Even though depression is a very common issue, there are still misconceptions about it. Many people believe that the only way you can qualify as depressed is if you are having trouble getting out of bed, sad all the time, or unable to work/be productive. Dealing with depression is a unique experience for everyone, but regardless, you are not alone in finding peace.

Masking 3 common depression experiences

Many of us who have been clinically depressed completely went under the radar of the rest of the world. We were able to mask the experience and fully function while dealing with depression.  We could attend work and meetings, shuttle the kids, make dinner, clean the house, eat and sleep (or at least appear to be). 

Do you identify with the following experiences? 

  1. A commentary running continuously

But what was going on underneath the façade of functionality? The self-talk is ferocious. Swarming thoughts of critical, searing, hateful judgment; constant criticism; body dysmorphic narrative; and general hopelessness. 

Rage can be a silent menace under the surface as well. Anger that boils at the smallest slight. Irritability and agitation are always on the edge of bubbling over. 

Commentary running continuously like the proverbial peanut gallery about every problem – within you, about others, and everything in your life. 

Fault, blame, contempt and disgust rolled into a ball that you keep swallowing.

  1. Not even allowing tears

More subtly, you may have difficulty relaxing and find yourself keeping busy instead. The underlying fear is that “if I stop, I’ll never get going again“. Not to mention the sense of having to outrun the darkness; attempting to appear good enough, but always ten steps behind. A relentlessness shadow of never being good enough. 

You may even apply a dampener to everything. Holding back on getting too excited about anything lest the depth of disappointment and the inevitability of the crash swallow you whole. 

Not even allowing tears, because “if I start I will never stop“.

  1. Feeling like you’re encased in cement

 

But perhaps what you experience is even subtler – a quiet nagging that something isn’t quite right. A slow, dull, hollow emptiness one cannot put a finger on. 

Slight fatigue, stillness, faint stuck-ness, a whisper of deadness, blurry blank, or lack of zest barely noticeable, but enough to feel meh.

Perhaps the sense of being dead is more than a whisper and feels more like being encased in cement. The sensation? Total paralysis, being numb without any trace of feelings.

Experiential rebirth through action and change

Sometimes it is a message from the psyche to succumb to the slowing and be quiet. To focus on rest, meditation, reflection, solitude and retreat. Other times it is our core signalling us to change it up. 

The “medicine” may simply be to do something different. This something different could be shaking up the rhythm of our bodymind with song and dance, new people, places or activities. Enlivening our life energy in a novel way to create new neural connections. This change may spark new connections with spirit/nature, new dialogue with self and others, and experiential rebirth through action and change.

Exploring ways in dealing with depression

Do you know what you might need?  Pharmaceuticals or supplements? 

Or perhaps nature medicine in the form of sunlight, plants, whole foods, and fresh air. 

Ask yourself, do your mammalian needs require more attention? Think about:

  • Touch
  • Physical care
  • Movement
  • Sleep 

Or perhaps something a little more soulful? Maybe it includes:

  • Time and space to reflect
  • Finding meaning and purpose

Love makes the darkness more tolerable

I watched an episode of “How to Change your Mind” on Netflix yesterday, and the piece regarding MDMA (methyl​enedioxy​methamphetamine, commonly seen in the tablet form of ecstasy and crystal form) reinforced my longtime belief in the power of love. This is no longer a cliché and is now provable by science.

To summarize the science, MDMA is helpful for PTSD (and in general for exploring and processing negative and dark feelings). Clinically/medically prescribed MDMA (for psychotherapy) fires up the neurochemicals and pathways in our brain associated with experiences of love and safety. Love then enables us to process fear without feeling “in fear”; making terror, fear, anger, and sadness more bearable. Essentially, love makes the darkness of life more tolerable.

Ask yourself – what is your reason for being?

The question of “what is the point?” is critical. We all require an answer. It does not have to cover the rest of our life, but every day there needs to be a reason. To get up, keep going, and keep trying. 

What is your reason for being? 

Could it be love?

To explore dealing with depression and answer these questions alongside the help of a professional, contact us.

Kathlyn McHugh RCC, RSW Counselling Practice takes place at the Vitality Clinic in the West Shore Area, close to Victoria BC.

Visit the website at: Home – The Vitality Clinic