First of all, I’m not a doctor or therapist. I just have spent most of my life learning from them, to undo the effects of major depression that I’ve had from childhood. If you suffer from depression, first talk to your medical professional to see what approach is best for you. That is what I’ve done, but I add to what I’ve learned by trying a few other things on my own. Don’t do anything to yourself that is potentially self-injurious, it pays to research any new technique or approach thoroughly, just to be safe. Whatever works for me may not work for you, we all have our own ways of responding to different treatments. I just know that not all my recovery has come from what was learned at the doctor’s office. Being exceptionally strong-willed, my mission has mainly been to boost self-esteem, and fight those inner feelings of sadness that never go away (effects of depression.) Here are some ways that have helped me live a productive and successful life, despite mental challenges.
Six months ago, it was necessary for me to go for physical therapy for a slipped disk in my back. The therapist hooked me up to a small machine called a TENS unit, for one of my treatments. They put small, non-invasive sticky circles (electrodes) on the part of my body needing therapy and then turned the machine on. It felt really good, sort of like a massage. Depending upon how the therapist adjusted the dials, the machine would make knocking or pinging sensations on my back. There are also knobs to adjust the intensity of each sensation. After researching the TENS unit on the internet, I ordered a small one, about the size of a deck of playing cards.
According to what I read about them, TENS machines are not only good for distracting your body into feeling good sensations rather than pain, but they can make your body produce endorphins, or feel-good chemicals, too. This intrigued me, since having depression, I’ll take all the feel-good anything I can get (as long as it is both moral and legal.) So, I set up to test this on myself and see if there was any merit to the theory. After years of taking various anti-depressants, some work more than others but none completely take away depression, in my experience. Not being a scientist or doctor, I read up on everything about the TENS machine. There are rules that come along with the machine, like not putting the electrodes on the head, neck or the heart areas. Make sure to follow all of them thoroughly. People with pacemakers should not use TENS units, because it can interfere with the way they work. As with medicines, ask your doctor before using one.
By placing the electrodes along my spine, and setting the TENS settings to the recommended low frequency (pulse) levels. You want low muscle contraction, and to use the TENS for approximately 20 to 40 minutes. If you set it for higher muscle contractions, your muscles may ache later, so I rely on what the experts say, to use it at low settings. For more detailed information, I found these sites helpful:
Using the TENS unit has helped my overall mood, it seems, as after using it, my demeanor is calm and relaxed. Though I don’t know if this is due to the machine itself or not, but I believe that using it has helped me. Combined with other treatments, this TENS therapy is assisting me (along with other techniques for reducing depression) in making a more enjoyable life. Go ahead and research TENS units online, and see if this is something suitable for you. In my point of view, it is a viable way to help combat depression.