Hello, my name is Linda Bjork.  I’m the founder and executive director of Hope for Healing and my greatest desire is to support and assist you on your journey to happiness and wholeness.

A message to those who are struggling with depression

Hello, my name is Linda Bjork. I’m the founder and executive director of Hope for Healing and I have a personal message for anyone who is struggling with feelings of depression.  

And I share this message with personal and tender feelings because I am a person who struggled with depression for a time.  I have compassion for what you’re going through.  I understand the feelings of despair, helplessness, and hopelessness.  I’m going to share a few things that I hope will be helpful to you as you endure this challenge.  

  • I’m going to share an analogy to help get a visual image to relate to the situation. 
  • I’ll  share some of my personal story.
  • I’m going to share a little about depression and how it affects a person, and
  • I’ll also share some things we can do to overcome depression.

I’ve been there and back again

Just for clarification, I want everyone to understand that nothing that I share with you can be considered medical advice, only a healthcare professional is qualified to do that, but I can share the unique perspective of a person who has been there and come back again.  

A helpful analogy

I want to start with an analogy to give a visual description and some perspective on the challenge that you are facing.  

In The Lord of the Rings movies directed by Peter Jackson and based on the books by  J.R.R. Tolkein, King Theoden lives during perilous times and his people need him and his family needs him, but he is rendered useless for a time because he is under a spell.  He doesn’t care about things that he should be caring about, like the wellbeing of his family or his people.  He can’t think clearly or rationally.  He is trapped until he is freed from the spell by Gandalf  and he becomes his true self again.  

We’re going to liken this story to dealing with depression.  A person dealing with depression is not their true self; it’s like being under a spell that affects thinking and decision making.  

Another example

Another example is in the show Stranger Things where Will Byers is taken over by the Shadow Monster or Mind Flayer.  It’s a similar scenario, where a person is under the influence of a powerful force that makes it so they’re not their true selves.  

I hope you’re familiar with at least one of these examples because they offer a lot of insight into living with depression and the experience of healing from depression.  

Healing is a battle worth winning

In both of these stories, King Theoden’s release and Will’s exorcism, there is a great internal battle before they are free.  Likewise, the process of working through emotional difficulties toward healing can actually feel worse for a period of time than it was when a person was just depressed.  Healing can be a battle.  And even though King Theoden and Will Byers will admit that the battle was hard, they would both agree afterwards it was worth it.  

Healing requires help

Another thing that is interesting to notice is that in both of these cases the person under the dark influence was not able to get out on their own, they needed outside help.  This is also true with healing from depression; I don’t think it’s possible to get out entirely on your own.  Depression diminishes hope and motivation; it attacks your very soul by replacing your thoughts, feelings, and desires with apathy and despair.  We need help and support to get out of depression.

Depending on your situation, that help may come in the form of professional help and medication, or it may come in the form of learning and consistently using emotional wellness techniques or a combination of those things, but in any case we need outside help to keep us motivated and accountable.  It’s just the nature of the beast.  We need help.  For me that help was a mentor who taught me and gave me assignments and held me accountable.  I could not have healed without her help.  

A personal story

So I’ll quickly share my story.  All my life I’ve tried to be happy and optimistic and friendly, I never thought I’d ever have to deal with anything like depression or social anxiety, but life has a way of throwing things at you that you weren’t expecting.  For me, I had a series of life events that flattened me.  Everybody has problems, and you deal with them and go on, but sometimes there are things that just seem beyond our ability to bear, and that’s what happened with me.

I was overcome with grief, sadness, helplessness and hopelessness.  It was as if I had slid into a dark pit that was so deep that no hope or happiness or sunlight could enter.  There were no windows or doors in this deep pit of despair, and I couldn’t see any way out.  Mu situation felt totally and completely hopeless.  I thought that this was my new reality, this was as good as it was going to get, and the best I could do from this point on was to endure in misery for the rest of my life.  

During this time, I could see a beautiful sunset, or hear a child’s laughter and feel absolutely nothing.  Happiness doesn’t come from our circumstances, it comes from within and I was completely empty inside.  This is not just an emotional issue, it occurs on a neurological and molecular level.

Scientific reasons behind feelings of depression

I’ll pause in my narrative for a moment and explain some of the scientific reasons for this.  Depression is complex, but some practitioners classify depression into two broad types:

  • Endogenous (or chemical) depression which is thought to reflect some kind of “chemical imbalance” in the brain.
  • Exogenous (or external) depression which is thought to arise from an external cause like a traumatic life experience, or stress.  Some physicians believe that depression arises from a belief that we’re powerless to solve our problems.

Basically that means depression can start from internal chemical imbalances or external sources like stress, worry, discouragement, etc. or a combination of those.  

Depression affects the chemistry of the brain

In my case, the initial cause was obviously exogenous, or externally caused by unpleasant life events coupled with a belief that I was powerless to solve my problems, but in all cases of depression, including those originally based in external causes, it becomes a chemical issue.  Through MRI scans we have proof that changes in thinking can cause measurable changes in brain chemistry and function. Prolonged sadness and feelings of hopelessness create chemical changes in the brain.

Reward center of the brain

Let me explain that a little further. Our brains have a system of rewards that bring pleasure and help us feel good.  There is a part of the brain that we call the “reward center”, and when we experience something pleasurable, there are neurotransmitters like dopamine which flood our neural pathways in the reward center and that makes us feel good.  Those good feelings are created by a chemical reaction in the brain.  

But our brains are instruments of balance, and we have another system that exerts a restraining force.  This system, called the nociception modulatory system, is a key to how the brain modulates pain. The neurons in this system emit molecules called nociceptin.  Nociceptin suppresses dopamine and shuts it down.  If the brain is producing an abundance of nociceptin it neutralizes feelings of joy and happiness and restrains motivation.  

Depression is not “just in your head”

The bottom line is that there is a valid neurological reason that a depressed person feels the way he or she does.  It’s not just “in their head” or a simple case of needing to “snap out of it.” The problem is not just emotional, it takes place on a neurological and molecular level.

Natural processes can enhance depression

And there’s more.  The natural processes of the brain make depression become progressively worse over time if it is not stopped.  Let me explain. 

There is a network of neurons located in the brain stem called the Reticular Activating System (or RAS) which is the gateway into the brain. All of the sensory information that we encounter first enters through the RAS which determines where to send it.  The Reticular Activating System acts as a filter so we don’t become overwhelmed by an overload of information.

The job of the RAS is very important because it is estimated that the human brain takes in 11 million bits of information every second, but on average we’re only consciously aware of 40 bits of information per second.  So when I say that the RAS filters information, I’m not talking about filtering out a little bit of information, I’m talking about a major filtration process reducing input from 11 million down to 40.  It is the job of the RAS to decide what is important and what can be safely ignored. When the RAS is deficient, such as in cases of autism, ADD, and ADHD, too much information is allowed into the conscious mind and it causes a sensory overload and a difficulty in concentration and ability to focus.  So the job of the RAS is very important to our safety, comfort, and functionality.

What is considered “important”?

However, the next question is, or should be, how does the RAS decide which information is important?  It makes those decisions based on automatic programming that you and I created without even being aware of it.  It is done on a subconscious level and is largely determined by what we focus on.  If we spend a lot of time focusing on a particular thing, then the automatic subconscious programming of the RAS assumes that information must be important.

That’s why when you’re trying to buy a new car and have been researching a particular make and model, all of the sudden you start to notice that car everywhere.  Or if you’re expecting a baby, all of a sudden you see pregnant women everywhere. The truth is that the cars and those expectant mothers were there all along, but the RAS considered that information to be something that was safe to ignore.  However, now that you’re focusing on it, the RAS figures that it must be important so it points them out for you.

How this can make the problem worse

This normal and natural system of the RAS causes some problems when we’re dealing with mental and emotional issues such as depression, anxiety, and low self esteem.  A person who is struggling with depression is often focused on thoughts like: my life is miserable, people would be better off without me, there is no hope, etc.  A person who is struggling with feelings of low self esteem often has circulating thoughts like: I’m not good enough, nobody likes me, I’m a failure, etc.  Because these are the predominant thought patterns, the RAS uses this as the basis for determining what is important.

This means that anything that doesn’t support those negative feelings are filtered out and the only information that enters the conscious are those things that support the depression, anxiety, low self esteem, failure mentality, etc.  This strengthens and builds on the problem by continually adding “evidence” that the feelings of depression or low self esteem are valid, and the situation becomes progressively worse.

Furthermore, to add insult to injury, the feelings associated with depression have been shown to be addictive.  They want to grow and they want to stay and they’re hard to get rid of.

 

The cards are stacked against us

It totally stinks; the cards are stacked against us and it’s really hard.  I know how that feels. I was in a dark place where I could not experience joy and it was awful.  I could only see the negative in life and in myself. I had boatloads of evidence that supported my thoughts that there was no hope, people would be better off without me, and so on.  I was miserable and I couldn’t see any way out. I felt hopeless and powerless and those are not good feelings.  

Putting on a good face

Now, some people hide their depression and some people broadcast it in the hopes of gaining validation or sympathy from the outside.  I was the kind who hid it and I hid it well.  Very few people knew that I was dying on the inside because I made every effort to put on a good face.  I thought that this was my problem to deal with and mine alone.  I didn’t want anybody else to know that I was struggling, I didn’t want anybody else to talk to me about it, I just wanted to be left alone. 

This is a common feeling with depression.  We feel like it’s our problem and everybody else should just mind their own business and leave us alone and that seems perfectly logical.  After all we have the right to do or feel or say whatever we want as long as we’re not hurting anybody else. 

Depression hurts more than the person afflicted

But the problem is that depression does hurt somebody else.  It actually hurts a lot of people. Your depression hurts every person that you live with, it hurts every person that you work with, and it hurts every person that cares about you.  

From the inside, it’s hard to see that, but it’s true.  And that changes things. It’s not just our problem anymore, because there are other people involved.  If you happen to have a loved one who gets mad at you because you didn’t take your medication for example, that is because your attitude and behavior is affecting them.  You may not notice a difference, but they do. If you don’t want to take it for yourself, then at least do it for them. This is not just about us anymore, and we have a greater responsibility to do something about it.

Being “called to the carpet”

I learned that my depression was hurting other people when my husband “called me to the carpet” so to speak.  He made me sit down and listen to him read an article about depression.  He demanded that I admit to it and get help.  He emphasized that couples with a depressed spouse are nine times more likely to divorce and ended with a threat that he had had enough and he was done.  

A wake up call

I hated it.  I hated every second of it.  However, I kind of needed it. He held me accountable for my behavior and awakened me to the possible consequences.  

Now, I did not magically change because he told me off, and I can’t say that’s the best way to do it, but after I escaped the room and had some time to think about what he said, it did have an effect.  For example, I could no longer assume that my problem wasn’t affecting anybody else, because he made it quite clear that it was affecting him and he didn’t like it.  I also had to think about the possible consequences. I could lose my marriage and my family and that was really scary. I realized how serious the consequences might be.  It was a wake up call.   

An invitation

The other thing that acted as a catalyst for change for me was an invitation from my sister.  She is trained as a mentor and life coach. She invited me to attend a women’s retreat that she was hosting.  I remember a phone conversation we had about it.  I expressed some hesitation about attending and she didn’t try to force or guilt me into going.  Instead she said, “You don’t have to come if you don’t want to.  This isn’t about supporting me, it’s about people who want to come and learn how to be happy and get more out of life.  I would never force anybody to come.”  

How can I describe the relief that coursed through my body at being given permission that I didn’t need to go.  I had a choice. That’s what I needed to hear, although I didn’t know it until that moment.

Then she continued, “I’ll be teaching about tools that people can use to increase energy and happiness and how to achieve goals and experience the joy of success.  It’s going to be awesome.  Does that sound like something that you might like?” She had something of value to offer me, something I needed, and she gave me a choice.  

Empowering change

Remember that some physicians believe that depression arises from a belief that we’re powerless to solve our problems.  My sister’s invitation was empowering.  Giving me a choice was empowering.  Offering to teach me what I could do to become happy was empowering.  She didn’t try to take over.  She didn’t try to fix me.  She showed trust and confidence in me.  She believed in me.  She believed that I could do something about my situation and I trusted in her belief until I had enough confidence and success to believe in myself.  

