The Rabbit Hole; Depression.

Updated: Feb 23

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

Feeling lonely and isolated

Decreased energy and drive

Sadness; lots and lots of sadness

Excessive crying, mood swings and guilt.

Alcoholism, using recreational drugs or risk taking behaviours

Feelings of being "stuck". Enjoying one thing, then feeling empty all over again...

Trouble falling asleep...

...Or too much sleeping to "escape" reality

Fantasising suicide and creating an action plan to die.

If so, I invite you to ask yourself how long you have been feeling this way?

Two weeks? Two days? Two years?

If you said yes to any one of those symptoms mentioned above more than 5 times and answered either two weeks or two years to the second question, you are most likely experiencing a depressive episode.

Depression is often mistaken by people simply feeling "blue". Being in a state of depression is extremely complex and much deeper than simply feeling sad for a prolonged period of time. In fact, depression CAN in every way stop you from doing everyday things like showering and brushing your teeth. People who suffer from depression have a very distorted way of making sense of the world they perceive. Depressed individuals have often "checked-out", or are no longer emotionally present.

It is extremely important that if you do know someone who is experiencing signs and symptoms of depressive behaviour that you support them as best as you can offer.

One of many ways you can do this to help a loved one fight the weight of the depressive state is:

-Validate their feelings and remind them that their feelings matter. Depression is a true, real experience. It exists even though we can not see it. Normal functioning people do not spontaneously isolate themselves from what they love, chances are that they have simply been struggling to cope with things for a long time on their own.

-Offer them your support, and remind them that you will not give up on them even if they have given up on themselves. Depression can be a lonely place to be, it isn't just a state of mind. Depression can lead to many forms of other mental health issues such as anxiety and eating disorders. Support is certainly not limited to counselling as a supporting network, a loving friend or family member can also be an immense support to someone suffering from depression.

-Check up on someone you suspect might be depressed. Did you know that most depressed people are painfully great at hiding their depression? It might be that your dear friend declines socialising a bit more than usual, or that you notice your colleague missing substantial amount of days at work. Slight changes that you pick up can indicate a problem. So show them you care by simply asking ARE YOU OK?

-Never make a depressed person guilty for what they are experiencing. Depression can get in the way of an individuals self-worth, success and quality of life. Offer them unconditional support, and ease them into normality.

-Encourage your loved one or friend to reach out to the right services that will offer them support to beat the depression. Seeking help from a professional is the best way to combat depression and you will learn long term coping skills that actually work.

The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the growth of a severely depressed client that I first encounter and to watching them evolve into a happier healthier version of themselves through our counselling journey.

#depression #hope

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