Everybody has heard the term depression before, or even experienced it themselves…but what is depression? I could go into a bit about the science behind depression and write an extensive list of symptoms. But for me depression doesn’t have to be just about putting people into the right categories or ticking off the right boxes, in order to meet the right criteria. It can be a different experience for each of us and perhaps we’re even all on a spectrum. Some may feel it a lot more than others, some of us may have it in waves, or some may not have experienced it much at all. The important thing to realise is that it is a very normal and natural part to our existence that has had its part in our evolution.
Like stress, overall depression is the very primitive part of the brain’s way of protecting us and keeping us alive. When we become under a certain level of stress, the primitive parts of our brains take-over to ensure our survival. In terms of depression, going back to our primitive days, depression would stop us from putting ourselves in potentially dangerous situations by making us feel demotivated and pushing us to retreat back into the ‘cave’ until danger had passed. Knowing that makes it easier to understand why perhaps we may struggle to get out of bed on those days that we feel the lowest!
Our brains are trying to keep us safe and out of harm’s way, but it can also leave us feeling hopeless and desperate. Whereas not feeling like getting up in the morning or leaving the safety of our cave may have used to have been a good thing if there was something dangerous outside…in our modern day lives, experiencing these very primitive, but very real emotions of depression can be incredibly scary. And it can start to become troublesome when it starts to interfere with getting up for work, coping with daily activities or maintaining healthy relationships…
But what if we could change the way we felt about depression, by changing the way we viewed it and talked about it? Increasingly we’re seeing more and more campaigns to raise awareness for this disabling condition, which is fantastic and opens up whole new levels of discussion. However perhaps we could take this to another level and try to look at it from another angle by trying to understand what the brain is telling us and facing it head-on. It’s usually a very good sign that something isn’t right and we should listen to those emotions and embrace it. Listen to what it’s trying to teach us and learn from it to better your life. People suffer from depression for a variation of different reasons, but generally it means that there’s some sort of change that needs to happen, even if that’s just our thinking patterns in general.
If you feel as if you’re being affected by low moods and depression then try to listen to what your body is telling you and take some small, steps forwards towards a happier future. The first step is to talk to somebody you trust- a friend or a relative. Perhaps seek advice from a health professional and speak to them in confidence. If a GP seems to daunting, then there are plenty of charities you can talk to anonymously who are not there to judge. Alternatively you can always contact me and I’d always be happy to help! Just know that there is help out there and there’s always a way to build a future for yourself that is free from depression. Additionally, just like with stress, it’s vital to look after yourself. Relieve stress and increase those happy brain neurotransmitters! Click here for my blog on some tips for how to alleviate stress.
Most importantly be kind to yourself and know that it is a totally normal response in our brain that everybody can be susceptible to at some point in their lives. Beating yourself up or calling yourself names isn’t going to help anyone! Know that it is a temporary feeling and it will pass with time. And even on those days when you feel like you can’t manage or cope with anything, just remember even one, small step can make all the difference and have a knock-on effect to a brighter future. Even if it’s getting up in the morning and making yourself a cup of tea, texting an old friend or walking a few minutes down the road- all of these little things make a massive difference.
I love the following quote by Martin Luther King Jr. as it’s something we can all relate to and it says to us that we don’t have to know all the answers, but we just have to take that next baby-step forward and don’t give up!
Hypnotherapy can help with depression and is a really lovely and positive way of helping you to move forwards with your life, and change any old ways of thinking that may be keeping you stuck. If you wanted some general information on the symptoms of depression then click here. Please feel free to get in touch today if you would like to discuss any of these matters further.