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Esther Yi:Hi, everybody. Welcome to tonight with Zoom with Dr. Yi. My name is Dr. Esther Yi and today our topic is going to be about depression. The title is titled, Am I Depressed? I think we sometimes throughout that phrase around a lot, and we’re not quite sure what it means. And so today what I want to do is I want to explain a little bit about the actual clinical definition of what depression is versus some of the symptoms that people may be experiencing and being able to recognize them, not the same thing. And then I want you guys to be able to go home with practical tools that you can do to help yourselves or somebody else.
All right. Today what we’re going to be talking about is what is depression, the impact of depression, and then how to conquer depression. All right, so let’s go ahead. According to the American Psychiatric Association, this is how depression is defined. Depression or major depressive disorder is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. I want you to remember those things because that is what depression does. Depression doesn’t just impact maybe your mood like a lot of people may think. But not only does it impact your feelings or your mood, it also impacts the way that you think and the way that you act. And that’s one of the tricky things about depression that’s difficult because it’s not just feeling sad, but it really has an impact on how you live your life day-to-day.
Let’s take a look at some of the symptoms when it comes to clinical depression. When people talk about clinical depression in general, they’re talking about major depressive disorder. Now there’s a lot more types of depression, but just for the sake of time, I’ll just be reviewing this one in particular because I think this is the one that people tend to talk about the most.
The DSM is what therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, LCSWs, this is what they use to diagnose. If you take a look at the symptoms here, you have to have five or more of the symptoms. They have to at least appear once a day for a period of more than two weeks. I want you to take a look at the symptoms and they might be things that people experience anytime. Now I’m showing you this information and it’s not for you guys to diagnose yourself because you can’t unless you are a professional, a mental health professional, I do not recommend you guys diagnosing yourself.
But I want you to take a look because I think sometimes people just wonder like, am I depressed? And this might be a good way just to know. It has to do with feeling sad or irritable most of the day or nearly every day. You might have lost some interest in activities you’ve once enjoyed. I’ve seen this a lot where people will have some hobbies that they like and they talk and they’re like, “I don’t know the last time I played tennis or the last time I went running or the last time I knit,” whatever your hobby may be. You may have found that you have lost some interest regarding that topic.
You may have lost weight or gained weight, or maybe it’s change in appetite where you find yourself, you’re eating a lot more or you’re eating a lot less, feeling restless like, “Oh, I can’t help, like I can’t sit still,” trouble falling asleep or wanting to sleep more than usual. You’ll notice with a lot of these symptoms it has to do with doing more of it or less when compared to your average or what’s compared to your normal where you feel like you’re tired and you have a lack of energy. That also means no matter how much you sleep, you still feel tired.
You might sleep for like 10, 11, 12 hours. And you’re like, “I’m still so tired.” You might be feeling worthless or guilty. People who have major depressive disorder, they have a difficult time focusing. Sometimes you see this in adults where they’re like, “Maybe my job is boring” or “I can’t sit still.” It’s also a symptom of depression. We see this a lot where it’s impacted people’s livelihoods, their ability to function at work. Also can impact your ability to study. If you’re depressed, you’re less likely to be able to focus and concentrate on what you’re reading and having that stick to your mind.
You might have thoughts of harming yourself or committing suicide. And that’s a really big one here too. And so if you have questions about that, I’m available at the very end because there is a myth that if you talk about suicide, then maybe you’re more likely to, but that’s not true. We find it’s actually the opposite. If you know that somebody is having some thoughts about suicide, you want them to talk about it because they’re less likely to commit suicide.
All right. So we took a look at some of the clinical words for depression, but why don’t we take a look at what does it actually look like, or what does it actually sound like from when people are talking? One thing I would say is if you have noticed, or if you’ve seen this where somebody is a negative Nancy or maybe somebody identifies as that, or you may think like “They’re so negative.” But it may not have anything to do with just them being negative. It might actually be a consequence of depression. Or how about, okay, so I took Carol because of Tiger King. So complaining Carol. Have you met somebody who complains a lot and they just seem like they’re maybe never happy?
