“What is depression like? It’s like drowning, except everyone around you is breathing.”
Depression, along with anxiety, is one of the most prevalent problems in society.
It can be hard to describe to those who haven’t been there.
Depression is different to sadness or 'the blues'. Quite often it can feel like the very opposite of feeling: a cold absence of emotion, a hollowed-out inner deadness.
It can be all-encompassing, continuous, and devastating to all aspects of life.
Although symptoms of depression can vary widely, the first signs can be a sense of despair, hopelessness, and a lack of interest in many of things you used to enjoy.
This might persist for several weeks or months and can eventually become so bad that, not only are work, friendships, and family bonds affected, but it might even begin to feel like life itself may not be worth living.
Emotional and psychological symptoms of depression can include:
Feeling hopeless and helpless
Loss of self-esteem
Being irritable and angry all the time
Loss of motivation
No longer deriving pleasure from things such as food, friends, or sex
Having thoughts of self-harm or suicide
Physical and social symptoms of depression can include:
Moving or speaking more slowly than usual
Losing or gaining weight
Constipation or digestive problems
Aches and pains
Loss of sex drive
Lack of energy
Avoiding contact with friends and family
Neglecting hobbies and interests
Struggling to complete tasks at work or college
IF YOU'RE CURRENTLY FEELING SUICIDAL
You can also speak your GP or call 111 for out of hours support. In an emergency, call 999.
Try to let your family or friends know what's happening. They may be able to offer support and help keep you safe.
FORMS OF DEPRESSION
Depression sufferers sometimes describe depression as having 'crept up' on them.
Several days of low mood might slowly roll into a week, a month, or even more.
Depression can become a serious concern when it continues for longer than a few weeks and exerts a noticeable negative impact on daily life. Therapy for depression can really help.
Depression is often diagnosed along a continuum which ranges from ‘mild depression’ to ‘moderate depression’ to ‘severe’ or ‘major depression’ according to the severity and duration of the symptoms and how far normal life and activities are impacted.
Other forms of depression include antenatal/postnatal depression, which occurs during and after pregnancy and can affect both women and men; bipolar disorder involving alternating episodes of extreme ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ with periods of normal mood in between; and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) characterised by mood disturbances which often worsen during the sunlight-deprived winter months.
All forms of depression can be debilitating and all require proper support.
How counselling and psychotherapy can help with depression
In therapy you will feel
listened to, valued,
Depression is often a byword for disconnection
Some people believe depression is caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain and may assume antidepressants can entirely solve their problem.
Whilst medication can prove an important component of any treatment approach, evidence suggests depression also has a strong relational (as opposed to purely chemical) component, meaning that sufferers may be experiencing the delayed consequences of emotional disconnectedness or relational fracture.
Relationships are so essential to basic human functioning that when a serious problem occurs in a relationship, whether now or a long time in the past, its repercussions for mental and emotional health can be significant.
Counselling and psychotherapy are forms of relational therapy. At Pathways Psychotherapy and Counselling in Brighton & Hove we would be looking to find out more about what your depression looks and feels like for you, and also how you feel you're relating to others at the moment.
In psychotherapy, you might, over time, be remembering how your relationships were in the past and how you're balancing the different demands in your life now.
You would also likely explore any possible roles that stress and anxiety might be playing.
It can be very useful to explore some of the ways you learned how to feel good about yourself when you were younger and now. This may prove to be something you struggled with.
Counselling and psychotherapy for depression can help to address these kinds of problems.
In therapy, you have someone in your corner to help you notice and attend to some of hidden beliefs, pressures, tensions, and disconnections you could be holding which are now be acting to keep you weighted down or even punish you, making you feel sad, powerless, empty, or worthless.
There can be an understandable hope that therapy will unearth a clear, causative event from the past which underlies your depression.
Whilst illness, conflict, loss, and trauma can all certainly have a bearing on depression, its root origins often prove less tangible.
As a relational, attachment-focussed practitioner, I work with an awareness of the substantial impact that the very early developmental period can have - that is, before we can speak or remember.
Psychological ‘wounds’ like neglect, abuse, and insecure or unpredictable attachments to caregivers might not be consciously remembered, but can nevertheless cause problems which persist into adolescence and adulthood.
We may never be able to discern such injuries with absolute certainty, but in psychotherapy you'll learn to listen to your innermost thoughts and feelings as well as the memories which are held in your body.
By revisiting any earlier conflicts or tensions whilst feeling safely held within the supportive therapeutic relationship, you will find the bonds of depression will gradually loosen their grip, in turn enabling glimpses of hopefulness to return.
how counselling and psychotherapy for depression works
if you're looking for counselling for depression in brighton & hove or online Click here to arrange to start talking
and yet... Low moods aren't always TO BE AVOIDED
It’s important to remember that feeling sad or experiencing episodes of lowness is not always bad.
Times of withdrawal from the world and even downheartedness, though unpleasant, can be a way that our mind and body ‘force’ us to slow down and think about important things which may be happening in our life.
Low mood can be a natural trigger for us to concentrate more on how we’re feeling and what’s going on below the surface.
This might include things which are causing stress or pain.
These low periods can even turn out to be an opportunities in disguise, allowing us to contemplate our own sense of purpose, meaning, and health.
Now and again, it’s alright to feel sad because this can serve to make the higher points, when they return, all the more cherished and enjoyable.
If you're not sure how you're feeling or you'd like to talk this through with someone, contact me below.
GET IN TOUCH
If you'd like any further information on Pathways Psychotherapy and Counselling in Brighton & Hove or if you'd like
to arrange a telephone consultation or book an appointment please get in touch by using this form or call me directly on 07590 506567