave your wand and… Expecto Patronum!

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In the real world, we’re going to take that happy thought and write another one below it. We’re making what’s called a LIST. Yes, I want you to actually put pen or pencil on paper and list them out. Even in today’s technological world, listing helps our primal brains make connections.

My list read:

  1. Snowball fight with friends
  2. Running in the rain
  3. Creating something useful
  4. Eating a really delicious mushroom Swiss burger
  5. Receiving a sincere compliment

Now it’s your turn. Your list may read: eating, reading, me time, skiing, friends, chocolate, gardening, walks, booze, sex, sunlight streaming softly through slatted blinds, and whiskers on kittens. Dude; it’s your list. Make it catered to you and stop worrying that someone will judge you for it.

Now, small step numero dos is to pick one thing on there that you think you can do soon. It is your list, but pick one that gives you REAL JOY (sex and drugs don’t count; sorry). Decide to do it. Today would be ideal, but maybe you’re reading this article at 3 a.m. and water skiing with your friends might be a little lethal in the dark.

I don’t want you to just say you will do it, either. Put it in your phone. Send a text to a responsible person like your mother. Carve out the time that you will do it and then actually do it.

It’s just one thing, I promise.

After completing that thing, recuperate. Then, do something else from your list. Recover. Pick another one and do it. Lather, rinse, repeat.

After you do that first thing, I want you to do me a favor. I want you to come back here and comment on this here blog post. Tell me what you did (unless it’s classified). You get extra internet credit if you tell the class how you felt afterwards.

Let’s find real joy, together.

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This has been part of our tips to help cure depression. Tune in next time, to read about service.

 

Photo Credits:
Blaise Vonlanthen
Pixabay
Pexels
Sharon McCutcheon

 

*Chelsea Owens is not a licensed anything, except a Class D driver in her home state, and shares all information and advice from personal experience and research.

WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

I was worried when I didn’t get many entries for this week’s contest. Perhaps you were shy? In the end, though, we had a good and difficult-to-judge turnout. Thank you all for participating; you make picking a winner nigh impossible every Friday.

No more suspense. The winner is Furious Pockets.

“It’s Raining Phlegm,” from “It’s Raining Men”

by Furious Pockets

Temperature is rising — energy’s getting low
According to my doctor, work is not the place to go
Cause today, I don’t feel fine,
And since just about half-past ten
For some weird reason, a mystery,
My nose started raining phlegm!

It’s raining phlegm! Gesundheit, it’s raining phlegm! Ahem!
I’m gonna stay inside and let my tissues get
Absolutely soaking wet!

It’s raining phlegm! Gesundheit, it’s raining phlegm! Every specimen!
Yellow, green, lumpy and long
And sometimes red—I think something’s wrong!

WITH a much-needed Honorable Mention to Michael B. Fishman, who wrote EIGHT song parodies this week. I had trouble picking a favorite, but laughed the most with “Traction.”

“Traction” (“Satisfaction”)

by Michael B. Fishman

I can’t get no, tire traction.
I can’t get no, tire traction.
Tires spin, and they spin, and they spin and they spin
I can’t get no . . .

When I’m drivin’ in the snow,
and the weatherman’s saying what I already know;
he’s supposed to bring back warmer weather –
supposed to clear up icy roads.
I can’t get no . . .  No traction.

Congratulations, Furious Pockets! You are the most terrible poet of the week!

Every week, I post the entrants from the form and from the announcement post into a new blog post. I paste them without names, then go do something to cleanse my memories of who wrote what. I try my darndest to be impartial.

Today took so long because of a busy schedule, but also because I could not settle on a winner. You all write so terribly well, and parody well enough to make a grown Al Yankovic cry. At such a high level of skill, cleverness, and cringiness; I went with Furious Pockets for following the original song meter well, mostly keeping to the subject, and for a terrible subject matter.

As is our usual, this does not mean the rest were any less terrible. If you submitted a poem/song this week, go right ahead and give yourself an awkward pat on the back. These are fantastic:

“Just Pay Me” (“Let it Be”)

by Michael B. Fishman

When I find my teeth feel like loose rubble,
Dentist Mary comes to me speaking words of crowns and
“Just pay me, just pay me.”
And when I hear the drilling she is standing right in front of me,
“I’ll save your teeth of wisdom, just pay me, just pay me.”

