It was the title that got my attention: “How to heal yourself from depression when no one else can,” with the subtitle, “a self-guided program to stop feeling like sh*t.” Quite a mouthful, and quite a promise. With honesty and compassion, author Amy B. Scher tells of her own struggles and vows to help readers unbury themselves “from all the stuff that’s making you feel like sh*t so you can become the true you – the happiest, healthiest version of yourself.” Adding that it’s still possible to feel good even when life isn’t working out like you thought and the people around you are not helping. As if taking our hand, Scher ends her introduction with “I am going to help you. Let’s go, my friend.”
Depression. What is it and what does it mean? Let’s begin with her explanation that it derives from the word “depress,” and by definition means to “push or press down.” Over time, we squash our emotional baggage inside us, it disconnects us from who we are, from our joy, and interest in life. The key word in this is “emotional baggage” or simply life’s struggles that we’ve been stuffing down inside ourselves. When a client says to Scher that the depression “came out of the blue,” it’s actually a slow fog that has been rolling in over time until the moment the client realizes that something is not right.
Scher calls her work, “energy psychology,” or “energy therapy.” It’s a group of techniques that addresses our body’s energy system and emotions, thoughts and behaviors, and which has been documented in research studies to prove highly effective. The work, she says, does not involve “regurgitating” old wounds, but in touching upon them to “let them go.”
Tapping. For those unfamiliar with the term, Scher explains that it’s the technique “for releasing and neutralizing any emotional energy stuck in your system.” By bringing fears and emotional baggage up to the surface and tapping specific areas of the body — like the temple, the forehead, the collarbone– your body is bringing calm. Eventually, with practice, the unpleasant thoughts bring on less anxiety, and negative feelings.
Scher’s book is being released this week, and there’s no better time for these techniques to be shared. It’s interesting to note that her clients have actually been better prepared for this difficult past year because of what they’ve learned from Scher. “This has been an interesting time for my practice,” she says, “because it’s stayed exactly the same. The people I work with have been dealing with chronic illness, depression, anxiety, for quite some time. So, this is not new for them. I am finding they are better equipped in many ways to deal with things because they’ve had to be resilient before. They’ve had to work through very tough times. What many people are experiencing now as their first huge life shake-up is not new to my clients and students. We’ve been joking that in some way, they have been training for this for quite some time!”
WAT sat down with Scher to discuss her work and techniques.
WAT: For those who are not feeling especially depressed, but just in low level anxiety at the state of the world, what can you recommend in the book for them to do on a daily basis to remain centered?
Scher: For instance, let’s take politics. Much of what we are triggered about with politics is not having control, experiencing unfairness, worry, and so on. Yes, this is happening and justifiable to feel these things. But the intensity of the feelings often come from times you’ve felt this before. Something everyone can do would be my Alternate Temple Tapping technique. You simply tap on each temple alternately in a nice steady rhythm as you focus on whatever you’re currently feeling. This works to calm the body’s fight, flight, or freeze response in relationship to stress. So, when you tap, you are actually mitigating or calming that stress response in your body.
WAT: Do you tap regularly to keep centered? What would be a sample of a daily routine?
Scher: I tap almost every day. It’s so easy and is truly life-changing if you integrate it into your day, even for just five to ten minutes. I use some form of tapping from the book (there are three kinds of tapping, but they are interchangeable) to tap about whatever might be stressing me that day. I usually only do a few minutes at a time, but it makes a huge difference for my mind and body.
WAT: Your writing is so down to earth, so easy to read, and calming. Was that something you intended, or is that your natural style?
Scher: Yes, this is my natural voice. Whenever I talk to readers, they say “Oh my gosh, you talk just the way you write!” It really works both ways. I also talk and write honestly and casually – because I believe it’s easier to read and hear that way. We all want to learn from real people, not “experts” or people we can’t relate to.
WAT: Sometimes we get depressed because of the emotions we hold inside, but also because if we admit the emotions, we have to deal with them. Like a broken marriage, an adult child you can’t help, or a job you can’t escape. What kind of statement can we say as we tap? And, what parts of the body would be best to tap for those three specific dilemmas?
Scher: The best statement to use while tapping is always exactly how you feel. To describe how you feel in your own words will help release those feelings best. In your example about a child you can’t help, I’d personally say something like “I feel so bad that I can’t help him/her and it makes me feel helpless.” But it could be anything that’s true for you. And any of the three tapping methods from the book would work. There is no specific part of the body to tap on for certain challenges; it’s more that you want to tap on a set of tapping points that work together to release that emotional energy from all of your body.
WAT: How did you know the book was “done?” Was it because you were on a deadline? Or you knew you had covered everything you could in this book? I can imagine this subject could have been double the number of pages!!
Scher: It’s done when it’s time to turn it in. It’s done when you stop waking up in the night thinking about what you should add. It’s done when you realize that you can’t put every single thing in a book because it would be too long, and no one would read it. Ha.
Photo credit: Tatiana Scher Photography