Thursday, July 5, 2012


By Carolyn J. Christensen

Would that I could cry and scream
So hard that all the ugly thoughts
Would burst forth from my mind,
And the words would hit the wall
With such force, the letters
Would shatter and fall to the floor
Where I could sweep them up
In an old black coal scoop
And throw them where
They would burn

Oh, that I could.

TOOLS (Mind Sets or Thinking Patterns)

TOOLS  (Mind Sets or Thinking Patterns)
I believe that the difference between coping and not coping with any depression, or life event, is knowledge of and use of known tools.
Many people are taught by their circumstances as they grow what natural tools to use to deal with life’s harder situations.  Many people never learn, because of circumstances, as they grow, the natural tools  to use.  If you can teach yourself, or can be taught by others, to use natural tools to relieve suffering, it can make the difference between happiness, acceptance, frustration and grief.
In this Blog many tools are discussed.  In the Mental Health Profession, there are many names for different tools (mind sets or thinking patterns).  In this blog, I have provided my own names.  First, you can find tools, by doing a “Tool” search.  Also, I will provide a list of tools discussed in this blog which you can access in the labels column.  Sometimes, all I need is one word to remind me of a tool I can use that will help me cope with a current difficult situation.  Mental tools are as important to me as physical tools are to a worker.

Thinking Patterns

Problem Beliefs


False Assumptions

Depression Self Diagnosis

Brain Tools

First Aid Kit



Mind Set Change Tool

Defining Depression

Make Gratitude List

Natural Chemical Booster

Read Books

Coping Strategies

Symptoms Identification


Identifying Triggers


Help from Outside

Self Confidence vs. Self Esteem

Distorted Thinking


1.            Describe just the facts of a situation which is causing you problems.

2.            What were your first thoughts  that came to your mind about this situation.

3.            What immediate emotions did your feel? ( Anger, happiness, sadness, frustration, etc.)

4.            Read a distorted thinking list, and specify which thinking you used.

5.            How can you think differently, considering your distorted thinking.

6.            Develop a thinking pattern that will allow you to think accurately, more quickly the next time.
Thinking Pattern
Belief of what happened . >>>Was my thinking distorted and in what way? >>>What emotions did it cause that could be inaccurate? >>>How could I think and feel about this that would be more accurate? >>> Which more accurate belief do I choose to accept? >>>

If you continue to use this tool, eventually you can skip to that last section when a situation first happens.  


PROBLEMATIC BELIEFS:  What you believe isn’t always accurate.  Accept that.  Decide what is true before you act (or stew about it).  I receive the following work sheet from Rick Huntsman, and thought it was excellent.
Below is a list of questions to be used in helping you challenge your maladaptive or problematic beliefs.  Not all questions will be appropriate for the belief you choose to challenge.  Answer as many questions as you can for the belief you have chosen to challenge below.


1.            What is the evidence for and against this idea?



2.            Is your belief a habit or based on facts?

3.            Are your interpretations of the situation too far removed from reality to be accurate?

4.            Are you thinking in all-or-non terms?

5.            Are you using words or phrases that are extreme or exaggerated (i.e., always, forever, never, need, should, must, can’t , and every time)?

6.            Are you taking the situation out of contest and only focusing on one aspect of the event?

7.            Is the source of information reliable?

8.            Are you confusing a low probability with a hiugh probability?

9.            Are your judgments based on feelings rather than facts?

10.          Are you focused on irrelevant factors?

THERAPISTS MANUAL – Cognitive Processing Therapy.  Veteran/Military Version     Page 103

Thursday, July 21, 2011


In an article written by Dr. Sue Hubbard, a nationally known pediatrician, it is suggested that earlier bedtimes for children and teens can reduce depression.  Columbia University researchers studied 12,000 adolescents and teens and found that subjects with strict bedtimes of 10 p.m. or earlier were less likely to have depressive and suicidal thoughts.    A different study of 12,000 children indicated that only about 8% got the required sleep of nine hours a night.  In another study of 15,000 children in grades 7-12, kids who were allowed to stay up until midnight or later had a 24% more chance of being depressed, and a 20 % more chance of suicidal thoughts. 
It was also revealed in the above studies that having a firm bedtime set by a parent  is almost as important as attaining a required amount of sleep hours.  Encourage earlier bedtimes.  Things such as “lights out”, turning off all electronics ½ hour before bedtime, warm showers, and firm rules starting at an early age can help children start a lifetime of good sleeping habits that can help control depression.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


None of these false assumptions are true – yet many people’s lives are affected by believing them.
1.         To be happy I have to be successful at everything I undertake.
2.       To be happy I must be accepted by all people at all times.
3.       If I make a mistake it means I’m a failure.
4.       I can’t live without my spouse or without being loved.
5.       If someone disagrees with me, it means he doesn’t like me.
6.       My value as a person depends on what others think of me.
7.       If I am spiritual, bad things won’t happen to me.
8.       I should be able to make anyone love me.
9.       Good parents always love their children and never become angry at them
10.   Good people are never angry and never have bad feelings.
11.   Unhappiness is caused by circumstances and I have no control over this.
12.   The way people act is part of their personality;  you can’t change personality.
13.   There is always a right or perfect solution to every problem, and it must b e found or the results are catastrophic.
14.   Past experiences determine present behavior; there is no way to erase the mistakes and influences of the past.
15.   On Pain:
Good people don’t feel pain.
Pain is punishment.  I must be a bad person to merit this punishment so I should put up with it.
Pain equals repentance and cleanses me.
If I’m feeling pain, I must have done something wrong.
If I feel enough pain, I will have paid my dues and this will go away.

A tool to use in overcoming depression is to recognize your false assumptions, then refuse to accept them.  See Thinking Pattern Tool

Monday, July 11, 2011


Symptom                                                                                                            Depression         Clinical Depression
Is the cause of the depression known & situational?                                    Yes                         No
Is the cause of the depression vague & hard to pin down?                          No                          Yes
Does it involve sadness or “blues”?                                                         Always                 Not Always
Has the depression lasted longer than 2 weeks?                                              No                          Yes
Are there problems with distorted thinking or false
      assumptions, sleep changes, general aches & pains,
      Diarrhea, that are not readily explained by a
      Current illness?                                                                                          No                          Yes
Has a major life change occurred recently?                                         Possibly                          Possibly
Is fatigue a serious factor even though there seems to
      be no medical reason and there is adequate rest?                            No                          Yes
Have sleep patterns changed over time?                                                    No                          Yes
Are major appetite changes involved over time?                                      No                          Yes
Is it harder to make decisions?                                                                  No                          Yes
Is it harder to remember things?  Is confusion involved?                          No                          Yes
Is it harder to find pleasure or interest in life                                     Possibly                               Yes