Thursday, February 21, 2008

TO WRITE: Gimme a Hand
When we're depressed and it's hard to function, it's natural to wish for some help from our doctors, family and friends. That's one reason support groups for mood disorders are growing in popularity, and presumably one reason they've been proven to improve the course of members' depression.

But there's another aspect to this concept of people helping people. When we help someone else we tend to feel much better too. Think about it: How did you feel last time you held a door for someone struggling with packages? How do you feel when someone close says, "Thank you," for listening to their problems or assisting them with some task? I know I immediately feel good about myself -- the complete opposite of the way I usually feel when I'm depressed.

Play with this. . .
Write continuously for 20 minutes about a time when you helped someone else. Have you ever given information to someone newly diagnosed with depression, for example? Have you ever given a little money to someone who really needed it? Done any volunteer work?

Then describe how it felt. Maybe it diminished your depression for even just a minute? Is it something you'd like to try to do more of?


BPD in OKC said...

Thank you for your blog. It really helps me to write out my thoughts and feelings

Elizabeth Maynard Schaefer, Ph.D. said...

Thanks, BPD! It's great to hear when the writing approach to coping with these conditions is helpful. -- Beth