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Mindfulness-what is it, and is it any good for depression?

(13 Posts)
fruitandnutti Thu 12-Dec-13 01:11:53

I've heard a bit about mindfulness and from what I gather its about focusing in the present. I've not had great success in the past with therapy or meditation and so am somewhat reluctant to invest the time in a treatment which I suspect probably won't help me, but I was just wondering if anyone could tell me a bit more about it, and whether it has helped them, and what sort of techniques it involves?

by way of background, I've had depression for other 15 years. I was say its mild to moderate - not bad enough to have to stop working but bad enough to make life pretty miserable.

HoopHopes Thu 12-Dec-13 14:24:50

In the NHS mindfulness is usually part of a DBT course for people with personality disorders. In private practice it can be used on its own for different conditions. Usually taught in a group setting in the NHS. Well that is the state of 3 counties where I live.

fruitandnutti Sat 14-Dec-13 05:04:00

excuse my ignorance but what is DBT? What sort of techniques does mindfulness teach? .

I'm somewhat cynical about mindfulness as it seems a bit "fluffy" / alternative to me (and I've had no relief in the past from my depression using alternative therapies), but am wondering if someone can convince me otherwise?!

how long does a course typically take? does it just consist of sessions or do you get homework sessions?

any more info, much appreciated!

Roshbegosh Sat 14-Dec-13 05:32:07

Look at www.mind.org they explain it clearly

StarsUponThars Sat 14-Dec-13 06:52:01

I think Hoop meant CBT, but I'm not sure. I had CBT, and found it helped at the time. I'm not sure mine included a lot of mindfulness though.

I've used Take10, a mindfulness app by Andy Puddicomb (sp?). I loved it, and need to get back into it.

I have anxiety and depression btw. It really seemed to help me throughout the day (I know, why on earth did I stop confused).

HoopHopes Sat 14-Dec-13 11:29:33

Hi no I meant DBT - usually a year long course taught in a group for people suffering from BPD. It has 4 modules, one being mindfulness. Homework is set, activities to do ( eg practice mindfulness by putting all stresses on an imaginary leaf and letting it float down the stream). Other units are Interpersonal effectiveness ( as people struggle with that with a bpd diagnosis sometimes), plus 2 more units.

I am sure some private practitioners will just teach mindfulness but in the NHS this is a common way to receive it. Usually a long waiting list for treatment as it is a course and have to wait for others to finish it before it starts again.

StarsUponThars Sat 14-Dec-13 11:42:41

Ah, sorry Hoops smile.

WithanAnotE Thu 19-Dec-13 22:36:06

On mindfulness see
blogs.psychcentral.com/mindfulness/2013/03/what-does-non-judgmental-awareness-really-mean/

Mindfulness is a practice in its own right but can accompany various flavours of therapy e.g. CBT, DBT, psychodynamic etc.

There are loads of books available on Amazon on it and it's relatively easy to follow.

I too like Andy Puddicombe. I found his Headspace app really excellent.
www.getsomeheadspace.com/Andy-Puddicombe.aspx

Hope this helps.

rootypig Thu 19-Dec-13 22:41:51

For some intro reading I recommend Pema Chodron, she is an American Buddhist monk with a beautiful, strange way of writing that gets into your soul somehow. Try Start Where You Are, or When Things Fall Apart, or The Paces That Scare You.

It is not fluffy, believe me!

rootypig Thu 19-Dec-13 22:42:16

*The Places That Scare You

working9while5 Fri 20-Dec-13 12:29:55

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy has been NICE recommended as halving relapse in recurrent depression since 2004 so shouldn't really just be for personality disorders on NHS even if it is used for that.

I have found it helpful but it isn't a miracle cure for painful feelings. You still FEEL down but I suppose functionality is much better which changes the clinical picture.

Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose to our moment to moment experience non-judgementally. Generally those of us with anxiety or depression think a fair bit about the past or the future and rarely think of the present non-judgementally or compassionately. It's sort of the definition of these clinical presentations of distress in some ways. So it's training in defusing these processes and certainly not fluffy. It's the hardest treatment I've ever done and is massively misunderstood even within mh circles. My CPN had a nasty habit of dismissing genuine worries as me needing to practice Mindfulness and many seem to think it's about relaxing but it is about accepting and getting to know yourself and your thinking objectively and without struggle, not getting to some trancelike bovine state of bliss where you experience no pain or distress. It involves a lot of deep inquiry in terms of pain and exploring the pure sensation at the heart of it but thankfully you dictate the pace so I have found it more accessible and less scary than confronting things in other forms of therapy.

ProfondoRosso Fri 20-Dec-13 12:39:30

I have Generalised Anxiety Disorder and really rate mindfulness. I was very suspicious, thinking it would be fluffy and pointless, but it's had big, positive effects on my thought processes and I actually enjoy doing the meditations every day and thinking about the effects they're having.

It's a bit like this: before, I would cry and feel suicidal because I thought 'I'm going to have this condition all my life. I can't deal with that.'

Now, I feel more like: 'I may have this condition all my life, then again I may not. But right now I'm not thinking 10, 20 years in the future, I'm just getting on with now, and that's OK.'

'Taking each day at a time' used to sound horrible to me - a daily struggle, like walking through treacle, wondering when things would change. But now it feels more like I'm present in my own life, not constantly worrying about the future. I'm not 'cured' and I know I could relapse at any time, but I feel it has really, really helped. But I'm learning not to think in black and white terms - cured/sick. All life's a process and there are few absolutes. I use this book:

Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World

FreezingFingers Thu 26-Dec-13 02:40:36

I don't really know if this is mindfulness/DBT technique but during my hospital stay I was having a meeting with the psychologist & started getting very upset at something we were discussing - which would normally have led to me dwelling on it & ruminating & taking it way out of proportion etc etc...
Anyway, he asked if he could try something with me called "Grounding"
He just asked me to describe the colours on the walls, around the room, the texture of the floor etc etc & I swear after about 5 minutes I felt weirdly calm - almost hypnotised shock
The aim is eventually for me to be well enough to do the year long DBT course but as it's a group based therapy that is likely to be a long way off

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