2400 years ago the ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, named what we now call ‘depression’, as melancholy. If you suffer from depression you are far from alone. 300 million people in the world today suffer from this disorder. It is possible for all of us to become depressed, just as we can become stressed or fall in love.
Negative feelings of sadness, distress and disappointment are common to all people and do not significantly affect our ability to meet our daily obligations. We could even say that they are also useful to the extent that they help us get to know some weaknesses of our character better. For example, grief hardens and trains us so that we can face adversity that may arise later in life. The self-awareness that arises through negative experiences helps us make efforts to change ourselves in order to avoid the negative consequences of such behaviors in the future.
What is depression?
When the sadness instead of decreasing over time becomes more intense and lasts more than two weeks interfering with the normal activities of a smooth life such as work, eating, sleeping and our close relationships, then we are likely to suffer from depression and need the help of an expert to deal with it. What characterizes depression is not the presence of negative feelings but their great intensity and long duration.
In short, depression is a bad mood that is the normal response to a stimulus that usually has to do with a sense of loss, such as the death of a loved one, a breakup, losing a job, not achieving our goals, the loss of a material good, etc.
Clinical depression is far from just feeling ‘down’. Specifically, it affects not only how we feel but also the way we think about various issues, our energy levels, our concentration, our sleep, and even our interest in sex. When someone is clinically depressed, they feel sad and often come close to tears. These people are tormented by guilt, believe that they are constantly disappointing those around them, get irritated, stressed and are more often in tension. It becomes harder for them to enjoy or be interested in everyday activities. Everything seems to require special effort and these people tend to move away from things they did in the past. Their thoughts revolve around their negative emotions.
Research shows that depression results from a combination of situations:
-early experiences (how I grew up/environment)
-recent events/situations (breakup, death of my own person)
-lifestyle (lack of time, financial problems)
-way of dealing with problems (some they suffocate and paralyze, others try to break the problem and find solutions)
In general, we give meaning to events/incidents, which affects how we feel (e.g. separation: for some it is a relief, for another this event is tragic) .
How can I deal with negative thoughts and feelings?
When we are depressed, our thoughts are quite judgmental about it and we think negatively and feel defeated and defeated. We do not believe in our abilities and are pessimistic about the future. More specifically, thoughts relate
to ourselves (“I’m worthless”), present experiences (“I’m not doing anything right”), and the future (“I’ll never be okay”).
-But you have to learn to be objective – see all sides of the coin – and think more balanced, based on reality and not based on how you feel.
-First of all you have to recognize when you are thinking like this, and what exactly you are thinking. It would be a good idea to write them down whenever these negative thoughts come to the surface.
-Then see them as hypotheses or just ideas. For example, if your thought says “nothing will ever change”, “no matter what I do is not enough”, ask yourself: How do you know this? What other alternative views are there? What do you gain by thinking like this? How would you like to think if you could?
-You could also change the way you deal with these difficulties. For example, do you avoid friends or social situations because you prefer to be alone? Don’t want to get out of bed?
If that makes you feel better, fine.
But usually in depression this is not the case. We use our bed or our home as a hiding place from the rest of the world, amplifying how we feel. Your mind tells you that you are helpless and that there is no point in trying. You should change this attitude and gain a more positive opinion of your capabilities.
-Try to include positive activities in your life, based on your needs, your hobbies, and in general what you like and don’t like to do.
-Learn to relax and after you calm down, rethink things. Go for a massage or take a bubble bath. Cook something healthy or buy flowers for a change. You will see that when you think about things again, you will analyze them much differently than the first time.
Think of yourself like a garden: to be fruitful it needs care. Learn to take care of yourself and your body, and treat it with respect. Train him to rest, calm down and fill him with good things.
Counselling Kenya is a leading depression therapy center in Mombasa. Our therapists have years of experience helping people cope with mental health issues. To make an appointment, or speak with one of our Depression therapists, call 0741123944