People who have depression it also impacts their hygiene. I think this is probably not the best time to judge somebody on their hygiene because I’m assuming not everybody is a hundred percent with their hygiene because maybe you’re staying home more. But in general, if you have somebody when we’re not in the COVID-19 time period, you might think, “Wow, they have a tendency to smell often and not clean up after themselves, or their hair looks never brushed or they just don’t seem like they brush their teeth or their hair or their clothes constantly has stains on it.”
Now I know that can mean so many other things, but oftentimes we find that how you treat yourself and self care does reflect on your mental health. We find that when you care about your mental health, one of the things that people tend to do is practice good self care. And this is why this is something to look for. We’re going to talk about this I think in one of the further slides, but depression also looks like pains in your body.
Now this can look very different for different types of people. But notice when you are not feeling good where your body is hurting. Now this doesn’t just have to do with depression, but also can tie into stress where you might find that your body aches in certain types of places because you have different types of symptoms. For instance, some people who have depression, they get headaches or maybe they have tightness of muscle or lower back pain.
Now this can be different for each person, but we also notice that women tend to feel more in their bodies. Also, certain minority groups tend to feel more of these body, what we call somatic symptoms rather than maybe them complaining about, “I feel sad all the time.” Or you might hear some of these phrases like “I’m busy.” Maybe somebody says I’m busy all the time. Well, what are you doing that’s so busy? Maybe they’re not wanting to leave their house.
You might hear somebody who says “I don’t like being around people.” Sometimes people want to stay isolated. Maybe they do want to stay home. But is that healthy for them? I don’t know, you decide. One of the symptoms of depression or something that we see is somebody not being able to make decisions. Just in general they have a hard time making decisions. They’re indecisive. And that might be tied to a hard time just focusing too so then they feel like what’s the point of me making a decision in general? But consider that for yourself, like do you do that? And does that impact different areas of your life, like your relationships or your workplace where you feel like you’re just somebody who can’t make decisions?Or the thought is of “What if I just disappeared?” Not just that your problems went away, but what if you went away. And I shared about this in the other side, but “I’m so tired no matter how much I sleep.” Somebody who just sleeps constantly a lot and you notice it like, “Oh, they’re always sleeping,” but they’re complaining that they’re always so tired.
I put this quote up on Instagram earlier today and I want you guys to consider it. And it says, Blame yourself for the things that are beyond your control and not your fault.” This is what depression says. This is what depression wants you to do. Depression wants you to blame yourself for the things that are beyond your control. You’re not able to control certain things.
For instance, you may blame yourself for COVID-19. You may blame yourself for getting sick day-to-day. You may blame yourself for how somebody else reacted or somebody else’s emotional response. Maybe because they cried or they got upset and now you’re saying, “I’m sorry,” and it’s like it’s your fault. But if you think about it, can you really control how somebody else feels. You can’t. The only person that you can control is yourself. And remembering that it’s not your fault.
Now there are some things that are your fault. If you make a mistake, then I think it’s incredibly responsible for you to apologize and identify what you did wrong. But what if you are saying I’m sorry a lot and it’s not your fault? Have you heard somebody speak in that manner where they’re constantly apologizing? “Oh, I’m sorry.” I’m sorry for what? You didn’t do anything.
What causes depression? Now there are several different factors and we can’t always say this one exactly will cause depression, and just because you have some of these things does not mean you will get depression. Sometimes it’s a combination of these things. But I wanted you guys to just take a look and see and maybe even help you understand what depression is. One of the first things that we see is with genetics. So look at your family, look at your family tree. Is there anybody in your family that has experienced depression?
Now I know that this can be hard because I realize that some people, they don’t know their family history. Maybe you were adopted. Maybe your family doesn’t talk about mental illness. Maybe your family says that there’s nothing wrong. That could definitely be it, but genetics can play a part in causing depression.The second thing is stress. Life events can cause depression. It would be almost a normal reaction if you experience some type of abuse, or your life was threatened, or you just had something that triggered this depression. Maybe you’re prone to it. And so definitely stress and life events. Certain types of medication and certain types of medical conditions can also cause depression so it’s super important to read the side effects for the medications. And then also your brain, just your brain not being able to regulate your mood can also cause depression.
