Depression is a terrible and debilitating condition that affects many people at some point in their lives. Symptoms can include a strong sense of hoplessness and helplessness, feelings of emptiness and despair,a loss of interest in things that used to bring meaning and pleasure into their lives. Negative thoughts driven by guilt, anxiety and/or anger spin repetitively in their heads. Constant exhaustion and poor sleep patterns mean it is impossible to motivate themselves or to concentrate on simple tasks. Many have suicidal thoughts and impulses. The world is viewed through a dark and grey lens.
Although people with depression typically feel emotionally flat, research and neuroscience show that a person in the depths of depression is actually experiencing some very strong emotions. Levels of emotional arousal are high.
Depression tends to start when something goes wrong in our lives (usually a significant loss of some kind, such as, job, health, a relationship breakdown, bereavement), which means that our emotional needs are not being met. This causes anxiety, a lack of perspective and emotional ‘all or nothing’ thinking. This in turn affects our sleep patterns, leading to exhaustion and an increasing drift to withdraw into ourselves.
When I work with people who are depressed, I will always start by focusing on getting their high levels of emotional arousal down, identifying which emotional needs are not being met and tackling those unhelpful thinking patterns. Working with the client I will then come up with a strategy to rebalance sleep patterns and so eliminate the constant problem of exhaustion. This helps clients regain enough energy and motivation to restart engaging with normal life ,bringing that all important sense of confidence and meaning back into their life.