Depression, or major depressive disorder, is a mental health condition marked by an overwhelming feeling of sadness, isolation and despair that affects how a person thinks, feels and functions. The condition may significantly interfere with a person’s daily life and may prompt thoughts of suicide. Depression isn’t the same as sadness, loneliness or grief caused by a challenging life experience, such as the death of a loved one.
The causes of depression are not fully understood, most likely, depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Depression can affect people of all ages, races and socioeconomic classes, and can strike at any time. The condition is found in twice as many women as men.
“It’s difficult to describe depression to someone who’s never been there because it’s not sadness. I know sadness. Sadness is to cry and to feel. But it’s that cold absence of feeling – that really hollowed out feeling.”
- Irritability, agitation or restlessness
- Lower sex drive
- Inability to focus, concentrate or make decisions
- Insomnia or sleeping too much
- Change in appetite and/or weight, eating too much or too little
- Tiredness and lack of energy
- Unexplainable crying spells
- Tiredness and lack of energy
- Feeling hopeless or worthless
- Unexplainable physical symptoms such as headaches or body aches
- Withdrawal from social situations and normal activities
- Thoughts of death or suicide
“They say I’m all of these nice things, but I don’t see it. I wish I could see it. I wish nobody saw me as pretty and that nobody loved me so I wouldn’t have to feel guilty about feeling this way.” Unknown
“I found that, with depression, one of the most important things you can realize is that you’re not alone. You’re not the first to go through it, you’re not going to be the last to go through it. And oftentimes – it happens – you just feel like you’re alone. And you feel like it’s only you. And you’re in your bubble. And I wish I’d had someone at that time who could just pull me aside and say, ‘Hey, it’s going to be OK. It’ll be OK.” Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson
“Are they laughing at me? I hope I don’t mess this up. I hope I don’t say the wrong thing. Was that supposed to be funny? Was I NOT supposed to laugh? Can I leave yet?” Unknown
Our Work Together
Depression presents itself differently in each person. For some, depression feels like a deep, heavy sadness. Like a thick fog that slowly rolls in and envelops every part of them. It’s so hard to see a way out, and it blocks their vision of a positive future or even a tolerable present. Many find it necessary to understand what their thoughts and behaviours are like when they start to spiral downward. This helps them catch themselves before they hit the bottom.
As a Humanistic therapist my approach to psychotherapy focuses on people’s individual nature rather than categorizing groups of people with similar characteristics as having the same problems. Humanistic therapy looks at the whole person, not only from the therapist’s view but from the viewpoint of individuals observing their own behavior. The emphasis is on a person’s positive traits and behaviors, and the ability to use their personal instincts to find wisdom, growth, healing, and fulfillment within themselves.
For many their first red flag is catastrophic thinking: Nobody understands me. Everyone else has it easier than me. I will never get over this. Who cares? It doesn’t matter how hard I try. I’ll never be good enough.
I incorporate mindfulness, body relaxation, visualisation and breathing techniques when working with depression, facilitating a calmer approach by observing your physical sensations and emotions. These act as a barometer for our health and well-being, learning the triggers leading to catastrophic thinking and other early warning signals of depression.
With practise, mindfulness can help you learn to see more clearly how your mind works and to recognise the signs of oncoming depression, such as catastrophic thinking, fatigue and low mood. This early detection can help nip depression in the bud before a full-blown depressive episode takes hold.
While evidence suggests mindfulness works to help prevent depression relapse, researchers don’t yet know how.
“It may be that mindfulness leads to an increase in self-compassion and a decrease in experiential avoidance,” says Stuart Eisendrath, MD, professor and head of the Depression Centre at the University of California, San Francisco, stating, “Those who do best are those ready to engage fully.”
Additional Areas of counselling I work with:
- Affairs and betrayal
- Anger management
- Pre-Bereavement, Bereavement
- Carer support
- Child related issues
- Chronic boredom
- Domestic violence
- Drug and alcohol abuse (Substance misuse)
- Eating disorders
- Elderly issues
- Emotional abuse
- Family issues
- Financial concerns/ debt
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Historical abuse
- Intrusive thoughts
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Panic disorder
- Passive aggressive behaviour
- Physical abuse
- Pregnancy and birth
- Separation and divorce
- Sex problem
- Suicidal thoughts
- Wedding nerves
- Work-related stress