Depression, dancing and meds

Hi I'm curious, I have major depression (some think a bit bi-polar - me too) what I'm wondering is do you find the combo of dance and meds more helpful than meds and talk therapy. I'm on effexor...(nasty stuff) it does work but, some times it seems that the med makes me have less heat tolerance I do take lots of water before class and talked it over with my teacher and have found the cool spot in the studio. but i was wondering what other experiences others have had. One thing dancing helps tremendously... even on days when my husband has to practically drag out of the curled up ball and off to dance class. thanks Creaks
 

alosha

New member
I think anything that gets you up and moving is a great help for depression. I know when I was doing therapy, it wasn't the SAME help as dancing was. But, I don't think that one can combat depression on their own. You need a professional to help give you the tools to heal yourself.
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
I've dealt with major depressive episodes for about forty years, currently live my life on Cymbalta and go in to see my long time counselor every two months just to check my attitude. :D Talking therapy was and is very helpful to me, and exercise always kicks the old endophins in if I can get myself off my tochas in the first place. Why chose one or the other when you can have both?

Hang in there, honey, lots of us have been where you are and learned to live pretty good lives in spite of it. Hugs from me, too.
 

adiemus

New member
A combination of Effexor, cognitive behavioural therapy, a GREAT psychologist, time and living WELL have helped me live with longterm depression since I was first diagnosed in my 20's. I probably had dysthymia when I was a kid...
Dance has always helped, so does relaxation, setting limits on myself and others...
Effexor does increase perspiration, I find I need to wear good deodorant, but still get overheated - of course menopause adds to the wee tropical holidays I encounter! but I also use a paper fan (actually a Japanese fan!), and wear fewer clothes!

Living with low mood is hard work, but I have learned to accept it as part of who I am now... a bit like accepting that I'm never going to be tall, and my hair is curly!!
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/conditions/mental_health/disorders_bipolar.shtm

Understanding your illness and how to recognise it is important but the illness can vary so much from person to person it is often difficult to identify.

I have two people in my work who are in their teens who both have bi-polar but are both completely different from each other.

One has a downer on the world and himself and only small peaks, and the other is so severe he has been sectioned under the mental health act 3 times.
He can see things happening and it is all aimed at him, which nobody else can see or feel and often feel perplexed.

Sadly it is all real to him.

It is important to get help from people who know what they are doing and understand the best way forward for you.
 

Kharis

New member
Hi I'm curious, I have major depression (some think a bit bi-polar - me too) what I'm wondering is do you find the combo of dance and meds more helpful than meds and talk therapy. I'm on effexor...(nasty stuff) it does work but, some times it seems that the med makes me have less heat tolerance I do take lots of water before class and talked it over with my teacher and have found the cool spot in the studio. but i was wondering what other experiences others have had. One thing dancing helps tremendously... even on days when my husband has to practically drag out of the curled up ball and off to dance class. thanks Creaks
I don't suffer from depression generally, but I have lived with someone who has, and it was very hard work. I can only say keep active even though you feel like digging a hole and disappearing into the Black Place.

I've had many women over the years tell me that dancing has been a life saver for them with regards to their depression.
 
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khanjar

New member
I have been on citalopram for a few years now that and the talk therapy monthly, but what was missing, was exercise. Starting to learn BD has provided that exercise, but it does'nt only do that, for it inspires a belief in the self too, something meds and chat can't do. Music before was just music, now music is something very different, as music offers much more than food for the soul. But, something for me, learning BD has also woken up my other interests that though aside from BD, they work with it.

But, it is after all this time, it is the attitude that limits us, drugs lessen the impact, talk, well, sometimes it is good to talk, but dance, yeah, that really is a breath of fresh air and hope.
 
depression, dancing and meds

Thank you all so much for your support and kind words - they help too. For me the diagnosis was the starting point. talk therapy not so much... it helped but - after a number of therapists... none of them really could understand the artist side of me... what was depression and what was taking an artistic idea to the max. Also none of them could convince me that the meds would not mess up my creativity. The one who did was my g.p. he said that it wouldn't and it was just to balance out things. I think dance helps because it's not just an exercise it engages the mind and the emotions. Besides dance what helps when I got brave enough to tell my closest circle of friends that I had a problem. So now i have a network. I know I always babble about my husband, David, but he is the one who helped me to talk to people about it, and take the meds... with his basic sensible logic. i.e. "So it's in a way like diabetes, the meds don't cure it but balance it, and just because my grandfather had diabetes it didn't mean I loved him less. Also david can see me wilt before it becomes a dive.
I'm glad you mentioned the perspiration thing, Adiemus, i was suspecting that.
Again thank you all... Creaks
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
I am both artist and writer. The meds made it possible for me to pursue my creativity instead of curling up in bed crying most of the day or feeling like life is one long gloomy event. One of the most harmful urban myths in our society is that depression and insanity are somehow unassailably linked to creativity, and that you can't have one without the other. That is utter nonsense. If you are both creative and depressed, you wil probably have to learn some new methods of creativity as you creep along toward mental health, but it is well worth the effort. Creative and emotionally balanced is in the long run so much more productive and pleasant than creative and suicidal. Not as dramatic, I admit, but in my experience, much, much better.
 
