What are the two most common mental health problems today? Depression and Anxiety according to Mental Health Foundation . In my previous post, I answered the question about what is Anxiety, in this post, I would like to explore what is depression.
Depression is categorised as a feeling of low mood and energy, sadness, and hopelessness [2,3], to put it very simply. I will break down depression into its simplest form, I will describe each of the elements to help you understand it.
Low mood and energy
It is quite normal in life for our natural body rhythms to have highs and lows, however these could be related to season, hormones or weather, but it could also be situational, new baby, new job, moving home, or a work deadline. Feeling low could also be from being rather busy, thinking or worrying too much, or something that is overwhelming you. On the other side, you could get a high mood, from anticipation of holiday, completion of something or perhaps looking forward to something. It is important to try and understand your body and minds but also other aspects, that could be influencing you. For example, some may feel high when busy and low when quiet, and some will feel high when quiet and low when busy or even some may feel high when challenged, but another may feel low when challenged.
Sadness, is feeling unhappy. If you are happy you feel content and pleasure, therefore, being unhappy is not feeling satisfied and melancholy. If you are low in mood and energy, how would you feel? Would you feel satisfied, would you be keeping up with everything, would you feel pleasure?
If you are melancholic, you are thinking sad thoughts, or negative thoughts. Did you know that self-confidence is a result of your thoughts towards how YOU THINK OTHERS perceive you? If you are sad, you will have sad thoughts, therefore your self-confidence will be low, and you will have no motivation and will power. All of these will contribute to low mood and low energy. A bit like the negative thought cycle of anxiety, which is also why depression and anxiety can be closely linked.
Hopelessness, is the result of low mood and energy, sadness and low confidence and most also being hopeless. Something to remember is this is JUST a feeling. It does NOT mean YOU are hopeless. If you are feeling hopeless, you feel stuck, trapped, in darkness..
Depression is different for everyone, like stress, depression is specific to the person and situation together. No one can tell you how to cheer yourself up, or to overcome it. Most people probably will not even understand why you feel this way, but also, you could not really be aware of why. Unfortunately, the only one that can help, is YOU.
A counsellor is taught how to look out for depressive symptoms with the excessive use of the word I, however, have you ever noticed how depressed people are focused on themselves? Why do you think this is? Think of the negative box, or some people call it a black box. In trauma counselling, they advise you when supporting someone who is suffering, to let them process the information. They may talk about the same things over and over and over, it’s what they need to do. People with depression need to find a way to open their box, this is why they talk about it, or themselves so much. So how do you open the box and progress out?
Opening the black box
To open the black box, you need to look at the influences on your body and mind. Know where you are now and what bought you here. Do not let negative thoughts take over (sadness and melancholy). Keep yourself active, as best you can and don’t give up. Know the activities that will lift your mood. If you lift your mood, your energy levels improve. Understand what you can do to get out the box, whether it is to get help, move jobs, lesson your work load, balance your life, or whatever in your life that is contributing to your depression. It will not happen quickly, it’s a process, so keep going even if the results do not reflecting immediately.
Also, do not expect anything, because that will not happen, appreciate what you receive, then you will receive many things.
 Mental Health Foundation statistics extracted 24-06-2019 from https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics/mental-health-statistics-most-common-mental-health-problems
 Mental Health Foundation Depression extracted 24-06-2019 from https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/d/depression
 Mind Org Depression extracted 24-06-2019 https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/depression/symptoms/#.XRDX2497nIU