The Depression Mud Pool
Coming out of depression is like working your way out of a mud pool. If you stand still, the mud will harden and you’ll get stuck. If you keep moving, however slowly, you will eventually climb out of the pool.
Behaviour Activation Therapy (BA) for depression follows a similar principle: it aims to identify factors that facilitate movement and resolve matters that make you feel stuck.
One of its key strategies is ‘opposite action’, which effectively means doing the opposite of what your mood suggests you do. If your energy is low and you feel like staying in bed all day, you get up and walk a little, sit in a straight chair, eat something, maybe talk to a friend instead.
If your depressed mind spins stories of how unlovable you are and that people are not interested in your company, BA encourages you to reach out, in however a small way, and observe what happens.
Of course, depression makes you not ‘feel like’ doing something. Depression will zap away motivation, interest, and confidence. Many things that were so easy when you were well seem overwhelmingly complicated now. What used to make you laugh out loud, now barely triggers a smile and may even conjure up irritation or anger. It’s like learning to walk and talk all over again.
The evidence on best treatment approaches for depression indicates increasingly clearly that ‘doing
it anyway’ may provide tiny rewards, as little as some relief from a stiff back to discovering a slight smile on your face.
These small changes, as they come more and more often, are steps forward and out of the mud pool. The energy around you starts stirring a little, flowing gradually faster. Moving out and up takes just a little less energy.
Our therapists are skilled at Behavioural Activation Therapy and have a wealth of expertise and experience between them. Come talk to us for a way out of the mud.
About the Author:
Kirstine Postma is a UK trained Clinical Psychologist with over 20 years of professional experience. She provides psychological assessment and interventions for a wide variety of difficulties, including post-traumatic stress, anxiety and mood disorders, and certain personality disorders. She offers Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and EMDR, as well as several other evidence-based therapies.