grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I thought I'd share this photo series:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/06/christian-hopkins-depression-photography_n_7714426.html

It's one woman's effort to show through art what depression is like. She's a photographer and she uses these photographs as a form of catharsis and a way of communicating her feelings. The article points out that many people have no idea what clinical depression is like, so this could be good even for people who aren't depressed.

I was inspired by her to talk a little bit about depression myself.

Depression is not sadness, sadness is not depression, they are not the same thing. Depression is a kind of numbness. It's a creeping feeling of overwhelmed exhaustion, even when things are going well. Depressed people don't like doing things, don't like talking to or meeting people, and frankly don't really particularly like anything. They feel guilty, often for no reason, and worthless, almost always for no reason. They feel like their life is going horribly and will never get better. Good events are diminished in their mind and bad events are magnified -- it's like living in a surrealist painting. (The same thing happens with delusions -- things that support the delusion are magnified and things that go against it are diminished.)

Depression can be triggered by stressful events, but -- and I can't emphasize this enough -- it can also happen in a perfectly happy person's life.

I would also add that depression is a chemical illness. The person has no control over how they feel, what they think, or even really how they act. Thus, depressed people are not "selfish." Depression is a not a personality trait. It's a disease, like diabetes or the flu, only it happens in the brain. Often, the only reason depressed people stave off suicide for as long as they do is because they don't want to hurt the people around them. For others, depression creates the thought that their loved ones would be better off without them.

I could go on and on, but who wants to hear something morbid like that? Instead, I choose to talk about what I do when I feel down to make myself feel up again. Here's a list of some things to try:

- Take a warm bath.

- Meditate. Mindfulness meditation is particularly useful.

- Have a cup of relaxing chamomile tea.

- Go for a walk, or try some yoga. Do something that gets you out exercising without being overly stressful. Exercise releases relaxing endorphins through the brain.

- Do something very small, like answer an email or make a phone call, that makes you feel productive and like you've achieved something.

- Try going out and having fun with others, even if you don't want to. I usually go to the movies or go swing dancing. You'll feel better after you've forced yourself to get out there and try it.

- Take a break from your usual stressors and watch something you like on Netflix.

- Cry. This may seem counterproductive, but crying as a way of recognizing and releasing our emotions can actually make us feel better. Acknowledge the pain.

- Find a way to express your depression -- write, paint, or music out your feelings. They may become clearer to you afterward.

If the down feeling doesn't go away after these steps:

- Go see your therapist.

- Make an appointment with your psychiatrist.

Things NOT to do when you're depressed:

- Don't change your medications without checking with your psychiatrist.

- Don't drink.

- Don't do drugs.

- Don't try to eat your problems away.

- Don't try to sex your problems away.

- Don't sleep all day -- too much sleep can create depression/make it worse. Mentally ill people are also more prone, in my experience, to experiencing night terrors (hallucinations, sleep paralysis, nightmares) than mentally healthy people.

ABOVE ALL:

- Give yourself a break. You're doing just fine. Sometimes we all need that little reminder.

ASMR

Jul. 7th, 2015 01:42 pm
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I listen to guided meditation and self hypnosis sessions. This is a bit like that. It's very relaxing and helps me fall asleep.

The whole point of this YouTube channel is to help the person listening achieve ASMR. ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It is a state in which a person receives soothing sensory stimuli, and then feels tingling in their head, scalp, or back in response. ASMR is definitely a thing some people experience, but there's not really any science behind it -- no one knows how or why it happens.

I've been experiencing ASMR all my life. Story time was my favorite when I was a little kid, because listening to people tell stories made my head feel all tingly. Years later, I was on Twitter and I saw someone talking about ASMR. I was like, "What the hell is this?" So I looked it up... and discovered a treasure trove of tingly goodness. I had no idea this was a thing! I had no idea I could get this feeling whenever I wanted it!

I get ASMR from listening to guided meditations, from listening to self hypnosis sessions... and also from listening to videos like this. When people say they put you in a "trance", what they mean is that they're helping you experience ASMR. Not everyone can achieve ASMR -- any good hypnotist will tell you that. But even if you can't achieve ASMR, listening to soft soothing voices take you to an inner world can still be very beneficial for lowering blood pressure and inducing sleepiness.

This may all sound like a bunch of bull, but I encourage you to try it. I find that sessions like these are great for relaxation -- even if you can't explain why, they just feel good.



PS: If you're looking for guided meditation and self hypnosis podcasts, some people to try are Nigel Hetherington, Tracks to Relax, and Lita Stone.

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grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
Hopeless Dreamer

March 2016

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