This is the third, and final, installment in a three part series on ADHD and depression. The first post revealed that people with ADHD have a higher incidence of depression than the general population and urged all teens and young adults to be screened for depression as part of their annual physicals. The second part looked at the various types of depression. This post, as promised, shares some things you can do about depression.
ADHD and Depression is Serious Business
It’s important to start this post by saying that depression can be a serious, life-threatening condition. If you are feeling hopeless, worthless, irritated, chronically exhausted or have lost interest in things you once loved, you should start by talking to your physician or a therapist. Look for someone who has experience in diagnosing ADHD and working with the co-occurring conditions that can come along with ADHD. (The last thing you need to do is see someone who doesn’t understand or even believe in ADHD!)
A professional can help you determine what the appropriate course of action to help you break free of your depression. You don’t have to suffer depression alone. Get some help for yourself, right away. Talk to your parents, friends or even a crisis hotline. Don’t suffer alone!
What to Do About ADHD and Depression Starting NOW!
Sure calling a doctor or therapist is a great idea, but you may be wondering what you can do for depression right now. After all, depression is something that can be hard to overcome. (And it doesn’t take holidays!) You can use all the help you can get to breaking through to the other side of depression! Why not try what Gayle Wilson, ADHD coach, shares with her clients. She calls it her “Depression Busting Toolkit” or “12 Mental Lifesavers.”
ADHD Depression Busting Toolkit: 12 Mental Lifesavers
- Talk about it. Pour out your soul to a sympathetic ear.
- Go to the dogs (play with your pets).
- Run away (literally). Do something physical. (Yes, we keep saying this over and over. Exercise is critical to healthy living with ADHD!)
- Laugh your head off. Watch a funny TV show, ask someone to tickle you, Google “funny” or “hilarious,” check out the comedy channel on hulu.com, or watch an old Road Runner cartoon, etc.
- Get to work. Lose yourself in work.
- Compartmentalize. Focus on what you can do right now. The old adage, one day at a time, has stood the test of time because it works! Sometimes getting off the couch and doing something, anything, can make a big difference to feeling better.
- Write. Right now. Paying attention to what you are thinking. Write it down. Be sure to turn off the critical inner voice and just let your thoughts go.
- Identify something you care about more than yourself. Is that a friend? A charity? Your grandparents? Now do something, anything about it.
- Bring beauty into your life. Buy some flowers, take some pictures, make a painting, clean your room.
- Learn the lesson. Explore what there is to learn in what you are experiencing.
- Be well read. Let fiction carry you away.
- Have faith. Turn to your spiritual practice
- Curb self-defeating and negative thoughts with an ANT.
Daniel G. Amen, M.D., author of Healing ADD and Change Your Brain, Change Your life, coined the acronym A.N.T.’s — or automatic negative thoughts. Turns out there is a connection between what we say to ourselves and how we feel. If we control what we think, we can control how we feel.
Gayle Wilson gives each of her clients a little plastic ant and a poem. Print out the poem and put it on your desk. Read it when you need to turn your thoughts away from the dark side. Sure it’s a little dorky, and Gayle’s no poet, but these simple words have helped many other people. So there’s no harm in trying it, huh? You can control what you think and change how you feel about yourself.
Gayla Wilson 12/07
Place this little Ant on your desk, in your pocket or your purse.
Let it remind you, your thoughts can be adverse.
Listen to what your brain tells you
The next time you get into a jam
and you hear “I’m stupid”; “I always mess up”
“Why can’t I ever just push through?”
Write it down, tell it to scram.
Is this thought a fact?
Or, is it the same old you?
If it’s true…change it.
If it’s a lie, answer back.
These are your thoughts
You write the script
Be they pleasant and pleasing
They’re your thoughts,
You can answer back
The damage CAN be reversed.
It is up to you
Their weight and importance
Are set by you. You take control.
Kill the ANT!
Do you have tricks that help you beat the blues? Please share them!