Out of the shadows: overcoming depression
What is depression? It is far more than a sense of unhappiness. We all have periods when we feel low, but depression is a debilitating, persistent sadness that can last for months.
To the uninformed, it might seem that depression is something we ought to be able to shake off. Many sufferers have experienced well-meaning but deeply unhelpful comments from family and friends who fail to recognise that depression is a serious health condition.
Suggestions like, “You’ve got to be strong. Pull yourself together. Get a grip,” cause great distress.
Depression comes with wide array of symptoms. A therapist will be interested to know if you have experienced any of the following:
- Persistent feelings of sadness.
- Losing interest in things you usually enjoy.
- Feeling tearful.
- Symptoms of anxiety.
- Feeling unusually tired.
- Poor sleeping.
- Changes in your appetite.
- Reduced sex drive.
- Aches and pains.
It is important to note that a sufferer may experience only a few of these symptoms. One person’s experience of depression may be quite different from another’s. Mild depression can manifest as a persistent low mood, while at the other end of the spectrum, the illness might lead to suicidal thoughts. If you suspect you are suffering from depression, contact your GP.
There is no one single cause for depression. It can arise spontaneously, without a trigger. For other suffers, a life event may bring on the illness: the loss of a loved one, redundancy, or giving birth, for example. Individuals with a history of depression in their family are more vulnerable to the condition.
Depression is a common illness; one in ten people will suffer from it at some point in their lives. It can affect children too; studies suggest that nearly one in twenty children of school age have symptoms of anxiety and depression.
So how can we get well again? GPs can offer medication, and this is something you might want to discuss with your doctor or pharmacist. A variety of talking therapies are available too.
In solution focused hypnotherapy we begin by looking at what is going right in your life; by concentrating on the positive, we begin to retrain our brains to look for the good.
We remind ourselves that serotonin, the neurotransmitter most associated with a sense of well-being, is created in response to positive and enjoyable physical activity, positive social interaction, and positive thinking. We look for ways we might increase these behaviours in our lives.
Through an understanding of the benefits of REM sleep and the debilitating impact of an excess of REM, we take steps to maximise beneficial sleep – nature’s way of discharging stress.
We ask ourselves, how would I know if I was getting better? If a miracle occurred, and tomorrow I was feeling well, what would be different? What might I be doing? We then consider what small steps we might take to bring us just a bit closer to that wonderful goal.
Hypnosis is a natural, complementary therapy that can work in conjunction with medical treatment. During hypnosis, your mind enters a deep, healing period of relaxation. Guided imagery, metaphor and thought-provoking stories prompt our minds into developing unique strategies to overcome our challenges.
The real you, hopeful, happy and relaxed, can emerge from the shadows – depression can be put in the past and life can be deeply enjoyed once again.
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About Jon Creffield
Jon Creffield (HPD, DHP, DSFH) is a CNHC registered solution focused hypnotherapist specialised in using relaxation, guided imagery and metaphor to help clients achieve life-enhancing changes. He is a member of the National Council For Hypnotherapy and the Association For Solution Focused Hypnotherapy.