In their book, ‘Depression, an emotion not a disease’, Tubridy and Corry describe depression as an emotional state in which one is overwhelmed by feelings ranging from hopelessness to despair and desolation. Many people feeling this way believe that nothing they do can make a difference, which in turn makes change very difficult. However, by focusing less on one’s feelings and actively putting in place behaviours which bring about an opposite feeling, we begin to believe that we can do something to make a difference. Doing activities such as exercising, having a massage or yoga can all help to change our old mindset and lead to feelings of self-mastery, hope and control.
Many of us are all too familiar with the inner judge or critic – that enslaves us by constantly beating us up, telling us that we’re not good enough or will never amount to anything. From the time we are very young we have been receiving these messages so that eventually we internalise this voice and automatically think ‘I’m no good’.
A very helpful exercise can be to begin to rate the severity of your own critic on a scale of 0-10. Counselling can help us to do this. Before we can release ourselves from the stranglehold of the critic, we must first become aware of its presence. Once we become aware and mindful of the critic we can begin to cut ourselves loose from its grip. Having developed this awareness, we begin to be less hard on ourselves and more self-compassionate.
A fundamental law of consciousness is that whatever we give our attention to, will grow in our mind. Thus if you continue to think ‘I’m useless, nobody cares, life’s too difficult’ then these thoughts will grow in your mind, leading you only to seeing what’s wrong with your life. Whatever is to the forefront of our mind is what we will perceive in the World around us. In the words of Shelly, The Mind Becomes that which it perceives. Thankfully, the opposite is also true. Thus is you consciously decide to focus what is working in your life, you can begin to change your mindset.
When we are depressed our mind has foreclosed on any new ideas – and we filter our thoughts, feelings and behaviours through a mindset that is helpless and bleak. This leads us to repeating the cycle of misery and tormenting thoughts – rather than taking in any new information. When our minds are closed in this way we have only one way of seeing things – we construct the world from behind our eyes.
Next week we will continue to look at how our minds work when we are depressed and ways in which we can change this.
SouthWest Counselling Centre Killarney provides affordable professional counselling to children, adolescents adults and couples – both at its Killarney Centre (Lewis Road) and at Kenmare Family Centre. firstname.lastname@example.org. Kerry LifeLine provides FREE counselling and support to anyone feeling suicidal or bereaved through suicide. email@example.com To make an appointment call 064 6636416.
SouthWest Counselling Centre is a not-for-profit organization. All funds raised through fundraising go directly to service provision.