In a strange way, recognising “I am depressed” is good news, because depression isn’t something you have to just put with. Before knowing you were depressed you thought “things are hopeless.” Afterwards you know, “there’s a reason I feel things are hopeless, and I can do a lot to change that feeling.” Here are some key facts about depression.
- Depression may come on:
>>> for no apparent reason at all, or
>>> it may result from life-events such as: bereavement, adversity, trauma or stress including problems in relationships, career, money, redundancy, health or relocation to a new town or country or
>>> it may arise from long-buried unconscious emotions or from childhood circumstances
- Depression comes in different types and flavours. It can be mild, with breaks in the clouds during which you are happy, or it may be a terrible darkness which crushes life: “I just can’t go on”. It can be unipolar depression (always down), or bipolar manic-depression (wildly up and down.) It can be associated with events such as winter (SAD) or giving birth (post-natal depression.)
- People with mild depression often don’t realise that the continual grey lack of enjoyment is, in fact, depression. Recognising that it is is excellent news, because depression is something with an excellent prospect of cure.
- Most depression is psychological. Only a small percentage is an organic brain dysfunction. The word depression covers a spectrum from feeling sometimes down but sometime OK (purely psychological), through feeling permanently down (mixed, very often psychological), to, at the very far extreme end, profound depression which is entirely medical. It is not easy to cleanly divide medical from emotional depression, and nor is it needed to. See also next item.
- Most depression is related to life events or life history, perhaps from long ago, maybe even in childhood. The best way to help such “reactive depression” is the right kind of talking therapy. Depression which is not caused by such life events is best dealt with by anti-depressants. In between is an area where both anti-depressants and psychotherapy have value. Post-natal depression could be of either type.
- Depression may be severe and crushing, or a mild greyness which comes and goes.
- It may be long or short term. Depression can vanish quickly.
- Stressed and depressed go together. Stress is a key cause and many of the symptoms overlap with those of stress.
- An existing very pessimistic or negative mindset can contribute to depression, as can genetic factors. Buried childhood emotions are commonly found to be the source of negative mindset, and healing of these is possible.
- For many, depression carries a stigma. As a result, some people are unwilling to tell their friends they are depressed, or seek help. Actually, recognising “I am depressed” is good news, because you don’t just have to cope with depression, it very possible to ovecome it. A combination of emotional and action-oriented therapy has enormous potential to get back your energy, motivation, joy and aliveness. My combination of solution-focussed counselling, hypno-psychotherapy and CBT-style self help is very effective. That is so even if the depression is of long standing.
To take the first step to beat depression and get your life back, give me a call today and find out how I can help. Please don’t be shy, I’m happy to answer questions or arrange, in Bristol, a free, no-obligation half-hour initial meeting. Please click here for contact information.