Depression is a word that is often used. But what does it actually mean?? Sometimes people may say they are feeling depressed when they are having a difficult day or feeling a bit low. But for other people depression can mean living in a very dark hole and often feeling that life isn’t worth living any more.
There is a huge scale for depression. The important thing to remember is that no matter how severe a person’s depression is, they will still need help, and they will still need the people around them to be supportive and patient.
Often people at the milder end of depression feel that their problems aren’t big enough, or they aren’t worth talking about. However this is not the case. Whatever is happening for any individual is important. And more often than not, if a problem can be dealt with before it gets out of hand, than a person won’t have to suffer and spiral into the very dark hole of severe depression.
Feeling very low and down can often come from a sense of being isolated and feeling alone. People can begin to feel as though they have to cope with everything,and that they cant tell people how they are feeling. Sometimes there is a fear of being a burden, or sometimes there is fear of being rejected.
The best way to deal with depression is to talk about feelings and emotions. Some people may think this sounds simple and straight forward. But imagine if you have never been shown how to do this your whole life. What if you grew up in a family where you were encouraged to ‘just get on with things’? The modelling that we have is so important and often people can find themselves unable to express their feelings or to ask for help.
At your counselling service our experienced team of therapists work hard with clients to encourage them to talk about how they feel and to express emotions. Not just to their therapists but to the people in their life. We encourage clients to let things out instead of keeping them all inside. This can be difficult and daunting at first, but once they are able to do this then they have a really good tool for life.
In order to help people who are feeling depressed we also encourage them to use other therapeutic tools that may help them This can include reading certain books, recording thoughts and feelings, or writing to certain people about what is going on for them. On top of these behavioural tools we also encourage people to practice good self-care.
Often when someone is so low, self-care is the first thing that goes. Perhaps they find it difficult to sleep, or they sleep too much. Maybe they begin to overeat or comfort eat, or sometimes stop eating. They may also abuse their body with alcohol or drugs and often they will stop doing the things that make them feel better, such as exercise, relaxing, going to yoga or for a walk etc.
We work hard to encourage clients to take better care of themselves, and we do this by focusing on day to day issues such as sleep and food, and helping them to improve, but also looking deeper into levels of self-care. We try to ensure that people start looking after themselves better – by cutting down the drinking for example or by making time for exercise.
Often when someone is depressed they get caught in a vicious cycle with any of the above and find it hard to make changes. As therapists we tentatively encourage people to take small steps. One thing at time begins to change and before you know it people feel so much better and happier.
There are times when people feel that they are so depressed; they just can’t face living any more. Sometimes people wait until they are suicidal before they even start therapy. But we would encourage people not to get this low before they pick up the phone or e mail us. If we can intervene before depression gets to this stage then that can make a huge difference, and help people to get back on track a lot quicker. So if you or anyone you know is struggling with depression please get in touch with us. We are here to help.
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