If you want to know what depression is, you have probably come across two problems. The first is that the medical experts don’t really know what it is – at least not in a language that can make sense to you. What they tend to do instead is to simply list symptoms instead But to know that depression lowers your mood, makes you exhausted or lacking concentration or irritable or unable to enjoy pleasures and so on is hardly what you are looking for. Agreed?
The second problem is that if you go to forums and self help groups, the description and experiences of those who are suffering can leave you feeling worse and even more hopeless. Again all you can feel is the pain and agony and simply to identify with that, is hardly helpful.
But what if you heard from those who had recovered from their depression? Maybe they would have a real insight and be able to put their worst experiences into some kind of perspective?
Well this is what you will find below. All of these statements of their depression experience come from my clients. The first set describes what depression was like for them and the second set indicates what it was that aided their recovery.
It is a small sample from the hundreds I have helped – and I can assure you that these words below are representative.
But first, be briefly reminded of what depression is, based on the Human Givens:
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.
This is what depression is as described by my clients – in their own words
- “I am in a burning room, with the impossibility of escape and the flames just get closer – and the room is my mind.”
- “I am bound securely on a treadmill that cannot be stopped so that all I can do is to keep running despite my utter exhaustion.”
- I am obsessed with the idea of suicide as the one certain means of escape and this is so terrifying.”
- “I am consumed by a fearful terror borne of complete helplessness that then fuels anger or a desperate isolation borne of shame and then indeed the full gamut of overwhelming and drowning emotions.”
- “It is like a car that has been flooded with petrol – I keep stopping with a thud and a gurgle and can’t move again.”
- “At times I have an ice cold clarity of thought – however fleeting and beguiling.”
- “I can’t control my emotions or keep them where they can help me. I feel saturated in them, exhausted and no other part of me is getting a look in. So I just cannot help myself.”
For all of these, the first step of their recovery was to understand exactly why they feeling so bad and for all, the dreaming explanation made so much sense. And then as they began to feel calmer and began to act better and take those essential first steps, they found they were embarking on a virtuous cycle of recovery.
And this is what depression recovery was all about as described by my clients
- He somehow took the pressure off me so I could relax and break this spell. I literally felt my depression lift dramatically after the second session and without having to dwell on the story of my wounded childhood.
- I am now learning to take responsibility for the way I think and to notice when I am being destructive or getting overwhelmed and just stop myself and to immediately think in a different way.
- I’m not saying it was easy, for me. I had to go to hell before everything became clear and everything he said made sense. I now feel I have the understanding and the tools to allow me to live the life I want, mentally strong and free from depression. I still listen to Andrew’s relaxation CD every morning which keeps me mindful and acts as a gentle nudge if I’m feeling at all negative.
- I learned how to relax and put a stop at the grey ideas rumination. I revisited some parts of my childhood and more recent years to understand and fix things and release emotions. after four sessions I was officially not depressed
- Your guidance has helped my wife and I deal better with the depression – and each other – and we are progressing nicely, I think. I go to the depression alliance meetings still but I am increasingly taking a contrary view to a majority of those there who say “once a depressive always a depressive”. I don’t want to believe that and I am improved for thinking in the positive way that you have advocated.
- Then he said I had emotional trauma hanging over me I sensed it was moving as a child to boarding school and his directions helped me contact the pain and the guilt of not feeling grateful for being sent away
- One of the most valuable lessons you taught me is that you have to take action in life to achieve things and to facilitate change. It’s a very hard lesson to learn when you are in the pit of despair but if you can summon the courage to take action then that’s the medicine you need to move forward and the reward is more than worth the effort.
I trust that these words of some of the many who have recovered from their depression makes sense to you and has inspired some hope. If you wish to try one on one therapy with me, then do please contact me. But if you feel that counselling is not for you, there are a range of self help tools that might suit you better.