There are lots of theories about depression. It’s a particularly sensitive subject probably due to the fact that no-one really knows for sure what triggers it or why it stays around for some people. The theory that it is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain is now being questioned. Could it be that it’s the depression that 'causes’ the chemical imbalance?
We can understand the roots of depression by looking at our original primitive brain. The central and most influential part of this brain is the amygdala - the ‘fight, fight or freeze’ area. Depression is literally an expression of the primitive mind going into freeze mode.
To illustrate why this was actually helpful to us we have to look back to our past. To early man. When our ancestor looked out of his cave and saw there was ice, snow, wild animals, other tribesman or any sort of danger, he would retreat back to his cave, pull the rug over his head and he wouldn’t venture out again until it was safe to do so. In contemporary life, we want to stay in bed, pull the duvet over our heads and shut the world out. Even the small things seem too much and our capacity to cope is compromised. They want to stay ‘safe’. Frozen.
"Depression is being colourblind and constantly told how colourful the world is.”
In the UK, when people visit their GPs feeling depressed, they will usually be prescribed antidepressants (SSRIs). And though they can be useful to help people in the short term, some form of talk therapy is essential to help empower people to take control of their thinking and interpret events in a more positive way. We are all much stronger than we think and once some momentum is achieved, clients get a sense of their own power to improve their mental outlook over time. This is a much better alternative than what can become a life-long reliance on anti-depressants which can lessen the highs that life has to offer as well as the lows.
The most important thing is to take the first step - even though you may not feel like it. Hypnotherapy can help get your subconscious mind on side and get you moving in the right direction, towards the light. Even the smallest steps and improvements can dramatically increase the self-self-confidence and self-advocacy necessary to get our old selves back.
If a client comes to see me and they tell me the are 2/10 on the happiness scale, we work together to explore manageable ways to get them to a 3 before the next session. If they feel that is too much then we work towards a 2.5. Talk therapy tools such as scaling and the miracle question combined with hypnotherapy can help clients unlock their negative thinking and achieve a more positive, hopeful frame of mind. The primitive brain believes what we tell it and once it starts hearing more positive messages it can really improve your mood.
Seeing a therapist allows people to feel ‘heard’. Sometimes those around them are struggling with their own issues and can’t provide the time and support required. Therapy allows you the chance to download whatever is on your mind creating space to see a chink of light. A way forward.