tel: 042 9331803
mob: 086 0381073

A kind of depression.

Depression — admin @ 10:06 am

Here at Counselling Connections this week we took a few minutes to sit and talk about different kinds of depression. Some people who are diagnosed with depression are told they have a chemical imbalance which is causing them to feel unwell. We’ll talk about that kind of depression another time. What we’re interested in discussing with you this week is a kind of depression which is actually quite hard to define. In simple terms it is a collection of feelings which are experienced over a period of time and which relate to a general dissatisfaction with the turn that life has taken. There’s a kind of self help phrase going around at the moment which says ‘depression is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign you’ve been trying to be too strong for too long’. This is the kind of depression we’re talking about.

One of the difficulties about coming to therapy for the first time is being able to say why you’ve decided to come. It can be hard to say what’s wrong. It is not necessarily that its too upsetting to talk about it; although that is sometimes the case, its just that the feelings are a low level flattening off of your normal zest for life and its hard to know where to begin describing it. This is where counselling and psychotherapy come into their own because we are not concerned with a diagnosis or with placing your feelings or symptoms into a particular category. Rather, our first concern is to hear from you what way you are feeling and how this is affecting your life.

In the initial stages of therapy the focus can be on what your current difficulties are. These are normal everyday things like getting up for work; financial problems and managing relationships with loved ones, partners, parents and others. Sometimes we find that how we are feeling begins to affect these different relationships in similar ways. This can lead to a feeling that ‘there is something wrong with me’ and this can shake our confidence a little further. It is not uncommon for someone who begins to feel this way to subtly withdraw from their primary relationships. This strategy is about avoiding feeling hurt or experiencing judgement from others. Loved ones can pick up on our frailty and try to protect us by keeping details of ongoing domestic issues from us. All these serve to increase the sense of isolation we have begun to experience.

This is a painful phase to endure and getting back a sense of positivity or optimism seems like a daunting, if not impossible task. Although it is not generally looked at this way at the time, it also presents an opportunity to reorder our priorities and re-assess the direction our lives have taken. It can lead to a process of dreaming it all up and beginning again. This is not something that can be achieved overnight but over the course of a therapy new horizons can be considered and played with. We can spend some time looking at what fears or roadblocks exist within us which have served to stifle our creativity over the years. We can look back at previous experiences; at times when we suffered setbacks and see what adjustments these caused us to make in our unwritten plans. These adjustments to difficulties can be similar to the withdrawing from loved ones at times of distress. Initially we do these things to protect ourselves but in the longer term they may serve to stop us from attaining even modest goals.

I suppose we at Counselling Connections have a slightly different view of this kind of depression. We would see it as part of a natural process that we all go through on an ongoing basis in life. We assess where we are; we see things we’d like; or we imagine a way we’d like to be and we aim for that. We probably do this on an ongoing basis through life without really realising we are doing it. The times we are talking about this week are those times when this process doesn’t work or where we get stuck at some point in it. This can be because in the ‘assessment’ phase of the process in our minds we might see where life has taken us and realise that we’re not happy to be here. This is painful; it can lead to loss of interest in life and a temptation to give up. It can also be regarded as an opportunity. To engage the services of a specialist in this kind of thing, a counsellor or a psychotherapist can lead to a process of getting to know your own self and your own processes to the extent that you are much more in command of them. In this way we can learn to leave behind states of getting stuck or of withdrawing from life and learn ways to feel content and accomplished and quietly confident in ourselves and our position in the world.

Counselling Connections, Dundalk.

Copyright © 2011 Counselling Connection, designed by Aura Internet Services