One of my patients, Tasha, struggles with episodic depression. When she visited me during her last episode, she reported; “I feel so overwhelmed and paralyzed, I don’t feel like getting out of bed or doing anything.” The exercise I took her through helped her identify what she could do at that time to uplift herself or get motivated. I am sharing the exercise with you in case you or someone you know goes through these phases.
I used the self-dialogue technique that you may have read in my previous book; “Stress to Joy.”
I asked her; “If your best friend was going through what you are going through, what would you advise her?”
Initially, she retorted, “How can I advise someone else when I am not able to take care of myself?”
“That’s true. It is so hard to think outside the box when you feel so down.” I validated her feelings.
In a caring tone, I urged her to think further. “If you were feeling better, and you were able to, what would you advise your friend?”
“I would tell her to be easy on yourself.” She responded.
“Good. Write it down and keep it in a visible place as it is hard to remember these things when you are feeling down.”
As I persuaded her further, she decided to advise her friend “Take one step at a time.”
She identified her first step as; “Resume my Gratitude Practice.”
(Background: While I write prescriptions, it is my practice to ask my patients to identify three things they feel grateful for. Then I advise them to write these gratitudes daily. She had practiced it in the past and had found it most helpful. Since a crisis, she had stopped her practice.)
As she was in a severely negative state, when I asked her to identify her gratitude that day, her first reaction was “Nothing. Nothing is going right for me.”
As I encouraged her, she came around and identified; “My eyes so I could see nature.” She loves nature. She said that when she goes to her backyard door and sees the flowers blooming, it makes her feel better.
As she identified that, I saw the change in her expression. There was a decrease in her mood intensity and a slight smile on her face.
Once she was able to get in that positive space, she was able to identify what further steps she could take.
The crisis that occurred in her life was not in her control. Her feelings were also not in her power. But, how she responds to her feelings, was up to her. She could be kind to herself. Tasha could reach her inner wisdom through reflection. She could shift her mood with gratitude. She could take one small action step at a time and start feeling better. That feeling of empowerment motivated her.
So if you find yourself in a stuck state like her, you can use a similar strategy to get motivated and move your self from stuck to unstuck.
This article is an abstract from my upcoming book; “I Don’t Have Depression; Your Toolkit to Feel Happy Again.” The first chapter of the book is now available to early readers/launch team. Click here If you would like to get access to the book for free as it develops and share your thoughts.
Dedicated to your health and happiness
# 1 Bestselling Author, Psychiatrist, Transformational Speaker
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I share many tools and techniques that I have found to be helpful. They are not intended to replace treatments. Please seek treatment from licensed medical or health professionals as needed. I change all names for privacy.