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Chasing Away the "Blues"

 
 
Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2003 03:39 pm
We all have them......we all have learned to cope with them...........the blues.

I am not speaking now of clinical depression. That is a serious medical problem that requires medical intervention. I am talking about the garden variety of blues...........when for no reason, everything FEELS gray and lusterless.

What sorts of things bring on the "blues" for you? What strategies have you developed for coping with them?
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2003 04:12 pm
I was just thinking about this, because of something I posted on rosborne's education thread. I tend to think that what I need when I'm stressed out and feeling blue is to relax -- watch some crappy TV, read a magazine. While some of that is certainly necessary, what is more replenishing is if I have a "flow" experience:

Quote:
Flow describes the spontaneous, effortless experience you achieve when you have a close match between a high level of challenge and the skills you need to meet the challenge. Flow happens when a person is completely involved in the task, is concentrating very deeply, and knows moment by moment what the next steps should be. If you're playing music, you know what note will come next, and you know how to play that note. You have a goal and you are getting feedback. The experience is almost addictive and very rewarding.


Context:

http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=10323&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

I have been taking pottery classes for the last several months, (gosh, almost a year now -- started last fall) and that has been a great thing for me. I identify what I want to do, do it, and get instant feedback. (Well, a few levels of feedback -- getting something how I want it to look before it's fired, glazing it correctly, and reactions from classmates. I LOVE it when I'm engrossed in something, look up, and realize that half the class has surrounded me and is oohing and ahhing. Very Happy)

Of course, sometimes it doesn't work (one of the pieces I picked up last night turned out to be a spectacular failure), so that's the challenge part. If I took a class on how to paint rainbows, and made a flawless rainbow each time, it would be BO-ring.

At a different level, I complain all the time about this stupid committee I'm on, and as committees go I really do think it's one of the stupider ones, but at the same time all of these travails make it that much more satisfying when something does go right.

Exercise is another obvious one, but a biggie for me.

But generally, embarking on some challenging but still achievable project is what works best for me. "Still achievable" is important, though -- unfinished projects laying around redouble the funk. So I start with making the sozlet's doll a dress rather than making myself a dress. Wink
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2003 04:14 pm
Bang your head against the wall for 3 hours. When you stop it feels soooooo goood.
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oldandknew
 
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Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2003 04:17 pm
Anything can bring on the blues, from the very mundane to the highly complex.
What brings on the Blues for me ? well most of the things that bug me, I can usualy rationalise and resolve very quickly. The most important thing is to be positive & make your thought patterns constructive. Dwelling on the blues, building up your angst makes you feel worse.
The one thing that does give me the blues is this. Every week I have to make up my medication in daily strips for the next 7 days.
26 tablets just to get thru 24 hours. 182 tabs per week to treat my Parkinson's Disease. It's frustrating, depressing and far from easy. I take a deep breath and get on with it. I have no choice. The body is weak, but my head is still 100% cool
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sozobe
 
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Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2003 04:18 pm
100%.
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Setanta
 
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Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2003 04:28 pm
Well, i do in fact suffer from "clinical depression," and do not agree that it automatically ". . . requires medical intervention." There are several strategies which i use to lessen the effect of what i cannot change (and for which i refuse to take drugs): Do every dirty dish in the house, do your laundry, clean the place up--this has the effect of distracting you from what ever thoughts you've dwelled upon and which have brought you down. Listening to music really helps, as well. A friend of mine who is a fanatic for "the blues," and collects re-releases of old recordings, once asked me if there were an equivalent in "classical" music to the blues. I told him that indeed, there are many. I like to listen to the second movement of Beethoven's Third Symphony, the marche funebre movement; and i enjoy listening to Mozart's Maurerer Trauermusik (Masonic Funeral Music), which is, in my opinion, the most hauntingly beautiful piece of tragic music ever penned. It is also good to watch a movie. I don't find that comedies help in such a case, when nothing seems comic--but a good mystery (not a thriller, but a mystery) can really help to take you out of yourself, and to forget your problems for a while.

The point of all of this is to soothe and distract your psyche. I find that it works well for me, even when i know that i may be in the midst of an on-going depression which lasts literally for years.
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BillW
 
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Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2003 04:32 pm
I once was told by a physiatrist that I cope. I wanted to grab the table, turn it upside down, scream profanities at him and finish by telling him where he could stick his cope (even help him get it there)!

