“Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.” ~ Buddha
What is depression, and what are some of the Symptoms of Depression?
Depression is a common and treatable problem that affects your thoughts, emotions and behaviour. It is experienced by one in every five women and one in every eight men. Depression or sadness is a normal reaction to loss, challenging life-issues or when self-esteem is affected. However, when it starts to interfere with your everyday functioning for a period of days or weeks it may be more serious, and require preventative action.
Depression generates negative emotions such as irritability, anger, anxiety, despondency, and hopelessness. You might feel unmotivated, with even the smallest task feeling too much. Or you might have lost pleasure or interest for the things you once enjoyed. Thinking is affected, including your ability to concentrate and recall information. And you might have a more pessimistic view of your life, the future, and the world in general.
There can be a strong desire to hide away and withdraw from normal
Women tend to experience more of the somatic symptoms of depression than men. This includes, pain, fatigue, anxiety, inability to sleep or sleeping all the time, and appetite issues – overeating or losing interest in food.
What Factors Can Lead to Depression?
♦ Learned helplessness – Believing you have no control over the events of life or conversely, the belief you need to control everything.
♦ Life events – Ongoing exposure to stressful situations is particularly difficult. Such as prolonged exposure to work-stress, living in an abusive relationship, long-term financial difficulties, and long-term chronic pain.
♦ Family history – For some there can be an increased genetic risk, but life circumstances are still likely to be the tipping point.
♦ Personality – Some people tend to worry more than others, and given to be overly self-critical and more sensitive to personal criticism.
♦ Drug and Alcohol use – Over use of drugs and alcohol can lead to depression. However, they can also be the result of depression.
Preventative Action You Can Take!
Be aware of what makes you vulnerable - This includes the values, expectations and ways of viewing the world that you learned from your family of origin and influential others. The good news is these can be unlearned and new healthier ways of being can be learned.
Focus on the present - Your thoughts about the past generate negative emotions linked to depression. However, when you learn to remain in the present you will start to experience feels of calmness.
Learn how to tolerate uncertainty - Recognise your pattern of black and white thinking and begin to question the validity of your ‘all or nothing’ statements. By becoming less ridged in your thinking will your perception of situations will broaden, so you feel less trapped by situations.
Avoid isolation - Talk to others about what is going on for you. Sharing your thoughts makes them less overwhelming and helps you look at them more objectively than keeping them to yourself.
Choose friends carefully - Spend time with positive people who are good for you. Ask yourself are they, positive, hopeful, non-judgmental, goal orientated and genuine.
Sense of purpose - Have meaning and purpose in your life. For example. What do you want to be doing, aiming for or achieving at this stage in your life?
Self-acceptance - Learn how to accept all aspects of yourself, not just the ones you like. Struggling with the parts you don’t like robs you of the energy needed to focus and celebrate your strengths.
Change how you think and behave to life events - Your views, thoughts and feelings about situations can be changed. Learn how to be less self-critical and kinder towards yourself.
Strengthen your boundaries - Setting strong boundaries defines how you will respond and behave in various settings. When you have a lack of clear boundaries you will be more easily hurt and experience helplessness.
When should you seek help?
♦ If you are having thoughts of death or suicide it is crucial you talk to someone.
♦ When your symptoms of depression have gone on for longer than a reasonable period of time or there is a pattern of it reoccurring.
♦ If you have become so isolated that you feel as if there is no one to share your thoughts and feelings with.
If you need help with depression, then please call me for a Free 15 minute consultation. We can talk about what is going on for you and I can answer any questions you might have. If I am with a client I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Online counselling available in the privacy of your own home.
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