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Stop Depression In Its Tracks

We don’t get depressed in a second.
We get depressed in a series of well-defined steps.

You can stop depression in its tracks
if you deal with each step along the way.


FINDING YOUR OWN ‘DEPRESSION CYCLE’

I’ll be giving you three examples of typical depression cycles.
None of these will be exactly like your own cycle,
but by reading each of them closely
you will learn a lot about the steps you go through
on your way to depression.

Play with the "fix" columns as if it they are a puzzle.
Come up with your own ideas about how each step could be changed.
Practicing this kind of thinking can help a lot the next time you start to feel depressed.


SUBCONSCIOUSLY GETTING DEPRESSED TO MANIPULATE

People who subconsciously create depression to manipulate others
have very poor relationships with everyone they target.
They can become chronically depressed
if they do it as a regular way of getting along in life.

THE STEPS AND FIXES:

STEP #1:
“I feel entitled to what I want from you.”

THE FIX::
“I know I’m not entitled to anything that doesn’t involve a signed contract, or at least a verbal commitment. Even then, I sometimes have to tolerate not getting what I want.”


STEP #2:
“I’m angry but I won’t admit it.”

THE FIX:
“I know I’m angry. I can at least admit it to myself. I can find good ways to tell you I’m angry.”


STEP #3:
“I’ll blame you and make you feel guilty.”

THE FIX:
“I’ll ask directly for what I want. If I don’t get it the first time, I’ll ask again. If I still don’t get it, I’ll talk with you to try to figure out some clever way we can both get what we want.”


STEP #4:
“I’ll suffer at you until you give me what I want.

THE FIX:
" Doing without what I want would be easier than all this suffering. There are many other things I want that I can go for.”


STEP #5:
“If I don’t get what I want, I’ll sulk quietly and make you watch me.”

THE FIX:
“Pouting and sulking only hurts me.”


STEP #6:
“The sulking seems real and necessary now.”

THE FIX: “Sulking is optional. Why would I do that to me?”


STEP #7:
“I’m depressed.”

THE FIX:
Go back to step #1.

GETTING DEPRESSED FROM INTENSE ANGER

People who get depressed
after suffering major physical or psychological pain
can get past their depression
if they get away from all danger
and get good support from friends and family.

They can call a therapist at any stage,
but they definitely should call a therapist
if they are depressed after a few months.


THE STEPS AND FIXES:

STEP #1:
“You did a terrible thing to me!”

THE FIX:
“I’ve been hurt! How can I soothe myself? Who do I know who can soothe me right now?”


STEP #2:
“I’m hurting, bad.”

THE FIX:
“I need time to just let myself feel this through, alone or with someone who cares about me.”


STEP #3:
“I’ll make you suffer and get even.”

THE FIX:
“There’s no such thing as getting even. If I make you hurt, I’ll still hurt afterwards.”


STEP #4:
“I made you feel bad, and I felt better for a few minutes, but I still feel bad afterwards.”

THE FIX:
“That short time I felt good about getting revenge wasn’t worth it.”


STEP #5:
“I can’t win with you. I can only lose.”

THE FIX:
“Winning and losing isn’t what it’s about. And I do get some things I want from you even though I don’t get everything. I don’t have to stay with you if I don’t want to.”


STEP #6:
“I’m depressed.”

THE FIX:
Go back to step #1.

GETTING DEPRESSED FROM OVERLAPPING ANGER

People who get depressed from overlapping anger need a therapist
to help them make major changes in their life.


THE STEPS AND FIXES:

STEP #1:
“I’m tired of being angry all the time. But so many things keep going wrong. I get mistreated all the time.”

THE FIX:
“Is it really all the time? Do I notice the things that go right? Some people treat me well. How often am I with them?”


STEP #2:
“It’s not worth fighting about anymore. I don’t win often enough. It’s not worth it.”

THE FIX:
“I am always worth my own time and energy! It’s not about winning or losing, it’s about doing my best to protect myself and get what I want.”


STEP #3:
“I’ll just give up and go through each day feeling sad about how my life is going.”

THE FIX:
“I know I have a serious problem and I’m going to get professional help right now.”


STEP #4:
“Nobody can help me.”

THE FIX:
“That’s what therapists do! They help. If I don’t like the first one I see, I’ll find someone else who does help me. I won't give up.!”


STEP #5:
“I’ve been depressed for so long it seems normal to me now.”

THE FIX:
“My therapist knows it’s not the way life has to go. I’ll trust that until I get past these lousy feelings.”


STEP #6:
“Sometimes I think of suicide, or murder, or just flipping out to make people take care of me!”

THE FIX:
“It’s understandable that I'd have such thoughts, but I have to be positive I’ll never do these things before I can get better. I'll let my therapist help until I am sure I’ll never do these things.”


STEP #7:
“I’ll just stay depressed.”

THE FIX:
"No I won’t! No feeling lasts forever. It just seems like it when we feel really bad.


STEP #8:
"I'm still depressed."

THE FIX:
G o back to step #1.


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Write To Me, I Want To Hear From You!
Tony Schirtzinger, Therapist (Milwaukee) 

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