Sometimes people say "I want to get rid of this feeling" (be it anxiety, depression, anger, etc), as if it's a thing, separate from you, that can put down and walked away from. Actually this feeling is an aspect of your mind, a part of you. Even if it were possible, it wouldn't be healthy to chop off a part of your self and 'get rid' of it.
Sometimes it's helpful to visualise your difficult feelings as if they are different people, and imagine how you would talk to, or be with, someone else who was feeling that way. Would you be dismissive, walk away, shut them away in another room?
Sounds harsh doesn't it? But this is often how we treat our selves, our own feelings. And imagine if you did shut that person in another room so you couldn't hear or see them, what do you think they would do? Would they be silent and sulk for a while? Or would they angrily bang on the door and break up the furniture before collapsing in an exhausted heap?
The person in the room doesn't disappear, just as the feeling in your mind doesn't go away. And if that person has been locked in that room for a very long time, it might feel very scary to open that door and have a look.
In counselling, we open doors together. Sometimes the room is stuffed full of different feelings, so we might take out just one at a time. Sometimes the feeling is sitting in a dark corner at the back of the room, has given up hope, needs time to adjust. Once we open the door, we listen to what the feeling has to say, what it has been trying to tell us. Sometimes it's a very old feeling, that really ought to have moved on by now, but because it was never heard it's been sitting in that room ever since.
When you open that door and you start communicating with that feeling, you bring a part of your self, that has been isolated, into connection with the whole of yourself. This is healing (making whole) and the emotional tension is released. The feeling is free to come and go, and no longer overwhelms you.
Each person is unique, and each person's experience of depression is different. Many people will experience depression at times in their life, after all, it is a natural reaction to some of life's sadder circumstances such as loss, disappointment, or the end of a relationship. Others find that depressive episodes follow them throughout their life.
When these feelings stay with us for a long time, they can be overwhelming, affect normal life patterns and even manifest as physical symptoms which do not respond to normal treatment.
There are many common emotions that could lead to a diagnosis of depression if they become persistent; lack of enthusiasm, feeling hopeless, pessimistic, worthless, sad, anxious, irritable... Counselling can get to the root of the problem and empower you to navigate these states of mind.
There is a reason why you became depressed, that reason may be obvious to you though you seem unable to move on, or perhaps there has been an accumulation of circumstances over a period of time so that you can no longer pinpoint the cause....
Where feelings have become stuck, it is because they have not been addressed and processed so the mind is unable to move on.
Actually the mind is responding perfectly naturally to what is happening, it is saying 'this part needs to be heard, this feeling needs to be felt, not suppressed, and I'm not moving on until you do something about it!'
Counselling allows time and space to discover and experience the depth and detail of these feelings. A counsellor is an experienced and trusted companion who will stay with you and guide you to safely encounter feelings that you have locked away, and help you to understand them. The mind responds naturally and positively to this process and release follows. The mind also learns, so that when future circumstances arise that may lead to depression, you are better equipped to deal with feelings as they arise and move on.
This is a question I hear often, from those in despair, from those who have tried and failed, from those who have tried and succeeded and realised that the goals they once wanted do not satisfy.
The question may sound like the end of hope, but to me it's a great question, it signifies the beginning. The beginning of some of the most important questions we will ever ask; 'Who am I?' and 'What do I want/need?' You may be surprised by the answers you find.