A Figurative Reference:
I am sure that almost everyone has heard of the world’s celebrated personality, J.K. Rowling, author of the famous ‘Harry Potter Series. While reading about her experiences regarding the drafting of the characters, Rowling has exclusively spoken about the character of the ‘Dementors’ in the book series. She revealed that the ‘Dementors’ are characters that she created based on the darkest times of her life – the times when she was experiencing chronic depression to an extent that she even contemplated suicide.
She has symbolically depicted and personified Depression as overwhelming, gloomy cloaked figures who are seen haunting and floating in and around certain dark spaces. These faceless figures wear large flowing cloaks, announcing their presence at moments when the main character is emotionally susceptible and mentally overwhelmed. So apt are these moments in the novel series, that Rowling has effectively been able to address the after-effects of depression on the characters- that of being completely physically paralyzing, mentally deactivating, and emotionally draining. This dissociated explanation of J.K. Rowling about her former depressed self gives us a deep and impactful insight into what this very grave mental health problem cast upon its sufferers.
Some of the images and perspectives that we have adopted from our immediate environment of films, books, hearsay and maybe certain scenarios from our/ others’ lives that resonate with the word Depression are:
- Staring emptily into space,
- Not wanting to get out of bed,
- Feeling lethargic and sad at the thought of yet another day ahead staring at you,
- Thoughts of pessimism and negativity,
- Purposelessness and uselessness envelop the mind,
- Experiencing weakness & slowed down speech and body movements in the body as if deprived of all vigour and energy,
- An emptiness/ hollow void within
- Feeling cranky, restless
- Experiencing aches, pains, cramps, and digestive issues that do not go away with medication.
Common tags associated with Depression can be enlisted as:
- Mood Disorder,
- Persistent Sadness,
- Loss of Interest in Activities,
- Feeling helpless-hopeless-worthless-sad-overwhelmed,
- Thinking aimlessly, Inability to feel happy,
- Loss of interest in activities,
- Eating & sleeping too less or too much leads to worrying weight loss/gain.
- Difficulty in making decisions & concentrating and in extreme cases suicidal thoughts.
Now that we are somewhat familiar with the term Depression, let’s get acquainted with certain facts as put forward by the World Health Organisation. https://www.who.int/
- 5% of adults suffer from depression worldwide.
- It is the leading cause of physical disability
- It is one of the main precursors/post cursors of major diseases
- Women tend to get more prone to this state than men.
- It is one of the major reasons for suicides and suicidal intentions.
- It is definitely treatable or at least capable of preventing further deterioration
CAUSES OF DEPRESSION:
- Physiological Reasons: –
- Brain Chemistry – Imbalance of certain important chemicals/neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate normalcy in moods, appetite, sleep, behaviour & thoughts
- Brain Structure – Scientists have concluded that the frontal lobe looks develop differently in people with or without depression.
- Hormone Levels – Women often experience frequent fluctuations in their hormones during certain critical junctures of their life like menstruation, childbirth, perimenopause & menopause.
- Genetic/Hereditary Reasons- Though there is no clinical evidence to suggest so, in case of any kind of history of mood disorder in the family, there is a high chance of the individual contracting the problem of depression.
- Medical Issues – Illnesses like heart issues, cancer, insomnia, Parkinson’s disease, bed-ridden and mobility-restricted problems that are chronic, persistent, and lifelong can also cast a depressive influence on the patient.
- Environmental Factors:
- Early Childhood Trauma – possibility of any kind of an unpleasant memory of an event or a situation that may have taken place in their early years could have a clouding effect on their mind.
- Substance Abuse – overconsumption of substances like alcohol or addiction to narcotics has a very high influence on a person’s mental functioning.
- Socio-Economic Status – Low social status as per benchmarks of society and corresponding low-income group identity can have a significant impact on the nature of opportunities the individual receives and hence can lower one’s self-esteem and confidence leading to the possibility of falling into the depression trap.