depression, dancing and meds

You are right... the meds don't interfer with the creativity. What was worrying about first taking meds was no one would answer my questions. Depression meds aren't happy pills, or sedatetive ect. What I've found is I can usually tell the difference between going manic with an idea or just getting enthused with it. There is a suble difference - just as depression isn't about being sad. Unfortunately many doctors don't know how to explain this nor do pharmacuetical companies know how to package drugs (going o.t.) the generic effexor is in a package that is labeled child proof - but it is a two step sort of thing first you peel back the cardboard, then the foil...which doesn't peel cleanly. If I was in the middle of a depression I wouldn't be able to do it... just too frustrating. Which seems to be the example of how little understanding there is still out there about depression even though you can buy a dummies handbook on depression. I'm glad we have this forum to talk about such things.
 

adiemus

New member
I can personally attest to the value of using medication - and that it doesn't reduce my creativity but actually enhances it and allows me to express it more.
BTW there is good evidence that daily exercise is one of the most effective ways to reduce depressive symptoms - its now being used instead of medication for people with up to moderate depression in our mental health service - a much healthier option than taking meds for a whole life. Mind you I wouldn't be here to day without medication, and I won't be stopping any time soon. After pretty much 20 years on meds with several attempts to reduce, I am healthier on 'em than off.

Of all the meds, effexor has been the best for me, and I've been on pretty much every other SSRI and tricyclic plus combinations of other meds. I've found that apart from the perspiring it hasn't had any weight gain, nausea, headache or other side effects, and I can feel the whole range of emotions. Other SSRI's have been OK but I've had relapses on them, while I've been taking this now for four years and feeling really good. It's always a combination of meds + living WELL that does it though. Eating well, exercising, relaxation, being with others, having time out, being creative, being focused - all of these make for a good life. Depression is a combination of neurochemical change + thoughts and beliefs that alter emotions. We're probably genetically predisposed to develop it given the right set of circumstances, so while we can't change our genes, we can change our response to genes and circumstances.
I value my depression in a way, it gives me empathy, sensitivity, it's a great warning sign to be kind to myself and set limits on others, and it has opened me up to knowing that I am valuable and lovable even when I'm unwell. It's who I am rather than what I do that is important. Depression has helped me with that - or rather, the conversations I've had with therapists and others while I've worked on accepting who I am and why I respond the way I do.
Depression is a common health problem - but it's nothing to be ashamed of. It's like diabetes, chronic pain and heart problems - we learn to live alongside it rather than trying to BEAT it, and then it shuffles off and stays quiet. if we try to BEAT it up it only seems to make it worse - so when it tries to take over I give it a couple of days space, take it quietly, do some exercise and eat well and relax, and it tends to go away much more quickly than when I ever tried to pretend it wasn't there, or try to psych myself out of it.
(((hugs))) to all the wonderful women out there who have mood problems, we're all pretty awesome you know!
 

khanjar

New member
The only thing which might limit creativity, is motivation and it's brother procrastination, often motivation is there, but also there is procrastination, the desire to do something creative, followed by the limiting, 'oh, I will do it later, or after this ''etc. I have learned that when the desire comes, do it, and do it now, not when I feel like it, as the excuse of feeling like it, is the procrastination, the little devil over the shoulder whispering in the ear.

Depression though, sometimes I feel it is something we do, to stop us, or slow us down to examine what we are and where we are going. My depression yuckky though it is, has helped me see a better direction, totally different from the direction I was going. It has not only helped in my existing creative expression, but has made me realise others that lingered on the edge of my interest, BD being one of them.
 

shiradotnet

Well-known member
Also none of them could convince me that the meds would not mess up my creativity.
I don't know a lot about depression, but I can tell you what a close friend reported regarding the effect of meds on his creativity. He's both a playwright and a music composer.

