Monday, September 20, 2010

Bibliotherapy Update #1

Dear OMS:

A few weeks ago I mentioned I was restarting an effort at Bibliotherapy.  It's not easy completing homework I gave myself but I have learned a few things about my depression.  Here are a few:

1.  Five by Five Sensory Exercise.

When depression hits, I think obsessively to the exclusion of my other senses.  I have very little awareness of my surroundings.  The 5x5 Sensory Excercise has helped me exit or prevent depression events.  The five senses are Touch, Taste, Smell, Sight, and Sound.  The challenge is to experience each sense five times per day.  I has helped me slow down an overactive, gloomy state of mind and become a little more aware of my surroundings.

2.  Daily Gratitude.

I memorized Luther's Small Catechism a long time a go and teach it every year.  However, it is a little psychology book that encouraged me to again give thanks for all the good things I have been given.  The Catechism's explanation to the Third Commandment is to ...pray, praise, and GIVE THANKS.  This is so foreign to me when I'm depressed.

3.  Reduce Stress.

Stress is toxic.  It's hard to reduce stress when I'm an adrenaline junkie.  I like to work long hours at hard projects.  I like to dream and accomplish big dreams.  I like sports and pushing myself hard.  ...but that is slowly changing.  
a.  Last year, I accepted a call to a new city.  I heard it's four times harder to recovery from depression by staying in the same work environment that by changing to a new one.  For the first time in my life I did what could be called the easy route.  Except for missing one friend and his family I'm content with the move.
b. I take off two days per week which is nearly anathama for a parish pastor to even desire let alone do.  Saturday is listed on the church calendar as my family day and Friday remains unscheduled.  
c.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, we found a good home for our beagle.

4.  Medication

I'm down to 20oz. per day of a Medium Roast Coffee which is about three cups per day.  My doctor increased my thyroid medication.  Two years ago I was taking nothing now I'm at a rather high dosage.  I take cholesterol medication and for the first time in my life my cholesterol is in the middle of all the acceptable ranges.  I continue to take an SSRI.

5.  Prayer

Started reading a wonderful little book by an old Norwegian pietist by the name Ole Hallesby.  I read it about 15 years ago and didn't think much of it.  My opinion has changed.  The main thing I pulled out of it so far is that Helplessness (which is a form of depression) + Faith = Prayer.  More later when I'm finished.

This Friday I will meet with a real psychologist.  It's hard to start a new relationship, especially of this kind, but I hope it works out.  And then the first Friday in October I meet again with my Father Confessor.

God bless you,


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