What is depression? Depression feels like
being trapped in a deep, dark hole of hopelessness and worthlessness from where there’s no escape.
It affects your mind, body, and behaviors while draining your energy, motivation, and
self-esteem. The most common symptoms of depression are
persistent sad or “empty” feelings; feelings of hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness, irritability,
anger, or restlessness; loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed; fatigue and
decreased energy; difficulty concentrating; insomnia or excessive sleeping; overeating
or appetite loss; and thoughts of suicide. Sadly, depression affects 23 million Americans
each year, but 16 million of them do not seek treatment even though depression is highly
treatable with 80% of those seeking help reporting improvements within 6 weeks. So, if you’ve
been experiencing the symptoms of depression for more than two weeks, then seek help from
your doctor, a psychiatrist, or a mental health counselor or therapist.
So, what causes depression? Well, the causes are a combination of genetic, biological,
environmental, and psychological factors. Medications can help with the biological and
genetic factors, while counseling can help with the environmental and psychological factors.
Anti-depressant medications usually bring some relief in 2-4 weeks by altering brain
chemistry, while counseling can help depressed clients improve self-care skills and be more
aware of patterns of thinking that fuel depression, so they can prevent further episodes.
From working with depressed clients since 1996, I have observed that most live in their
thoughts, but not just any thoughts. Rather, they become consumed with depressing thoughts,
such as “I’m a failure,” “I’m worthless,” or “Life will never get better,” which play
over and over in their minds like a looped audio tape. However, I have also observed
that depressed persons are not always depressed, and when not, their thinking is no more negative
than people who don’t struggle with depression. So, what causes certain persons to repeatedly
fall into thinking that fuels depression? Well, research has shown that persons with
a history of depression can be functioning well, but when they experience an upsetting
event, like a problem at work or home, the event can act like a switch that unleashes
a flood of depressing thoughts that pounds them into the ground, like an abusive parent,
and tells them life is hopeless until they are thoroughly depressed.
So, why do certain minds react to adversity with depressive thinking? From my observations,
certain childhood environments tend to instill hopelessness and self-loathing in the brains
of children, with the most common scenarios being growing up with family addiction, abuse,
and neglect, and being subjected to bullying and teasing by peers. So, once these neural
pathways are well established in the child’s brain, such persons become susceptible to
falling into hopelessness and self-loathing whenever stressed – even as an adult.
So, how can counseling help depressed persons? Well, I teach my clients mindfulness, which
offers the ability to observe one’s own brain, and then I coach them in mindfully observing
their depression so they can come to know their depressed mind in an intimate way. In
other words, I show them how to use their higher mindful brain to observe their lower
depressed brain. And then once they can recognize when their depressed brain has been switched
on, I teach them how to avoid getting sucked into its distorted thoughts and instead navigate
their way back to their mindful brain, which sees stressful events more accurately, thus
short-circuiting the development of another depressive episode.
Mindfulness is a powerful skill for stress reduction and emotional regulation, including
managing depression, which once learned will benefit you for a lifetime. It will help you
navigate the difficult times more effectively and enjoy the good times more thoroughly,
so it’s well worth the investment to learn. If you found this video helpful, please click
the Thumbs Up button. And if you want to hear more from me, then subscribe to my channel,
Counselor Carl. I will be publishing a new video every other weekend. And if you’d like
help in learning to manage your depression more effectively, then visit my website, serenityonlinetherapy.com,
to learn more about me and the services I provide.
Thank you for watching this video, and keep paying attention to your life.
Until next time.