—–

Inspired by “Ice, Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice

by Peregrine Arc

Alright stop.
Collaborate and listen, while I sit back in my brand new invention
The muse will grab ahold of you tightly
It’ll flow like a harpoon deadly and mighty
Will it ever stop? Yo I don’t know
Let’s turn on the lights and watch the poet go
To the extreme I wield my pen
Light up the words and rhyme like a fluffy hen

Nice, nice poetry… Really nice, nice poetry.
Nice, nice poetry. It’s really nice nice poetry…

—–

Untitled, but mostly seems inspired by “Bohemian Rhapsody”

by Nitin

Mama just drilled a man (not what you think!)
Put a drill against his teeth
Pulled the trigger, now the cavity’s filled
Mama that tooth was just decaying
But now I’ve gone and filled it all the way
Mama, saaay ahhh
Didn’t mean to become a dentist
If I’m not administering anaesthetic tomorrow
Scream on, scream on because everything matters

—–

“Bird Drips Keep Fallin’” (“Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head“)

by Michael B. Fishman

Bird drops keep falling on my head,
and just like guy whose head is not really too big I never wear a hat,
those bird drops keep falling on my head and I’m bawling.
Because they smell, and they don’t smell very well.

—–

To the tune of the old Beatles classic: “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”

by TanGental

Position yourself on the left of the centre
A democrat with a glint in the eye
Make a friend with a tea party member
Who’s more interested in the How than the Why.
Set up a committee to debate the issues
That matter to ordinary men on the bus.
Given them a budget to commission reporting
And let them know you don’t want a fuss.
Technical topics are always banned
They’ll only go over your heads
Look instead for a popular cause like a wall
And it’s done
Nancy’s in cahoots with Donald
Nancy’s in cahoots with Donald, ah, ah
Follow them now until the election
And watch as they build a castle of lies.
No one smiles and everything’s gone sour
And the only way out is to get high….

—–

“The Buffet” (“A Horse With No Name”)

by Michael B. Fishman

On the first leg of the buffet I was looking at all the rice.
There was brown and white and jasmine too
all this food for just one low price.

At the first stop on the buffet I was holding a sharp steak knife
There was strip, T-Bone and sirloin too
all this food who needs Herbalife?

I’ve been through the buffet with a plate in my hand
the beans were cold but I didn’t complain.
At the buffet you can eat ‘till you puke
until your belt it can’t stand the strain.

—–

“My Dear Ottoman” (“Mrs. Robinson”)

by Michael B. Fishman

And here’s to you, my dear ottoman,
seize my bottom with your wired spring coils
Woo, woo, woo.
Oh if you please, my dear ottoman,
I hope your fabric never fades away
Hey, hey, hey.

I’d like to know a little bit about your plushy piles
and how they always manage to soothe mine.
I sit on you for hours and I stand up with a smile
stroll around the house until I sit again.

—–

“All You Need is Money!” (“All You Need is Love”)
“Can you Imagine?” (“Imagine”)
“HELP!” (“Help!”)

by Ruth Scribbles

Cash, Cash, Cash,
Cash, Cash, Cash
Cash, Cash, Cash

Imagine there’s no money
It’s hard but please try
No food in your belly
Above you only sky

I need some money
(Help) not just pennies
(Help) Hands up!! I want some
(huzza)

Imagine all the rich folks
Living like you do
Beggars would be riders
Horses wishes too

All you need is cash
Cash is all you need

—–

“Ambitious Kinds” (“Suspicious Minds”)

by Michael B. Fishman

I just caught the clap, from some gal I met.
Why did I think I loved you baby?

Why can’t you see, what you’ve given to me?
How will I ever tell my family?

We can’t get back together, this penicillin’s mine.
And we can’t get together, until the doc says you’re fine.

—–

“Brainy Gals and Sundaes” (“Rainy Days and Mondays”)

by Michael B. Fishman

Walkin’ by myself and feeling cold.
Sometimes I will admit
to feeling like I just don’t fit.
Lookin’ around,
Trying not to feel cast down,
brainy gals and sundaes always get me down.

What I’ve got to do is lift my mood.
Tell myself it’s not my fault,
forget the sundae, drink a malt.
Lookin’ around,
sad eyes and a broken frown.
Brainy gals and sundaes always get me down.

