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~ Depression ~
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|Depression as a
Depression may be thought of as secondary emotion. This means that there are other feelings which contribute to and cause it.
For example, one might feel alone, lonely, rejected, discouraged, loss, grief, unfulfilled, disconnected, uninspired, invalidated, used, abused, unproductive, unaccomplished, uncertain, misunderstood, pessimistic, powerless, etc. Together, all of these feelings drain our energy, kill our motivation.
|The Value of
Identifying Specific Feelings
When depressed, or preferably before, it helps to isolate each specific feeling which contributes to the over-all loss of motivation and energy. When the specific feelings are identified, you have more information with which to work. From this information you will be better prepared to take action or least think about a plan to address each specific negative feeling individually. With each specific negative feeling, ask yourself, "What would help me feel less (lonely, unproductive, discouraged)"
|Helpful Questions to
Here are some questions adults might ask themselves which might help you if you are trying to understand your own depression: (These don't apply as well to teenagers living with their parents)
Then ask yourself:
Taking your feelings one by one helps you feel less overwhelmed. And it helps you identify you emotional needs. When you feel better in just one area, it helps you feel more capable of handling the other negative feelings.
Sometimes when someone is depressed and not talking people will say, "What are you thinking?" For many people, this is not a helpful question. When they are depressed it is too hard to answer that question.
When you are depressed your energy level is very, very low. To explain what you are thinking simply takes too much energy.
That is why it is better to ask someone how they are feeling, if you need to ask them anything at all. There is a chance that they can find one word to summarize how they are feeling, or one word to tell you the main feeling. For example, they might say, "Alone." This could be a start to helping them talk.
Or if it is too difficult for them to say anything you might get them some paper and a pen, or colored markers.
Or you might show them a copy of the common negative feelings and ask them to just circle the ones they are feeling.
One of the keys to helping someone who is extremely depressed and not talking is not to ask them to do anything which requires a lot of effort, or even any effort. As mentioned above, asking them to tell you what they are thinking is probably something which requires a lot of effort at that moment. Also, if you ask them what they are thinking, they might feel pressured to say something and since they can't, they only feel worse and less understood. If you get frustrated with them they will feel disapproved of on top of everything else. When someone is depressed, mostly they need to know someone cares about them and won't reject or abandon them. If they are asked what they are thinking, and they can't reply at that moment, or if they asked, or told to do anything which they can't do they may be afraid of your rejection or disapproval, which is causing even more discomfort for them.
You might ask something like, "Are you afraid of telling me what you are thinking or how you are feeling?" They might say yes. Or they might say nothing. Here is a case story:
- Don't tell depressed people what you think. If they tell you something, don't disagree. Just listen.
- If they have an idea, don't discourage it. Just listen.
- Don't try to explain anything. Just listen and let them come up with their own explanations. If they want to hear your opinion about something, they will probably ask you.
- Don't say things like
- Don't tell them what you think before you tell them how you feel. Or maybe, don't tell them what you think at all.
- Show them that you care by staying with them, if that is okay with them.
- Give them some control by asking things like "Is it okay if I stay here?"
- If you need to leave, tell them where you are going and when you will be back so they won't feel abandoned. If possible, ask them if it is okay if you go before you leave..
- Help them feel in control
- Ask if you can sit next to them. If they cant talk ask if they could give you some signal for a yes or a no answer such as showing one or two fingers. Or if they would like you to take their hand, ask them to squeeze it once for yes and twice for no.the more in control they feel, the safer they will feel and the less pain.
- If they cant move or talk or express anything, tell them how you feel, if it is not something negative. Show acceptance, caring, understanding, patience.
- Try to reduce their fears you will abandon them.
|Nature's Purpose for
Depression has a natural purpose and survival value for the human species. It causes us to slow down and rest. This provides us with an opportunity to think. If we use this as an opportunity to reflect on why we are depressed, and to identify our unmet emotional needs, we can start to get some insight into what changes we need to make in our own individual lives, and in society as a whole.
Medication, Cause and Effect and Society
This is in response to a letter from a site visitor asking me what about the use of medication to treat depression.
Here is a quote from the Neogenisis site about depression and learned helplessness
A copy of this, with some other info. is found on this page: Learned Helplessness and Depression
beating_the_blues - book that recommends "dong the opposite of what your depression tells you to do" - moved to p1