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    Rivkah Kaufman
    Participant

    There’s a concept I often bring up in therapy called the depression swamp. It starts when you begin a negative thought/feeling/action (TFA) spiral  – it could go something like this:

    “I can’t believe I said that! I sounded so stupid – they probably thought I was a complete idiot! [head in hands] I can’t bear it! It’s just like that other time I messed up, and the time when I was at that party and blurted out that story that no one wanted to hear! [wringing of hands, pacing up and down, crying] I’m so embarrassed!”

    You get the picture. So imagine that the TFA spiral is the pathway leading to the swamp. As the spiral starts to escalate, you stop watching your step, and before you know it, you’re in the swamp! You’re drowning, and you can’t get out!

    So what I always tell my clients is – be mindful. Notice the escalation, and take a minute. You want to dip your toe into the swamp? Fine. Take a couple of seconds to indulge. (After all, as awful as it sounds, there’s something about that swamp that feels so seductive when you’re miserable, right?) But be warned: any longer than a few seconds and you’ll fall into the swamp. And once you’re drowning, it’s almost impossible to get out.

    So don’t let it happen to you – notice the escalation, distract yourself in a healthy way, listen to upbeat music, tune into an inspirational podcast, call a friend, draw, journal, go for a run – whatever gives you joy or can shift your mind in another direction. Very often, that’s all it takes. But if the depression swamp starts to feel more alluring than ever, it’s time to seek professional help.

     

     

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    YiddishImma
    Participant

    Thanks for sharing Rivkah! I think depressive thoughts are on an all time rise as the days get shorter and the nights really long… So good thing you put it out now!

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    Chavy
    Participant

    That’s so so true! It’s really important to be mindful of ourselves to avoid that self pity slope. Thank you!

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    Rivkah Kaufman
    Participant
    Topic Author

    I’m so glad this wa helpful!

    This is so helpful, great way of bringing it out!!

    good plug for why mindfulness skills are so important to mental wellbeing!

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    Rivkah Kaufman
    Participant
    Topic Author

    Glad it was helpful, Hudi!

    Thank you for sharing this analogy Rivkah. The swamp is a great way to help one visualize the spiral that happens so quickly with our thoughts. I love the use of this analogy, because it really allows you to imagine and picture where you may be on the way to the swamp and how close you are getting to a zone you may not want to be in.

    In the same way the depression swamp gives us a visual depiction for where are our negative thoughts and feelings are taking us, I’d like to suggest a positive alternative to go along with this. This may be different for each person, but say at the other end of the path there may be a clean pond, or a big grassy area, mountains and clear skys. As you imagine yourself moving away from the swamp, you can keep on eye on where you would like to head and slowly inch in that direction.

    What are your thoughts on that idea?

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    Chavy
    Participant

    In response to chayasatt's post #8455:

    wow! I love that analogy. It’s a great way to think of it in a concrete way. It’s a great visual!

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    Rivkah Kaufman
    Participant
    Topic Author

    In response to chayasatt's post #8455:

    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>Hi Chaya- Inching in a direction that’s brimming with potential and new possibilities, as symbolized by your vision of the clean pond, big grassy area, and clear sky is a wonderful idea! That kind of clarity and drive is really important in terms of healing. Of course clients will be at different stages in their ability to work their way towards a more hopeful vision. So I try to work with each client based on where he or she is, and sometimes it’s just about rewarding yourself for resisting the swamp with something you like, like getting your nails done, or indulging in a tasty treat- whatever works and is healthy. And if the positive vision doesn’t work that well as a distress tolerance technique, I try to find one that does based on that client’s unique personality and interests: does the client like to draw or journal? Does<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>he or she like animals? Then I can use that particular talent or interest to help clients transcend the need to hide in the swamp. </span></p>

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    Rivkah Kaufman
    Participant
    Topic Author

    In response to Chavy's post #8458:

     

    tks Chavy!

    the swamp is a great analogy, and the idea of a grassy knoll or something similar just over yonder, can give one immense hope to endure the ugliness of the obstacles

    thanks Rivkah

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    Rivkah Kaufman
    Participant
    Topic Author

    Your welcome!

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