On the flip side of that is that you could teach your brain how to help you regulate your brain. With the causes of depression, if you’ll take a look, one of the things that we find that is most beneficial for depression is the combination of therapy and medication. Now not everybody needs medication, not everybody may need therapy. But usually in terms of being able to treat depression in general, the combination of the two we find to be the most effective method of treatment.
I’m not going to list all these things, but I just wanted you guys to take a look that your depression, depression in general can impact your body and it looks like so many different things. And I think sometimes we forget about that. We forget that depression, any mental health can impact your body. So just take a look. You guys can also Google this image. It’s on Google there. And this is again what we call somatic symptoms, symptoms that we feel in our body.
So you might want to ask yourself like, where do you feel depression? Because not everybody feels it the same way. And then where do you feel stress? Do you notice that one of the things that I can share is that I notice that my shoulder area tightens up when I’m stressed out. Sometimes that it can also lead where I have a hard time focusing maybe if I’m stressed, or a hard time falling asleep because you have so many different worries on your mind. Maybe you are realizing that you’re stressed more and so during COVID-19, maybe you’re eating a lot more to help you reduce some of that stress or help you cope with what’s happening.
Just something that I want you to notice, not to judge, but just to notice, to get to know yourself better of what do you do when you’re stressed out or maybe when you’re experiencing some of these depressive symptoms. In the impact of depression, I’m going to take a look at some statistics so that we can take a look at what depression does. I know that not everybody on here may be Asian American, but because I am, I wanted to share a couple of statistics that I found that were just glaring.
We find that 36.4% of Asian Americans, they enroll in college or in grad school. And this is where we found it in the US Census Bureau in 2016. So a good chunk of Asian Americans are going to further their education. We also found in 19% of Asian Americans, they tested positive for depression. When they did a screening, and I believe it was for college students, they found 19% of Asian Americans had depression. Wow. Those are pretty high numbers. And so something to think about, something to look for. I’m not going to say one person is… There are certain types of people who may be more prone to it.
I’m not going to say all Asian Americans have depression. That’s definitely not accurate, but I do want you to consider this for yourself. We also know that there’s a lot of barriers sometimes for minorities to get treatment. And so whether it’s you’re not familiar with the mental health system or maybe it’s the language barrier or maybe it’s finances or maybe in your town, there’s not anybody that looks like you that can provide some of these services. And so there could be some of these barriers. And so I hope that if you are Asian American or you know somebody who’s struggling with depressive symptoms or mental health, that you can help network people so that they can find good resources for them.
We found that in research studies that there is a increasing prevalence of depression in the United States. From 2005 to 2006, there was about 21%. Now we’re finding a 26% and this is in adults. In suicides, we had 10.5 per hundred thousand people in 1999. Now we’re at 13 per hundred thousand in 2014. When it comes to suicide attempts, we had about 620 for a hundred thousand in 2004 and 2005. When we get to 2012 to 2013, it’s 790. Treatment, and we find just in general, the rates of treatment are very low. Only half the people who have been diagnosed with depression or have symptoms of depression are treated. Not very many people. And we find on top of that, sometimes people who do get treated, they’re not treated properly.
Some of the things that we find that depression is associated with. The first thing is lower education tends to be with people who have lower education are more at risk for depression or people who are living in poverty. And I threw this last one in because I thought it just kind of reminds us of what we’re going through right now with COVID-19, is that during the 2008 recession, we found that during this time, that time period, there’s an increase of depressive symptoms.
What does that mean? We don’t know yet. We don’t know what it’s going to look like in terms of our mental health right now. But it’s very possible that people are experiencing more depressive symptoms during this time. And it makes sense. Maybe you lost your job. Maybe it was furloughed. Maybe your housing situation is not safe. Maybe your lack of being able to see people and so you’re feeling lonely. All these things can be a factor to experiencing different types of depressive symptoms.
In the United States, depression, major depressive disorder is the most prevalent mood disorder. It’s the most prevalent mood disorder. It’s also the leading cause of disability. Interesting. Many times people might think, “Oh, there’s different types of disabilities. Maybe it’s more of a physical disability.” But we find that it’s actually depression is the leading cause of disability for people. And then it has a huge, large economic cost where people are unable to be as productive at work.
