Dealing with Depression

We all know something about depression. It can range from a “bad hair day” to a “duvet day” through to an illness that takes us away from everything and everyone that we love and enjoy. Sometimes the black mood lasts for a couple of hours and we manage it by going through our normal daily routine – getting the children ready for school, loading the washing machine, tiding up the house. In brief, by a sort of “snapping out of it”. If we are fortunate these times are brief and infrequent.

Sometimes depression is linked to a specific event – a divorce or the end of a relationship. Sometimes it can be about money – or the lack of it. Work, whilst rewarding and challenging at times can at other times leave us feeling ill. Too many demands can get put on us and we can feel powerless to stop these demands or meet them. In extreme cases we simply don’t know what is making us feel so awful. Seemingly everything in our life is fine – we have a job, family, friends, hobb
ies and all the things that should make us feel content. But for some reason these don’t fill a void inside us. We are Depressed with a capital D. There seems to be no point or purpose to anything that we do. As one writer put it “If I can’t feel, if I can’t move, if I can’t think, and I can’t care, then what conceivable point is there in living?” (Kay Redfield Jamison)

Seeing a counsellor allows you the time and space to think about your life. What message did your parents give you about yourself? Were you told that you were loved and wanted simply for who you are? Or was the message that you were lovable only if you met their criteria? Doing well at school? Being a “good girl” or a “good boy” – whatever that might have meant. For some people the message they heard from their parents was about doing well at school – which often translates into grades and marks, not effort and achievement. “I am lovable so long as I pass the 11+. Or get 5 GCSE passes at C or above.” The list of possible causes – known and unknown – is almost endless. Being physically and / or emotionally abused is a sure fire way to bring on a poor self-image and depression. A depressed parent – or parents – can shape our view of our self and our value.

Talking with a counsellor gives you the chance to step outside yourself and look at your life from a different perspective. Hearing someone point out that the way your mother or father treated you was abusive can be liberating because it frees you from the guilt of thinking that “I must have been an awful child to have been treated like that.” Similarly if work is causing you to become ill, thinking about how you might change things becomes freeing and empowering. A marriage that is filled with rows, arguments and recriminations might be helped by having room to think about why this is happening – and how things might be changed.

Being depressed is miserable at the least – life threatening at the worst. It deserves to be taken seriously, in the same way that we would take seriously a physical symptom. The psychologist Rollo May said, “Depression is the inability to construct a future.”

Counselling can help you with the business of re-construction. What it cannot do, however, is guarantee that you will never be sad, unhappy or miserable again.

Contact Terry
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Contact Terry today if you would like counselling or need help dealing with depression.

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