A quick way to tell if you’re depressed:
|Please read each statement and choose a number 0, 1, 2 or 3 which indicates how much the statement applied to you over the past week. There are no right or wrong answers. Do not spend too much time on any statement.|
|The rating scale is as follows:0 Did not apply to me at all
1 Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time
2 Applied to me to a considerable degree, or a good part of time
3 Applied to me very much, or most of the time
|I couldn’t seem to experience any positive feeling at all||0 1 2 3|
|I found it difficult to work up the initiative to do things||0 1 2 3|
|I felt that I had nothing to look forward to||0 1 2 3|
|I felt down-hearted and blue||0 1 2 3|
|I was unable to become enthusiastic about anything||0 1 2 3|
|I felt I wasn’t worth much as a person||0 1 2 3|
|I felt that life was meaningless||0 1 2 3|
From DASS 21
Score: add up your scores and multiply by 2
Under 8 no depression
8-13 mild depression
13-21 moderate depression
22-27 severe depression
31-36 extremely severe depression
Depression, like anxiety, is both a mental and a physical experience. Often connected with low self esteem and rumination, or dwelling on things, depression looks back negatively at the past and judges the self harshly.
Memories are not so much snapshots of the part as thoughts and images and feelings constructed in our brains using vast amounts of stored information which is put together into a ‘memory’. Research shows that, when we are depressed, our brains select the most negative material to use in creating memories and in thinking about the self. It’s as if there are long shelves of stored material from our lives and our brain goes along the shelves choosing parts to make up into a ‘memory’ and a ‘self image’. In depression, it much prefers to choose the bad stuff.
Being besieged with all this evidence of our own worthlessness and the impossibility of ever succeeding at anything, it’s not surprising our minds decide to give up. This is experienced as a lack of motivation to do anything and a pervasive feeling of fatigue and exhaustion, along with the feeling that every single little thing is a massive effort.
Questions our minds send us in this state include:
‘What’s the point?’
Our minds also send us judgments such as
‘Life is meaningless’
‘I’m too tired’
‘I don’t feel like it’
Cheerful people who come along to chivvy and cheer us up are quite frustrating and tiring to listen to, since they can’t appreciate what an exhausting effort it is just to consider their helpful suggestions.
Given that all things are so overwhelming, it’s very understandable that we might prefer to stay in bed longer, all morning or even all day, so as not to have to face it. Unfortunately, though this works short term, it leads to physical bodily changes such as sluggishness and lack of appetite as well as sleep problems…leaving us awake into the wee small hours with all the time in the world to dwell on the hopelessness of it all. These physiological changes make it even harder to get up and get on with it. What’s the point anyway?
Carrying, giving birth to and caring for child is one of the most physically and mentally demanding things a woman can do. For fathers also the arrival of a child is a major life change and stressor. Postnatal depression is common and mad worse by the fact that those around us expect us to be happy. It is most important to seek help early for this condition as it can affect the whole family profoundly and prevent you from enjoying your child and your life. Our therapists are qualified and experienced in dealing with post natal depression.
Treatment of depression has to start with the answer to that question: What is the point?
Your therapist will work with you to search out and find what really matters to you personally. What do you value? In your family and work life, if you had a magic wand, what kind of person would you want to be? What are the things you would like said about you at your 80th birthday party?
Once you have found an answer to that question, you may be in a position where it feels worth while being helped to move towards being that person.
Your therapist will help you understand how depression works in general, and also how it works for you in particular. Then you’ll embark on a program of widening up your life to include activities and experiences that will enrich it, as well as working on the thoughts, feelings and physical symptoms that are keeping the whole cycle going.
Lack of motivation
The Catch 22 of depression is that you need to do stuff….but you have no motivation to do anything! Your therapist will ask and encourage you to show willingness to do things whilst experiencing not wanting to do them. Just willingness can make all the difference.
Lack of appetite (because of inactivity) or overeating (because of boredom and frustration), sleep problems (because of spending too much time in bed and lack of physical activity or because of worry), and physical lack of well-being are all very physical aspects of depression. Research shows they can be dealt with by increasing activity levels and reducing avoidance of challenging situations, your therapist will show you how.
Bipolar mood disorder
Bipolar mood disorder is often diagnosed when you experience periods of ‘mania’ or very high spirits, alternating with periods of depression and sometimes periods of normal mood. Manic periods often involve feeling extremely creative and driven, and overly optimistic….staying up late to finish work or a work of art, for example, needing very little sleep. Unrealistic optimism can lead to getting involved in destructive situations, for example taking out a large financial loan for a project which, in the cold light of day, seems highly unlikely to succeed, or maxing out credit cards with the belief that something will surely turn up.
It can be seen that these periods, being so intense, are physically exhausting, so that eventually the body can cope no longer, leaving us prone to lapsing into depression, hopelessness, despair and self-blame for the things we did in the manic phase.
Bipolar mood disorder is treated by first understanding how the disorder works in general and then how it works in your own life. Smoothing out the highs and lows by anticipating the cycles and actively managing them is key. this takes practice and usually someone else to help you. Our therapists are qualified and experienced in dealing with bipolar mood disorder.
Our book will show you how to help yourself to Get Your Life Back. It takes you step by step, starting with identifying the problem. Then it helps you understand why you have the problem. You will learn mindfulness skills to begin training your brain. Then get clear about your values: what you really want in your life. Another chapter helps you understand how your problem works for you. Once you’ve done this there is a chapter showing you how to break the links in the chain of your problem behaviour. You can also contact us to work with a therapist skilled in this area by Skype, FaceTime etc., on the phone or face to face.