We often hear people speak of feeling depressed when faced with life’s difficulties and hurdles. The word ‘depressed’ is bandied about quite freely when people experience a low mood, feeling sad or down. For most of us, this low mood or unhappiness doesn’t last long and we are able and willing to seek support from friends and loved ones. We may try and distract ourselves by participating in some form of activity, meet up with a friend, exercise or a hobby. The thing that distinguishes a low mood, feeling unhappy, from depression is that someone who is experiencing depression lacks the interest and motivation to do any of these things. Everything may feel like a huge effort. Even getting out of bed in a morning or making a cup of tea. Rather than seek support from friends and family they may withdraw, becoming trapped within themselves.
Depression can be very isolating as without something ‘physical’ to see, friends and family may find it difficult to understand. This can increase feelings of hopelessness as constantly being misunderstood simply adds to the feeling of alienation. Some people explain it as being at the bottom of a dark pit or hole with no light and no energy to even attempt to get out.
There are many feelings and emotions that someone struggling with depression may experience. These include:
- lack of motivation
- feeling stuck/trapped
- overwhelming feeling of sadness
How can therapy help?
Seeking help can feel like an impossible task when you are feeling so low. The very thought of picking up the phone, or even writing an email can seem like an insurmountable task. Yet, gathering the courage to do this may be the key to escaping the ‘dark hole’.
Therapy can help you to explore deep emotions in a safe environment where your feelings will be valued, heard and acknowledged and where you will not feel judged. Building a trusting relationship with your therapist may be the first time you are able to connect with someone again. The relationship is a central element of therapy that can lead to you feeling able to explore painful circumstances from the past that may be influencing where you are at today. You may feel as though you don’t understand, nothing makes sense anymore. Therapy can help you to understand and make sense of your thoughts, feelings and emotions, gradually re-gaining the energy to begin the climb back up towards the warmth and light.