Moving Through Depression
For the last few days my 20 year old son Ian has been back in Australia to
attend the funeral of a friend who, the police said, committed suicide by laying
on a railway track. Ian and his companions have spent 4 days together talking,
laughing, crying and going through the range of emotions that are involved when
you lose a mate. None of them could understand. This friend was the “happiest”
in their group – he always kept everyone else laughing. To their amazement, none
of them knew that their friend was on anti-depressants.
Thankfully society is learning to recognise, accept and deal with depression,
and the “stigma” associated with this mental disorder is disappearing, but not
fast enough. My intention in this E-Report is to cover some essential elements
of “Moving Through Depression” that I have gleaned through my experience with
people over the last 15 years.
It is very empowering to use techniques to help yourself, to experience the
helpful effect and to form the thought “there is something that I can do about
this myself”. There are a number of techniques that can assist - the purpose of
this writing is to introduce some.
In a recent newsletter I received from Depression Net, I quote “The current
proven most effective treatment for depression is a combination of
antidepressant medication AND therapy. Unfortunately we find that most people
still are only aware of - and getting – the medication half of treatment. Many
have never heard of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) which is one of the most
effective therapies for treating depression. In addition, CBT is the most
effective treatment for anxiety and many people with anxiety know nothing about
it. A clinical or counselling psychologist is generally the first port of call
The following information on CBT comes from the website –
Cognitive behaviour therapy combines two very effective kinds of therapy - to Move On from Depression – Cognitive Therapy and Behaviour Therapy.
teaches you how certain thinking patterns are causing
your symptoms – by giving you a distorted picture of what's going on in your
life, and making you feel anxious, depressed or angry for no good reason, or
provoking you into ill-chosen actions.
helps you weaken the connections between troublesome
situations and your habitual reactions to them – reactions such as fear,
depression or rage, and self-defeating or self-damaging behaviour. It also
teaches you how to calm your mind and body, so you can feel better, think more
clearly, and make better decisions.
When combined into CBT, behaviour therapy and cognitive therapy provide
very powerful tools for stopping your symptoms and getting your life on a more
Let me repeat that the current proven most effective treatment for depression
is a combination of anti-depressant medication and therapy. Being on
anti-depressants means that at the very least, the sufferer has recognised their
illness and visited their doctor. This I applaud. It is a beginning on the road
The next step is to use various techniques. The following are some which I
know have been successful.
Talking about it - Depression Illness
A recent ABC TV’s 4 Corners program devoted 45 minutes to depression. A
number of the people on the program expressed how important it was to talk about
their actual experience of the symptoms of depression. My own experience of
handling the murder of my daughters is that when you push things down (by not
talking about them) you push the associated thoughts and feelings down to the
subconscious mind. The subconscious mind houses memory and habits. It is the
dream mind. When there are negative thoughts pushed into the subconscious mind,
it deals with the problem with hot sweats, nightmares, irrational actions and
unexplained anger. This is known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and it can
contribute to depression. (Much of the beginnings of recognising PTSD started
with examining the effects on Vietnam Veterans – another subject close to my
Talk to anybody – your doctor, your therapist and above all your friends.
Yes, that’s right, your friends. It’s up to each and every one of us to learn
about depression, to recognise its symptoms and to encourage our friends to
talk. Don’t hide depression – it’s the worst thing you can do.
Changing Negative Thoughts to Beat Depression
Science has shown that we talk to ourselves over 50,000 times a day.
Professor Roger Sperry, who received the Nobel Prize for dividing the functions
of the Left and Right brain in 1981, proved that negative thoughts attract
negative thoughts, which lead to negative action and to negative reaction. Thank
goodness for the corollary – positive thoughts attract positive thoughts, which
lead to positive action and positive reaction.
So what’s the key in this? Awareness! We need to be aware of our own
self-talk. There is no doubt that negative self talk can drive us into
depression. My encouragement is to listen to your self-talk, become aware of it,
and if it’s negative, change it! Statements such as, I can do this, I’m good at
what I do, every day and in every way I get better and better, my self
confidence is improving each day, (and many more) can replace any negative
statements. I would recommend using a type of CBT to form new habits in the
subconscious mind, and employing a system of goals, visualisation and emotion.
(Refer to my book Piece of Mind.)
