Counselling for Depression in Belfast, Northern Ireland
What is Depression?
Often mistaken for “having a bad day”, depression is in fact a real illness resulting in persistent sadness and continuous low mood. Depression can effect every aspect of an individuals life resulting in loss of enjoyment in things we once loved, lack of motivation, the urge to hideaway and sleep in order to shut the constant feeling of sadness away.
As well as having a profound affect on our moods, depression targets us physically and emotionally causing ongoing feelings of worthlessness, feeling emotionally numb and in severe cases questions around living. Relationships can be targeted due to behaviour that is perhaps out of character, the inability to do our jobs competently and can have a negative impact on our inner self-talk.
However, depression can be managed with the right tools and support allowing us to accept, understand, manage and focus on healthy coping mechanisms to help us through the darker days.
6 THINGS TO CONSIDER IF YOU ARE SUFFERING WITH DEPRESSION:
Talk to someone you trust
When people are in the depths of a depressive episode they tend to hide away from friends and loved ones, often coming up with excuses to miss outings because they simply cannot face them. Talking to someone you trust whether it be someone you know or a stranger (i.e) your therapist, mental health helpline advisor or your GP.
Even when surrounded by people you love, depression can feel like a very lonely place and therefore it is important to know you are never alone.
Depression is easy to mask with a smile however, when someone who is usually the life and soul of the party suddenly finds themselves in the depths of depression, it can cause feelings of frustration, shame, pressure to live up to their name and embarrassment. Counselling provides a safe, non-judgmental space to enable you to bring whatever you want into the therapy room. Counselling provides support while you explore and understand your feelings in depth as well as focusing on making positive change.
Check-in with yourself on a daily basis
How often do you check in with yourself and ask yourself how you are? How are you feeling today? It’s easy to forget about ourselves when we are busy asking how others are – it’s also easy to smile and respond with “I’m fine”. Checking in with yourself on a daily basis isn’t selfish, it is simply a form of self-care and with depression lingering, many feelings are unconsciously suppressed and left bubbling in the background until triggered by something completely unrelated.
Every morning – try asking yourself how you are feeling today. If you aren’t feeling too hot, that is okay, take your time and try not to pressure yourself into doing things that can wait – tomorrow is a new day.
Don’t self-medicate with alcohol
When we’re feeling a bit sad or down, it can be easy to go out with friends, have a few drinks and dance the night away. However, when someone is depressed, alcohol acts as an unhealthy coping mechanism that can help us forget our troubles for a while and provide us with much needed temporary relief.
Remember when depression is in full throttle, our moods and behaviour are affected. Adding alcohol into the mix can be dangerous as it acts as a depressant and therefore can alter your mood even more.
I’m not suggesting you sign up to an intense crossfit class although this might be something you choose to do! However, any form of simple movement whether it be 2 minutes of light stretching or an hour of HIIT releases our ‘happy hormones’ – endorphins, dopamine and serotonin which can naturally boost our mood. Working out can also support us in setting small, realistic goals.
Daily routine & fulfilling basic needs
Are you getting enough sleep?
Sleep is essential for us all – depression can either disturb sleep or cause us to sleep too much. Try keeping your bedtime routine similar most evenings – cut down screen time, no caffeine (camomile is great at bedtime), meditation and if something is bothering you – start a journal, by writing it down you are still releasing feelings.
What are you eating and when are you eating?
Look closely at your diet – by all means enjoy your treats, we all need them and showing ourselves kindness can help ease low feelings. However, when we are depressed, we can’t be bothered cooking or even eating proper meals so we reach for the takeout menu and have Just Eat on speed dial. Believe it or not, food can have a negative impact on our moods and although we mightn’t feel like it, try and swap that fourth pizza of the week for something a little healthier or start off with some veg on top!
In order for us to function properly we need to fuel our body with the energy it requires – think of it like fuelling a car, if it runs low on petrol – it doesn’t work and will eventually break down. Human beings are the same – we cannot function on empty and are more risk of emotional burnout.
FINALLY; I’d like to end this blog post on a positive note.
Remember – YOU ARE WORTHY
When you’re trapped in a dark and lonely well of depression it can be impossible to see or even believe you once lived a life fulfilled with happiness and joy. Most of the time the happiness and joy gets lost in the cloud depression can hold over us making it seem further and further away from what was once normality. However, with the right support – depression can be managed and minimised… and there is always hope.
Thank you for reading this – you’ve done the hardest part!
Read more about our service www.fitforlifeni/counselling
We will keep you up-to-date with the latest blog posts, news and offers from Fit For Life NI