Depression can creep up on you. It can begin with feeling a little flat, that life seems to have become boring and meaningless. This can then be followed by feeling a real lack of purpose, like ‘what’s the point’. Everything can become a drag, each day can feel like groundhog day; an empty repetition of the day before. You may try doing a few things to help you feel better but you find you just have no motivation to make any real changes. Your relationships begin to suffer as you just don’t feel good about yourself anymore, your self-confidence and your spark have disappeared.
Does this sound like you?
If so, there are several things you can do
1. Honest self-reflection – It is important to take time to do some honest self-reflection. Many times you can become depressed as you have been hurt by life because it did not turn out how you expected it to or wanted it to be, or that you have been hurt by someone or a situation. In response to this disappointment or hurt we withdraw in an attempt to protect ourselves from getting hurt again. This never works, in fact it causes further distress. When you contract away from life and not live as your full self you create a space within that feels like emptiness. You are also likely to live very much in your head in an attempt to escape the hurt you carry in your body. This creates a disconnection from the deep, wise and truly intelligent part of yourself, which is actually the most painful part of depression.
2. Nominate the cause – When you get honest with yourself you are then in a position to nominate the reason you have chosen to withdraw from life and shut down. By nominating the cause this initiates a process of true healing.
3. Seek out true support – When you are ready to deal with the underlying issues it is important to connect with the people that you feel will truly assist you in your self-reflection and nomination and ultimately your own self-healing. This can be a trusted friend, relative or a therapist. It is also a good idea to see your doctor as medication is an applicable support in some cases.
4. Commit to life – Committing to life, is bringing your all to everything you do, from the most mundane tasks to the things you love. It is about taking responsibility to do those things that you know will support you. It is about knowing how to ‘fill your own cup’. In that way you will begin to experience the joy you have been missing. Instead of withdrawing and shutting down you are now open and ready for what is coming towards you in life.
5. Reframe your view on life – The way you see life has a huge impact on the way you feel. The fact is we are all students of life, and never arrive at a point of completion. Life is a constant unfolding, offering us situations that will ultimately help us grow, evolve and become more solid in who we are. Sometimes these ‘lessons’ can be difficult, but if you embrace life and what it is offering you, you can begin to move from being a victim of life to one of empowerment and joy.
For further information there is a great, short video on depression at UniMed Living
Kate Chorley is a psychotherapist & couples therapist practicing in the Parramatta & Blacktown areas of Western Sydney. She supports her clients in raising their self-awareness to lead more productive and fulfilling lives. Contact here or phone 0402134097 to make an appointment.