Changing Reactions to Overcome Depression
How we react to situations also needs to be examined. After a negative
situation or an event takes place, a trigger mechanism within you is activated
which can send you “straight into depression”. It could be a thought about a
previous failure, an event with a friend, or something that sparks sadness or
anger that starts the downward spiral. Using a CBT method I teach about Peaceful
Place which can act as an “interrupt mechanism” (to the spiralling negative
thoughts) which in turn can “nip the negative thought in the bud”. You can learn
to immediately replace the negative thought with a positive event – thus
responding instead of reacting. Sometimes I slip into negative thoughts about
the events of my daughters’ murder and I immediately bring in and swamp this
negative thought with a picture of my three smiling daughters going horse riding
Another CBT method is to learn about anchors. You can develop an anchor (for
example the movement of a forefinger to touch the centre of your forehead – it
can really be anything) which is linked to good positive events with good
emotion. As soon as a negative event arises you give yourself your anchor, and
then you are swamped with good emotion and can respond instead of react
negatively. (Once again I would recommend my book Piece of Mind - see my
About the Powerful Subconscious Mind in Replacing Depression
The subconscious mind aims to keep us where we are and prevent us from
changing, by creating doubt, negative self talk and self sabotage. It is up to
the conscious mind to change the subconscious mind, and we can do that by using
CBT methods of visualisation, goals and active meditation. How is this possible?
By using the fact that the subconscious does not know the difference between
imagination and reality, (look at a dream about falling – in the dream you
really think that you’re falling and yet you are not), we can reprogram the
subconscious mind. Because of this amazing fact the subconscious mind will
accept the new “programming” when using these CBT methods.
The power of imagination within the subconscious mind will work for all of us
just the same way that great sports people are taught to use their mind to
achieve fantastic results. (The healing process that was used by Jana Pitman in
the 2004 Olympics is a wonderful example.) This process, when used for healing,
is called psycho-neuro-immunology and science has shown that we can increase the
T4 Cell count (the fighting cell) and so improve our own immune system.
It’s easy to stay in a negative pattern. The subconscious mind wants it – it
wants what it’s got and it doesn’t want anything new or different. Your job is
to recognise this and then use conscious mind methods to get through to the
subconscious mind to create new habits. When the subconscious mind has got the
new habit, it will want it – the new habit - and life will become easier.
Taking Personal Responsibility to Manage Depression – Loving Yourself
An important part of loving yourself is taking personal responsibility for
yourself. This involves elements such as taking responsibility for your own
thinking process, for your own therapy program, for what you watch, read, eat,
how much sleep you have, and more. It is important to love yourself to enhance
the healing process.
Worry and anxiousness from past emotional events can often rekindle
injustice, resentfulness or hopelessness. Often blame is involved with these
thoughts. It is important that you know that you have a choice when dealing with
adversity. You can choose to learn from adversity. Never say “Why me?” because
the answer to this question sets up guilt. Ask the question “What is there that
I can learn from this event?” If you ask a positive question, you will get
A good way to proceed when such events arise is to handle them using
meditation (another CBT method). In the meditation you can acknowledge to
yourself that you have done the best you can do in this situation. Acknowledge
to yourself that any others involved have done the best that they can do in this
situation. No matter what you’ve done up until now, know that you’ve probably
done the best that you knew how to do at the time. One way forward is to say to
yourself “I’ve done the best that I could do – now that I know more, I’ll do
better next time.” You accept all the good thoughts and say “Yes” to them. You
reject any negative thoughts by saying “No” to them. You acknowledge yourself
for who you are and know that you are growing. You can love and accept yourself
for the way you are. You say to yourself – “I love and accept myself”. You feel
and know the loving. You feel and know the Peace. You feel and know the Joy. You
feel and know the Compassion in yourself and others. You know that your own
soul, your deeper inner self is positively affected by your positive actions.
You know the real you is OK.
In this way you are taking personal responsibility for yourself – loving
yourself and healing yourself. Your self confidence grows and grows.
Concluding Thoughts Regarding Depressive Illness
I haven’t mentioned the established links between “recreational drugs” and
depression. Marijuana has been established as one of the worst and it can in
fact “tip one into depression”. My advice – tell the world about this proven
fact thus creating awareness – and of course stay away from drugs.
