Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy – How I Fought Back Against Depression

*I’d like to start by saying I am in NO WAY a therapist or professional here. Everything I’m about to write is my own opinion, taken from my own experiences*


Since I’m still somewhat new around these parts, I’d like to give you a little backstory before I talk about this awesome book. When I was about 14, I was diagnosed with depression. I was miserable through high school, and the years following definitely weren’t any better. Depression is hard to explain to someone who’s never experienced it. It’s crippling. It leaves you feeling with an incredible sense of worthlessness and dread. You have trouble doing basic things like getting out of bed, taking a shower, doing a load of laundry. You lose interest in friends and hobbies you once loved. You forget simple joys in life and constantly wonder how everyone around you can be so happy. It’s an awful feeling that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

I spent 10 years trying to find a solution to my unhappiness. I tried different medications, (they’re the worst!) therapies, self help books, diets, exercise, and even hypnotherapy. (I also tried excessive drinking, but that only made things worse. Whoops.) They were all a little helpful, for the time being, but nothing really stuck.

At the end of 2012, I was introduced to something called Brainwave Optimization Therapy. This saved my life. I won’t write out all the details now but you can read about it here.


Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy

“Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy” written by David D. Burns, M.D. was also a BIG game changer for me in the fight against depression and anxiety. It takes a look at something called cognitive therapy. The idea is that your thoughts create your moods. It’s such a simple idea that it almost sounds untrue. Dr. Burns lays out for you all of the ways our thinking is distorted, and how to recognize those self-defeating thoughts. Once it’s brought to your attention, it’s hard to ignore.

I’ll admit, it’s not magic. It takes a lot of work and dedication to get through this book and put these things into action. But let me tell you, it’s worth it. This book actually taught me to talk myself out of a panic attack, and the first time I did, I immediately burst into tears. Happy tears, of course. Regarldess, they were tears and the whole situation really confused my mom. (Man, I love telling that story)

Here’s some other things you can expect to see in this book.

– “Do Nothingism” and How to Beat It.
– How to Talk Back to Critisism (From others, as well as yourself.)
– How to Defeat Guilt
– The difference between sadness and depression
– How to overcome profectionism

And so, so much more. I can’t talk enough about how much I love this book. I’ve read it twice, written notes in it, and highlighted all my favorite parts. It’s such a great tool to have, and it’s fairly inexpensive too. (The best price I’ve found is on Amazon)

There’s also a workbook version, if that’s your thing. I worked through it, and loved it. It’s a little more hands on than just reading.


The Feeling Good Handbook

Let’s talk. I love talking to others who have suffered from (or are still suffering from) depression and anxiety. If you’ve overcome them, GREAT. Tell me how you fought back. If you’re still suffering, I am so sorry. I would hug you if I could. Please feel free to reach out to me. I’m always willing to lend a listening ear.


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It’s Okay to be Sad


Confession: I’m still not really sure what I’m doing with this whole blogging thing. I haven’t quite found a rhythm yet, but I decided while I’m figuring it out, I’m just going to write about whatever pops into my head. Lately I’ve seen a few posts about how to cheer yourself up when you’ve had a bad day, or when you’re feeling sad or depressed. While those posts are great, (please do not think I am bashing anyone here) I have a different approach.

Scenario One:
Person: Hey! How are you?
Me: Oh, I’m okay. How are you?
Person: What? Just okay? Why, what’s wrong?
Me: Nothing is wrong.. I’m just not GREAT. I’m okay.
Person: Well you should be great!

This is one of my biggest pet peeves in life.

Prior to December of 2012, it was rare that I had a good day. I was severely depressed and honestly, I didn’t know what joy was. I didn’t know it was possible to feel happy for no apparent reason. Then I found Brainstate Technologies. The short story is, it saved my life. (Read more of that story here) I am no longer depressed, but that doesn’t mean I’m not entitled to a bad day every now and then. The difference is that now, I am aware of the difference between depression and just a bad day. IT IS OKAY TO JUST FEEL OKAY. When I respond to “How are you?” with “Okay”, that does not mean I am sad or depressed or feel like crying all day. It just means I am okay. Not bad, not good. Just okay. AND THAT’S OKAY.

