Hello darkness my old friend

Depression is the number 1 mental health condition across the world and nearly 20% of people in the UK suffer from depression and/or anxiety.¹

Depression is a low mood that lasts for a long time, and affects your everyday life.  In its mildest form, depression can mean just being in low spirits. It doesn’t stop you leading your normal life but makes everything harder to do and seem less worthwhile. At its most severe, depression can be life-threatening because it can make you feel suicidal or simply give up the will to live.²

Depression has many causes and symptoms can vary but many people describe feeling hopeless, tired, numb and low to varying degrees. It affects women, men, children, the elderly, all sexualities, and all nationalities.  Depression can lead to self-harm, eating disorders and suicide.

Depression is often treated with medication (anti-depressants) and for many people this provides a relief.  But medication isn’t always an easy route and it can take some time to find the optimum drug and dosage for you – often it takes weeks for anti-depressants to settle and work – and there are many side-effects that can affect people in different ways.  It always seems so contrary that one of the side-effects of anti-depressants can be suicide.  It’s because of the delicate balance that each person needs to find for the medication to be able to help.  It’s not unusual for feelings to get worse before they get better when starting with anti-depressants.

Some of the side-effects of medications leave many people looking for other ways to treat their depression.  Medication can provide a good “sticky-plaster” but it won’t deal with the cause of the depression.  For many people – whether they be on medication or not – exploring where the depression has come from and processing some of these things – raising self-awareness and developing skills and tools, is a much more effective and long-term solution.

When you feel hopeless and dark and your energy has gone, it may seem like there is no way for this to get better – that there is nowhere for you to go – no hope for recovery.  But this simply isn’t true.  This is part of your depression – you mind telling you things that feed into the depression – as it does…..so often.  Your thoughts are NOT YOU.  You are the person who is having those thoughts.

Many people DO find recovery from depression – many people find ways to manage their depression.  Counselling can help.   There are many different types of counselling (or talk therapy) and some will be more effective for you than others – it’s not a “one-size fits all”.  CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) can be effective with depression but there are also many other types of counselling / therapy that can be highly effective.

One of the most important things with counselling is that you can connect with your counsellor/therapist.  If you can’t relate to them, or them to you – or you just don’t like them or the way they work….your work together is likely to be less effective, if at all.  This is why many people who have tried counselling say it didn’t work for them.  It’s about finding the right counsellor – someone you can really feel comfortable with – can share your pain with and someone you trust.

Sadly, when you’re referred for counselling through the NHS you can wait many months and won’t usually get a choice about who your counsellor is or what type of counselling you can have.   Finding a private counsellor can be expensive – but many counsellors offer low rates for people on low income so do look around and don’t believe that private counselling is not an option for you.  It is an option for you.

If you are struggling with depression or you’re experiencing thoughts and feelings that you think might be depression – book an initial chat and see if counselling might help you.  The chances are…..it will.


¹. Mental Health Foundation

². Mind

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