Young man acting on stage

Inner Beliefs and Outer Action

A few months ago, I found a picture of myself from college years that gave no hint of the turmoil of inner beliefs I held at the time. There I was, a lean young guy, sporting a cigarette for a role I was acting. The strange thing about this is that at the time I was telling myself I was stupid and fat. I believed I was ugly, awkward and [...] Read the rest»

Filament

On Writing a Recovery Ebook

I want to give you an overview of my new ebook on recovery from depression and hopefully get your thoughts on the approach I’m taking. Even though I’ve written a great deal about recovery, I have found it difficult to pull my experiences together in the more organized form a book demands. It’s so much easier to write about the miseries of the condition when it’s controlling your life than [...] Read the rest»

Dazed and Awake

Fear of Change in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

One of the interesting things about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is that you can’t think about it too much. You have to do it. Hence the acronym ACT, to be spoken as the word. If you try to understand it with your mind alone, you’ll get stuck because the mind has too many blinders. I recall my encounter with a pit bull last year because the incident seems like a [...] Read the rest»

Backlit flower

Finding Self-Compassion through Focusing

Focusing is one of the few methods that has helped me understand depression as I experience it, well beyond the scope of clinical descriptions. It has also given me an approach to self-compassion that is more effective than the various meditations I have tried. As Eugene Gendlin acknowledges in Focusing, his self-help version of the method he developed, some people feel they must suffer the full feelings of their problems, [...] Read the rest»

Two men hurrying along a path

Overcoming Resistance

Writing is a way of reclaiming my mind from depression, but there is a darker side to it called resistance. I won’t call it writer’s block because the same thing stands in the way of any purposeful activity or major life commitment, including the process of recovering from depression. It usually begins only after I have resolved to stop avoiding what’s important in my life and go for it. Acceptance [...] Read the rest»

speeding car in blue tunnel

Beyond Depression to Guiding Values

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy reminds me of the tense time I spent learning how to drive a car. Venturing onto a two-lane highway, I fixed my mind on the big worry – how to get where I wanted to go without crashing into anything along the way. The most important thing was to stay in my lane, and I had trouble with that. I divided my attention between the stripe [...] Read the rest»

blue vertigo rows

Before ACT – Doing Depression Right

When I started learning about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), the idea that I was doing depression rather than having it as an illness didn’t make a lot of sense to me. I could understand that avoiding painful situations could worsen depression and that I often acted in self-defeating ways. But weren’t those the effects or symptoms of an underlying illness? Knowing that I had an illness called depression explained [...] Read the rest»

In clouds, clearing storm, gray sky

Starting on a Path toward Acceptance

As I try to get used to the idea of accepting rather than fighting depression, I realize that I start with good preparation. Although I haven’t worked with a therapist trained in any of the acceptance and mindfulness therapies, some of the principles I’ve been learning about remind me of things I have been doing for some time. Skills for Recovery Granted I have developed these skills while holding to [...] Read the rest»