Maybe you’re still showing up at work, but imagine sitting in front of your computer and you’re reading the same thing over and over and you’re like, “It’s not sticking. I can’t focus. I don’t even know what I read. What were we talking about?” It definitely can decrease production in people.
Today I wanted to spend a lot more time talking about actual tools that you can practice for yourself. Maybe you’re like, “Hey, I don’t have full blown depression.” Okay, fantastic. But maybe you’re like, “But I’ve noticed some of these things.” Okay, good. I’m glad that you noticed it. Let’s talk about some tools that you can use or maybe you know somebody else experiencing some of these things and so you can go and take some of these tools and share it with them.
For those that are believers, I just wanted to read a verse really quick, Romans 12:2 and it says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test improve what God’s will is… His good, pleasing, and perfect will.” And one of the reasons why I wanted to share this first is if you’ll find in any type of research with depression, one of the number one things that a therapist will do is use something called cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s called CBT. And we find that it’s evidence based practice. We find it in research that it is super effective.
What’s the trick behind that? The big premise behind CBT is change the way that you think. It’ll impact the way that you behave. And I think it’s very consistent with the word of God. It talks about if you want to know how somebody’s changed, look at their mind. The way that they think should be reflective of that. One of the ways that I can tell if my clients are improving is by having a conversation with them. Yes, it’s definitely observing some of their actions, but I may not be able to see their actions consistently. But what I can do is when I’m conversing with them, when I’m having a conversation with them, I can think, “Okay, well, I could hear how they’re thinking.” And if I notice that their way of thinking has improved, it might be an indication that they’re changing as a person.
So something to think about. Listen with me as I read this quote. “Depression breeds doubt. Doubt paralyzes us and it changes the way that we see the world and we interact with it.” Think about some of these depressive symptoms or these thoughts that somebody might have. “I’m not good enough.” “I keep trying, but what’s the point?” “Nobody cares about me.” “This world doesn’t need me.” “I’m not good at anything.” These are some thoughts that somebody may experience or hear or say to themselves when they are feeling depressed. And so people start to doubt themselves. They start to doubt their abilities. They start to doubt their strengths. And it might even get to the point where you really believe “I don’t have any strengths.” “I don’t have anything good about me.” “Everybody is better than me.” And then it will impact the way that you see the world and interact with it.
“Well, so and so they didn’t call me because I’m not important. What’s the point of showing up? My friends don’t really care. So they didn’t invite me to that.” And maybe because you didn’t get an invitation to one event, you stop hanging out. So you stop trying. You stop pursuing your relationships. “I’m not going to call them because they didn’t invite me.” Like, “Well, they don’t care about me. I don’t care about them. I’m just going to stay home.”
And there might be a little bit of pettiness mixed in with this, but it also might be you’re experiencing depressive symptoms where it impacts the way that you think and it impacts the way that you behave. What if they didn’t invite you because they knew you were going to be out of town? What if they didn’t invite you because it was a gathering just for their family or just for school friends? There could be different reasons. But one of the things with people who have experienced some type of depression, I noticed that they tend to jump to conclusions.
One of the first things that I like to do with any of my clients that are experiencing depressive symptoms is what I call get to know yourself. It is describing yourself. Because I find that depression oftentimes clouds our view of being able to see ourselves clearly. For all of the good things about you, for all the strengths about you, these are some of the things that I found that are masks when it come to depression.
One of the questions that I might ask somebody is, “Hey, your best friend, your family, your brother, your sister, your parents, people who love you and care about you, your spouse, your partner, whoever it is, what would they say about you?” Because usually the people that we care about or that care about us, they have good things, great things to say about you.
The way that a person with depression, how they view themselves may not be consistent with how other people view them. And so they might forget that they have a lot of strengths, that they are brilliant. And so this is something that I have people just pause to get to know themselves. Because sometimes when you are paralyzed by so many negative thoughts, you forget who you are. You start to believe a lot of these negative thoughts.
