“Depression is not your friend…or your enemy.”
Responding To Vegan Hate (with love)
In the first part of our episode on the Finding My Psych Podcast, I respond to a series of comments left for our production team. A listener had spent some time looking around our site and discovered that we promote plant-based living with an emphasis on wellness (vs. ethics). The listener expressed anger that none of the folks on our team are ‘actually’ vegans.
In response, I describe my own plant-based living journey, while explaining why the Finding My Psych team promotes the lifestyle. I go on to provide evidence by cardiologist, Dr. Dean Ornish and his holistic approach for reversing arterial sclerosis – Ornish promotes a plant-based diet as part of a comprehensive long-term intervention for heart disease.
I wrap-up this segment by describing the judgement and rejection that I have experienced from the vegan community, when my efforts to maintain the lifestyle were less than perfect. In the end, I firmly believe that modern day vegan identity politics is the primary contributor to the problem. I further assert that vegan living has morphed into a lifestyle for the elite, unattainable for those that need it most.
Identity politics is destroying the reputation of vegans. The label is tarnished.
The CHANGES Model Elements (Conquering Depression)
In the second segment of the show, we review the CHANGES elements from the introductory episode, “FMP 009 • Reversing Clinical Depression with the CHANGES Model (Part I).” As a reminder, the elements are as follows:
- C – ognitions – An overarching pattern of thoughts, often expressed as cognitive distortions.
- H – ealth – Physiological outcomes and/or complications (diabetes).
- A – ctions – Direct behaviours contributing to the targeted problem.
- eN – vironment – Your physical surroundings.
- G – oals – The types of goals you set, being long-term or short-term.
- E – motions – The feedback you feel.
- S – ocial Environment – The social circumstances either working for or against your identified problem.
CHANGES and Ed – A Case Study
For today’s example on conquering depression, in order to illustrate the efficacy of the CHANGES model, we discuss the case of Ed, a middle aged man who suffers from Major Depression (Severe, Recurrent). Ed experiences a typical insidious onset that cycles about once every two months. Ed has taken time away from work, through short-term disability benefits, to get a handle on his most recent depressive episode.
The CHANGES Model Current State Map
Once you have understand the various elements of the CHANGES model, you now must map the current state of your problem:
- C – ognitions — Cognitive Distortion: All or Nothing Thinking (Dr. David Burns, and “Feeling Good”)
- H – ealth — Significant weight gain since taking time off of work.
- A – ctions — Stopped taking long photo taking walks recently, an activity that Ed really enjoys.
- eN – vironment — Ed’s house is excessively clean — He states, “It’s the only thing I can control.”
- G – oals — Ed does not set short-term goals. “When I think about goals, I feel like a failure. I want to return to work, but why bother.”
- E – motions — Ed feels a deep sense of isolation and despair during the worst part of a depressive episode.
- S – ocial Environment — A negative friend who loves to see Ed’s pain. After she visits, Ed is left feeling alone and empty.
The CHANGES Model Solutions Map (Personalized Treatment Plan)
- C – ognitions — Use the Triple Column Technique to identify, target, and replace cognitive distortions.
- H – ealth — Map your calories and BMR as a baseline for weight.
- A – ctions — Walk Around the block with no clear goal to go on a photo excursion. Start small!
- eN – vironment — It’s okay to want to control your physical environment. Keep this item status quo.
- G – oals— Set one wellness goal: Walk around the block. Do it once, then set a goal to do it three days in a row.
- E – motions — Use a mood log with a numerical rating system. Keep a detailed record, inputing entries once time a day.
- S – ocial Environment — It is better to have no friends at all, than a friend who feeds the beast. Join a depression support group instead.
Conquering Depression – Final Comments
The biopsychosocial approach offered by the CHANGES model creates a path towards decreased depressive symptoms. We strongly advise that you work with a mental health professional that you feel a personal connection with. As suggested above, ask your therapist about groups that you can attend. You will have an opportunity to make a few meaningful connections with other experiencing the same struggle.
Looking for other self-help oriented tips for coping with depression? Check-out our article, “25 Easy to Follow Tips for Battling Clinical Depression.” Stay tuned as we will be expanding our list soon!