Dealing with Depression

People tell me about being stressed, when they are not, they are busy. People tell about having the flu when they haven’t, that have a cold. People tell me that they are depressed when they are not, they are a little bit down. The natural flow of human emotion is to be high and to be low. This flow is normal and may happen minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, week by week, month by month. It may flow throughout the year so that people feel high in the summer and low in the winter. To feel a bit down from time to time is normal.

What is depression?

Try and visualise a flat line that starts in the present moment and goes on into eternity. The line represent the normal, normal feeling and normal actions, you might see the line as flatness neither happy or sad, positive or negative. Anything above the line is positive, happiness, joy and as it gets higher euphoria, ecstasy and mania. Below the line is dullness, lack of motivation, inertia, unhappiness, misery, sadness, and depression.

Those described as manic depressive have fluctuating emotions between the highs of mania, through normality of the middle line to the lows of depression. There are many types of manic depression. Some are mainly high with a little bit of low, some mainly low with a little high and all other combinations between these two. Then there are the issues of if these changes are rapid cycling or slow cycling.

Depression describes an emotional state that exists below the normal line. As we all have up days and down days we all feel high and lows. Both mania and depression are the extremes of these normal emotional states.

The mind brain
The mind is the emotional and conceptual part of the system or the software of the system. The brain is the meat, or hardware of the system. Feelings are in the software and, the chemistry or endorphins of the brain, are in the hardware. Both effect each other. If we change the way that we think or feel we will change our brain chemistry. On the other hand if we change our brain chemistry we change the way that we think and feel.

Changing Your Brain

Anti-Depressants change the brain chemistry that in turn changes the way that we think and feel.

This changes the way that we think and feel that in turn changes the brain chemistry.

Both medication and psychotherapy are relevant and will affect depression. In most cases of deep depression they will only work effectively when used together.

Clinical depression
This is when depression is the sole result of deficient brain chemistry. This requires medication, which may need to be used forever; just as if you have an insulin deficiency because you are diabetic you will need medication for life.

Reactive depression
This is when an event or experience affects our thinking and feeling and subsequently effects our brain chemistry. Included in reactive depression are bereavement, loss, hurt, separation and so on. Also there may be trauma and post traumatic stress. Both medication and talking therapies will be useful for reactive depression.

Repressed anger
This type of depression is not always accepted by some professionals, though I often experience it in my consulting room. Perhaps a manager or partner acts in way that creates anger within you that you are unable to respond to. The situation requires that you keep quiet and repress your feelings. Over time, as the anger accumulates, the negative feelings that are unexpressed, eventually turn against you and are eventually excreted as depression. Therapy is an absolute must in this case. Also running, jumping, screaming and shouting to let go of all negative energy will be really useful.

Generally there are many issues of feeling down in life. Post natal depression, the baby blues, midlife crisis, bereavement, loss, being continuously let down, and so on. In most cases when the situation remains unaddressed it will eventually become depression.

Dealing With Depression
The first step is to be clear about what type of depression you have then you can proceed to treatment. We all need to be aware of our emotional health. The self help tip here has to be that if you begin to feel bad, down or depressed do something about it. The more aware you become of your self the more you will be able to attend to your own needs and not get lost in the depth of depression.

Whatever your type, you are least likely to experience depression by practising mindfulness, and those that are depressed and begin to practice mindfulness will not only solve their problems quicker but may also reduce the levels of medication required to solve their issues.

Finally you do not need to suffer from depression. When you feel really down and you can’t shift it get some help.

Be happy and be mindful

Take care

Sean x

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