Although depression is so common, people are often confused about what it is. It isn’t sadness such as we feel if a pet dies, as many people struggling with depression can feel numb, angry, agitated or anxious, but sadness is not usually what predominates.
Depression is a state of shutdown. It is also a shift in our emotional state, where we experience a significant increase in negative emotions, such as anger, irritability, despair and a down shift in our positive emotions, such as pleasure, curiosity and happiness.
Depression also causes people to feel fatigue, difficulty concentrating, problems sleeping and altered appetites for things like food and sex. In terms of thinking, depressed people tend to focus on things that have not worked in the past, rather than being able to see into the future where there are hope and possibilities. If the pain of depression and feeling trapped inside yourself is too great, then sometimes self-harm or suicide feels like the only way out.
Unfortunately, the paradox of depression is that it makes us want to do the very last thing we should do, which is isolate ourselves. We just want to hide in our cave, but if we retreat there then we are alone with no place to go. In effect, we just feed the beast that is depression and make it bigger and ever more overwhelming.
Although being in a state of depression might feel helpless, once we begin to understand the nature of this beast, then we have some tools to fight it. Certainly, the situation is not hopeless, even though it can sometimes feel that way.
If the subject matter in this article resonates with you, then counselling might be a good option to help you to move forward. I offer a free 20-minute consultation so we can explore how I might be able to help you.