I also find that when I ask them, “Hey, what do you like to do? What do you enjoy doing?” They’re like, “I don’t know. Anything. I’ll do whatever anybody else is doing.” “Okay, but what about you? What do you like to do? What brightens your day? What do you look forward to?” “I really like puppies. I really like dogs. I find that watching videos of dogs or seeing my dog brightens my day. It’s something that I’ve learned about myself, but how about for you?”
If you know somebody who maybe is like, “I don’t know any of these things” start having conversations. Like, “Why don’t we try something? Let’s try this new hobby. Let’s try this new recipe. Let’s try going to this new restaurant together.” And maybe you guys can help each other figure out what you do like and what you don’t like. And providing a space where if somebody says “I do like this and I don’t like this,” you’re okay with it either way.
All right. I tried to pick a picture that wasn’t super gross because I’m not a fan of ants, but I did not come up with this acronym. I can’t remember who did, but what I call it is to kill the ants. If you live anywhere, like in a home or an apartment, you know that if you see one ant, it is very likely that you’ll see many other ants. It’s just the way that ants work. They’re kind of gross in that way. And so usually when there is one ant in your home, you don’t just let it sit there and stay there because it’ll just exponentially grow. You have to kill the ants. You literally have to kill the ants. And so I say this with your negative thoughts. Automatic negative thoughts is what we call ants. And if you have automatic negative thoughts, don’t flirt with them.
Don’t let them just sit there and relax with these automatic negative thoughts. But first what I want you to do is identify them. What are your automatic negative thoughts? When something happens that was beyond your control, what’s the first thing that you thought of? And then identify them. Now identify, well, how do you feel? Usually when people think negative thoughts, they also feel very negatively, whether they’re sad or depressed or they’re angry, they’re upset, they’re frustrated. These are some feelings that may come up with it.
Now think, “Okay, well, what can I replace those thoughts with?” So you want to identify them first. You want to think, “Okay, well, how do I feel?” And now you want to replace those thoughts. You want to replace the negative thoughts that you might have about a certain situation or yourself. Maybe you might think “I’m a failure. I’m a failure. I totally messed up.” And maybe you did. “I’m a failure.” But you know what else you could say to yourself? You could say “I’m a work in progress” because it’s true. Everybody is a work in progress. I haven’t met anybody who is perfect.
Think to yourself too, your goal is not perfection because nobody can reach that perfection. We’re human. A phrase that I find that a lot of my clients find that are super helpful is “I’m a work in progress. I’m human.” Where it gives yourself some space to say, “It’s okay to make mistakes.”Oh, okay. There is this with anything that is difficult in life, sometimes we want to avoid some of those things. And so what my supervisor, she calls it is the big ball of crap. I don’t know, there’s not another pretty word to describe it. And sometimes when you have a big ball of crap in your life, you can walk around it, you can try to avoid it, but it’s there and it smells and everybody sees it.
But the only way to really get rid of it is you got to work through it. You have to pick it up and throw it away and you got to work through the crap that’s in your life. I want you to think about that. And I think it was last week that we talked about when you have things in your life, sometimes people like to just dust it under the rug and then that dust, it grows and then you trip over it. And you’re like, “I didn’t actually get rid of it.” You just were good at hiding it.
Some people are excellent at hiding their struggles. It doesn’t mean that they’re not struggling. You’re just good at hiding it. And you know what happens is sometimes that you actually believe that you’re okay. You believe “I’m fine. I’m okay all the time.” But who have you met who is always fine? Who have you met who is always okay? And if you have met them, it’s probably not true. Think of ways that you could respond to the crap that’s in your life.
