An Overview of Depression Therapy What is it like to be someone with depression? Depression is not always easy to discern, even for medical doctors, because not everyone has the problems with sleeping at night (associated with low melatonin) or trouble getting moving in the day. Some people do not show these classical signs because they are highly driven people with a strong will-power and they can just keep going. At the core of depression is not so much mood as energy. When depression is a serious issue it is not about sadness and grief as it is about depletion of core energy. Core energy is what you need to live: making choices, meeting people, exerting your will and so on. When that energy is depleted you do feel depressed, lethargic and needing a coffee. (When I get too grumpy my wife suggests I have a coffee.) Without this life energy your will is weaker and it is harder to 'make yourself' get up. When life energy is low it is noticeably draining to be emotional or be around people. The depressed person has a limited budget of life energy for the day’s activities. You get less done and you cut down on spending time with people especially if they are draining to be around. Depressed people have to limit their goals for daily production because they do not have the energy to accomplish as much as they would like. It is like hoping to make a long trip but you only have so much gas in the car and you have no more resources to buy more. You are forced to make difficult decisions about what gets done in a day. Then making good decisions takes energy that you may not have. You might compare it to have a flu or cold and the body is fighting with the virus. Meantime you have very little energy to do other things. That is why you advise sick people to go to bed - to conserve needed energy for the immune system to do it's job. So the main sign to look for in the depressed person is this lack of energy and the frustration it is causing them and others. Underneath they feel depleted. By George Hartwell (416) 939-0544 My planned book "Heal My Inner Child" has a chapter that you can access at this link if you want to read more of my writing on depression: Depression and the Healing of the Inner Child.
Depression and Nurture of the Human Spirit
Depression is best understood in relation to our Inner Child's need for love and the human spirit’s need to flow with love, joy and peace. The human spirit needs nurture like any living thing needs food and water. Depression is the result of not being fed.
What causes us to be cut off from nurture? There can be external causes or internal. The internal causes means that we cut ourselves off from nurture. External causes means that we have been cut off from nurture by others who shun us, isolate us or who are unable to love us even though they are called to love us.
We cut ourselves off from nurture by isolating ourselves from others, by cutting off from them, resenting them and not forgiving them.
The Sources of Nurture for the Human Spirit
Although, nurture for our spirit comes ultimately from God, at times it must be mediated through our experiences with life and with people. We must experience love on the human and physical plane. God as the Source of all life radiates through the love of others. Others experience God’s love flowing through us.
Clearly loneliness, social isolation being cut off from human relationships is depressing whether it is done to us or we do it to others. For we often cut ourselves off from nurture by our own actions, thinking, and failures to love others.
Once we know that depression is a condition of our human spirit that indicates that we are not receiving enough nurture, we can make plans in our life to avoid or reduce depression. Here is some indications of what to include in your plan.
Q and A re Christian counselling for Depression
Question: I want to escape reality, avoid facing my problems because it causes too much stress and anxiety. I spend time online and dissociate. What can I do? George Hartwell, 40 + years working in mental health primarily as therapist in private practice. Answered Jun 11, 2016 To unravel who you are, how you got there and what is happening now really does require good therapy. But yes you may be stating the cause of anxiety in may people - problems that cause too much anxiety. Here is one possible childhood. Your family had too much chaos and too little peace and order. For example: parents fighting and you were worried what might happen, or one parent doing crazy things that disturb everyone - perhaps after drinking - or a sibling that teases and upsets you and you have no protection. Each of these situations leave you vulnerable to anxiety and avoiding in fantasy and dissociation. One possible adjustment to this kind of childhood - the chaos kind - is to develop a drive to bring safety and order for yourself and others. You become responsible to fix what not even the adults could fix. You fail of course to fix the family but you get left with the belief that you are responsible to solve everyone’s problems. You have to make the world a safer place. This is too much responsibility for a child, or your inner child, and creates anxiety. You don’t want all this responsibility and anxiety so you develop the pattern of opting out and dissociating. Perhaps you develop a fantasy life that overtakes your life. All this is unhealthy now but could get worse if you do not pull out and find a better adjustment.
How does it get worse? It gets worse as the person's fantasy life becomes real to them. The ability to separate reality from fantasy breaks down. Delusion sets in. Sometimes there is paranoia. This is how dysfunctional disassociation can become.
The above is pure speculation and only one path to your present situation but I want to show you that the present situation has a reason to be there and reflects deep patterns in your life.
That brings me to the suggestion of getting psychotherapy if at all possible. It is a lot to expect yourself to solve this. To be honest, it is too much if it is anything like the above scenario.
Question: Can you be depressed your entire life or for a majority of it? The answer is, yes, you can have an underlying depression all your life. A person is depressed inside if they have not felt unconditional love and are going through life feeling that they need to be good enough and work hard enough to deserve to be loved. That is one example. Remember that a lot of people have depression but they do not know they have depression. For one thing they are used to it! People think depression means an obvious feeling of sadness all the time. People are not familiar with the signs of depression. As a therapist it is an intuitive call based on a person’s low energy. Doctors look at broken sleep patterns and trouble getting moving in the morning. Even here, they can miss people with a strong will and high achieving who plow through the normal signs and just keep going - though depressed inside. The person who has been depressed all their life may not know it or be aware of it. It has been there like a cloud following them everywhere they go. Many childhoods created shame. Parents did not care to listen to or affirm their children. Parents did not allow discussion of feelings or complaining about small pains. Parents are too busy to have loving time with their young children, Parents who are themselves incapable of unconditional love. The result is a child who grows up into adulthood unsure of the right to be themselves and questioning their right to be alive. I am just referencing what seems to be mildly off childhoods. What about parents that were mean, abusive, exploitive or demeaning?