Unsolicited advice and depression.

INTRO:

Exercise-min‘Exercise.’ One hot topic. The advice went a little like that: ‘It would be a good thing for you to exercise’ Me: ‘I know, but I don’t feel like it. I’m too tired. Just thinking about moving makes me exhausted.’ How moods influence decision making processes is the domain of affective neuroscience [1]. Your mood influences what you remember, how you remember things and what your next steps are going to be. Your mood influences your perceptions. Take actions that are more in lign with your goals than to let you swoop into your negative or overly positive mood (when you swing like me).

Try to take you mood out of some important decisions. When you keep on making the same decisions based on depressive glasses, you’ll never reach a different result. This is called stress generation, the decisions result in more stress. I know people told me to go for a walk; I didn’t feel like it. They told me to get out more, I didn’t feel like it. They told me to move, I didn’t feel like it. Now I just try things out. I’ve done yoga for 15’ and was exhausted for the rest of the day but it gave me a nice feeling. I’ve done rope skipping, my condition is not good but I enjoyed it for 30’’.  I’ve tried playing ping-pong and badminton. I’m not as good as I used to be. I adapted my goal not to be as good as I was but to manage a sequence and to enjoy the element of play. To set something in motion seems to be a good player on the field to manage depression.

 

confetti (1)-min‘You think too much.’ Yes I do, I like to think, it is a trait that I’m proud of. Along the way of recovery I’ve learned to make some distinctions between different types of thinking. When I start to ruminate over the past, over and over again I hold that thought and tell myself to wrap it in nicely. To’ let it be’ but not to let it overtake my life. I’m in now therapy for 10 years I think, every week for 40’. I’ve talked about my past and I was able to construct my story, to understand it, feel it, overcome it and to wrap some big chunks up. While re-writing my own old story in therapy, I’m able to weave a new story for myself. To look into the future. I start to find a balance between my past, me and my future. When I notice my old painful story coming up, I can allow it to be but when my thinking doesn’t provide me with some good action, I let it go. I must admit that I do dream a lot the last few weeks and I think that it’s the consequence of not being able to go to therapy due to COVID-19. The story of the past is still there, waiting to come out one way or another. I can’t pack it up as a whole yet.

Rumination influences your mood, sleep and also self-esteem. Thinking about problems without action can make you feel worse. To take action may come off in this post as the holy grail but it’s not action for the sake of action. Your actions need to be timely (and this is very personal) and effective. Rumination is thinking over and over again, it is a sort of thinking that is at the ‘back of your mind’ but it doesn’t stop and it doesn’t lead to relief nor a solution. Rumination is oriented towards the past, all the things that happened to you, who said what to whom and what you did or didn’t do. People tend to ruminate the most over relationships from the past.

People with depression can have the impression that the past does control them. Sometimes a depressed mood uses the past to predict the future. People can say things like: ‘I’ll never be happy’. When you ask why, they can say: ‘Because I never was.’ Depression  past orientation. ‘My past controls me’ or my implicit thinking at some point; ‘I won’t be happy ‘till my mother treats me better when I was a kid’. Of course I didn’t think that just like that but there were things of my past that needed some serious ‘digestion.’

At some point it was ‘timely’ for me to try to think about a future. The past was and is still there but it changes when you are able to approach it differently. It became possible for me to step out of that loop.

 

You are more than your history.

You’re more than your body size.

You’re more than your job.

 

 

You do have a future with possibilities. You can take actions that create opportunities for the future. When in thoughts ask yourself: When is it useful analysis and when is it useless rumination?

 

 

Resources, notes and credits.

 

[1] Despite their interactions, the study of cognition has, until the late 1990s, excluded emotion and focused on non-emotional processes (e.g., memory, attention, perception, action, problem solving and mental imagery).[45] As a result, the study of the neural basis of non-emotional and emotional processes emerged as two separate fields: cognitive neuroscience and affective neuroscience. The distinction between non-emotional and emotional processes is now thought to be largely artificial, as the two types of processes often involve overlapping neural and mental mechanisms.[46] Thus, when cognition is taken at its broadest definition, affective neuroscience could also be called the cognitive neuroscience of emotion. Online source Wikipedia. (2020).

 

 

28 thoughts on “Unsolicited advice and depression.

  1. Yes, I used to get annoyed when people told me to exercise, but it does help if I can force myself to do it, although when I was very depressed I would not have managed it. The frustrating thing about depression is that you often need to be a bit not-depressed to take advantage of possible cures.