- Personality Issues:
- Gender Identity – There are some who may be experiencing a sense of belongingness to another gender as opposed to what they represent physiologically. This creates a great deal of identity crisis and brings within the individual upheavals of suppressed emotions and conflicting ideas that cannot be expressed under societal norms. This brings about a sense of depression in the person as he/she has nothing/no one to look up to.
- Mental Makeup: There could be situations where a person is not so well versed cognitively and could be intellectually challenged and not conforming to a reference standard. Such a scenario builds up the pressure on the individual’s performance abilities and mental functioning and falling short of it can push the person into serious mood disorders like Depression.
- Emotional Vulnerabilities: Women especially are more emotionally vulnerable and sensitive and tend to be bullied and shamed when they do not follow the set standards of society. As a result of this, the individuals feel very petty and unworthy owing to their shortcomings as pointed out by society, thus pushing them into depressive states of mind.
Though the above cover most of the causes of depression, there could be many more primary or secondary or tertiary reasons that could have an impact on an individual’s normal functioning.
KINDS OF DEPRESSION:
Depression can be of many kinds cutting across age, gender, lifestyle, health and other reasons. They can be mentioned below:
- Uni Polar Depression / Major Depressive Disorder (MDD):
It is the most severe form of depressive disorder also called Clinical Depression. The symptoms of this disorder last for more than 2 weeks and affect the normal functioning of day-to-day life. The days and nights are characterised by all the characteristic symptoms associated with depression as enlisted above and need immediate help and medical treatment.
- Dysthymia / Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD):
Milder than MDD, it is still a chronic form of depression because here the symptoms range for at least 2 years, hence the impact is far more reaching and impactful.
- Peri Natal Depression (during Pregnancy) & Postpartum Depression (after childbirth):
Also called ‘Baby Blues’, PeriNatal refers to the time of pregnancy whereas PostPartum refers to the time period in women post childbirth. There is a typical feeling of worry, stress and sadness during the pregnancy and emptiness and void immediately after childbirth. However, many times these symptoms go away after a few days but sometimes they don’t and linger on longer creating serious complications for the mother-child as well as the other family members. This is usually triggered by sudden changes in the hormones in the female body.
- Depressive Disorder due to medical conditions like Anxiety, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), Psychosis, and Bipolar Disorders:
- Those suffering from psychotic depression have acute symptoms of depression coupled with delusions or hallucinations.
- Similarly, those suffering from depression due to anxiety suffer from irritability, difficulty in memory and concentration and sleep issues. Unusual.
- Individuals suffering from depression due to OCD keep spiralling in the loop of compulsions and obsessions as a result of which they feel unlike the rest and start withdrawing into their shells. It is estimated about 80% of OCD affected suffer from depression.
- Individuals suffering from depression due to bipolar disorder keep oscillating between high-energy (manic) periods and low-energy (depressive) periods It is during these low phases that they experience sadness and withdrawal from the environment leading to complicated thought processes.
- Substance-Induced Mood Disorder (SIMD):
This is the kind of depression that takes place either due to excessive consumption of alcohol and addiction to narcotic drugs or due to the withdrawal symptoms they experience during de-addiction drives.
- Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder
This usually manifests in young children and teens who express severe outbursts of temper, tantrums and cranky emotions that are far more severe than normal.
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD):
Associated with women who experience intense emotional disturbances like irritability, mood swings, depression, anxiety, and nervousness before the onset of their monthly period cycle and differentiates itself from PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) in its severity and intensity.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):
This kind of depression usually onsets during the late autumn and winter months and vanishes during the spring and summer months. In all its logical reasoning, the absence of sunlight in exceptionally cold countries induces this kind of cold, aloof and withdrawn state of mind due to the absence of sunlight fails to impart the very important Vitamin D in the body that is further responsible for the syntheses of other important hormones for the normal functioning of thought, emotions and behaviours.