It wasn’t all sunshine and roses.  She also held me accountable in every way and it was a long, painful process, but it worked.  The process consists of a series of small positive action steps done consistently.  

The challenge

Let me explain a little bit about why that works.  I mentioned earlier about the chemistry of the brain and the natural processes of the brain that may cause depression and keep us in depression.  In order to get out of depression we need to successfully do two things: first, we need to alter the chemistry in our bodies and our brains, and second, we need to redirect the focus of the RAS or Reticular Activating System so that it doesn’t filter out all the positive and only allow discouragement, hopelessness, and depression inside.  We need to change that automatic programming of our subconscious so that it allows positivity, happiness, and hope inside.  

We need to successfully do two things to heal from depression and become happy again:

  • first, we need to alter the chemistry in our bodies and our brains, and
  • second, we need to redirect the focus of the RAS or Reticular Activating System to change the programs of our subconscious.

Changing chemistry

Let’s start with the chemistry of the brain.  I already explained that there is a valid, physiological and chemical explanation for feelings of depression.  It’s not just a matter of snapping out of it.  This is why professional help and medication are so beneficial.  But in addition to those options, it’s also possible for a person to create changes in their body chemistry by their actions.  Through MRI scans we have proof that changes in thinking and behavior can cause measurable changes in brain chemistry and function. Let me repeat that, we can do things that alter the chemistry in our brains.  

There’s a whole branch of science called epigenetics dedicated to research on how our attitudes and behaviors can positively or negatively affect our health.  The new findings are great news because it means that we can change many things about the way we are, including our mental and emotional health.  We have more power than you might think and that’s exciting. 

Quick example

I’ll give a quick example.  You can increase confidence and boost mood in just 90 seconds by doing this one simple trick.  Put your chin up, smile (even if you don’t feel like it). Pull your shoulders back, stand straight and tall with your hands relaxed at your sides or on your hips.  Keep both feet pointing forward and keep weight even on both legs. Hold this position for 90 seconds.

Science shows that doing these things will not only make you appear more confident and happy; it actually makes you feel more confident and happy.  Charles Darwin was actually the first to hypothesize that there is a connection between body language and our emotion that goes both ways.  We smile when we feel good, but we also feel good when we smile.

Today that theory is called the facial feedback hypothesis and it has been verified in study after study after study. The physical expressions of our body language influence our emotional experience.

Even if you don’t feel like it, doing the actions will help increase those feelings.  When we smile, even if it’s forced or fake, it stimulates the brain to increase the production of dopamine, which makes you feel good.  When you lift your chin up and pull your shoulders back it stimulates the body to slightly increase the production of testosterone and lower the level of cortisol.  These chemical changes give a boost of confidence and lower stress.  

A sunrise, not a light switch

Our body language, our actions, our words, and our thoughts can affect the chemistry in our body which in turn affects the way that we feel.  Don’t think that it will be easy or that a change will occur overnight. It won’t be like flipping on a lightswitch. It is gradual, like a sunrise, and requires small, consistent, positive action steps. 

I want to offer you hope that things can get better, there is hope for healing.  I started  Hope for Healing to share tools, information, and a plan to help make these positive changes.  We have free information, and free and low cost resources to help make these positive changes that will affect the chemistry in our brains which in turn affects the way that we feel.  There is a way to become happy again.  

 

Beware of obstacles

The change is not easy.  There are several obstacles that we need to overcome.  First of all depression kills motivation.  I remember how frustrating that feeling was.  Here’s something that may help.  

Think of a scale, not the kind of scale that weighs things, but a balancing scale.  On the left side put all the reasons not to do anything. Thoughts and feelings like: I don’t feel like it, I don’t want to, Nothing I do makes a difference anyway, There’s no hope, and all the normal feelings that are associated with depression.  On the right side of the scale put all the reasons to do something about the situation.  A desire to be happy again, a desire to feel like yourself again.  You can include the new information that your situation isn’t just affecting you, but all the people you care about.  If you’re not motivated to do it for yourself, perhaps you can be motivated to do it for them. You can also include the hope that there is someone who understands how you feel, who has been there, and who has successfully done something about it.  It worked for me, not because I am special or lucky, but because the process is based on sound scientific principles. It is reasonable and logical and it works.  