You could freak out. You could yell. You could scream. But I don’t know if some of those things may just not be productive. Think of, “Okay, well, what do you want to achieve?” Maybe you had a childhood that you’re not super proud of. What are you going to do? Pretend like it didn’t happen. It’s usually not a good solution. It usually will bite you in the butt later in life. It will come back to bite you.So to think, “Okay, well, how can I respond?” Well, identify it. Maybe talk to somebody about it. You may think, “Okay, well, what are my options?” Yes, you could avoid it. Yes, you could run away from it. Or you could talk about it. You could address it. You could think, “How can I grow from this situation? How can it be a learning opportunity? How can it strengthen me?” These are all options to the crap in your life. You could also think, “Well, what are the consequences to the decisions that I made?” If you’re somebody who is like, “I want to be more self-aware.” So now you’re thinking “I’m going to talk about it with somebody.”Well, what are the consequences of that? Well, you might feel better about yourself. You might find that you don’t have nightmares about it, or have lots of thoughts about it, or you might not be as triggered about some of these things. Maybe the consequence is, “Wow, my past does not affect me in a negative way.” How amazing would it be if you could be able to say that to yourself and live that way? Consider it because it’s an option.
Sometimes people think that when they went through a lot of difficult things that they’re doomed in life. It’s not true at all. You have the ability to bounce back. People tend to be very, very resilient. We got to just practice some of these skills to be resilient.
One of the things with depression or stress or anything with big emotions is the word triggers. We hear it a lot. People are triggered for different situations. And basically what a trigger is, is either a person, place, a thing, emotion, a thought, a situation. Really it can be anything where you have a unwanted emotional response. So you’re triggered and then you might freak out.
I listed some on four and five, just some common triggers for people. Interesting one is smells. Sometimes people are triggered by different types of smells. Sometimes people are triggered by criticism. Do you take negative or criticism well, feedback from other people that maybe you’re like, “I didn’t like to hear.” I know that’s hard for most people, but do you take it well? How about when somebody accuses you of something? You have different ways of responding.
Yes, it’s offensive maybe when somebody accuses you of something and you didn’t do it. But can you be somebody who is calm, collected, talk about, “Yes, I hear you, but I actually did not do that. It wasn’t me. I did not take the last piece of cake.” I don’t know what it is you might be accused for. Lying, that can be a trigger for most people, where you get super upset when somebody lies to you, when they break that trust. Yes, it is incredibly upsetting. It can be hurtful to have somebody that you love and that you trust that would lie to you and would break that. But think about your emotional response to that.Are you the type of person who freaks out and you just yell and you scream at them and then you look back and you’re like, “I’m not actually proud of how I responded to you or how I reacted to you.” How do you want to respond in that situation? What would be helpful in that situation? Sirens, gunshots. I’m sure that it can be triggering for a lot of people. Any type of relational conflict, I know that there’s some people who are like, “I hate conflict.” Avoid it at all costs. “I don’t like fighting with people. I don’t like disagreements. I’d rather agree to disagree and pretend it didn’t happen.” When it comes to couples or parent, child, family, work relationships, there are some people who are like avoid conflict at all costs because it’s a trigger for me.
Maybe you shut down completely and you get silent. Maybe your voice gets really loud. Maybe you even throw things because you’re so triggered by some of these things. Authority, intoxicated people, like do you like being around drunk or people who are high? What if it’s somebody who reminds you of your past? Like you know somebody from elementary school or middle school or high school and you’re like, “I really didn’t like them.” Maybe they used to bully you or yell at you or maybe they abused you, or maybe it was an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, whoever it is. There are certain types of people where you’re like, “I’m triggered by that.”
Anybody from maybe your childhood, you’re like, “I’m triggered by that.” And in the right, I put abandoned, injustice, insults, unwanted physical touch, maybe when you’re ignored. How about when people are super angry, like really big Hulk angry, that could trigger some people. You might get uncomfortable. Or how about crying? I find that a lot of people are very uncomfortable when other people cry. What do you do? Do you stare at them? Do you look away? Or maybe what if a child is crying and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, just make them stop.”
Or maybe it’s you just have a lack of control of a situation. So maybe during this COVID-19, you’re like “I’m triggered so much more because I can’t control the things around me. I can’t control other people who are sick. I can’t control whether or not somebody washes their hands. I can’t control if people are wearing masks. I can’t control if people are staying home or going out like whatever they’re supposed to be doing.” So maybe you are triggered a lot more because of some of these things.
