Depression, rumination and the internal process of healing

If you were going to take a journey, would you be happier if you had a known path and someone who was experienced to get the best out of the journey was walking alongside you? Your life won't get better by chance – only the right planned changes.


No more unchartered territory or leaving it to chance – you get to say what changes you want to make and experience a process of meaningful reflection and choice.

Resiliency is gained by experiencing difficulty and working through it. We don’t become stronger without pain. Any growth is by virtue and expansion. They do not refer to this experience as 'growing pains' without good reason. Mistakes of the heart can be very costly in the setbacks they bring. However, with the right counselling, you will overcome self-doubt or low self-worth. You will have access to someone to keep you going on those days you feel you want to quit.

Counselling provides the opportunity to look at why you want to make changes, what you would like to change and the tools you need to complete the task. How many times have you heard people ask "Why is my life so hard?" Is this statement fact or a concluded state of mind?

The problem starts once we begin to allow life challenges to erode us just as a frog in water. If you were to drop a frog in boiling water it would leap out. However, if you were to gently heat the water the frog would just eventually pass out (no frogs were harmed in this article!). However, how about you? Has life crept up on you? Are you becoming less and less active? Not getting the enjoyment you once did? Feeling flat and uninspired?

How do you plan your days or do you even get to the planning stage? Fail to plan then you plan to fail in the process of anxiety, inactivity and rumination. Is it time for a new plan of action in your life? Anxiety and depression can be an issue for many. You might get to the planning stage or have better days than others and then anxiety fills your plans with negative 'what-ifs?'

You need to turn those negatives around, flipping them into positives. Yes, what if something works for you? Unless you try you will never know. What if you could bring your life in line with your values the things you might seek from this life such as better relationships or more family time? Even just to feel a measure of joy or self-acceptance return to your life again.

Maybe you once had a goal but have now lost sight of it. Are you deep down still as invested in your goals if only you could awaken out of the current stress levels? My role is to encourage you to explore your positive decisions and support you in your grief.

Depression can take away any meaningful purpose in life.

Just like the frog, we can become slowly eroded in life. At first, it's just an inconvenience or a niggle but the longer we endure without the courage to stand up for what we need, the more acclimatised we become to the heat of negativity and being subjected to the decisions of others. You become less and less of the person you should be. You begin to disengage more and more and might well find yourself sitting at home ruminating on unresolved issues of the past eating away at you.

Depression builds up over time. It is very easy to fall into the cycle of depression, becoming caught up in increasing negative thoughts. When someone puts us down, we can begin to question if it's true. 

"Oh, it's OK" often becomes the disappointed reply. But is it OK to constantly sacrifice your own needs in the hope things will eventually work out? Do you feel happy to grab the occasional validation, feeling it is better than nothing at all?

What steps can you take to enhance your life today?

The more we suppress our real feelings, the further away we become from our true selves. We can end up asking "Why am I still emotionally invested in this relationship?" "Why do I do a job I hate so much?" and "Why do I allow people to treat me the way I do?"

Developing deep breathing and good meditation routines can be of great benefit. Just find a comfortable private place in your space. If a thought drifts in, acknowledge it but don’t cling to it. Let it pass. This way you are dealing with your feelings while not becoming weighed down or stuck. If you see the need for changes at an appropriate daily time, plan how to make them. 

With help, we can all be living our best life.

When you feel down flip the script instead of going into a self-criticising mode. Look for the positive in your strengths. Think of all the good things you have achieved with your kindness and reclaim ownership of yourself as a caring person. Begin to separate the negative self-image and develop a life of regular self-care practice. When you feel stress building within, hit the gym or go for a good walk.

Some may feel it's about developing the confidence to choose wisely having paid for past mistakes at a heavy price. When you develop, you learn to have boundaries. You learn to be open enough to be genuine but wise enough not to allow anyone to have enough room to use you. 

The energy of your mindset and how focused you feel will be set according to where you focus your attention. When was the last time you stopped to look at your life? Have you just become swallowed up by the routine? Are you still living in the past or forging a way forward? When you begin to value yourself you will discover the world will begin to value you. It is all in your hands and new skills can be learnt just as old unuseful ways of coping can be unlearnt. 

A new mindset is not just a fad. When you open your mind to something better the growth starts from the inside outwards. You get to write the script from the way you react to a stressful situation. When you grow, your enhanced thoughts will better manage your emotional regulation. Two questions we all need to ask ourselves:

  1. What will happen if change does occur?
  2. What happens if I remain the same?

When you begin to value yourself you will discover the world will begin to value you. 

