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Feeling low? The fun has gone out of your life?

Six ways in which you can help yourself

Talking.
Don't bottle things up. People suffering from depression often feel unable to talk to others. Sometimes we feel it is selfish to burden others with our problems. Sometimes we feel others around us won't understand. Sometimes we feel like no one else has ever felt like we do when we are depressed. Sometimes we are frightened of being rejected or being told "pull yourself together.

Find someone you can trust who will listen - don't be frightened to relive experiences by talking about them, several times if necessary. Ask your GP to refer you to a therapist they approve of if you think you need professional help.

Change the way you think.
Often when we are depressed we view the world in a negative way. Every event is "going to be bad - I know it is".

Unrealistic statements like these help to hold us in a miserable state. Try to look at negative statements about yourself and the world around you in a more positive way. Look for positives in the face of adversity - treat your own negative thoughts as a challenge - You are better than that!

Instead of sitting rerunning past events in your head wishing that you had done something different, (asking "if only" or saying "I should have" are unhelpful and sometimes destructive statements that stop us from moving on from past events) decide how you will handle similar situations better in the future.

Sometimes we feel overloaded with tasks and responsibilities that we think we can't manage. Try writing a list of things you think you need to do. Now cross off all those you don't have to do. (Don't kid yourself into thinking they all need doing - some you will think you ought to do - cross off the ought to do's to give yourself a breather.)

Write some things on to the list that are just for you - simple things, like stopping for a cup of coffee, going for a walk, reading the paper - try to learn to enjoy being you again, you deserve it.

Exercise.
Exercise is necessary for our health. Often when we become depressed we stop taking any exercise. Strangely, not exercising generally makes us more tired and miserable. Swimming and cycling are ideal but a good stiff walk or a work out in the gym are good too. What's more the activity takes our minds off the miserable thoughts.

Eating.
Sometimes when we are depressed we stop eating properly, snacking instead of proper meals -or even fast food from the takeaway. If you don't feel like cooking eat fresh fruit and vegetables (salad stuff) this will help to maintain the necessary vitamins, etc. that your body needs.

Alcohol.
Tempting though it might be, avoid drowning your sorrows. Alcohol is a depressant (makes you feel worse) and you may also do something you regret if you drink too much.

Taking medication.
Your doctor may prescribe antidepressants. These will help to lift your mood. Most antidepressants take about a month to start working. During the first few days after starting to take them you may feel some side effects (queasy tummy, headaches, possibly your mouth is dry or you suffer dizziness) don't stop taking the tablets. These symptoms will pass within a few days. It is also important you take your medication every day otherwise its effect will be reduced or even lost altogether. You should expect to take an antidepressant for about 6 months (you should discuss this with your GP).

Antidepressants are not addictive, they are not tranquilisers. They are designed to raise the level of a chemical in our brain that affects our mood.

For more help and advice on avoiding feeling low please get in touch.

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