Other triggers that I find. First thing I would say is a big thing is look at your childhood. I find that if I were to ask somebody about their childhood, usually the things that stick with them, not only the good stuff, not only like the best vacations or a good memory, it’s also a lot of it negative, bad memories. Was there a moment that somebody embarrassed you in front of a bunch of people? Was there a moment that you just cried a lot because maybe you experienced a death, maybe you were in a car accident. Some of these negative things, and in childhood, those things tend to stick with us because as kids, your brain doesn’t know how to make sense of these big, intense emotions and memories. Well, what happens if you don’t process those things? You just carry them all the way to adulthood.
Then maybe a similar situation happened and then you get triggered and you’re like, “I don’t even know why I yelled at you like that.” And maybe you go back and you think “You remind me of how my dad used to be.” So then you tend to have an unwanted, emotional response that’s much bigger than you intended to have. And so maybe that person that you’re talking to is like, “Whoa, you just yelled at me and I’ve never had you yell at me like that.” So you might be surprised.
What I want you to ask yourself is when you have a big response like that, I want you to ask like, “Are you responding as present day you, like today as an adult? Or are you responding like when you were 10 years old? Is that the past you? Am I responding present day Esther to this situation? Calm and collected about this situation. Or am I responding past Esther like when I was a child and I didn’t know how to control my emotions?” Ask yourself that. Who’s responding in this situation.
And then the third thing is I want you to take a look at your history. When are the times that you have gotten really upset? When are the times where you’ve experienced huge emotions, big emotions, whatever they are for you. And then I want you to think, look at the patterns because I bet you there’s probably some type of pattern. Consistently you find like, anytime there’s a conflict, I run. “I’m a runner,” maybe you say. Or you might say like, “I ignore things.” “When I get overwhelmed by a situation, I ignore it.” So maybe you have a deadline coming up, maybe you have somebody who’s asking you to do something and you just ignore things when things get too big and you don’t know what to do with it. Think to yourself, like if I look at my history, what are some things that trigger me?
Before we move on, I want to answer this question really quick. What are some practical steps somebody can take when they’re aware that they’re in a low mood and feel a negative feeling, but cannot identify why they feel that way, especially after thinking about possible causes? Let me see if this next slide will help. And if it doesn’t answer your question, let me know. These are some things that you can do to treat your triggers. I think that this might help if you’re feeling in a low mood.
When you’re triggered, the first thing I would say is you need to avoid it if you don’t know what’s happening. So give yourself some space. Give yourself some time. Maybe you’re triggered about a certain location or a person or a conversation. Give yourself some time so that you can think about it, some space to be able to process how you trigger it so that you don’t just react emotionally. Maybe you distract yourself. And I don’t say this where you are going to be unhealthy and you’re like, “I’m never going to think about it again.” No, the point is, in that moment, distract yourself and then maybe you need to come back to it.
Maybe you just need to go do something else. Physically go do something else. That’s a really good one for a low mood is you want to increase good hormones that you can maybe get your blood running and pumping. Go exercise. I know that in your mind, you’re like, “If I’m feeling crappy, I don’t want to exercise.” But you want to do the opposite. You want to do the opposite of maybe having a low mood. You want to be able to increase that. Think like, it’s kind of like people who are like, I don’t feel happy, but then they’re smiling and then they feel happy. It’s kind of like that idea of go do something physical. So go outside for a walk, get some sunshine, change your location. Go talk to somebody who does lift your spirits. Watch cat videos. Watch something that will make you laugh. Humor is fantastic for helping improve low mood.
When you have triggers, I want you to strategize. What’s your game plan if you were to get triggered. And then how will you adjust some of these? How will you adjust if you do get triggered? Because you know what? You probably will get triggered. Who doesn’t get triggered in this world? So think, “Okay, I’m about to go Christmas and see all of my family, all of my in-laws. We’re all going to be in one place together for an extended period of time. I’m triggered thinking about it.” I’m sure many people are triggered by that.
What’s your game plan? How are you going to get a break? Maybe you tell your family, your spouse, your sibling ahead of time, “Hey, I need you to call me. In like 30 minutes, I’m going to be in the kitchen and I know that I’m going to need a break. I need you to come get me and pretend like I’m needed for something important. And if I say, ‘Hey, I’m okay,’ then I’ll stay. But if it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, I need a break.’ That way I can get out of the kitchen for 10 minutes and then collect myself and then come back.” Come up with a game plan of what you’re going to do before you walk into a situation where you might get triggered.
