If you're struggling with a mood disorder, looking into the future can be daunting; the road in front of you may seem long, and full of obstacles. This article from Hope to Cope, A Critical Piece of Your Mental Health Journey, argues that a shift in perspective - making the conscious choice to focus on the here and now, one day at a time - is a vital piece of the puzzle.
A Critical Piece of Your Mental Health Journey, by Carol Rickard
In this article and video from BP Hope, Dave Mowry speaks about the way his brain reacts to and processes a negative comment by creating constant conversations in his head, and offers suggestions for ways to hit the pause button when you're brain feels like it's running away from you. Read the full article by following the link below:
My 'Bipolar Brain': Constant Conversations in my Mind
Anger Management: Letting Go to Start to Heal
Feeling and processing our emotions is painful and exhausting - it's no wonder sometimes it seems easier to just "stuff" a feeling down, promising yourself you'll handle it later. After a while, things build up like a pressure cooker and inevitably...you explode.
This article from Esperanza, Anger Management: Letting Go to Start to Heal offers exercises to help you recognize, address, and process your feelings - leaving you a healthier, happier human. Find the full article below.
Anger Management: Letting Go to Start to Heal
This article from Esperanza magazine, Separating Your 'True Self' From The Lies Depression Tells You, notes that when battling a mood disorder like depression, it's easy to be our own worst critics. Leaning on friends and family for support and words of advice can help you see past your own biases, feelings about yourself, and depression.
Separating Your 'True Self' From The Lies Depression Tells You
Millions of Americans are affected by mental health conditions every year, but because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, it's rarely discussed. Struggling with a mental health issue is a challenge in itself, but when self-stigma gets added to the mix, it can be overwhelming. This article from Esperanza magazine, Depression & Conquering Self-Stigma encourages you to shake off the shame, advocate for yourself, reach out to others, and dive into treatment.
Depression & Conquering Self-Stigma
Social media can be a double edged sword; it offers an easy way to stay in touch with friends and family, but sometimes we leave the site feeling worse rather than better. We can be tempted to compare our own lives with the picture perfect glimpses of others' we see on Facebook and Instagram. We may find ourselves compulsively checking our social media accounts for updates, spending hours browsing, or even basing our mood on how many 'likes' we've gotten. How do we know when it's time to take a break?
This article from Esperanza offers suggestions on how to unplug and recharge.
When Social Media Fuels Your Depression & Anxiety
Depression can make it hard to complete the most basic of tasks, but struggling with self-care doesn't make you weak or lazy. This article from Esperanza will help you learn to set small goals, practice basic self-care, and combat inactivity.
Read the full article from Esperanza here: Maintaining Self-Care through Depression
We will find inevitably be faced with unexpected challenges, but we can do our best to be prepared by knowing our triggers, developing coping strategies, and having a system in place to tackle problems and symptoms when they arise.
The following suggestions will help you develop your arsenal of coping tools and strategies, and create a plan of action to help you find balance and get back on track.
Creating Your Action Plan
Be Prepared: It’s impossible to plan for every eventuality, but identifying and knowing your triggers can help you stay one step ahead of your symptoms. If you’re faced with an interaction or situation you anticipate may be challenging or triggering, take a few moments ahead of time to prepare yourself. Visualize the interaction, and practice your responses. Plan to take a few moments after the interaction to process and decompress.
Hit Pause: Implement the “24 hour rule.” After experiencing a major emotional event or strong trigger, ask yourself whether this is something that requires an immediate response. Might you take a day to process the event and form your response? If you have time – use it.
Taken by surprise? Before reacting, hit the pause button. If possible, excuse yourself for a minute to step outside or visit the restroom. Take a few moments to practice some deep breathing, and check in with yourself. What are you feeling? What do you need in this moment? What is the best way to approach or handle this situation without compromising your mental health?
Refresh: Neglecting to address your basic needs and practice self-care leaves you operating at less than your best, and not only makes you more susceptible to mood swings and your symptoms, but makes it far more difficult to get back on track. Self-care starts with the basics, so set yourself up for success. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Take time to be active and move your body. Fuel your body with a diet that is balanced and nutritious.
Refocus & Reflect: Take a few moments to reframe, and practice your attitude of gratitude. What are you grateful for? Dedicate some time to self-reflection. What can you do going forward that will help set you up for success? What tools or coping strategies can you add to your repertoire that will help you in the future?
Get Moving: Put your plan into action. When you feel overwhelmed by your symptoms, it’s easy to feel stuck. Tempting though it may seem, don’t rest on your laurels; challenge yourself to keep moving. A mantra will help you keep going when the going gets tough. Remind yourself,
This is only temporary.
This too shall pass.
I am strong and capable.
One day at a time.
Depression can be a slippery slope; in spite of our best intentions, a challenging day or difficult interaction can often send us into a downward spiral of negative feelings and negative self-talk.
In this article from Hope to Hope, Leadership Coach Owen Ashton shares his personal struggle with managing his depression, and offers suggestions on how to cope when you feel yourself slipping into a pattern of negative self-talk.
Learn more and read the article from Hope to Cope by following the link below:
Depression & Rising Above Negative Self-Talk
Dr. Craig Alan Brown has been providing the highest quality of care and support to the San Diego community for over forty years.