"When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on."
    --Franklin D. Roosevelt

    

Self help


Every day I get emails from people who are desperate...desperate to end their depression. Medicine doesn't have the answers, and neither do I unfortunately. You have to try many things and find something that works for you. I know, easier said than done, and when you're depressed, it's pretty hard to find a shred of hope. I've come across some new ideas to try...most are free or cheap. They may or may not work, but it's worth a try.

Don't miss the ect.org bookstore, where you'll find numerous books on ECT, depression, bipolar, schizophrenia and many other topics. There's a special self-help section to assist you.




Fun Finds!


ShagMail

You can get jokes, horoscopes, news of the weird, free stuff and more, all in your daily email. And it's free. No, it's not a cure for depression, but it can't hurt! Humor helps!



If you haven't tried The Sims and you enjoy computer games, this might be one that you'll like. I don't play a lot of computer games, but this is one that I DO play. I go in spurts and will play for awhile, then not touch it for weeks. Then pick it up again.

The premise sounds so weird: you create characters and then let them live their lives. They have romances, get married, have children, go to work, get promoted - and now, with the release of Livin Large, they even get roach infestations and alien abductions. It's kooky, but it's fun.

No, it won't cure depression, but sometimes a good distraction can take your mind off of it. This is a good distraction (as long as you don't get *too* addicted). And what's more, YOU are in control. Someone in your life that has hurt you and you want some revenge? Make them into a Sim, then give them a horrible death. Or don't let them eat for a few days. It's kind of sadistic, but I've found it to be therapeutic.

In fact, I've rewritten some of my own history in the game....and had a GREAT deal of fun while doing so. If you feel out of control, this game can at least give you some time where you control everything. You can make happy Sims or sad ones, and you can give them nice lives, or not. It's all up to you. (There's even a skin of me, so if you don't like me, burn me up in a Sims game!)

PC: The Sims, Livin Large
Mac: The Sims, Livin Large

My Sims pages, including the Saga of Dr. Evil. (Any resemblance to real people other than myself is simply coincidence!)

Visit the giftstore for more fun things!




Some fun cartoons, sent in by a viewer. This is one talented cartoonist!

A patient is treated. Hail Herr Doktor!
How an ECT doc becomes unemployed!

If you haven't yet listened to LeNor Barry, please do so. She's available at mp3.com for free. Her music is beautiful and haunting, and she identifies herself as a shock survivor. Her latest album is Healer With a Twist, and I cannot recommend it highly enough!

LeNor Barry at mp3.com



Alternative Mental Health


If you're truly interested in alternative mental health treatments, I want to recommend this website. It has TONS of stuff on alternatives, so head over there and start reading.
www.AlternativeMentalHealth.com

Some great articles on alternatives, including the role of nutrition in mental health recovery.

Treating schizophrenia without antipsychotics


From Dr. Loren Mosher, information on alternative treatments. You may remember Dr. Mosher as the psychiatrist who angrily resigned from the American Psychiatric Association.

New Self-Help Booklets Promote Recovery


Techniques to help reduce the effects of trauma, make lifestyle changes to positively affect emotional well-being, and build strong relationships are a few of the issues addressed in a series of new self -help guides developed to help people with psychiatric disabilities. The booklets were released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
How to order these free booklets

Alternatives


Overcoming the Impossible
"My Journey Through Schizophrenia" (Psychology Today) by Ronald Bassman, Ph.D. Ron is a fellow member of Support Coalition International and a practicing psychologist. If you read one thing this year, this is the article to read! I cannot put into words how this article made me feel - many of us can relate so well to what Ron writes about the dehumanization and humiliation we feel in the system. In an eloquent and compassionate style, he tells stories of horror, but also stories of hope and empowerment. This article will touch you, but it will also inspire hope. I urge you to take a copy of this article to your own doctor, even anonymously mail it to those who have harmed you. You never know when someone will read it and have a spark of self recognition.

'Beautiful'-but Not Rare-Recovery
John Nash's Genius Is Extraordinary. Recovering From Schizophrenia Is Anything But. Psychiatric researchers who have tracked patients after they left mental hospitals, as well as a growing number of recovered patients who have banded together to form a mental health consumer movement, contend that recovery of the kind Nash experienced is not rare.

Effective Mood Stabilization
With a Chelated Mineral Supplement

A new study on using nutritional supplements in bipolar has shown some success. Although the study was very small, the results may be promising: "For those who completed the minimum 6-month open trial, symptom reduction ranged from 55% to 66% on the outcome measures; need for psychotropic medications decreased by more than 50%."
The study

Herbal Treatments for ECS-Induced Memory Deficits: A Review of Research and a Discussion on Animal Models - this article discusses the problems of memory loss during ECT and reviews the use of traditional herbal methods in combatting the deficits. From Journal Of ECT.

Dietary Supplements and Natural Products as Psychotherapeutic Agents
This article examines alternative therapies such as St. Johns Wort and ginko in mood disorders and their role in memory problems: Alternative therapies are widely used by consumers. A number of herbs and dietary supplements have demonstrable effects on mood, memory, and insomnia. There is a significant amount of evidence supporting the use of Hypericum perforatum (St. John's wort) for depression and Ginkgo biloba for dementia. Results of randomized, controlled trials also support the use of kava for anxiety and valerian for insomnia. Although evidence for the use of vitamins and amino acids as sole agents for psychiatric symptoms is not strong, there is intriguing preliminary evidence for the use of folate, tryptophan, and phenylalanine as adjuncts to enhance the effectiveness of conventional antidepressants. S-adenosylmethionine seems to have antidepressant effects, and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly docosahexaenoic acid, may have mood-stabilizing effects. More research should be conducted on these and other natural products for the prevention and treatment of various psychiatric disorders.

Goggle therapy
Yes, it's about the silliest thing I've ever heard, but according to the Harvard psychiatrist who came up with it, it can work and work well. You aren't going to hear much about it, unfortunately. Why? Because there's no money in it. You can make these goggles at home. This is a transcript of the segment on 20/20 that explained this new therapy, how it works and how to do it yourself. It operates on the theory of left brain vs. right brain, and by forcing one side to take control, you can alter your own mood. I don't want to sound like a preacher, but I've shared this transcript with numerous ect.org readers, and several have said it worked, and worked WELL! Give it a try....it won't cost you a cent!


Fish oil
You can buy it anywhere...I got mine at the local drugstore for under a few dollars. A new study has shown it can be beneficial in relieving symptoms of manic depression...Again, you aren't going to hear much about it because it's not a money maker for anyone.

Another story on fish oil

From Psychology Today, Prozac of the Sea.

Saturday Evening Post speaks at length with Joseph R. Hibbeln, M.D., about this emerging field of scientific research. Dr. Hibbeln is an internationally recognized authority on the link between essential fatty acids and depression.

In another Saturday Evening Post article, Dr. Dale Guyer discusses the use of alternative medicine in treating depression.

Read the full study, Omega 3 Fatty Acids in Bipolar Disorder; A Preliminary Double-blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial.

SAMe
Pronounced sami, this new nutritional supplement is being hailed as the new prozac and all around "good for what ails you." It remains to be seen just how effective this will be, but early reports are promising, and numerous European studies have shown it works to combat major depression, without the side effects of Prozac and other antidepressants. Unfortunately, it isn't cheap.

Other alternatives


Some other alternative treatments are showing promise, according to these articles. (I don't endorse any of these treatments, as I have not tried them myself. However, I do know that others have found help in alternative medicine, so don't count it out!)

Homeopathy
Insight meditation
Acupuncture
Biofeedback
Laughter

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