Using appropriate therapies with professional guidance is a critical part of getting well. But most of the time, we’re on our own and have to learn how to live through each long day of depression. To do that, we need tools and methods that can be learned easily and made a part of daily living. The posts and resources in this section identify a variety of these methods and discuss how they work.

The emphasis is always on simplicity. Self-help books are full of prescriptions on what you should do to get better, but often they presume you have the energy that depression takes away. In a crisis, you need basic tools that can be used at a moment’s notice, not complicated routines that take hours to complete. Changes in the way we live are just as important, but learning new habits takes time. We need methods for the immediate downswing while working toward a healthier way of living overall.

Mindfulness as Self-Help for Anxiety

There’s nothing like extreme anxiety to make you feel like you’re falling apart. Using a few basics of mindfulness as self-help may be a way to pull you back together. The all-embracing anxiety I’m talking about comes close to panic. It’s an explosion of fear that hits everything. Certain situations can set it off, or it can start like depression, suddenly there, perhaps from the first waking moment of the […]

Ecotherapy: Healing Depression in Wilderness and Gardens

Ecotherapy is more than a walk in the woods or watching a beautiful sunset. It’s an emerging form of treatment that can help with healing depression. It aims at restoring the connection to the natural world that is usually limited to high-speed glimpses of windshield scenery. Reconnecting to the literal earthly world is an important part of wellness, but reading a book on Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind seemed […]

Becoming an Active Partner in Your Treatment

Most stories about getting life back from depression describe how each person had to become an active partner in treatment in order to recover. I know it’s not easy to think about being active when you’re deeply depressed, but there’s a lot of support for the idea. Dozens of research studies indicate that if you can take a leading role, your chances of improving are better. There are at least three ways an active role can help you.

7 Reasons to Use Depression Workbooks as Part of a Recovery Plan

I was about to give this post a different title: 7 Reasons for You to Use Workbooks … . But I have to be honest. I’ve never completed the written exercises in a workbook or followed through on all the recommended daily practices. Sure, I’ve read several and have found a lot of interesting ideas in them. But really work with one as its author intended? No. It’s time to […]

Writing to Heal – 2: Getting Started

In the first post of this series (and I urge you to read it if you haven’t done so), I talked about the healing potential of writing and a few do’s and don’ts to make it as helpful as possible. That’s important to know, but the general concepts don’t tell you how to get started. Since getting started is likely to be one of the biggest hurdles you’ll face, I’ve […]

Reading as a Form of Depression Therapy

Have you ever heard of bibliotherapy? I’m always trying to identify ways to start working on recovery from depression, but I never thought much about one of the first steps I took – reading. I was surprised to learn that reading books for medical treatment dates to World War II, when it proved effective for wounded veterans. Bibliotherapy also seems to be helpful for depression. Even though I first learned […]

Writing, Creativity and Healing

Some Rights Reserved by tore_urnes at Flickr Thanks to isabella, and her recent posts on writing and healing (like this one), I’ve been thinking more about the way writing, creativity and healing fit together. From the beginning of this blog, I had no doubt that creative expression of all kinds, and writing for me, could bring about healing, even if only temporarily. I’m quite sure now that writing has been […]

Fighting Back – 1: Changing Belief about Depression

Depression is a strange thing. No one seems able to explain exactly what it is, yet there is no doubting the reality of its pain. I’ve had it with me since boyhood, though at that time, I was years away from even hearing the term, let alone getting treatment.  I grew up with it, not only experiencing my own moods, headaches and gradual isolation but also watching my mother succumb […]

4 Responses to “Self-Help”

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  1. Ella says:


    I have a question: Can someone really heal from Depression?

    Ive been battling this for so long, i don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel anymore-don’t think i ever really did anyways. I’ve tried for years, but the tunnel just seems to get longer and longer , darker and darker.

    I just don’t feel like doing anything anymore. Im completely exhausted and i feel like “what is the point of doing anything, im not good at anything i try to do anyway…becuase everything i do leads to a dead end.” (i know i’ts depression talking again). I just don’t have the concentration to do anything anymore. I feel like the life has been completely drained out of me. I’m alive, but completely dead inside.

    Thanks…hope everyone is having a much better day. love x00x Elle

    • Nell says:

      I know how you feel it seems that the energy is all drained out of you & you can’t work or study anymore. It’s harder to heal if you don’t have a supportive environment . That’s the biggest problem most people don’t understand the the symptoms are created from within & we have no control over it. Some people even take the opportunity to purposely break u down in your time of vulnerability.

      But I do feel I’m going forward with the healing process whenever I am actively involved with people. It gives a great boost. Try your best not to isolate your self & be with people who love. & respect you.

      Please try to join a group where you have some common interest this will help u loads.

  2. Hi John –

    As a clinical psychologist and contemporary psychoanalyst, I am really impressed with your site — and your insight. People suffering from depression desperately need tools to make it through the day. In my experience, they also need to be in touch with a broader range of their emotional life — as a means of keeping depression at bay. I have a free online column, The Emotional Detective ( that helps readers better understand their emotional world. My column offers scientific information about human nature and emotional processes, along with maps, tools and insights to facilitate self-discovery. The Emotional Detective aims to help people working toward a healthier way of living overall, and it might be of value to your readers (or even yourself). It is a community service, with no advertising or promotions of any kind.

    Cindy Meyer

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Thanks, Cindy -

      I very much agree with the outlook and theme or your site and look forward to reading it. Thanks so much for your kind words.


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