The “Black Dog” of Depression

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Winston Churchill described his own depression as the “black dog” which plagued his life.

Depression is defined in the dictionary as ‘severe, typically prolonged, feelings of despondency and dejection.’ Then there’s the medical definition which says it’s ‘a mental condition characterised by severe feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy, typically accompanied by a lack of energy and interest in life.’

As many as 1 in 4 people suffer from depression which can range from mild to severe symptoms.

Depression saps energy and positivity, leading to a sense of hopelessness and inability to function properly. The usual suspects lurking behind depression are unacknowledged and unexpressed emotions such as anger, resentment, or hurt. Depression is the soul’s message that you’re not being your true self; maybe too afraid of having the career or relationship that would really make life worth living. Other people’s expectations and judgements are the biggest disincentive when the stakes are high.

But the good news is that depression is measurable, diagnosable, treatable, and curable.

It’s unlikely that a single approach will work for everybody all the time. So I usually offer clients a range of integrated approaches that can be used whenever they start to feel depressed. This includes CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), mindfulness, body-based awareness, grounding techniques to stabilise mood swings. Equine sessions can also be a gentle yet powerful way to find a way forward, navigating away from the shackles of depression.

Medication certainly has its place. I can recommend GPs and psychiatrists who have a kind and positive approach, who are experts in prescribing the right medication at the right dose. Anti-depressants can help lift the mood for a certain period of time (it’s not a life sentence), so that other strategies can be put in place. Most people don’t want to be on medication for ever, so it’s important to find ways of managing emotions giving a chance for medication to be reduced over time (under medical guidance).

Essentially, each person’s journey out of depression will be unique. If you feel you’re in a dark tunnel, please keep going and you will reach the light at the end of the tunnel. If you’d like to find out how counselling can help get away from depression, do get in touch so I can support you.