encouragement to seek interesting, exciting, enriching activities in
their lives. Many people get some relief from the physical/biochemical
symptoms by taking anti-depression medication but full recovery is
still a long way away. They may just wait expecting the medications to
eventually completely cure their depression, but this may never
happen. Many experts, however, believe your full recovery would come
quicker if you set about planning and trying to learn how to re-capture
the joys of living you want so badly.
help in overcoming depression by seeking satisfaction and meaning in
several aspects of your life. Check out the New Patient Survey
mentioned on the main page. This survey of patients, who have fully
recovered from depression, lists these kinds of efforts that helped
them come out of the depths of depression: re-building good
relationships with family, finding anew or reviving love relationships
and friendships, developing or re-capturing satisfying work or
professional roles, contributing to a meaningful Community Service,
finding hobbies and interests that add to your life, and just enjoying
the little things.
In no way do I want these comments to seem as though I am
blaming the victims for their own unhappiness. I merely want to offer
you some hope that active seeking to add some joy and excitement to
your life may actually work and further reduce the oppressing
depression. See the earlier discussion of Happiness. Perhaps, once
the hopeless lethargy has lifted, joy-seeking efforts should become a
regular part of one's conscious efforts to defeat the remaining
Level III: Skills (see chapter 13)
For most of us, sadness is associated with increased isolation--we
just don't feel like socializing--and with more anxiety when we do
interact. However, some depressed and socially insecure people
become social addicts, even sexual addiction is not unknown (Scarf,
1980). Since our social-emotional reaction during a downer varies so
greatly, obviously different social skills are needed by different people.
After assessing your social strengths and weaknesses, use your assets
and reduce your liabilities by gaining new social skills. Which ones?
Several are mentioned below.
In spite of massive social skills training research, relatively little
has been done in this area with depressed persons (except for Peter
Lewinsohn's work). Intuitively, social skills ought to certainly help with
loneliness, low self-regard, and boredom. Communication skills (e.g.
"I" statements and empathy responses), relationship contracts,
greater tolerance, and counseling should also help with relationship
Social skills training