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02 May 2008 @ 10:37 am
Oh, and by the way  
Regarding having tools and skills to recognize Depression (as opposed to depression; kind of like deaf and Deaf) and function through it.

PSA to anyone in the Knoxville area who might need a therapist: Nancy Davis at East Tennessee Behavioral Health is really, really good. With me she does pretty much straight CBT (that's Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, you perverts! *grinlet*), but I'd be willing to bet she has a range of techniques for different people and different issues.

ETA: fatfred asked about the tools I use to recognize and cope. I'm copying the comment I left, since I think it's important, and this will make it easier for me to find it again when I need it.
The tools came from therapy. My pdoc, Nancy Davis, is really sharp, and she doesn't let me get away with shit. With me, she uses primarily Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which operates from the premise that thoughts basically control emotions, and that by reframing thought, a person can reshape emotional response. Obviously, that's not a 100% correlation, but for me (and, apparently, a lot of other people) it's a sufficiently good model.

A very basic example of CBT might be dealing with how a person feels after making a mistake. This is not exaggerated; I'm speaking from my own history.

Pre-therapy: I can't do anything right. I suck. The world would be a better place without me. I'm an awful person and don't deserve my good job or my friends or anything (and on and on and on).

Post-therapy (and assuming a reasonably stable neurochem state): Well, that wasn't one of my better moves. How can I fix it? Can I keep it from happening again?

So for dealing with the ongoing neurochem depression, I take an antidepressant. Right now, that's Prozac. For dealing with the bouts of Depression, some of the tools involved:
  1. Being more self-conscious/self-aware. Not in the shy, "Everyone's staring at me" way, but in the "keeping track of my state" way. Kind of like Scanners, in the short story "Scanners Live in Vain".
  2. Learning to recognize the patterns of actions that Depression causes: I can see those before I become aware of the mental/emotional state, if that makes sense.
  3. Training myself to believe that which I do know intellectually: This will pass.
  4. Training myself to "fake it 'til I make it"; that is, to follow my routine: get up, eat food, take meds, go to work, shuffle paper. *grin*
  5. Training myself to, once I recognize the onset of Depression, run everything I say through a conscious, intellectual filter. That's the hardest. I spend a lot of time biting my tongue (or sitting on my hands) in order to filter out the self-destructive / hateful stuff and only pass the neutral or constructive bits.
 
 
 
Fat Fred the Otter and Skippy: iotterfatfred on May 2nd, 2008 03:03 pm (UTC)
And they sound like very good tools.
Thank you for posting about them!
(Deleted comment)
piranha @ dreamwidthpir_anha on May 2nd, 2008 10:28 pm (UTC)
tools and skills to recognize Depression
*nod*. yes, that's how it works for me as well, and those are the tools i use. though i don't have many clear bouts, i have a chronic underlying level of depression that never goes away, which is why #3 looks different for me -- it's not so much that "this will pass", but that there is the possibility of happiness and contentment despite the depression. my filters need to operate all the time, but it's gotten easier over the years.

#2 makes lots of sense to me; if not watched, i will slowly slip deeper and deeper into depressive inaction, and it happens so quietly that i just do not notice emotionally. but i have a strong pattern matcher, and it will catch when i end up sitting behind the computer all day gazing at the screen and no longer check out my garden or walk to the mailbox.
Bladerunnerbldrnrpdx on May 3rd, 2008 08:08 pm (UTC)
Good for you. I've done something similar - with a little help from psydocs, books, and good people in my life. I've got cyclothemia plus a bonus bit of PMS. Add to that occasional Actual Crap (as opposed to the Perceived Crap), and I've given myself a really rough go over a good share of my life. I've spent the last several years working on turning that around. I've been on five different antidepressants, trying to find a formula and dosage that worked. Hated all of them. Or rather, I hated how I was on all of them. I've been med-free for almost 10 years, I think. I still have some cyclothemic lows, but it's not nearly as bad as it used to be, plus I'm far more aware of what's going on, as opposed to reasoning "I feel depressed and crappy. Therefore my life must be crap." Instead, even though I feel like crap, I'm more aware it'll pass. I am also in a better position to warn people of what I'm like when those lows sneak up on me. They used to kill off relationships like nobody's business. Now I can warn the boyfriend about it, and he'll have a better chance of not taking my behavior personally.
Keep at it! It really does work!