Beast (noun) 3: something formidably difficult to control or deal withMerriam-Webster Dictionary
Depression takes many forms. Some people refer to their depression as part of their identity. Others express their depression as another side of them, while others express depression as a separate entity from themselves. The “Overcoming Depression” guide’s use of the metaphor BEAST resonates with me. I believe depression way be one of the most formidable beasts that many can and will conquer. “Overcoming Depression” also uses the mnemonic BEAST to explain the ways in which victory can be won against depression… Brilliant. In this entry we will introduce the components of the BEAST. In later entries, we will dive deeper into the BEAST metaphor. Before diving in, check out the prior post about Depression.
B is for Body
As mentioned in the previous blog entry, there are components of depression that we are both born with and acquire through ailments, lifestyle, and the various things we put into our bodies. In addition to our lifestyles affecting our mood, our mood also affects our lifestyle. It is believed that recognizing the bodily signs of depression could be invaluable to making small changes towards an improved mood.
E is for Emotion
Depressed mood is the cornerstone of depression. Although some people cannot identify the cause of their low mood, there is often a series of thoughts, feelings, actions, and events that are the crux of periods of worsening mood. Identifying these precipitants is key. Another key skill for this component is identifying the difference between thoughts and feelings.
A is for Action
Fighting depression is hard work. This work could manifest as being intentional about self care, relaxation, and getting things done despite a lack of desire to do so.
S is for Situation
For many, depression is situational. Calling out these situations and planning ahead for known depression-worsening events is invaluable.
T is for Thoughts
We are often our own worst enemies. The negative thoughts we hold against ourselves act as shackles that make depression inevitable. Challenging negative and maladaptive thoughts is key to recovery.
Before the next blog entry, I encourage you to look over the brief descriptions of the BEAST metaphor and reflect on which components are either a strength or weakness for you. As we introduce more skills I encourage you to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses regularly. As these strengths and weaknesses evolve, I hope you find that being conscious about your strengths and weakness forces you to view depression as something that can be managed.
The skills in this blog post were adapted from Gilson, M., & Freeman, A. (2009). Overcoming Depression: A Cognitive Therapy Approach Therapist Guide. Oxford University Press, USA. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=biqG28mZFYIC