    And I probably do think/ruminate too much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very true, you need to be a little better to do anything. There need to be some stability and energy otherwise you dig a even deeper hole.
      That is exactly what bothered me so much, knowing and understanding what could be beneficial but not having even the possibility to try something out. I did force myself and was even more disappointed in me.
      Rumination is also a difficult one. Sometimes I manage to tell myself to ‘stop’ just like a parent would tell a child. But sometimes it’s just like it is.

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  2. I have mixed feelings about the whole exercise and depression thing. While I do think there’s value in getting outside for a walk and getting some sunshine, I’m more skeptical when it comes to exercise involving more physical exertion. In the past, I’ve tried keeping up exercise because I knew it was “supposed” to help, but as far as I could tell it never did. I’m glad that I live close enough to my local grocery store that I can usually walk, unless I’m really slowed down, so it’s easy to fit that bit of exercise into my routine a couple times a week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that it is more easy to get moving when there is a need or some goal like doing groceries.
      I don’t think exercise is the holy grail to make you feel better when depressed, it all depends on your possibilities in the moment.
      I start to find a little more joy in doing laundry, cooking and the dishes and than it’s much easier to ‘get going’.
      I keep the advice in the back of my head and profit from it when it is the right moment for me and not the other way around.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This post really resonated with me because these are two things that I’ve actually tried to better myself through. While it’s hard for me to “think less”, I try to mark the difference between thoughts that are purposeful and have a proper basis, and thoughts that are just spirals of baseless anxiety and fear. I try to put my energy into something that is more tangible, like art, or music, or even exercise when I realise it’s the latter, and that helps to get my body moving out of a slump, and also focus my mind on something that isn’t just assumptions.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That distinction is a very wise one to make. You need to get to know yourself very well and practice with it. I try to do that too. Sometimes ‘just baseless anxiety’ takes over but at least I’m aware and I can try to ‘catch’ it next time.
      I also think once you can work a little making that distinction it can save you a lot of energy, which is always nice no?

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  4. Yew! Urgh! Rumination sucks! It kept me stuck for long enough! I get the exercise thing – maybe cos it worked for me. But then I became obsessed, going to the gym 8 times a week and getting really wound up if I couldn’t go for some reason. So – I suppose, all things in modesty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did that too! I remember being so stressed out from work and going to the gym ‘because it would help me too unwind’ It just helped me too sleep even less because I came home late at night to get up very early the next day.
      I guess all things in modesty is good advice (!) and we all need to listen to body and mind.

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  5. If curing depression were as simple as following pithy advice, depression rates wouldn’t be as bad as they are. Thanks for your post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is really wise advice. It’s important to be aware of how our moods are influencing our perceptions, our desires, our analyses of various situations and the goals we set ourselves. i have learned to put decisions, emails and other things aside when I haven’t had enough sleep, have been triggered by something from the past, etc. Usually it pays off!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is so true! We want to remodel our home but we’ve decided to wait ’till I’m better because I can’t decide on what I like. And when I know what I like, it changes the next day!

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  7. I think you hit something important in your discussion of “thinking too much.” The problem is less the amount of thinking than the constructiveness of it. Rumination that goes round and round the same track works like a fence to keep us in a static mental space. When we have the tools to break out of those patterns and re-imagine our stories, we are still thinking a lot, but in a way that opens up those inner barriers and creates a bridge to someplace new.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You worded that beautifully! Rumination keeps you on the same tracks and so your destination will be the same. Although I believe that the message that lies hidden in those thoughts can be a valuable one, it is key to find new ways or patterns that opens up the gates to more freedom in thinking and therefore more life than repeating, rehearsing the ‘old’ ones. Variation gives life and hope.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Kacha! I nominated you for the Real Neat Blog Award up on my blog, and just thought I’d let you know! If you’re running short on time and can’t get around to it, that’s perfectly fine too! This is just like a token of my appreciation for your blog! Hope you and Churro are doing well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so much Arshia, I really appreciate the nomination. Right now, I’m adjusting to living with a dog 🙂 The blog has been a little abandoned because of this. Once things are more settled in, I’m sure I can manage an award 🙂 I hope you’re doing fine!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not to worry, adjusting to my new life with Pierre and the dog takes up all the attention and energy that is available for now. I’m doing fine on my slow pace 🙂 Hope you’re ok too!

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