Depression is another mental health disorder that’s getting a lot of attention and is affecting large numbers of people. It’s a term used regularly but is possibly misunderstood.
What is Depression?
Depression is a term used to describe a state of low mood, sadness and despair. It can cause a low mood that doesn’t go away and makes you feel very sad or withdrawn. It interferes with the way you go about your everyday life and can make it hard to cope with stressful situations.
Some people describe it as being in a really dark place that’s difficult to come back from. Others describe it as a numb feeling. People’s experiences of depression vary but there are common tendencies amongst them.
Some of the signs and symptoms of depression include:
- Deep, persistent sadness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you once enjoyed
- Feelings of shame, guilt, hopelessness, worthlessness, and anger
- Difficulty focusing on work and other tasks
- Difficulty making decisions
- Poor short-term memory
- Restlessness or fatigue
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Changes in eating habits and/or weight
- Reduced interest in sex
- Aches and pains, especially back pain or headaches
- Thinking often about death and/or suicide
In the long-term, unresolved depression can have highly negative effects. It may result in:
- Broken relationships or lost friendships
- Substance use or addiction
- The loss of a job
- A weakened immune system, which may lead to more frequent and more severe physical disorders
Different Types of Depression
People become depressed for different reasons. The type of depression that you experience is based on the cause. The way your depression manifests indicates what the potential cause of it is. For example:
- Major depression – This is what most people think of when they hear “depression.” It’s when a person feels depressed most or all of the time. It’s sometimes referred to as unipolar depression or clinical depression.
- Bipolar disorder – Causes periods of alternating depression and mania.
- Seasonal affective disorder – Triggered by conditions of low sunlight, it’s more common in winter, when there are fewer daylight hours. Basically, when the seasons trigger a depressive state.
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder – Occurs at the start of a menstrual period.
- Postpartum depression – Triggered by changes that occur after giving birth.
- Psychotic depression – Causes delusions and paranoia as well as depression.
- Situational depression – Occurs in response to a life event, such as the death of a loved one.
If you’re suffering with depression, you might find it hard to get help. One reason for this is that after a while, depression starts to seem normal. Like working in a hot environment, you acclimatise to the conditions. It makes it easy to forget you used to feel differently, so it’s hard to believe that help will be useful. That can be compounded by feeling apathetic (no concern or enthusiasm), which is common when experiencing depression. You feel as though there’s no point in getting help.
Sadness is a normal emotion that we all experience. Depression, on the other hand, is an on-going (chronic) and intense sense of sadness and hopelessness. This is feedback that there’s something to be addressed. There’s something causing your experience of depression which could use some attention.
Depression can make your life and your world seem smaller than it is. It’s hard to remember what it’s like to feel optimistic, and it can take persistence to be motivated to work through your challenges. If you’re experiencing depression, it can be hard to get out of bed in the morning, let alone get through the day.
It’s also common for people who experience anxiety and panic to be dealing with depression. This can be due to a sense of not being able to overcome anxiety or take back control.
A Different Perspective
It’s commonly promoted that chronic depression isn’t normal. That there’s something wrong to broken that’s making you depressed. I have a different belief on the matter.
Depression is a normal response to a situation that has turned out to be disappointing in some way. The intensity of the depression is typically correlated to the degree of disappointment. Meaning, the more disappointed you are, the greater the depression you experience. Determining the original cause of what disappointed you can have a dramatic and profound effect on your depression.
A lot of attention is placed on handling and coping with the symptoms and side-effects of depression, but rarely is the cause of the depression discovered and resolved.
Just like with revealing and altering the cause of anxiety, I focus on tracing back to the cause of the depression, resolving it and creating a new alternative path moving forward. Think of it like removing weeds in the garden. You can snap the weeds as you see them. This breaks the top off so you can’t see the weed sticking out of the soil but the seed is still there which means the weed will grow back. Addressing the cause of the depression is like removing the seed of the weed (that rhymes – I’m not sorry). That means the weed can’t grow back.
The approach I use to help people navigate and resolve their depression, or any challenge for that matter, is the same approach I used in my own life. The reason I help people is because of how much I struggled with anxiety and depression earlier in my life. I found solutions, used them in my own life and then started to help others with the same.
My belief is if it doesn’t work for me, I don’t use it with you.
So far, I’ve worked with people who have experienced varying levels of depression who have managed to go on and live a life that inspires them. One that gives them a reason to get up in the morning. A life filled with purpose, meaning and inspiration. This can sound foreign and maybe even fake when you’re experiencing depression. But know this, it’s possible.
Your depression is attempting to help you understand something about yourself that you’re not fully aware of. Your sense of self-worth and self-appreciation is being weighed down by something that looks like an anchor. It feels like it’s keeping you stuck where you are in your life. I’m here to tell you and to show you that your anchor can be incredibly valuable to you once you understand its purpose and how to use as a helpful tool.
Questions you might have
I’ve been taking anti-depressants for years. Do you really think your help can replace what they’ve been doing for me?
Short answer. No, I don’t. I do believe that by discovering the original cause and resolving the conflict around that cause can have an impact on your mindset, your thoughts, your behaviour and your beliefs. That may affect the physical symptoms you experience with your depression, but that’s hard to tell. I certainly don’t claim to heal those symptoms or to ‘correct’ chemical imbalances. My only intention is to find the cause, help you understand it and then help you resolve any conflict or challenge associated with it. The results of that vary widely person-to-person.
What if I know what the cause of my depression is and have done years of therapy to help resolve it?
This is a hard one to answer. Not to discredit your therapist or to say that what I do is better, but if you’ve been working on something that isn’t showing you the results you want, would you be looking for more answers? I can’t promise you that I can do a better job than any therapist, psychiatrist or psychologist you’ve seen. I can complement the work they’ve done with you. I have no intention of working against their efforts or yours. My focus is to help you get the results you want and deserve. Sometimes that looks like opposing therapists, other times it involves agreeing with them. It’s important to understand, you are my focus, not other people’s careers.
Will I be able to come off anti-depressants after working with you?
That’s definitely not for me to decide. I’m not a doctor, so I don’t prescribe or take people off medication. My suggestion is that if you feel behavioural, emotional and psychological changes after working with me, then consult with your prescribing doctor about what you’d like to do with your medication. You may want to stay on your medication during and after working with me, or you may decide you want to come off your medication. Whatever your decision, my strong recommendation is to do so under the supervision of your doctor.
What if the cause of my depression was extremely traumatic for me?
Understandably, you’d be apprehensive about retracing and exploring a traumatic event. No matter how extreme the event is, I approach all clients and situations with the same care. I’m here to help you the best way I can. Sometimes that involves challenging you to do things that make you uncomfortable (like retracing a highly emotional event). No matter what comes up, I’m here to help you get the results you deserve, get you on your path and onto living the life you deserve for yourself.
I’m Here To Help You
If you’re ready to change your depression then be sure to contact me. I’m here to help you the best way I can. If you have any questions before working with me, I’d be happy to answer them during a phone call or Skype conversation. That way I can get a clear understanding of your situation and determine if I can help you the way you deserve. It also gives you a chance to get to know me and my style before committing to anything. After all, you would marry someone without going on a first date, would you? (I hope not).