One of the most important aspects of healing and recovering from any mental or emotional issue is the belief that change is possible.  Researchers call this “positive expectancy,” and it figures prominently in whether or not therapy or treatment of any kind is successful.  

In order to do the hard work of changing or healing, we have to believe that change is actually an option.   The good news is that change really is an option.  Healing is possible.

With all of this information laid on your scale, is it balanced or is it tipping to one side?  If it’s tipping, notice which side is it tipping towards. Is it tipping towards doing or not doing?  We don’t need perfection, we only need 51% to begin tipping the scale. When the desire to heal is greater than the desire to stay the same, then healing can begin.  We don’t need perfection, we don’t need 100%, but we do need at least 51%. You can tell if you’ve reached 51% because you will act. You will begin to do something about it.  If you’re not doing something about it, then you can tell that although you may have some desire to heal, your desire to stay the same is still greater.  When the desire to heal is greater than the desire to stay the same, then healing can begin, but not before.  

When the desire to heal is greater than the desire to stay the same, then healing can begin.

Difficult, but not impossible 

Yes doing something when you don’t feel motivated is difficult.  However there is a difference between difficult and impossible.  Yes, it is hard, but you can do hard things.  You’re already doing hard things.  You don’t need motivation. Motivation is optional.  What you need is self-discipline.  Every time you obey yourself by doing what you said you’d do, even if you don’t feel like it, you become stronger.  And as you become stronger, things become easier.  

Even if you don’t feel like it, doing the actions will help increase those positive feelings.  Remember the facial feedback hypothesis, our actions and our body language influence our emotional experience.  It’s nice when the motivation comes first before the action, but if we do the action even when we don’t feel like it, the motivation will naturally grow.   

Because it is hard to do things when we don’t feel motivated, we need the help of other people.  It’s our fight, no one can do it for us, but they can support us, and that support is vital.  For me I had a mentor, my sister, who taught me, gave me assignments, and held me accountable.  Every day I reported to her with a simple text that said, “I did it.”  And because I knew that I had to report to her whether or not I did it, I followed through.  And we repeated that process every day, until I was strong enough to do it on my own.  

Hitting walls

In addition to the challenge of overcoming the obstacle of lack of motivation, there is another challenge that a person trying to heal will have to face.  Remember in the examples of King Theoden and Will Byers, there was a battle before they became free. In fact for a while it was worse than it was when they were just under a spell or the power of a dark influence.  Unfortunately, the same is true for healing from depression.  For a period of time, it will be worse than just being depressed.  You will hit a wall, and it will not be fun.   

I’m going to briefly explain why we hit that wall, how to get through it, and what it was like when I hit it.  

The focus of the RAS

Remember that I explained about the Reticular Activating System or RAS.   It has a job to do and it takes its job seriously. When you are depressed, and the focus is on being miserable, discouraged, and hopeless, then the automatic programming of the RAS figures that these are the things that are important, so it filters out anything that isn’t miserable, hopeless, helpless, discouraging, etc.  Furthermore, when we make a conscious effort to say or do something that is contrary to the current subconscious programming, the subconscious considers this a dangerous threat and sends out a warning that in order to be safe, you need to go back.

When that warning hits, it feels like running into an impenetrable wall, and people naturally give up.  When I was going through this process, I hit that wall immediately and I wanted to give up on day one.  It’s difficult to adequately describe, but it literally felt like I was going to die.  I felt all the emotional and physiological symptoms as if my life was being threatened, and my subconscious warned me that the only safe option was to quit and go back.  It was awful. Indescribably awful. 

Emotional first aid kit to the rescue

Fortunately, I had been warned that this would happen so I knew what to do.  To get through that wall I used one of the tools in my emotional first aid kit.  An emotional first aid kit is a list of simple tools or actions that cause an immediate, although temporary, positive effect, like singing for example, and that’s what I did.  I cranked up one of Shakira’s songs, called Try Anything from the movie Zootopia and sang along.

