Psychology of us

FEELING DOWN BUT NOT CLINICALLY DEPRESSED

I worked my way through graduate school as a waiter. Before I earned a Chartership and could earn money working with clients, I worked 16 hours most days for about five years. This included taking classes, training, seeing clients, and doing research, then waiting tables nights and weekends. Sometimes I would work two 8-hour restaurant shifts, come home, fall into bed and dream about waiting tables. Only to get up and wait tables again. I was overworked and under-rested. Of course that influenced my mood and my ability to cope with stress. When other life struggles occurred, it was much harder to pick myself up. Even when I was off work and doing something fun, I felt an undercurrent of depression just knowing I had to do it all again soon.

 

Contents:

What’s the Difference between Feeling Depressed and Clinical Depression?

Warning Signs and Symptoms

Depressive symptoms can be diagnosed as Clinical Depression if:

How Psychotherapy (and Skype therapy) Helps You Feel Better

What’s the Difference Between Feeling Depressed and Clinical Depression?

Looking up information about depression online usually brings up material on capital D Depression, leaving some of us thinking that, it feels bad but it’s not as bad as all that. Plus information is often confusing. Too much of it, polar-opposite symptom variations (too little sleep, too much sleep), as well as clinical classifications that are ever-changing, make it hard to self-diagnose.

 

Warning Signs and Symptoms

The following symptoms can occur if you have Clinical Depression or sometimes if you are just feeling depressed. Many of us experience a combination of these symptoms at some point in our lives.

Depressive symptoms can be diagnosed as Clinical Depression if:

  • they are experienced most of the day, every day for more than two weeks,
  • they are experienced most of the day, every day for more than two weeks,
  • if symptoms impact your relationships, ability to work or function in everyday life, or if thoughts of suicide or self-harm occur.
  • or if thoughts of suicide or self-harm occur.

 

If you think that you have Clinical Depression, visit your doctor. I provide treatment for Clinical Depression. FIND OUT MORE. However, a medical doctor can conduct a diagnostic evaluation (including a physical exam and lab tests) to determine whether physical conditions might be causing these symptoms.

 

It’s important to realise that you don’t have to have Clinical Depression to experience depression symptoms. Everyone feels low, drained or worn-out occasionally. Many of the symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder – irritability, lethargy, hopelessness, concentration difficulties – can be normal reactions to stressful life events.

 

Social scientist, Karla McLaren, points out that ‘Sometimes, depression is a perfectly reasonable response to trouble in your life’. However, when these feelings linger, it means that they are trying to tell you something. Whether it is telling you to slow down, get more sleep, change an unhealthy relationship or seek help, you need to listen to them.

 

Suppressing or ignoring these signs can make them worse.

 

Neuroscientist Rick Hanson explains that the brain is a learning organ. What we repeatedly think, feel, and sense slowly shapes our brains. This neuroplasticity means that prolonged and repeated mental states such as depression leave enduring imprints in the brain. These not only impact our future ability to regulate our mood, they can affect our sleep patterns, memory, hormones and our immune system. They can lead to a negative spiralling effect that becomes increasingly harder to change over time.

 

 

 

The good news is that our brain’s neural structure changes continuously throughout our lives. So, by focusing on redirecting our thought patterns and experiences, we can remap our neural structure in positive ways, no matter how old we are.

 

Monkey Therapy

How Psychotherapy (and Monkey therapy) Can Help You Feel Better

The following are primarily based on my practice, which combines elements of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Compassion-Focused Therapy, Affective Neuroscience and Transactional Analysis. I practise these via Skype, which gives you the added bonus of accessing treatment without travel time, traffic, or waiting rooms from wherever you feel comfortable and safe.

 

Because sometimes you just need to talk it through with someone, I offer one-time 90-minute Skype sessions (as well as ten-session, and ongoing packages). After the session, you can decide whether you want to continue, check back in the future, or say goodbye. It is up to you.

Psychotherapy works by helping you:

 

Gain clarity and a plan. Often our situation is causing us to feel down. Relationship struggles, financial issues, and stressful work environments can leave us drained and disheartened. As the old saying goes, sometimes it is hard to see the wood for the trees. Therapy provides a safe, nonjudgmental space to gain clarity, problem solve, and plan.

 

Uncover negative beliefs. Psychotherapy helps you discover the negative, sometimes hidden, beliefs that are causing you to feel down or keeping you from bouncing back when challenges arise.

 

View situations in new more useful ways. Once we discover them, therapy helps you to challenge self-defeating thought patterns and beliefs. And then it guides you in replacing them with more realistic and functional alternatives.

 

Gain more control over your emotions. Similar to how hunger prompts us to eat, an emotion’s function is to alert to us to take action. Psychotherapy teaches you how to recognise and attend to your emotions before they become overwhelming. So you can decide how you want to react to them instead of being swept away by them.

 

Take action. One of the most powerful ways to improve your emotional state is to engage in positive experiences. Using agreed-upon exercises, you can practice your newfound beliefs and ways of thinking outside the therapy session. And therapy will support you throughout the journey.

 

Make it last. As a result of more positive outcomes, you will strengthen your positive mindset. In turn, these experiences reinforce your positive mood and change your brain’s ability to regulate your mood over time.

 

References and Contributors
  1. Rick Hanson. (2013). Hardwiring Happiness. The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence.
  2. Karla McLaren. (2010). The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You.Robert Plutchik. (1980). Theories of Emotion (Volume 1).
  3. Dan Siegel. (2010). Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation.
  4. Bessel van der Kolk. (2014). The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma.DSM V. (2013).
  5. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fifth edition, text revised.

 


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