The answer is very simple and straightforward and it is this: the most important symptom of depression is mental and emotional exhaustion – with the waking up time in the mornings being the worst time of day. The day can often then get better, but not by very much. In the mornings depressed people can barely drag themselves out of bed – they so lack energy and motivation. It’s like they are out of fuel, despite having just woken up.
That’s it – simple and straightforward. And what you will see is that if you understand why this is the most important symptom of depression, then all of the other depression symptoms follow from this.
You will probably have seen those long lists of depression symptoms and been quite put off What do they mean? Surely they are related in some way. But you never ever get any answers that make sense. Do you? Just long lists and guff about chemical imbalances and cognitive distortions and that depression is a clinical condition and an illness – and that kind of thing.
My clients say to me that reading through those long lists actually makes them more depressed. They feel even more lost and helpless.
Of course, if you have been reading this blog, you will know why the early mornings are so bad.
It is all to do with our dreaming. If you are depressed then every night you have been dreaming too much – as you desperately try to clear your heads and your bodies of all of that rumination and worries and fears and angers and so on that have dominated the day before. Dreaming is our essential nightly attempt to flush it all away so we are ready for the next day. Dreaming is our essential nightly emotional maintenance.
But dreaming takes a lot of energy. And so if you having to dream a lot as you try to clear your head of all of that emotional stuff the day before, you will wake up tired. And this then feeds the cycle of depression.
Be reminded what a depression is
“ A Depression is an utter exhaustion of the mind – where worries multiply and cannot be controlled or relieved and where rest and relief appear impossible, however hard you try. And by God you are trying. And the apparent impossibility of any rest and recovery fuels the worry and so exhaustion takes over until for some it can be unendurable.“
How am I so sure that this is the symptom of depression!
Now you might ask yourself – how am I so sure that the role of dreaming is so essential to understand a depression? Especially as this may well be the first time that you have come across this idea and it seems so sensible – and obvious even.
Well I can answer the first question. It is because I have studied and trained in the Human Givens. Human Givens is now approaching twenty years old. It is UK based and has been training and teaching all of this time – very persuasively I might say. The main teachers (Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell) have written extensively in that time – notably on why we dream and what depression is all about. I have summarised their ideas above and I hope that they make as much sense to you as they have done for me.
There is a second reason why I am 100% certain that dreaming too much is central to understanding depression.
It is that I have spent the last ten years using helping my depressed clients recover from their depression. I have worked at the coal face and seen that time and time again, the early morning exhaustion is always part of the problem.
And what is the answer to the second question – why have I never come across this dreaming idea before. I don’t have such a good answer to that one. Maybe it is because new ideas take a long time to become mainstream – thirty years or more. This is especially so when the conventional wisdom is protected by a lot of money and a lot of people earning good livelihoods.
But you can beat the pack. You now know the main symptom of depression. Leave it all behind. Get in touch now.