Depression - Behind The Mask
A look at the reality of life with depression
More than just ‘sadness’
More than just ‘sadness’, depression is a debilitating illness typically characterised by intense emotions, dark and negative thoughts (especially about oneself) and feelings of isolation, helplessness, worthlessness, hopelessness, self-loathing, guilt and a sense of complete detachment and disconnection from reality. There are many forms, ranging from mild to severe and it is often experienced in conjunction with other disorders, such as anxiety. If you recognise any of these signs within yourself, please do not be afraid to seek help.
And if you didn’t think depression could have a physical impact, think again! All these negative emotions may originate in the mind but ultimately take their toll physically. Negative emotions trigger chemical reactions in the body, which can lead to a weakened immune system, chronic fatigue, lethargy and increased aches and pains. Other physical effects include disturbances in mood, sleep and sex drive, changes in appetite and weight, loss of energy, difficulties motivating oneself, apathy and poor concentration.
What causes it and who can it affect?
Given the frantic pace of the world today and the hectic lifestyles forced upon us, it is perhaps not surprising that depression is so prevalent in today’s society. Thought to be primarily due to a lack of the chemical Serotonin in the brain, depression will commonly have some external trigger and be brought on by some circumstance or life event, such as unemployment, bereavement, financial, health or family/relationship problems or, in the case of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the time of year. This more common type of depression is known as ‘Reactive Depression.’ Alternatively, there may be no apparent cause whatsoever, the depression seeming to come from within oneself; known as ‘Endogenous Depression.’ However, the theory that depression can be categorised in this way and labelled as being either ‘reactive’ or ‘endogenous’ in origin, is losing favour. It is now more commonly believed that both genetic history and environment play a part; i.e. both nature and nurture. And depression can strike anyone, be they rich or poor, famous or unknown and regardless of factors such as sex, intelligence, religion and ethnicity.
What are the signs?
So how can you tell if a person is depressed? Quite simply, you can’t! In any case, a typical sufferer will be adept at putting on a ‘mask of normality’ so as not to stand out or draw attention and just fit in with the crowd. And of course, this in itself carries its own stresses and strains.
Additionally, since it is often still not seen as socially acceptable to openly discuss mental health issues such as depression, sufferers are unlikely to open up and tell you about their struggle. However, there are some tell-tale signs to look out for. These may include; a tendency to withdraw and isolate from others and social situations, a general disinterest or apathy in events, apparent chronic fatigue or tiredness, inability to concentrate effectively and retain information and a decline in work performance.
Misunderstanding and stigma
I find it disheartening that, even in this modern age, so much misunderstanding and stigma still surrounds this common condition. Many refuse to believe what they cannot see. Yet albeit invisible, depression is just as real as the air that we breathe; just as real as a broken bone or any physical illness that may beset us. And just as debilitating and devastating to the sufferer and their family. But those who have never suffered often struggle or even refuse to understand, regarding the sufferer as ‘weak’, dismissing symptoms as being ‘all in the mind’ and telling their loved one to ‘pull themselves together’. Such comments are not only unhelpful but can actually aggravate matters, pushing the sufferer further into feelings of isolation, hopelessness and despair. And maybe, given that the neurochemical Serotonin may have a large part to play, it really is in the mind, yet why should that make it any less real; any less valid?
Curative Hypnotherapy – The light at the end of the tunnel
Unlike standard therapies and treatments that help a person to ‘manage’ their symptoms through various coping strategies and techniques, Curative Hypnotherapy seeks to get to the root cause of the problem and correct this – permanently.
As we go through life, we are rather like sponges, absorbing and soaking up all sorts of information about ourselves, other people and our environment. Through the lens of our own individual and unique perception, this information is filtered, interpreted and then stored in our subconscious. And it is this interpreted information that will ultimately go on to form our beliefs. Yet sometimes our interpretations are incorrect, inaccurate or faulty in some way. Nonetheless, they are stored and lie dormant in the subconscious without issue… until that is, some trigger comes along.
Gentle yet highly effective, Curative Hypnotherapy aims to correct that crucial piece of misinformation, rather like correcting a faulty line of code in a computer programme. With the cause corrected, the faulty belief(s) can be changed and, since there will then be no reason or need for the symptom, this will then be disposed of naturally and effortlessly; for good.
© Wendy Mitcham 2015
'If you know someone who’s depressed please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather.' [Stephen Fry]