What's the point of talking?
You are bogged down in feelings of despair or depression. Even getting out of bed in the morning feels like a gargantuan task. Getting through the day ahead with the inevitable tasks involved seems like climbing a mountain that you have no energy or inclination to climb. Life just feels like one long walk through treacle right now. You feel trapped in some kind of prison and there is no way out.
You are frustrated because on some days you may have a bit more energy and a little more motivation, only to find that on the following day, you are back where you started. You think about seeing a counsellor but then you convince yourself that trying to do anything to change things seems futile. You might just about have the energy to talk to a counsellor on a good day, but even then, there’s a little voice that says ‘what’s the point and what is talking about things going to do for me anyway?’
The first step is arguably the hardest step
These doubts about the benefits of talking are really common. They can be symptoms of despair as well as feeders of despair. They can keep you stuck where you don’t want to be. They can also keep you safe from that scary feeling of telling someone how you really feel.
Here's how I see talking as being helpful
If you talk to someone who sees, hears, values and accepts your feelings, it opens up a little space for hope to take root. Hope can be an antidote to depression.
Stay with the feelings
If the person you are talking to is able to acknowledge and be with you when you are feeling distress and pain, is able to sit with you and let the feelings be, without running or resisting or trying to solve things, it can allow you to feel it. When we feel our feelings head on, something subtle happens and a window for change opens.
Saying things out loud to another person sometimes lets us hear ourselves in a way that just thinking about things doesn’t. As we hear ourselves afresh, we become more aware of how we are feeling, thinking and behaving. This can be a revelation to us and can help us to begin a process of change.
When we talk to another person, sometimes their response gently challenges the way that we are seeing things and helps us to see that perhaps there are alternatives
A skilled listener on hearing your story may ask you the odd question, which may just get you to think about your situation in a slightly different way.
I believe that talking to the right person for you, can bring about change in a gradual evolutionary way. It doesn’t often happen overnight, which can be frustrating. But in my opinion, slow change is often lasting change.
Related articles from our experts
- Treating depression with talking therapy
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- Depression - how do you recognise it? How is it caused and how to get help?
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- Depression and hope
Tom Keely16th January, 2017
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