Depression and the Method of Loci

Yesterday, one of the tweeters I follow directed me to an article that talks about a new form of therapy for depression sufferers. As I suffer from extreme depression and anxiety, I knew it was worth a read.

The Method of Loci
                                     Recently, psychological scientists in the UK have been exploring the idea
                                     of using the Method of Loci [pronounced Losai] technique to enrich sufferers'
                                     personal memory repositories -- to decorate their palaces -- so that they
                                     might have more joy to tap into. 

The Greeks invented the Method of Loci, and it is said that Greek senator, Cicero employed the method to remember his speeches. But , what exactly is the method of Loci? It is visualizing the familiar to help you with the unfamiliar. For the depressed individual, this could be the key - using vivid happy memories to help find the unfamiliar (i.e., joy, happiness, those feelings that have become more and more unfamiliar as depression makes one forget what it means to not be depressed).

The Article
One point the author of the article makes is that the absence of vivid memories - positive and negative - could be one cause of depression; therefore, it may be difficult for the depressed individual to recall these moments. Further, even when these events are recalled, they come as vague memories, and the depressed needs to work to develop exactly what happened and why that event was memorable.

Next, the author describes a study that looked at the correlation of the Method of Loci with the improvement or lack thereof of depression. Individuals were asked to recall 14 vivid happy memories and develop clear descriptions of those memories.

My Reflections
For me, coming up with 14 events was difficult. Looking back at my childhood, I could only come up with 3 from my childhood. I had to move forward to my high school graduation and forward to find the remaining 11. Maybe there were other happy moments in my childhood, but I honestly can't remember them.

Here are my 14, and I've written them as simple phrases and of course pretty vague for the now:
  • Sitting on the swing set, grandma singing "You Are My Sunshine"
  • Dancing in the rain with mom
  • My aunt singing at my school
  • Salutatorian - spoke at HS graduation
  • Ashland with best friend - Shakespeare plays and bed & breakfast
  • Cruise with best friend - caribbean
  • Jimmy Kimmel concert - intimate NKOTB concert
  • MS degree
  • Colombia - Mission trip
  • Costa Rica - birthday in Tortuguero
  • Cruise with Phil - seeing the glacier
  • Chicago - Navy Pier ferris wheel
  • Tacoma M&G - met NKOTB for the first time
  • Hume Lake - working at the Snack Shoppe
My next step is to develop these memories into as vivid descriptions as I am able - but that's personal, so I won't be sharing these in any further detail. I will, however, share how this Method of Loci has helped me, if it does at all.
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