Depression can come as a result of a number of life experiences that have exceeded your capacity to cope or left you feeling depleted or hopeless. Repetitive, stressful, threatening or overwhelming situations in which you were unable or not allowed to self-protect, set a boundary or take effective action on your own behalf (that is, your natural self-protective responses were prevented and you had to surrender or give up) can result in collapsed life energy, helplessness, disempowerment, lack of self-confidence, and a sense of defeat (freeze response).
Depression is different from the very normal highs and lows or moments of sadness or grief we experience as a part of life. Clinical depression often shows up for more prolonged periods, with debilitating symptoms that can have a significant impact on your relationships and ability to enjoy life or perform at work or school.
Symptoms of depression include:
- feelings of hopelessness
- low self-esteem or confidence
- shame and constricted breathing
- slow movements, low muscle tone
- unhappiness and difficulty feeling pleasure
- flat affect or limited emotional range
- oversleeping or inability to sleep
- fatigue, “I give up”, “I can’t do this”
- low energy and motivation
- loss of interest in your usual activities
- feeling disconnected from yourself
- isolating from others
- difficulty concentrating
Restoring your vitality requires connecting with survival energy.
Healing depression requires a multi-faceted approach that doesn’t just address the negative, hopeless thoughts and beliefs surrounding yourself, your life and your future. What is also crucial to lifting your depressed mood and deadened physical state is reconnecting with healthy survival energy (fight response) in a safe, contained way. Reconnecting with your own power to act assertively and successfully on your own behalf (without shame or guilt!) can be an important part of restoring your sense of vitality, dignity and triumph, and to being able to get your needs met. For some, alleviating depression means shifting from helplessness to a sense of empowered agency, and being able to take effective action on your own behalf to change what is in your control.