I’ll quickly explain why singing would help.  Singing has been scientifically proven to lower stress, relieve anxiety, and elevate endorphins which make you feel uplifted and happy.  It helps relax muscle tension and decreases the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the blood stream.  It can also help take your mind off your troubles to boost your mood.  Research shows that our brain waves actually synchronize somewhat with the rhythm of the music which can calm us down or boost our energy and motivation depending on our need and the type of music we’re using.  

In addition to these benefits, scientists have identified a tiny organ in the ear called the sacculus, which responds to the frequencies created by singing.  The response creates an immediate sense of pleasure, regardless of what the singing sounds like so you don’t have to have an amazing voice to feel the positive effects of singing.

Participants in one study showed significant decreases in both anxiety and depression levels after one month of simply adding singing to their daily routine.  Listening to music and singing are powerful tools in our arsenal to fight against depression.  

In my case, when I hit this wall, singing a song through once wasn’t enough, I had to repeat it three times before the feelings of panic that my life was in mortal danger subsided, and I knew I would survive.

Counter intuitive?

The remedy is surprisingly simple, but it takes some courage to follow through.  Remember that I was in a situation where I literally felt like my life was being threatened and that I was going to die and the correct response to those feelings was to sing a song?!  That felt really counter intuitive.

Think about it for a minute, if you’re watching a movie and a monster is chasing somebody, they don’t jump out and sing a song, they hide or run away.  If they sing a song, then the monster will find them and eat them, but if they hide or run away there’s a chance of escape.  The natural response when you’re feeling threatened is to hide or run away.  It takes courage to do something different.  It gets easier when you’ve tried it a few times and know for yourself that it works, but it’s challenging, especially at first.  

Either YOU become stronger or the WALL becomes stronger

Walls are going to happen. It’s not a matter of if, but when.  And there will likely be more than one, but there are ways to push through these walls and keep going.  When you push through, you become stronger, but I need to warn you that if you give up, the walls become stronger.  

If we continue to push through these walls and keep going, then our thoughts and feelings slowly change and the RAS naturally adjusts its programming to allow positive input without fighting or outright rejecting it.

So this fight with our subconscious and our RAS is temporary during a transition period, but it is also inevitable, and this causes many people to give up because they don’t understand what’s happening.  All they know is that there is a warning voice in their head that they’re not safe and so they quit and retreat.

But because you read this article, you have greater knowledge.  Now if you hit a wall you will know what is happening, why it’s happening, and what to do about it

This knowledge empowers us to be able to get past roadblocks that might impede our growth, progress and healing.  You can do this! And I promise that it’s worth it! Both King Theoden and Will Byers would agree, the battle is worth the effort.  

Danger of Self harm

One danger of depression is the threat of self harm.  A person who is depressed often has thoughts that the world would be better off without them.  When I was in my dark place, I had those thoughts a lot. Sometimes talk of suicide is just voicing a thought, sometimes talk of suicide is used to manipulate other people, and sometimes a person means to actually do it.  Any talk of suicide should be taken seriously.  These are not words that should be thrown around lightly.  If you’re feeling suicidal thoughts you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255)  or you can call 911.  

If you call the suicide prevention lifeline, they will have someone who is trained to deal with the situation who can listen and give advice.  

Here’s what happens when you call 911.  It may vary somewhat depending on the laws of the particular state that you’re in, but I understand the protocols are similar in most states.  The police will come and do a welfare check.  If you tell them you feel suicidal or they have reason to believe that you are a danger to yourself, then they take you to a behavioral health facility to be evaluated.  Typically, you can be held for up to 72 hours initially.  During this time, they will keep you under supervision and keep you away from potentially dangerous objects.  This may be extended for 3 or 4 additional days if the symptoms are particularly acute.

If after the evaluation, they decide that you don’t need 24/7 supervision, they’ll likely put you in an outpatient program where you meet with therapists and/or therapy groups on a daily basis.

The state takes a threat to suicide very seriously.   If there is a real danger, then please get the help that you need.  However, simply throwing around words about ending your life or saying that everybody would be better off without you is not acceptable.  It is cruel, hurtful, and manipulative. 

That is not the real you talking, it is the influence of the depression.  It is the Mind Flayer.  When you voice those thoughts and dwell on those thoughts they become stronger.  When you fight those thoughts by changing the subject or using your emotional first aid kit, the thoughts become weaker and you, the real you, becomes stronger.  

