I have been noticing a change inside me, a gradual shift from an effortless smile to a smile which is now taxing. Getting up in the morning is now a BIG task. I have been regular at work, always. But now reaching late is my new normal. I feel heavy inside and nothing really makes any sense. Should I talk to my friend at work? Or explain to my manager why I have been running late. I choose to do neither. I have no VALID reason. I used to love sketching, eating and dancing but I seem to have no energy or interest to do any of these things. There seems to be a disconnect between me and people, a sort of invisible boundary. No matter how hard I try to reach out to them, I fail each time. Why am I crying in the middle of the day when no one is watching? And how come nobody gets to know that I feel terrible inside. I got a new haircut to mark a change in my life, but I seem to get back to my old pattern. I feel exhausted with life, which I once used to love.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression.Depression is a word that is widely used but less understood. It is often confused with sadness, anxiety, phobia or stress.

Difference Between Sadness And Depression

Causes of Depression

Endogenic: It occurs due to the presence of an internal (cognitive, biological) stressor.

  • Biological Stressor

    According to National Institute of Mental Health, Postpartum depression is recorded in 10-15% of women. It is caused due to hormonal changes after pregnancy

  • Brain Chemistry

    Reduced levels of brain chemicals called serotonin affect our pleasure and mood centres in the brain leading to low mood and loss of interest and engagement.

  • Genetic

    Family history of depressions increases the likelihood of being diagnosed with depression symptoms.

Exogenic: It occurs due to the presence of an external stressor.

  • Social Stressor

    Loss of a loved one. physical/sexual abuse, financial crisis, trauma, chronic or terminal disease, substance use

  • Environmental Stressor

    Seasonal Affective Disorder- Depression is triggered by lack of exposure to sunlight

  • Abuse

    A major life change (Divorce) and trauma (Grief, or Breakup) may not affect two people in the same way due to their differences in biological predisposition and coping mechanisms.

Depression Symptoms

Physical Symptoms Psychological Symptoms Emotional Symptoms
Loss of appetite/Overeating Lack of interest Helplessness
Disturbed Sleep(Insomnia/hypersomnia) Loss of enjoyment Hopelessness
Lack of energy Social isolation/withdrawal Worthlessness
Reduced sex drive Negative thoughts Agitation
Weight gain/loss Preoccupied Guilt
  Suicidal thoughts Frustration

How Depression Counselling Helps

  • Psychoeducation

    Information is taken regarding the client, situations and factors leading to depression. Awareness is built about depression and its effects

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

    The client is introduced to the idea of how our thoughts, emotions, physical symptoms and behaviour can all influence one another and therefore help to maintain unhelpful moods such as low mood. During CBT sessions, cognitive distortions are explained and client’s negative thoughts and emotions regarding various situations are focussed upon.. Unhealthy patterns of thought and behaviour are challenged and will be replaced with healthy and adaptive patterns of thought and behaviour.

  • Lifestyle Modification

    Yoga, meditation, exercise and other lifestyle changes regarding diet, sleeping patterns are discussed and healthy choices and alternatives are explored. Researchers have found benefits of walking, jogging, running, resistance training, and other forms of movement. More intense activity generally leads to greater depression relief.

  • Creative Therapy for Depression

    Art, music, drama therapy helps the client to form an outlet to express negative emotions like pain, guilt, resentment, anger, shame in a creative manner and leads to self discovery. Research shows that art therapy can also improve your sense of well-being by reducing anxiety. Creative therapy can aid in figuring out where we need to work upon and what are the barriers

  • Mindfulness Based Therapy

    It is a psychological therapy designed to aid in preventing the relapse of depression by helping the client to separate themselves from their thoughts and emotions. Depression symptoms include a high tendency to have repetitive thoughts about the painful past experiences or negative anticipations about the future. In mindfulness the client learns to stay focussed in the present which reduces stress and enhances wellbeing. This process is known as "Decentering" and aids in distancing from harsh self-criticism, overthinking, and low mood that can result when reacting to negative thinking patterns as in depression

  • Hope Building Activities

    Hope building activities are aimed at cultivating optimism and motivation.

    • Finding incidents and experiences where the client was able to overcome a challenging situation effectively.
    • Identifying inspirational stories that are relatable and resonate with the client’s life story and obstacles.
    • Benefits of maintaining Gratitude Journal is introduced and set as homework to record positive experiences on a daily basis
  • Smart Goals

    In depression small, manageable things start seeming impossible and leads to inactivity and decreased energy levels hence SMART( Small, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound) goals are set on a daily and weekly basis to achieve goal directed behaviour. A list of routine and engaging activities is created, scheduled and reviewed weekly to increase activity levels.

Complications of Depression

Mild to moderate depression if remains untreated then it can lead to severe depression and hamper overall functioning and lead to self harm and suicidal tendencies.

Medication is required for severe depression where daily functioning is affected.

When depression lasts two years or more then the diagnosis changes to persistent depressive disorder.

Phases of depression along with high mood and energy(mania) changes the diagnosis to bipolar disorder.

Depression symptoms along with hallucinations and delusions is diagnosed as Depression with Psychosis and would require antipsychotic medication.

Depression Counseling Outcome

  • Awareness of thought and behaviour patterns Knowledge about one’s distorted thought and behaviour patterns help to identify, understand and break that chain that contribute to depression.
  • Healthy coping mechanisms Through the course of therapy healthy coping mechanisms and personal self care activities are planned and practiced to cope with stressful situations and prevent relapse.
  • Positive, productive thought patterns Client is equipped to consciously gain awareness about their unhelpful patterns of thinking and are armed with tools to challenge these thoughts.
  • Emotion regulation Techniques are learnt to express and channelize negative emotions in a productive manner thereby increasing positive mood.

Introducing Our First Self-Help Book

"She had become so cold overnight, I couldn't believe she wasn't coming back this time. I didn't know what to do, what to say to make things okay anymore. If only I could say the right things maybe Preeti would have stayed."

With this book, we bring you several real stories. Few are a reflection of first-hand or vicarious experiences, others are inspired by break up cases helped by the counsellors at BetterLYF.

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