Depression is in inadequate word to describe a state of existence when the individual is sealed in a deep well of despair. Separated from the outside world, thoughts, feelings and motivation are starved of hope. This is a crushingly soulless experience.
Fortunately talking therapies can help with this. There is support and there is hope. The dark cloud can lift and it is possible to climb out of that black hole back into the world.
You may find you can put on a good show. A front to those around you maintaining a sham of normal functioning be it at work, as a parent, a partner, a friend etc. However it is a joyless place. In many instances to maintain the pretence requires more emotional and physical energy than is available. Ultimately it becomes exhausting and reinforces the current feeling of helplessness being caught in an unending cycle.
In the first instance it is advisable to visit your GP. Whilst many people are reluctant to do so it is important to accept help. A GP may recommend medication that can lead to an improvement and stabilisation of symptoms. Although ultimately you have the final say if you do or don’t take anti-depressants.
Exploring your Depression
Engaging with counselling at New Direction Solutions enables you to vocalise what is being experienced, the fears, the loss, the despair, starts to give shape to your depression. The narrative builds a description around what you are experiencing and you can then start to feel the edges. As things arise into awareness they can be spoken of, explored and put into context.
From this awareness the disconnect between the inner experience and the outside world can be questioned. On occasion what we have lived through does not match the way life was expected or meant to be. Exploring the gap between these two can shed light on the cause.
Giving Depression a Form
The combination of giving the depression a form and re-connecting with self enables the emotional and physical energies to start moving again. The self-view that underlies the depression can be a distorted perspective one of hopelessness, blame, self-doubt, self-loathing, anger, guilt, fear or any negative self-view. These feelings disempower and limit you holding you in place.
Our inner Parent sometimes sets impossible standards then judges and condemns our inability to meet those standards. Our inner Child unable to meet those standards evokes feelings such as guilt and shame. In turn the inner Parent chastises even further driven by the inner Childs’ helplessness. So the circle of self-condemnation and recrimination continues. This robs us of the power to combat these misplaced ideals, rules and beliefs.
Often you will find that what initially protected you from difficult situations ie avoiding, not voicing your opinion, staying in a toxic job, not processing past trauma etc created a wall between you and the outside world.
Eventually the wall collapses in on itself and you find yourself unable to support the emotional weight of pain and despair. The emotional resilience gives way and you fall into a well of depression feeling trapped and out of control.
A frequent question asked by clients is how long will I experience the pain for before the depression lifts. In part the answer is until you address the cause of your depression. As you become aware of the causes and beliefs around your depression this enables you to be curious and to challenge what you have been and are experiencing.
The collapsed wall of prior coping has to be examined brick by brick. The fears, hurts, emotional traumas, feeling of hopelessness and self-worth etc. all those things are considered and where appropriate challenged.
Lifting the Depression
It is important to face and experience what you fear and also to accept what you cannot change. You have to couple this by showing yourself understanding and compassion as often clients with depression experience a sense of shame.
Accepting that your depression cannot be ignored and that it was a unconscious strategy to protect yourself from external threats is an important step. As the treads of individual issues are followed to their source new ways of relating and responding are formed.
Slowly the emotional weight reduces; energy and optimism return. Frequently it is two steps forward and one step back. This can be frustrating but over time the depression typically reduces and lifts.
It is then important to look after your mental well being on an ongoing basis. Paying attention to stress levels, exercising, getting adequate rest, engaging in social activities and generally valuing self is all part of a healthy emotional lifestyle.