Depression Recovery Principles: Cultivating Meaning in Everyday Life

"The opposite of depression is not happiness but vitality"

- Andrew Solomon from The Noonday Demon

If you have come to Support for Depression it is likely you are looking for information and help for yourself or someone that you care about. Coming to this site may be opening a new door, entertaining the question, "Could I be depressed?" It might be encouraging or it might be a bit frightening. It may be a search for better understanding or indicate a readiness to try something different.


Whatever brings you here, my deepest hope is that you find something that furthers you on your journey of healing.


Setting the Stage for Recovery


Fresh look: For most of the folks who come to see me, I am not their first attempt at feeling better. Many have consulted physicians, complementary practitioners, friends and family. The questions that spur people to come in are often, "What is wrong with me?" and "What am I missing?" I find these to be incredibly intelligent questions that push people to find the right help. Our job, in working together, is to explore these questions in a supportive environment.


Proper evaluation can be an important part of the work. I partner with psychiatrists, primary care docs and other practitioners. A good psychiatrist in particular, has the capacity to begin to put the puzzle pieces together and make a clear diagnosis, if indeed one is in order. Family physicians prescribe a lot of the medications for depression. Unfortunately, they are limited to short visits with a broad scope. They often do not have adequate time to delve fully into history or to follow up consistently if medication is prescribed. That said, some patients respond well, quickly and this is enough. For others a more accurate diagnostic evaluation and treatment plan are needed.


Whatever pathway unfolds, medication or no medication, diagnosis or no diagnosis, the emphasis is this: creating a wholesome life, cultivating self care, contact and meaning.


Bottom line: Each person's life is different. The focus is on investigating what you are experiencing, exploring what might be going on, and looking at the available options. We create a therapeutic home base from which to follow the path of recovery.


Walking the Path of Recovery


The path of recovery is what we work on together. Lifestyle. Gentleness. Relationships. Community and meaning. The principles of healing and recovery from depression are the principles that apply to human experience: a rhythmic and meaningful schedule, good sleep, good food, good exercise, good relationships.


What's different is that the frequency, intensity and duration of depressive symptoms can make it very difficult to put these principles into practice. Depression recovery requires gentleness. From that point of view, the label of depression is not as important as the understanding it fosters and the path it opens.


Welcome. May your journey be a healing journey.



Schedule as Recovery Tool

unbalanced stonesHere are the rawest of the raw materials that we have: space and time.

When you are struggling with a mood disorder and particularly depressive symptoms, space and time are distorted. It can simultaneously feel like there is not enough time and that there is absolutely too much time where you don’t know what to do with yourself.

These may be some of the qualities of distorted time and space.


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Unifying Principles

equilibriumThere is a lineage of wisdom for the every day. For nuns and monks in times gone by, they carried a Book of Hours that reminded them to pray throughout the day, to take time from their more mundane tasks and go within. This continuous referring to the spiritual was a way of reinforcing wisdom and clarity, hour by hour and day by day.


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The Practice of Unifying Principles

puf-thumbnailUnifying principles can take time to ripen, to become clear. And that is just fine. As you do the practice of Unifying Principles you are likely to find that they become more poetic and on the dot. Once you get the hang of it, the exploration can be pleasurable and relieving.

There are Unifying Principles that I share in my work that are often helpful for those working with mood disorder recovery. I’d like to share a few of my favorites with you. Please feel free to try them on and make them your own.


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