This workbook is a comprehensive effort to help you learn how to perceive yourself realistically so that your thoughts do not contribute to the development of depressive moods. Your self-voice is a critical factor in beating depression. In my 30-plus years of clinical practice I have learned that the way we talk to ourselves, whether we have an understanding or punitive internal voice, determines our mood. To a large extent, it also determines our life’s course. I will share several diverse stories of my clients who have suffered from depression and now live depression free. If you do the work I recommend in each chapter, you will likely begin the very important process of seeing yourself in a more positive light. Globally, 350 million people suffer from depression and 1 in 10 Americans say they suffer from depression as well. Children experience depression today ten times the incidence of generations ago, one in five college students experience depression. In general, depression rates are ten times higher today than they were in 1960. Fifty years ago, the average age of a depressive episode was close to 30 years of age; today it is 14.5 years of age. Some theorists think it is an illness of the poor and uneducated, yet a study at Harvard University in 2004 found that 4 in 5 students suffered depression at least once during the school year, and nearly half suffered debilitating symptoms to the point of not being able to function. Lawyers have more than three times the depression rates of other occupations and law students frequently complain of depressive symptoms during their studies. Depression is a global problem affecting virtually every nation; the numbers are growing around the world every year.
As you read through the book, please use the Progress Tracker available at the Soundmindz.org website as a daily tracking tool for measuring your mood, negative feelings and thoughts. These notations will help you progress to a more truthful view of yourself. This is very important, as it will allow you to record the events and interactions that trouble you, and will help you in practicing strategies to change your negative thoughts as you approach people and places that characteristically evoke stress. It is particularly important to use the Tracker to follow your mood and thought patterns as you read and answer the questions at the end of each chapter. Also please take the depression questionnaire listed under the Disorders section of the website (hereafter referral to the website means the Soundmindz site) as it will allow us to assess your symptoms and level of depression so as to add to the information we need to create the best plan for you.
At the end of each chapter I will ask you to keep a journal and answer certain questions that will help you explore all the possibilities for recovery. I will also ask you to take a positive action based on the insights of each chapter. Depression is not only resolved through changing negative thinking, but must be accompanied by positive actions. New research indicates that optimism and resilience have more to do with actions rather than just what we think. I will also refer you to particular video therapy sessions on the site that expound on the content of these chapters. In addition, I will recommend articles contained in our Depression News and Resources section so you will have up to date information to help you in your journey. The articles I recommend (all found in the resources section of the Soundmindz web site) will relate to the information in each chapter.
Although this workbook is not lengthy, it will take you several hours to do the work required. Please do not rush the process; focusing on one chapter per week is more than enough work. As you read through these concise chapters and answer the questions at the end of each story, I hope you will be able to begin living with less negativity and slowly begin to change the way you talk to yourself. Together, we will take part in a journey to defeat depression by making a commitment to do the work necessary to change the course of your life.
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