Funny but it seems I always crave a barbecue.
Nice to know somebody’s cooking.
Funny but it seems that when I wake up and come to,
she is still so darn good looking. (So darn good loooooooking)

What I feel I can make go away.
But ice cream makes me want to pout
and brainy gals I can’t sort out
Moping around,
feeling like I’ve just been drowned,
brainy gals and sundaes always get me down.

—–

“That Tea Cozy” (“Cracklin’ Rosie”)

by Michael B. Fishman

That tea cozy I adore.
Keeps my tea warm till there ain’t no more to pour,
I’m sipping it slow,
lord don’t you know.
Have me some fun with a cup of oolong.

Twitching from too much caffeine.
Ain’t nothing wrong I just had one cup too much,
this tea it’s my crutch,
to drink, slurp and such.
Don’t need no more ‘cuz this tea it keeps me going.

Oh, I love my oolong tea, man.
It’s got the snap to make me happy.
Tea and me we drink in style, man.
My tea cozy, you store bought cover,
if you weren’t made of cloth I’d make you my lover.
So keep my tea warm and we’ll keep on drinking onnnnnnnn.

Pour it now… pour it now… pour it now my cozy.

—–

Thank you all, again, for spending the time to make us all laugh (or maybe cry). Tomorrow, I will be sure to outline what I will look for in whatever theme comes to me, and possibly to impose a submission limit. 😉

eduardo-balderas-801340-unsplash

Mr. Pockets: D. Wallace Peach created this graphic that you can use (if you want) for a badge of honor as the winner:

The Cure for Depression: Get up and MOVE

This topic is my favorite because I actually have experience with it. I have some experience with the others, too. They‘re just not as fun to talk about.

But NOW we get to discuss getting off the freaking floor. NOW we get to talk exercise.

I LOVE exercise. No, I’m not a masochistic, weight-lifting gym junkie. I am most definitely not that person you see running down the street at breakneck speed and somehow grinning whilst doing it.

If you make it over to my gym, I’m the one barely shuffling around the track because I fall off treadmills. Old people are passing me, giving me thumbs-up for trying ’cause they’re nice like that.

Stillstill I LOVE exercise. For me, it’s the ability to move.

Whenever I finally get my sorry rear into workout clothes and start moving, something inside me cannot stop feeling happy. Running makes me feel like I’m flying, like I’m airborne and nothing’s going to stop me. I know it’s not endorphins because it always happens at the start. That, and I seem a bit endorphin-deficient even at the end.

I understand that moving may not be your happy place. Answer me this, though: IS NOT MOVING YOUR HAPPY PLACE?

Nope, you’re lying.

I know, because I’m sitting right next to you. It’s a bit dark, of course. We’ve got some kind of substance and/or distraction and/or avoidance crap going on. No one can get in, even if they’re actually right there by us. We’re comfortable here, but not truly happy.

Soooo…. now you ask how you can possibly get moving.

Answer: Make it easier to move.

No, really. I remember reading an author’s idea about how we are such slaves to convenience, that literally making a habit about twenty seconds more difficult will help us not do it. (Sorry for the run-on sentence.)

think it’s this dude, Shawn Achor:

If not, his book was good anyway. Something about happiness and advantage.

Shawn (or someone very like him) had a bad habit of coming home and immediately losing himself to an hour or a few watching Netflix. Conversely, he wanted to practice his guitar more.

So, he took the batteries out of the remote and ‘hid’ them in his nightstand drawer. He took his guitar and put it on a guitar stand right by the couch. It sounds really silly, but having the instrument right there and the batteries a teensy bit farther away broke him of the bad habit and improved his skills on the good one.

No, this post is not about playing the guitar. I definitely can’t do that. We’re talking about EXERCISE (yay!). We’re talking about how to even get yourself started.

  1. First, ensure that you have something you can exercise in, in terms of clothing. If you intend to stay inside (which I recommend against), you’ll only need undies. If you’re female, however, you’ll feel more comfortable with a bit more for support.
  2. Next, either set the clothing out RIGHT WHERE YOU TOUCH when you wake up, or go to sleep wearing it. Put your shoes and socks that you’ll exercise in nearby, too.
  3. Wake up just a tad earlier than usual, roll over to wherever you intend to officially move, get dressed, and get started.
  4. Choose an exercise routine that you can do. There are many.

Yes, folks, it’s that easy. And, for the low, low price of $999.99, you can exercise, too!

In reality, following my three steps is free (minus the cost of #1).

