I managed to cope with things really well. Not only that – when I relaxed I felt unbelievably calm, apart from a slight tingling in my feet I could have been on another planet! To my astonishment my spirit has strengthened every day. I haven’t had to consciously relax since and every time I feel negative a positive thought immediately comes into my mind. I have regained my optimism… so every day the future looks brighter and I feel stronger. I have found that all sorts of good things are happening in my life – I seem to have turned a corner and even the setbacks are bearable! Thank you so much – if I need to speak to you again I will be in touch but at the moment I am feeling wonderful and so grateful – as is my husband who is thrilled to see me smiling again!”Kate, Tiverton
“Help me”. Depression hurts indeed, and it can be a challenge because depression has some fantastic ways of protecting itself… lack of motivation… not wanting to interact with people… looking at the negative sides of life… ignoring the things that are normally pleasurable. It can be a difficult vicious circle to break without a little help and encouragement from the outside. Reading about how depression hurts can be, well, depressing. Which is why I am going to show you some more interesting slices of information. Choosing to learn is a great step to helping you help yourself.
Depression Hurts: but how common is it?
Surely not that common – we live in the age of technology, communication and entertainment don’t we? Well a recent large-scale study reported that depression hurts an increasing number of people every day, everywhere on earth. And its not hard to see why depression hurts so much. We live in a climate of global fear, random shocks and insecurity. Instead of belonging to small community groups we travel widely and are more distrusting. There are more life choices than ever and less confidence to make them. But whilst it’s incredibly easy to be cynical about modern living, it doesn’t get results. We need to help you make the best use of your resources to get the things you want out of life. The fact that depression hurts is why this is so important.
When depression hurts it can be incredibly difficult to feel understood, because it’s difficult for you to understand yourself. The feeling of isolation and distance from people can be frightening. The irony is that more people feel this way than you’d realise. The first line of M. Scott Peck’s excellent book The Road Less Travelled said it all: “Life is Difficult”. But compared to what? Perhaps the illusion of safety, comfort or security experienced in infancy, or the false expectations of life we get programmed with as children.
Whilst people trip over themselves trying to diagnose you with anxiety, guilt, or low self-esteem, it just makes the notion of feeling normal even more remote. “I can’t feel good, I’m not allowed to feel happy, I’m a bipolar depressive“. It can be an instant source of reassurance to remember that you aren’t depressed, and you don’t have depression. It isn’t a thing that you are or own. It’s not that depression hurts, it’s just the reaction to a emotion. You are simply feeling depressed, and feelings can change.
One of the first things it would be helpful for you to admit to yourself is that whilst depression hurts, the feeling is not just a consequence of the situation you are currently in. It is likely to also be a cause. Feelings of hopelessness could reduce your motivation to interact with and affect your situation in new and constructive ways. It’s like a Catch-22, you need the motivation to make yourself happier, but you can’t get motivated until you’re happier!
Depression and Feelings of Inferiority
The inferiority complex is something that is far more common than many would think. Have you found that depression hurts not only your sense of self, but also your sense of place in society? How you percieve your options? Your strengths, your values to others? Unfortunately, many people develop a fragile sense of self early in life. This could be due to older siblings, strict parents of teachers, even over-caring mothers. The feelings of inferiority are pushed deep within the subconscious where they can reside for years. When the distractions of jobs, interesting hobbies, circles of friends run out, sooner or later the cracks widen and the depression emerges. If you think this may interest you, please be sure to read my page about the inferority complex by clicking here. Please note that the book is available free when purchasing the Self Help Hypnosis book, here
Other Major Reasons why Depression Hurts
If you have recently encountered a big life change, then it’s a perfectly natural thing to feel anxiety or depression whilst acclimatising to the new situation. This could be anything, from a change in work circumstances, relationships, finance or health. We are creatures of habit, and ‘familiarity’ is perhaps the biggest addiction there is (as well as the most restricting). As well as the mourning following a loss, other changes can often mask what is called a symbolic loss. Changes replace something that you may miss, and then you may direct feelings of depression and anger at yourself as a way to express it. Simply allowing the process to unfold and adapt with time may be all you need.