An invitation to heal

I am offering you an invitation to heal.  Come on in, the water is fine.  I’ve already tried it.  Remember that when I was in my dark place it was as if I had slid into a dark pit that was so deep that no hope or happiness or sunlight could enter.  There were no windows or doors in this deep pit of despair, and I couldn’t see any way out.  It felt totally and completely hopeless. 

I thought that this was my new reality, this was as good as it was going to get, and the best I could do from this point on was to endure in misery for the rest of my life. 

I would still be in that dark place today if my sister hadn’t offered me a ladder to climb out of that hole.  She saved me.  I still had to do the work, but she taught me what to do, she gave me hope that I could do something that would make a difference, and she held me accountable.  

I am offering you a ladder to climb out of the darkness.  You will still have to do the work, but I can teach you what to do.  

Remember we need to successfully do two things to heal from depression and become happy again.  First we need to alter the chemistry in our bodies and our brains, and second we need to redirect the focus of the RAS to change the programs of our subconscious.  Depending on the situation, medication and professional help may be necessary to correct chemical imbalances, but in addition to these valuable resources there are also things we can do to alter the chemistry in our brains. 

The change will not be like flipping on a light switch, it is gradual like a sunrise.  The key to achieving a hopeful sunrise is consistency.  We have a plan for that.  The Hope for Healing program consists of organizing simple emotional wellness tools into an effective progressive schedule that includes a short morning routine, a simple daily task, and a short evening routine.  Following this simple program consistently brings about significant changes in the way a person thinks and feels.

Remember that there will be walls trying to block the path, but there’s a way to get through them by using the tools in the emotional first aid kit.  If a person knows what is happening, why it’s happening and what to do about it, the walls become hurdles to overcome rather than prison bars.  

Following this process changed my life.  It brought back my happiness and allowed me to become myself again.  I did not heal because I am special or lucky, but because I followed a program based on sound scientific principles.  This plan is a ladder to climb out of darkness and despair into the light.  I invite you to climb the ladder.

I invite you to learn more about how you can become happy again.  I invite you to engage in the battle for control over yourself.  You and your happiness are worth fighting for.  

Best wishes,

Linda Bjork

Click here to learn more about the Hope for Healing Program.

Hope for Healing Program

We empower people to upgrade the way that they think and feel.

The Hope for Healing Program is a simple, easy-to-follow system that can alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety; build confidence and self-esteem; and heal relatioships.  

Pathway to Happiness

Pathway to Happiness is a free ebook designed to give people tools that they can use to retrain their minds to accept the truth that all human souls have value and deserve love.  You are enough.  You are enough right now as you are today.  If you don’t currently believe that truth, then let’s do something about it.

Help for depression

One of the most important aspects of healing and recovering is the belief that change is possible. Researchers call this “positive expectancy.”  

Healing and change are possible.  I know it because I have experienced it.  Let me show you how.

30 Days to Alleviate Depression

Backed by science.  Verified by experience.  30 Days to Alleviate Depression can change your life!  Easy, step by step coaching guides you through each day explaining not only what to do, but why it works. Happiness is just around the corner.

Emotional First Aid Kit

An emotional first aid kit can provide an immediate, although temporary, positive effect on the way we think and feel.  Having an emotional first aid kit readily available can help people who are struggling with symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, low self esteem, or other mental and emotional issues.  

Help us spread the word

There are so many people in the world who are in need of hope and healing.  Please help us spread the word by sharing links and articles on social media.  Also sign up on our mailing list or add this page to your bookmark bar.  Thanks for making the world a better place!

Check out our blog for more great articles like the ones below…

Alleviate Depression in 30 Days

Alleviate Depression in 30 Days

Backed by science. Verified by experience. "30 Days to Alleviate Depression" can change your life! Rekindle hope, joy and vitality in just 30 days. Easy, step by step coaching guides you through each day explaining not only what to do, but why it works. Happiness is...

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With teen mental health deteriorating over five years, there's a likely culprit pimchawee Jean Twenge, San Diego State University Around 2012, something started going wrong in the lives of teens. In just the five years between 2010 and 2015, the number of U.S. teens...

depression help

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