But let’s say you’ve got a YUGE mental block in terms of where or how to exercise. To answer that, I think going outside is the best. This may not work for you, particularly if “outside” is a super scary neighborhood with super scary people or potholes around. Maybe it’s snowing. Maybe you have allergies. See how the list keeps getting longer and you’re now not going to even consider exercising?

If you’re able to afford it, a local gym is good. They often have deals like “let your friends in for free this month so they’ll get suckered into signing up.” Hang out outside and ask someone to be your free gym class friend.

Thirdly, I suggest the option I use most often: l’internet. I didn’t know this, but lots of peoples on YouTube have free exercise videos. I started out with Fat People Who Move Faster than You and can now do a few HIIT workouts (okay, I do most of their session).

YouTube is my “20 seconds closer.” Sometimes I find myself making excuses like, “I just ate,” “I need to use the bathroom,” “I don’t have shoes on,” or “I haven’t been drinking enough water today and yet I still need to use the bathroom.” When the excuses pile up, I turn the TV on (we’ve got streaming) crank up my dubstep exercise music, and do it barefoot.

Even with kicking myself to move, some days I wimp out. I only do half the circuit, for example. Still, I did some. I’m always good about not beating myself up for giving up. I beat myself up for plenty of other things, but my aerobic habit is not one of them.

The results? After six months of (attempting) daily exercise, I miss the beneficial feeling when I try to skip out. It’s become a habit. I also enjoy all of the following:

  • More clarity of thought, especially when I walk outside.
  • I get good ideas for writing topics when I jog around the track because I’m super bored going around and around like that for so many laps.
  • I haven’t had a bad cold since beginning, and have only had two minor ones.

Plus, I passed an old person at the gym the other day.

I gave her a thumbs-up.

 

Photo Credits:
Curtis MacNewton
CATHY PHAM
Oana-Maria Sofronia
Jesus In Taiwan

 

*Chelsea Owens is not a licensed anything, except a Class D driver in her home state, and shares all information and advice from personal experience and research.

The Cure for Depression: Don’t Be Hatin’ on Medicatin’

Now onto my favorite (*cough* *cough*) advice for treating Depression: medication.

Whoa –what?! YOU don’t like being dependent on pills? We should hang out. Oh, wait. We kind-of are.

For nearly my entire anxious life I’ve worried about THE Day: that point at which the doctors would finally tie me up in a straight jacket, cart me away, and dose me full of anti-depressants. I knew it would come. As relative after relative succumbed to depressive tendencies, I’d mentally count down to when my turn would be.

I watched a friend balloon in weight on anti-psychotics; saw the not-so-fun of adjusting medications in another. I read and heard and watched people being negatively affected by their cocktail of drugs. Would that happen to me, too?

Frankly, there is a lot to be depressed about in terms of depression medication.

But this sort of thinking is clearly that of someone in a depressive mindset (aka ME). I love to take the easy route of negative self-talk; of assuming the worst.

The truth -no, The Truth is that medications are extremely helpful. They are often vital.

Need an example? A close friend of mine was married for a couple decades to a guy with serious schizophrenic issues. Super nice guy, by the way. He became concerned that apocalyptic situations were nearing and concluded that medication dependency was a bad thing. So, of course, he went off of his pills.

This is not one of those ‘happily ever after’ stories, but it is one in which life had to keep going and did (and, still does). After severe manic/depressive episodes, a necessary divorce, and removal of his ability to get credit cards; he’s back on a higher dose and somewhat back to the person I knew before.

No, not every story is that extreme. Yes, some are more so.

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In my vast experience of talking to a lot of people about mental illness (’cause I’m nosy), most use medication for its intended purpose: a leg up. Prescription drugs are meant to give our poor minds and neural pathways a little help.

They are meant to be taken WITH therapy, because we need to teach ourselves to form automatic pathways to brighter fields of mental flowers.

I found some really great sources of information online (Mayo Clinic, WebMd, MedicineNet) that go into more details about common medications, their types, and side effects. They’re especially good if you want to get worked up about how you have a 5% chance of a limb detaching once on a course of Prozac.

So, this is the part where a psychomedicaldoctordude comes in handy. He or she will help you not panic after reading about arms falling off, and come up with a working plan to fit your symptoms. After talking through what you and s/he think is going on, s/he may prescribe you something to try.

