What's at the heart of your depression?
Depression is a debilitating condition. Low mood that goes on and on, with seemingly no end. Disturbed sleep. Having no energy. Wanting to withdraw. Having no appetite, overeating, or erratically swinging between the two. Not being able to concentrate. Feeling like you are going through the motions and nothing means anything any more. Suffering dark thoughts about ending your suffering. Yes, depression is awful to live through.
These symptoms can be completely overwhelming, dominating your experience of life and taking up all of your thinking capacity. Often, when depressed clients feel so poorly, the temptation is to focus on the symptoms and what you can do in the here and now to alleviate them. You may hear exhortations to make sure you have a routine, to eat properly, to have social contact, to exercise, and to do more.
All of this is sound advice, and it may well help with the symptoms of depression. On the other hand, there is something deeper at play here. Depression does not just happen, it has roots and reasons.
Exploring what has prompted the onset of depression, sitting with the profound sadness, the internalised anger, the intense guilt, or whatever else is at the heart of your symptoms is crucial to genuine recovery. Without this, a cycle of improvement and then recurrent depression is a distinct possibility.
Counselling is an important part of exploring what has happened, and how you are feeling about yourself as a result. Releasing the emotions that may be hidden inside, and updating your feelings about yourself may well hold the key to moving on from depressive symptoms for the long term.