Understanding Depression

A vast majority of my clients come to therapy because they either feel depressed or anxious and sometimes both. What is anxiety? What is depression? Why are these challenges so common in our world today?

Let’s explore depression.

Initial Feelings

When I feel depressed, I notice a sinking feeling in my belly and heart area. Depression feels like a blow to my enthusiasm for life. I feel flat, uninspired, numb. Depression feels like a heavy blanket I am stuck under, yet I’m not able to get any rest. 

Depression includes a sense of giving up. A sense of hopelessness. Perhaps we tried and tried and got nowhere with something we wanted to achieve and now we have given up in despair. This is how depression feels to me.

Hidden Emotions

When people begin to receive support for their depression, they quickly find many emotions that feel frozen right underneath the thick cloud of their numbed state of being. There is often repressed anger in there as well as uncried tears. So much life energy (emotion) has been repressed!

Depression is a frozen feeling and keeping these emotions repressed takes a lot of energy. No wonder why we tend to feel so depleted when struggling with depression!

Time for Healing

When dealing with depression, one of the best things we can do is to exercise more. The more we physically move, the more alive we tend to feel – this helps move repressed emotions.

The next step is to get in touch with our repressed anger. The best place for this is in therapy, by working with a skilled guide. Healthy anger allows us to express our authentic “no.” When we begin to express our healthy anger in therapy, a lot of repressed energy begins to move.

The more deeply we explore our anger, we also become aware of other emotions that begin to move, such as shame, fear, guilt, and grief. Emotional awareness, and feeling our emotions, ground us. This is particularly important because when we feel depressed, we tend to also feel ungrounded and lost in thought.

Taking Time to Understand Ourselves

Many times feelings of depression arise as an invitation to us to change and evolve. Depression reveals the unsatisfactoriness of the way we have been living our lives. Many people make big changes in their lives as they heal from depression and as they connect more deeply with themselves.

Maybe you’re feeling depressed because you are unhappy with your career. Maybe you’re feeling depressed because you feel stuck in an unhappy marriage. Feelings of depression can also be an indication of past, unhealed trauma.

A lot of us carry wounding and pain from our childhood years and our life experiences afterwards compound this early pain.

Ask yourself this: Which parts of my life feel dead? What is no longer serving me in my life? Where and how and when do I feel inspired? When do I feel disempowered and hopeless?

Depression is an invitation to a deeper life. Listen to its muzzled cry and you might find within its calling everything you’ve been longing for: Your aliveness, self-worth, joy – it’s all hidden underneath the thick cloud of depression.