Depression is one of the most common yet equally one of the most difficult of mental health issues to overcome. As many as one in five of us experience depression at some point during our lifetime yet often we won't ask for help from friends and family, let alone a healthcare professional.
Although a seemingly simple question, ‘Am I depressed ?’ can be very difficult answer. However there are a number of indicators. Depression is much more than feeling a ‘bit down’ or ‘low’ occasionally, perhaps as a reaction to bad news, or some temporary difficulty in your life or at work.
Symptoms may include feeling tired a lot of the time, even if you’ve been sleeping a lot; lost motivation for doing even normally enjoyable activities. Many people with depression have a strong tendency to ‘ruminate’, repeatedly churning over problems, difficult conversations and situations, to try to resolve them. But rumination is usually not helpful, and can actually get in the way of problem solving, and make depression worse.
However there’s no single way of experiencing any of this. Some people become intensely depressed for a relatively short time, maybe lasting a few weeks; others may be mildly depressed for a long time, even years. Other people have variations on this, or a mix of experiences.
Fortunately, there are a variety of psychological therapies available to help. For example, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been found to be as effective as antidepressants in alleviating depressive symptoms. This approach involves reflecting on negative thoughts, tracing your thought processes and there is also some form of behaviour activation, which is essentially getting you to re-engage with everyday activities.
The danger is if it’s tried too soon and without adequate support trying to re-engage can simply re-inforce the negative thoughts and feelings, and indeed can make you feel worse. Having the space to talk about your fears without judgement can help you come to terms with your depression, which can in turn lead to acceptance and a greater chance of feeling better.
Contact your GP
It is important to be aware of the limitations of therapy, especially for the more severe cases of depression and it is always advisable to contact your GP and explore medical options available. These can be used in connection with psychotherapy, and indeed studies have shown this to be an effective treatment.
I am a registered therapist with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, hold a Diploma in Humanistic Integrative Counselling,
as well as Diplomas in both CBT and Relationship Therapy.
Whatever issue you present with, I believe anyone can benefit from having a time and space where you can be listened to with compassion, in confidence and without judgement.
I have a professional, welcoming space, in the centre of Bournemouth where you can talk freely without fear of being judged or misunderstood.