Where do you want your focus? 

Focus on your actions and not those of others. It can become easy to compare ourselves to others and begin to feel we are missing out on life. Take pride in who you are and your heritage. If I asked you to name all the things you love, how far down the list would you place yourself?

Everything in your life begins with the quality of the relationship you build with yourself. In taking responsibility for your outlook, you are voting 'yes' to life both for you and those who care about you. Ask yourself if there are any changes you can make in your life to make life better for you and/or your family.

Learn to say 'no'

When you say 'no' it needs to be respected. Remember the times you lept at saying 'yes' because you felt it would win you approval and acceptance? People can only treat you the way you allow them to. Here's the good news: life is to be lived on your terms. You no longer have to say 'yes' to everything. When we say 'yes' to the things we want to do, we perform the task with a spirit of love. If we agree to say 'yes' to things we don’t want to do, we may feel negative emotions because we are not keeping to our true selves.

Tips for getting ahead after disappointment 

Pause before you speak.

Have you ever in the heat of the moment said something and it's out there? No matter how much you might want to you just cannot undo the action. Take your time learn to pause before you speak.

Set and respect boundaries

Set rules of appropriate responsive physical touch and contact.

Invest in those who invest in you

People who endorse that you have what it takes can work towards your goals with you. These are the ones who love you and do not use you for their benefit. No longer do you have to hang out for the crumbs of the table of those who only see your mistakes.

Share when you feel safe

Have fun and enjoy being in the moment. We all have something of value to bring to the table. Share when it feels safe and enjoy the moment. You might well be helping someone when they need it most.

Actively listen

And expect the same. If you are prepared to set time aside, you need to make sure you are shown the same respect. Watch for other people's actions not what they proclaim.

Trust your instinct

It will not let you down. It is hard-wired to the survival instinct of your ancestors.

Reserve the right to pull back

Reserve the right to pull back when you need to. Do not allow your anger to get the better of you. Step back if you need more time.

Things that hold you back are living in the past

The only thing we can take from the past is the lesson – anything else such as guilt or what others must have thought at the time creates negative self-defeating energy and traps you in the past. It is far better to acknowledge you no longer live there, you have moved on to a better place.    

Don't fear change 

Fearing change keeps you stuck and often withdrawn from engaging with life. You have to embrace life, it won't just come to you. Putting yourself down is a don’. For every negative thought you have about yourself, correct it with three positive things you know to be true about yourself. 

Don't allow past experiences to live in your head 

Never allow your past experiences or negative things others might have told you to take up rent-free space in the process of negative overthinking. Your message to yourself has to be one of healing and positive affirmation. "I can and I will get past this."

Don't please others at your own cost 

Above all else, remember to not seek out external validation by pleasing others at your own cost. Make peace with the past and yourself. Learn to develop a healthy and positive internal dialogue. It matters because it regulates your mindset for life. Remember, you are worth far more than being manipulated to suit the needs of others. Your place in life is at the table not catching the crumbs as they fall.

If you have read this far I am pleased you have found the article so interesting. You might feel that it resonates with you but it sounds like a lot of effort. At this point, I am not going to try and convince you any differently.

The questions that you must ask yourself are "What happens if I stay the same as I feel now?" "What happens if I embrace development?" With professional guidance, well, you will avoid the pitfalls and mistakes of the past and have a clear message to send out to the world in the future.

Are you currently going through a time of reshaping your life? It might certainly feel like a steep learning curve. Maybe you have a lot of questions and feelings of low self-worth. Maybe you ask yourself how you let it happen after a disappointing experience in recent memory. Your negative experiences are a lesson, they don’t have to be a life sentence. It can feel daunting to begin to rebuild your life but, with help, you will build back better than ever before. Confidence can be a real issue for many after being let down by someone or something you deeply once cared about. 

You can successfully rebuild your life with deeper wisdom and better self-protection of lasting change. If feelings of depression and/or anxiety are not going away and are still hurting you or preventing you from doing all the things you need or want to do, seek support. This can be found on my profile. I am happy for you to explore your requirements in a free discovery call. Begin to turn your life around with better authentic choices today. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London W6 & E14
Written by David Pender, MBACP, Integrative Psychotherapy | Anxiety Specialist
London W6 & E14

David Pender is an integrative counsellor and registered member of the BACP. David has extensive knowledge of anxiety, depression, and trauma. As a coach David has a range of tools to keep you engaged.

We are the sum total of our experiences. Those experiences – be they positive or negative – make us the person we are, at any given point

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