Scientific American Magazine had an article about Behavioral-Activation (BA) therapy, which involves the depressed person doing things he or she enjoys, or used to enjoy before depression struck. It’s a therapy I’d never heard of, though it’s been around for years, according to the article. In any case, it is easier to use and offers results comparable to Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). I’m well acquainted with CBT, having benefited greatly from it in my own treatment.
So I decided to take the advice offered in the article’s title: “Depressed? Do What You Love.” My favorite pastime is reading, and I love teaching/sharing information with people. So these days I spend more time sitting at the dining room table with my partner, Sri, reading and working on my blog. And you know what? I do feel better, dare I say perhaps even happy?
I can’t attribute all of my improved mood to doing more of the things I enjoy. There have been other recent positive changes in my life: my retirement from nursing in December (I’m not sure if that’s permanent or temporary, but right now it’s nice), learning new skills and brushing up on old ones (computer coding, cooking, speaking German), finally (!) getting my house ready for sale (I signed with a realtor yesterday), and getting most of my mother’s estate settled after her death last year following a two year illness. Though not a recent change, my relationship with my boyfriend, Sri, has been a big factor in my current happiness. (I’m kind of afraid to write that I’m happy, as I don’t want to jinx it. I’m usually very logical, but I’m superstitious about this, like I’m tempting the gods). And, of course, I still take my antidepressant every day.
So give it a go. Talk to a therapist about Behavioral-Activation therapy, or try to do more of the things you enjoy or used to enjoy. It makes getting out of bed easier when you have something to look forward to, and you may find your mood lifting at least a bit.