Melissa Powex • 27th April 2017
My view on depression is that it is one word that can mean many different things for different people. I do get frustrated by fly away comments that you may hear - such as….’How depressing! There are no matcha lattes anywhere?!’ I mean everyone’s difficulties are different because of how they are perceived and what can be seen as trivial to one person could seem like a mountain of problems to another. However, my point is that this one word should be picked apart before you start to think about an overarching self or GP diagnosis of depression.
Depression - ‘Generally, a mood state characterized by a sense of inadequacy, a feeling of despondency, a decrease in activity or reactivity, pessismism, sadness and related symptoms’ Reber and Reber (Psychology Dictionary).
Depression gets thrown around as a word a lot, however I believe it can mean different things to different people. I think there is still quite the connotation with the word depression - weakness, inability, being limited, failing, being flawed, being challenged, struggling – the list could go on.
I guess what is interesting when I work with people with depression and notice depression in people I know - is the strength needed to ask for help, access help and use the help offered. Being demotivated and apathetic about anything means that EVERYTHING is a chore and this will most likely include exercising, eating properly, looking after oneself, sleeping.
Contradiction? Irony? Imagine being in it….or, maybe you feel that more often than not, these difficulties outweigh the positive experiences you have….are you depressed? Do you need a label of depression? What will depression as a label mean to you if you are feeling all of the above?!
Depression is commonly seen to be related to a chemical imbalance in the brain (serotonin predominantly), but also related to difficult times in life.
People’s experiences of difficult situations are different, some people are born and bred robust with thoughtful, supportive, encouraging families. This will often provide a good structure for people to manage the difficulties of life, relationships, being independent, succeeding etc etc etc. Other people’s personalities and upbringings are different, some people are born less robust or with different complexities and struggle more with managing life.
Many of us don’t come from the perfect bubble of having completely emotionally intelligent people around us with all the things we want in life… and as I get older, I often reflect - life is hard. Social media doesn’t help us when there is always something to throw a spanner in anyone’s emotional mix, feeling overwhelmed, scared, lonely, frightened, worried, out of our depth – you can not be living a balanced life if you do not acknowledge and try to understand these difficult feelings. However, being consumed by them is not healthy either.
Mental health professionals exist because many (1 in 4) of us have difficulties managing our emotions and life. Don’t be scared to speak to a mental health professional about how your feeling….and I guess it’s the same as anything…. If you see your GP and you don’t like the advice given – go and try somewhere else. Just the same as if you try a coffee from one café and it’s gross – try somewhere new and find what is right for you. There are many great professionals out there to talk to (including me!)
I am a big believer in talking and finding the best way to express difficult thoughts and feelings, but also find a safe way to share your thoughts and feelings, as opening up can leave you feeling more exposed and vulnerable too. Talk in a safe, comfortable setting.
If you feel you need support in managing your difficulties with exercise – which there are many great health benefits(!) – I can help, both think about getting you up and out and feeling better physically, but also guiding you to where you can access help.