He found that different medications affected his creative process in different ways. He found that the types of story lines he felt drawn to write were different from one med to another, and he found that the types of music he felt drawn to compose varied from one med to another. But he ALWAYS was still able to produce his art.

He told me that he didn't mind the influence the medications had on the type of work he created. He embraced it as an opportunity to create a style of work that he previously had not been able to create. And when a change in medication caused a change in the type of material he created, he just embraced that as another opportunity to try something new and different.

Today, I don't think he's on meds any more. He was able to achieve a balance in his life that allows him to maintain equilibrium without medication. He remembers what his mental state was like while using the meds, and has some remaining ability to use his memory of that state to create works in the style he created back then. So in some ways, the medications unlocked artistic potential that lay within him, allowing him to explore creative options that he otherwise would have probably never been able to tap into.

That's a long way of saying that you may find that the meds influence your creativity, but try viewing it as an opportunity to explore sides of your potential that you might not otherwise have thought to do.
 

Hypnos

New member
I'm Bi Polar and have been for a very, VERY long time, my girlfriend and best mate occasionally have to stop me from throwing/giving ALL of my possessions away because I want to sit in an empty room for the rest of my life LOL! I'm so glad I have those two or I would have given away £500 in music equipment *facepalm*

I've elected to not take meds, I've managed to work through a lot of my issues by myself due to some pretty bad run ins with mental health professionals.

I have a complicated situation regarding activities I enjoy and my depressive episodes because whilst they do stop me from sitting in an empty room by myself making myself feel worse, I also think that I'm so bad at them that it's pointless me even attempting them because I will just fail and make myself look like a massive idiot. during depressive episodes I live in the full belief that everything I have ever done has been awful and that I'm a failure.
Those episodes are becoming a lot less frequent though compared to how I was 2 years ago.

So, in my experience, I don't know if dance helps me because it all depends on whether I'm depressive, manic or stable at the time.
 

maria_harlequin

New member
I am both artist and writer. The meds made it possible for me to pursue my creativity instead of curling up in bed crying most of the day or feeling like life is one long gloomy event. One of the most harmful urban myths in our society is that depression and insanity are somehow unassailably linked to creativity, and that you can't have one without the other. That is utter nonsense. If you are both creative and depressed, you wil probably have to learn some new methods of creativity as you creep along toward mental health, but it is well worth the effort. Creative and emotionally balanced is in the long run so much more productive and pleasant than creative and suicidal. Not as dramatic, I admit, but in my experience, much, much better.
Hear, hear!! :D I want to clunk my head on a table when an artist is asked, "Why are you an artist?" And they answer, "Because I have a lot of pain." Sorry if I sound harsh, but these are usually the guys making Jackson Pollock style paintings. Where's the creativity and art in that? Give me Stephanie Law or Michael Angelo any day...
 
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maria_harlequin

New member
I've never been clinically depressed but I have gone through moments in my life where I felt like I was crawling into a black hole...and I've found out that dance has helped me so much. I think there's no better cure for the blues than a bunch of hard Suhaila drills that leaves you sweating and in pain at the end of the hour followed by another hour of plain dancing. It gives me such a high afterwards.
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
awwww, maaaaaan...

I have been on citalopram for a few years now that and the talk therapy monthly, but what was missing, was exercise. Starting to learn BD has provided that exercise, but it does'nt only do that, for it inspires a belief in the self too, something meds and chat can't do. Music before was just music, now music is something very different, as music offers much more than food for the soul. But, something for me, learning BD has also woken up my other interests that though aside from BD, they work with it.

But, it is after all this time, it is the attitude that limits us, drugs lessen the impact, talk, well, sometimes it is good to talk, but dance, yeah, that really is a breath of fresh air and hope.
Awww, I can't rep you, khanjar. :( *hugs and chocolate cake reps you*

I love what you said about how dance and music can do more for you than meds (and even sometimes chat). It's been that way for me. Music and dance resonates deeply in a way that other things don't.
 

adiemus

New member
Farasha, dance and music can do more for some than meds/psychotherapy - but at the same time, for some of us meds are essential (along with the psychotherapy)...
Everything that we do to cope with mood problems have good and not so good aspects - but at least the worst bellydance can do is elicit an addiction to veils, bedlah and sequins!!
 

alosha

New member
Farasha, dance and music can do more for some than meds/psychotherapy - but at the same time, for some of us meds are essential (along with the psychotherapy)...
Everything that we do to cope with mood problems have good and not so good aspects - but at least the worst bellydance can do is elicit an addiction to veils, bedlah and sequins!!
...and I can think of FAR worse addictions... :lol:
 
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