“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
Depression is a mood state of relative lowness that can effect a persons levels of activity, thinking processes, feelings and general functioning. Individuals affected by depression often experience sadness, anxiety, feelings of worthlessness, purposeless and that life can feel grey and with 'no light at the end of the tunnel.'
Secondary aspects of depression can be a loss of interrest in food, increased use of alcohol or drugs, suicidal thoughts, feeling like being a burden, lack of sleep and generalised over thinking and worrying. People may also experience physical symptoms, including pain, aches or digestive problems or other medical complaints.
Depression is not necessarily a mental health condition, but may also be a natural response to life events, a side effect of alcohol or drug misuse or as a result of a medical condition.
Depression is experienced by between 8-12% of the UK population every year, with mixed anxiety and depression being the most commonly reported mental health ailment. Watch a video on depression on the video page.
Some of the conditions associated with depression are:
Persistently sad, low or generally low mood
Loss of interrest
Lethergy or decreased energy
Irregular sleep or change in sleep pattern
Appetite or weight changes
Poor concentration and difficulty making decisions
Hopelessness and pessimism
Feelings of helplessness
Feelings of worhtlessness or guilt
Thoughts of death or suicide
Depression also commonly presents as an associated aspect or underlying condition associated with alcohol or substance misuse. In such situations where the substance misuse has been of long enough duration, it becomes difficult to seperate the depressive state from the withdrawl or side effects on the central nervous system of the substance/drug itself.
This is commonly known as 'dual diagnosis'. The seperate diagnosis of two, or more concurrent issues - depression and alcohol misuse for example. Each affecting mood and functioning, but in an entwined way that one compounds and exacerbates the other.
In times of stress, or in a life with significant traumatic episodes, alcohol or drugs can offer a temporary escape from emotional pain and suffering. However, over a period of prolonged usage they present their own problems.
In such circumstances both the underlying feelings or conditions of depression / anxiety / trauma etc. require to be treated as well as the use of alcohol or drugs. This needs to be done in a structured manner to diminish reliance on alcohol or drugs to regulate mood, or to deal with stress.
Depression is by no means always associated with alcohol or drug misuse and like co morbid (dual diagnostic) conditions does respond to therapy and can be resolved.
"I am doing really well at the moment and managing to hold down my job and coming down on my meds and want to say thank you so much for how much you've helped me....you helped me massively and I'm so grateful"
A useful way to approach the treatment of depression is via a life inventory, to assess the areas wihtin an individuals life where their needs and sense of fulfillment in life are not being met. Where more support is required and direction achieved. Depression has a multitude of contributing factors and will be specific to each and every person in different ways. A thorough assessment and progressive use of counselling and psychotherapy can help alleviate stress, reduce feelings of isolation and worthlessness, build self confidence and practical skills. Sometimes life does not present opportunities for people to grow confidence and life skills, which in turn contributes to them not reaching their potential. This affects low mood and feelings of low worth. However, if these issues are addressed, the human being has a powerful ability to learn and grow and inturn begin to live a more meaningful and full existence.
'Working with Edward has given me a safe space to re-write my traumatic life story, allowing me the opportunity to shed feelings of blame, guilt, shame and self-loathing. After 46 years this has come as a bit of a revelation, yet Edward has kept me safe throughout this difficult time with genuine understanding and validation. I have felt truly heard in every session and now feel strong enough to start a new journey with the right people around me. Developing a sense of self-worth will allow me to make this journey with love and respect for who I really am - not who I thought I was or who I was told I was.
Seeking help when you are in a vulnerable position can be intimidating and I was no different. However, on meeting Edward any worries I had quickly evaporated. His laid back, flexible and gentle way of working has proved invaluable to me and I would not hesitate to contact him again in the future. To anyone who is contemplating support I would recommend that you contact Edward who holds a wealth of knowledge and experience; ultimately he can help to make sense of this complicated world we live in!'
Good psychotherapy and counselling will work effectively with key areas of need, help to support change and work patiently and gradually with all aspects presented. Depression can be alleviated through this approach.
Please get in touch with any concerns you may have regarding your issues.