The most common medications to treat Depression are:
-Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft, Paxil.
-Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) like Cymbalta and Effexor.
-Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) like Nopramin and Nardil.
-Other classifications, like Wellbutrin (aminoketone class), Trazodone (serotonin modulator), or Remeron (tetracyclic).

You may have a mix of mental illness, in which case anti-anxiety or anti-psychotic medications are prescribed. Ones like:
-Antipsychotics: Seroquel, and Zyprexa with Prozac.
-Lithium carbonate.
-Some stimulants like Ritalin.
-Anti-anxiety, like Buspar.

For those like me who deal with related issues like thyroid deficiencies, the prescription may simply be:
-Supplements to raise natural levels in the body
-Hormone therapy
-Specific thyroid medications

Whew! That’s quite a list. I swiped it from WebMd, mostly, leaving out the fun side effects notes.

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These all affect serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in some way. An article by Harvard Health also referenced Glutamate and GABA. Once assisted, those internal hormones and neurotransmitters and such will give us our mental leg-up.

In reading over these sites, I get the idea that Depression is a tricky bugger. The medications tend to improve symptoms in about 70% of sufferers, but doctors are not entirely certain why. Yes, they affect these hormones or connectors -however, simply affecting said things in isolation does not always work. That, and some people are still not helped by the good old anti-depressant classics.

Talk to a doctor continually in order to address the issues you have, and involve therapy along with the medication(s).

But besides boring you all with technical details about prescription drugs, I wanted to repeatedly hit my main point home for you: Pills aren’t all that bad.

During my brief stint on hormones, I experienced something wonderful. The sensation was very much like the gift of sight despite not wearing contacts or eyeglasses. I looked around at the world and saw light, felt hope, and assumed better outcomes instead of the worst possible ones.

Prescription drugs can be the older-brother boost to get into that impossibly high tree. Instead of constantly staring up at all the other people who got to the top branches, you can get help. With The Pill, you will be able to see knotholes or branch stubs or bark indentations. With psychotherapy, you’ll gain the strength to use them.

A low-angle shot of a tree with an impressive trunk

The journey to a brighter place may necessitate medication. Don’t be hatin’. Try what your paid medical friend suggests, pay attention to side effects; try, try again. Train your mind, young padowan, so that you may someday need fewer legs up -or, perhaps, none at all.

These pictures were swiped from JES’ database, which uses Unsplash.

 

*Chelsea Owens is not a licensed anything, except a Class D driver in her home state, and shares all information and advice from personal experience and research.

The Cure for Depression: Get a Paid MEDICAL Friend

A few weeks back, I wrote about 14ish items that help “cure” Depression. Shortly after, I covered connecting with a human and getting a paid friend.

I realized, however, that I did not have information regarding a medical friend (AKA a psychiatrist). Therefore, the post you’re reading RIGHT NOW is Item 2a on that 14 item list, as an amendment to the one before it.

A moving freight train on railroad tracks on a cloudy day

Let’s back the runaway train of thought up just a tad so you can get on:
Do you or a loved one experience some reactions to life situations that interfere with normal behavior?

We’re talking inability to leave the house, extreme anxiety to the point of a raised heart rate and panic, thoughts of suicide, and/or manic and depressive episodes.

Honestly, I could go on and on. I could name ev’ry depressive phenomenon… but there are many, many possible symptoms to consider. I highly suggest you follow my second advice to get a paid friend.

But… should you consider a psychologist or a psychiatrist? They are more than a few letters’ difference.

All of my personal experience has been with the former; of the familiae Counselor or the subclass Therapist. That’s not to say I don’t have any knowledge of psychiatrists. I have several family members and friends who have talked to me about them, plus my flash internet education just a few minutes ago (don’t worry; I read fast).

Sigmund Freud, by Max Halberstadt (cropped).jpg

One website I read over said that psychiatrists are a good choice because they attend medical school first. After all that work, their residency is specifically in psychiatry. They’re a doctor who understands your brain better than a zombie would, and can use a medical foundation with any treatment plans.

One family member I read over, however, says the psychiatrist is only there to write her prescriptions.