I silently got up, walked out of the room and to this day when things are at there lowest I just remind myself that I cope Smile I would also like to add that everyday my lowest is higher than every low of every preceding day Wink
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sozobe
 
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Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2003 04:45 pm
Very generally:

Inactivity (physical or mental) = bad. (Brings on blues if too protracted.)

Activity (physical or mental) = good. Usually drives blues away.

(My entire family -- both mother's and father's sides -- is rife with clinical depression, I was clinically depressed as a teen though never had any medication for it, have sometimes wondered if going deaf was my salvation as it was such a specific problem to deal with, and deal with it I did, and have been able to use the methods I came up with then ever since.) (That said, both of my parents have been on Prozac for the last several years and it has really really helped them -- just saw a blurb about it growing new brain cells -- and I don't want to knock it.)
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2003 05:10 pm
Soz- So right about inactivity/activity. I have found that the best way to beat the blues is to get on a treadmill. I have some loud rock music with a heavy back beat, and I turn it up........loud. I work on the treadmill until I am physically exhausted. Whatever has been bothering me, "magically" disappears.

My mom always said that when you are depressed, you should get down on your hands and knees with a brush, and scrub a floor. I would assume that the motion of the scrubbing is soothing, and the endorphins released by the activity helps to release any physical tension held in the body.
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dlowan
 
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Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2003 07:26 pm
'Tis interesting - the medicalisation of depression. It is happening strongly here, now - but it has not been swallowed here so strongly as in the USA (like ADHD/Ritalin).

The thing is, there is a counter-view - research suggesting that psychotherapy is as effective as drugs - or waiting - episodes of depression generally resolve themselves, sooner ot later. Placebos have only a slightly lesser effect than accepted drugs.

While the lack of serotonin in the depressed brain is pretty much clear, now, it is interesting that the common assumption is that there is a linear explanation - ie medical problem causing lack of serotonin, serotonin enhancing pills (actually, they inhibit re-uptake, hence effectively increasing serotonin) - depression goes away.

I think it is truer to hold that the brain is a plastic, reactive organ - misery can, over time (as can trauma, it seems) change brain chemistry - change in thinking or circumstances, or resolving trauma, can assisit brain to return to normal.

I am not arguing against anti-depressants for some - but I think this medicalisation has got out of hand - to the benefit of doctors and drug companies. I also think that, for most people, using drugs in the absence of some sort of examination of the thinking and feeling behind depression is outrageous. (Not necessarily therapy, as such, but information at the least.) But, so it goes. I cannot say how many people I see who have been on antidepressants for years, with some change in their state, but who are "bumping along the bottom", so to speak - (especially when prescribed by general practitioners here - your "internists"? - you know, the local doctor - who habitually prescribe sub-clinical doses anyway!) - who have never been encouraged to look at their current situation (eg domestic violence, boredom, anxiety) or their past traumas, or their thinking habits - or anything, really. Sometimes a few minutes of education, or putting things in context, works "miracles" - sometimes referral to someone who will actually work with them changes things. here, the drugs work as a homeostatic mechanism - goddammit.

Some folk, like Setanta, can recognize early warnings, and mobilize resources.

As I said above, I think some people DO require drugs - but nowhere near as many people as are getting them.

End of rant.

Sorry.
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dlowan
 
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Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2003 07:29 pm
Exercise is spot on.

Examining your habitual ways of thinking is also very helpful - cognitive treatment for depression is very effective.

Not catastrophizing the blues is great, too. We seem to expect to feel good all the time, or some of us do - ain't gonna happen.

Housework is a great assist for me - as is socializing.

When I can walk into a bookshop, and not get excited, I know I need to do something!
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dlowan
 
