Psychological Self-Help

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your case) helps you work out a possible solution. Consider the five
parts or levels of any problem--behavior, emotions, skills, cognition,
and unconscious factors--and then plan your attack, based on the rest
of this chapter and chapters 11-15. Keep trying to climb out of the
darkness until you feel better. Even if the depression is mild to
moderate, get help if your self-help efforts don't work within a month
or two. There are medications that relieve many people's depression;
don't be foolish and reject drugs if psychological approaches don't
work. Keep your hopes up. 
Sad Times in Our Lives
There are specific situations that especially depress us (see the
index at the beginning of the chapter). Understanding those times and
knowing some of the available resources can be helpful. Of necessity,
the coverage of these topics will be brief, but there are valuable
references listed here. 
All of us must die. If you have a long life, you will experience the
death of your grandparents, your mother, your father, your aunts and
uncles, your spouse, most of your friends, your brothers and sisters,
and maybe some of your children. These may be the saddest times of
your life. Death is, however, an experience most of us avoid thinking
about as much as possible. No matter if we believe in an afterlife or
not, almost all of us fear and dread death. No matter if we are
miserable and our condition hopeless, most of us want to postpone
death until the last possible moment. But this isn't always true;
indeed, some of us invite death (see next section). 
Death involves intense emotions. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (1975), a
psychiatrist, has helped us understand the experience of our own
death. She describes five common stages: (1) shock and denial, "no,
not me," (2) anger, "damn it, why me?", (3) bargaining, "okay, but
first...," (4) depression, "I'll lose so much," and (5) acceptance, "I'm
not happy about it but it's time to go." We have different death-styles:
a few of us realistically accept it, others deny it. Some feel helpless
and just submit, a few seek death to avoid suffering. Some can
serenely transcend death, others defy it and go out fighting
(Bernstein, 1977). Understanding the stages and diversity in death
may help, but the best advice I've heard is Leo Buscaglia's: "live your
life so you won't die alone." 
The clock of life is wound but once,
And no man has the power
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