Melissa Miles’ Therapy FAQ

Image: Miranda by Frank Dicksee

Image: Miranda by Frank Dicksee

by Melissa Miles


So many people have asked me questions about therapy and there is so little information out there on the web that I decided to write this Therapy FAQ. Its purpose is to help people who are not yet in therapy but would like to try it out. People who have been in therapy are welcome to challenge anything I write or send me your own inputs for appending this FAQ–send this to

My Background

You might be wondering why I think I am qualified to write this FAQ. Since my point in writing this is to answer questions I have been asked more than once, I have familiarity with what people want to know before they go into therapy. The most important qualification is the fact that I have been in therapy for over a year, with two different types of therapists (male and female), so I have asked all of these questions also. I also am an aspiring clinical psychologist who has taken many psychology courses–the most applicable course I have taken was a course called Internship in Psychology in which we covered many of the technical aspects that go along with being and choosing a therapist. Continue reading

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**Famous People**
– Who
are some famous people who suffer from depression and bipolar

**Internet Resources**
– What are some
electronic resources on the internet related to

**Anonymous Posting**
– How can I post anonymously to

– Sources

– Contributors

Famous People

Q. Who are some famous people who suffer from
depression and bipolar

This list represents a
few of the famous people included in a list posted to a.s.d. on a
periodic basis. Much of it is taken from the book by Kay Redfield
Jamison, “Touched With Fire; Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic
Temperament.” The Free Press (Macmillan), New York, 1993. Used without
permission, but with intent to educate, and not for profit. Please send
updates (or additions) to

is meant to be an illustrative rather than a comprehensive list… Most
of the writers, composers, and artists are American, British, European,
Irish, or Russian; all are deceased… Many if not most of these
writers, artists, and composers had other major problems as well, such
as medical illnesses, alcoholism or drug addiction, or exceptionally
difficult life circumstances. Continue reading

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**Self-care** (cont.)
– How can I help myself get through depression on a day-to-day basis?

– What are some books about depression?

Self-care (cont.)

Q. How can I help myself get through depression on a day-to-day basis?

On a day-to-day basis, separate from, or concurrently with therapy or
medication, we all have our own methods for getting through the worst
times as best we can. The following comments and ideas on what to do
during depression were solicited from people in the newsgroup. Sometimes these things work,
sometimes they don’t. Just keep trying them until you find some
techniques that work for you.

* Write. Keep a journal. Somehow writing everything down helps keep
the misery from running around in circles.

* Listen to your favorite “help” songs (a bunch of songs that have
strong positive meaning for you)

* Read (anything and everything) Go to the library and check out
fiction you’ve wanted to read for a long time; books about
depression, spirituality, morality; biographies about people who
suffered from depression but still did well with their lives
(Winston Churchill and Martin Luther, to name two;).

* Sleep for a while

* Even when busy, remember to sleep. Notice if what you do before
sleeping changes how you sleep.

* If you might be a danger to yourself, don’t be alone. Find people.
If that is not practical, call them up on the phone. If there is no
one you feel you can call, suicide hotlines can be helpful, even if
you’re not quite that badly off yet.

* Hug someone or have someone hug you.

* Remember to eat. Notice if eating certain things (e.g. sugar or
coffee) changes how you feel.

* Make yourself a fancy dinner, maybe invite someone over.
Continue reading

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**Medication** (cont.)
– If an antidepressant has produced a partial response, but has not fully eliminated depression, what can be done about it?

**Electroconvulsive Therapy**
– What is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and when is it used?
– Exactly what happens when someone gets ECT?
– How do individuals who have had ECT feel about having had the treatments?
– How long do the beneficial effects of ECT last?
– Is it true that ECT causes brain damage?
– Why is there so much controversy about ECT?

**Substance Abuse**
– May I drink alcohol while taking antidepressants?
– If I plan to drink alcohol while on medication, what precautions should I take?
– What's the relationship between depression and recovery from substance abuse?
– What does the term "dual-diagnosis" mean?
– Is it safe for a person recovering from substance abuse to take drugs?
– How do you know when depression is severe enough that help should be sought?

**Getting Help**
-Where should a person go for help?
-Where can I find help in the United Kingdom?
-Where can I find out about support groups for depression?
-How can family and friends help the depressed person?

**Choosing A Doctor**
-What should you look for in a doctor? How can you tell if he/she really understands depression?

– How may I measure the effects my treatment is having on my depression? Continue reading

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Here you will find the FAQ from the newsgroup. I have made no changes other than formatting. As you can see, the FAQ has not been updated since 1994, therefore some of the information, especially regarding antidepressants available, is somewhat out of date. However, this does not greatly diminish its usefulness.

Archive-name: alt-support-depression/faq/part1
Posting-Frequency: bi-weekly
Last-modified: 1994/08/07 FAQ
———— is a newsgroup for people who suffer from all forms of depression as well as others who may want to learn more about these disorders. Much the information shared in this newsgroup comes from posters’ experience as well as contributions by professionals in many fields. The thoughts expressed here are for the benefit of the readers of this group. Please be considerate in the way you use the information from this group, keeping in mind the stigma of depression still experienced in society today.

The following Frequently-Asked-Questions (FAQ) attempts to impart an understanding of depression including its causes; its symptoms; its medication and treatments–including professional treatments as well as things you can do to help yourself. In addition, information on where to get help, books to read, a list of famous people who suffer from depression, internet resources, instructions for posting anonymously, and a list of the many contributors is included. Continue reading