Around one in five of us will suffer with depression during our lives. Depression is far more than occasionally just feeling low, fed up or sad; it is important to distinguish clinical depression from normal mood changes, which everyone experiences.
Depression is a constant state of mind which affects you for weeks, months or perhaps years and many physical and psychological problems accompany it. You may feel hopeless, or that the depression will never stop, or that you have never been happy. You feel as if you have nothing to look forward to; perhaps you can no longer enjoy daily life – even that thing which you used to love doing. You feel tired all the time – yet when you go to bed you can’t sleep. You can’t just “pull yourself together” – anyone who says this to you has never experienced depression.
The causes are not fully understood but are believed to be a combination of genetics, social factors (for example, experiences we had when growing up and also the way those around us reacted to those experiences) and reaction to life events such as bereavement, redundancy, or divorce.
Whilst feelings of sadness in response to life events is something we all experience, no-one needs to suffer from feeling depressed.
“If you don’t like something, change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” Mary Engelbreit
Symptoms of depression
These include fatigue, difficulty sleeping (for many sufferers, taking the form of waking early and being unable to get back to sleep, but also including not being able to get to sleep when you go to bed), lack of enthusiasm, weight loss, loss of interest in food, (although some sufferers overeat or resort to binge eating instead), feelings of lethargy, preoccupation with your own behaviour and excessive guilt, low self esteem, self-consciousness, distorted and pessimistic patterns of thinking, inability to make decisions, and loss of interest in sex.
Depression, stress and anxiety are not merely responses to things which happen, but depend on your view of the world and your beliefs about your future. It is easy to think that stress and anxiety are just unavoidable responses to certain things which happen to us in life. Or perhaps you tell yourself that it’s just the way you were made. However this is true only to a degree. How we feel – whether we’re anxious or carefree, happy or unhappy – depends on how you understand the world around you and your beliefs about your future.
Hypnotherapy cannot of course change the events which happen to you, but it is very successful in re-shaping your views and beliefs, which in turn will enable you to change how you react to those events, and how you feel about them. Having suffered from depression myself, as well as having grown up with a mother who suffered from bipolar disorder, I feel I am uniquely placed to understand your problems and how they affect your life. Once a full history has been taken and the most appropriate techniques within hypnotherapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy identified, going into hypnosis will help you easily, and with minimum effort, replace your negative, unrealistic, overly pessimistic, fearful, uncertain thoughts with more positive, appropriate and rational ones.
Whilst in hypnosis you may imagine yourself in those situations which you have previously found very stressful or which trigger your feelings of anxiety and depression, whilst at the same time practising relaxation and breathing techniques. During hypnotherapy you will also imagine responding in new and different ways to situations which have previously troubled you, and by doing so, overcome anxiety. You will be encouraged to practice new, positive ways of thinking using self hypnosis and mindfulness techniques n order to combat panic, stress and anxiety.
Please note that if you feel that your depression is completely overwhelming, and you really cannot think about anything else, or if you find yourself contemplating self harm, you should speak to your GP immediately about the possibility of medication to get over the worst of your symptoms, in order to let you work effectively and make the most of CBT, hypnosis and relaxation techniques.
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” Marcus Auerlius
You don’t have to live with depression. Just imagine what a relief it would be to finally step out of the darkness and feel the sun on your face.
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