What happened to your old energy? The energy that moved you through the day. The energy that made things easy, and stopped things ‘just piling up’. What happened to the days that left you with an appetite, the days which tired you and made you ready for sleep. What happened to days when you were out in the World and meeting people? What happened to the days when doing things was worthwhile, when there was a point to Life?
When these thoughts, feelings and behaviours persist or recur we, or others, start using words like ‘depressed’. You may even have been given a diagnosis of ‘Depression’.
Depression is a very personal weight. You may experience agitation or be consistently flat. You may be sleeping poorly, or sleeping all the time. You may have little appetite, or be eating more. People report a wide range of behaviours, thoughts and feelings.
The causes of your depression will be just as personal. There may well be underlying causes stretching way back into childhood, yet more immediate triggers like a recent loss or accident.
Counselling is a way to explore your depression in a safe and confidential environment. Your very personal and unique thoughts and feelings can be heard with empathy and acceptance. Counselling offers you a personal way through.
And in the meantime, whilst the benefits of a counselling approach are being built, there are things you can do to ease the pain – coping startegies.
The coping strategies around depression involve doing things – which can be quite a challenge. But activation is the key to coping. This self-activation is going to invite more positive feelings. Not doing is a way to keep the depression in place. Only one person can do your doing, and that’s you. Your symptoms will ease when you decide to do some doing. A positive cycle follows, where more doing is then an option.
- Exercise increases our energy levels and acts to regulates our appetite and sleeping. Taking a twenty minute walk is a very positive decision to make. But even if walking isn’t a possibility, being outside is a step forward. What’s also useful is a certain ‘way of being’ when you’re out there. Can you shift your frame of reference from an ‘internal’ going-over the same old thoughts & feelings to ‘noticing’ what’s around you in your outdoors environment?
- Connect with others – connect with someone who, generally, has a higher energy level than you. Meeting is best, but a short ‘phone call or even a text message can be useful. Remember, this is an opportunity to ask about them, and their life too. Again, the focus is away from your persistent thoughts and feelings.
- You deserve to have positive experiences – allow yourself to have them! Meeting a friend for a chat, a new zingy shower gel, a long soak in the bath, seeing the latest film…
- The outer layers of our lives – our garden, our home, our bedding, our clothes, our hair – are what we offer to the World first. Keeping on top of these things invites feelings of being OK. Letting them slip invites feelings of being ‘not OK’.
- Watch out for those widespread psychoactive substances that impact mood – tobacco, alcohol and caffeine need to be used carefully if your mood is low or you’re experiencing anxiety. Street drugs can be even more impactful.
- If your GP has prescribed medication for your depression then this is also a useful coping strategy.
- Making any decision to help yourself – whatever that means for you – breaks the cycle of negativity.
Getting to the cause of your persistent or recurring low mood
As stated above, counselling is a way to explore your depression in a safe and confidential environment. Your unique experience of depression can be heard with empathy and acceptance, offering you a personal way through. Why not book an initial assessment session with a counsellor/therapist who is registered with a nationally recognised professional body (such as BACP or UKCP in the UK)?