Depression is a feeling that can occupy every one at some point in time. To be able to manage and overcome depression you need to first understand the causes of depression and how to fight depression. Negative feelings of unhappiness, worry and frustration are common to all people. We feel disappointment after a failure or sorrow after a separation or a loss. These negative feelings are normal and do not affect significantly our ability to meet our daily obligations. You might even say that it is also useful to the extent that they help us to better understand some of our weaknesses. Sorrow can train us so that we can face adversity that may occur later in life in a dynamic way. The self-knowledge arising from the negative experiences helps us to make the effort to change ourselves in order to avoid future negative consequences of immature behaviour.
When the grief instead of decreasing by time it becomes more intense and lasts more than two weeks, and hinders the normal activities of our life such as work, diet, sleep and our close relations, then it is likely that we suffer from depression and we need the help of a specialist to deal with it. The major characteristic of depression is not the presence of negative feelings, but the great intensity and long duration.
What are the symptoms of Depression?
- Continuing grief
- Loss of energy and exhaustion
- More or less appetite for food
- More or less sleep
- Trends isolation, social withdrawal
- Stress, anxiety, indecision
- Frustration, indifference
- Loss of interest in the search for erotic partner or for sex.
- Feelings of guilty,
- Moodiness, for the most part of a day almost every day
- Reduction of interest or pleasure in all or almost all activities
- Concerns and pessimism for the future.
- Sometimes thoughts about death and suicide
Major causes of depression are:
When a person is predisposed to depression, we often observe the phenomenon of oversimplification. The key to this situation is that the person feels that if something bad is going to happen, this will happen again and again.
In such cases the person consciously or unconsciously sees in anything happening much more bad than good. For example, while it may have achieved something significant and important, does not enjoy the fruits of the success, but remains focused in the minor problems that accompanied his effort to achieve its objective.
All or nothing
In this way of thinking, the person considers any difficult situation or problem as a personal failure. Even small mistakes, are regarded as big problems way more than their actual dimensions. The result may be a tendency for perfection that is often counterproductive by creating more negative thoughts that lead to depression.
Reaching into the wrong conclusions
For a person with negative thoughts and predisposition for depression, anything happening is forecasting problems and negative developments. Changes in the behaviour of other people or changes in the environment, that can be consider normal, in the thoughts of the person with depression are evidence that something bad happens that has to do with him.
Feeling guilty for everything is happening
The person that is trapped in the vicious cycle of depressive thoughts, for whatever goes wrong, it takes the responsibility. This feeling of guilt is also present when the person has not done anything wrong.
In this situation, there is a tendency to believe that even if the person achieves something, it is only a percentage of what was possible. Thus a success loses its real value, there is no pleasure and the positive are converted to negative.
Negative thoughts that a person can have for himself, the continuous self-strict and pessimistic predictions of the future, affect the perception of how really his life is.
Often people with depression, because of their particular way of thinking, even when they achieve something very important, they experience it as a failure. They also consider an obstacle or difficulty as a personal failure.
This pessimistic approach makes them see everything as black and hopeless. Even if they are successful and have enviable results in life, they are locked in a trap of negative thoughts torturing them leading to the dead ends of their depression.
The way of thinking and respond to situations we face every day, is a key element in the genesis of depression.
Our thoughts have a key role in shaping our mood. The tendency to see the more negative side of things than the rest, can reach the point that it remove any pleasure from our lives.
Maximizing the significance of problems
In this way of thinking, this person is detained by the excessive importance, which he believes that even minor problems have. This overvaluation of problems drives the person that may be predisposed to depression, to the vicious circle of black thoughts.
Here, the person believes that his psychological disposition reflects his real value. Basically this leads to wrongly believe that he feels bad because he is a bad character.
Giving more attention to errors
In life we all make mistakes, others a few others more. When giving more attention to errors, the person that is predisposed to depression, focuses his attention primarily on the number of errors he has made. At the end acquires a negative image, a resin, for him self. It is not easy to free someone from a resin even when its own self imposes it.
The pressures from ‘I have to do this’
In this situation, the person is always thinking what it should do or should not do. As a result of this by the end of the day he is literally buried by the endless mass of commitments. In addition people with this form of thoughts, too often they also concentrate their attention on what other people should do and what they should not do. This situation increases their bitterness and frustration and also affects the behaviour of the other people in their environment.
These considerations may exist in varying degrees of severity. People with depression may each have their own characteristics and ways of thinking.
Feeling of weakness
The problem is that when we suffer from depression we feel that nothing can satisfy us. Even when we know what could improve our mood, we cannot do it. Knowledge alone cannot liberate us. We know what we should do to feel better but simply we cannot do it. The advice we get from our friends and family is unnecessary and futile. Even when we agree with them on what they proposed on how we could feel better it is impossible for us to do something that could help us. What we feel more than anything else is our inability to wish something, or be inspired by something and pay attention to it.
Our mental mechanism that helps us to create meaningless links with reality is lost. It has disrupted our ability to want and try to fulfil our wishes. We know what should normally interest us but we are not interest to it.
