Many of us experience periods where we feel down, blue, unmotivated, wanting to stay in bed and pull the covers over our head – what we might call reactive despondency or mild depression.
How long do these feelings last?
These periods of reactive despondency or depressed mood are often normal reactions to events, situations or circumstances that are perceived as disappointments, setbacks, or personal losses. Personal loss can involve many different kinds of things — personal and romantic relationships, families, communities, animals, opportunities, and dreams that are a meaningful part of your life.
If not addressed through personal actions, counseling or therapy, these feelings can last from a few days to many weeks in the case of disappointments, setbacks or discouragements or to a couple of years or more in the wake of permanent personal losses associated with the death, divorce or separation of a spouse, intimate partner or pet animal.
What are the symptoms of depression?
There are a number of symptoms that can help you identify early on when you might be experiencing reactive despondency or depressed mood that requires greater attention.
These include: feelings of hopelessness or helplessness about changing your situation; losing interest in friends, activities or events you used to enjoy or take pleasure in; feeling tired or overwhelmed much of the time; finding it difficult to concentrate or to accomplish formerly “easy” tasks; feeling unusually irritable, short-tempered or impatient; smoking, drinking or consuming unusual amounts of food or substances.
In its more severe form, depression is characterized by feeling empty, despairing, hopeless and overwhelmed with your life and the present or future, unable to feel uplifted by anything.
Examples of situations associated with depression?
Common situational examples are feeling burnt out; overwhelmed by unrelenting demands that are impossible to meet or for which you are unsuited; or feeling trapped by personal, family or work situations that you feel you must (unhappily) endure dutifully but have minimal benefit for you.
Other examples include being unhappily single, ending a relationship, losing a close relationship, enduring an intractable situation; being dissatisfied in job, failing to obtain a desirable job or position, being fired from a job; experiencing the death or sickness of a pet animal; having to retire or change living situations against your desires, or losing a social network or group.
What is depression?
Depressed mood or reactive despondency can be a very normal response to difficult, disappointing, challenging or problematic situations that involve personal loss or disappointment or discouragement. It commonly precipitates and is aggravated by negative self-reflections. The result is a loss of meaning or personal enjoyment (pleasure) that is difficult to replace.
Depression of this nature is commonly associated with situations in which people feel hurt, angry or disempowered but feel unable to give effective voice to their feelings or take other effective actions. Its severity is determined by the effort, importance and attachment that had been invested.
Initially it is often accompanied by a loss of perspective or an inability to adopt a broader perspective; understanding or overall view of the situation. recognize its effects and institute an effective plan for handling its effects.
It is important in these situations to consult with supportive others, friends, family, confidants or professionals as an opportunity to help you regain perspective and adopt effective ways to cope.
How can you manage depression?
There are several important steps that you can take to help extricate yourself from this condition.
First and most important is to pay attention to what situation or circumstance might be a source or a contributor to how you are feeling. Check your personal, family, social or work situations for circumstances outlined above.
Second talk to others (friends, family, confidants) who know you well and whose opinions you find helpful. By talking to others you can better recognize and gain perspective on the situations or circumstances that may be affecting you.
Third, develop with supportive others ways to approach the situation that may reduce its negative aspects and brings you a greater sense of purpose and meaning.
Remember that medications do not solve the situation or circumstances that are the cause or the contributors to your feelings. Medications only raise your mood artificially and they only work effectively when people believe in them. If you have doubts or concerns about anti-depressant medications, it is unlikely to be of much help. .
If you continue to find it difficult to extricate yourself or as an alternative to friends and family, many people find that the assistance of professional therapists and counselors enables them to tackle these feelings with the support of an experienced professional.
The therapists and counselors at Clear Path Solutions are experienced professionals, well-trained in state-of-the-art therapy and counseling that produces positive outcomes and greater well-being with or without the presence of medications. The therapy we provide will not only help you more effectively manage your immediate situation but also give you the skills and confidence to avoid and handle similar conditions in the future.