Complete the Submissive Activities Inventory (APPENDIX A). This inventory asks you to list all of your thoughts, behaviors, activities, etc. that you believe to be negative. Examples are: “thinking about being depressed”; “feeling insecure about my job, family, skills, abilities, etc.”; “feeling guilty about_____ “; “being unhappy about_____ “.
Be as specific as you can in your answers. Remember that these are the issues that are triggering the depression response in your brain. These are the negative things that we do and the negative ways we think that must be replaced with more “dominant” patterns of thought and behavior.
Complete the Dominant Activities Inventory (APPENDIX B). This inventory asks you to list three things that you value most in each of six categories. Your answers to these questions represent the dominant side of your personality. These positive thoughts and behaviors must begin to replace the negative thoughts and behaviors from the Submissive Activities Inventory. Your objective is to actively pursue the interests that you list here and to pursue them as often as possible.
This is your primary objective in Personalized Depression Therapy. The result will be a reduction in depression.
Obviously, you probably have more than three favorite interests in several of these six areas. I’m not suggesting that you limit your “dominant” activities just to the things that you list on the inventory. Instead, the purpose is to insure that you create a “well-rounded” personality profile for yourself. The more well- rounded your activities are, the less likely you are to suffer major depressive episodes. But, if you like to do some things more than others, that’s fine. The main point is to DO things that represent dominant behaviors for YOU. And to do them often.
Get a small pocket-sized notebook that you can carry around with you. Take very brief notes on both your dominant and submissive behaviors and thoughts for each day, and the time spent in each. (For example: “Feb. 15, 8-10 AM spent thinking about being depressed”; “1-2:30 PM spent playing tennis”; etc.)
At the end of the day, look at what you wrote down and categorize all of your thoughts and behaviors as either “dominant” or “submissive”.
This can be a time-consuming task, and some persons in the PDT program give up after a few days. However, it is important that you keep going. Successfully reducing your depression depends on it.
Each day, add up the total number of hours spent on dominant behaviors and the total number of hours spent on submissive behaviors. Enter this information on your monthly Dominant and Submissive Activities Monthly Tracking Chart . A sample of how to fill-out this chart is also shown in APPENDIX C.
Notice that the chart lets you track up to 17 hours each day of dominant and/or submissive activities. It assumes that you will sleep on average about 7 hours per day. There is no need to track more than 17 hours each day, even if you have more. You are provided with 12 blank charts in APPENDIX D.
At the end of each day, enter an overall rating for your feelings of depression for that day on the Depression Monthly Tracking Chart. A sample of how to fill out this chart can also be found in APPENDIX E. Again, there are 12 blank charts for you to use in APPENDIX F.
Continue this process for at least six to eight weeks. At the end of this time, you should be able to look at your two charts and see: 1) downward trends for depression and submissive activities, and 2) an upward trend for dominant activities. Maximum benefit occurs at four to six months. Ideally, continue your tracking activity for one year.
Also, start to replace the word “depression” in your inner dialogues with yourself with the word “dominance”. This has proven to be a very successful component of PDT. So, instead of saying to yourself something like, “I just feel unbelievably depressed today,” replace it with: “By doing something today that I like, it’s going to help trigger my dominance response.”
The point of such an inner dialogue is that, even when you have feelings of depression, you’re helping to break the association between the physical sensation of depression and the word “depression”. This association is extremely strong in all severely depressed persons. And it’s something that needs to be “unlearned”.