Maybe you get triggered by being in a hospital. Some people do. Some people pass out thinking about giving blood. Well, what do you need to do? Some people are like, “Hey, I know that I need to have a good meal ahead of time. I know I need to get good sleep ahead of time. I know that I need to hydrate myself, drink lots of water before I give some blood. I know that I like to look forward to a snack afterwards.” Maybe you set up a time where you can eat with somebody afterwards. You’re strategizing. What I want you to do is set yourself up for success. And then let’s say you do get triggered. Let’s think about how you can adjust to the situation.
Can you walk away? Can you change locations? Can you call somebody? Think about your coping skills. What are your coping skills? What helps you reduce your stress? I’m going to ask you that question. What helps you reduce your stress? Do you know these things? One of the things that I find that is very relaxing to me is music. Music just helps decrease my stress. Maybe I’ll play something, something more calming. Think to yourself, I want you to identify what are your coping skills? When will you use them?Coping skills are not meant to be used when you are through the roof breathing fire, you’re so angry and you’re so triggered. It doesn’t work. Have you ever tried to talk somebody down and they’re yelling and they’re screaming and you’re like “Calm down.” What do they say? “I don’t want to calm down. You calm down.” And they’re even more angry because you said calm down.
What you want to do is you want to think about at what point in my trigger do I’m like, I don’t want to pass that threshold. Maybe on a scale of like one to 10, at like six or seven, you’re like “There’s no way that I’m going to be using my coping skills.” Maybe you’re like at a level three of when I’m being triggered or I’m stressed or when I’m angry, that’s when I’m going to use my coping skills. You got to ask yourself like, “Hey, I’m triggered right now. What number are you at?” Are you at a two? Are you good? If you’re at a three, you’re like “Practice your deep breathing. Step away from the situation. Go listen to some music. Call somebody and ask them for help. Talk about the situation. Do something that will help you bring you back to that one or that zero.”
And then who’s your support system? Who are you going to talk to? Because not everybody’s equal. There are certain people who, when we talked about quality relationships, that are fantastic support systems. There are some people who you talk to and you’re like, “Man, I just feel so much more at ease and understood.” But there’s other people you talk to and you’re like, “I’m even more angry now because I talked with them.”
And the second thing is, how are you supporting yourself when it comes to your own self-talk? Everybody talks to themselves, guys. I am very guilty of doing this regularly. But what are you saying to yourself? Are you telling yourself, “Hey, it’s okay. It’s a work in progress.” “Yeah, that was kind of embarrassing, but next time this is what I’m going to do instead.” What are some things that you’re saying to yourself that are kind to help you deal with this situation?
When you have a good decision, and I say that, when you have a good decision, just do it. Because sometimes we need to act quickly in regards to our good decisions. When depression breeds doubt, it makes us think like, “Oh my gosh, that wasn’t a good decision. Actually, that’s probably really stupid and you’re going to mess up and what’s the point of doing it? Nobody’s going to care.” But when you make a good decision quickly, you can’t talk yourself out of it. Sometimes depression, it creates a space for us to talk ourselves out of good decisions. When you have a good decision and you know it’s a good decision, jump to it quickly. Just do it.
All right. Thank you so much for joining me guys when it comes to this topic of depression. I’m available to answer any of the questions. The person that asked me the question, I’m not sure if I answered it in the way that you wanted, so could you let me know or if you want some other types of feedback, let me know too.
This is also my contact information for those who don’t have it. I will post next week’s seminar topic again on at [inaudible 00:44:45], or you can always email me and I can also send you some more information. If you’re looking for good, quality maybe clinicians or somebody to talk to, you can also check out rhombuscounseling.com and find some options for you too.Thank you so much guys for joining me. What I’m going to do is I’m going to go ahead and stop the recording and then I’ll be online for anybody else who wants to be able to ask some questions. Thank you and goodnight.
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