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Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2003 07:30 pm
Talking to someone who listens is wonderful too!
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quinn1
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2003 07:31 pm
I usually define it as the blahs actually....the gray area not so depressive really but, just blah and certainly not up perky and chipper or anything good feeling at the same time.
I try to take a moment to figure out what it is thats bugging me....then go from there.
It all depends on what the situation is really.
If its a weekend and Im home and just notice all of a sudden that Im blah...I think about what Ive done or havent done to get me into the mood. I could have spent an entire afternoon watching movies and am telling myself really that I need to get something constructive done...get this kinda goes with the scrubbing floors method cuz start doing this that and the other thing until Im to the other point of blah where I figure out I need to stop and sit on the couch cuz Im doing 300 things at once like an idiot. Wink
I could just be driving in traffic and find that I am seriously stressed out for no immediate reason. When thinking about it I have had something go on, a stressful day, a lot of planning for a trip, an expectation, something thats making me blah that I need to change so...I smile at the person next to me who looks like they've had it worse than I have...put on the metalhead music and sing and dance tomyself...just be a little off the wall...strange how that helps get the funk out.
A great deal of the time though it'll be because I havent spend quality time with someone inparticular..a SO, friend or family member...so I get onl ine and send a note, pick up the phone, offer a movie...something like that and its great how connecting with others makes you better.
There are those times however I know better than to talk or spend time with anyone and usually just need to unplug and unwind by my lonesome for a bit doing little bits of things...paying bills, doing dishes, playing with the cats, listening to music, or something creative with the photo stuff.....I have found that grabbing the camera and going away makes a great deal of days better no matter what the mood when the sun rose.
I think mostly really we all feel a bit out of balance and have to do something that equals the scales out more to feel better.
Taking a few minutes every morning to talk to the cats, as strange as that sounds, has made mornings a more lovely affair..traffic or not, coffee or not, Monday or Friday...whatever...a little time to enjoy the good things in life when you run around trying to live it makes the balance more equal.
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LibertyD
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2003 07:57 pm
Physical activity is definately key -- like everyone else has said, housekeeping, working out, gardening, whatever. As long as I get my butt up off the couch and do something, it makes the blues better.

And music -- for me it's Jimmy Smith, 60's acid jazz, groovy, happy, danceable, butt-shakin' stuff. No lyrics to make me think too much.
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cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2003 09:12 pm
All excellent advice. I suffer from depression and social anxiety disorder, but I was determined to beat the porblem without drugs. I went the cognitive behavioural therapy route. It was quick, I related to the approach right away, and I definitely feel much more centered now. Music, activity, making attempts to work out, all good.
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Misti26
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2003 10:27 pm
I wait 24 hrs., then it's gone! Meantime, I watch good movies, loaf, eat, and sleep!
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kev
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Aug, 2003 07:17 am
OAK said, my head is still 100% cool.

Long may it stay that way OAK.
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Aug, 2003 07:53 am
dlowan- Right on! The medical establishment walks in lockstep.............not well, write prescription for pill. It takes a doc a lot more time and effort to talk to the patient than to write a prescription.

I am in complete agreement with you. Many people are tied to their medications, some unnecessarily, and spend little time attempting to deal with the cognitive aspects of their problem.

I wonder if these situations are a result of our pervasive "quick fix" society? On the other hand, people need to be careful when choosing a therapist. There are some therapists, who for personal and financial reasons, will render a client more and more dependent on them.

I remember a woman I worked with, who happened to be a social worker herself. We were discussing an important decision that she had to make. She said that she was not going to make that decision until she spoke to her therapist, who was on vacation.

I asked her how long she had been seeing that therapist. She answered, "Ten years"! Rolling Eyes I was flabbergasted, and then asked her when she planned to take control of her own life.

Anyhow, I agree with you that cognitive based therapies are relatively quick and efficient. I happen to be a fan of Albert Ellis' Rational Emotive Therapy. No nonsense, no navel contemplation, do what you need to do, and get on with your life!
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Aug, 2003 08:03 am
So what can we do about the people who don't make an effort to get out of the downward spiral themselves, refuse medical consults/treatment? Let them fester?

I'm a bad patient. I don't go to the doctor for any kind of medical condition unless I'm really in fear for my health, so I'm not one to recommend a lot of medication or treatment. But on the other hand, I think there's a really danger in telling people who are depressed that they can get over it themselves. Some of them can't, and they need to understand the risks to their health in leaving it untreated.



hmmmmmmm, thinking about it some more. I don't want to be the one telling people to go for meds or treatment, but this thread is making me feel a bit guilty. I think I've let a few people fester.
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oldandknew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Aug, 2003 08:05 am
Kev, thanks man, I might be a bit daft at times but I don't intend to go round the bend. There's is too much I enjoy in life.
I see you are in yorkshire, my daughter was at university in hull. she loved it up there.
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