We know what normally we like but we do not like it. We know what it is we should be doing but we cannot do. We know what the others want from us, but we cannot respond. We do not hope that at some time will feel better. We have lost the hope or the best hope ceased to function within us. Depression does not allow at this stage of our life to hope. There is no hope in us that could mobilize the therapeutic change.
Precisely because it has disrupted our ability to seek what is good for us and for others, we feel guilty and blame ourselves for what we cannot succeed. We are trapped between the weakness and guilt. We feel inferior, reduced, deserving and useless.
But it is impossible to free us from the trap of depression only with our own conscious efforts. The more we try the more we feel that we can do it.
How can we overcome from depression?
Depression can certainly be tackled with the help of a specialist. The advice he can provide is essential. The medication that will recommend if necessary, among other things, aims to correct those biological mechanisms in the brain that promotes depression.
Alongside, changing the way of thinking of the person who suffers from depression may have beneficial long-term protective effects against depression.
This is not easy. Takes time, effort and often it needs help from experts in cognitive behavioural therapy.
In what ways can I help myself?
Acceptance of weakness
Since we cannot help ourselves and all the efforts we make are not successful, the best we can do is to accept this weakness. Rather than trying violently to change ourselves, we should come to terms with what we are, with what we feel and what we can do.
Depression will eventually go away us but we cannot predict with certainty when exactly this will happen. Our therapeutic progress will depend on many factors. There is no need to try to change what we cannot change it. Each time we do the best we can to help ourselves. But we should also quietly accept our inability. Accept the fact that we are in a state of depression and harmoniously live with it until we get rid of it. We do not like depression, but we also understand that it is pointless to dynamically fighting it at this stage of our lives because we lack strength, determination and competitiveness. We accept as calm as we can what is happening within us and around us and we wait our forces to return so that we can again behave dynamically.
The recording of negative thoughts
To achieve the control of negative thoughts that can trap us in a vicious cycle of depression, it is extremely important to be able to recognize those reasons, which artificially are leading us deeper into depression.
A good technique is to record daily for a period of time your negative thoughts. Then you can devote twenty minutes every day for the purpose of identification, registration and examination of negative thoughts. The recording of your negative thoughts to paper and their examination is the catalyst that will allow you to classify and understand why they lead you to bad mental state and thus depression.
This systematic pursuit along with the recording of emotions accompanying negative thoughts as we have described above, can help too. When you record these things on the paper they take a different view, not as terrible as when the negative thoughts in your mind.
By recognizing the negative way of thinking we can intervene, and take corrective actions ourselves from the genesis of it, thereby interrupting the vicious cycle that leads to depression.
Despite the fact that we have every reason to avoid the excessive use of drugs, in our case the antidepressants are a very good solution. Because we can with our own forces help ourselves, we allow science to help us with the use of appropriate medicines.
The antidepressants affect the brain and nerve cells. More specifically they change the action of chemicals (neurotransmitter), which is used by the nerve cells to communicate with each other.
The antidepressants are relatively harmless drugs. They do not cause dependence, no significant side effects and may offer us much help. The goal should not be to resolve our problem quickly and completely, but to give our self the opportunity to feel better. Any use of antidepressants should always be after the advice and prescription of a specialist doctor.
Psychotherapy – Advisory
Depression shows us that we have problems on a deeper level we have to face. This is not a simple disease but a form of communication for a message that must decoded.
It is in our interest to treat depression as a cause of self-improvement and as an incentive for change in our mental world and our relations.
The psychotherapists can help us to understand the psychological reasons that contribute to the creation of depressive feelings and support us in the course of our therapeutic change.
The psychotherapy can help us:
- To investigate thoughts and behaviours that help to create feelings of frustration and guilt that accompany or are at the root of depression.
- To understand which of the problems that concern us can be solved and how to live harmonious with problems we cannot solve.
- To improve our relations with our favourite people
- To introduce gradually in our lives enjoyable activities that can awake the joy in our life.
- Let us express the real feelings when we really want to communicate even when they are negative. (Anger, boredom, aggression, sorrow).
- To support our choices in our values and our own desires
- To regain control of our lives
- To put realistic goals for the future that can give us meaning and to take the risk and responsibility of these goals
The more severe the depression is torturing us, the more difficult it is to be able to feel better after a meeting with psychotherapy. This is because depression itself does not leave us to feel better, to see ourselves more optimistic, in a hope to change. For the same reason we cannot get help from our people nor our family environment. Whatever they tell us we consider it as something wrong. We only see the bad side of things.
The psychotherapist does not want to just make us feel better but wants to help us change ourselves for the best.
The more healthy and strong we are, the easier is to work with the help of psychotherapy to work on a deeper level with our internal world to know ourselves better and to learn techniques to cope with negative thoughts and feelings. The self knowledge and the cultivation of our psychological skills will help us to correctly handle the internal and external constraints in order to avoid repetition in the future, never again another depressing season.
But it is very important that we develop techniques for self-monitor and self-control in order to manage our thoughts and thus improve our mood. Such an achievement has so much to offer to us while protecting us from depression, especially for people who have the most risk from it.