You may have a deeper emotional issue. Feelings of anxiety, guilt or low self-esteem can be developed through a whole host of life experiences, and triggered by the simplest of things. Sometimes one throwaway remark by someone can be enough to bring down a happy house of cards. Issues like this are fuelled by the self-image, which can also be approached and transformed through hypnosis and hypnotherapy. A depressed self-image could form through a lack of rewarding feedback from others, being unfairly punished in life, or both. The American psychologist Martin Seligman developed a compelling theory of learned helplessness. With random punishments or confusing rewards, we can’t structure our emotional security and then literally learn to feel helpless. Positive social rewards also often decrease at times of change that are frequently related to depression. Leaving home, graduating, or retiring are good examples of when depression hurts. With hypnotherapy these patterns and thoughts can be broken down and rebuilt to form a brighter and more positive self-image. Being able to recognise false learnings is something that you can’t achieve as well on your own. But with a little help, you’d be surprised at the success that people have had in transforming their emotional outlook.
When depression hurts for existential reasons it can be a real dark cloud. Plagued by questions like ‘who am I? What is the point in everything? Why bother?’ is a very conscious issue. Humans are the only creature on the planet who would question their own existence. This is one of the challenges of simply being human. The conscious mind is the newest part of our being to develop, evolutionally. Before that, we would have just got on with it, using the instinctive power of our subconscious minds. Although such issues seem impossible to resolve, it may be a simple matter of natural fluctuations in brain chemistry. Between the neurons in your brain are many different tiny fluids that transmit electrical impulses. If any are in short supply, certain routes of thought wont be as easily available. Its like being at Birmingham New Street (UK) when the train lines are blocked (no wonder the depression hurts!).
Other Times when Depression Hurts
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (tiny fluids between the nerves of your brain) that has been related to depression, which is the thinking behind anti-depressants. But these are not recommended – if you throw something at the brain without letting it manage its own resources, you are likely to imbalance it even more, or lower its sensitivity to serotonin. A far more healthy and powerful way to achieve the same aim is to simply eat more food that contain the natural protein that serotonin is made from (L-tryptophan). What are they? fish, turkey, chicken, cottage cheese, beef, eggs, bananas, wheat germ, oats, avocados, milk, cheese, nuts, soya beans, sweet potato, beetroot, brussel sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chives, fennel, spinach and watercress. Stimulants, sugars and alcohol are to be avoided though, as after the initial energy boost, energy levels decrease even further following the upsurge of insulin.
Are you sleeping enough? Many people are way behind on their sleep, even without realising it. Sleep deprivation can easily alter mood and self-consciousness through entirely natural means. The brain-body link is very powerful. Sleep, food, exercise, attitudes and emotions are all very interlinked.
Are you doing enough of what you enjoy? Whenever something gives you a positive feeling, take note, whatever it is. Too often people want to like what they think they should like, and completely ignore the things they actually do enjoy. How often have you heard someone say something along the lines of ‘oh yeah, I love painting, but I haven’t done anything for years’, or ‘oh, I used to play the guitar’. Give yourself the little pleasures you want and deserve. When you enjoy doing something, natural opiates are released in the brain. Its like evolutions way of keeping you on the right track.
Helping Depression with hypnosis
Hypnotherapy is no miracle cure for any of the deep dark feelings of loneliness that plague the consciousness of mankind. But it can help a great deal, in certain situations. A lot of personal limitations like feelings of depression develop from inconsistencies between how reality is, and how we perceive it. Hypnosis for depression can allow you to analyse and learn about your own expectations or assumptions about reality, yourself and your life. It can be a liberating experience, being able to let go of the personal pressures you didn’t even realise you had. Deep down, our truest goal in life is probably just to feel free. It is something that has nothing to do with riches, status or lifestyle. We become slaves of our own pressures, whether relating to time, money, status, the expectations of others or society as a whole. Through some simple hypnosis techniques and practices, you can feel this freedom for yourself, and the great self-esteem and confidence it brings.
Comer, R.J. (2004). Abnormal Psychology, 5th Edition. Worth Publishers.
Jamison, K.R. (1993). Touched with Fire: Manic-depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament. The Free Press.
Oliver, S. (2000). Maximising Energy. Simon & Schuster Pocket Books.
Utsun, T.B and Chatterji, S. (2001). Global burden of depressive disorders and future projections. In Dawson, A and Tylee, A. Depression: Social and Economic Time Bomb, pp 31-43. BMJ Books.