The loss of a job or the breakup of a relationship, the death of a close friend or relative, the loss of a planned future or missed opportunity can cause us to reflect on our present situation and start to feel depressed and defeated, as if life has no point.
Sadness is a natural part of life; we have our ups and our downs, but what if the sadness doesn’t go away? What if it hangs around and starts to affect our sense of meaning?
Usually we bounce back, work out how we feel and move on, but sometimes we just can’t seem to put a brave face on. Feelings of hopelessness seem to hang around for days, weeks or even months. Depression sets in, crosses its legs and puts its ugly feet on the table.
If you suffer from depression, you may experience a multitude of things. You may start to find that things you used to enjoy no longer hold the same appeal as they used to and you lose your enthusiasm. You may find that whilst you used to previously enjoy a nutritious meal suddenly you find you no longer have the stomach for it.
Many depression sufferers experience a change in their sleeping patterns. You may start to find that you cannot sleep as well as you used to. You wake up in the middle of the night with anxious thoughts or find that you just don’t have the will to get up in the morning. Depression also affects confidence and self-worth. Individuals can start to feel guilty and a burden to those around them. Depression can affect concentration and you may find it difficult to focus, paying attention to any one thing becomes a real challenge.
Therapy can help in many ways; it can help you to start to identify some of the underlying issues that might be contributing to your depression, such as earlier life events and experiences. You can begin to consider patterns of behaviour that lead to depressive thoughts or thoughts that lead to depressive feelings. Depression can be a lonely experience and ultimately having someone to share the experience with, can help you feel less alone in your struggle and reassure you that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Image © Joe Penna