We’ve all had an experience with sadness at different times in our lives.
We learn about sadness from grief, betrayal and devastation that can morph into intolerable pain.
There is sadness and melancholy - being ‘down in the dumps’ or ‘the blues’ that usually comes and goes. But the enormous depth and staying power of depression makes it so much more than a passing bout of sadness.
Depression is a complex affliction of physical and emotional symptoms, some of which may be harder to recognise.
One’s experience of depression can be different to another since it can take many forms. Recognise the signs and symptoms so you can get help for yourself or a loved one.
Eating or sleeping too much or too
Restlessness, agitation and irritability
Trouble concentrating and making decisions
Loss of enjoyment (in socialising, activities, sex or things that are usually enjoyed)
Thoughts of suicide or wanting to escape
Feelings of emptiness, helplessness, hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness
If you’ve ever suffered from depression or been close to someone who has, you may have felt frustration and misunderstood. Because there is tremendous variation in people’s experience of depression, metaphors have transpired as a way of describing its paralysing effects.
- Thick fog
- Constant hangover
- Lead weighted vest
- Dark monster
- Confining space
- Dark cloud
- Black hole
Cause of depression is much more complex than a chemical imbalance.
Depression has so many possible causes that several of these forces can interact to bring on the symptoms - genetics, brain chemistry, illness, stressful or traumatic events, ongoing work stress, bullying. Research is evolving to better understand depression and its causes.
There are proven ways to lighten your mood and strengthen your connections with those you love and things you enjoy doing. We can help you practice with tools that will enhance your well-being so that you are living a healthier and more satisfying life
Here’s an exercise to try in helping you deal with those emotions in a mindful way.
How food looks, how it smells, texture and taste of food as you slowly chew.
Look at the sky, the view, feel the wind, temperature on the skin.
Notice the sounds of the water, feel the temperature, smell the soap.
Feel your feet on the ground, notice thoughts coming and going with the train or bus.
Bring your attention to your breath as it flows in and out of your body.
Moments when you’re in the car, when they’re having a snack or even when they’ve walked into the door.
My four-year old stood squarely before me, clenched jaw, furrowed eye brows, large brown eyes locked in my gaze, fists tense as she stomps her tiny foot like a lead weight determinedly on the ground … “I WANT to. Watch. Cinderella!”
For most people, the first time they see a psychologist can seem like a daunting experience. There is a sense of unpredictability and perhaps pre-formed beliefs and views about what counselling is like, how a psychologist looks or what they are expected to do.