The secret to overcoming depression
One of my motivations for writing this post is the number of clients who have sought my help to overcome depression, because despite having been on anti depressants for many years, are still depressed.
If you are reading this blog it’s likely that you are one of millions of people who are on these anti depressant drugs, yet still asking the question ‘how do I cope with depression?’.
Signs or symptoms of depression
It’s natural for us to experience feeling low from time to time. But there is a difference between feeling low and constantly lacking motivation for life. If you feel miserable, find yourself locked in a cycle of negative thoughts about yourself and the world, wake up feeling exhausted despite thinking you have been asleep and struggle to muster up the energy to do anything that in the past you may have enjoyed, you have a form of depression.
The reasons you have become depressed may be varied. Perhaps you have been feeling anxious about something going on it your life such as a change in job, trouble in a relationship or worry about a future event. Maybe you have been feeling like life has lost it’s sense of purpose and you are locked in a cycle of work, home, eat, sleep, work, home, eat, sleep. Perhaps you find yourself comparing your life to others and feel like you are getting left behind. Or maybe you have low self esteem and are constantly worrying about what people think about you and what you think about yourself.
Whatever the reason, what I can tell you is depression is not biological or hereditary. No gene for depression has ever been found. I can also tell you that you can recover from depression with the right help and support. It’s no good your friends and family telling you to ‘snap out of it’ because the chances are, if that was the answer, you would have already done it!
The fact is that the rates of depression have increased significantly, and mirrors the change in our modern day evolution. As I talked about in my interview with the Metro, we are on a technology treadmill, always connected to some form of device and social media site. Yet in many ways, we are more disconnected than ever.
How do I cope with depression? The secret to overcoming depression
Many anti depressant drugs are known as SSRI’s (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). Effectively they are designed to mimic the production of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is the natural internal chemical that is responsible for regulating your mood, energy levels, appetite and libido.
During deep sleep serotonin gets produced. When you dream the production of serotonin stops. Depression brings with it a ruminating mind. A cycle of negative thoughts, feeling anxious and constant worrying means that the brain needs to spend longer in the dream state to ‘dream out’ your emotions. This will impact on your bodies ability to get the deep sleep it needs to produce serotonin. When you are in the ‘dream’ sleep known as REM (Rapid Eye Movement) you are in a paradoxical state of sleep, so are not actually asleep, but conscious. This is why you also wake up feeling exhausted.
You don’t have to cope with depression. The secret to overcoming depression is to get your serotonin levels back up, the natural way, as many of my clients have found from working with me.
One particular client Jackie*, had been feeling depressed for years. Jackie was constantly exhausted and at the point where she struggled to answer the most basic of questions her clients would ask her. She had also recently lost her father and was having to cope with her own emotions and those of her Mums, which she found an even further drain on her own resources and ability to function.
Having been recommended to me by her Sister, Jackie came along to see me. While there was evidence she was depressed, I could see straight away the cause of the depression. I began by explaining to Jackie what was happening in her brain to make her feel the way she did. This in itself was a great relief to Jackie because she was able to see there was hope. I could also see that Jackie had some great internal resources that I could utilise into her subconscious mind to help her over come her negative way of thinking. In just one session we processed the memory of an event which Jackie was subconsciously still holding onto which was holding her brain in a negative pattern. I used EFT (emotional freedom technique) to help Jackie manage her Mum’s emotions in a way they didn’t back fire on her and together we looked at what was going well in Jackie’s life that she could do more of to make her feel good.
Jackie loved the way we didn’t spend hours looking at the problem or what was going wrong in her life like some forms of counselling may have done, and came back the following week saying that she’d had the best nights sleep she had in years after the first session.
In the second (and final!) session we continued to work on what was going well in Jackie’s life, effectively changing the way she viewed her life. Jackie sent me an email a few weeks later saying how great she was feeling. In only two sessions, we had turned how she felt and thought about things from negative to positive, creating a direct impact on her production of serotonin which is heavily influenced by how you think and feel. We had calmed down her ruminating mind, causing her to sleep better, so she was getting the deep sleep her body needed. We were able to utilise her inner resources and anchor these so she could remind herself of them when she needed a boost. Clearing the upsetting memory from her childhood allowed her emotional brain to function, resulting in her being able to think more clearly, be more focused and productive at work and have more energy.
Jackie had wanted to know ‘how do I cope with depression’, but as her story tells you, you don’t have to cope with depression, you can overcome it.
* Name changed
If you feel you need help working through depression, Sara can work with you over Skype or 1 -1 to help you move forward with your life. Email her at email@example.com to make an appointment.
Sara Maude is an Edinburgh Hypnotherapist, Solution-Focused Psychotherapist, EFT Practitioner, Transformational Coach and International Wellbeing Trainer providing in-person and online sessions. Sara provides problem-free therapy which goes deep into the heart of the unconscious mind to create powerful lasting change.