I know some psychiatrists who fit a little of both, and I think you can find a really great one. How? Even if you go more with the psychologist route; consider these tips:

  1. Get your regular doctor or counselor to give you a referral. Heck, maybe they go to a psychiatrist.
  2. Check if your insurance covers anyone and who that person might be.
  3. Internet stalk the recommended psychoperson to learn their credentials.
  4. Read about their work experience. If you suspect your cocktail of symptoms are Bipolar related, you may not want to visit a guy who says he’s good with eating disorders.
  5. Think about whether you want a dude or a chick. I prefer females, myself, as they empathize with my goings-on.
  6. Read through their internet ratings. You simply don’t want to go with the 1 star blender.

(By the by, I lifted these ideas from Health Grades.)

Psychiatrists have the legal ability to write prescriptions. Whether that’s mainly what they do or no, you’ll need them (or a regular medical doctor) if your symptoms could really use the help of medication.

If you’re unsure, feel intimidated, or don’t want to even think about medication; that’s totally cool. We’re about small steps, remember? Talk to someone you trust first. That may lead to feeling comfortable enough to ask your medical doctor about a psychologist. Said doctor or counselor might know a psychiatrist they play golf with on Saturdays.

Start small. Ask for what you need. You are worth it.

 

Photo credits:
Ankush Minda

Image Two from wikimedia commons
Amazon sells blenders

 

*Chelsea Owens is not a licensed anything, except a Class D driver in her home state, and shares all information and advice from personal experience and research.

The Cure for Depression: Get a Paid Friend

Sup, yo? I’m here to talk about my second suggestion from The Cure for Depression: the most amazing elixir to not actually exist and is therefore really a list of 14ish items that seriously help.

I need to work on my advertising taglines. Let’s try again:

Are you suffering from Depression? Do you think you might be? If yes or no; you’re reading this article, so there’s a good chance you don’t want to stay down in your hole.

You could use professional help.

“But… but, I don’t know who to talk to!”
I don’t either. I’m not you, sitting on your floor, living in your town, with or without your health benefits. That’s Google’s responsibility. -Google, or your old enemy Facebook.
Open up ye olde FB, and type something like “Hey guys, do you know a good counselor? Asking for a friend.” You’re not really lying because you should be your own best friend, right?
If that’s too intense, text a close friend. I literally did this to my neighbor, out of the blue, and got one of the best therapists I’ve ever been to (and, believe me, I’ve been to two in my life).

I have no way to pay for services.”
-I don’t, either. I’m a moocher off my husband. It’s not even covered by our health insurance, so there goes this year’s family trip and a few months of groceries. As he says, “It’s cheaper than divorce.” He’s sweet like that.
Do not get me started, rambling, and still cursing about health insurance. Even in America where I live, it has issues. I do happen to know that options exist out there. Use your friend, the internet, to look into what you can get.
If you’re religious, many ecclesiastical leaders are willing to help with what they can.
If you have parents, try asking them. Maybe they can at least let you live downstairs for another decade while you get to a better place.
If you have a rich great aunt, hope that she knocks off sooner than later. Okay; just kidding about that one.

“What if the person I get sucks?”
-Find a new person. It’s your hard-earned money (or, your great aunt’s). If you’re stuck picking from a certain office or a specific list, try asking the nurses who they think is good for what you’re experiencing.

“I can’t open up to a therapist or counselor. What if s/he judges me?”
-I may have this exact problem. Still. I am the slowest person ever, I’m sure; because I finally start opening up at the END of the session. Sometimes, I close off at the end. I’m a mixed bag of self-protective measures, really.
I keep going back to my paid friend because THIS IS HER JOB. She is supposed to “judge me,” because she’s trying to help me. She’s super nice so would probably want to help anyway, but she is also there because I’m paying her.

“Insert your excuse here.”
-Nope, not going to buy it. Do what I said. Try, try again.

Think of it this way: A counselor, therapist, or psychologist is like a tightrope instructor. Instead of tightrope walking the way you have for (possibly) YEARS now, why not pay a person who knows? After a few sessions, you may think, So I wasn’t supposed to be doing it UPSIDE-DOWN this whole time! Who knew?!

You’ve tried it your way. A paid friend can show you a better way.

In terms of a more advanced paid friend, aka a psychiatrist, I’m afraid I have no experience in this regard. I’ll do some more research, and get back with you next week.

Go get a counselor if you don’t have one. A good one is worth it because YOU ARE worth it.

 

Photo Credits
rawpixel
Casey Horner

 

*Chelsea Owens is not a licensed anything, except a Class D driver in her home state, and shares all information and advice from personal experience and research.