Exercise helps to handle depression – ensure you have a good, healthy
balanced diet and make exercise part of a daily regime. Always make sure that
you consult your physician and if advised take any anti-depressant medication
knowing that most of the time you will be able to adjust doses and have periods
which are anti-depressant free.
A quick word on meditation. Many people think that meditation is “think
nothing” or “clear your mind of thoughts”. I describe that sort of meditation as
passive. Active meditation on the other hand is total focus and concentration on
the topic and includes processes of guided imagery, visualisation and emotion.
Take personal responsibility for yourself (love yourself) by doing as much
about depression as you can yourself. Talk about it – share your experiences
with trusted friends. Learn CBT methods to handle negative thoughts, to change
from reacting to responding to negative events – both past and present, and use
anchors, goals, visualisation and active meditation to enhance your life.
So, please help with depression by encouraging others to be aware of the
issues and indeed how they can empower themselves.
Are You Ready - Buy this simple step by step guided program - just $25, lets you build those
deep thought patterns that help you eradicate Depression now.
Buy CD $25
I urge you to read the success stories below.
Success Stories - Dealing With Depression
much has happened in the 12 months in my life when I felt everything had ground
to a halt and there was no hope of anything changing. I was trying to recover
from a major depression, I weighed 12 stone, my marriage was in a bad state and
I felt I had no future.
I decided to try the methods you taught even though I was a little sceptical.
The goal I set at the seminar was about releasing weight. Now 12 months later,
I'm 3 stone lighter. As the weight began to go, I started using Alpha to get
through difficult day to day situations and to relax in general. As I became
more relaxed, I was able to think more clearly about what I wanted and started
to set and achieve goals. I don't want it to sound like the CALM Seminar
instantly solved all my problems. I still battle depression on a daily basis and
my marriage though much more secure and happy still has problems. The greatest
difference is that now these 'problems' don't totally overwhelm me. I feel I
have the tools I need to tap into my own power and deal with things as they
happen. I can see that things can change and that I now have the power to change
the way I act and feel when confronted by problems. Instead of problems running
my life, I feel in control again and therefore have a future. T as they
happen. I can see that things can change and that I now have the power to change
the way I act and feel when confronted by problems. Instead of problems running
my life, I feel in control again and therefore have a future. Thank you Sandy
Erika Gelzinnis, NSW
Cathy attended the seminar and told me that she had not come for herself but
had come totally for her mother who was so ill that she was unable to attend
herself. At the end of the seminar I asked her how things were and she told me
she didn't care what happened to her, even if a truck ran over her on the way
home. She told me she had clinical depression and she was stuck with it. She had
come here only to see what she could do for her mother. When she got home she
started to teach her mother what to do and what she had learnt.
Very soon after that Catherine had to have a mammogram and the result wasn't
good. She was told she had a big lump in her left breast and had to go into
hospital in three days time.
She asked if it would hurt because she had a low pain tolerance and feared pain.
They said it would. She would have to have a wire inserted into the breast, to
the lump, without anaesthetic so that the doctor could follow it to the lump.
The wire had to penetrate about three inches. Once the lump was located Cathy
would receive an anaesthetic. She thought she may as well try the Peaceful Place
method - even though she didn't believe it would work for her. She had nothing
For the next few days, a hundred times each day, she visualised that the wire
was inserted easily and painlessly, just like a spoon into yoghurt and affirmed
"this feels great". She imagined the lump was cut out painlessly, with a
successful outcome. After she had done the visualisation for about a day she
thought, "I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to put all my sadness, pain,
injustice, anger and bitterness that led to my depression, into this lump and as
the lump gets cut out it's going to free me of all my depression and I'm going
to feel absolutely fantastic."
So it all happened as she visualised. It was not, however, until the wire was
painlessly inserted did Catherine actually believe. BUT, before that moment, she
pretended really well. When the wire was inserted it didn't hurt at all and the
lump turned out to be benign.
Not only that, but she came to another one of my seminars recently. She is a
different woman, glowing, happy, the depression completely gone! She said, "I've
been diagnosed as having clinical depression for years, but now it's worked so
well for me. I know how powerful it is and I'm working with the Peaceful Place
techniques all the time. It's just a question of attitude and how you talk to
yourself." Cathy's Story, NSW
Sandy's Note: Cathy has been an inspiration to many people suffering from
depression. Thanks Cathy for letting me share your inner strength.