Are you persistently sad? Struggling to get out of bed in the morning? Unable to enjoy things in your everyday life? Feeling hopeless about the future?
It’s not uncommon to answer ‘yes’ to the above questions – one in seven Australians will experience a depressive disorder over the course of their lives.
We all feel sad from time to time, often following hurtful, challenging, disappointing and unexpected experiences. Feelings of sadness are typically fleeting, though.
Unlike people experiencing feelings of sadness, if you are suffering from depression you have persistent strong feelings of sadness that last for most of the day every day and interfere with multiple aspects of your life.
Depression is characterised by a range of physical symptoms, disturbances in thinking and attention, and unhealthy behaviours. It can feel all-encompassing and you may also have low motivation, be unable to experience pleasure and joy. Sometimes, it feels difficult to have any feelings at all. Your life can become very restricted, perpetuating this cycle of negative thoughts, with this “depression loop” leaving you in a continuous pattern of negative thinking.
The depression loop can mean you withdraw from your daily activities, and live life with little to no enjoyment.
Some examples of tools and strategies I use with depressed clients include:
• Improving social connections (family, friends, work colleagues) and reducing loneliness.
• Fostering engagement in pleasant, enriching activities.
• Encouraging ways of developing vitality and living a fulfilled life
• Correcting patterns of negative thinking
• I work with you to understand how current actions and future goals conflict with your values. I encourage you to start to make changes that promote living a life according to your values.
Many people who come to see me have never seen a psychologist before, and don’t know what to expect. I’ve answered some commonly asked questions to help you feel more at ease: