Depressed? Try a Sad Selfie
This is a re-telling of merely ONE person's experience. It is not a researched "technique". For professional advice on depression, please scroll down to the last paragraph for ways to get help and for emergency resources.
7 Things You Can Do for Depression, Anxiety, Insecurity, and Low Seff-Esteem
Better than "Crying in Your Beer"
Here at hubpages, writers are always trying for quality hubs that are “content rich” and are accompanied by meaningful images, embedded video, and maybe a quiz or two.
This is not going to be one of those hubs. I’m just too fascinated with what happened to me to not get this up as soon as possible because, you see, this morning I was in the throes of depression, and now I'm not. I thought maybe someone else might find relief in this somewhat "quirky" idea.
It started early in the morning as I sat at my desk in my home office. I had that familiar heaviness behind the eyes near the brow and that feeling of a weighted-blanket of sadness "heavy on my shoulders". In the past, I’ve experienced a release of pressure when I just let myself cry, so I decided, since no one was around, to just have a good cry and get this feeling gone. Was that the simple cure I'm talking about? No, that wasn’t the great "watershed" moment so to speak. The crying merely precipitated (pardon the pun again) one thought that led to the next:
I really have to make an appointment with a counselor...Did the old one get tired of me?...I’ll have to tell my whole sad old story to someone new…Would this unknown new person be able to take the tears? Could I even take my own tears?.........And then I looked down on my desk!
There, sandwiched between my printer and keyboard was my new Apple 6 Iphone. The next part just "sort of happened".
I picked up my cell phone, found the camera icon and then the video button. I pressed the little image that would let me take a selfie movie, and I started.
I looked into the camera, my hair a mess, no make-up, and I recorded: “First of all I can’t stand the way I look, which I know shouldn’t be important…”. My voice became whinier while I started telling my phone “counselor” the rest of my whole wretched story and what I was feeling. I searched for the words of my usual litany of life’s injustices to me. And as I looked at myself sobbing and expressing what I thought was creating my sadness, I was having a hard time taking me seriously!
Still, I tried to think of more of the losses while talking and listening to my meta-self. I guess I had a need to make me believe me. However, I kept being so distracted by the miserable display in the little screen that I thought, "If this were Felicty Huffman on TV, I'd say, "Man, she's playing part this way over the top! I'm changing channels.")
Finally, I just had to stop my own personal counseling session. I was just too much for me to take. I stopped the video, replayed it to be sure it truly was as pitiful as I perceived it to be. It was! I then realized how ridiculous I would have looked to a counselor on the other end of this face – how ridiculous I must look to my husband when I go off into my rants against life. I then quickly deleted that sad selfie before anyone would ever see it! Suddenly I noticed I was sitting straighter in my chair. I voluntarily released the muscles in my forehead from their hold on my eyes, and before starting back to work, I ran into the bathroom to put on some make-up and comb my hair. The rest of my day continued - 98.2% depression-free,
Ted Talk: Dr. Stephen Ilardi
Six Components That Change Our Neuro-Chemistry
Physical Activity ("Excercise is Medicine")
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
(from Dr. Ilardi's talk above)
Questions About the Selfie?
You might have a few questions about the results of my serendipitous selfie experience:
How long did the dreadful dread remain at bay?
I remember that the feeling of dread left me for hours - into the evening and into the next day. When I started feeling sad again, I tried to bring up the experience of the video, and when I did, my body straightened up and from that point, the sadness left. I had to repeat this about 3 times in the past few days.
Did you need to take another "sad selfie video" again?
As if this writing, it's been three days since I did the first sad selfie, and all I need to do is to think about how I appeared in that video, and I can do the things that are mentioned in some of the youtube videos accompanying this article.
Why do you think your sad selfie worked?
I suspect there are several reasons why seeing myself talking as if to a counselor all alone in my deepest despair helped get me out of despair.
1. What happened might be a modification of the Gesalt Method "empty chair" form of therapy where a person talks to an empty chair in order to experience a role reversal in which he or she gains the perspective of the other person. In this case, I was seeing myself as others saw me and what I saw as them was not pleasing to me and as I extrapolated, would not be pleasing to them.
2. When a person is depressed there is a tendency to "awful-ize" a situation. Once in a negative state, it's easy to perpetuate the state and go on and on with a continual list of negatives. When you hear all the negatives of a situation, a natural tendency, even if it involves yourself, is to argue against the list.
Could there be any harm in talking a sad selfie video?
To repeat: This is NOT a researched method or ANY kind. It's simply a personal story of what helped me. Can there be harm? My guess is, "Perhaps". I noticed that one of the women from the reality show, "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" relapsed into her addictive behavior after seeing herself on TV. Could seeing ourselves as we might appear to others, trigger more depression? My lay-person's point of view is that it could be possible. Just as all information on the web, what is contained here should be used with judgment and care.
Aren't you, as the author, making light of depression?
My family's background would never allow me to make light of this issue. My father, orphaned by his father in the flu epidemic of 1916 when he was 10 and by his mother of the same epidemic two years later, was probably situaltionally depressed with a genetic component. His sister committed suicide around the age of 40. At age 58, my father had his first of a series of Electro-Shock Therapy Treatments for severe depression. He was able to maintain some semblance of normal functioning until his later years. Eventually he had a second series of shock treatments and lived his final years in a locked psychiatric ward of a Veteran's Hospital. So my understanding of the seriousness of this illness and its possible lesser manifestation in my own life, would never allow me to take depression lightly. My little "discovery" here is meant to suggest a possible tool that worked for me one day, one hour out of hundreds of days and hours of minor depression. Sometimes, it takes just one day, to change our perspective, if only for a short length of time.
Getting Free Of Self-Importance Is The Key To Happiness: Polly Young-Eisendrath at TEDxMiddlebury
Quirky Ideas Aside: Symptoms and Advice From the Mayo Clinic
"If you feel depressed, make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as you can. Depression often gets worse if it isn't treated. Untreated depression can lead to other mental and physical health problems or troubles in other areas of your life. Feelings of depression can also lead to suicide.
If you're reluctant to seek treatment, talk to a friend or loved one, a health care professional, a faith leader, or someone else you trust.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, get help right away. Here are some steps you can take:
- Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
- Contact a minister, a spiritual leader or someone in your faith community.
- Call a suicide hotline number — in the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor. Use that same number and press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
- Make an appointment with your doctor, mental health provider or other health care provider.
When to get emergency help
If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
If you have a loved one who is in danger of committing suicide or has made a suicide attempt, make sure someone stays with that person. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Or, if you think you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room."