Depression is a draining of colour from the world. It is the insidious seeping of malignant sadness and negativity until it infects and subdues your entire emotional life. I find that my depression loves to gorge on itself, like the snake that eats it own tail, to make itself stronger; negativity begets negativity. Depressive thoughts constantly try to convince you they are the only possible thoughts. They cause a narrowing of perspective that is difficult to resist until depression is all you see.
The key I found to coping with my depression is to overhear depressive thoughts as depressive and not just another thought. I use an analogy to help me visualise this: -
I am on stage reading the script my depression has written for me and sometimes I get lost in the role, reacting immediately to what the script demands of me. However, I am also in the audience watching the performance, free to critically appraise the thoughts and actions that are occurring.
Recognising you are performing the depressive role (“O, that’s a negative thought”) opens up the possibility of separating yourself from the depression and seeing a more rounded and balanced point of view. My depression can be very claustrophobic so gaining distance from the negativity is beneficial for me.
Depression is a pretty common sidekick to Parkinson's. In the eight years since my dx I have been impacted much more by depression than the physical symptoms. I have tried a number of techniques to combat depression and the one that works best for me is mindfulness which is pretty much what you are describing.
Jon Kabat-Zinn has written some interesting stuff on mindfulness. A more general depression/mental health/wellness resource is the Black Dog Tribe website & twitter feed set up by Ruby Wax and friends.
You are right, its an analogy of mindfulness. I've been doing cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for years and thats where I learnt to be mindful. I have a brilliant therapist (worth her weight in gold!) and I cannot describe how beneficial therapy has been for me, especially this year the year of my diagnosis. From my understanding, mindfulness is learning to recognise automatic, habitual negative patterns of thought (e.g. "I should be able to tie my shoelaces, I am so useless") and replace them with gentler, kinder thoughts (e.g. "it would be nice to tie my laces but never mind, I'll wear my slip on shoes today"). By allowing that negative thought to fade away by not engaging with it, you can achieve a clarity of thought that focuses away from the depression.
I would definitely recommend mindfulness therapy (recommended read - "the mindful way through depression", websites - "http://www.mindfulselfcompassion.org/
Hello dr john, I will hurry this as I ran out of time (how does that happen) on my last attempt, you have my total sympathy the PD induced depression is terrifying in the extreme I have suffered badly since late teens with this evil
Illness and it has strengthened my resolve but when Blackheart strikes its flat spin times , I use every last Killysquilionth of my brain power to fight it but its a task I am having to perform at least 3 or 4 times a day.
Stay strong Kindest Regards (fed) fedexlike
I have total empathy for the difficulty you have with depression. It is a daily battle for me too. Thank you for sharing your experiences with the forum, your post wasn't wasted at all. Depression shouldn't be a taboo subject, so many suffer from it in silence; it doesn't have to be that way. There's help out there. I've read that 40% of Parkinson's sufferers have depression so we can't be the only ones.
I found through mindfulness that the best way I cope is to recognise that depression and its negativity doesn't tell you the truth. It is deceptive. It lies to justify itself. If you can gain that little bit of breathing space it might relieve some pressure.
But depression can be all consuming at times, I know, so I wish you all the best in your fight. You aren't alone in your struggle!