Depression – getting your life back
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Trish Walker MBACP(Accred), PG.Dip.Couns, M.Phil., B.Sc.Psych.,
12th November, 20120 Comments
Depression can sometimes gradually creep up on us and reach a tipping point where we feel completely overwhelmed – all the joy has gone from life leaving us unmotivated / lacking in concentration, tearful / sad, exhausted, anxious / worried, frustrated, angry, or low in self-esteem.
Do you feel that no one can help?
Family, friends and colleagues may want to be supportive, but it may feel that your depression is unreachable and you cannot tell people or do not want to burden them. It may even seem that your relatives and friends are making the situation worse by failing to understand what you are going through and say thoughtless things like ‘snap out of it’ and stop being ‘selfish’.
It is important for find someone you can trust and talk with openly, when you feel ready. Many people go to their GP who will discuss symptoms and make a diagnosis. Doctors frequently prescribe anti-depressants as a treatment for depression. However, many people do not want to take anti-depressants until they have explored all other avenues or they may feel that anti-depressants alone are not enough or that drugs will not change the underlying way that they feel. Sometimes, GPs may suggest a talking therapy such as counselling to support people in addressing the root of their problems.
How counselling can help
Every person is unique and so the circumstances leading to their depression are never the same. However, whatever the cause there are certain key ways of addressing depression by counselling.
Counselling is known as the ‘talking cure’. We all know the saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ and being with someone who is 100% focused on your needs and can provide a warm, understanding, non-judgemental environment is something most people can never hope to experience outside the therapy room.
Unlike friends and family, a counsellor will respect how serious the impact of depression can be and that you cannot just ‘snap out of it’. Instead they will try to understand what you are going through and encourage you to express your painful emotions and to own the way that you are feeling.
Counselling can be a ‘journey of discovery’. Clients frequently begin to uncover issues and emotions lying deep within themselves; often rooted way back in childhood of which they had not been fully aware This discovery can provide the key to unlock the causes of the depression by allowing the client to process or ‘work through’ these issues with the gentle, warm support of a counsellor.
For some people, depression may be anger turned inwards; a counsellor can help you to discover this and enable you to find ways of safely releasing this anger.
Counselling is also about being gently challenging in addition to being supportive. A good counsellor will encourage you to explore your issues in a new way and to look at things from different perspectives. This can enable you to find your own solutions in a way that is right for you rather than just being given advice.
Also, via understanding what triggers your depression, you may be helped to recognise the warning signs and take appropriate action. A counsellor can encourage you to maintain your balance by having a healthy lifestyle which is right for you and prevents you sinking into depression in future.
Many clients are amazed that it is possible to ‘get their life back’ and ‘become their old self’ or even to ‘get a new better life’ ‘become a new woman/man’ via counselling and wish they had tried it years ago.
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