Depression can be seen as learnt helplessness (Seligman). It’s like walking through mud. It feels heavy and exhausting. It is when we feel that no matter what we do or have one in the past, we cannot change whatever situation is causing us pain and suffering. We eventually get to stage where we give up… it’s no use anyway, why try! And we fall into a hole that is difficult to get out of. We are often not consciously aware why we feel that way, all we know is that things appear helpless and we may feel empty, numb or teary most of the time. Our memory, concentration and decision making are all affected (we can’t think straight) and we may be struggling with self esteem or excessive guilt. We may fantasize about escaping our lives, for example going to a desert island or moving to the other side of the world, and when it gets really bad we may begin to think about suicide. We feel trapped and hopeless.
Symptoms of Depression
- Teary, low mood or empty everyday for at least two weeks
- Loss of interest in activities you normally enjoy, again every day for at lest two weeks
- Agitation and excessive restlessness
- Loss of energy and fatigue
- Sleep difficulties (too much or not enough)
- Eating disturbances (again too much or not enough)
- Difficulties in concentration, memory and decision making
- Low self worth or excessive and inappropriate guilt
- Desire to escape or suicidal ideation
- That these symptoms significantly impact on your life in several different areas
(Note. While you may be able to see that you or a person you care about has these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor or psychologist for an official diagnosis)
Roads to Recovery from Depression
Depression is like a “stuckness”. We may think, “well I’m successful at work, I own my house, I look like I‘m doing well, but I just can’t shift this feeling of hopelessness and I’m tired and teary most of the time.” Success has many aspects, material success is only part of the picture. Often, what I call “high functioners” are depressed because underlying issues about intimacy, closeness to others and fear of being known are being blocked and linger behind the depression. Any core issue that is “stuck” can lead to depression.
You could say depression is a sign. It tells us when some aspect of ourselves or our lives is out alignment with what we really want or need. The road to recovery from depression is about identifying what is important to us, what are the self sabotaging patterns that hold us back from receiving what we need, and healing those patterns so we can open to opportunities that are around us that will meet those needs. When we are depressed we tend to not see those opportunities or what we are really feeling down about. That is why a good therapist is helpful. They can assist you to search through those patterns and gain awareness and new skills that can lead to getting important needs met and by default, alleviate the depression.
When depression has set in or when the sabotage patterns are very self destructive or destructive to others, depression is easily identified. People who fall intro the low “functioning” category are often depressed and try to cope using drugs and alcohol. Again, behind the depression (and the addictions) are important core issues that keep the person trapped in a sense of helplessness.
So whether the depression is obvious to others or not, it is essential to increase awareness about why it is there and what is really behind it. Understanding the patterns, healing painful past experiences, and discovering new ways to approach yourself and life are keys to recovering from depression.
Taking action to heal is empowering. Depression is the sign, healing the core issues behind the depression is the key.
Conscious Solutions offers therapeutic solutions to depression
Call Vanessa Bushell on 0424 507 101 to make an appointment (Sunshine Coast, Australia) or locate a therapist near you.
Remember, ultimately this is YOUR healing journey and it is important for YOU to chose a therapist who you feel comfortable with and can trust.