Scenario Two:
Person: Hey! How are you?
Me: I’m alright, just a little bummed out today.
Person: That’s no fun! What can we do to cheer you up?
Me: I don’t need to be cheered up.. This will pass.
Person: Well it’s not good to be bummed out all day!

Another thing I’ve come to realize since emerging from the dark hole that is depression, is that it is okay to be sad. I’ve had plenty of bad days… Days when I’ve been upset, irritated, pissed off, or even just bummed out and feel like crying. I’ve learned that those days are normal. Other people are always so concerned, though. When I’m feeling a bit blue, there are a few people in my life that will try anything to make me feel better. (Can’t really blame them though, I guess it’s sweet.) But I say the same thing every time; I am not afraid of a bad day. I am not afraid of being a little sad. I know that these feelings are temporary. If they don’t pass today, then tomorrow is a fresh start.

Inside Out is now one of my absolute favorite movies. I laughed so hard, I cried. And then I cried for real because it hit so close to home. I even keep this little Sadness figurine thing on my desk to remind me that it is absolutely okay to be sad from time to time.

What do you do when you’ve had a bad day? What do you do when you just feel sad? Do you let it happen, like I do? Or do you have a routine set in place to make you feel better? Let’s talk. I’d love to hear from you. (Comment away!)


4 Ways to Help Cope with Making Mistakes

I am the queen of bad decisions.. For most of my adult life, I’ve made my decisions based solely based on my feelings, (not rational thoughts) and generally those feelings were temporary. When I was 19 years old, I married a man I had only known 2 months because I was bored. I attempted to move to Nebraska because I thought I was tired of California. (Okay, that one had a little thought to it.) Not to mention all the nights I spent drinking because I was a little sad or anxious. Making decisions based on feelings isn’t always a bad thing. But generally, you should put some actual, rational thoughts into the important ones.

After Brainstate in December of 2012, my decision making got a little more rational. For the first time ever, I was thinking things through before making decisions. Talking with my best friend about this once, she told me she was glad I thought things through, so she could worry a little less about me. Unfortunately, no one is perfect and from time to time, I still make an irrational decision. It doesn’t happen nearly as often, but it happens.

So, how do you deal with the big mistakes? How do you put aside self-defeating thoughts and go on with your life? Here’s some things that have worked for me..

1. Remind yourself that you are HUMAN, and we are not perfect.
This seems to like a no-brainer, but we often forget that we are allowed to make mistakes. Obviously, this shouldn’t be used as an excuse to do stupid things on purpose. But I think remembering this simple fact can go a long way.
2. Rely on your support system.
Everyone’s got one; whether it’s your family, or friends, or a mixture of both. Usually after a big screw up, I forget that my family and friends love me unconditionally. Lucky for me, my support system has never once passed judgment on me because of the mistakes that I’ve made. If you’re lucky enough to have people in your life that love you and want to help you, don’t be too proud or stubborn to take it. Remember that some things can’t be dealt with alone.

3. Make a new plan.
Okay, so you screwed up. Now what? Wallowing in self pity isn’t going to change a damn thing. Trust me, I know from experience. So come up with a new game plan. Plan B. The next phase. Call it whatever you want. Write down a few reasonable steps to fix this mess. There’s always something proactive to be done, no matter how hopeless the situation may seem. (And don’t forget your support system is there for help & encouragement!)

4. Forgive yourself & let it go.
This one might take a couple of tries before it sticks, but it will eventually. Forgiving yourself is tough, but it will make you feel a heck of a lot better once you do it. Once you’ve forgiven yourself – just let it go. The mistake you made is in the past and there’s no use holding onto it. If it helps, sing the song from Frozen. (I know you know the words.) Maybe even do a little dance.
These things are usually easier said than done. (Again, I know from experience.) Sometimes you’ll have to remind yourself over & over that you are only human, and other days, it’ll come naturally. One day, you will accept help from your support system with open arms, and other days you’ll slam the door in their faces. It’s a day to day struggle, but that doesn’t mean things aren’t going to get better. It takes time, and patience, but it will get easier. You will let it go.

What do you do after a major screw up? I’d love to hear from you!