Have you heard of something called DISGUISED/ SMILING DEPRESSION:
Such individuals often look happy to the outside world because they keep their depression a secret. Though this disguised depression isn’t Clinically Diagnosed it does represent a deep, dark, hidden reality. Commonly, Smiling Depression is said to be prevalent in individuals who feel sad, stressed and bogged down from within but mask it up with a beautiful façade to prevent anyone from noticing this truth. They might be aware of their own reality or may even be unaware of this side of their personality and could be indulging in self-blame and self-doubt that could further compound problems. So, the unfortunate part of this Smiling Depression is that it often goes undetected and unnoticed because externally no typical symptoms are manifested or observed, however, such individuals in their own private space tend to undergo bouts of crying and sadness in what may seem a parallel world they carry within themselves. Many times, the most workaholic, Jovial, extroverted and boisterous personalities are victims of this disguised depression as they are doing a good cover-up on their real selves due to whatever reason they may deem logical.
DEPRESSION & ECLECTIC THERAPY (Treating depression with an eclectic approach)
Treating depression with an eclectic approach as is evident from the above literature, Depression affects an individual multi-dimensionally i.e., on the Physical, Mental, Emotional, Social and Personal levels, hence the need for an eclectic approach to treat it.
- PHYSICAL LEVEL:
- Self Help:
- Creating an exercise schedule be it walking- yoga-gym or any other way of keeping the body active and fit.
- Disciplined about the Sleep-Wake cycle,
- Well-scheduled & Qualitative eating habits
- Spending Quality time with people one feels comfortable with
- Picking up /Practising hobbies like painting, walking, singing, dancing, reading, etc., as per interest
- Jotting down thoughts-emotions-feelings-desires etc. in a personal diary
- Making Prayers-Affirmations- Meditation-Mindfulness a part of one’s life.
- Medical Help:
- MEDICATIONS: Anti- Depressant intake after consultations with specialist doctors. These medications may include mood stabilisers, antipsychotics, anti-anxiety, and stimulants depending on the doctors’ diagnosis.
- THERAPIES: like Light Therapy, ECT/Electroconvulsive Therapy, T.M.S/ Transcranial Magnetic Therapy
- MENTAL & EMOTIONAL LEVEL:
Psychotherapy: Talking to a trained mental health practitioner about one’s current state of mental and emotional state with the intention of seeking a solution has proven to be of extreme benefit for the affected individual.
There are many other processes that can be made a part of the psychotherapy way of dealing with depressed individuals like NLP, C.B.T, D.B.T, etc.
The favourable outcome of this approach helps the individual to cope with all dimensions of one’s personality including the social (interpersonal) and self (intrapersonal)
Eclectic Approach at ICHARS using HYPNOSIS:
At ICHARS, Hypnosis is the underlying principle behind every approach/ therapy that is used.
- The reason for this is that Hypnosis brings the Conscious Mind to a trance-like state wherein a direct connection is made with the Subconscious Mind after by-passing passing the Critical Filter.
- As a result of this, a highly hyper-suggestible state of the mind is acquired wherein the mind accepts whatever positive suggestion is being provided by the Mental Health Practitioner.
- With such a heightened state of inner awareness, the individual readily accepts and responds to all the processes that are conducted, thereby bringing about an effective change in the person’s current problematic situation and steering him/ her to a more favourable & desired outcome.
- Needless to say, though the individual under Hypnosis undergoes a diminished peripheral awareness, the individual is still totally in control of the self and can choose to step out of the session whenever need be.
- Hypnosis enables bringing about a much-wanted sustainable change in the individual by addressing troubling thoughts, unsettling emotions, suppressed beliefs and desires, certain mind projections that could be related to past lives and many more aspects that eventually are resolved to create a well-rounded personality.
Hence, it will be wise to say that Hypnosis creates a state of mind that makes the mind more conducive and malleable for an effective change to take place by means of a customised set of approaches and processes that purge what is unnecessary and limiting, unleashing a more positive version of the self.
Hypnosis can also be referred to as guided imagination/meditation/ relaxation as they resonate on the same principle.
If you are a therapist or psychologist and would like to learn more about integrating techniques and mastering skills, check out our Internationally accredited, integrated program titled “Cognitive Hypnotic Psychotherapy™”.
If you have depression and are looking for treatment, feel free to book an appointment by calling us on 8080208473.